By Gloria Li
10 Jun. 2012 Sunday
|Sermon: God As MIP||video||audio||ppt
|Worship song: Alleluia To Christ The Lord||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: Draw Me Close To You||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: Jesus Thank You||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: Lame Upon The Throne||video||audio||lyric|
Presider Sophia’s Welcome and Prayer:
Good morning everyone. Let’s bow our head and pray.
Our dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for you have never forsaken us, we thank you for when we were still sinners, you sent your only begotten son Jesus to die for us and pay for our debts. Lord, your grace is sufficient to us, and through your grace, we are able to do what you command us to do. Lord, we look forward to the day when we are completely like you and we are completely Christ-like. Lord, we just pray that you would transform us day by day, and create the life of Jesus in us. Lord, we also pray for today’s service, may you pour out the Holy Spirit in today’s worship, and your personally lead today’s worship. Lord, clean our heart and mind, makes us completely focused on you. Lord, we also pray for today’s preacher Gloria. May you speak through her and use her as your holy vessel to touch our lives, and we also lift up today’s congregation into your mighty hands. Lord, help us carry our cross and become more like Jesus. We pray that you would just turn us into working gospel to impact this city, this nation, in Jesus’ holy name we pray, amen.
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 6 :5-9
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
Good morning everyone, would you please join me with a prayer first?
Our Heavenly Father, thank you for guiding us together to worship you in your temple. Lord please come to us, may your name be glorified and exalted through the service today. Lord, I also want to lift up myself into your hands. You know my limits and weakness, but Lord, could you please, above all of my weakness, work in me? And I pray for all the congregations here. May you fill their hearts and work in their hearts, may your Holy Spirit unify each of us here, and may all of us know you as our MIP in our lives. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
At first I want to share a testimony that I just experienced recently. I oversee the college ministry at
Of course there are other people in our lives, so how can I say that God is the one I love the most; on the stage of life, God is at the center. I wish I can live with Him only, live for Him. But how can I say that God is at the center with other people around us. It is like that God is a VIP, except that He is the MIP just like the topic (suggests) “God as the MIP”.
Most of you have already heard of the word “VIP”, but do you know the meaning of MIP? Can you guess what it means? (answering from the congregation) I heard the right answer; it means Most Important Person. We know when a VIP shows up to our work, we will, of course, be very careful to do everything very well to make the VIP feel welcomed. It is also (the case) when the MIP God shows up. And of course, God is always with us. Therefore, while there are many people around us, we always keep in our mind that in our lives, God is the MIP, and we live to please Him.
I know many of you here are working in different kinds of jobs, and most of the rest of you are preparing to work in the near future. Last February, we did a sermon series which was called “At Work”. I do not know how many of you still remember this series. I will mention today what we have learnt in that series. Today we will talk about our commitment and attitude at work. First, let’s look at the background of the text that we just read from Ephesians 6:5-9.
Background of the Scripture
We know the book of Ephesians was written by Apostle Paul. When Paul wrote Ephesians, he was writing in the context of Greco-Roman world in the first century. In that society, slavery was so much a part of life that hardly anyone thought it might be wrong. A third of the people in
Modern Application of the Scripture
A modern application of it is in the area of work, and the relationship between employees and employers. First, let’s see how one can be a good slave in this chapter, what Paul has already told us? How can one be a good slave? There are two points for how one can be a good salve. Number one is that a slave must obey his master with respect, fear and sincerity of heart; the other is that a slave should serve his master wholeheartedly.
How can a slave serve wholeheartedly? Paul continued to say that a slave should serve as if he is serving the Lord, but not men. Next, Paul addressed to those who were masters. What are the masters commanded to do? The Bible says that masters should treat slaves in the same way as the slaves are to obey their masters with respect, fear and sincerity of heart. God is the master of both slaves and earthly masters; He is not pleased that human masters are in the higher place than the slaves, so He said that master and slave are all equal before Christ. They are all the servants of Christ.
We no longer have slavery in our society, but the commands to masters and slaves are still important for us, because we can apply these principles in our workplace today. Most of us, like I just said, need to work after you graduate from school. Maybe some of you are working now, some will graduate in July, in the near future, and you want to find a good job, you need to go to work, to different careers. So, most of us are still employees. But as Christian employees, we want to be godly employees. Maybe some of you here are employers, running your own business; you also want to be a godly employer. So today we will focus on how to be a godly employee and employer in your workplace.
Heart First, and then Actions
Many times when we hear the words “respect, fear and sincerity of heart”, we think of behaviors that can be seen from the outside. These are behaviors that can be learned with focus and efforts. My focus today is not only on the visible behaviors, but on the motivation behind the behaviors. What motivate a person to behave with respect, fear and sincerity of heart? This is what we are going to talk about at this sermon.
What we see here is that how we relate to God will affect how we relate to other people. However, even more importantly, how we relate to God says who we become. Ultimately, out of love, God is concerned about saving us to be more like His image. It is a small choice to make, either to respect God or not, save us into more like His image or not. God desires our heart and our will to be transformed. Dear brothers and sisters, and friends, God desires our heart and our will to be transformed by Him. Then naturally, from this heart transformation that can affect our action, our action can be changed by this heart transformation.
If we learn to serve God and obey Him, we will know how to be a good employee or employer at work. If our motivation is to please God and love Him, our attitude will be one of respect, fear and sincerity of heart. So today we will focus on heart transformation and committing our work to God, rather than just living out external behaviors.
1. We are the servants of God
From these verses in Ephesians chapter 6, we can know some principles that can help change our thinking about work, and thereby transform our heart and attitude at work. First, we should know the first principle is that “we are the servants of God”. Who are we really (working for)? What motivate us? Who do we seek to please? The most important application of this chapter and these verses is the realization that we are slaves of God, not other people. Dear brothers and sisters, have you really understood what it means to be slaves of Christ?
The Bible gives us a picture that we are like clay, a lump of mud, and God is like a potter, the person who shapes the clay. So we see that in the PowerPoint slide. Let me ask you, what can clay do? Can it dance by itself? Do you think it can dance by itself? Yes or no? No. Can it speak? No. Can it sing? No. Can it become a cup by itself? No. So we all know the answer. All clay can really do is to wait to be molded by the potter. And that is God’s desire for us, to allow Him to mold us into His image. Furthermore, we need to stay there to remain in the loving potter’s hands, for Him to continue to shape us and use us how He pleases. We should remember we need to remain in the loving potter’s hands to let Him continue to shape us and use how He pleases. The parable of the potter and clay (Jeremiah 18:1-11) tells us that we are in God’s hand. But what does that mean?
Dear brothers and sisters, I want to ask you, “Do you work by God’s power?” With God as our potter, do you work with your own strength and wisdom? What is your answer? You may be asking yourself, “How do I work by God’s power? Can I just do nothing and sit on the couch and God will make things clean and make things happen?” No, of course, not. We need to take our responsibilities to be His tool.
So how can I do work by God’s power? How can we achieve that balance? A good place to begin is by asking that question, “Is this God’s strength or mine?” Consider it carefully, particularly consider the outcome, the result. Do you care about your work because of self-motivation? Or (is it) because God is the Most Important Person (MIP) at your work? What do you care?
I myself still struggle with this question. I keep thinking and asking myself, “Am I working by God’s power or by my own strength?” I do not have it all figured out. But it is good for me to think that I need to keep trying to strike a balance between working hard and resting in the loving hands of the potter. So as the servants of Christ, the first principle is that we should remember three points.
1.1. God is with you when you work
Number one is God is with you when you work. God is with me when I work. God is with us when we work. You do not do anything alone. You do not do your work by yourself. God is with you. Dear brothers and sisters, sometimes, in the world’s view, in the company, maybe your boss gives you some assignment and let you do it by yourself. But in God’s eyes, He will not leave you to do your work alone. He is with you every moment. Every breath He is with you. So when you face some difficulties in your work, however large or small, you can pray to our God, and ask for His help, His wisdom and His guidance. According to Palms 46, verse 1, it says,
“God is our refuge and our strength, and our present help in times of trouble.”
So dear brothers and sisters, we should be eager to live WITH Him, not only live for Him. We should desire to live with our God. We should remember that Christ and I do everything together. Christ and you do everything together. You do not do anything alone. God is with you. The name of JESUS means “God is with us”.
So, please remember we are in God’s hands. He is with us. When you face some difficulties, you are not alone. You have a helper and a refuge. You have God with you and He never leaves you alone. He desires to be with you. This is our blessings, our gift from God.
1.2. Servant of God does not only refer to the pastors
Number two, the servant of God does not only refer to the pastors. It includes everyone. Anyone can be called the servant of Christ, no matter what kind of job you have. If you are a Christian, you are the servant of God. Some people may think that only pastors could be called the servants of God. Why? Because pastors deliver God’s words to others, because pastors can shepherd the sheep God has chosen. Pastors work at church and they have a calling from God. Their jobs are holy and they can be called the servants of God. I am not. I do not work at a church. I work in the companies and my work belongs to the world. My work is not holy. This kind of thinking is not right. Everything we do in the world directly encounters Jesus Christ. Perhaps you wonder, “How can that be? I work in the companies, in the business, not at a church.” No matter what kind of job you are doing now, as a Christian, you are the servant of God; and your job is holy in God’s sight. You are the servants of God and you can glorify God’s name through your work. Whatever we do, even little action and attitude matters.
Dear brothers and sisters, every little action and attitude matters, it matters in God’s eyes. Please cherish the work you have. If you are a teacher, teach to God’s glory. If you are a cleaner, clean to God’s glory. If you are a designer, design to God’s glory. He gives you gifts and abilities that you use for work and when you work hard, you are serving the Lord in heaven. How is it different when you remember you are the servant of God? The Bible says in Ephesians, if you think you are the servant of Christ, you will obey your master, you will respect him and serve him with sincerity of heart. You will not be lazy at your work. If you are the master, you will not threaten your servants. No matter (it is for) masters or slaves, they are all equal before Christ. You will do everything with all your heart, because you know you are serving the Lord, not men. Because you know your boss is not the one on earth but Christ, the one who loves you and gives Himself to redeem you. If we really understand His amazing love, we will seek to please Him and love Him in return at our work.
I remember a sister who shared a story with me. When she entered into a company, she could use all the office supplies, like pens or paper. And she said that some workers at that company may take some items home with them. When she realized that she was the servant of God, she only used the supplies at office, instead of taking them home. Because she knew that as a servant of God, she did what was right to serve and love God back. This is just a very simple and small example. But this can encourage us. Like I just said, even little actions and things matter to God. Even little things you do matter to God.
1.3. God is the boss and master and I am the steward
Number three, God is the boss and master and I am the steward. You may not be familiar with the English name, but the Chinese is Guanjia (管家). As employees in a company, we know that God is the real employer. Those who are employers also need to know that they are only stewards, and God is the boss of all. Everything I have belongs to God, not to me. It helps us relax at our work, because we are doing everything for Him. So we shall relax and be generous with our possessions as ultimately all belong to the one who sits high in heaven, not to me. I do not need to burden myself by worrying about those things. I only need to give the burden to God’s hand and let Him solve all the problems.
God shows me in my life that He is the boss and He is the head of my body. How can I surrender my life? This is what I have been learning. As I said in the beginning, I am a pastor, I serve at a church and this is my job. My job responsibility is to oversee the college ministry. I read a book called Forgotten God by Francis Chan. The author said in this book that some American churches have wonderful worship bands and excellent preachers, and they would attract many people to attend the services, yet without experiencing the presence of the Holy Spirit. When I heard these words, they shocked me and made me rethink about my ministry at
I do not need the burden of worrying about things. What I have to do is to give all the burdens into God’s hands, and let Him solve all the problems. God tells me that in my life, He is the boss, He is the head of my body. How can I surrender my life? This is what I have been learning. As I have said in the beginning, I am a pastor and I serve at a church, this is my job. My job responsibility is to oversee the college ministry.
So I ask myself, if many college students come to attend Thursday night’s services, is it because of the Holy Spirit’s work? Or is it because we use our own strength and wisdom to attract them to attend? Is it because we have a lot of good plans to attract them to attend? Who is the head and master of the college fellowship? Is it really God? How often do we pray for our different activities? How often do we rely on God, on the Holy Spirit for every step of the development of the college fellowship? I keep on asking myself. And this is the question that we need to constantly ask ourselves and bring it prayerfully before Christ.
So we know, the first principle, we are the servants of God. And there are three points to this. First, God is with us when we work. Second, the servants of God do not only refer to pastors, but they include all the Christians. The third is God is our boss at work, and we are the steward.
Now, let’s think “who is the audience of our work”, is it your earthly master? Is it your parents? Is it your co-workers? Is it your friends? Of course, they are there. But they are not the most important person. So can you tell me who the MIP should be? (Can you speak it loudly?) Who is the MIP at your work?
2. God is the MIP at our work
God! So God is the MIP at our work. This is the second principle of how to be a godly employee or employer. God is there when you are working. This motivates us to be best because He is the best one in the world. This motivates us to love our customers and boss because He is looking at us, because He is watching over us.
So some workers are lazy, and they tell lies. But Christian servants, Christian employees or employers cannot do things like that. Because God our heavenly Father is always watching over us. He is not only watching over us, but in the meantime, encouraging us to do what is right and pleasing to Him. Even though our earthly master is not with us when we work, but we know that God is there, and God is here, He is watching, so we should work hard. We should tell truth at our work.
For example, if a teacher teaches as though he or she does it for Christ. He or she does this wholeheartedly, he or she will not think it just as a job, but teaches as to Christ. He (or she) will love their students, trying their best to teach well. So dear brothers and sisters, please, I plead to you, remember that no matter what you do, do it as to Christ. No matter what you do, do it as to Christ. Do it as to God, because, every moment, God is looking at us.
So the fact that God is the most important person at our work may not be a new teaching for some of you here. You may have known this for a long time. But dear brothers and sisters, how often do you just work for God, and remember that God is the MIP to watch what you have done at your workplace? For some of you here, it may be a new teaching. You may not know that God is always with us even at your work, but I want to encourage you to keep on thinking about this truth during the following weeks and make your work time different.
Here is the commitment to put God as the MIP at our work and in our lives.
Christian Employees’ Commitment:
“As a Christian employee, I am the servant of Christ. I will obey my boss with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart. I will work wholeheartedly. I will work diligently to provide for the needs of my family. I am always in God’s hand at my work. Christ and I work together. God is the boss and I am the steward at my work. God is the MIP at my work. I will seek to honor God, obey His word and do His will at my work.
Christian Employers’ Commitment:
As a Christian employer, I am the servant of Christ. I will respect my employee. I will not threaten my employee. I will work with sincerity of heart. I will work wholeheartedly. I will work diligently to provide for the needs of my family. I am always in God’s hand at my work. Christ and I work together. God is the boss and I am the steward at my work. God is the MIP at my work. I will seek to honour God, obey His word and do His will at my position.”
You may agree with this commitment. And you want to make this commitment. And if you want to make this commitment, committing your work to God, you can repeat with me. For some of you here, you may not be a Christian, and you are not able to say or agree with this commitment, but if you like, you could read it silently. So, if you are a Christian, and you want to make this commitment with God, we can read it together loudly.
(Repeating the commitments.)
I just said that this commitment can be applied in different parts of your life. For example, as a Christian student, I am the servant of God. As a Christian businessman, I am the servant of Christ. As a Christian wife, I am the servant of Christ. Our service to God should be at our work. But thinking of God as our MIP should flow into every part of our life. Once God holds the center of our life in our heart and our mind, our action will flow from our connection with Him.
At workplace and in life, we will all meet challenges, controversies and conflicts. Maybe when you are in real life, you want to quit or give up in your situation, in your troubles. But now, I want to encourage you, ask God for the courage to face all the challenges, controversies, and all the conflicts, fulfill the commitments you made to God today, and remember that God is with you always. It is not about you, it is not up to you. We do not do anything by our own strength, but we do it by God’s power. God is always with us; God is always with us in every place, every moment and every step of our life. So we can come to Him to ask for His help at any time, to pray to Him at any time. So dear brothers and sisters, I want to encourage you, please come to God, remember, at your work, you are the servant of Christ; in your work, God is your MIP. God is watching over you. Jesus’ amazing love is upon you. He wants you to love Him, serve Him, please Him at your work as a return.
Let’s close with a prayer.
Dear Lord, thank you so much for giving us this message. May you be our MIP in the different parts of our lives. May your name be exalted. We know you are the King of kings, you are the Lord of lords. You are worthy of all praises. You are worthy, we praise you, Lord. May you help us face all the difficulties at our work. We cannot solve all the specific troubles, but we can lift all of them into your hands, because we know we are in your loving hands. You keep being with us and you keep protecting us for every moment. May you encourage us and strengthen us so that we can have enough courage to work in the following weeks. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Jessica Wang
Dear brothers and sisters, I am very happy to have Gloria teach us through Ephesians. And it reminds us that God is our boss and we are all servants of God, ant it encourages that we do not work alone, but our Lord, the Trinity God is with us all the time. It has touched me a lot, and it encourages me and lets me know that as a pastor of this church, I am not working alone because God is with me.
We are going to have the Holy Communion. Dear brothers and sisters, the Holy Communion is set by Jesus Christ for us, and we do this in remembrance that Jesus died for us in our place. So before we take the Holy Communion, let’s all stand and pray together and confess our sins.
Dear heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, Trinity God, thank you so much for today that you are calling us here to worship you; and we praise you for the lesson that you teach us. Today, we are going to take the Holy Communion, we know that when we do this, we remember you, and it reminds us that Jesus Christ died for all of us, and Jesus Christ shed His blood for all of us. And if we come in front of you, we accept you, and if we confess our sins, you will wash our sins away, and you will be with us, and you will make us holy, holy and holy. Lord Jesus Christ, we want to lift up all the brothers and sisters here in your hands, and please heal us, washes us and be with us. And also, we want to lift up the cup and the bread in your hands, and please bless them. Please be with us when we take the Holy Communion, and we will be united in you, in Christ, and we will grow in you, and we will be built in you and by your word and by your power. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Dear brothers and sister, I Corinthians 11:23-26, say:
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,
24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’
25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’
26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Dear brothers and sisters, the Holy Communion is for all Christians, if you are not baptized, please do not receive it. And if you are baptized, please receive the cup and the bread when the volunteers come in front of you, and please wait, then we will take the Holy Communion all together in the end. All the brothers and sisters who are baptized, please stand up.
Holy Communion proceeds…
Transcribed and edited by Emily, Franz and Stefanie with strength and patience from the Lord Jesus Christ. May this text guide you to know our God more. Amen.