Living Life in the Name of Jesus (Colossians Sermon 15 of 21)
January 06, 2008 | Andrew Davis
Glory of God, Pure in Heart, Good Works
On April 26th, 1607, after an unusually long voyage of 144 days, three ships carrying 105 men and boys landed at the southern edge of the Chesapeake Bay near the Atlantic Ocean. Their purpose was to establish the first English-speaking colony in the New World, the first permanent colony. The colony that eventually came to be known as Jamestown. And as they waited ashore, it wasn't long after that that their pastor, Robert Hunt, placed a wooden cross in the sand at Cape Henry named for the Prince of Wales, the oldest son of King James. He placed a wooden cross there, and knelt down with the group there and dedicated the New World to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He said, "May this covenant of dedication remain to all generations as long as this earth remains, and may this land along with England be evangelists to the world." Now, whether he dedicated the New World to Christ and to His Gospel or not, God already has. "Ask of me and I will give you the nations as your inheritance." This world is dedicated to Christ. And the church is dedicated to the task of taking the name of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. We have been dedicated to this task, and we have been dedicated to the name of the Lord. Now, what they did there in 1607 had been done again and again from October 1492, when Columbus waited ashore at San Salvador and put the banner there in the name of Ferdinand and Isabella and the name of Jesus Christ.
Hernando Cortes in 1521 did the same for Mexico and the King of Spain. La Salle did it for the Mississippi Delta region for Louis the King of France. Again and again, these stakes were driven down, these banners were driven down in the name of some European monarch usually, and in the name of Christ. Again and again, dedicated to Christ. Well, I see that in Colossians 3:17. We have already been dedicated to Christ, by our faith in Christ. What the Lord through His apostle Paul is urging us to do now is to dedicate every single day of our lives to the name and the glory of Jesus Christ. Look what it says in verse 17, "Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." To stick the banner of Christ in everything you say and everything you do. That's the call of this text. The great Dutch statesman and theologian, Abraham Kuyper, once said, "There's not one square inch in all the universe over which Jesus Christ does not say, 'mine'." What this text is calling on us to do is do the same with our own behavior, our own actions, that we would claim it for Christ to do in His name.
A Life Motivated Constantly by the Glory of Christ’s Name
Sam Storms, commenting on this said this, "Some Christians are really good at compartmentalizing their faith. By this, I mean that they pick and choose when and where, and in what ways their Christian values and beliefs are expressed. There are certain sacred arenas, so to speak, in which being a Christian is for them the thing to do. But there are also secular venues in which they check their Christianity at the door, and live almost as if they know nothing of Jesus Christ. Paul won't have it. As far as he's concerned, there's no such thing as a secular space. There's no event, activity, endeavor, or goal that is exempt from the Lordship of Jesus Christ. There is no idea, aspiration, dream, or belief that does not come under His sovereign sway. There is no achievement, accomplishment, work or word that does not exist for the glory of the Son of God."
Now, if you're not sure about this, look again at the all-encompassing command given in verse 17, "Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father through Him." He said virtually the same thing in 1 Corinthians 10:31, "So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God." Well, that includes the thoughts in our heads, the words on our lips, the steps we take, the books we read, the things on television that we watch, the food we eat, the music we hear, it's all to be placed in submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ done for the glory of His name. Now, the context of Colossians 3:17, Colossians 3:1-17, are beautiful elements of a happy fruitful Christian life.
These are some of the most fantastic, practical, sweet verses for the Christian life you'll ever find. I've challenged you and encouraged you to memorize Colossians 3:1-17, this would be the final verse in that section. We saw that the first section, verses 1-4, talked about having a heavenly mindset. "Since you've been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God." Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. A heavenly mindset. We went from there to talk about the necessity of warfare, spiritual warfare, putting sin to death.
Verses 5-9, "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry." We need to be at war against sin or we cannot be happy, we cannot be fruitful or productive in the Christian life. Thirdly, we saw the need to walk together in a new community, each of us new creations in Christ. That, “there is neither circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free but Christ is all and is in all.” And therefore we should clothe ourselves with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” We should work together for the Gospel. We're in a new community. We're not isolated people anymore. We're in a group. And the essential unity of the group is Jesus Christ.
And then finally, we saw our hearts saturated with Christ. Verses 15-17, first, "the peace of Christ ruling in your hearts." Secondly, “the word of Christ richly dwelling in your hearts.” And today, we're going to talk about the name of Christ as motivation for everything you do in your heart, and thanks to Christ constantly given. Now, the backdrop of these instructions is the Colossian heresy. The Colossian heretics were teaching that the physical world, including our physical bodies, was somehow tainted or evil, and that salvation came from somewhat denying our physical lives, asceticism, and meditation, worship of angels, and they were not realistic at all about the physical world in which we live.
Apostle Paul is not like that. Clearly, he's cautious concerning the body. We have to put the deeds of the flesh to death. But he's actually in verse 17, urging us to live a very full-blooded physical life in this physical world to the glory of God. And that's the context. Now, let's look at verse 17 and speak about our motivation. A life motivated constantly by the glory of Christ's name. And the key question here as we begin verse 17 is to ask, "Why do you do what you do?" What is your motivation for getting up every day? What is your motivation for going to work? What is your motivation for speaking? What is your motivation, frankly, for everything you do?" This verse is telling you what it should be. Your motivation should be glory for the name of Jesus Christ.
God’s Zeal for His Own Name
Now, the backdrop of this in the Old Testament is God's zeal for His own name. God has an immeasurable and infinite zeal for the glory of His own name. It motivates everything He does. Now, God's name sums up who He is as a person, what He has done in history, what He has promised to do for the future. Those three things, I think, sum up the name of God, His character, His attributes, His actions in history, in redemptive history right up to this present time, what He has done, and what He has yet to do, what He has promised that He will do. God's name is on all of those things. And God has an immeasurable zeal for the glory of His own name. He does what is for the honor of His name at all times. Psalm 138:2 says that “God has exalted above all things, His name and His word.” And there's no division between the two. His name and His word, they go together. And He exalts that above everything else in the universe.
Over and over then, God acts for the glory of His name. He called out a people for Himself in the Old Testament for the glory of His own name. First Samuel 12:22, Samuel says, "For the sake of His great name, the Lord will not reject His people because the Lord was pleased to make you His own." In other words, for the glory of His own name, God chose out the Jews. For the glory of His own name, they were His people. Sinful Israel, rejecting the laws of God, disobeying, but then wanting to come back, and receive forgiveness from God. They found God's greatest security in His concern for His own name.
Remember Moses, how many times Moses prayed like this? God would be about to destroy Israel, about to wipe them out. This happened in Numbers 14, He threatened to destroy Israel, and make of Moses a great nation. Moses was in no way tempted by this. Instead, he was concerned for one thing, and that is the glory of God's name. Moses said to the Lord, "Then the Egyptians will hear about it. And if you put these people to death all at one time, the nations who have heard this report about you will say, 'The Lord was not able to bring these people into the land He promised them on oath, so He slaughtered them in the desert.' " Joshua learned this lesson from his mentor, Moses, how to pray for the people of God when they were in trouble. And after their defeat at Ai, he fell on his face before God and cried out in great concern and fear. But ultimately, his concern was for the glory of God's name. In Joshua 7:9, he says this to God, "The Canaanites and the other people of this country will hear about this, and they will surround us, and wipe us out from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?" Do you see how Joshua prays? Concerned about the name of God. So also the psalmists and the prophets, again and again, appeal for mercy to God. In the midst of their sin, they appeal to God for mercy on the basis of the same thing, the glory of God's name.
Psalm 25:11, "For the sake of your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquity though it is great." Jeremiah 14:21, "For the sake of your name, do not despise us; do not dishonor your glorious throne." Did you hear that? "Don't bring dishonor on your throne. Remember your covenant with us and do not break it." Jeremiah praying in the midst of Israel's sin, praying for the glory of God's name. The great sin of Israel and breaking the covenant. Eventually, God evicted them from the promised land because of it. The greatest sin of all, Paul sums up in Romans 2:24, "As it is written, God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." God tied His name to you and you have dragged it in the mud. God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you. And at the time of their restoration when God brought them back, a small remnant, back into the promised land, tens of thousands, not millions this time. God explained in Ezekiel why he was doing it. He said, "It is not for your sake, O Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned.” “I'm going to bring you back. I'm going to sprinkle you with clean water and cleanse you. I'm going to take out your heart of stone and I'm going to give you a heart of flesh and I will move you by my Spirit to obey my commands, and I will do all of this for the glory of my name."
And therefore you heard when Eric prayed the Lord's prayer what is the first request? "Our Father who art in Heaven hallowed be thy name." May your name be hallowed. What does that mean? May it be sacred, may your name be set apart as holy in the minds and hearts of people. May people esteem it, may people revere it, may people honor your name. May they tremble before your name. It really is a missionary prayer, isn't it? May the peoples of the earth tremble at your great name. Oh God, please work in the hearts of idolatrous people all over the world, causing them to turn away from empty idols and to fear your holy name and to find salvation in it. Hallowed be your name.
Now, why does God delight in making so much of His own name? Well, first, because it's right. It's just right. He is the central issue in the universe. He is the weighty center of the universe, the glory of God. He is the central reality in the universe. And it is right therefore for Him to make much of His own great name because He is the center of the universe. Therefore, it is right for us to do the same. It's insanity not to, to ignore God, to pretend like He's not the central reality of the universe is insanity. But second, because God has ordained through His mercy and His grace and His kindness that any sinner at any time who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved of their sins. All they have to do is call on His name and God will forgive them of all of their sins. He will redeem them. Joel 2:32, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Therefore, when God makes much of His name, when God does great things in history for the glory of His name, people are attracted irresistibly to it. Proverbs 18:10, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower the righteous run to it and are saved." Anything then that makes much of the name of God and makes His name great among the nations has evangelistic power. Do you see?
Humanity’s Zeal: Making a Name for Ourselves
Sadly, our zeal is to make much of our own name, what a pathetic little topic that is. We'll see it on judgment day and beyond. There'll be no saints in Heaven trying to build a monument to their own name. It will not be done. We'll be cured of that foolishness forever. "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord." And so we will do for eternity. But you know how in Genesis 11, at the Tower of Babel, they sought to “build a tower, make a city lest they be scattered over the face of the earth, so that they could make a great name for themselves.” Well, that's running at direct cross purposes with God. God doesn't put up with that. And so he scattered them that day.
Well, then there is King Saul, once his mind had started to turn, once he was small in his own eyes. Hiding behind the baggage, didn't think he was worthy, and he wasn't. But then later on, after a few military victories and all that, he is in some other place, 1 Samuel 15, erecting a monument to his own name. Oh, we do this kind of thing. Making a great name for ourselves. It's the essence of sin. That's the motivation of sinful heart. In the new covenant, however, the greatness of the name of Yahweh, the greatness of the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has been totally given over to Jesus Christ.
In John 17, he talks about, "That name you gave me." And so God gave His own great name to His Son. And in the Book of Colossians, we've seen again and again the greatness of Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:15, "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation." Colossians 1:19, "For God was pleased to have all the fullness of His deity dwell in Him." Colossians 2:9, "For in Christ, all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form." The name of God invested in the Son of God, the greatness of the name of God. Even more so after He died on the cross for our sins. Ephesians chapter one says that "God raised Christ up from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms far above every name that can be named," it says in the Greek. Every name that can be named, Jesus is infinitely above every name. I know you hear the echoes of Philippians 2 as well. Therefore, God, because Jesus suffered and died on the cross, because he shed His blood on the cross for sinners like you and me. "Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in Heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Have you knelt before that name and confessed your own sinfulness? Have you sought forgiveness in the name of Jesus Christ? Are you a non-Christian today? Did you come in here as an unbeliever, as a skeptic? I believe that God brought you just for this moment that you would hear the gospel and believe, and that you would flee to Christ, and that you would call on the name of Jesus Christ for the salvation of your soul, that your sins would all be forgiven. Call on the name of Jesus. Paul makes it very clear, that verse in Joel, it's really speaking of Jesus. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved.” So call on His name.
Now, what about us Christians? Well, basically, the purpose of this sermon from here on out is to convince you Christians to in effect wade ashore into the New World of every day and claim it for Christ, every day. And you might need to do it several times a day. I don't mean wade ashore. You know what I mean, it's a metaphor. It's just preaching, alright. But just wade ashore into the New World of your 10:30 in the morning and claim it for Christ. It doesn't matter how it's gone up to that point, claim it for Jesus. There's forgiveness for the past. Claim it for Christ. “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Why is this important? For some reason that becomes more and more incomprehensible to me as time goes on. Jesus is not ashamed to call me His brother. I am of the family of God. He's put His name on me. And so it says in Acts 11 that “the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” Little Christs. He's put His name Christ on us. And so that means how we act in this world is how the world will think of Jesus in part. He's linked His reputation to us. Now, this is what Sam Storms calls, "spectrum language". Please don't be.’.m,.m,m.,m. M looking for a loophole here. There is none. Say, "Well, I give Him my words and I'll give Him my deeds but I won't give Him my thoughts." Don't try to find wiggle room in here. I think Colossian 3:17 and 1 Corinthians 10:31 kind of cover everything just in that spectrum language. “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” “So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Does that cover it all in your mind? It does for me. Everything's covered for the name of Jesus, for the glory of God.
Living for the Glory of the Name: In Word and Deed
So what do we mean in word? Well, how are your words? Would you love to read a transcript of what you said this past week? Just like a script in a movie, just sit down and read everything you said. We talked about this at men's Bible study on Thursday, how in Revelation 20, the court is seated, the books are opened. What's in the book? Record of your words and other things. How would you like to read your words? So many of your words are chaff, aren't they? Lightweight things to be blown away. And frankly, we'd like them blown away. We don't ever want to see them again.
A recent study was reflected in Science Magazine in July of this past year seeking to answer the age-old question, "Who talks more in a day, men or women?" Well, the answer wasn't very satisfying in this sense. The sense is that it's unclear who talks more. There are some, both men and women, that talk much and some that talk little. But what was interesting as I looked at all of the studies is the average words per day for both men and women was approximately 16,000. Sixteen thousand words a day. They had these little machines, a voice-activated microphone. Every time someone would say something, they would record it, and then they would connect it to a computer, and they would get the transcript, and they would count the words. And, yes, for some of you who care about these things, women spoke about 200 or 300 words more a day. But out of 16,000, that's not much. That wasn't the point to me. The point was, how many words we say. And that's in one day! Sixteen thousand words.
So then, how are we to speak? Well, Paul tells us how to speak. Speak in the name of Jesus. Sam Storms put it this way. “How often before we speak do we think, ‘What I am about to utter should reflect the fact that I am a Christian, that Christ died for me, that He is worthy of glory and honor.’” How often do we think that? To let that be a filter for our words? There are lots of passages in Scripture that talk about how we should speak. Many. Let me reflect just a few of them. We should speak less. So that might be a goal for you. I would like to speak less than 16,000 words a day. I'd like to cut it by 25%. There are a number of verses that encourage you in this direction.
For example, Proverbs 10:19 says, "Where words are many, sin is inevitable." That's a good translation. "Where words are many, sin is inevitable. But he who restrains his lips is wise." Ecclesiastes 5:2, "God is in Heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few." Speak seriously and truthfully. Let your words be weighty. 1 Peter 4:11, "If anyone speaks, he should speak as one speaking the very words of God." Speak right doctrine. Titus 2:1, "You must teach what is in accord with right doctrine." Speak only to build others up. Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." I have mentioned this verse many times, it is my word filter. I sometimes need to change the cartridge, I think. I'm not sure. But I know this, so many words get by that don't meet that test. If I met that test, James tells me, I would be a perfect man, able to keep my whole body in check as well.
Use encouragement. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you're doing." Speak something to encourage somebody in their Christian walk. Speak quietly. Ecclesiastes 9:17 says, "The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools." You'd like to get to the point where people just strained to hear what you have to say, rather than wish they could find an on-off switch. Speak gently. Proverbs 16:21 says, "The wise of heart is called discerning and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness." Use gentle words and people will be persuaded by what you say. Speak healing words. Proverbs 12:18 says, "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Bring healing with your tongue, with your words.
Now, there is no greater healing that can be brought than the words of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Speak those words to those who need to hear it the most. Bring healing to their souls. Bring the stripes of Christ. “By His stripes we are healed.” Bring those healing words to those who need to hear it. So whatever you do whether in word or deed. What about deed? Well, Matthew 5:16, "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven." 1 Peter 2:12, "Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they may accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God in the day He visits us." So put your good deeds on display. Matthew 6 says, "Don't do it to be seen by them so that they can praise you." No, that's not it. But you put them on display as a light shining in a dark place so that people can see your good works and praise God on the day He returns, so that they will be saved.
A Life Saturated in Thankfulness
How Thankful Should We Be?
So whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus. And then he says, "Giving thanks to God, the Father through Him." This is a life saturated in thankfulness. Meditating on this a couple of days ago and I thought, "Saturated in thankfulness, what is that like?" Well, imagine a woman who's been waiting for years to have a baby but she's apparently unable to do so. Maybe she's barren, she doesn't have the biological capacity, and every month her hopes are dashed again. She keeps hoping to have a child and finally after years of waiting, after many unanswered prayers, finally God answers her prayers. And in a short amount of time, she's holding her own little baby, her own infant. And as she listens to the baby's cries, there are tears on her face of thankfulness. She's overflowing with thankfulness.
Or take another scenario. Imagine you are out in a small sailing vessel in the middle of a terrible storm, maybe in a hurricane. You might wonder what you're doing there. "How in the world did I get there?" But there you are. And the hold is filling quickly with cold Atlantic water. The radio is out, you're going to die, there's no doubt in your mind. When all of a sudden, you see a coast guard cutter coming your way, and you see some men risking their lives, diving into the water, swimming over to pluck you from that ship just as it goes under the surface. And they swim you back, and as you're sitting in the wardroom drinking a hot cup of coffee, you'll be overflowing with thankfulness. What will you say to those men who risked their lives to save you from certain death?
Or imagine that you are an orphan at 12 years old, and you have some kind of disfigurement in your face, and it's made you surly and mean. And you just know, you know the way of things, that you're going to probably spend the rest of your childhood in that institution. You've been passed over, again and again, no one wants you. But then one day, an elderly couple comes and they look at you, they look in your face, pretty soon you're up in the office, some forms are being signed and you have been adopted. And now you belong to that godly couple and they begin to pour their lives into you, and they begin to pray for you and support you financially, and educate you, and get you ready for life. And you become heir to their family business, and better than that, heir to their Christian life, and character, and all that they had to invest. And as you think years later, after they're dead and gone, tears come to your eyes and you think, "They changed my life. They loved me when I was unlovable. They chose me, gave me a picture of God's adoptive love."
But I tell you, none of these scenarios are anything compared to what Jesus has done for you. None of them. He shed His blood for you. He covered all of your sins. He adopted you into the family of God, and He promises you a future brighter than I can describe, brighter than I can imagine, immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine. He's given that to you and He paid for it all Himself. You ought to be overflowing with thankfulness every moment of your life. Richly “overflowing with thankfulness,” Colossians 2:7.
The Natural Ingratitude of Man
Now naturally, we are ungrateful. The natural ingratitude of man is one of the great blights on the human race. Romans 1:21 says, "Although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him.” Why would it be mentioned so prominently at the beginning of Romans? Because it's a big deal. When the Israelites refused to trust God in the promised land, and taking the promised land, and God turned them away at the Jordan River and they were forced to wander for 40 years until that generation died out. But God sustained them day after day with manna from Heaven. And they started to complain about the manna, sick to death of it, what they could've eaten for just weeks until they ate from the land of milk and honey. Instead, they're eating for years, and they started to complain. God sent poisonous serpents to teach them the poison of their own lips as they bitterly complained about things in life. And so the Puritan pastor, 17th-century Puritan pastor, Jeremy Taylor said, "God threatens terrible things if you will not be happy." What a striking quote that is. I could just make a short connection. I don't think Jeremy Taylor would mind if I say, God threatens terrible things if you will not be thankful.
This is taught, I think, a little bit from the side. If you meditate on it, you get it. In Hebrews chapter 12, Hebrews 12:28 and 29 says, "Therefore, since we're receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful. And so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire." And so we are to be thankful, we are to be thankful. Seven times by my count in Colossians, 'thankfulness' is brought up as the norm for the Christian life. Colossians 1:3, "We always thank God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ when we pray for you." Colossians 1:11 and 12, "Joyfully giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light." Colossians 2:7, we are to be, “overflowing with thankfulness." Colossians 3:15, "And be thankful." Colossians 3:16, "Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God." Colossians 3:17, "Giving thanks to God the Father through Him," and then Colossians 4:2, "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful."
This is at the center of our life of worship to Almighty God. Because we are receiving, Hebrews 12, “a kingdom that can never be shaken.” You're being given an infinite gift that cannot be taken from you, “where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal”, He is giving you an inheritance in Heaven. The best of all, He's giving you Himself in Heaven. Since you're receiving this kingdom that cannot be shaken, you ought to be thankful and in this way, worship God acceptably. Do you see that? That is the essence of acceptable worship, being thankful to God for the kingdom He's given you, for our God is a consuming fire. So there's the threat. If you're not thankful for the kingdom He's given you, then there's the consuming fire. And so, we ought to be thankful, richly thankful. How thankful should we be? Well, be thankful for His person, He never changes. Be thankful for His mighty actions in redemptive history right up until the present time and be thankful for what He has promised for the future, never changes.
Application: Turning Straw into Gold: Redeeming the Time
I want to close by talking about just how to live practically in everyday life. How do we do that? How do we put this verse into practice? Verse 17, "So whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." We've been given a new way to live, to live in the name of Jesus giving thanks. Well, when I was growing up, I read a lot of Grimms' Fairy Tales. Some of them actually kind of are grim, a little bit, odd, but fascinating to the mind of a child. And there was one in particular that interested me. I remember it was the tale of Rumpelstiltskin. Do you remember that story? A miller goes to have an audience with the king, ordinarily he doesn't go, and he wants to make much of himself, wants to boast about himself, trying to impress the king. He said, "My daughter's actually able to spin straw into gold." She had no such ability, but he's boasting. That's a bad idea in front of a king. Kings are usually interested in gold. So he's like, "Fine. Prove it." He brings in the daughter, the miller's daughter, she's locked up in a room there in the castle with a room full of straw and a spinning wheel. Go to it, and if she's not able to do it, her life is forfeit in the morning.
Well, she's obviously sitting there having a good cry. She didn't know what she was going to do, when suddenly a strange dwarf of a man appears and offers to spin the straw into gold. Strangely he will do it for a necklace. I don't know what he needs with a necklace. If he has that kind of talent, he can have anything he wants, but so the story goes. When you're a child, you don't think about these kinds of things. But at any rate, he's willing to do it for a necklace. And you know the rest of the story. If you don't, just go and get one of the copies and you can read it. This is not about that. You're saying, "Well, what is it about?" Well, it's about this. I believe that God's calling on us to do that with the days of our lives, to spin straw into gold, to turn what seems worthless, of little value into something of eternal consequence, something that'll be waiting for you on the other side. Every moment of every day of your life, you can spin straw into gold by the power of the Gospel, by the power of the Holy Spirit of God, by simply obeying what God calls you to do at that moment, doesn't matter what it is. Anything you do whether in word or deed, by faith in Christ, can be done for the glory of God.
Why Time Must Be Redeeming
Now time, I believe, must be redeemed. Look at verse five of chapter four, Colossians 4:5. Says there, "Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time," NKJV gives us "redeeming the time". Most of the other translations give us, "Making the most of the opportunity," but the Greek word is actually exagorazo. It has to do with buying out from the marketplace, something like that. It really has to do with slavery, and the idea is that time, the day, stands in bondage, in chains. And you come to the marketplace and you pay the price to get it out of the chains. And you're thinking, "How did today get into chains?" Well, it has to do with the general curse on the universe in sin. Because of Adam's sin, there's a general curse in the universe. It says in Romans 8 that the creation is yearning to be liberated from its bondage to decay. Ecclesiastes says "Vanity of vanities, everything's vanity." “The sun rises, the sun also sets.” “It hurries around, rises again, the rivers keep flowing. Nothing ever comes of it. It's just a cycle of decay and vanity and emptiness.”
And so the day is bound up in chains and you have to go rescue it. If you don't seize the day, it will be wasted. You'll never see it again. But if you can spin the straw into gold, if you can by faithful obedience to the commands of God do the good works He has ordained for you to do, you will spin that day into gold and you'll see it again on Judgment Day. It won't be straw on Judgment Day, it will survive the fire, it will be purified. 'Cause nothing we do is perfect, but it will be purified for eternity and it will be there for you for all eternity.
Daily Life Transformed
This is daily life transformed. I have more to say about this, but I'll say it when I talk about slaves and serving their masters, not just when their eye is on them, I want to talk more about work. I want to talk more about the Middle Ages and the separation of sacred and profane labor. We'll talk about that in due time. But I say there is no such separation. There's no hierarchy of holiness so that the priests and the nuns and the monks are higher than the common people. Everybody's on an equal playing field. All you need to do is just obey Jesus. That's all. Do what He has commanded you to do. I mean, that includes washing dishes, that includes caring for children, that includes going to your secular job, that includes getting the oil changed in your car and raking your lawn. That includes all of the above if the Lord wants you to do them.
If you are surrounded by the command of God, if by faith you obey that command, it's gold. It will last for all eternity. And there's no better action than doing what God wants you to do at a given moment. If God wants you to wash those dishes, then wash the dishes to the glory of God, it's better than preaching a sermon or preparing a Sunday School lesson or any of the above if that's what God wants you to do.
Now one final word. Yes, you can wash all the dishes of your life, the rest of your life to the glory of God and so you should, but there is a higher calling that God's put over all of our lives and that higher calling is taking the Gospel to the ends of the Earth. And if all you do is do your home improvement chores to the glory of God the rest of your life, you may be missing some of the good works God has for you to do.
So, yes, it's true that you can mow the lawn to the glory of God. Yes, it's true you can wash the car to the glory of God. It's true that you can do all of these menial tasks to the glory of God, but isn't the Gospel calling us to a higher level so that we are also doing by our spiritual gifts and by our prayers and by our giving and by our evangelizing the higher work that Jesus came to do, “to seek and to save the lost,” to be involved in the advancing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Assess your lives. It's a good time to do it. And so you'll go from here this afternoon and you'll have a bunch of menial tasks, you can do them to the glory of God. They'll be waiting for you on the other side of Judgment Day if you do them to God's glory. But ask some hard questions, say "Lord, is my career, is the direction of my life maximally for the glory of Christ? Am I living for the glory of the kingdom in every way that I should?" Close with me in prayer.