This morning at Grace Chapel, Pastor Mike Hsu gave a sermon called Oriented to the Kingdom, (it should be upload for listening in a few days) from Genesis 1:26-28. The central theme of the message was that we, as sons and daughters of God, have been entrusted with the responsibility of seeing the will of heaven enforced here on earth. In the Garden of Eden, work, worship, and holiness were an integrated and continuous whole. Because of sin, that is no longer the case. Mike gave three applications for how to make this happen – by God’s grace – that I’d like to reflect on.
- See our work as calling. So often people think that if they aren’t a pastor, missionary, campus ministry worker, or even a God-blogger, that they are, for some reason or another, not as significant in the Kingdom. We know from 1 Corinthians 12 that the whole body is essential to properly function! How glorious that God has designed his church to work together for the ultimate goal of his glory. This happens by everyone doing whatever they do for the glory of God. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera.” Christians have somehow developed this idea of leaving the material world – whether in the occupational sense or otherwise. We should redeem that which can be redeemed in the material world. Let me say, lest someone call me materialistic, hedonistic (in the worldly sense), wicked, or blasphemous, that there are some things are impossible to redeem. For example, we cannot have Christian porn or Christian strip clubs.
- See our worship as integrated. Worship is more than just singing a hymn or going to church on Sunday. It’s more than simply reading the Bible and praying. Mike pointed out that so many Christians struggle with deep, abiding joy because we don’t seek the Lord daily, even hourly! So many Christians do not read the Bible and pray to God. Our worship culminates on Sunday morning as we fellowship with Christ’s body in church. Yet, during the other six days of the week, we should trust the Lord to feed our own souls through Bible reading and prayer. And when we do this, by the Spirit’s power, we will see that everything is worship. We can worship Jesus at work, class, on the sports field, and in our homes with family. Worship is whatever glorifies God and as we saw from Colossians 3:23, that can be whatever we are doing.
- See our holiness as a chief goal. When sin creeps in our lives, we are distracted from these first two applications. The Westminster Confession’s first question is, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is “To glorify God and enjoy him forever.” John Piper has adapted this to say, “The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying him forever.” When we do these things, it is the fruit of striving for holiness and trusting God to kill our sins. John Owen said, “Be killing sin, lest sin be killing you.” Notice that Mike did not say holiness is the chief goal. It is one of the many goals that will bring about the ultimate goal: God’s glory. When we are living life like it is a war, we are constantly prepared to use the Bible as our sword to put to death our own wickedness, the devil’s schemes, and the world’s fads. When we live life with a peace-time mindset, however, we get caught off-guard and grow complacent. This will cause us to neglect personal holiness and therefore forget that any work we perform is the Lord’s calling and that worship is an integrated, all-inclusive, life-long adoration toward God in all we do.