Authenticity in Worship and Work
Ah, you who hide deep from the Lord your counsel, whose deeds are in the dark,
and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?” You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker,
“He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it,
“He has no understanding”? Isaiah 29:15-16
Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. Ephesians 6:5-8
Isaiah calls the people to worship with truth, not pretense, thinking that God cannot see their hearts and that He will be impressed by their phony professions of faith. Some think darkness is a safe cloak for their sin. These ideas are laughable. The prophet compares them to a lump of clay taking credit for its own existence and denying its own maker.
This arrogance is laughable, but very real and persistent. Jesus quoted Isaiah’s words (from 29:13-14 in Matthew 15:8,9; Mark 7:6,7) as He indicted first century Judaism. It could easily be applied today. People trust in their own works, but even good religious works (like baptism, Bible reading, and church attendance) are not able to deliver us from God’s wrath. Only the grace of God in Christ to those who repent of their sin and believe in Him is sufficient.
Paul addresses another kind of hypocrisy in his letter to the Ephesians. He tells bondservants to obey their masters as they would Christ. Their service is not for them but for Him. Some of these servants were only creating an appearance of work which the Apostle called “eye-service” and people pleasing. The Christian is always serving Christ, no matter who he works for.
Think about it
In the gospel, we learn that through faith we become Christ’s own people. As His people, we are called to authenticity in our worship and in our work. Let it be so every Lord’s Day and every work day.
© 2017 John A Carroll Used by permission