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The Big Story of Work

March 12, 2017 Speaker: John Bell Series: Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Passage: Genesis 2:1–2:25

“The Big Story of Work” *

HELPFUL INSIGHT: When Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead to redeem a people for himself, he also committed to conform them more and more closely to him by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us he does that through all the circumstances of our lives - including our work. Work is one of the primary ways God intends to make us more like Jesus. He uses our work to sanctify us to develop our Christian character, and teach us to love him more and serve him better as we worship God in work, working for Jesus.

Act 1: Creation

God works in creation, and Adam and Eve work, too. Adam and Eve were commissioned by God to be fruitful and increase in number. They were to fill the earth, subdue the earth, and rule over all the earth (1:28), which means they were to extend the geographical boundaries of the garden sanctuary, until Eden covered the whole earth, and with it, God’s special revelatory presence. Work and worship are perfectly conjoined! One of God’s goals in creation was to magnify his glory throughout the whole earth by the means of his faithful image bearers inhabiting the entire world.

Act 2: Fall

1. Work becomes toilsome

2. Work becomes futile

3. What had been a free act of worship is now a compulsory act for survival.

Act 3: Redemption

1. Redeemed people repent of idolatrous ideas of work.

2. Because we’ve repented, the redeemed once again worship God through their work.

Act 4: Recreation


“An idol is something you desire more than Jesus.”

1. Your work is your primary form of satisfaction

2. Your work is all about being the best so you can make a name for yourself

3. Your work becomes primarily about making a difference in the world.

* This sermon owes a plagiarizing debt to Michael Lawrence’s Biblical Theology of Work; The Gospel at Work, by Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert; and Every Good Endeavor, by Tim Keller. What’s good and helpful in this sermon is from them, what’s bad is mine.

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