Faith and Work – Gospel in Life

Faith and Work

Tim Keller |  April 10, 2016

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Isaiah 60:1-11, 18-21
RS 365-07


Isaiah 60 describes the new heavens and the new earth. It’s looking to the end of time when God makes everything right—paradise restored. And in this passage, all the nations of the world are bringing their work products.

What is gold and silver? What is the flux and the grain? They’re bringing the products of their work to God as offerings to God. And this means that just as there was work in the original paradise, there’ll be work in the future paradise.

What does that mean for our work? Let’s notice three things: 1) the goodness and dignity of work, 2) what’s wrong with work, and 3) how work can be healed.

Sermon Summary

Isaiah 60 paints a picture of a future paradise where all nations gather in Jerusalem, offering their wealth to God, signifying the continuation of work in this restored paradise. It acknowledges the current imperfections of work, yet offers hope for its redemption. This vision serves as a foundation for comprehending the theological principles of the inherent value of work, its present brokenness, and the anticipation of its restoration.

1. The goodness and dignity of work

Contrary to ancient accounts that depict work as burdensome, the Bible presents work as a dignified activity that even God partakes in, as seen in the creation of paradise and Jesus’s carpentry. Martin Luther’s interpretation of the Bible’s teachings emphasizes that God provides for people through the work of others, demonstrating that all types of work, regardless of simplicity, are expressions of God’s love and care. This challenges class snobbery and promotes an appreciation for all work, asserting that any job can be pleasing to God when done well and with purpose.

2. What’s wrong with work

The idea that God values only religious roles is challenged, accentuating that He can utilize individuals across various professions. The significance of work in sectors such as medicine, law, and business is spotlighted, with a caution against pursuing it solely for personal gain. True unity and purpose in work emerge when it’s seen as a way to honor and serve God, rather than a source of validation or identity, contrasting the grace-filled life with one bound by a covenant of works and shifting the focus from earning salvation to finding meaning beyond worldly pleasures.

3. How work can be healed

Work, when approached with self-interest, can lead to arrogance and devastation, but when we separate our identity and worth from our work, it can become a service to others. This shift is made possible by recognizing that Jesus Christ bore the burdens of our work, offering salvation as a gift of grace. Grasping this love transforms our work into an offering to God and a service to others, fostering joy and positively impacting the culture and the world.



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