There are not a lot of good resources about Work in Christians, but the ones that we do have, inevitably, in those resources, catapult the reader back to the 1500s. What is very interesting to me is, why are the 1500s so interesting? And I think that you want to rebuild with me and I am going to give you a little bit of the historical significance to this, I think you are going to find this to be interesting.
The name that inevitably people go back to, is the name of Martin Luther. Martin Luther, some of you may know was a Roman Catholic priest, he was a Friar. Maybe you thought the only Friars were the one in “Robin Hood”, they were actually Friars. Martin Luther was a Friar, he was a Roman Catholic priest in the 1500’s.
He launched into what then become known as we know as “The Protestant Reformation” and one of the elements that kind of catapult it that, though wasn’t the lynchpin at that moment was when, there was a man who was sent from Rome to Germany to raise money for Saint Peter’s Basilica through the sale of indulgences; and indulgence was the sale of the ability for a person to purchase time out of Purgatory. Purgatory is not found in the Bible but in the Roman Catholic system, and so they were raising money. The name of the man who was doing this was Johann Tetzel.
Martin Luther was there in this little town in Germany, even as a Roman Catholic Priest recognizing that something was not right about this and so Luther wrote down 95 Statements which became known as the 95 Theses that he nailed to the door there in Wittenberg, Germany and that was the way of calling a meeting in order to discuss the issue, so that initially launched things for.
What ultimately was the lynchpin in Martin Luther’s life, because he taught in a Roman Catholic Seminary, that when he came to the subject of Salvation, how a person got into Heaven and he was confronted with verses like Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” He could not hold on that because he actually was seeking to obtain grace through his works and so this ultimately became the lynchpin in Martin Luther’s life that you would not justify putting right standing before God by doing things but that God actually sought after you and through Christ died for you and it was not your works but it was the Work of Christ. It is a diametrically opposite thinking process!
There is a number of ramifications on that, here is one of the ramifications of that. And the day which Martin Luther lived there was a vast difference between the Clergy and the Laity. The Roman Catholic Church had put a distance between those who did a “Spiritual Work” and those who did what they called “Secular Work” and those who were in Spiritual Work actually were in a better position to earn favor with God and so they got kind of better deeds on grace that the Commoner so we can see that when Martin Luther came to the understanding of Salvation from the Bible, and particularly a Biblical Doctrine known as the “Priesthood of the Believer”.
Now understand, Martin Luther is a Roman Catholic Priest, he is part of the Privileged Class, he now comes to understand that what he was doing was not earning anything, as a matter of fact he comes to Rome and understands “all of his good things” are as filthy rags before God, it is only the Work of Christ. Then he comes to verses like in 1 Peter and understands that God says to Christians: “You are a Chosen Generation, a Royal Priesthood” so that God did not put a distinction between the Clergy and the Laity. How that would affect his thinking about Work?
So Martin Luther begins explaining from the Scriptures, when it would come to passages about Work that the Commoners’ work was not different than the Clergy’s Work, they just work in different things, that is why when I am coming to these books, everybody is going back to Martin Luther, that’s a little bit of a Historical precedent for this.
Now we are going to fast forward to Modern Days because there are a resurging to people’s desires to know how the Bible, how their Christian life fit into Work. Let me give you just a few basic thoughts on this. I think more people are thinking about Work today because the way the Work operates it’s changing. There are fewer and fewer people who are staying in jobs for 30 and 40 years. There was a man in our Church who was at one job for 50 years. Probably if the Lord tarries and He doesn’t come back 20 or 30 years now your kids, our kids will probably not say they’ve been in a job for these chunk of years. I think that is changing things, there is more global connectivity. I don’t know how that fits in, they are just thoughts from my head. I think Technology has a lot to do with this, the advance of Technology or the Economy has a lot to do with this.
These has caused many people to question what they are doing, do they have significant work? When people questioned that, unfortunately there are very few resources to go to actually throw people into a Biblical Theology Work, really, this is not my assessment. This is many people’s assessment, just try to look for good resources there not there, but there are some.