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Date: 25 March, 2019
Text: Ephesians 2:1-10
Title: God's Masterpiece
Our family enjoys finding things of value. The kids have begun selling some things on ebay or gumtree as a way of generating a bit of income for them. Charity shops and antique shops are some of our favorite places to find a treasure. We've learned some items to watch for....
Our kids buys for one another at Christmas time and this past Christmas Kay Lee bought Benson a book to identify antiques and their value. Without identification you could hold something of immense value and never know it.
ill. BBC - 28 March article -
'Fake' Botticelli painting is from artist's studio, English Heritage says.
exp. They thought it was just a copy - but then discovered by.... infared technology, xray, the materials used - poplar, resin - that it was indeed from the artists studio business. It was a copy - but it was a copy made by Botticelli's business.
wow - Instead of a copy they have a renaissance masterpiece.
Our text this morning speaks of a masterpiece from the studio of God. "We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus."
Our text - Ephesians 2:1-10
I've entitled my message this morning, "God's Workmanship"
note: If my life was to be examined this morning, I want it to be clear that I am His workmanship. More important than that - I must be assured that I am His workmanship.
Are you God's workmanship in Christ Jesus this morning? Is it evident that the LORD AND MASTER has done a good work in you?
You can identify God's Work because....
I. God's work is life giving.
1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
exp. To quicken is to make alive. This person is not dead physically. They are dead spiritually.
note: It says about God's workmanship "who were dead" - this is past tense because God's work is life giving.
A. They were dead to God.
exp. A dead person can not think, hear, see. God may be speaking but spiritually dead have no ability to perceive God.
Mark 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
exp. We could take the Word of God and by the Spirit of God present it today. However, in an audience composing some who are God's workmanship and some that are not, only those who are would hear God speak.
Joh 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
app. Why can't other's hear - they are dead to God.
B. They were dead in sin.
ill. Young man in Rosewell - I don't read that 'rubbish.' I said that it is not 'rubbish.' He was smoking a cigarette. I said God can set free from addictions and that sin destroys. He said he liked smoking and I said, "You are so enslaved to it that you come out in all kinds of weather to do it and you spend a lot of money to have it."
note: Sin destroys those who obey it. They are dead because their sin brings death.
1. Being killed by their sin.
James 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
question: Do you not believe that sin brings death....
1.) How many gamblers commit suicide?
ill. Daniel Clinkscale - committed suicide at 34 years old - the last year of his life - he gambled all of his wages away - 43,000 pounds.
coroner - Dr Harrowing said: “It is clear to me, from the evidence provided to me and from the note that Daniel left, that he could not face the future and I believe that was down to his gambling addiction. “
"There are around 400,000 problem gamblers in the UK, according to the Gambling Commission, and more than 2million people are thought to be at risk of addiction."
2.) How many drug addicts, alcoholics, smokers, die from their addictions?
NHS website - "Alcohol and tobacco are by far the biggest threat to human health around the world, while illegal drug harms 'don't even come close'," The Independent reports.
The news site writes about a recent report that provides the most up-to-date (2015) information about the global use of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs.
It looked at how common use of these substances was, how many people were dependent on them, and the public health harm they caused.
Across the countries, nearly 20% of adults reported drinking heavily in the last month. Around 15% of adults smoked daily. About 4% had used cannabis and less than 1% reported using opioids, amphetamines or cocaine in the past year.
Out of every 100,000 people around the world, 111 are estimated to die from tobacco-related causes, 33 from alcohol-related causes, and 7 from illegal drug use.
app. Sin is destroying men's lives - they are dead in their trespasses and sins. Sadly, the death goes beyond this life.
2. On their way to eternal death.
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death;
exp. Mankind has earned the second death by their sin.
Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
app. Praise God that there is hope - "you hath he quickened who were dead in their trespasses and sin." IF GOD HAS WORKED IN YOUR LIFE - HE HAS GIVEN YOU LIFE!
II. God's work is liberating.
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
exp. There are 3 great captors in this passage who have bound mankind. But for God's workmanship this is "in time past." They have been liberated!
1.) The world "course of this world."
ill. Have you ever crossed a stream with a strong side current? Wading in Colorado rivers with my dad. Only his hand holding me kept me from being swept down stream in the course of the river.
exp. The course of this world is against God. The current is pulling people further and further from God.
ill. Christina Wilcinson - head teacher - Church of England primary school.
"A primary school headteacher has been mocked on Twitter after claiming that evolution was “a theory” and there was “more evidence that the Bible is true”.
Christina Wilkinson, of St Andrew’s Church of England school in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, made the remarks in a tweet responding to London headteacher Tom Sherrington, who urged teachers to stick to science when teaching the origins of life.
Wilkinson wrote: “Evolution is not a fact. That’s why it’s called a theory! There’s more evidence that the Bible is true.”
Wilkinson’s assertion was met with scorn on the social media site. One person suggested she retrain as a vicar, while another said: “That’s an unacceptable level of stupidity from a headteacher.”
Liv Boeree tweeted: “This is horrifying. I’m still holding out hope her response is some kind of performance art. Pls pls pls tell me this lady doesn’t work in education. Please.”
Sherrington wrote: “Sigh. I sincerely hope your students aren’t told that. Take them to a natural history museum.”
app. Evolution is only one current in the course of this world. Humanism, atheism, etc. are all pulling men away from God.
2.) The devil "according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience."
question: Have you never marvelled at the faith evolutionists have? Their science can't even answer basic questions.
a. Where does life come from?
b. Why is their asthetics?
c. Why do you hate God if He does not exist?
d. Why can't the Bible be disproven?
e. What are the odds that every single incredibly complex living things could just happen?
exp. But, they tenaciously hold to their belief despite the impossibility and blind faith given.
2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
app. Only God can set them free.
3.) The flesh "in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desired of the flesh and of the mind;"
Ill. Daniel's mum - “His name was Daniel, he died that night for a reason - a reason that should be heard, that is in the public interest,” said mum Josephine Holloway.
“We are looking to use his death to save the lives of others. He had an addictive illness – a gambling addiction that drove him to gamble when he didn’t want to, to keep gambling when his losses were huge and to gamble until he had nothing left to lose. The only thing that stopped him was running out of money. Only when he was broke did he feel for a short while ‘relieved’ and free of the intense hold it had on him until – as he said- the next payday loomed.”
app. God's work is liberating. You are easily identified as a child of God this morning if you have been obviously liberated. Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Have you been set free?
III. God's work is willingly commissioned.
ill. Pastor Steve Bender and his church building project - they are getting stained glass from a local artist. She only does 3 commissions a year and they were able to secure one of them. Praise God! They are excited to be included in her commissions for this year
exp. If you were not God's work today, but you wanted to be - he would willingly accept you into his workshop where he would begin work on you.
question: How do we know that?
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
A. Because of the "riches of his mercy" toward us and you.
exp. Mercy is God taking us into his workshop instead of putting us into the destroying fire.
v.3 - says - "....and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."
exp. God took us in even though his wrath was against us until his mercy set us free.
ill. I read a headline this past week about a mother's feeling for the man who killed her child. "I can't wait for him to die." Why? Because her mother's heart longs for justice for her child.
note: The killers of the Lord Jesus Christ are currently free.
Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
ill. Evangelism - I've prayed for the man who said, "I don't read that 'rubbish'" because God in His mercy is willing to save him even though he is a child of wrath.
Joh 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
app. If you want God to commission a work in your life - he is willing because of His rich mercy.
B. Because of "his great love wherewith he loved us" and you.
exp. How could God love a child of wrath? "were by nature children of wrath, even as others." And yet our text says - "For His great love wherewith he loved us."
ill. Betsie Tenboom - Corrie's sister observing a guard beating prisoner "I pity her." Thinking she meant the prisoner Corrie agreed - but her sister meant the guard. (That is like Jesus.)
Corrie had to practice that love of God later after speaking on God's forgiveness.
“You mentioned Ravensbrück in your talk,” he was saying. “I was a guard there… But since that time,” he went on, “I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fraulein” — again the hand came out —“will you forgive me?”
And I stood there — I whose sins had again and again to be forgiven — and could not forgive. Betsie had died in that place — could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?
The soldier stood there expectantly, waiting for Corrie to shake his hand. She “wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do. For I had to do it — I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us.”
Standing there before the former S.S. man, Corrie remembered that forgiveness is an act of the will — not an emotion. “Jesus, help me!” she prayed. “I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.”
Corrie thrust out her hand.
And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.
“I forgive you, brother!” I cried. “With all my heart.”
For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely as I did then. But even so, I realized it was not my love. I had tried, and did not have the power. It was the power of the Holy Spirit.
app. God comissions a work in our lives willingly - because of his great mercy and His great love.
IV. God's work is honourable.
ill. Grandpa Roth - honoured with quilt of honour - military record read out.
exp. He was worthy of honour as a serviceman, but we are not worthy of the honour God gives.
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
exp. Former children of wrath are not seated together in heavenly place alive in Christ!
exp. God didn't begin a work to leave us in the mess in which he found our lives. He begins a work that guarantees us a place of honour for us for all eternity.
ill. Jesus told a story - the prodigal son
16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
exp. Because of his sin he was not worthy of the honorable position of the son of his father.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
exp. He smelled, he was dirty, he had sinned against his father - IT DIDN'T MATTER BECAUSE THE FATHER WOULD RESTORE HONOUR TO THE SON.
app. Are you afraid that God would not commission a work in your life because of it is not honourable. When God works on a life - he makes it honourable.
V. God's work is priceless.
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
ill. I'd love to own that Botticelli painting and have an original renasaince work. Imagine that I met the curator for that museum and said that I would like to have it. Would he give it to me? No, even if I offered everything I possessed. I could then plead that he accept my labour - I could clean the museum..... Why can't I get the painting? It is priceless. My only hope for every owning a Botticelli is if it was given to me freely.
question: How can man begin to think he can earn God's GIFT of salvation. If God didn't give it - we could not afford it. When the payment was the pure son of God's death on the cross - my "good works" won't cut it.
FOR THE MASTER'S WORK TO BE DONE IN YOUR LIFE HE MUST PAY FULL PRICE - YOUR PARTIAL PAYMENT IS LAUGHABLE AND WOULD NEVER PAY FOR YOUR SIN.
1Co 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; - You are priceless because of what it cost God to do His good work in your life.
note: Because of that payment which God made to commission His owrk in your life -- your life should be different! 1Co 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
VI. God's work is good.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
exp. When God begins a commission - it is to reveal His good work.
1.) We were created in Christ Jesus UNTO GOOD WORKS.
2.) God ordained "planned before" that we shoud walk in GOOD WORKS.
ill. The Bottichelli painting was restored. They showed it before and after. Before - it was dull and dark. The restoration brought it back to the beauty of the original day of it's creation.
app. What would be sad today is if the world thinks that God's workshop has closed because they can't find an example of God's GOOD WORK - because it is covered in the filth of this world.
Jas 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
The Botticelli painting was revealed by expert analysis.
Would an expert analysis of your life reveal that you are God's workmanship? Do you have the trademarks of His work in your life?
1.) God's work is alive.
Joh 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
2.) God's work is liberated. (Was in bondage to the world, the flesh and the devil.)
2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
3.) God's work is willingly commissioned. (rich in mercy, great love.)
Rev 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
4.) God's work is honourable. (made us sit together in heavenly places.)
5.) God's work is priceless. (He paid with his Son's death on the cross.)
6.) God's work is good. (The beauty is in the revealed goodness.)