Date: 15 May, 2016
Text: Ephesians 2:8-10
Title: WE ARE HIS WORKMANSHIP.
Murder is a horrible crime. It takes something that is unbelievably precious (life) and takes it away FOR EVER. That child, mother, father, grandparent, is no longer with their family because of that awful crime.
Sometimes when I am doing evangelism, people will say to me, "You mean murderers can just be forgiven! So, they just say, 'I'm sorry' and they are no longer going to hell?"
· Most times these are people who believe, "Good people go to Heaven."
· Generally these people also believe they are a good person. Why? Well, they have never "murdered anyone."
I'm very pleased to say that this morning that murderers can go to Heaven. The apostle Paul was a murderer of Christians before He got saved. They were killed by His decree.
Ac 26:10 Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.
HOW CAN SOMEONE WHO IS SO BAD - BECOME SOMEONE WHO IS SO GOOD?
· People who believe "good people" go to Heaven - believe that they BY THEIR WORKS can do that which pleases God.
· What they don't realize that ONLY GOD'S WORK after our salvation HELPS US DO THE GOOD WORKS which please Him.
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. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
1.) Salvation is by grace. "For by grace are ye saved...."
exp. Grace is God doing for us what we can not do.
def. Goodwill, lovingkindness, favor.
def. of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ,
ill. Grace is like the queen sending me a special invitation to her garden party at Holyrood. I don't deserve to go. I can only go by her invitation.
app. Praise God anyone can humbly receive God's invitation to His Heavenly party.
Luke 14:23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
Re 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.
2.) Salvation is by faith not works. "Saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: Not of works,..."
exp. Biblical faith is active not passive.
ill. It is like believing that the world is going to be judged by the world wide flood and so you get onto the ark.
ill. Or like believing that you have been bit by a serpent and that the only remedy is to look at the bronze serpent.
app. More specifically in our case - it is believing that our sins demand God's wrath - but that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again. And so we bow our head to the Lord Jesus Christ and accept Him into our heart as our Lord and Saviour.
3.) Salvation is a gift which must be received. "It is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
ill. To go back to the illustration of the queen's garden party. If I demanded to come into the party without and invitation. The guards would not allow it. I could shout and demand entry claiming that I was one of Her Majesty's best citizens - BUT IT WOULD NOT MATTER IN THE LEAST TO THEM AND I WOULD BE CONSIDERED A VERY PROUD PERSON. The queen would rightly hate pride which says that I deserve to come into her presence!
exp. It is PRIDE this morning for anyone to say I have earned the RIGHT TO COME INTO GOD'S PRESENCE and God hates pride.
James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
App. Anyone who has been saved - HAS DONE SO WITH A HUMBLE HEART.
ill. Just like Naaman had to humble himself to dip in the river - so we have had to humble our heart to recieve GOD'S SIMPLE PLAN OF SALVATION.
Now - back to where we started this morning? How can a murderer be saved? So, they just say they are sorry and STAY THE SAME? No - Paul was a murderer who became the author of the majority of the NT because God did a great work in Paul's life!
The rest of our Ephesians 2 passage says - 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
ill. The woodworker in Peebles - has some lovely pieces of workmanship on display. But, the wood doesn't get onto his shelf by itself. First he chips away at it or cuts away at it and stains it - and then it is worthy to go on display.
app. When you got saved, you did not get saved BY YOUR GOOD WORKS. But, when we got saved GOD TOOK YOU UP INTO HIS WORKSHOP TO HELP YOU TO DO TRULY GOOD WORKS.
HOW DOES GOD WORK ON US? How can bad men (us) become good? How can someone who has done bad works begin to do good works?
(I am preaching this morning, so I get to set some ideas out for us this morning - but we would never have time to discuss all the ways in which God changes us AS HIS WORKMANSHIP, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS UNTO GOOD WORKS.)
But, here are a few which I trust will encourage your heart in the Lord this morning.
I. By putting us under the blood.
Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
exp. God invites us to come to Him for cleansing - because only He can wash away sin.
ill. I recently spoke to a person who said that you get rid of your sin just like you do when you cleanse yourself with water and soap.
Jeremiah 2:22 For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD.
exp. No matter how good of soap you use - you can not cleanse your soul. But, God has a cleansing agent that works internally and IT IS THE BLOOD OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
Re 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
app. The song says it very well "Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing pow'r? Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?" THAT IS WHERE GOD'S WORK BEGINS!
II. By putting us on His altar.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
exp. Just like with salvation - much of the work God does is throught the willing submission of the workmanship.
ill. My brother in law was a tutuorial teacher in Dundee. He said that half of his class or more at times would just not come to class. He could be the best teacher in the world, but if they did not put themselves under his tutoring - HIS IMPACT UPON THEM WAS MINIMAL.
app. If you are here this morning desiring God to do a more thorough work in you life, Have you let His blood cleanse you and then presented your life to Him?
ill. Hannah received a son in answer to her prayer but she gave her "flesh" back to the Lord as she gave Samuel as a servant to the Temple. (Samuel became a great man of God.)
app. Have you presented your "flesh" like that to God? We are HIS WORKMANSHIP but we need to present ourselves to Him.
III. By putting His word into us.
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
def. Transformed - comes from the same root word as the word "Metamorphosis"
ill. Just like a butterfly that is gloriously changed from a crawling fuzzy caterpillar into beautiful colored flying thing.
exp. The way we are transformed is through the WORD OF GOD. "By the renewing of your mind."
2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
exp. The Word of God like a glass that shows us the Lord Jesus Christ - transforms us into His image.
app. One of the most powerful tools in the hand of God to make us like Jesus is THE WORD OF GOD. We are his workmanship - He is putting His Word into us.
IV. By putting pressure in just the right places.
Jeremiah 18:6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
exp. Like the potter who is molding a lump of clay into a useful vessel. That vesel has to be molded. It has to be punched and pressed into just the right form. It has to pass through the fire to harden and put on the glazing. Everything is done by the master potter to make a good vessel.
app. You may not enjoy the pressure that is coming into your life - BUT WE ARE HIS WORKMANSHIP AND THE MASTER POTTER IS WORKING ON US.
V. By putting us into His service.
Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
exp. God has given us the opportunity now to serve Him as those that are ALIVE FROM THE DEAD.
ill. I've told the story before - but it seems appropriate here - our cat was run over by the station wagon - before it was run over - it was grumpy as could be - afterwards it was the sweetest cat you ever knew. I think it got a wake up call when faced with death and it decided it needed to turn over a new leaf.
app. Christians we ought to think about where our life was before Christ and LET GOD WAKE US UP TO WHAT WE ARE NOW IN CHRIST. We are alive from the dead - yield your members as servants unto God. - We are his workmanship being put into His service!
VI. By putting us under His chastening
Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
exp. Sadly, we don't always respond the way that we should to the mercy, grace and goodness of God. At that point, God has to step in with some loving discipline.
Proverbs 3:12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
ill. I liked to play with matches when I was a kid.
· Used to burn paper plates with magnifying glasses on the back of the church building.
· But, I made a big mistake when I lit an insence burner in our garage.
exp. I got some discipline that day - because my parents cared too much about me to let me do my own thing that could have killed me.
ill. If a dad wants to have heartache - he could let his son just do whatever he wants to do.
Pr 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
But if a dad truly loves His child, he is going to do the tough things to get that child on the right path to a successful life.
app. Aren't you glad that God loves you enough to do that this morning?
VII. By putting Himself upon us.
Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
exp. God is working on us. He has given us the opportunity to live our life like Jesus and to have victory over our flesh.
ill. Computers now days are vastly improved from the Commodore 54 my brother had when we were children. That was one of the original computers. We could do much greater things - BECAUSE OF WHAT WE HAVE INTERNALLY AND EXTERNALLY.
exp. As a believer - God has done internal changes and external changes.
ill. Barry Webb's ventriloquest dummy - did everything as Barry Webb wanted - because Barry Webb was in it and Barry Webb was in charge.
exp. I understand the puppet wasn't alive and WE ARE ALIVE. But, we can live as Christ lives by putting him on or we can do our own thing.
app. We are his workmanship - if we let him WORK IN US AND PUT HIM ON.
Paul was a really bad man - who came into contact with a really great God - who changed him into a REALLY GOOD MAN.
We've got it wrong this morning - if we think we can be good enough to please God.
Salvation is by grace.
Salvation is by faith.
Salvation is a gift.
But, once we have Jesus - HE WORKS ON US TO MAKE US TRULLY GOOD.
1.) Have you let him cleanse you by His blood?
2.) Have you gotten onto the altar of sacrifice?
3.) Have you let His Word work on you?
4.) Have you responded rightly to the potter's hand?
5.) Have you let Him help you serve Him?
6.) Have you let Him chasten you?
7.) Have you let Him live through you?
Salvation is not BY OUR WORKS - IT IS GOD'S WORK!
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.