We Are His Workmanship


 

Peninsula Community Church

April 27, 2014

Body, Soul & Spirit

Ephesians 2:4-10 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Over the last several weeks, we have focused on the subject of the body, soul, and spirit. While we have come to the conclusion of this series, we have not come to the conclusion of God’s work in our life. During this time, we have covered much territory and yet there is so much more territory left unexplored. As in any series or study, it is impossible to cover all of the material or to exhaust the subject in the few minutes we have on a Sunday. It is for that reason, I encourage you and challenge you to continue to study this subject to fully understand God’s will for you. 

In our text this morning, we see that Paul makes an amazing claim. Paul states that we are His workmanship. The term “workmanship” is a term that denotes “a thing of His making.” As we have noted on a number of occasions during this study, we have been created in the image and likeness of God. We have a physical body. We have a soul. We have a Spirit. And as such, we must never forget that we are His creation.

One of the things Michelle and I love to do on vacation or in our free time is to tour homes and museums that represent an earlier period of time in our nations history. On these tours, I am amazed with the quality of the craftsmanship used in building the homes and the quality of furniture placed in each home. As I observe the furniture, I realize that the carpenter chose the right wood, developed the right design, and used the proper finish. As we have toured so many different places, we have found both exotic furniture and we have found simple furniture. The point is the creator of the furniture started with a purpose and a plan in their mind for that particular piece of furniture. They knew in the beginning how the piece was to be used and where it would be used. 

Paul tells us in our text today that we are His workmanship. When we were created by God, He did so with a specific purpose and a specific plan in mind. You see when it comes to the craftsmanship of God, there is no junk. What He has created has been deemed as being good. How often during the six days of creation do we see God take a step back and proclaim that what He just accomplished was indeed good? In Genesis 1:31 we find that at the end of creation that …God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. This included the creation of man. What does this mean for us? It means that God did not cut any corners. It means we are created to be used by God for His glory. It means that we were purposed to be good and useful.

But lets be honest, we do not always feel like we are His masterpiece. But, how we feel does not determine the value we have or the purpose for our being created. While we have been created in God’s image, one of the outcomes experienced by way of man’s sin is that man’s purpose in life was distorted. Rather than viewing himself as God’s creation and as His masterpiece, he began to view himself as being lost and thrown onto the trash pile of rejection. Since man’s fall into sin, he has struggled with his identity, purpose, and role in life. While this is true, that was never God’s intent for us and it was not God’s intent for us to live that way. Through sin man became broken.

One of the things I love is to be around people who can take broken items and then have a vision to repair or repurpose them. That is one of the things I love about Michelle. She has the ability to take an old piece of furniture; and with a little sand paper, paint, and a few minor repairs and she is able to transform that old piece of broken down furniture into something useable again. Many times I have watched her repurpose things that have lost their luster and usefulness because they were broken or the outward beauty of the piece had been diminished. What is amazing is that the craftsman that build the piece never intended for the piece to end up on the trash heap. They intended it to be used according to its purpose. It is also amazing that at some point, someone had purchased the piece of furniture because they saw the beauty and/or the usefulness of the piece. As the years went by, the furniture lost its luster and purpose. Eventually, the furniture was discarded or stowed in a basement or closet because it was no longer needed or deemed to be useful.

Just like the furniture that was once a creation of its master craftsman, we too are God’s workmanship. We are His creation, but as we take this journey through life, we become damaged and transformed by the world’s thinking and the world’s ideals for life. We face difficulties and problems that tarnish us and that weaken our ability to achieve the purpose to which we were created. Our usefulness is doubted and we begin to believe that we are not a creation of God. We have lost some of the luster of being God’s creation. To top things off and to make things worse, we have an enemy that loves to take advantage of well timed opportunities to create an atmosphere where we begin to believe that we are not worthy of God’s grace, that we are no longer useful, and that our purposefulness in gone. While we might believe this and accept this as a reality, God is in the restoring business. He does not see us as discarded but He sees us in the purpose we have been called. By the way, this has nothing to do with age but a perception of who we are in Christ. You can be 25 and feel this way, or you can be 105 and have the same emotional and mental view. Regardless of how we feel, we have been created by God for a purpose.

There is a second element in this verse that must be considered. Paul stated that we were created for good works. We were not created just to look good. We were created for a purpose. We were not created by God for evil or wrong doing. We were created to accomplish great things for God. We were not created to float around and just enjoy life. We were created to produce fruit by our good works. We must understand that the works that are produced through us are in direct proportion to the status of our heart and our relationship with Christ. We have seen this through our study on this subject over the last couple of weeks. 

We are therefore motivated to good works out of obedience to His word and His will. During the ministry of Jesus, He focused His disciples on the role of bearing fruit in their life. Listen to Jesus’ own words. He stated I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. To fully understand this principle, we must recognize that the good works and the bearing of good fruit come not to have God’s favor or for Him to love us any more than He already does. Our works are a result of understanding what He commands us to do. In other words, we act out our good works in a mode of obedience to God’s work and to God’s will in our lives. This is one side to the the two sided coin.

The other side of the coin is that we are motivated to good works out of love for God and a desire to please Him. That is we do our good works because we are motivated by the love and the grace that God has bestowed upon us. Notice, again in our text this morning, that we have been raised in Christ because of His mercy and His love for us. We do our good deeds because of what God has already done. We do so because we want to honor Him and please Him with our lives. 

We are also motivated to do good works by the Holy Spirit. Paul in Romans 7:3 had this to say on this subject. Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. 

Here is a fact that you can take to the bank. If you walk in the spirit and seek to please God, the rewards we will be out of this world. He will form and shape you with His grace and power. Where we have been tarnished, we can be renewed by His grace. He will chisel away those areas of our heart and our life that must be removed in order for us to live wholly and holy. We must release ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit for this to happen.

A link to the video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QCkBL2DfVg

Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved, Robert W. Odom

 

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