Peninsula Community Church
Ephesians – “We Are His Workmanship!”
September 28, 2014
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
We continue this morning to move through the Book of Ephesians as we learn more about our identity in Christ. So far, we have discovered the precious gifts God has given us through Christ. We have eternal life. We have an inheritance. We have great power through Christ. We have a new identity. We have discovered what was once a void in our lives is now filled with Christ. How awesome is that?
I love people who are craftsmen in their field of expertise. Michelle’s dad is one of those craftsmen. I have watched as he has remodeled a home that once stood empty and worthy of being destroyed. Rich would work his magic and remodel the house to make it livable again. I am also amazed at those who can take a blank canvas and produce a magnificent painting. A relative cheap canvas is now worth so much more because of the craftsman’s touch. But there is no greater canvas than the canvas of our lives where God is writing His story and weaving His will into our lives.
In the passage before us, we discover more about our identity. Today, we discover that we are His workmanship which literally means “a thing of His making.” We are His handiwork. The order of the Greek words here is critical. In the Greek, the word says “His workmanship we are.” We are His masterpiece, a creation of His own doing. It is God’s work in us and God’s work through us that reveals His workmanship.
David recognized the workmanship of God when he penned the following words. Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3). Notice again in Psalm 139:13-16 that David states, For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Jeremiah understood this idea of being created and formed in His mother’s womb for a reason. He knew that his gifts and talents were given to him before he was born. This is evidenced in Jeremiah’s words in Jeremiah 1:4. Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations. What is being said here. God knew Jeremiah before he was born. He knew what was to become of him. He was formed and fashioned for a purpose.
The idea of workmanship suggests that there is a craftsman. God is the craftsman and you are the result of His creation. Regardless of how you feel about yourself, no matter your current circumstances, no matter what kind of mistakes you have made, no matter what family you are from; you are God’s creation. You were designed by a perfect master craftsman. You are an original. You are a masterpiece. You are the image and likeness of God the Creator. There is no one like you.
Stop and think about this for a moment, we have been crafted and designed by the greatest craftsman of all time. He formed you and shaped you. We must therefore come to an understanding of who we are in God. Too often, we struggle with self-esteem and self-worth issues. We strive to be what someone else desires for us to be and we are miserable and fruitless. Or, we have either been directly or subtly taught that we will never amount to anything, we are not worth anything, and we will never be fully acceptable. We believed we were flawed beyond repair. This in essence is a form of bondage and will severely limit our work and service for God.
A second problem revealed to us is that as God’s creation, we have been marred by sin. The creation of God has become defective because of the fall of man. That is why Paul emphasizes the emptiness of a life without Christ in Ephesians 2:1-3. But God has restored man to his rightful place and to his rightful purpose. The point Paul is making is that while you were lost and you were marred by sin, while you were empty and void; God rescued you because you are His workmanship.
You see in so many ways when we were saved we were in essence repurposed, recreated, and restored to God’s original intent. Not long ago, we had the opportunity to tour Linda Esham’s son’s car restoration center in Bridgeville. In his garage, he had several cars at all levels of the restoration process. Some cars had been stripped down to the frame. Others were at the end of the process and looked awesome. At one point they had been a broken down heap of parts and rust, but Brian had a vision for what they could be. As a master craftsman, he knew what had to be removed and replaced. He knew the areas that had to be welded and changed to restore the car to its original design and purpose.
The same is true of the workmanship of Christ, he knows us and has a vision for of what could be. God’s desire is to repurpose us, and redirect us toward His calling and His will. How do we know this? We know this from Paul’s writings in Ephesians 4:20-24 and Colossians 3:5-10 But that is not the way you learned Christ! — assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Earlier we learned that we are saved by grace and not by works. This is absolutely true but as a creation of God we have also been created for good works. Think about this if you will. Before you were born, God had a plan for your life. He knew what family you would be born into. He knew what your hobbies would be. He knew what would give you the most joy. He knew how your experiences and friendships would form who you are. He knew what gifts and talents you would possess. He knew which gifts and talents you would develop through life.
God has given us all of the gifts he has given us so that we will be effective ambassadors for Christ. He has called us to serve Him and to operate out of the gifts and talents he has given us. Note that we are not to do these things apart from God but with God. The beauty of the body of Christ is that we are most effective when we are doing what we have been created to do in Christ and when we join with others who know what they have been created to do.
Believers who catch a glimpse of the Lord’s love for them—His plans for their lives, and His desire to be with them, will find confidence and inner assurance that can’t be matched. Your self-esteem must be based on His opinion, not your analysis or someone else’s. Remember, it’s what God thinks that truly matters.
Paul also notes that our good works should be a way of life for us. As we close today, we must recognize that God calls us to use our gifts and talents according to his purpose and his will. The greatest testament to God we can have is using our gifts and our lives to glorify God. Paul says that we are to walk in these things. This word walk in the Hebrew language is significant. It speaks of our manner of life, e.g. how we live. This paragraph begins with man walking in trespasses and sin but ends with man walking in the will of God. Man was lost without hope but God came and now he is living from a different perspective. He has a different way of life. The contrast is complete. It is a contrast between two lifestyles: evil and good. It is a contrast between two masters: God and the devil. What could have effected such a change? It was that God made us a new creation. But God by grace brought the change.
Copyright © 2014 Robert W. Odom All Rights Reserved