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Sunday, September 9, 2018

God's Masterpiece


This is the manuscript to a sermon preached at Christ Church, Los Angeles on September 9, 2018.  In it I ask what is God's greatest masterpiece.  You might be surprised to know that, if you are a Christian or you become a Christian, you are God's greatest masterpiece created in His image. To hear the sermon click the YouTube link at the end of the manuscript.

The Inexhaustible Masterpiece

They say that students and lovers of art will spend weeks sitting before a single masterpiece by one of the great artists.  Some repeat this process year after year. To fully enjoy such a masterful work of art they need to immerse themselves in it for hour and hours.  There was a man who said that  he spent years studying a painting and that he was able to “discover some new beauty and a new joy”  every time.  
I enjoy a great painting or sculpture but it seems impossible to me that a person, even an expert or enthusiast, could spend weeks and weeks pouring over a piece of art and continue discovering something new, a “new beauty or joy.”  They say that they can find some new part of the painting, a certain stroke of the brush, a use of color or some other fine detail that others never see.
If there is that much beauty and intricate detail in a painting, a creation of man, how much truer of God’s creation.  A creation so vast we haven't discovered its full splendor much less study and observe it.  Which brings up the question; if the  creation is so expansive and magnificent, what does that say about the one who created it?  We can sometimes become so familiar that we don’t look beyond the creation to the Creator. 
God Almighty, the Creator, is much bigger than we could ever imagine.  In Job 11:7-8 God asked Job, “Do you think you can explain the mystery of God? Do you think you can diagram God Almighty?
God is far higher than you can imagine, far deeper than you can comprehend, Stretching farther than earth’s horizons, far wider than the endless ocean.” 
There is a depth to the nature of God that we have yet to see and enjoy.  If we had ten thousand years we would have only scratched the surface of the immensity of His glory.  God is an inexhaustible masterpiece.
Can our little minds comprehend how big God is?  Of course not but that’s the very reason we keep coming back. There is a newness and a freshness to God, not because there is something new about God but because we see Him and experience Him in a way we have not done so before. It’s as if we have discovered some new beauty and joy each time.
Sometimes the joy comes in the rediscovery of a beauty that we have all but forgotten, one that God has framed in a new setting providing an even greater appreciation.  As we grow so does our capacity for understanding and enjoying the person and work of our God. 

What Is God’s Greatest Masterpiece?

God is the inexhaustible masterpiece, but what would you say is the greatest of His masterpieces?
You could give many different answers to that question. Many would say that God’s greatest masterpiece is the sunset that paints the evening sky or the millions of stars that twinkle so beautifully each night. Others might point to the majestic mountain ranges or the mighty, rushing rivers. And some might say the flowers that bloom in the spring or the many amazing creatures that populate our planet.

You Are God’s Greatest Masterpiece

All of those masterpieces are  impressive, but none of them are the greatest that God has created. If you are a Christian you probably saw one of these works of art already today . . . that is, if you looked in a mirror. Yes, YOU are the greatest of God’s masterpieces.

Actually God’s greatest masterpieces have been created twice.

Here’s that first creation

Genesis 1:26-27 NASB Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Here's the second.

2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB ​Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Ephesians 2:8-10 NASB For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as 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 so that we would walk in them.

You "are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus. "

No, you probably didn’t look very beautiful or handsome when you got out of bed this morning. But when you looked into your mirror you were looking at God’s greatest work.

I preached a sermon here, last year, titled God Created “You To Be A Good Works Machine”. 

In that I said the Greek word translated “workmanship” is “poiÄ“ma”, and it occurs in only one other place in the New Testament, and that is in Romans, where it is translated, “things that are made.”

Romans 1:20 NASB For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Just as God brought about a new creation in Genesis, He did it again at your salvation.

That new creation has to get rid of some of the old things and replace them with other things.  

Colossians 3:8-9 NASB But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,

That's the old stuff.

Now here's the new stuff.

Colossians 3: 12-14 NASB So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

Each one of us is completely unique – there will never be anyone just like you. God knows all of us personally with all our strengths and weaknesses. 

David said in

Psalms 139:13-14 NASB For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

God has a plan for us, even before we are conceived

Jeremiah 1:5 NASB "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations."
And according to Scripture, there is a unique and custom-designed plan that God has in store just for those who have put their trust in Jesus Christ.
If God were to reveal to you today how much He loves you, it would overwhelm you. It would devastate you to think of the love that He has for you in light of the way we all behave sometimes.
What He given us at this point is the down payment of the Holy Spirit, and that alone overwhelms us at times.
Ephesians 1:13-14 NASB In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 NASB Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.
Then in
1 Corinthians 2:9 NASB but just as it is written, " Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard , And  which  have not entered the heart of man , All that God has prepared for those who love Him ."

Like I said you are God’s greatest masterpiece. A masterpiece, when talking about a poem or work of art indicates that it is perfect.
When I look at my life, I guarantee you that I don’t see perfection. When we see ourselves, we tend to see our flaws. We see so many things that need to change.
Yet God says,  that you are  His workmanship. “You are my work of art. You are my poem. You are my masterwork.”
God is not like a doting father who’s oblivious to his child’s faults. Rather, He is your all-knowing, yet all-powerful Father in heaven who can see what you will be when it is all said and done.
God can look at you and can see what you will become before you have actually become it.
We look at ourselves and say, “I don’t get it. This doesn’t look like a perfect person. This doesn’t look like a work of beauty.”
God sees you through the lens of Jesus’ work on the cross.

 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 NASB Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

That's how God sees you as the righteousness of God through Christ.

You are a masterpiece that is a work in progress. It is a process that doesn’t happen overnight. It is going to take all of your life on Earth. It won’t be completely finished until you get to heaven.
Then you will see that you indeed are a perfect work of art — God’s masterpiece.


What Happens When God Turns You Into His Masterpiece?


Here are 2 things that happen when God turns you into His masterpiece.

You are Forgiven


Do not let your past mistakes keep you from living the joyful life God wants you to have.   His love and grace  is bigger than any sin.
 2 Corinthians 12:9 NASB And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

So If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9 NASB

The second thing that happens is

You Show Other People How Great God Is

You are a living, breathing testimony of God’s grace and love through Jesus Christ. God says He picked you to be part of a new family, meant to show the difference He can make in a life.
 But you are A chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for  God's  own possession , so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;  1 Peter 2:9 NASB

Your life is like a beautiful painting that gives recognition to its painter. As God’s masterpiece,
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;  nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 NASB

You Become the Light of the World


Jesus sets you free from the slavery of sin when you accept Christ. Sin won’t control you anymore. God gives you the Holy Spirit, who is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11 NASB

When you have the Holy Spirit, you will reflect God’s love, peace and patience through the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 NASB But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

God has created you to be a masterpiece so that He could show you off! He has a plan and purpose for you. He wants you to be that showpiece everyone talks about. The next time you look in the mirror say it out loud for your brain to capture. “I am God’s masterpiece!”

In order to become God’s masterpiece there's something you have to do.  A man came to Jesus in the middle of the night and Jesus told him

John 3:3 NASB Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."

That man was Nicodemus and he asked Jesus how it was possible to be born again,  how to become a new creature if you will. Paul gives us the answer in Romans 10:9-10

Romans 10:9-10 NASB that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

Now is your opportunity to instantly become God’s Masterpiece. 


Sermon Audio