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A Mess To A Masterpiece 5-7-06

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FROM A MESS TO A MASTERPIECE

 

 

Eph 2:8  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,  9  not of works, lest anyone should boast.  10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

 

Introduction:  Many of the people I meet simple think that their life is a complete mess.  Much of the time without me saying a word, they know what needs to be done to begin turning things around.  Some say things like, “I know that I need to be in Church,” or they might say, “Pastor I know.”  The major concern for a lot of people is what they since needs to be done and an unwillingness get it right with God or the idea that they can’t get it right with God.  The reality is that some are more concerned with what they must give up, than what they stand to gain. 

If all you know is what you know and what you know has gotten you into the situation you are in, the tight spot you are in, the circumstances of your decisions, then perhaps you need more than what you know.  You see many of us were born in a mess, some of us were raised in a mess and some of us are just a plain messy, still others have lived their hold life messed up.  But what keeps us in a mess is our refusal to turn to Christ and have our mess turned into a masterpiece.

You see it was never the intent of God for any to be a mess.  What people really don’t understand is that what is in your Bank account does not make you a better person.  You can be as poor as a Church mouse and still be rich in God. 

What concerns me more than anything else is how we keep on going down the same slipper slops.  When you make up life as you go, it’s not very stable.  Stability can only come when you have made a final decision to give up on make-up and get real with yourself and with God.  Even religious people can’t fake it for long.  Everyone is under the Holy Ghost microscope that shows the real person with all its flaws.  The key to life long success is coming to grips with the fact that a mess can’t repair, alter, rearrange, redo, unlock or re-construct a mess.  As a matter of fact, you can’t be a mess, be in a mess, be around mess and expect to help others who are in a bigger mess than you.  One messy person plus one messy person equals two messy people. 

So perhaps the first stage of your recover might be that you need to be allergic to messy people, if you are a mess yourself.  Turn in your union card, get a new address, have your phone changed to an unlisted number, new email, and a new cell phone, and get a T-shirt that says “Retired From A Messy Existence.”  Its not that I’m sick of mess, I just can’t stand it, because mess is not what God wants for His people. 

The world is in a mess, but the world is exactly where they are supposed to be.  But the Bible says that we are in the world but not of it.  I don’t know, I just think if the world had some place to escape we might get more in the Church.  But we certainly are going to have to change the way we operate.  When the Church comes to the place were we understand that walls do talk and stop putting on holy airs while we are here in the house of prayer, but when we get home…we turn into Super Freaks and Sly and the Family Stones.                           

This burgundy wall behind me took several coats of paint because the white kept bleeding through.  When you are holy and living a holy life, it doesn’t matter what mess you are around, your righteousness ought to bleed through.

You see God wants to make you His masterpiece.

Eph 2:10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

The Greek word for “workmanship” literally means a work of art or a masterpiece.  This masterpiece production has a purpose and a design for God use.  This masterpiece is not something that is finished in some allotted time period.  This work of God is an on going work that last for a lifetime. 

Eph 2:10 (Amplified) For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].

 

In the phrase, which God prepared in advance for us to do, the word “which” refers back to the “works” in the previous section.  The purpose of these prepared-in-advance works is not “to work in them” but “to walk in them.”  In other words, God has prepared a path of good works for believers which He will perform in and through them as they walk by faith.  This does not mean doing a work for God; instead, it is God performing His work in and through believers. 

I must report that we have been misinformed.  For too long we have seen ourselves as only the canvas, with the blood red death of Jesus painted on our lives, but we are also the brush in the hand of God.  The masterpiece is not our lives only; it is each brush stroke that is painted on the canvas of other people’s lives.  God’s masterpiece is related to God’s master plan that all men might be saved. 

Rom 10:14  How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

So that next time you fill a little messy, check the bristles of your brush. 

The Bible tells us that one day, we will all stand before God.  When we meet Him face to face, God is not going to look at us and say, “Hey, I wish you would have been more like Billy Graham or Bishop Jakes.”  But God may say, “I wish you would have been more like what you were created to be.”

In 2 Corinthians 10, Paul writes about us being “original.”  He wrote that we make a mockery of God’s brilliance and His creativity when we don’t understand how original we are, and when we compare ourselves with others.  Look at what 2 Cor 10:12 says; “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

We are originals.  THANK GOD for what He has made us.  You are an original by God Himself, with His signature all over you.  Do you realize that you are made in the very image of God?  We are original pieces of work, with the fingerprints of God all over us as created beings.  We are not called to duplicate each other, but to live as original pieces of art to be what God wants us to be.

We are works in progress.  Paul recognized that He was a work in progress.  It helped him cope with his own zeal to push God’s work.  

Phil 3:12  Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.  13  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,  14  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

 

The next thing is we forget that others are works in progress also.  There is an old saying that says; “Please be patient with me, God is not finished with me yet.”  The same work that God needed to do (or still needs to do) in you is the same kind of work He needs to do in others.  We are way too quick to criticize.  When we are critical of other believers, we are critical of God’s work in their lives.  We are equal to Peter when just two minutes after saying that Jesus was God, decided to be critical of Jesus’ plan to die on the cross!  The Lord’s response was “Get behind me, Satan!” and when you criticize the work of God in others, the response should correctly be, “Get behind me, Satan!”

There is something about the work of an artist, that when they paint and they make a mistake, they either have to discard the art or work with the error.  But God isn’t like that.  When God looks at the canvas of our lives, He sees the mistakes, sins, errors, blemishes.  But instead of throwing us away, God does something with our mistakes that a regular artist could not do, He erases them.  

Psalm 103:8  The Lord is merciful and gracious,  Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.  9  He will not always strive with us,  Nor will He keep His anger forever.  10  He has not dealt with us according to our sins,  Nor punished us according to our iniquities.  11  For as the heavens are high above the earth,  So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;  12  As far as the east is from the west,  So far has He removed our transgressions from us.  13  As a father pities his children,  So the Lord pities those who fear Him.  14  For He knows our frame;  He remembers that we are dust.

We are timeless, priceless, part of a greater picture, original, lovable, and works in progress.  God removes our sin from us as far as the east is from the west…in other words, we are fixable and we are forgivable.  

CLOSE:

Today can be a new start and a fresh beginning for you.  You no longer have to be a mess or live in a messy situation.  Because you walked into this building and sat and heard this message God has washed you with His Word.  Now all you need to have a fresh “spring” cleaning is to repent of your sins and ask Jesus into your life.  



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