A MASTERPIECE (Funeral for Brenda Walker) 3-16-07
Eph 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 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.
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].
Introduction: Webster’s dictionary defines “Masterpiece” as a work done with extraordinary skill; especially: a supreme intellectual or artistic achievement. Another definition would be the most outstanding work of a creative artist or craftsman; an outstanding achievement.
When we think of a masterpiece, what comes to mind most often are paintings, sculptures and other creative abilities. As we view the finished product of a painting we know that every painting begins with an empty canvas, ever sculpture begins with unformed clay or metal. A masterpiece must have a beginning and an ending. A work of art is not necessarily recognized by the artist as a masterpiece; this designation only comes from those who view it with an expert eye for beauty and great work.
A masterpiece is never the result of painting by the numbers. Some works of art take months or years to produce. It can never be a rushed work. Masterful work must come from the heart and mind of the artist. Some of the best work the world has ever seen has come out of the struggle of the artist. It is amazing to me that beauty can come from pain and struggle.
There is a piece of art that I read about recently. It is called “Starry Night” and it was painted while the artist was in an Asylum for the mentally ill. Only one painting of his was sold while he was living.
This artist was a Pastor’s son. He wanted to be a painter early in life. His earlier paintings used dark dreary colors. He painted from his experience of the dreaded and colorless life of the poor in Holland.
He convinced his parents to send him to school to be a Pastor. But before he even got started he dropped out of school and pastored a Protestant Church in a mining community. He was let go by the church he was pastoring; some say because he was too enthusiastic. He then went back to the art world with his brothers’ help.
His art took on a totally different color scheme after seeing Japanese paintings and the paintings of the impressionist of his time. It is this color scheme that his paintings are known.
His painting “Starry Night” is known as a Masterpiece. It is so beautiful. The sky is what gets your attention at first with its eleven stars that may have come from his religious teaching. Then you move down the painting and there is a church with a tall steeple almost in the center of the city in the painting. Many think this church is there to offer a sense of stability to the people of the town. There is a large dark structure that has many interpretations that is at the beginning of the painting. The houses have windows in them where the color of the window glass makes you think of a warm house and maybe even of a loving and warm family living there.
He did a self portrait, and in that picture he has one ear. He lost it by cutting it off himself. After painting the “Starry Night” he died of self inflected wounds.
Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most famous painters in history with many Masterpieces to his credit.
Sometimes we see a person with so much talent living a life that is extremely hard; a mind that is torn and upsetting. We look at his paintings that warm us and that other artist study closely. We examine it to see what the artist may have had in mind when he painted the work. Other artists study it so they may learn the art of expressing life’s mysteries on canvas. We wonder why such troubles are in a person that has so much talent.
But there is one thing that can’t be denied and that is, his life was what made his paintings a Masterpiece. By some standards this man was a master-mess, but his paintings were masterpieces.
Well there is another “Masterpiece” that I want to talk about. This masterpiece was painted without a canvas and formed before clay. This masterpiece came from God and is God. This masterpiece is a Master builder. This masterpiece is the Great I Am, the Almighty God, the Prince of Peace, the King of kings. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the Lord, He is the Christ, He is the Word, He is the Bread of life, the Door, the First Born, and He is the root and the offspring of David and the bright and morning star, He is the Savior of the world.
Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Life is a canvas for masterpiece work through Christ Jesus. Because He lived, our lives can be painted red, with the brush strokes of His nail scared hands.
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.
We need to understand that we are the “Workmanship,” the masterpiece of God.
Isaiah 64:8 But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.
We are GOD’S masterpieces. Does the painting paint itself? Does the symphony compose itself? Does the poem write itself? Neither can we do anything that adds to our salvation. It is God’s work. “SALVATION IS OF THE LORD” (Jonah 2:9).
In other words, God has prepared a pathway of good works for believers which He will perform in and through them as we walk by faith. This does not mean doing a work for God; instead, it is God’s performing His work in and through us.
When we think about God’s greatest masterpieces, many might say it is the Sunset that moves over the evening sky. Some might say it is the millions of stars that dress the night. Others might point to the majestic mountain ranges or perhaps a mighty rushing river. Still others might consider the flowers that bloom in the spring or even the many amazing creatures that occupy our planet.
All of these masterpieces are all remarkable, but none of them are the greatest that God has created. In fact God’s greatest masterpiece has been twice-created. If you are born again, you probably saw one of these works of art already today…that is, if you looked in a mirror. Yes, YOU are one of God’s greatest masterpieces. You “are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.” The moment you looked into your bathroom mirror you were looking at one of God’s greatest work.
For a moment or two, I would like to talk about one of God’s masterpieces. Her name was not “Starry Night,” but “Brenda Walker.” Why call her a masterpiece? She was born again…that makes her a masterpiece. She traveled and made a home for her husband and children for over 20 years of military service, which makes her a masterpiece. She battled with her own dreams to help fulfill the dreams of her family…she was a masterpiece. Her smile would wake up the morning and her touch would sooth the troubles of life…she was a masterpiece.
Brenda’s name means “sword.” This masterpiece of a woman, would use “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph 6:17) to battle the enemy of family and friends.
As any great artist, her masterpiece is not finished. The masterpiece lives on in the endless love of her husband Dr. Walker, who must continue to preach the Word, to Pastor a Church, to educate other ministers and at the same time be a determined father to their children.
The masterpiece lives on in Angelia…a mother, a designer, a decorator and a woman with a mind for business.
The masterpiece lives on in VaNae…also a mother, a singer, a dancer and a woman of grace and wisdom.
The masterpiece lives on in Dan (we call him Three)…a preacher, a song writer and a poet.
The masterpiece lives on in Trivell…a writer who has a story the world is waiting to hear.
Proverbs 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman, for her price is far above rubies.
There is one more Artist that I would like to talk to about today. This Artist doesn’t paint on canvas of cloth; He paints on the canvas of the Universe.
He is a sculpture who creates without hands. He spoke and the Sun gave light, the Moon and stars took their places and stood at attention. His work surpasses any other artist known to man. He is from everlasting to everlasting, He is God.
I want you to know today that His best work was not the Sun. No, His best work was not the Moon and the Stars. His best work was not the Earth or the other Planets. His best work was when God the Master-craftsman placed His Son the Masterpiece in the womb of a woman. He dressed the Lord our God and our Savior in sinful flesh, without sin to save us from sin.
Jesus is the Masterpiece of God’s great love…“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). So much love that He gave His life so we might be free. Now we are His Masterpieces created in Christ Jesus.
One Friday they hung Him on a cross…He died. But early Sunday morning, He got up with all power in His hands.
One of these days I’m going to leave this planet. There are some people I sure want to see. I want to see Mama Virgie, Daddy Lewis, Sherrill my father and Uncle Bill.
But when I see Jesus!!!