We Are His Workmanship Series – Pastor Stacey Shiflett

We Are His Workmanship Series

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Part I

Intro: I love to admire workmanship! Whether it is a craft show, or a furniture store, or walking through a custom home that has numerous special features, I enjoy admiring people’s work.

I enjoy working with my hands, having an idea, buying the material, working with my hands and enjoying the finished project.

I remember building a set of oak end tables for my wife for her wedding gift. We enjoyed them for many years.

I. The Process

When we think about the whole process of God’s working on us, we realize that our free will is what prevents His plan from being implemented immediately.

He spoke the world into existence in just a few days.

Man is the only thing God created where we find Him actually WORKING to create.

  • Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:

Genesis 2 says God rested from His work.

  • Genesis 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

But man debates and doubts and disobeys.

Nothing else God created does that.

So because of our hesitation and lack of cooperation, God has to go to work.

We learn that the PROCESS involves…

               A. Talent – the one doing the working must be capable

Whether it was a painting by Michaelangelo, or a piece of music by Mozart, the talent is very important.

A violin made by Antonio Stradivari is worth millions.

There are many “wanna-be’s”, but that doesn’t guarantee talent.

  • Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Mark it down – it is going to happen!

  • Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

               B. Trouble – there will always be a challenge; if there were no challenge, anybody could do it!

Whether it is a painter, craftsman, potter, sculptor, or whatever, the challenge depends on what they are working with.

I’m glad that God can work with anybody – regardless of how He found them!

He made man from dust.

He made woman from a rib.

God can work with anything. Because He’s God!

I Corinthians 6

  • 9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
  • 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
  • 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Only God can take a man that never had a godly daddy and make a godly daddy out of him.

Only God can take a teenager with unsaved parents grow up and have a love for God.

Only God can take a girl that grew up unloved and make a loving wife and mother out of her.

Only God can take a drunk and make a Sunday School teacher out of him.

God specializes in working with hard cases and fixing bad situations.

If ANY MAN – be in Christ – he is a new creature…

  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

               C. Time

It’s amazing to me that God created the heavens and the earth and everything that in them is in 6 days.

Yet he’s been working on me for 45 years. Wow!

  • 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

The Apostle Paul was one of the most Spirit-filled men in the New Testament.

Watch what He said: Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

               D. Tools

A master craftsman will use a variety of tools to do the job.

God will use His hand, along with an assortment of other things to shape and mold us.

Suffering

  • Job 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

The act of Chastisement

  • Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

The ministry of the Pastor

Ephesians 4

  • 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
  • 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

The members of the local Church

  • Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

               E. Trophy

  • Jude 1:24  Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

Conclusion: Bottom line is this – God has a job to do. He’s more than qualified to do it. He has the expertise, the equipment and the example already established. It’s up to us to let Him do what He does best!

Part 2

II. The Problem

Intro: If you look at verse 8 and 9, we see something funny about mankind. 

  • …and that not of yourselves… vs. 8
  • Not of works… vs. 9

They would rather do it themselves many times than to let God do it for them!

Example: Cain and Abel both had to present a sacrifice.  Cain chose to bring the fruit of his labor.  Dead end road!!

God wanted to do it HIS way, but man’s efforts to do the “working” has presented a problem since the beginning.

Many people though make one serious mistake – they undertake themselves as a project! 

We have ideas, plans, goals, dreams, and then we begin to try to implement those ideas and become the person we always wanted to be. 

Unfortunately, that doesn’t turn out right many times!

The reason that when man is his own workmanship, he becomes a disaster!

You will see why we should SUBMIT TO BEING HIS WORKMANSHIP and take our hands off of the project!!

               A. Our Approval is Irrelevant

By whose standards are our efforts being defined?

God doesn’t ask us what we want to be or how we want to turn out.

  • Jeremiah 18:4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
  • Romans 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
  • Judges 21:25every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

Ever noticed that when we get tired or frustrated, we are not as particular about something being “right”?

We cut corners, hide mistakes, downplay inferior effort and get impatient.

               B. Our Aim is Inaccurate – men strive for goodness; God’s will is perfection

We want to be a BETTER AND IMPROVED VERSION OF “US”; God’s will is for us to be LIKE HIS SON.

We hear this phrase all the time: “I’m living my best life.”

God wants us to live HIS life.

  • Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
  • Romans 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

NOTICE the context of this verse: We use it evangelistically, and we should.  But the context is referring to the CONTRAST IN MAN’S WORKS AND GOD’S WORKS!

  • Romans 3:21, 22 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

NOTICE: Our works are referred to “works” in verse 9, while God’s is referred to as “good works”.

It is impossible for a person to produce “good works” apart from God.

  • Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

               C. Our Ability is Insufficient

  • I Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
  • Isaiah 55:8, 9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

               D. Our Agenda is Impure

               Man’s Agenda

  • Proverbs 20:6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?

               LOOK AT OUR TEXT – vs.9 “…lest any man should boast.”

               God’s Agenda

  • 1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: