Summary: You are God’s Masterpiece in Christ Jesus. This message is especially for any Christian trying to measure up and gain God’s favor rather than living in the approval that is his already in Christ.
This morning I want to speak with you about God’s Masterpiece. You may be surprise what it is. We take our text from Ephesians 2:1-10. I am reading from the N.L. Translation.
Look at the amazing statement about you in verse 10, “...we are God’s masterpiece.” None of us would dare call ourselves “God’s Masterpiece” were it not clearly stated that way in the Bible. I don’t know about you, but there are plenty of times I don’t feel like I’m a masterpiece. There times when I feel more like a mess than a masterpiece. I look at my blunders and my mind tells me I’m not a masterpiece. So what are we to believe? “Let God be true and every man a liar.” God has declared in His word that you and I are His masterpiece. If my mind tells me otherwise, my mind is lying. God never lies. You are God’s masterpiece. Turn to your neighbor and tell him “You’re God’s masterpiece.”
The Greek word Paul used for masterpiece is poiema. We get our English word “poem” from it. A poem is something of symmetry and beauty. Poems are an expression of the author. The heart of the author is reflected in the poem. And God is expressing Himself through you as He does His work of art. You are a work of art.
In 1501 Michelangelo began working on his masterpiece named “David.” He began that work with a piece of marble so flawed that no one thought it could be used. Out of it he carved a masterpiece. The beauty of the statue is not because of the original marble but because of the enormous ability of the sculptor. You are a masterpiece not because of what you were but because of who God is and His ability to shape you into the image of Christ.
Following the pattern of our text, I want us to first look at what we were—our past, then what we are—our present, and finally, what we shall be—our future. If this doesn’t encourage you, nothing will.
I. Our Past is described in verses 1-3.
A. We were dead in sin.
1. Our condition was hopeless. What can a dead man do to help himself? Can he repent and change his ways? No, he is powerless to do anything. He certainly cannot resurrect himself.
In physical death, there has been a dramatic separation. The person’s spirit has been separated from his body. In spiritual death, separation is the issue as well. God is the life-giving source. In spiritual death, the person is separated from God.
2. In verse 3 Paul says, “By our very nature, we were subject to God’s anger....” KJV says we were “...by nature the children of wrath....” We were born into the precarious condition. When confessing his sin before God in Ps 51:5, David said, “For I was born a sinner, yes, from the moment my mother conceived me” (NLT). He’s not saying that the act of conception made him a sinner. He’s saying he inherited a sinful nature. Nobody has to teach a baby to be selfish. He does that with no training at all. Sin comes natural for everybody.
Rom 5:12 says, “...just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men....” It wasn’t just that we did some things wrong. Our sinful behavior was just a fruit of what we were. The very core of our being was corrupted through the Fall of Adam.
B. Notice in Eph. 2:3 Paul adds the words, “...just like everyone else.”
1. Everybody comes into this world a born sinner. There are no exceptions except Christ Himself. Everybody without Christ is dead in trespasses and sins. Some sinners are more sophisticated than others. Some sinners sin in ways that are more socially acceptable than others. But there is no one—absolutely no one on the face of this earth that does not need a Savior. There is no one who can save himself.
2. This revelation in our text stands in direct contradiction to the humanistic message of our society. The popular message is “You can do it; Yes we can.” The politically correct view of people is not to see them as sinners. The world does not want to think of themselves as “children of wrath.” They justify any expression of wickedness by simply saying the person was just born that way. Well, in a sense I agree. The homosexual was born with a propensity toward sin. The fornicator was born with a desire for sin. The liar was born with a tendency to conceal the truth. The thief was born with a covetous heart. In fact, the first part of verse 3 says this, “All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature.” Just because a person has an inclination toward homosexuality, does not mean it’s not a sin. Just because a heterosexual wants to play around with multiple partners, does not mean it’s not sin. A thief can’t defend himself in court by simply saying, “I was born with a desire for things I didn’t work for.” Not all sinners have the same drive toward the same sin. The point Paul is making is this: sinners follow, give vent to, pursue the passionate desires and inclinations of their sinful nature. Sin has many ways of expressing itself.