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Summary: We are becoming a masterpiece in the hands of the Master Potter. I have translated Ephesians 2:10 and focus on Jeremiah’s potter pericope: Potter, Clay, Wheel, Water & Kiln.

His Masterpiece

(Ephesians 2:8-10; Jeremiah 18:1-6; Genesis 2:6, 7; Isaiah 45:9, 64:8; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 11:1)

Text: Ephesians 2:8-10

“By grace you are saved through the faith and this {is} not of yourselves {it is) God’s gift not of

gar xariti este sesoswmenoi dia tas pisteos kai touto ouk ex umon theou to doron ouk ex

works that not anyone might boast. His for we are masterpiece being created in Christ of Jesus

ergon hina ma tis kauxasatai Autou gar esmen poiema ktisthentes en Xpristo Iasou

for works good which beforehand prepared God that in them we should walk.”

epi ergois agathois ois proatoimasen theos hina en autois peripatasomen.

Introduction

This is a very familiar passage to most of you. I have translated (Don’s translation) it for you today to add some color to our Bible’s pages. This topic has been the center of discussions for hundreds of years within the Christian Church. Are we saved by grace? Are we saved by faith? Are we saved by works? Are we saved by any combination of grace, faith or works? Therefore, I want to focus on verse 10 (the highlighted passage) to perhaps shed some light on this important doctrine.

Translation

Verses 8 & 9 are generally translated in our English Bibles very close to what I demonstrated above…the only difference I see is where I have included the definite article before the word faith in verse 8. Remember, I define faith as Action based on Belief sustained by Confidence (the ABCs of Faith). I do know the writer of the Book of Hebrews says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen” or “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV & NIV) and I believe my definition reflects the essence of this passage.

Let us now look at verse 10. “For we are HIS {workmanship} being created in Christ Jesus for good works…” I want to stop here and focus on the word, “poiema.” Poiema in most of our English Bibles is translated as workmanship, but the LXX (Septuagint: O.T. Greek) uses forms of this word in Jeremiah and Isaiah referring to the work of a ceramic artisan, i.e., potter.

Jeremiah 18:2-3, “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I shall announce My words to you. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel.”

God tells Jeremiah to head over to the pottery maker’s house because He wants to share something with him. When Jeremiah arrives he sees the potter hard at work making something (poiema). Has anyone ever worked with ceramics before? I took ceramics in high school and know exactly what Jeremiah saw.

Illustration

At the beginning of class one day, Mr. Addotta, our art teacher gave each student three blocks of clay. He gathered us around him as he demonstrated how to work the clay on a potter’s wheel. He placed the clay in the center of the work surface, added some water and began to pump the foot activated device to make the work surface spin. He gently placed his hands on the clay and began to transform the block of clay into a beautiful bowl.

Now it was our chance to use the wheel. I sat down on the stool and began to pump the turning device faster and fast until whoosh…my clay flew across the room and hit the student next to me. There went one block of clay…now I understood why he gave us three blocks. It wasn’t as easy as it looked. One’s hands need to be sure and gentle. Just the correct amount of water is needed to lubricate and mold the clay. Once the piece was completed it was placed in a kiln to dry over night.

There are five elements needed to make a beautiful piece of pottery:

1. Potter

2. Clay

3. Wheel

4. Water

5. Kiln

I. The Potter

The potter on our journey this morning represents God. He is the Master Potter. He is the author of creativity. Look at the world around us…only God could have imagined and created such beauty. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present, never changing; He loves you and has called you by name. By His word all things were created, “Let there be!” Your steps are order by the Lord (Proverbs 20:24). It is God’s desire to have a relationship with His creation…with you…and He longs for you to surrender to His touch. God causes ALL things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28). He is the author and finisher of our faith! (Hebrews 12:2). Paul writes to the Philippian church, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Let Him have His way!

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