Summary: This series will focus on the image that God has of us and how we can spend a lifetime trying to make His image of us a reality in our life.
Painting God’s Masterpiece
I have titled this series “Painting God’s Masterpiece.” My older brother Barry preached a sermon titled “Re-painting Your Canvas” and the idea for this sermon series is based on his original sermon. The foundational Scriptures for this message are found in the books of Genesis and Ephesians. Genesis 2:7 says: “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (soul).” Ephesians 2:10 states: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Before I go into the heart of this message, I want to focus your minds on three things from these verses. These three things will follow us throughout this series and I want to you to be listening for them in the weeks to come. The first thing I want you to notice and remember is that God made man. With other things that He created, He spoke them into being, but with man, He fashioned us (made/formed) us with His hands. The second point is that God made us after His image – meaning that we have some of His qualities within us and that when people see us, they should see Him. The third point is that when God made us, we were considered to be His workmanship. Please note that the Greek work for “workmanship” has the connotation “work of art”. So when God created us, we became His work of art. Please keep these three points in your thoughts as continue through this series as we will be building upon and elaborating on these points.
As I was working on this message, I was reminded of the instructions God gave me when He told me to start this Church. He instructed me to establish a place, a Church, where people are taught to develop and have their own personal relationship with Him. I was not to start this Church and have each of you so focused on me that you only felt connected to God is I was your intermediary. I was to point you to God and give you whatever tools I had to help you achieve that goal of having a personal relationship with Him. When we started I had an idea of why this was important, but the fullness of this request is really starting to hit home. We (Christians) are in a battle for our identity and we are suffering from a real identity crisis. Not only do we not fully accept who we are, but our identity is being tested daily by the society that believes whatever the majority accepts and believes is what everyone should do. Christians are becoming more and more confused as to whom they are and it is because of the lack of relationship they have with their Father. We do not identify with Him and if we do not identify with Him we cannot operate in those things which He has given us. This message in its entirety will focus on our identity crisis – just in a different way than you might expect. To establish where we are going in this series, let me quickly give you an illustration that will explain the title of this series “Painting God’s Masterpiece.”
Many of you are familiar with the painting “The Mona Lisa” which was painted by Leonardo da Vinci. What you may not know is that he started working on the painting in 1503 and after lingering on it for four years, left it unfinished. When he finally started working on it again in around 1516, he worked on it for another three years before completing the painting in 1519. So if you count the years that it took him to complete the painting it would be 16 years. If you count only the years that he worked on it, it would equal seven years. So let work with the seven years. As he was working on what would become one of his masterpieces, he was very meticulous. He had an image in his head that he was trying to capture on the canvas. After four years of focus, he took a break. Maybe he was just tired of working on the same painting, but before we accept that as a possibility, let me tell you a little more about him. Although he is recognized today as one of the best painters to ever live, here is what many do not know about him. Leonardo was also a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, sculptor, architect, musician, and writer. He had all of these other interests besides painting. He was so smart that he actually conceptualized a helicopter, a tank, solar power and a calculator and again he lived in the 16th century. I do not think he grew tired, I believe that he could not get what he envisioned in his mind to the canvas so he took a break until he could het it right. Imagine taking a seven year break from working on a project. Someone with his talents and gifts would not settle for just anything, it had to be perfect, it had to be right. My point with the history on his painting of the Mona Lisa is that he did not sit down and crank this out over a period of months. He put meticulous effort into this paint and he took his time because he wanted to make sure he captured on the canvas the image that he had in his head. Now consider this point. God made us in His image. We start out as a blank canvas with an image from God on it. However, we are required to finish the painting, to turn the image that we see imprinted on the canvas (which is our lives) into a reality. Sometimes, like Leonardo, we paint for years before we get the image right and sometimes there are those who never get it right. But let me share a dream that I had with you.