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Summary: God is at work in our lives so that we may become more and more like Jesus... accomplishing his will in us and through us.

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Title: The Making of a Masterpiece Part 2

Text: Philippians 1:6

Thesis: God is at work in our lives so that we may become more and more like Jesus…accomplishing his will in us and through us.

Series: Belonging, Believing and Becoming

I invite you to journey with us as people who value:

• Belonging to a caring faith community. (Making everyone welcome and cared for…)

• Believing the truth of God’s Word. (The Written and Living Word of God…)

• Becoming more like Jesus Christ.

Introduction

Last week I spoke of Michelangelo and his work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I spoke of how just as Michelangelo envisioned what the finished fresco would look like, God envisioned how we, as his masterpieces, would look upon completion. God envisioned that each and every follower of Jesus Christ would be conformed to the image of Jesus.

Today we will look at how that conformity happens.

Some say that Michelangelo’s monumental achievement is the Pieta… a statue of Jesus and his mother Mary.

The Pieta was commissioned in 1498 and for that sculpture Michelangelo searched quarries for just the right type of stone. It is said that he spent months selecting the marble and oversaw its extraction and arranged for its transportation to his studio.

When the cube of marble arrived he went to work… for two years he labored over it. He chiseled away in the sweltering heat of summer and the shivering cold of winter. The overall structure, down to the smallest detail is a work of unsurpassed craftsmanship and beauty.

The sculptor begins with a pitching chisel to knock-off the unwanted chunks of marble. Then the sculptor uses a tooth chisel and then moves to rasps and rifflers and rough abrasives and finally smooth abrasives to bring the piece to perfection.

Similarly God is at work in all things chiseling and rasping and sanding away to transform our character into conformity with Jesus.

So we, as God’s masterpieces, might see ourselves as pieces of marble and God as the sculptor shaping us into the image of Jesus.

II. God’s work “in” us

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finished on the day that Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

There are three things that immediately jump out in my understanding of the nature of God’s work in us.

A. God’s work in us has a beginning and an ending

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finished on the day that Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

William Barclay points out that the two words used to describe God’s beginning and finishing work in our lives are words used in a Greek sacrificial ritual.

• A torch was lit from the fire on the altar and dipped into a bowl of water… cleansing the water.

• The purified water was then sprinkled on the sacrifice and the people to make them clean.

• A sacred silence during which the worshipper offered prayers to god.


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