Summary: When we gave our lives to Jesus that wasn’t the end of it. God is not finished working on us; we each are masterpieces in the works.
Each of you was given a piece a paper and a pencil as you entered the sanctuary this morning. Don’t worry; I am not giving a test. But I am going to ask each of you to make a masterpiece this morning. I have asked ______ to volunteer for us today, to be our living model. Your task is to create a masterpiece- quality pencil drawing of our model. As you can see, our original is a wonderful example of God’s creation. With a fine model like this, you should be able to draw your masterpiece in no time at all. Is everyone ready? Ok, Go!
(Note to Self) Tell them to stop after a minute and collect the drawings. Look through them and make some comments.
Now some of you may feel that I rushed things and didn’t give you enough time to complete you masterpiece. Maybe for some of you, it takes more than n a quick minute or so to complete a masterpiece drawing and you are thinking to yourself, “Pastor, why didn’t you just give me more time? Why weren’t you more patient with me? I wasn’t finished yet!”
In Paul’s letter to Philippi, he tells them to have faith in knowing that God is not finished with them, not until they are with Jesus.
Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
How many of you have seen the bumper sticker that says, "Be patient with me. God isn’t finished with me yet"? I believe the statement should be, "Be patient with God, He isn’t finished with me yet."
The reality is that we’re all in process when it comes to our spiritual lives. And we need to be patient as this process continues.
Illustration: I have not worked out much since I left the Army. I have really enjoyed the break. Army P.T. was hard work and we did it all the time, even during our deployment Iraq. The Army was so focused on staying fit and reaching new goals physically. So when I left the Army I saw my chance to lay back and relax.
But it wasn’t until last year or so until I realized how very far I let myself go. I found myself looking at some Army pictures of myself and I was shocked to see how I let myself go physically.
I had no idea I was hurting myself, I didn’t notice the slow separation from being fit to being non-fit. I now can understand why the Army was so determined in making us work out every day.
Just as our physical development is effected by what we do and don’t do, our spiritual progress is affected the same way. It’s harder to identify habits and attitudes that are changing, more difficult to track our progress. Some of us don’t even realize how far we have let ourselves go.
I have heard some Christians blame their spiritual downfall on all sorts of things:
- “It’s the preacher’s fault that I have become complacent in my Christian walk, he doesn’t preach on the things I know I need to hear.”
- “It’s that churches fault, they are all hypocrites and I can’t grow there.”
- “I am too busy with work and life to grow stronger spiritually.”
What it really is. Is that we have just become lazy and we play the blame game very well.
We seem to stall in the spiritual life, and when that happens we feel stuck. We’re no longer feeling closer to God, no longer seeing God transform our habits and attitudes, no longer hopeful and optimistic that things will change. When that happens, we’re tempted to think that God has given up on us.
But the truth of it is that we have given up on God. We have placed limits on God and on all that He can do in our lives. We have a difficult time realizing how we have become the problem rather than how everything else has become the problem.
God’s promise to us is that He will never give up on us nor will he forsake us.
We read in Hebrews 13:5that God tells us “…Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Isn’t that comforting to know? God will never leave us,
I.GOD NEVER GIVES UP!
A.How many of us have unfinished projects that we began with well-meaning intentions of completing them?
Illustration: Rick Warren writes: We humans are great starters but often bad finishers. We leave unfinished symphonies, unfinished buildings, unfinished books, unfinished projects. We may not always finish what we start but God always finishes what He starts.
God doesn’t create a bird and give him half a wing. He doesn’t create an unfinished flower or an unfinished star. He puts the finishing touches on everything He does and then He says, “It is good.”