Summary: We get in ‘shape’ for God when we choose to accept ourselves as God’s greatest creation!

(Take video camera, that is patched into TV and ‘shoot’ the audience. Take time to focus on 6 persons and tell them by name, “__________, you are maavelous!”)

All of us are maavelous! All of us matter to God! All of us have a place of ministry in this church and in God’s Kingdom!

(overhead 1)If we are going to get into ‘shape’ for God then we must choose to accept ourselves as God’s greatest creation. And we accept ourselves as God’s greatest creation when we believe, accept, and live by three things that Paul told the Ephesian church in our text for this morning:

We are God’s Masterpiece

We are created anew in Christ Jesus

We are created to do good works

Each of these truths will change our lives for the better when we believe, accept, and live by them with the power and help of the Holy Spirit.

I have no doubt that some of you got very uncomfortable when I started panning us with the video camera this morning. You probably wanted to duck under the pew and hide. Why?

We have trouble accepting ourselves. We have played the comparison game for so long that we simply do not like what we see in the mirror. We are either too tall or too short. We are either too light or too heavy. We are either too blonde or too gray.

We have to stop doing this! All of us have room for improvement. (What do you think New Year’s resolutions are for?)

Show me a person who has confidence, not a cocky self-arrogance, but a wholesome confidence in who he or she is, and I will show you someone who will make a difference. That’s what God wants to develop in us. This is one of the ways that we get into shape for God. And we get in shape as we believe, accept, and live by the truth that we are God’s masterpiece.

Have you seen the show “Extreme Makeover” on ABC? That’s quite a show! How many of us here would like to have an extreme makeover? A tuck there. A lift there. (Here a tuck, there a tuck, everywhere a tuck, tuck.)

Sure, we have some parts that could use a make over. But, the most important make over is from the inside out.

Consider the following facts and thoughts about the human body:

An article in Sunshine Magazine reported on the efforts of some scientists who were asked “to determine the size, the cooling system, and the power required to perform electronically the same functions” [by a human brain] during [one person’s] lifetime.”

The article goes on to say, “They decided that if all the parts were transistorized and built on a miniature scale like those used in rockets to the moon, the following would be needed:

A machine the size of the UN building in New York; a cooling systems with an output equal to Niagara Falls; and a power source that would produce as much electricity as is used in homes and industry in the entire state of California.”

Someone has written about the human ear: “The inner ear has a keyboard with 15,000 different keys, because that is the number of different tones that can be detected. Not only does the ear perform the function of hearing, it acts to control equilibrium as well.”

King David said it well in Psalm 139:14, “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-and how well I know it.”

We are God’s workmanship. We are God’s masterpiece. And we begin to get in shape for God when we begin to believe, accept, and live out this truth.

We also get in shape for God when we believe, accept, and live out the truth that we are created anew in Christ Jesus. In our tradition we preach the necessity of personal salvation. Now, what does that mean?

It means that a person becomes a Christian not by membership or confirmation or baptism, but by making a personal confession of faith in Christ alone and accepting His forgiveness. Membership/confirmation and baptism, we teach and practice, comes as a result of our personal confession and acceptance. In other words, a salvation experience makes us a member of the church. So, if you have been saved, then you are a member of this church.

But, just a membership has its privileges, as the commercial says, it also has its responsibilities. And one of the most important is that we believe, accept, and live out the second truth about ourselves, “we are created anew in Christ Jesus.” But what did Paul mean by this statement?

Like a lot of things, the Christian faith has a terminology that sometimes prohibits further understanding and more important, belief and practice. It’s the same for other things as well. For example, the field of law enforcement has its “codes,” (code-10 for example) and its “signals” (such as signal 43) that are a part of its lingo.

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