For we are God’s masterpiece, God’s poem, God's masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God planned ahead of time.
Alright thank you very much. And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Doin’ Alright? This is your good friend, Bob Cook, I’m glad to be back with you. My heart is full of love to God and to you. And I’m grateful for this privilege of sharing from God’s Word, God’s inerrant, infallible, eternal Word, The Bible. Aren’t you glad we have the Bible? Have you thanked God for your Bible lately? Don’t take it for granted, there are some people in the world that would give a right arm, or what you want might say just to have a copy of the Word of God. There are some countries where they pass around one page of the Bible at a time because it’s so scarce and they treasure it. And people read it and then pass it along to their neighbors. So thank God for His Word and then obey it.
We’ll look at Ephesians Chapter 2, that’s where we’re walking around in these days. God’s purpose in giving us life and seating us with the Lord Jesus, His purpose is in order that – remember the little purpose word “hina”, in order that, “In the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace and His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus”. Now He says “Because”, verse 8, “for by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; not of works, lest any man should boast, for by grace are you saved through faith.” And this is not out of you”, little of – a little of word “Ex” meaning “out of yourself”. It is the gift of God, not from works; out of works, so that no one could boast. For we are His workmanship, we are His works, not of works, not out of our works, it’s His works. We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.
You do good things not in order to be saved but because you are saved. We’re God’s “poiema”, that’s our word “poem” or “masterpiece”. For we are God’s masterpiece, God’s poem, Gods masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God planned ahead of time. That we should walk in them, and the word “walk” is – is walk around, you know, walk around in them. That is your lifestyle should be one of good works.
Well, let’s go back and see what this says to us now. He says, “By grace”, now remember grace puts you right straight at the bottom of the ladder you had on, you don’t have anything to recommend you to God; “God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense”. Even the faith to believe God is part of his gracious provision. When you open your heart, the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.
And so He says, “By grace you’re saved through faith,” through believing God, “and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Now whether you construe it as being graces, the gift of God or the faith to believe Him as being the gift of God is immaterial to me at this point. I think you have to admit that every blessing, including the blessing in salvation that you and I enjoy, is part of God’s sovereign grace. Wouldn’t you, wouldn’t you agree with that? Well, if that be so then let’s not argue about which it is here. Let’s just realize that God says, “I love you and I want to save you whenever you’re willing to be saved.” It is the gift of God. Now He says, “Not out of works,” and He uses the little, the little article “ex”, E-X, which we use in English meaning “out of”, exit, way out. See? Not “out of” works, not out of works. But lest any man should boast for we are His workmanship.
Now, there’s the difference. A little 6-year old, did you ever make mud pies when you were a child? I can remember doing that. I can remember playing and making mud pies, I supposed I would have been about 3 or 4, something like that. By the time I was 6, I was playing next door to where we live in Cleveland, Ohio playing in the yard that was – was serviced by a garage that was there. And I would pick up all of these discarded old parts whenever they renewed the ignition points of the Model T. Remember the old Model T had four coils and each coil had a set of ignition points and they would corrode and you’d have to renew them? You recall that? Well, whenever they would renew those ignition points on the, on the coils on a Model T, they would throw them out and I would pick them up and they became my soldiers. I had a whole army of soldiers made up of Model T ignition points. (Laughs) Oh, yeah, play, play.
Well, mud pies, can you compare a child‘s mud pie with the real article made by mother? With that flaky crust that is just heavenly to bite into, and that filling that’s just perfect and it’s baked just to perfection? Can you compare it? No, you can’t. There isn’t any comparison. He says “not of our works”, not out of you, but out of God. See? We are His workmanship. God wants to give you the real thing, think about that with me for a minute. Will you, beloved?
We are so image conscious in our country and in our day and I think – although it’s a good thing to have a good image and you ought to think in terms of your impact to another people, you ought to guard your reputation jealously so that it is clean and untarnished. All of those things are true. But having said that, I think we pay far too much attention to how we’re going to come across to people, the image that we convey to folk. And we far – pay far too little attention, it would seem to me, to the real thing. You see because if you’re real inside it’s going to show outside anyway and you’re not going to have to worry about it.
So He says, “Not of – out of our works.” And you think of all the religious works that people do, I have seen people through the years who were so earnest and so busy doing good things in order to appear good. And they got to be a little pompous about it as a matter of fact. And the more they try to do good so they could tell about it, the more pompous they became until finally they looked utterly ridiculous. Not of works, not out of you. You see the problem is that anything we can do on our own is smudged with sin.
A friend of mine who is an evangelist gave the illustration of a little child who wanted to do something for daddy on a hot day and the child had been outdoors playing in the dirt that came in and thought, “It’s a hot day I’ll, I’ll bring daddy a, a cold drinking water”. So up on the kitchen stool, opened the, opened the cupboard to get out a glass and get down, turn on the water, two fingers inside the glass, one thumb outside the glass. See the picture? Fill it up with water, dirty hands and all and bring it to daddy.
Now, does he appreciate the gift and the motive? Well of course he does. Does he drink the water? Probably not. Why? Because there’s dirt on a good deed. So all of our works see, that’s the problem. Everything we do with good intent has been smudged with sin, not out of works. You can’t be saved that way. Why? Because it’s dirty, that’s why.
Oh, you’ll say, “Well, now, there’s a lot of good people in the world, Mr. Cook, are you going to throw them all out?” No, I’m not throwing them all out. I’m simply saying that the best you can do short of salvation through Jesus is not good enough for a Holy God—not out of works. God is not going to let anybody say, “I made it on my own.” You see that song that – that Frankie Sinatra and the rest of them saying, “I Did It My Way,” so proud “I did it my way.” God is not going to let you do that at the judgment, mister. It isn’t going to work that way. “Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
He wants you do it His way and He says, “We are His workmanship,” created. See what God does is, is a matter of life not effort, it’s a matter of divine life put into you. We are created in Christ Jesus unto good works. You do good things not in order to be saved but because you are saved. Good works turn out to be a byproduct of the divine work of salvation in your life.
Here’s the difference. How many people have been through this in the years past? A man who is a drunkard who used to abuse his family and beat his wife and abuse his children and spends all his paycheck on liquor so that they were in the extreme drags of poverty all the time. And then he gave his heart to the Lord Jesus Christ as he dropped in, not really meaning to, but just almost by accident went in to a rescue mission was saved. Now he comes home sober, now he opens his arms and the children ran to him rather than running away from him. Now, he provides food and clothing for them instead of spending all his money on drink. And now he’s kind instead of abusive.
What happened? Jesus created new life that resulted in new good works. You see the point there? We’re His workmanship, and Paul uses that beautiful Greek word “poiema” which – which you could transliterate “poem”. We get it and get our English word poem from that root. But it also means “masterpiece”. You’re God’s masterpiece. God has done a wonderful thing in you by saving you and He wants to show you off throughout all eternity. To be able to say to angels, and to demons, and anybody else in all of the universe. Look what God’s grace can do. We are His workmanship.
Now, He says in verse 11, “You better remember that, you being in times past Gentiles in the flesh who are called Uncircumcision, at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who sometime were far off are made nigh of the blood of Christ.”
Now, I’m a Gentile, my father’s people came from East Munich and my mother’s people came from Scotland and Ireland, I think that’s the mix. So I’m a Gentile. But I’m in, I just, I just read the passage that says I’m in there, I’m no longer an alien, and a stranger, and without hope because I’ve been created in Christ Jesus. He is, verse 14, “our peace”, he broke down the middle wall of partition between us. Yes, thank God, you are in, the covenant of God’s promise forever and forever because of the Lord Jesus. And we’ll come back to this passage and walk around in it some more the next time we get together.
Precious Father, today, thank you for saving us. Thank you for putting us in your covenants of promise with Jesus. Help us to walk worthy of Him today. I ask in His name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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