You’re a Masterpiece in the Making, Part 1
If you could ask God for an extreme makeover in your life, what would you want it to look like? Join Chip as he begins this series with the encouragement that God has specifically designed you as a unique masterpiece.
Let me give you a definition of what I think an extreme makeover is. It is the process of taking something that is old, broken, imperfect, damaged or not useful and recreating it into something that is whole, useful, beautiful, attractive and new.
And then I asked, “Well, what is it about something that’s old that’s made new, something that’s broken and made whole, something that isn’t right and then is made beautiful and useful, what is it about that that really attracts us?”
And there may be a lot of reasons but let me give you my top three. The first is I think we all inwardly love to see positive change. In my human heart I love to see positive change. Remember even as a kid, you know, when I was a kid when I found a penny I thought it was really cool and we had this stuff where you could rub stuff on an old yicky penny and it would become a bright shiny penny and it’d be like, “Woo.” I mean, what is that? There’s something about seeing positive change that is so exciting for all of us as human beings.
The second reason is I think our curiosity is riveted by the skill and creativity involved in making the old new and the broken whole and taking that which was unbeautiful and then making it beautiful.
I mean, the curiosity, I looked at this Extreme Makeover thing and I was asking myself, “How do they knock out a whole wall? That house doesn’t look big enough to have two stories now.” In fact, people are so curious here’s what I learned, they now have a Monday night show that’s after the Sunday night show and the Monday night show is called, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, How Did We Do That?” People were so curious they want to know, “Hey, we saw what you did, how did you do it?”
And I do have to confess, I mean, just my human curiosity, when I saw that lady in the before picture and then the after picture I was fascinated by how they did that. It was kind of sad but it was like, “They broke her jaw and then they cut this off and then they sucked that out and then they – okay.” But I mean, it was interesting. There’s something about me that is curious about how change occurs.
The third reason I think that we’re fascinated by extreme makeovers is this, I think all of us secretly long for an extreme makeover in some area of our lives or relationships. See, I’m just like you and I think down deep in my heart and down deep in your heart is I long, “Boy, I’d like to be different.”
I’d like to take something old in me and make it new. I’d like to take a broken relationship and see it whole. I want to see positive change. And, you know what? Rather than feeling bad about that I think it’s God-given. I think it’s rooted in the spiritual DNA of your Creator, in your heart, in your life that you want an extreme makeover.
Because I’m gonna suggest that the ultimate extreme makeover is Jesus Christ working in a human heart and taking that which was old and make it new. Jesus Christ working in a human heart and taking that which is broken and fixing it. Taking that which is unuseful and dysfunctional and making it useful and functional and winsome and beautiful.
In fact, I believe our fascination with makeovers is rooted in the author of extreme makeovers himself, the ultimate extreme makeover is in Corinthians 5:17, it says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
God’s desire, listen to this, God’s desire, the one who created all that there is, the one that created you, His desire is to do an extreme makeover for every single person on this planet, an extreme makeover.
You know, as fascinated as I was with the woman Before picture, After picture, as amazing as it was to see the house look like this and then the house look like this, God wants to do a relational, spiritual, emotional, internal, forever transformation in every man, every woman, every child. He wants to do a recreation. He wants to take the old and put it away. He wants something new to come in. He wants an open door in your heart and life and a relationship with Christ that gives you new desires and a new future and a new purpose and a new life and a new piece.
And he wants to take the old and forgive and he wants to take the old and he wants to cleanse and he wants to put your past behind you. God wants to do an extreme makeover in your life and mine and the way He does it is though his son, Jesus.
Now, what I’d like to do, are you ready for a little analysis? I’d like you to open your Bibles to the book of Ephesians and I want to spend a little time and ask ourselves, “How does it work?” Okay? If we were doing Extreme Makeover with God, we’d say, “How’d he do that? How’d he do that?” And in the book of Ephesians we’re gonna learn exactly how he did that.
Let’s begin in Chapter 2 and notice who you used to be. Over here is the Before picture and in a minute we’ll see the After picture. The first three verses of Ephesians 2 is gonna give you the Before. Before the spiritual plastic surgery, before they came in and knocked out the drywall and put in the second floor. Notice what it says, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
All of us,” no exceptions, “also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.”
Now, we could spend a lot of time studying this but I can give you three quick observations about how you used to be before Christ or where you are at if you don’t know Him personally.
Number one, it says we were dead in our transgressions. Theologically that just means we are separated from a life with God. We are separated from God. There is a wall, there’s a barrier, we are separated from a relationship with the God who made us.
Second, you’ll notice we’re prisoners of the world’s system. The ruler of the power of the air. We’re prisoners to addictions, we’re prisoners to dysfunctional relationships, we’re prisoners to being addicted to pleasing people.
And then finally, notice it says that we’re objects of wrath. There is just judgement for living in a way that hurts people, the stealing and the lying and the manipulation and the image casting and the things that we all have done.
And God says, “This is who you used to be. You used to be dead. You used to be a prisoner. You used to be an object of wrath.” But notice it gets really good, notice who are you now. For those that have a personal relationship with God by faith in Jesus Christ, picking it up at Verse 4, what’s it say?
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” And then notice what He did, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”
And if you had a lot of time to study that you would realize some major changes occurred. You used to be dead, now you are alive. You used to be a prisoner, now you’re delivered from sin’s power, Satan’s grip and past mistakes.
You used to be an object of wrath and now you have a new standing with God. You are righteous, you’re cleansed, you have a new identity, you have new power, you have a new future, a new purpose, a new family, new privileges, and then very excitingly you have a new inheritance.
Before and After. And then you ask yourself, “Well, why? Why did God do that?” Look at verses 7-9. In verse 7 notice the purpose clause here. “In order that in the coming ages He,” God, “might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” And then we get a very familiar passage, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by your works,” not by your effort, extreme makeover’s are done by God not by you, “let any man should boast.”
God wants to do an extreme makeover in your life and mine and the reason he wants to do it is so that we could see the riches of the kindness of His grace demonstrated in Christ. We could see – here’s a person’s life, instead of a physical body going from a size 38 dress to a size 12, instead of a shabby house going into a beautiful palace, he’s saying here’s an old life in Adam in an old family with sinful patterns that brought destruction to you and alienation from God because of what Christ has done.
He wants to do an extreme makeover beginning in your heart and change the way you think, change the way you act, change your standing with God, change your relationships with people. And the reason he wants to do it, did you notice this? It says so that in successive ages, that’s the idea, in time of history God would exhibit that which is really like to men and women and angels.
See, when that lady came down the stairs I still remember her daughter, you know, they panned the camera real close and I’m telling you, she looked different, I mean, she looked so different that when she came down her daughter went, “Ohhhh, Mom, is that you?” When those people walked into the house and they saw that bedroom instead of the old one, when they saw the living room and the kitchen, “And we can eat together as a family!” The kids had tears in their eyes, “Is this our house?”
And what’s behind that? It’s a sense of awe, it’s a jaw dropping, that was so bad and this is so good and what do they do? Then they turn to the people who recreated the house with a sense of, “Thank you so much.” And see what God is about for everyone that will let Him, He is about doing something in you that takes who you were and changes it though the power of Christ into this new creature and this new person that if you would meet someone 10 years later who maybe you went to school with or maybe you used to do drugs with or maybe you used to run with or maybe you did some stuff back in junior high with, if they could see you and your life and your relationships they would go, “Ohhh, Bobby, is that you?”
I actually had this experience. We were in San Diego and we were doing what we call a President’s Council and it’s a conference we do for “Walk Though the Bible” and there was a fellow there that I played basketball with in high school and he went on to play in one college and I went on to play at another and he was a couple years behind me. And we were a couple high school guys, both non-Christians, both kind of living the high school life in the ‘70s.
And I came to Christ, lost track of him for 25 years, he later went though some hard times, came to Christ and who got on the Internet and somewhere saw my name and put it on the Internet and “Walk Though the Bible” came up, looked at our website, found what we were doing, emailed somebody. So it’s a new member’s thing and we’re kind of saying, “Hi, it’s good to have you.” And I look at the first row and I’m going – I literally stopped, “Phil, is that you?” “Yeah, Chip is that you?” “Yeah.” And it was kind of like we knew our history. “What are you doing here?”
You know? And he looked at me and I looked at him, “God did an extreme makeover on you, didn’t he?” And God did an extreme makeover on me. Let me give you one picture that I think will capsulate it. There is a fellow named Jim, became a very good friend, and his Before life was one of lived in Alaska, made a lot of trips to Mexico and then did business throughout California and his business was cocaine.
And he was a cocaine addict and he was an alcoholic and his family was falling apart and he was running for his life and he had his messed up life – all of his kids had already gone south, anything you can imagine in terms – he was a spiritual junkyard. His life, his relationships, his body, years and years of cocaine pushing and use and alcoholism and then God gloriously started the extreme makeover process and he came to Christ in Alaska and he realized, “You know something? If I stay living up here this is not gonna be good.”
So he ends up coming down to Northern California, he’s a new believer, he doesn’t know much and it was about his third or fourth week and so, you know, he was living the high life but he kind of went incognito and he became the janitor at a local high school and just trying to stay sober and getting a little bit of help and starting to read the Bible a little bit, and his name was Jim.
And we were early on, the first couple years there at the church and we were in this kind of old building and my wife had started a little library, just a little hole in the wall, and I still – in my minds eye I can still remember he and his wife, and it was in between services and I kind of like – he goes, “Hey, Theresa, how you doin’?” You know?
And so this couple is there and there was just something about them that sort of reeked, “Would somebody help me? Does anybody care about me?” It was like our first time at church and my wife is very merciful, which is really good because I need that and it’s good for other people, too. And she just invited them in and we had a little conversation and before long – they came to the library for a few weeks, and before long she was meeting with the lady and talking with her and before long I hear his story.
And if you fast forward the camera, we watched this guy within a couple years he became our custodian and within about three years he was in a back portable meeting with two or three alcoholics trying to get them sober and they showed up about once every other week and he was pretty frustrated.
But little by little by little the extreme makeover in the community of God’s people and as he heard God’s word go into his heart and his mind and he got very serious about getting it into his heart and now he was in a safe place and he got in a small group in our church and Joe was the counselor, the Family Pastor and really invested in this guy and pretty soon he wanted to know, “What does God want me to do with my life?”
And what he was doing wasn’t working and he heard about this thing down in Southern California called, “Celebrate Recovery” and so he said, “I’d like to go down there and I found three or four other addicts in our church and we want to go down there and see what it’s like.” So we threw very little money at it. I mean, very little like, “Dream a dream, find a team.” That was sort of the goal of – that’s how we did our church and then figure out how to pay for it, you know?
So they went down to Southern California and they saw it and they came back and all I can tell you is a janitor who was rescued by Christ in an extreme makeover after about three years came back with a team of three or four people and a year and a half later we had the second largest Celebrate Recovery ministry in all of Northern California.
And pretty soon Friday nights were, I mean, it got out. And someone – I remember a guy came up to me after a service and said, “Man, I had a rough night last night and you know, that little cable station you were on it and I watched you on TV so I thought I’d come.” I said, “Well, great.” He said, “Yeah, man, it was really bad.” And I’m thinking he’s got a hangover and said, “Yeah, I almost really lost it.”
I said, “Well, what do you mean?” He said, “What do you mean, man? Like I almost OD’d on heroine.” And I’m going – have you ever had one of those times where you’re really supposed to know what you’re doing so don’t act shocked, be very calm? My insides were going, “Heroine, man. I don’t know what I -,” You know, he’s asking me for help after the service and I’m realizing so – but I didn’t show any of that. I was, “Oh, well, good I’m glad you made it though the night and God brought you here.” And then I just, “Jim.” I said, “Could you stay right here?” And I went and got Jim.
I watched them talk for about four minutes, he looked the guy right in the eye and said, “You ready to get help or not?” I mean, I’m thinking, “Jim, why don’t you be nicer to this guy?” Jim understood the thing, “You want help or not?” And I mean they were just so direct and the guy said, “Yeah, I really do.” He said, “You really do this is what it’s gonna take.” He said, “We don’t play games here. We’re really love you, we’ll speak the truth, this is what –“
And, you know what? I watched that thing mushroom and grow and grow and after a while Jim realized that his calling and his gifts were leading him. And there was a Christian college, and even though I’m not sure, I don’t think he ever went to undergraduate but they let him in. He took about a year and a half or two year program in drug counseling. Jim because our Pastor of Celebrate Recovery and he now speaks around the country teamed up with that church in Southern California.
Is this like an extreme makeover or what? Is this like a Before, dead in his transgressions, prisoner and now he is alive, free, living? Jim’s life is not just a picture of Ephesians Chapter 2:1-9, Jim’s life is just a snapshot of what God wants to do in you.
He wants to do it in every single person. And you say, “Well, where do you get that?” Look at Verse 10, here’s what I want you to see; you are a masterpiece in the making. Look at Verse 10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
You are his masterpiece. Jim isn’t some special guy, every person on the earth, what’s that say, “If any man,” if any woman, “is in Christ,” what’s it say? “The old things pass away, all things,” notice it’s a process to become new. Now here’s what I want you to do. Do you have a pen? Pull out your pen. I want you to circle the word workmanship, then I want you to put a little squiggly line under, “created in Christ Jesus” and then I want you to put a box around, “to do good works.”
“For you are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus” for a purpose, “to do good works,” then notice, “which God prepared in advance for you to do.” God wants to give us an extreme makeover. He wants to give you a second chance.
Have you ever, some of you guys, have you ever been shooting foul shots or shooting darts with someone and you make a little bet? I’m sure you’ve probably never done this but just in your former days or something, and, you know, you’re not quite warmed up and you shoot one and you miss it and you say, “Redo, redo.” Right? I mean, if you want to have good competition, I mean, “I wasn’t loose. I’m gonna get loose.” Right? “I want a second chance. I want a redo. I want to start over.”
Don’t we all want a redo? You know what God’s saying though this passage? He wants to give you a redo. He wants to give you a second chance. He wants to give you a new life. This little phrase, “You are his workmanship.” The Greek word here literally it’s the picture of a masterpiece in the making that’s in progress. You could picture a beautiful piece of art and you’re the canvas and God is painting and reworking and recreating and you’re on his easel and you are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus.
Or you could see it as a sculptor and He’s resculpting your life and He’s taking the clay of who you are and He’s forming the different parts and He is making you – you are his workmanship.
Or you could be a literary work; this word was used of a poem or a literary work that it was in progress. You are the workmanship of God. He’s recreating you, how, though your relationship in Christ. Why? For the purpose of good works, doing good. God has a purpose for your life. Don’t we know that now?
I mean, if 23 million people buy a book to discover what their purpose is don’t you think there’s something down deep in the heart of men and women that say, “I want to have purpose.” God says He has a purpose for you to do good works. Did you notice the little phrase, literally that we’re preordained for you to do. Before the foundations of the earth God knows you and he loves you. He understands you, He cares about you, He wants to save you, He wants to put away the old, have you have a relationship with Christ, demonstrate the kindness of who He is, the love of who He is, the wisdom of who He is and then what he wants to do is He wants to take you and take you on this extreme makeover process where your life is beautiful and winsome and loving and kind instead of the way it used to be.
And then He has a special set of good deeds, good works, good purposes that you’re designed for. And we’re gonna learn in a minute He actually will gift you or give you the tools so you can fulfill what He wants you to do.
Anybody have any idea what the good works Jim was preordained to do, my friend Jim? It’s pretty simple, isn’t it? God preordained that He would rescue him, then gift him, restore him, so he could reach into, you know, what, first it was drug addicts, then it was alcoholics, then it was sex offenders, then it was codependents. Our Celebrate Recovery it just kept mushrooming. Anyone who had an addiction, his good works were to allow the love and the grace of Christ to be poured out though his life and his team for that to happen.
And here’s what I want you to know, God wants to do that in you. That’s God’s plan for you. You are a masterpiece, you are special, you are a work in progress.
You’re a Masterpiece in the Making, Part 1
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