(A Masterpiece with a Master Plan)
Study Guide, July 11, 2021
Pastor Clay Olsen
We have been thoroughly enjoying working our way through The Chosen film series in our Wednesday Night summer series. They are great. There theme verse is Isa 43:1- “But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!” NASU
There are so many things that we could talk about from just this one verse, but let’s first just marvel over a few wondrous realities about God as our Creator, and then about us as His creation. Let’s just do a bit of a reality check on the world around us and also the world within us that God created. What do we mean?
Well, first…the more that is learned about the heavens above us, the more it leaves us stunned over our Creator. Like, I still marvel over how God made that giant planet Jupiter to serve as the Solar Vacuum cleaner for the Earth. Jupiter vacuums up the space debris that would otherwise smash into the Earth. How did that symbiotic order evolve? Right! It didn’t! God created it to do that! Then there is this that they just recently discovered about the planet Neptune. Sometimes we read about all the precious gems that will outline the New Jerusalem and we wonder how that many natural riches could be so commonplace? Well, Ladies, if you have a diamond on your ring…take a look at it. Beautiful, right? Diamonds are both beautiful and expensive, since they are rare gems on our planet. But on Planet Neptune, they have discovered that there are diamond deposits, get this…the size of large icebergs found on its surface! That’s right…iceberg size diamonds! You can make a lot of rings from just one diamond iceberg! So, yes, God has a lot of precious gems available for building His New Jerusalem.
And then there is a really strange feature about Venus. Of course, Venus is often called both the Morning Star and the Evening Star, since it is the brightest of the planets and usually the first so-called star you see at night and the last one in the morning. But, aside from its brightness, Venus is also unusual because on this planet, its ‘day’ is longer than its ‘year’. It takes 243 normal days for Venus to do a complete rotation, but it only takes 224 days for it to make a complete revolution around the Sun. Therefore, its ‘day’ is longer than its ‘year’. Pretty fun fact!
Now, just a few fun facts about how God created us. Consider just the human body itself! Do you know how many times a day your heart beats? It beats around 100,000 times a day! And your heart pumps the equivalent of about 2000 gallons of blood through your body each day. No wonder we are so tired at night!
And how about this? You know all of those blood vessels that you have in your body? If you were to unwind and connect all the blood vessels in a human body, you could circle the Earth three times with it! And speaking of stretching…each cell in your body has about 6 feet of DNA. And since the human body has around 10 trillion cells, that means that you have about 10 billion miles of DNA inside of you…and if you stretched that out it would reach to the Sun and back…61 times!
But this next statistic is really mind blowing…because it is about our mind, or the human brain. Get ready to feel really smart: The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. It includes 40 million catalogued books. Now, are you ready for this? The human brain can store over 4 billion books! Don’t you feel smarter already? Of course, the Bible is the central Book that we are to transfer into our mind…so that it can transform our life.
And the thing is, our Creator God came up with all of this in creating us? No wonder the Psalmist said: Ps 139:13-14- “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.” NASU
So every person is created by God and each person is an amazing creation. What would you call such a creation? Or rather, what does God call each one of us? We have looked at it before, but let’s look at it again…it’s from Eph 2:10- “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” NLT Masterpiece! We would think that the Sun, Moon, and Stars…and even the Earth itself would be God’s masterpieces. But nope! Now, the Sun, Moon, and Stars and even the millions of Galaxies that God created are really amazing, but they are called something else: They are called ‘God’s handiwork’. Just God’s handiwork! But you and I are God’s ‘masterpieces’! The Galaxies are just His ‘handiwork’. It’s like God had a little time on His hands, so He created the Sun, Moon, and Stars…Not really, for they, too, were all created according to His purposes as well, but the point is that all God had to do to create them is to speak them into existence…the Psalmist said:
Ps 33:6- “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host.” NASU It’s like you hear about the Big Bang bringing the Universe into being….No, the Psalmist reveals that it was ‘The Big Breath!” Not the Big Bang, but the Big Breath…by the breath of God…He spoke the heavens and earth into being.
But now get this: When it came to you and to me…now God took His time and really got creative, and wove, and knitted, and carefully formed us. So notice again what the Psalmist says to God about that: Ps 139:13-18- “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!” NLT
And here the Psalmist is not talking about how much he thinks about God; he is talking about how much God is thinking about him! God’s thoughts about us are more in number than the grains of sand! It’s like looking at all the sand on the beach. There’s a lot of sand there!
Sometime just pick up a handful of sand, and as you slowly let it out of your hand, just think: “God is thinking about me with more thoughts about me than there are grains of sand falling out of my hand!” Yes, God occupies His time by thinking about us; by thinking about you. Are you feeling special yet?
Again, sure the Sun, Moon, and Stars, and Earth and everything else in the Universe is pretty great…but you….you are God’s masterpiece! You and I are God’s ultimate created work…God’s best workmanship. But here’s the deal…God is not finished with us yet! And that, friends, is what life is all about…remember – “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”
We could put it this way: There are two works that God wants to complete in each of us. One is already completed, and the other is in the process of being completed…or least we are to be working on what is to be being completed. Let’s clear that up here…In the book of Colossians there are two kinds of completion pointed out about us. Notice the first one: Col 2:9-10- “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.” NASU And once more in the NLT: Col 2:9-10- “For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.”
This is what we celebrate in the sharing of the Lord’s Supper…that through the offering of our Lord’s sinless life as the complete sacrifice for our sin, that we can become completely forgiven and completely made righteous and completely united in an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ. No more worrying if we have done enough to become right with God, or troubled about what we have done that made us not right with God, or insecure about if we are right with God…No, because through turning to the Lord as our God and trusting in Jesus to be our Savior, we are both forgiven of the debt of our sin and are made right with God through our union with Jesus. We are made complete through our union with Christ.
I remember a very striking statement in one of the episodes of The Chosen. A Pharisee came into the room where Nicodemus was teaching and said to him: “Rabbi, you make us whole.” And Nicodemus said: “Only God can do that!” That is right! Only God can make us whole…only God can complete us…make us become saved and secure sons and daughters of God. Actually, later on Nicodemus would find out himself just how God makes us whole, or how God completes us as His own children when he learns how a person becomes ‘Born Again’ into God’s own family.
Several episodes into The Chosen series there is a great scene when Jesus explains to Nicodemus the truth that a person must be ‘Born Again’ to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It is really powerful. Here is a Teacher of the Law, and Nicodemus is a really super nice guy, and has been doing a lot of good things for others, but Jesus tells him that his true need is to be spiritually Born Again. That’s because everyone has sinned against God, and our sin separated us from God. But through Jesus’s giving His life as a sacrifice for our sin, and through trusting in Jesus to be our Savior we can now each be forgiven and then given a new spiritual life in union with Jesus’ own life.
And when we are Born Again, we are then complete in our relationship with God…there is nothing more to be done to become a saved child of God, since Jesus paid it all and completed what was needed for us to become His sons and daughters forever.
So now, since you are complete in ‘who you are in Christ’, now you are to become complete in who you are for Christ! What do we mean by that? That’s the second ‘completion’ that is revealed to us in Col 1:28-29- “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” NASU And once more in the ERV: Col 1:28-29- “So we continue to tell people about Christ. We use all wisdom to counsel every person and teach every person. We are trying to bring everyone before God as people who have grown to be spiritually mature in Christ. To do this, I work and struggle using the great strength that Christ gives me. That strength is working in my life.”
There it is: Since there is nothing more to be done in being assured that by trusting in Jesus as our Savior that we are a saved child of God, we can now turn our attention to the things that do need to be done in our service to God as a saved child of God. In other words, now we see the purposes or the plan that God has for the masterpieces He created. Or, you are each a ‘Masterpiece’ with a ‘Master Plan’. That has a pretty good ring to it, doesn’t it? You are a Masterpiece with a Master Plan! Are you feeling significant yet? You are already complete and significant in ‘who you are’…a saved child of God, so now you are to give yourself to the work of completing the significant plan God has for your life!
So what’s the plan? That is what we are to be asking and finding out more about the rest of our lives. As in, “Lord, what is Your plan for me today?” And how like our God to even simplify that for us! So now that we are already complete in our relationship with Christ, we can now turn our attention to focusing on completing our service for Christ; or focus on working out God’s Master Plan for our lives. Or, as Jesus said: “You shall worship and serve the Lord your God, only.” So really, there are simply two things that you and I are to focus on every day: ‘Worshiping and Serving the Lord our God.’ And we worship God foremost by seeking to become more like our God. And we serve God by serving others.
Therefore, seek to worship God by seeking to become more like God every day, more like Jesus day by day in your character and in your conduct. That is to be our goal each day. That is our ‘worship’ to God.
And then seek to serve God each day by serving others. Years ago there was a popular wrist band that many Christians wore…it was great… ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ As in, how would Jesus treat others…how would Jesus talk to others…how would Jesus serve others? Just focus on doing more of that, day after day, and you will find yourself completing the plans that God planned for you to do, even before the foundation of the world.
So just think: If you have received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are already complete in who you are as a saved and secure child of God’s. Now your goal is to complete the works that God has for you to do in your daily worship and service for Him. And remember: You are a Masterpiece with a Master Plan…you are God’s Masterpiece, and God has a Master Plan for your life. And that is more amazing than even the Sun, Moon, and Stars.