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Watch 2022 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - You are God's Masterpiece

Charles Stanley - You are God's Masterpiece

Charles Stanley - You are God's Masterpiece
Charles Stanley - You are God's Masterpiece
TOPICS: Living the Extraordinary Life

Have you ever thought about what a portrait of you would reveal? That is, if some very honest and capable artist painted your portrait, what would other people see? Would they see strength, courage, love, kindness or would they see fear, doubt, uncertainty, anger, bitterness? What would they see? When you look in the mirror, what do you see? What do you think God sees when He looks at you? Well, it will be very difficult for you to believe what I am about to tell you, because we see ourselves a certain way. In fact, we see ourselves the way we see us, then there are ways that other people see us, then there's the way we really are and that's the way God sees us.

What does God see when He looks at your life? When God looks at you, He not only sees you as you are, but He sees beyond that and He sees you for what you can be, what you will be, what He has predestined you to be. So therefore what He sees is a person of value, a person of worth and a person of great promise. And yet, oftentimes we don't see that. And so, we live chained to our old self, what we were before we became a child of God. Those old thoughts, those old ideas about ourselves, those ideas that are no longer true of us; we still think the same way. And therefore, if we live our lives that way, here's what will happen. You will live your whole life on a level far below that which God has provided for you. Or the way God sees you. God wants you to be free from that. He wants you to understand who you are from His viewpoint. And in order to live an extraordinary life, a life above the average, not the normal Christian life as people compare it, but He wants you to see yourself the way He sees you. And once you get a glimpse of that, you will never be satisfied the way you used to think.

So I want you to turn if you will to Ephesians chapter two, and I want us to read these first ten verses together because here Paul describes exactly what's going on in our life and the way God sees us, "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience". Among them he says we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. That is, even as those who are unsaved, "But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, He made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved," and he says, "and He raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus".

And then the two verses most people remember, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any person should boast". And then listen to what He says, "For we are," not we were or shall be, "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that we would walk in them". Listen to that. He says, "We are His workmanship". That is, ever single believer falls in the category of His workmanship. Now that word "workmanship" can be translated also a thing of notable excellence, something that is magnificent, that is a personal notable excellence. That is a masterpiece, something that's not the average. Something that is far above the average. Considered a great achievement by the person who created it, whether it's a famous artist, sculptor, or whatever it might be.

So he says that you and I are His workmanship. That is, we are the result of the creation of God. This is the creative work of God that He has done what? That He has, listen, He has reached down to our sinful lives and redeemed us and made us one of His children. And now everything about our life has changed in our relationship to God. So He says we are His workmanship; created, that is He's working in our relationship through Jesus Christ in order to do what? That you and I could live out and fulfill His purpose and plan for our life which He prepared beforehand, even before we were born, so that every single believer falls in the category of what? Of God's workmanship, of a masterpiece. Listen, you are a portrait. You are, you're this tapestry that God is working on.

And so when you think in terms of that, then you have to say "Well if that be true, then maybe, maybe there's hope for me". Oh, there's more than hope for you. God has already listen to this: He has predestined, predetermined, it's a settled issue with the Living God that you are going to be transformed into the likeness of His Son. Once you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Listen, you become the product that God is going to transform into the likeness of His Son. If you choose to live a life of rebellion and disobedience to God, one of these days you'll be eternally sorry. But for every person who's trusted Him as the Savior, there's an awesome future for every single one of us.

Now, the first step in making you and me a masterpiece of God, a person, listen, of notable excellence in the eyes of God. This creation that He foresees to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, this person that He sees, what is the first step in making you and me this masterpiece? The first thing that happened was this, He brought about such a change in our life that we call, the Bible calls the new birth. That is, you were born again, which means that something happened awesome in your life. That is, God forgave you of your sins and gave you a brand new life, born again. What I want you to see is this, as I go through this list of things, I want you to see this. These are not future tense, they are past tense, they are present tense. This is what's going on. This is your position.

Now, for example, on your job you have a position. You could be the president, you could be a vice-president, you could be a laborer that's doing something in a different area, but you have a position. And so what you do, you act on your job in that position according to what that position provides. If you happen to be the manager of a group of people, you act in a managerial way. You assume responsibility to be that manager. What I want you to see is this: Here's what God says is true of you. This is your position as a Christian. You are born again. Listen, you have, listen, you have been made a new creation in Christ. And Colossians chapter three, verse four says that now Christ is your life. That is, that life within you that's going to last beyond this body. That life within you that's the true you now, is the very life of Christ. He say, "Christ, is our life".

Likewise, He says that now we are walking and we are to walk in newness of life, in Romans chapter six, verse four. We're walking in newness of life. That is, now we have Christ living on the inside of us. Because you see, every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. We're talking about things that are true of you now. You are born again. Listen, you've become a new creation in Christ Jesus. Christ is your life. You, listen, now you can walk in newness of life. Now, listen, you have a new family. In First John chapter three, he says, "Now are we the sons of God". And it's not yet, we don't know yet how we are going to be, but we know that we'll see Him when He comes. We have been adopted into the family of God. You, you and I are the sons and daughters of the Living God. That's true of us now.

The Bible says, for example, in Romans chapter eight, maybe you're not quite as familiar with this passage. I want you to notice that in the sixteenth and seventeenth verses, listen to what he says. He says that you and I are joint heirs with Jesus Christ. What in the world does that mean? Well, if your parents, for example, have much or little, whatever it might be, let's say that you're an heir to what they have or a joint heir with your sisters and brothers, that is one of these days you and your sisters and brothers are going to be able to enjoy, what your parents leave.

Listen to what he says in Romans eight, verse sixteen, "The Spirit Himself", that is the Holy Spirit, "testifies with our spirit that we are the children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ," which means, listen, when you and I leave this life and we go to Heaven, watch this, all that the Son of God has authority over, all that, all that He's in the process of creating, all that he has, He says we are going to be joint heirs with Him. I want you to look at Second Peter, for example, chapter one because here's another passage that's not quite as familiar to most people, Second Peter. And look if you will in that first chapter because here is an awesome promise. Listen to what he says, first chapter of Second Peter. He says, "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God of our Lord Jesus Christ".

Now listen. Watch this carefully, "Seeing that His divine power has granted to us," not will, "has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these, He has granted to us not will, has already His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust". You and I have the divine nature of God in us. Let me ask you a question. Would you not agree that anything that possesses the divine nature is something notable indeed? There's not a single thing, listen, not a single act of God in which He lives in divine nature other than a human being. And those of us who have trusted Jesus Christ as our Savior, we have His nature on the inside of us.

When you have, when you do, what does He say? These awesome promises. And if you'll notice what this promise is: He says you and I have "everything pertaining to life and godliness," and he says, "by this we have been granted His precious promises and magnificent promise, he says he have the divine nature within us". This is your position. So, what do you have? You have a new birth. Old things are passed away. You ha, you have a new life and a new walk. You have according to what he says here, listen, a new family relationship. You're a joint heir with Christ, new resources. And not only that, you have new authority. Look in this first chapter again, because he says in verse five, "He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved".

"In Him," he says, "we have redemption through His Son, and he says we have been redeemed through His blood, forgiveness of our sins, our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us". Now, when He adopted us as His children, what came with that? What came with that was authority. He says, He says, for example, we are seated in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus in the second chapter for example. verse 6 He says we are His sons, predestined, he says in chapter two, verse six, "Raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus".

Now what does that mean? Here's what it means: When you trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, adopted into His kingdom, became a child of God. Jesus Christ living inside of you. Here's what he's saying, in the mind of the Living God, as the Son of God sits at His right hand, he says He has seated us in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. That is because Christ who lives within us, we're in Him, Christ is seated at the Father's right hand. God sees us seated there with Him. We have authority before God because we're seated with the Lord Jesus Christ on His throne, and what? We have the authority to come to God to say Father, here's what You said. You made this promise. I'm claiming the promise. Here's what You said. I'm believing and trusting You to do exactly what You said.

So that we who are His children do not have to come as beggars. Listen to this. You don't have to come as a beggar. You come before the Living God, trusting Him, listen, to keep His promise. Believing that He's who He says He is. He said to you, every single believer we have authority, we have a position in which you and I can come to Him and make requests and have expectation, anticipation and believe that He will hear and answer our prayer. "Ask and it shall be given you, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. What things so-ever you desire in prayer, believe that you have received them and they'll be granted to you".

And oftentimes we come and make requests, but we make requests on the basis of how good we've been, how we've done that week, how well we've acted, whether there's guilt or sin in our life. And then we hope and pray that somehow He's going to answer our prayer. When we come to Him out of the authority that is given to us, naturally when we understand who we are in Christ, we are not going to tolerate sin in our life. We're not going to tolerate disobedience. If they, something comes along that trips us up for the moment, we're going to ask Him to forgive us, repent of it and be able to come to Him with authority. That's your position. And so when you think about you mean this is my position? This is exactly what He says. This is our position in Him.

Likewise, in Acts chapter one, verse eight, He says, listen, we have power, "you shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit comes upon you". When you trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, the Holy Spirit came into your life to dwell in you and to empower you to become the person God wants you to be and to do the things that God wants you to do. Listen, listen, our sense of weakness does not mean that we're weak, but it means, listen, that we are dependent upon, we are relying upon the awesome power of the Holy Spirit who indwells us to enable us to do anything God calls us to do, be the person God calls us to be, achieve the things that God has called us to achieve.

And then of course, for example, you have a new security when you trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. What is that security? In Hebrews chapter thirteen, what does he say? He says I will never leave you, nor forsake you. That's your position. Your position is, listen, you are a companion to Jesus and Jesus is a companion to you, and nobody can separate you from Him. That's what He said. No one can pluck you out of His hand. That's your position. Likewise, we have a new purpose, as He says here in Ephesians chapter one and verse twelve, and that is, "to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory".

Listen, our purpose is to bring glory and honor to God. Our purpose in the Christian life is not to be known and to perform and to impress. But our purpose is to bring glory and honor to the Living God, whatever He calls us to do. That's our position. And then likewise, we have a whole new destiny. He says in Second Corinthians chapter five, "Absent from the body, present with the Lord". What is your destiny as a child of God? Here's your destiny: It doesn't make any difference how God sees fit to take us home. The moment you and I pass from this life, we're going into the presence of God.

There is nothing, no one on the face of this earth, heaven, any other place that can change what God has given us. Listen to this. He says you and I are indwelt by His divine nature. Watch this, you listening, say amen. Divine nature can't go to Hell. You're indwelt by His divine nature. You are sealed forever. Your destiny is forever fixed when you become a child of God. You die without Christ and your destiny is also fixed forever in separation from God. But as a believer, your destiny is fixed forever and ever and ever, and this is what He's saying.

Now here's what I want you to remember. Sometimes on the inside of you there's pain and turmoil and hurt and feelings of rejection. Sometimes there's, there are feelings inside of you, you think of hopelessness. Oh God, where are You? Why don't You answer my prayer? All of these things that are churning inside of you. You know what all of that is? God has allowed that in your life. He is allowing that in your life, to do what? To bring you to the end of yourself. And while we don't see the purpose, God sees the purpose. He's seen the finished product, and listen. The more pain, suffering, heartache, rejection and all the rest that's inside of you, God knew it was important. And I can look back in my life, live long enough to look back and think, Well God, why did You let this happen, that happen and the other happen? And this suffering, this rejection, this persecution? You know what? I can look back and say, Well God, You sure had a reason for it. I can see what You were doing. And you know what? The longer you live, the more you see what God's up to.

Now, we're not going to see the total picture until it's all over in this life. But just remember this: no matter what's going on inside of you, the master painter, and that is the sculptor, the one who is, who is weaving this tapestry, He knows exactly why it's there. And you know what He says? He says He "causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose". And if I respond to Him correctly, if I yield to Him, He can put one thread on top of the other. He can put this color thread here and that color thread there. He can use this color paint here and that color paint there. I may not understand it, but I want to be sure He has absolute total access so that whatever He's got in mind, it's going to be the best God can do. He loves you just the way you are.

So, what we have to ask is what is God's attitude? His attitude is love. It's, it's love from the very beginning. And listen, in your most painful, in your most painful periods remember this: He hasn't forgotten you. You're like the portrait sitting right in front of the artist. God's not over yonder somewhere. He hasn't laid the brushes down. He hasn't folded up because it isn't coming out right. He's still working. You are a person of notable excellence in the eyes of God. It may not look like it, you may not, everything about you says, Well you know what, I don't know that could be true. You have to ask yourself the question, Am I going to see myself from God's perspective? Because you see, you don't know what your potential is. You don't know what God may have in mind. What God wants you to see is here is your position.

Here's God's attitude, here's God's Spirit toward you, here's what God's up to in you. You are not complete. All of us are still in the making. And as I recognize that I'm in the making, and seeing what my position is, with all these things we placed on the screen, and also the fact that the suffering and difficulty and hardship and pain are part of the artist palette, the divine artist palette, all of that's part of it, all of that's making us the person He wants us to be. You know what all of a sudden, things begin to change. Because then you get God's viewpoint of you. And what is that? He created us in Christ Jesus. Listen, His workmanship, persons of notable excellence in the eyes of God, masterpieces, a work of God.

Let me ask you this, can you deny the fact that you're a work of God? You cannot. When you think about taking something that is invisible and putting two things that are invisible together and look what you came out to be. Your brain, all the systems, whether it's breathing or blood or your nervous, every aspect of you that works so perfectly, is that not magnificent when it comes to creation? And so what he's simply saying is this, Look what I've done physically. You haven't seen anything yet. Watch what I do to you spiritually. I'm going to make you like My Son. All I want you to do is yield to the artist, the Living God, and watch Him work. You'll be amazed at what He'll do. Amen?
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