Created For Good Works

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Why are you here?

Not here in church today, more like here on earth.
Why are you alive?
If you are a Christian, at some point you were converted to Christ:
You learned that Christ died for your sins.
You learned that you don’t have to fear Hell.
You learned of Christ’s great love.
You learned that He’s preparing a place for you.
You learned of heaven.
You learned of a paradise to come.
So why are you still here?
If Christ has accomplished all this great work for us, why hasn’t He come and taken us all to be with Him?
Why does He leave us here to face this life?
, Jesus said, “I go and prepare a place for you ...”
What’s taking Him so long?
Surely, He doesn’t mean He need more time.
He created all there is in 6 days, I’m sure He’s not lacking the skill or no how to build a heaven.
So why are you here?
For the first quarter of this year, we are going to focus on how the Lord is building His church.
And specifically, you and He’s building the church with you.
If the church is a body, and if a body is made up of different parts, how do you fit into that body.
I firmly, believe that you aren’t an accident.
You didn’t stumble into Christianity.
You didn’t stumble into the church.
Jesus said, “… I will build my church ...” and He knew what He was doing when He called you.
Rather, the Lord knew what He was doing when He called you.
And He also knew what He was doing when He gifted you.
That’s right, you’re gifted.
So what are you gifted for.
Please open your Bibles to , and we will look at verse 10.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
What are you here for?
Good works.
You are here so that you can work for Jesus Christ.

The first thing we need to know is that we belong to Jesus.

Let me go back a couple sentences:
You are here for good works.
You are here so that you can work for Jesus Christ.
I remember my first and one of the greatest jobs I ever had, I worked at Dairy Queen.
I had so much fun there.
I developed life skills, like making awesome ice cream cones.
You ever go to the barbecue restaurant Dickies, I can make you a really pretty ice cream cone.
I enjoyed the people that I worked with.
It’s where I met Amanda.
It was a blast.
But there were many times I was having so much fun, that the manager had to come to me and tell me to get to work.
Go stock cups, napkins, wipe tables, anything.
I had to be reminded that when I was at Dairy Queen, I was there for my boss.
It wasn’t my time, it was someone else’s time
You probably understand that concept.
When you have a job, you are expected to perform and work a certain way.
Let’s apply that same thinking to the Christian life.
Previously, when we lived our life, we lived for ourselves.
We lived in sin.
We followed our passions.
We did what we wanted.
It was our life.
It was our time.
Like Frank Sinatra said, I did it my way.
And what was the result?
says, “... we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
The result is that though we thought we were free, we were really storing up the wrath of God.
We were children of wrath.
Because when we were doing things our way, we were sinning.
And though we thought we were free, we were really slaves to sin.
And one day we would receive the wages of sin … Hell.
But if you are a Christian you affirm this great truth, you were bought.
You were purchased.
Christ, gave His life, so that you would live.
We call Him Lord.
To be Lord means that He is our master.
We are His slave.
He owns us.
And now it’s as if we work for the ultimate boss.
The Dairy King.
Our time … is His time.
He owns us and He does with us what we want.
Why do we need to hear this?
Because many times we don’t live that way.
Sure we affirm it on paper.
Sure we say, Jesus is Lord.
Sure we quote that says God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.
But in reality, we don’t think that God owns us, or that our time is His time.
You become a Christian, nothing changes.
Sure, morally, you may be different.
You don’t smoke, drink, chew or date women who do.
But you still consider your time your time.
You are numero uno.
And if we are created for good works and serving God, you’ll consider serving God … when you have time … when He fits into your schedule.
Just imagine if you took that thinking into your work?
Imagine if I was at Dairy Queen, and my boss said, “Luke, clean the bathrooms.”
And I said, “Sure, just let me finish playing this video game.”
My boss would say, “You’re shift is over. Go home. You’re done here. You’re fired.”
Yet, for many Christians that’s how they act with the Lord.
I’ll serve when I get around to it.
I begin here, because the passage says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus ...”
When you became a Christian, He did a work in you.
- “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope ...”
- “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,”
Salvation is first and foremost a work of God, through Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
He’s the builder.
He’s the starter.
He’s the one who took the initiative.
says that Jesus is the founder of our faith.
If He’s the builder then He gets to decide what He’s going to build and what He’s going to build it with.
The church is what He is building.
And we are going to be what He wants us to be.
I realize that the world around us doesn’t work that way.
I realize that it seems as if there are lots of other things to do.
Toys to buy.
Experiences to be had.
And the world doesn’t bat an eye at these things.
But if you have been born again, don’t go back to that way of thinking.
says, “Do not be conformed to this world, ...”
Don’t be conformed to the world.
They tell us that this is your life.
But if you call Jesus Lord, then you aren’t.
So resist going back to that way of thinking.
Instead be renewed.
Think differently.
Submit to the one who has authority over you.
You are not what you used to be.
Christ owns us, and now our goal is to please Him.
We are on His time.
says, “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”
We belong to Him.
And to use the language of II Timothy, we have a new life that is not the same as the old life.
We are soldiers for Christ, and therefore live as one.

The second point is that we’ve been created for good works.

If you are a Christian, then there is something that is to accompany your salvation … good works.
They go hand in hand.
If someone says he’s a Christian, then there has to be evidence of that conversion.
The person who’s a Christian has the Holy Spirit in his life, and now lives a drastically different life.
His life has the flavor of Christ in everything that he does.
Think of the fruit of the Spirit.
“Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”
These are the characteristics of a person who has been born again.
They are not optional.
They are the fruit of the Spirit.
They are fruit of conversion.
But in , when it says that we are created for good works, it’s not just good deeds, but it’s also good works.
These are specific things.
God didn’t save you just so you could be the ultimate boy scout who does a good deed everyday.
He saved you for a purpose.
Understand that your conversion was not random.
No one stumbles into Christianity.
And Jesus doesn’t look at His church and say, “I’ll do my best with what I have.”
He wasn’t given the Bad News Bears, hoping to make champions out of failures.
Jesus purposely saved who He saved.
Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
He knew exactly who He was calling.
And these specific people that He has in mind, He has a specific goal for, He has specific purposes for.
In our text it says that "we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand ...”
You see they are not random good deeds.
He has saved you, but not to randomly be nice to people.
Those are nice.
Yes, we are to be kind.
We are to be loving.
We are to be servants.
But part of this focus, is that Christ has specific good works prepared for you.
That shouldn’t sound controversial or unfamiliar, because the Bible is filled with people who God had specific good works for.
We’ve seen this with other people in the Bible.
Adam was created to tend and work the Garden.
When the angel of the Lord told Samson’s parents they were going to have a son, He said of Samson, “he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.”
That’s a specific good work.
God had a plan for Jeremiah, while he was in the womb.
, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
… a specific good work.
God had a plan for John the Baptist.
400 years before he was born, the prophet Malachi mentioned the ministry of John (Malachi 3:1).
And 300 years before that, Isaiah talked about John’s ministry to prepare a way for Jesus.
This means that for 700 years, God was preparing a work for John the Baptist.
God had a plan for Paul.
God had a work for him.
Jesus said that Paul was a chosen instrument to carry His name to the Gentiles.
These were men, who God had prepared a work for.
He had a plan for them.
He had a task for them.
He had a purpose for them.
And it’s not just them.
Listen again to the language of .
“For we are his workmanship, -”
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Who is we?
I know that’s terrible English, but who is the we?
It’s us.
The Church
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
I’m gonna be bold and say something big.
God has a spot for you in the church.
God has a purpose for you in the church.
God has a work prepared for you in the church.
I’m not trying to be a motivational speaker.
I’m trying to open up God’s Word to you and to faithfully be an undershepherd of Jesus Christ, and help you become the man or woman that God has appointed for you to be.
Just as Jesus builds the church, He shapes the church.
Between 1501 and 1504, Michelangelo, sculpted the masterpiece David.
It is a magnificent 17ft statue of David.
I’m sure you’ve seen it.
It’s the handsome David, with a sling over his shoulder, gigantic hands and for some reason naked.
For the previous 40 years, 2 other people were commissioned for the work, but none of them were able to do it.
They were given the same massive slab of marble that Michelangelo was.
It was remarkably white.
But when they looked at the slab of marble, they said it couldn’t be worked with.
And so, it remained unused for decades lying on its side.
Until 1501, when Michelangelo took up the task to carve David.
He saw the block of marble, and had a plan for it.
Though many thought it unusable, he had a purpose.
It was his workmanship.
It was his masterpiece.
He saw something in that rock.
I can’t help but see the church in this.
God is taking what the world would think is unusable, and shaping it into something wonderful.
You might be saying that you are unusable.
A nobody.
Not on same page as Samson, Jeremiah, or Paul.
And by worldly standards that might be true.
But God is greater than that.
says, “God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”
The world would say we are an unusable chunk of marble.
God says, He has a work prepared for you.
When God looks at the sinner and converts him, He knows what He’s doing.
He knows you.
He knows what you’re made of.
And He knows what His plan is.
Do you doubt that God can use you?
Do you doubt God has a plan for you?
Hear the words from , “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
God knows what He’s working with.
He knows everything about you.

This year, may we be obedient to God.

If it’s true that “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand”, then there is only one more thing for us to do … we should walk in them.
Don’t just exist in the church.
That’s not the goal.
It’s important to be in fellowship.
It’s important to go to church.
But it’s also important to be a working part of the church.
Be the workmanship that God created you to be.
Talking about this workmanship, talking about God having a purpose for you, aren’t you at all curious?
Aren’t you curious about how you fit into God’s plan?
John was the one who prepared the world for Christ.
Paul was an instrument of God.
What about you?
Don’t you want to know what God has prepared for you?
Remember, God hasn’t abandoned us on earth, but He has left us here for a purpose.
And the big question that each one of us should ask ourselves is what is it that God has built you for?
What is it that God has ordained you for?
Many times at the beginning of a new year, churches will challenge you to give God your time, talent and treasure.
They will talk about you giving your time and getting involved.
In fact, a few weeks ago we even had our ministry fair where we signed up for ministries.
And as sometimes happen, people get frustrated.
They serve in an area and it becomes an unloved burden.
It’s not something they like.
It’s not something that brings them joy.
And so they develop a bad attitude about the whole thing.
For some, we get older, and we get tired.
And things become harder.
It’s more difficult to do some things then when we were younger.
You used to be a jack of all trades, but now it’s hard to get the hang of things.
So we have people who develop bad attitudes, and for others it’s just hard.
What I’m proposing is that we pursue what God has prepared us for.
That you pursue what God has prepared you for.
One of the things my dad used to say to me, was that I need to work smarter.
I’d be working in the backyard weeding.
I’d have a trash can next to me, then I’d walk away from it.
Eventually, I’d be 20 feet from the trash can and I’d have to walk back to it.
My dad would say I need to work smarter, not harder.
Move the trash can closer and it’ll be easier.
So let’s work smarter.
Let’s find out where you are gifted.
There are things that God has prepared for you.
There are gifts that He has given you, that He hasn’t given to me.
So let’s work smarter.
Let’s find out where you are gifted.
Because what you are gifted in will be easier for you to do, then for me to do.
And what I’m gifted in will be easier for me to do, than for you to do.
Make sense?
Let’s say you’re getting older.
Things get harder.
Find out where your gifted, and serve there.
It’ll be easier then serving in something that you’re not gifted in.
For example, you don’t want me doing financial stuff.
It’s not something I’m good at, nor is it something I enjoy.
It only frustrates me.
Within our first year of marriage, I paid the bills, but when I didn’t pay a bill on time, Amanda and I quickly changed who does the bills.
Because it’s not something I’m good at.
But you know who is good at these things, you know who is good at financial stuff?
Jason and Janice.
The Lord has prepared them for this.
So let them do it.
Let’s turn a page in the life of Southwest this year, and pursue the works that God has prepared for us.
He calls for us to walk in them.
These works, aren’t a one and done thing.
They are something that we spend our life doing.
Do you know what yours is?
I realize that’s a huge question.
Let me also say this, your works might be big, or they might be small.
Charles Spurgeon was nicknamed The Prince of Preachers.
His life work was to preach the true Gospel in the swelling culture of downgrade and compromise.
And he did it well, because he was Spurgeon.
We are not all Spurgeons.
Your great work might be:
To teach children in the church the truths of God.
Your great work might be to take a young man under your arm and disciple him.
Your great work might be to visit some of the sick and elderly in our church.
Your great work might be to clean tables.
Your great work might be to help send people to foreign nations to preach the Gospel.
To raise your family.
To evangelize.
To be a comfort to those who are hurting.
To be an elder.
To teach youth.
To provide donuts on Sunday and help us be a hospitable church.
Only you know what it is.
Sometimes it means experimenting a little bit.
It sounds weird, but you might need to try different things until you find out what you truly love and where the Lord wants you.
Try your hand at different ministries.
Maybe you do Gospel to the Valley and you find you don’t speak to well.
So you try youth, and you find out that’s not really your basket.
Then you teach children and you shine there.
Get involved in something, then ask someone who is near you how they think you did.
You might find out that you thought you were good, but weren’t.
Or maybe you think you bombed, but in reality that’s where you shine.
Try different things.
And definitely pray.
Pray that the Holy Spirit would give you a love for His church.
Pray that the Holy Spirit would give you a love for the Lord.
Pray that the Holy Spirit would give you a great passion.
Paul’s was to preach the Gospel.
He said, “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!”
Please join me in praying for Southwest.
I’ve been praying the same prayer for Southwest for about 6 months, that the Lord would help you find your gift and purpose and be used by Him.
I know that if you are a believer and have been born again, that you’ve been gifted by the Holy Spirit, and He has something for you.
I want to help you glorify God, by boldly doing the works that He has prepared beforehand for you.
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