Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Work Of Thy Hands

Half truth: God loves you just as you are!

Real truth: God loves you as you are (minus the sin), but He loves you too much to leave you as you are!

Jeremiah 18:2-6 Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

Our vessels, though created by the Potter, are marred by sin. We need the Lord Himself to remake and remold our broken, marred vessels. We need to be born again, be made new creatures in Christ Jesus. This can only happen through faith in His finished work upon the cross of Calvary. Have you trusted in Jesus alone to save you from your sins – have you trusted in the Saviour to do what He came to do: save you from your sins?

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

If you have placed your faith in Jesus and His gift of salvation, not in your own good works, to save you, then the next verse is also applicable to you:

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

God is working on each of us – not only working in our lives, but working directly inside us through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Those who have trusted in Christ are new vessels that He has put back on the Potter's wheel and is remaking. The word for workmanship in the above passage is “poemia,” where we get our word “poem” from. As any writer knows, an Author keeps working on a poem until He gets it exactly right, exactly the way He wants it.

He is changing and transforming us, conforming us to the image of His Son.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Not only is God working on us, we have His sure promise that He will strengthen and finish what He has begun! We need never fear – He won't rest content in His work until He has removed the blots out of our vessels. Though the work won't be completely finished until we get to Heaven, as we walk with Him daily we will be changed from glory to glory.

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Psalms 68:28 Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.

Psalms 138:8 The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.

To perfect means to complete, to finish what He has started.

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Isaiah 26:12 LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.

One verse that the Lord has impressed upon my heart lately, and that I have shared with several friends in the Gospel Mission's drug and alcohol recovery program, is:

Psalms 68:13 Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.

We are like a clay vessel that has fallen, dropped on the ground and shattered. Because of our sins, we are lying among the pottery shards, broken and useless. But the Lord makes us a wonderful promise, if we have trusted in Him for salvation, He will make us as a dove whose wings are covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. We will be transformed from something marred, of no value, to something that is beautiful and virtuous. The next verse in this study expresses it wonderfully:

Song of Solomon 7:1 How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.

God's work is the work of a cunning workman, a master craftsman – something that the Master has taken great pains with, that He has put time and effort into to make His finished product just right.

One final verse for us:

Job 14:14-15 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.

Praise the Lord! Just as any good artist or writer, the Lord cares about His new creation, and desires to always be with us.

To end this study, I want to quote a devotion from Charles Spurgeon's Morning And Evening that has been a real blessing to me:

"The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me." --Psalm 138:8

Most manifestly the confidence which the Psalmist here expressed was a divine confidence. He did not say, "I have grace enough to perfect that which concerneth me -- my faith is so steady that it will not stagger -- my love is so warm that it will never grow cold -- my resolution is so firm that nothing can move it; no, his dependence was on the Lord alone. If we indulge in any confidence which is not grounded on the Rock of ages, our confidence is worse than a dream, it will fall upon us, and cover us with its ruins, to our sorrow and confusion. All that Nature spins time will unravel, to the eternal confusion of all who are clothed therein. The Psalmist was wise, he rested upon nothing short of the Lord's work. It is the Lord who has begun the good work within us; it is He who has carried it on; and if He does not finish it, it never will be complete. If there be one stitch in the celestial garment of our righteousness which we are to insert ourselves, then we are lost; but this is our confidence, the Lord who began will perfect. He has done it all, must do it all, and will do it all. Our confidence must not be in what we have done, nor in what we have resolved to do, but entirely in what the Lord will do. Unbelief insinuates -- "You will never be able to stand. Look at the evil of your heart, you can never conquer sin; remember the sinful pleasures and temptations of the world that beset you, you will be certainly allured by them and led astray." Ah! yes, we should indeed perish if left to our own strength. If we had alone to navigate our frail vessels over so rough a sea, we might well give up the voyage in despair; but, thanks be to God, He will perfect that which concerneth us, and bring us to the desired haven. We can never be too confident when we confide in Him alone, and never too much concerned to have such a trust.

Preached April 17th/07
Jerry Bouey

3 comments:

Julie's Jewels said...

Amen Bro. Jerry!!!! I'm so thankful that the Potter is ever working on me and He won't be finished with me till I get my glorified body. God never leaves me alone. And even though I fail Him and I fall and scuff up my vessel....He is always there to pick me up and clean me up and continue His work in my life. For that I am so grateful and can't praise Him enough.

The Good Reporters said...

That is a really good post. Thanks for sharing it.

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