The Church, God’s Masterpiece

Bible Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10

Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

Last month, in London’s National Gallery, two young women opened cans of tomato soup and threw their contents onto Vincent van Gogh’s famous painting Sunflowers. The soup-throwers donned shirts displaying the logo of Just Stop Oil, an activist group that has been staging nonviolent demonstrations across the United Kingdom to protest the production of fossil fuels. The Smithsonian Magazine reported on the incident: “As the soup hit the painting, someone shrieked, and another person exclaimed, “Oh my gosh!” The two women then sat down on the floor and glued their hands to the wall below the painting as a bystander called for security.” How could they, one might ask? Surely something so valuable and beautiful deserves better treatment. Indeed! But as valuable and beautiful as that masterpiece is, there’s another that is of infinite greater worth.

The term translated “workmanship” in our verse could be translated “masterpiece.”  It translates the Greek, poiema, from which our English term “poem” is derived.  The term is used only once more in the NT, in Romans 1:20 where it says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made.”  Creation is the poiema of God and so is the Church.  God created the universe “out of nothing.”  God created the church in Christ Jesus.

Jonathan Edwards, “God’s most stupendous creation is spiritually dead man made alive! Created in God’s image, born in sin, and destined to be re-created in the image of God’s Son, Christ Jesus! Dear saint, don’t ever forget that you are the subject of Christ’s two creations, and as the result of His second Creation we are His ultimate workmanship, His masterwork!”

I wonder if we grasp the magnitude of this.  I wonder if we think this way about the church—the church of which Jesus said, “I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”  The church which “He purchased… with His own blood.”  This work of art, this masterpiece of God—created in Christ Jesus—has been forever hung in the gallery of God’s universe to display the glory of who He is and what He’s done (Ephesians 2:7, 3:10).

Brethren, the church of the living God is the most important entity on this planet.  It is of eternal consequence.  Through the church, God will work to display the glory of His attributes.  This should affect the way we think of the church.  Even now, the church transcends the globe and is made up of countless souls from every tongue and tribe.  The day will come when it will be revealed in all its God-given glory!  Do we give it the priority that it deserves?  Do we love it?  Do we understand the necessity of it?  Do we think of it in the same way that Jesus thinks of it?

In the late 1660s, Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to re-design St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. According to legend, one day he visited the construction site of this great edifice and was unrecognized by the workers. Wren walked about the site, asking several of the men what they were doing. One worker replied, “I am cutting a piece of stone.” A second worker responded, “I’m earning five shillings two pence a day.” A third, however, had a different perspective: “I am helping Christopher Wren build a magnificent cathedral to the glory of God.”  How do we view the church?  Are we giving our all in service to the Master?


How beautiful the hands that served
The wine and the bread and the sons of the earth
How beautiful the feet that walked
The long dusty roads and the hill to the cross
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful
Is the body of Christ

How beautiful the heart that bled
That took all my sin and bore it instead
How beautiful the tender eyes
That choose to forgive and never despise
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful
Is the body of Christ

And as he lay down his life
We offer this sacrifice
That we will live just as he died
Willing to pay the price
Willing to pay the price

How beautiful the radiant bride
Who waits for her groom with his light in her eyes
How beautiful when humble hearts give
The fruit of pure lives so that others may live
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful
Is the body of Christ

How beautiful the feet that bring
The sound of good news and the love of the King
How beautiful the hands that serve
The wine and the bread and the sons of the Earth
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful
Is the body of Christ

Songwriters: Nancy Lamoureaux Wilson / Ann Dustin Wilson
How Beautiful lyrics © Universal Music Corp., Strange Euphoria Music, Know Music, Sheer Music, Inzeepin Music

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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