Sunday Gathering – Genesis – God’s masterpiece – Erica Lugg
January 14, 2024

Sunday Gathering – Genesis – God’s masterpiece – Erica Lugg

Passage: Genesis 2:1-25

Erica continues our new series on Genesis. This week he is speaking on Genesis 2:1-25. Her topic is "God's masterpiece"


In her sermon titled "God's Masterpiece" on January 14th, 2024, part of a series focused on the book of Genesis, Erica Lugg delves into the profound theme of humanity being God's masterpiece. The biblical foundation for her message is rooted in Genesis 1:26-27 and 2:7. Throughout the sermon, Lugg employs vivid imagery and relatable anecdotes to convey the significance of recognizing each individual as intricately crafted in the image of God.

Lugg begins by highlighting the accessibility of the book of Genesis and its foundational role in the Bible. The central theme of the sermon revolves around the concept of God's masterpiece, prompting the congregation to ponder the question of who or what God's masterpiece might be. Lugg engages the audience by challenging them to consider their identity in Christ, building anticipation for the revelation of the answer.

The sermon unfolds as Lugg explores personal encounters, such as standing before the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls. By describing the grandeur of this natural wonder, she draws parallels between the majesty of creation and the intentional design of every individual as God's masterpiece. The mention of Victoria Falls serves as a powerful metaphor for the overwhelming love and creativity of God cascading over each person.

Lugg skillfully weaves personal anecdotes into the narrative, sharing a pivotal moment standing on the bridge near Victoria Falls with her family. This personal touch adds authenticity to the message, illustrating the transformative impact of recognizing God's craftsmanship in one's life.

As the sermon progresses, Lugg expands on the idea of various natural wonders, like the Northern Lights, the Grand Canyon, and the intricate details of a ladybird's spots, each serving as a testament to God's creative genius. By incorporating these diverse examples, she emphasizes the vastness and richness of God's artistic expression in both the macro and micro aspects of creation.

The sermon takes a reflective turn as Lugg addresses concerns and doubts individuals might harbor about their own significance. She shares a powerful revelation of how, just like the rest of creation, humans are God's masterpiece, irrespective of doubts or external opinions. Drawing attention to Genesis 1:27 and 2:7, Lugg stresses that being created in God's image is a foundational truth that surpasses any external circumstances or challenges.

Throughout the sermon, Lugg integrates key Bible passages, including Genesis 1:26-27, Genesis 2:7, Isaiah 43 (pertaining to the new thing God is doing), and Psalm 139. These passages serve as anchors, grounding the sermon in biblical truth and emphasizing the continuity of God's involvement in the lives of His creation.

In the concluding segment of the sermon, Lugg encourages the congregation to shift their focus from flaws and mistakes to Jesus as the ultimate restorer. She passionately urges them to embrace their identity as God's masterpiece, emphasizing that this identity is not earned but bestowed by God's intentional design.

The sermon wraps up with a powerful affirmation of each individual's intrinsic value and the constant presence of God in their lives. The congregation is left with a resounding call to perceive themselves as God's masterpiece, echoing the truth from Psalm 139 that every moment God is thinking of them and cherishing them.

In summary, Erica Lugg's sermon masterfully weaves together personal experiences, relatable anecdotes, and biblical truths to convey the profound message that every individual is God's masterpiece. Her engaging delivery and emphasis on recognizing one's identity in Christ make the sermon both inspiring and impactful.

Key Bible passages referenced in the sermon include Genesis 1:26-27 and 2:7, Isaiah 43 (the new thing), and Psalm 139. Erica concludes with a powerful affirmation of each person's intrinsic value and God's continuous presence in their lives.

Bible Passages Used:

  1. Genesis 1:26-27
  2. Genesis 2:7
  3. Isaiah 43 (referencing the new thing)
  4. Psalm 139


We're going to be going to Genesis, which is like a really easy book in the Bible to
find in that it's right at the very beginning.
And the theme of this morning is God's masterpiece.
Now I know that those of you who know Jesus, you know the answer to this question, this
statement about who is God's masterpiece or what is God's masterpiece, any ideas?
We don't have any ideas, right?
We have no idea as Christians, oh my goodness people.
And what we've seen and what we've heard this morning is God doing what God does with
the people that He loves with all His heart.
And I'm going to talk about God's masterpiece, but I know you already know the answer, but
I'm hoping that by the end of it we will see it not just as a thing that we kind of know
in our head, but where it positions us this morning and where it places us this morning
and how God sees us.
Now I remember the first time I ever encountered the mighty Victoria Falls.
Any of you been to Victoria Falls?
A few people.
It's incredible.
It spans 1,700 metres across the Zambezi River.
Every single minute, 500 million litres of water cascade over that waterfall every single
People in Zambia and Zimbabwe, they don't call it Victoria Falls.
That was the name that David Livingston gave it.
They call it Mosi Owatunya, which means the smoke that thunders, because the spray from
that falls rises 400 metres above the waterfall.
It's the smoke that thunders.
I remember the day, Nick and I stood there with two very little boys, we were just starting
on our adventure, our Zambia adventure of extended life there.
On the backdrop of maybe some concerns from friends and family that maybe we were taking
the children somewhere that would mean that they would end up not being able to fulfil
their opportunities because we were taking their way for the UK and we were taking them
somewhere else and maybe they would end up lacking in their future because of it.
And I understand the concerns, but as I stood on the bridge that day and we were absolutely
wept through to the skin from the spray from that mighty Victoria Falls, the bridge was
shaking with the power and the thunder was deafening.
It was a glory to God in the highest moment and I knew then we weren't lacking anything,
we were gaining absolutely everything, but that's a different story altogether.
We have in Genesis, right at the very beginning, a glimpse of Creator God displaying his glory
and if you, well, that was one thing.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and we have been in awe of his creation
ever since.
Any of you seen the Northern light?
I never have.
Was it a glory to God in the highest moment?
Have any of you seen a full moon on a winter's evening?
Is it a glory to God in the highest moment?
You can look at the moon.
What about a field of sunflowers?
Look at that.
Isn't it a glory to God in the highest moment?
Look at that.
Graham, you're doing a grand job.
Moving on to the Grand Canyon.
I've never seen this.
Look at that.
Any of you seen the Grand Canyon?
Neil, how does it compare?
Did you stand on the edge going, wow.
You went down there.
What about the intricate detail of a ladybird's spots?
Every single one, completely unique, no two ladybirds the same.
Glory to God in the highest.
What about the Great Barrier Reef?
I've never been there.
I've heard it spectacular.
Anybody been?
What's it like, Ross?
Spoketacular, no idea.
What about man Everest?
Anybody be there up there?
Of course you haven't.
It takes training.
What about this one?
I love this one.
What about a meerkat?
Aren't they the most extraordinary of animals?
This family of meerkats must have posed for the photograph.
Look at that.
Glory to God in the highest.
What about, did you know?
I mean, Dylan is still in here this morning.
Down at 1-4.
Oh, hi, guys, at 1-4-6.
What about, I'm kind of glad he's not here because I probably
won't get it right, but what about the buzzy bee?
They tell us that if the buzzy bee goes out of existence,
becomes extinct, the whole of our ecosystem will go to pot.
Because of that, a tiny little fluffy thing.
Glory to God in the highest.
Don't you just want to say it?
Glory to God in the highest.
But as is the case with every great composer
and every great artist or choreographer,
there is only room for one masterpiece.
That one piece, that is the most excellently done of all things.
That one piece, which is their greatest work of great works.
That one outstanding, creative thing of skill and depth.
The one piece that most reflects the capacity and the imagination
and the skill and the craftsmanship of the master himself.
Look at yourself.
The piece that most expresses his thoughts and his ideas.
The piece that most helps us to see him as King of Kings and Lord
of Lords, as his likeness is most expressed in every paint stroke
are everything.
Van Gogh, he painted a great many work.
I think this is the next picture up there, Graham.
But this apparently is his masterpiece.
I don't understand it, frankly.
Anybody art critics or whatever?
Yeah, sorry.
Art critics, do you get it?
I have no idea why that would be a masterpiece.
It looks like something that Sammy could draw.
But apparently it is the piece of art that most expresses
who he was as an artist.
Starry Knight.
He didn't actually ask my permission about what I thought
about his painting before it became his masterpiece.
In fact, nobody in the art critic world has ever asked me,
in my opinion, about what I think about there.
It is just the masterpiece.
It is a matter of fact.
I don't know how to pronounce this, but this is the next one.
What is it called?
You see?
I don't even know how to say it.
Apparently this is Picasso's masterpiece.
According to Google, this is the one.
Mozart's is the Jupiter Symphony.
Any of you heard of the Jupiter Symphony?
No idea.
I've never heard of it in my life.
Never heard it.
And I'm quite interested to know that there are no words to sing
and there's no chord sheet that you can use to strum along to.
And yet those three things are the one thing that most expresses
their thoughts and ideas, the composers and the artists that drew that.
And here we find in Genesis chapter 1, verse 27.
Am I clicking on this too much?
Am I spitting?
Is it all right?
God said in Genesis chapter 1 verse 26, he says,
let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God.
He created the male and female.
He created them.
Nick mentioned that last week.
Genesis chapter 2 verse 7 says this,
The Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.
And man began to live.
And I want you to get into your mind the incredible imagery that is here.
Up until now God had spoken the world into being as he spoke the world was created.
But in the case of mankind, he steps down
and he gathers the dust with his own hands.
And he begins to mold and to make with his own hands forming,
putting together very specifically and very carefully.
And when it was exactly how he wanted it to be,
he stooped even lower.
Now I'm a first aid instructor, so I know what it is like to give someone
mouth to mouth resuscitation.
You have to come very, very close.
But the Bible says that after he had moulded and shaped God,
stooped even lower and breathed his own life into mankind's nostrils.
And when he had done that, he stepped back after six incredible days of creativity.
He stepped back and he said, I'm done now.
And he rested.
He didn't rest because he was tired.
He rested because he was done.
That's it.
This is the perfect thing.
Glory to God in the highest.
And I love the finality of this.
Nothing more to add, nothing to change, to remove or tweak or consider.
He was done.
We were like him, made in his image.
Now it was very good.
Some of you this morning are imagining that is the case for everybody else out there except you.
That is the case for the whole of humanity.
Made in the image of God, brought to life through the breath of God.
Every single one of us seated here today.
Yeah, but not me.
Right, aren't we?
Yes, you, every single person.
Now we all know that this isn't the end of the story and that fear and sin and failure
and weakness and sickness of all mards, the image of God in us.
But I want to just encourage you this morning again with Katie's testimony and Katie and Katie.
The Katie's testimony and the other testimonies that we've heard that day, that today, that we cannot,
because the image of God isn't something that we got for ourselves or something that we earned
or a quality that we possess and only certain people have it.
It was something that made humanity what it is.
And if we didn't give it to ourselves and it's nothing that we possess,
we cannot lose it even if things have come along and marred the image of God in us.
I am made in the image of God full stop.
Now I know stuff has come in.
That's why I gave my life to Jesus all those years ago.
I know that there are things in my life that have come in and marred and distorted and disfigured
the image of God within me.
And yet underneath, still underneath, wants a masterpiece, always a masterpiece.
Is that right?
Some of you are not sure.
Is a masterpiece still a masterpiece if fire and flood damage it?
Yes, because it's a condition.
It was created that way.
It was a masterpiece because it was made that way.
Fire and flood come in and suddenly everybody springs into action because,
oh my goodness, we need to do something to restore that masterpiece back to what it was supposed to look like.
Remember when the, was it two years ago, is it the Louvre in France burnt down?
Notre Dame.
I've said that several times.
Yeah, Notre Dame burnt down.
And everybody, in fact it made headline news above everything else that was going on in the world.
It was because this incredible masterpiece, this incredible thing of beauty had burnt down
and suddenly all the restorers, millions and millions and millions of pounds poured into restoring this incredible masterpiece.
Nobody said, right, you know what, fire and flood has come, that's it.
Fish bash boss, throw it, roll it all up and throw it away.
That's not what you do with a masterpiece.
You call in the restorers.
You call in the restorers come.
Let's try and work out how we take it back to the original condition, even though it's been marred.
And tarnished and covered in fire and certain whatever it is.
And it's true for us.
I am made in the image of God.
I am his masterpiece.
When people tell you that we are just like all the other animals, we're not.
We're not like all the other animals.
All the other animals are created beings.
Nobody stooped down and breathed life into them.
That's what makes humankind, humankind.
We are incredible.
Some of you are going, yes, but I'm not.
I can hear you.
I can hear you.
All that stuff didn't destroy who we were.
It marred it and distorted it and twisted it, but basically,
fundamentally, in the core of who we are, we have been created in the image of God.
And his life is in us.
So the restorer.
Who is our restorer?
Sound really nervous this morning.
Is it Jesus?
I think the answer is Jesus.
I'm not really sure if it's Jesus.
I think it's Jesus.
I think because we're Christians.
I think the answer is supposed to be Christ Jesus.
Have you heard about that little boy who went to Sunday school and somebody described something?
You know, what is fluffy and got a long tail and gray and all of that?
I think.
How does he say it?
I know the answer is Jesus.
I know the answer should be Jesus, but it sounds like a squirrel to me.
That's what it is coming across this morning.
I think the answer is Jesus because we're in church and everything comes down to Jesus.
But actually, it sounds like a squirrel to me.
Who is our restorer?
When you came up to the front here, when you came up to the front here and you declared
about yourselves, all the things that have marred and distorted and disfigured, the basic
image of God in you that he put in you, you did nothing for yourselves.
Who is it that came alongside you and said, do you know what?
I'm going to take you back to your original condition.
Who was it?
The rest of you are all nervous.
You think I'm just going to pick on me in a minute?
I might do.
It's Jesus.
Jesus came along and he didn't say, oh, gosh, I can't do anything with this.
It's too far gone for me, guys.
All the rest are made in God's image, but God kind of messed up with you.
Jesus is the reason.
The reason Jesus came was to redeem us and restore us and renew us.
He came as a master restorer and he looks and he says, I know that the image of God is under
all this stuff because that's human kind.
It's under all this stuff and sin and fear and failure, but just give me a moment.
Just give me some time.
Just give me your willingness.
Just bring me yourself and I will sit and I will carefully and painstakingly pick away
and add touches here, there and everywhere and bit by bit by bit.
You will begin to see the image of God that is there already.
You'll begin to see it for yourself.
You know those moments, don't you?
When you see it for yourself, suddenly you, maybe you've had an issue with something
all your life and suddenly you realize it's gone.
It's because Jesus, the restorer, I'm going to work at this bit by bit by bit.
And you're going to see my image that is already there.
I'm going to make it visible.
No idea where I am on my notes.
The master himself says, I know what this is supposed to look like.
Allow me to make you look like the image that is already inside you.
I love it when people that don't believe in God don't understand that actually,
whether they believe in God or not, they're still made in his image.
It's a fact.
Yeah, I know, but I'm an atheist, I don't believe in God.
It doesn't change who you are.
It doesn't change your core.
I know, but I don't believe in anything that you're talking about.
I really don't believe in God.
There is no God.
Well, I'm really sorry to tell you because you're walking around carrying his image.
It's just covered by stuff.
And when we become believers, what we are saying to Jesus is I surrender to you
deal with the stuff that is marring and distorting the image of God that is already inside me.
It's a fact.
Yeah, I know, but I don't feel it.
I don't feel like, did he ask your permission?
Okay, so when you feel like it, then you can be made in my image.
And when you don't feel like it, then you don't have to be made in my image.
It's just a fact.
Whatever you feel like this morning, he didn't ask your permission when he made you.
He doesn't ask your permission when he calls you a masterpiece.
He is the master and he decides who is his masterpiece.
And I'm sorry to tell you that that's you.
Whether you like it or whether you don't.
He really is not interested in changing his opinion on who I am.
I wasn't going to show this video, but I think I might.
Can I just put that video up?
I love it.
You'll see, I don't know whether you'll see why I'm showing it.
Are you amazing?
Say it with a big voice.
Are you amazing?
Are you amazing?
Are you amazing?
Say it with a big voice.
Are you amazing?
Thanks, Graham.
Anti-Aker, you are amazing.
I did have to prompt him.
Did you notice?
I said to him, say, anti-Aker, you are amazing.
And then I had to say to him, say it in a big voice.
Anti-Aker, you are amazing.
And the reason I love this is because every year it comes up on my Facebook reminder.
And it just, do you know what?
I am amazing.
But as are every single one of you seated in here.
It's not a special thing for special people.
It is just the nature of God in you, his breath in you, a masterpiece made in his image,
in his likeness, like nothing else in all creation.
Anti-Aker, you are amazing.
And that's for you, and for you, and for you.
I wish I could have got him to do all your names.
We'd have been here a very long time.
Some of you are saying, yeah, but not me.
It's just a fact.
All these other things have come into Mart and Distour.
But Jesus in his grace carefully comes alongside and he begins to pick away and paint away
and brush away and smooth away and restore this and restore that and change this and change that.
And one day we stand back and we look and we say, oh my God, you are amazing.
Glory to God in the highest.
When was the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror without a critical view and said,
glory to God in the highest, look at what you've made.
Anti-Aker, you are amazing.
When was the last time?
When was the last time you said, because we do this, we think it is humility to rubbish ourselves.
We think it's not humility, it's actually pride.
It's false humility because what it says is, God, you don't know what you're talking about.
And God, you are telling lies because this doesn't apply to me.
That's what it means. It's not humility.
To stand and say, I am who I am by the grace of God made in the image.
Oh, yes, I know.
You can tell me to the cows come home.
All the things currently that are marring my life that are distorting the image of God in me.
I know all the rubbish that I carry, but basically bottom line.
Anti-Aker, you are amazing because of Jesus.
I want to encourage you this morning.
I want to encourage you.
So the restorer comes along, no idea where I am, I knew this would happen.
The restorer comes along and what we do is we get fixated on the stuff that is marring.
We get fixated on the stuff that is rubbish, the stuff that we know shouldn't be there,
the stuff when you've been a Christian a long time and you do that thing you know you shouldn't do
and you shouldn't know better.
Anybody else like that or is it just me?
Liz, your hand went straight up.
We ought to know better.
Graham, thank you for being honest.
Those of you that didn't put your hand up, just put your hand up now and be done with it.
Christians for a long time then we still do the things that we know we shouldn't do
or think the things we shouldn't think and all of that and I get all of that
and we become fixated on this and we become fixated on all that is rubbish
and all that is wrong and all that we should change and all of that stuff.
What we need to become fixated on is the restorer.
We need to become fixated on his hands as he changes and tweaks and whatever.
Every now and again he might say to you I'd get the job done a lot quicker
if you'd stop throwing back paint over there every single time I change that bit
and we have to change that.
Let's stop fixating on old things.
Isaiah 43, any of you do Alexio 365?
I think the passage at the beginning of the year was from Isaiah 43 where it says
behold I'm doing a new thing the oldest gone and the new has come.
Is that a statement of fact?
Is it a statement of fact?
Is he saying I wish the old had gone and I wish the new had come?
He says no I'm doing a new thing the old has gone, the new has come and then what does he say?
He asks his question.
Do you not perceive it?
Why do you think he asked that question?
Do you not perceive it?
Sorry what was that voice?
Because we know we won't believe it.
I've just told you the old has gone and the new has come but do you not perceive it?
He wants us to see it.
That this is the process is just a matter of fact this is what Jesus has done.
We need to start perceiving it.
We need to start owning it.
The world is an awesome place but even more awesome than the world that we live in.
The world that we live in are the people that are in it.
Ephesians 2 verse 10 and I have no idea where I am says I am his masterpiece created in his image.
Would you like to repeat that?
You want to say it again?
Oh yeah but what about that?
What about that thing?
What about that situation?
What about that relationship?
What about this?
What about that?
What's the answer?
Oh no you see now you've all lost your confidence.
You're doing exactly what I'm saying.
Oh gosh maybe that's changed it.
Oh that's obviously changed it.
I've stopped being his masterpiece now.
Now I'm just a failure and I'm rubbish and I've made a mistake.
Am I or am I not his masterpiece?
Okay let's say it in a big voice shall we?
Okay right.
Come on guys if we're going to get it to go from here to here we're going to have to put some effort in aren't we?
Right after three, one, two, three.
What about that?
What about that issue in your life?
What about that thing that keeps going wrong?
Is he telling a lie about your life?
Is he speaking the truth about your life?
Oh hallelujah I think it's sunk in.
I am a masterpiece created in his image.
I am the apple of his eye.
You are the apple of his eye, what else are we?
Fifthly and wonderfully made.
Fifthly and wonderfully made.
Fifthly and wonderfully made.
I think the apple of his eye is precious, long known, seen and accepted, restored, redeemed, healed, forgiven.
More than the mighty Victoria Falls, more than the northern lights, more than the butterflies, ladybird dots, more than the Grand Canyon, more than any of the seven wonders of the world, more than anything that you could ever walk on, see with your eyes, hear with your ears, look through a window at, more than the moon in the sky, more than the sun, more than the stars, more than absolutely everything you made in the image of God with his breath, living inside you, you are the apple of his eye.
You are his greatest masterpiece, you are the thing that he looks at and he says, you represent me, you are more like me than anything else in all creation.
I love you and I cherish you and I'm working on you and I'm changing you, glory to God in the highest.
Glory to God in the highest.
I'm a conqueror, glory to God in the highest and you know when we grasp that truth and we stop being the kind of people that go, no, not me.
When we do that, that's unbelief.
And we say to God, I don't actually believe your word, I know that you're saying it about somebody else and I really love you that you're saying it about somebody else but it doesn't apply to me, what we are saying to him is that he's telling lies.
The Bible tells me is that my God is not a person, he's not a man that he should lie.
He speaks the truth and he says about you, oh my word, when I created you, masterpiece, yes I know that there is stuff that needs to be done.
I know you need to reflect me more, I know that we need to deal with some things in your life, I know that it will be an ongoing process of restoration but whatever happens and however it works, you are my masterpiece.
Glory to God in the highest.
Just to finish, have you heard that wonderful quote, it's not in the Bible, it says beauty is in the eye of the beholder, have you heard that?
Have any of you ever used it?
It's a rubbish quote.
It's a rubbish quote, I analyzed it because when you look up that word, it's rubbish because what it all meering, see that's what enthusiasm does, drips your earring out your ear.
It says because it says that beauty doesn't exist on its own, it has to be something that is observed, that's what it says.
Beauty, your beauty, your pop masterpiece-ishness exists because the God created it to be.
To be seen in the glorious world around us and much more than that, beauty exists because he created it in you.
Glory to God in the highest.
So next time you stand and you see something spectacular, just remember, anti-acre, you are amazing and then put your name there.
I want to read this over you just to finish.
Psalm 139 says, I thank you God, for making me so mysteriously complex, that makes me smile.
Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking.
It simply amazes me to think about it.
How thoroughly you know me Lord, you even formed every bone in my body when you created me in the secret place.
Carefully and skillfully, you shaped me from nothing to something.
You saw who you created me to be before I even became me.
Before I'd even seen the light of day, the number of days you planned for me were already recorded in your book.
It tells me he has purpose over your life.
Listen to this, every single moment you are thinking of me.
You think you're alone and that nobody cares, that you're isolated in your pain and your sorrow and nobody would even notice.
He says, every single moment.
Remember the 500 liters of water going over, Victoria Falls, every single moment you were thinking of me.
How precious and wonderful to consider that you cherish me constantly in your every thought.
Oh God, your desires towards me are more than the grains of sand on every sea shore.
Glory to God in the highest.
And when I awake each morning, how does that end?
You are still with me.
Yeah, but I'm on my own.
No, you're still with me.
God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart, examine me through and through,
find out everything that may be hidden within me, put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares.
In other words, restore.
See if there is any path of pain I'm walking on and lead me back to your glorious everlasting ways,
the path that brings me back to you.
You are incredibly made in the image of God with the breath of Him within you.
Glory to God in the highest. Amen.

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