Genesis 1:26-27 says that all people are made in the image of God. Being God’s image-bearers means that every human has a specific and noble purpose; every human is of great value to God; and every human needs Jesus.
Made for a New World | Isaiah 11:1-16
Made to Be Saved | Genesis 3:15, 21-24
Made to Work | Genesis 3:17-19
Made to Gospel Our Relationships | Genesis 3:12-13
Made for a World Without Shame | Genesis 3:7-11
Made for a Different World | Genesis 3:1-7
Made for Relationships: Marriage | Genesis 2:18-25
Made for Relationship | Genesis 2:18-20
Made to Rest | Genesis 2:1-3
Made to Flourish | Genesis 2:4-25
God’s Heart for The Nations | Revelation 7:9-17
Made in the Image of God | Genesis 1:26-27
Great Questions Q&A Panel + MADE: to Teach | Genesis 1-3, 2 Timothy 2:24-26
How to Hear From God | Genesis 1:1-31
The Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit | Genesis 1:1-5
To Know God is to Worship God | Genesis 1:3-25
Is Your God Too Small? | Genesis 1:1-2
God ascribes greatness to something that seems insignificant: you and I. Genesis 1:26-27 says that all people are made in the image of God. There are three truths we can learn from this fact.
I have been a little late to the game, but just this week I finally discovered the "It's corn" boy. If you have not discovered the "It's corn" boy, you don't know what I'm talking about right now. I love you enough to tell you that you are missing out, and I don't know what you're doing with your life. Things need to change quickly.
Here's the deal. About a month ago on YouTube, this 7-year-old boy was interviewed about corn, and it became so sensational that millions of people watched this interview. You really know you've made it when what you have said is turned into a song. It got turned into a song, and it has gone viral, and it's amazing. It has changed my week. All week long, I've been thinking about corn. If you didn't hear the lyrics, I just want to read them to you, because they are amazing.
Here's a 7-year-old boy saying, "It's corn! It's a big lump with knobs. It has the juice. I can't imagine a more beautiful thing. It's corn, people. I can tell you all about it. I mean, look at this thing. When I tried it with butter, everything changed. Everything changed." When I heard this song and when I saw this interview, for me everything changed. I mean, my kids and I have been singing the song all week long.
When I've been alone in my office, I have been speaking about corn to myself, quoting this kid, singing the song. It has changed the way I view corn. We went to dinner on Thursday night. I opened up the menu, looking for…what? Corn. Why? So I could look at my kids and be like, "It's corn!" Now, if you haven't seen the video, you need to get on YouTube and just watch the interview, which then became a song, and be blessed by it.
Here's what I want you to think about: Why did this interview with a 7-year-old boy talking about corn go viral? Why did the song go viral? Two reasons. First, that kid is incredibly cute. He could talk about a lot of things for hours and I'd probably watch it. The second reason it went viral is because this kid is ascribing greatness to something that is very insignificant. He is ascribing greatness to something we would say is insignificant.
I share that with you because, as we open up the Scriptures and look back in Genesis 1 this morning, we're going to look at the creation of humanity. We're going to look at God creating the first human beings, and we are going to see God do what Tariq, the "It's corn" boy, has done. We are going to see God, in a way, ascribing greatness to something that, in the context of this universe, seems insignificant.
I think about the words of David in Psalm 8. Listen to what he says. "When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor."
Here's the reality: at some point in your life, you will feel very insignificant. David is saying, "Look. I'm sitting out under the stars, and when I look at the heavens, when I see the stars, when I see the moon you have put into place, it has this effect on me where I realize just how small I am. I realize my insignificance." That's why David says, "What is man that you would take thought of me? It doesn't make sense. When I look around, when I see everything you've created, and then I feel my smallness, my reality feels very insignificant."
Then there's this contrast word yet. Yet…what? "Yet you have made me a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned me…" That's royal terminology. "You have taken something so insignificant (me), and you have ascribed greatness to me. You have crowned me with glory and honor." So, as we step into Genesis, chapter 1, and see God create the first human beings, he's taking something that in the context of the universe seems insignificant, yet God ascribes greatness to humanity.
So, just as Tariq has made me think differently about corn this week, my hope is that as we look at Genesis 1 together, God through me might cause you to think differently about yourself and the rest of humanity. So, if you have a Bible, join me this morning in Genesis, chapter 1. I want to read you verses 26-31. We're going to be in these few verses this week and next week. This is the creation of Adam and Eve.
"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'
And God said, 'Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.' And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day."
As we look at this text this week… We're going to study it more next week, but for today, there are three realities I want to point out as God ascribes greatness to humanity. I'll go ahead and give you the three truths. First, every human has a specific and noble purpose. Secondly, every human is of great value to God. Thirdly, every human needs Jesus. God is ascribing greatness to that which, in the context of the universe, seems insignificant.
When you think about God first saying, "Let there be light," all he says is, "Let there be light," and then there's light, but in verse 26 he says, "Let us make man in our image and likeness," and then in verse 27 he actually does it. So, verse 26 is the vision. Verse 27 is the implementation. He is announcing what he's going to do before he actually does it.
What that indicates to us is that there is something unique about humanity, that there is something that is to be distinct about humanity from the rest of creation. We find out what that is in the fact that we have been created in the image of God. God says, "Let us make man in our image." So, the thing that causes us to be distinct from the rest of creation is simply the fact that we have been made in the image of God.
The question every person in this room should be asking is…What does it mean to be made in the image of God? The problem is the text actually doesn't tell us. The author of Genesis just assumes we will know what it means to be made in the image of God. He assumes his audience will just get it. So, this is where we have to be familiar with what was going on in the ancient Near East at the time Genesis was written.
Remember, Genesis was written to the nation of Israel as they were coming out of Egypt so they could know God and know themselves. An ancient Israelite would have read in Genesis, chapter 1, that they have been made in the image of God, and it actually would have meant something to them. It would have had teeth to that remark. They would have understood it. Here's why.
You need to understand in the ancient Near East the terminology image of God was very familiar for a couple of reasons. First, a statue of a god was considered an image of god, and people believed the spirit of that god actually resided in that statue so that that statue, wherever it was placed in the city, could serve as a representative for that god.
Not only that. At that time, kings, or the Pharaoh of Egypt, were sometimes referred to as images of god. The king of a nation, in particular Egypt, was thought to have a special connection or a special relationship with the god he represented. Not only that. He was a representative for that god, so as he lived and operated, his presence would in some way reflect the presence of the god he reflected.
Not only that. As that king ruled, he was ruling on behalf of the god he represented. So, the god was ultimately god, but the king was the one that god would rule through. When we take all of those things and combine them, we can take from that what it means for you and me to be created in the image of God.
Remember, I am telling you that every human has been made with a specific and noble purpose, and we find our specific and noble purpose in the reality of being made in the image of God. So, the fact that we have been made in the image of God means three things. First, it means we have been made to relate to God. Just as a king would have a special relationship with the god they represented, we have been made to relate to God.
If you're here this morning and you don't have any type of relationship with God, I'm so glad you're here this morning, because you have actually been wired to relate to God. God has made you for him. He has made you to be in relationship with him. French mathematician Blaise Pascal explained it this way: "There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man, which cannot be satisfied by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ."
What's his point? He's saying no matter who you are on the planet, you have been made with a longing in your heart for God, whether you realize it or not. The author of Ecclesiastes puts it this way: "God has put eternity in our hearts," which means there is a longing inside of you. Even if you mute that longing, you have been made for relationship with God.
So, to be created in the image of God means we've been made to relate to God, but we've also been made to represent or reflect God. God has made us to be like him. God shows what he is like through us. Our lives are meant to show God on the earth so that the earth knows him by looking at us. We've been made to think like God. We've been made to feel as God feels. We've been made to speak the words God would speak. We've been made to do the things God would do. When we think and feel and speak and act like God, we are imaging him on the earth. We're showing the rest of the earth who God is.
Thirdly, we've been made to rule for God. Just as a king of a nation would rule on behalf of their god, the God of the universe has made us to rule for him. That's why Genesis 1:26 said, "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion…'" Dominion means sovereignty or rule. "And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth…"
What it ultimately means is that God, through us, wants to extend the rule of Jesus Christ to the end of the earth. We will talk more about that next week. I'm telling you that every human being has been made for a specific and noble purpose. You have been made to relate to God, you've been made to represent or reflect God, and you have been made to rule for God.
Let me simplify the wording. If you want to know why you exist, if you want to know the point and purpose of your life, here it is: you have been made to know God and to make God known. That's why you exist. That's it. That is the point and purpose of your life. So, if you wake up tomorrow morning and you still have oxygen in your lungs, that oxygen has been put there by God for you to know him and make him known. That's the point and purpose of your life.
A professor in seminary would say this: the greatest waste of a life is to be really successful at doing the wrong things. If you want to know what it looks like for you to waste your life, here it is: the greatest waste of a life is for you to be extremely successful at doing the wrong things. All of life boils down to knowing God and making him known. Don't miss the point and purpose of your life.
Every summer, my family and I go to the beach at Galveston. I use the word beach very loosely when I talk about going to Galveston, but my kids haven't seen a nicer beach, so they think it's amazing. And it is, I guess. I want you to think about it. When you go to the beach or when we go to the beach… What will people do on the beach? They will build sandcastles on the beach. What's a castle? If you think about a castle, a castle is a place for a king.
So, you might go on vacation, and you might build a little kingdom in the sand, but what happens when your vacation ends? Your kingdom ends, because some little kid is going to show up on the beach after you. He's not going to give a rip about your kingdom. He's going to use it as target practice or he's just going to destroy it in a moment or the tide is going to come in and wash that little kingdom away.
I tell you that just to say if the greatest waste of a life is to be really successful at doing the wrong things, what you need to figure out is whose kingdom you are building. If God is the ultimate King and he has made us to, in a sense, rule on his behalf and reflect him on the earth, the question is…Whose kingdom are you building? There is a kingdom you can build that ends the day you die, and there's a kingdom you can be a part of and can build that lasts for all of eternity. I don't want you to be really successful at doing the wrong things.
So, I just want you to know God is ascribing greatness to you. This morning, he is reminding you that every human being, including yourself, has been made with a specific and noble purpose. God in his kindness has looked at humanity and said, "You have a purpose that no other part of creation has. You exist to relate to me in a way that nothing else in creation can. You have been made to know me personally and to make me known throughout the world."
So, it's not just the king who's in the image of God. It's the canal digger. It's the mason building the ziggurat in Egypt. All humanity has been created in the image of God. One commentator explained it this way: "In God's eyes, all mankind is royal." Isn't that amazing? As a representative of the King, you, in fact, are royal. When God sees you, he sees you as royalty because you have been made by him with a very specific purpose.
Recently, I was talking to Blake Holmes' son Gage, and through talking to Gage, something was awakened in me to start collecting sports cards again. I did that when I was young. I would ride my bike across very dangerous intersections at a very young age to buy sports cards. I collected tons of cards, and then I just lost track of it. Recently, through talking to Gage, I was like, "This is something my kids and I need to get into," so I went and found this huge box of all of my cards from the past. I mean, I have these binders and these bins of cards.
I began to think, "Man! Surely these things are worth something." I'm like, "No telling what this is worth. This could be a lot. What are we going to do with this money? This right here might be how we're going to fund some different fun things in our lives." So, I took these cards to Gage, and I was like, "Hey, man. Will you just look at these and tell me what you think I have and if I have anything worth anything?"
Gage, who knows a lot about cards, is just flipping through the binder with little to no emotion. He's looking, and he is very unimpressed. He just says, "This is pretty typical of that time." See, here's what I understood in that moment. The cards I had bought were from the 80s and 90s. Do you know what cards from the 80s and 90s are referred to as? The "junk era." Do you know why they're referred to as the "junk era"? Because too many cards were printed, and because so many were printed, the value of those cards went to nothing.
It's the opposite in God's economy. It's not that just one person has all the value. God in his ability is able to create all of humanity, and the quantity of humanity does not diminish the value of humanity. God, in his unique ability, is able to extend incredible value to every single human being who has ever or will ever walk the planet. So, every person is of great value to God.
The Scriptures just seem to scream that. I mean, I think about the excitement Tariq had when he talked about corn. I don't want to put something on the text that isn't there, but I kind of picture God with infinite amounts of that excitement when he thinks about creating us. The reason I say that is because of what I observe in the text.
I mean, you look at verse 27. What word is repeated three different times? It says, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." That word create (we've talked about it before) is the Hebrew word bara'. That word in Scripture is only ascribed to God. It's only used when it's talking about God's creative activity. That word is reserved solely for God, and it's a reference to his unique, sovereign, creative activity. It's used three times when it's talking about humanity.
Then I think about… When you read Genesis, chapter 1, what do you see God say six different times? It says, "God saw all that he had made, and behold, it was good." Then after he finishes creating humanity, which was the climax of his creation… The creation of humanity completed creation, and when creation was complete… Genesis 1:31 says, "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good."
It's like you can see just how much value God gives to humanity in the way the language of the text flows. Every human being is valuable to God. In God's eyes, all of mankind is royal. Don't miss what I'm telling you right now. Being made in the image of God gives value and dignity to every human being regardless of ethnicity, productivity, capacity, or viability. So, if that is true, then here is what we have to realize: at any given moment, you and I are either acknowledging or ignoring the image of God in ourselves and in everyone else around us.
So, I want to just ask you several diagnostic questions to see how you're doing, and this is going to be a check for me. Some of it's going to be convicting, and some of it is going to cause some emails this week, and that's going to be great and really exciting. My assistant will enjoy getting those. Anyway, let me just ask you some questions around this idea that we've been made in the image of God, that we are of great value to God.
A. Are you acknowledging or ignoring the image of God in your friends and family? As I was preparing for this passage, I was talking to my friend Oren Martin, who's on staff. He said, "You know what? When I talk down to my kids, what I'm doing is ignoring the image of God in my kids." I was like, "Well, that's convicting. Thanks so much for talking to me about this."
It's just a good reminder that when we talk down to each other… Like, if you talk down to your roommates or to your coworkers, if you talk down to your spouse, or if you talk down to your kids, in that moment, what you're saying is, "I'm more valuable than you. I am more important than you, so I can talk to you how I want. I can be demeaning in the way I communicate, because in the end, I am superior. I'm more valuable than you are."
But when you stop to listen, even if you're frustrated… When you stop to hear your roommate, when you stop to hear your Community Group member, when you listen to your spouse communicate even if you're frustrated, when you listen to your kids, you are acknowledging the image of God that is in them.
B. Are you acknowledging or ignoring the image of God in complete strangers? For example, the majority of people in this room are going to go to lunch after this. The question is…Will you acknowledge the image of God that's in your waiter or waitress? We can do that. You can make your lunch experience just transactional, that that waiter or waitress solely exists to get you what you need, or you can acknowledge the image of God that's in them.
You can ask them their name. You can learn a little bit of their story. You can ask if you can pray for them as you are about to pray for your meal. When you do that, you are acknowledging the image of God that's in them. Or what about customer support representatives? I struggle sometimes. A heart that's well is a heart that tells. There are times where I've been on the phone with some company that is failing me in that moment, and I've believed the lie that the person on the other end of that phone is less valuable than I am, that I am more important than they are.
I think about one time where… I don't remember what company I was talking to, but the guy on the other end of the line heard a lot of frustration coming from me. Just the way I communicated in that moment ignored the image of God that was in him. So, I got off the phone, and I was super convicted about it. I realized I was ignoring the image of God that was in him, so I felt the need to make it right.
With customer service, you can't just hit "Redial," call him back, and him answer the phone. I called the number, and it connected me to some support center. I don't know where it is in the world or how many people are in that support center, but now I'm talking to someone new, and it's like, "Hey, so, uh, I was talking to a guy…" They're like, "Well, that's not helpful. Do you have a name?"
I'm like, "So, it was a guy I was talking to. Could you find out what his name is? Okay. Could I talk to him? Oh, he's on a break right now? Okay. Can you tell him to call me back?" Finally, this guy calls me back. He's like, "Hello? Uh, can I help you with something?" I just had to ask his forgiveness for the way I communicated to him. When I did that, I was finally (it took me long enough) acknowledging the image of God that was in him.
What about looking at pornography? Pornography was part of my story when I was in college. Maybe it's a part of your story. What we have to understand is that when we choose to look at pornography, we are disconnecting that person in that image or that video… We are disconnecting their humanity from their body, and we are reducing them down to an object and ignoring the image of God that is in them. When you choose to not look at pornography, you are acknowledging the image of God that is in that person who has chosen to pose for pornographic film or photo.
C. Are you acknowledging or ignoring the image of God in those of other races and ethnicities? This is important for us to realize. One of the beautiful ways God allows us to image him on the earth is by creating different ethnicities. The fact that God gives us different skin color or the fact that we speak different languages or enjoy different food or have different rituals or traditions… All of that exists in a beautiful way to display the image of God. That's how we image God throughout the earth.
I was sitting at lunch this week with some friends from Watermark en Español, which happens during the second service. One of the guys prayed for our food in Spanish. It was this beautiful moment where I was like, "I don't have to understand what he is saying for me to just enjoy the fact that right now this is an expression of the image of God through him. This feels a little bit like what eternity will feel like one day." It was this beautiful realization, the fact that I can look around and there are different people with different skin colors.
God has given us different skin color as a way for us to image him throughout the earth, but when we say things like, "Well, I don't see color" or "I don't see races," we're actually ignoring the image of God that God has put inside of us by giving us different skin color. When there are moments where we fail to speak up in the midst of racism, we are ignoring the image of God in our brothers and sisters who are experiencing racism in that moment, but when we speak up, when we stand for justice, when we speak up in the face of racism, we are acknowledging the image of God inside of them.
I just want to speak from personal experience. Let me just say this. If you're a person of color in the room, I want to make sure you know I am fully aware that my experience pales in comparison to what you might have experienced on a more regular basis, yet my experience was real. I'm half Palestinian. Seven years ago, I went on a trip to Israel, and when I showed up there at the airport, they took me aside and detained me. I didn't know why they detained me, but they took my passport and put me in a room, and they just left me there for an extended period of time.
When I asked them what it was about after about 45 minutes, they said, "This is a matter of national security, and you don't need to know." So I sat there just feeling like I had no voice in that moment, that in that moment I wasn't seen, and that my value in that moment was being stripped from me. Finally, they said, "Okay. You can go." They gave me my passport and sent me on my way. Then when I came back to the airport to leave the country, as people went through security, they took me behind a closed room, and they just made life unenjoyable in that moment as they searched different things. They just made it a really uncomfortable moment.
Fast-forward to this past summer when I took my wife and my kids to Israel. When we landed in Tel Aviv, we went through this electronic computer system, and it immediately flagged me. It gave me a card that indicated there was an issue with me, which just told me I am now in their system, and anytime I go to that country (because we have family over there), I'm going to be flagged.
It created this fear in me to the point where I gathered my three boys up and said, "Guys, here's what I need you to understand. They're going to take Dad for a little bit, and they're going to separate me from the family for a little bit, but it's going to be okay. You're going to go with Mom, and everything is going to be okay." And that's what happened. They separated me from my wife and kids.
Then, as we were in the country, we decided to take a two-day trip to Jordan. When we left and when we were coming back into the country, I saw the fear in my kids' eyes as we stood in the security line. There was this fear of "What are they going to do to us because of who we are?" Sure enough, we get to the line, and Kat is like, "What's going on? What's the problem?" and the lady is like, "You don't need to know. You just need to be quiet."
Then, before we left the country, as we were there with a lot of our family, the fear that was on our bus, as we sat together and were like, "Okay, let's get our stories straight. Where have we been? What have we done?" For me, in that moment, the fear I felt, the fear I saw in my kids… It opened my eyes to the fear my brothers and sisters in this country might feel on a more regular basis.
There have been times where I haven't spoken up, and when I haven't spoken up, I have not been acknowledging the image of God in them, but I've tasted a hint of what it's like for your value to be stripped from you. So, we have a responsibility to acknowledge the image of God that is in one another. One of the beautiful ways God displays his glory throughout the earth is that he has made us with different ethnicities.
Next question. I'm just talking about a bunch of controversial topics now. I figured I'd just get them all out of the way at once. That way I can get all of the emails all at once and deal with it in a week instead of stringing it out over a period of time. Y'all feel really uncomfortable right now. Okay. Here's the next question.
D. Are you acknowledging or ignoring the image of God in the unborn? I bring this up because my hope is there are people in the room this morning who are contemplating an abortion. I hope there are people who have found their way to Watermark this morning who are contemplating having an abortion. If that's you, here's my hope. My hope is the last thing you would hear from me is anything that would cause you to leave here feeling shame, but what I do want you to hear…
I just want to say very gently and with love my hope is you would realize that, as we talk about being made in the image of God, the child inside of you already has the mark of God's image on him or her. At the moment of conception… In Psalm 139, David says, "For you knit me together in my mother's womb." So, at the moment of conception, that was God beginning his work of knitting.
If that's when God's work began, that's when God's image was first present in that child, which means that child, no matter where it is in the development process, is already of great value to God. That child is of great value to God, and you are of great value to God. So, let me acknowledge the image of God in you. You matter deeply to God. He cares deeply about you, and God cares deeply about the child inside of you.
One of the ways you can acknowledge the image of God that is in the child who's inside of you is to think about what it looks like for you to bring that child into this world, whatever that looks like and however we can help. One of the best things you can do is acknowledge the image of God that's in that child. But we want to acknowledge the image of God that is in you. So, if you've had an abortion or if you're contemplating abortion, would you allow us to journey with you, to care for you, to walk you through the value God places on your life and that child's life?
E. Are you acknowledging or ignoring the image of God in the LGBTQ community? Let me say this. When we look at Genesis 1:26-27, it informs our understanding of what to believe. Part of being made in the image of God is the fact that God, as it says in verse 27, has created us male and female, so that has to determine what we believe about gender, that it's not something you choose or change, but it's something that has been given by God.
Gender actually is one of the ways we image God on the earth. The reason God has created us male and female is that's one of the ways he works for us to rule on the earth. He has given us gender, and he has given us the context of marriage, which is just one way… As one man and one woman come together, they can be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. That's part of us fulfilling what's known as the cultural mandate in Scripture.
So, Scripture has to determine what we believe about gender and marriage, that God has created us male and female, and he has created marriage as a context for a man and a woman to come together to image him throughout the earth. At the same time, some of you might hear that, and you're like, "Amen! Yes! Say it louder." Our tendency with those in the LGBTQ community is we just need them to know where we stand. We don't need them to know they are loved; we just need them to know where we stand.
When we take that posture, we are ignoring the image of God that is in those who are in the LGBTQ community. I think about driving through Austin a couple of months ago. As I was driving through downtown, there were all of these gay pride flags, and as we sat in different restaurants with different waiters and waitresses from the LGBTQ community, the thought I had in that moment was, "Who is reaching these people? Who is expressing the love of Jesus Christ to them? Who is helping them understand that the gospel is for them as well?"
Then it just made me think of Dallas. Who is caring enough about the LGBTQ community in Dallas to pursue them in love and share the gospel with them? Who is it? Because if we're not careful, our tendency is going to be to hold people at an arm's length because we want them to know where we stand, but we don't care about them knowing they are loved.
Let me just say this. If you're here in the room and you are from the LGBTQ community, you are welcome here, and we are so glad you are here. I might have said some things now that you don't agree with. You know what? Let this monologue turn into a dialogue. We don't have to agree with everything together for us to love one another. Love doesn't have to mean complete agreement.
One of the ways we could acknowledge the image of God in one another is for us to get together. You can come down front afterward, and let's have a conversation where we can acknowledge the image of God in one another. But we have to be careful that we don't take this posture of "This is where I stand. I just need you to know I am right and you are wrong," but we can come together and acknowledge the image of God in one another as we seek to enjoy the beauty of the gospel.
F. Are you acknowledging or ignoring the image of God in you? I know, for me, my tendency is to chase value. I believe value is something I have to earn, so it impacts the way I go out or dress or the way I live. Like, I go out and chase value when I'm ignoring the realities of the gospel. Value isn't something you chase. Value is something you realize you already have because it has been given to you by God.
I want to speak very specifically to a few people in the room this morning. I would imagine there are people in this room right now who have had suicidal thoughts. Let me just say there have been times in my past where I've had suicidal thoughts. Maybe you're here this morning and you have seriously contemplated taking your life. You even have a plan to do it. I just need to lovingly speak into your life to say: Do you know what has happened? You have believed a lie about your value.
When you think, "No one would care if I was gone. People might even be better off if I was gone. My life insurance policy is more valuable to my family than I am…" All of those are lies from the pit of hell that have to do with your value, that your value is something that rises and falls. No. Your value was given to you by God. Why? Because you have been made in his image. Every human being is of great value to God.
When you look at Genesis 9:6, which is post-fall, it says this: "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image." Do you see that? God reaffirms the fact that it hasn't changed, that all of humanity has been made in the image of God. Here's the thing: while sin didn't erase the image of God in us, it has defaced the image of God in us, which means we are no longer capable of imaging God as we were made to image him.
We are no longer able to relate to God as we were made to relate to him. We are no longer able to reflect and represent him as we were made to represent him on the earth. We are no longer able to rule on his behalf the way he made us to rule on his behalf. We are no longer able to fulfill the point and purpose of our lives if left to ourselves, yet God didn't abandon his plan. He made us in his image, because when we who were made in his image fell into sin, how did he deal with it? He sent the image of God. Colossians 1:15 says, "He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God…"
Jesus wasn't made in the image of God; Jesus was and is the image of God. The image of God came to restore what was broken in those who were made in the image of God. Jesus Christ, when he walked on this earth, imaged God as he was intended to be imaged on the earth. God was not made, yet Jesus came to image God perfectly. He lived the life we couldn't, and then when he was crucified on the cross, he was crucified and endured the wrath of God for all of the ways you and I have failed to image God on the earth.
When he rose from the dead, there was victory that made a way for you and me to be given a new capacity through faith to step back into the point and purpose of our lives. See, when you know Jesus Christ in a personal way, when you invite him into your life, when you surrender your life to him, then 2 Corinthians 3:18 begins to make sense. It says, "And we all, with unveiled face…" Meaning, we have understood the gospel. "…beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit."
We all need Jesus. Why? So we can ultimately fulfill the purpose of our lives, which is to know Jesus and to make him known. So, this week, I just want to encourage you with three things. First, before you leave today, surrender to your ultimate purpose. Surrender to it. You've been made to know him and make him known.
When you get home today or when you go to lunch, secondly, ask for forgiveness for where you have ignored your value or other people's value around you. Then, thirdly, every day this week, seek to know Jesus. Spend time with him. Make him known by acknowledging the image of God that has been placed in every single person on the planet. Let's pray together.
Lord Jesus, I thank you that you have come to give us value. I thank you that through your death, burial, and resurrection you have declared what we are worth to you, that we are worth your body and blood, not because of who we are but because of who you are. Because of what you've done and the value you've given us, you've made our purpose clear. We exist to know you, Lord Jesus, as Savior, and we exist to make you known as King throughout the earth.
I pray this morning that as we respond in worship and as we leave today, we would leave confident that we have been made with a specific and noble purpose and that we are of great value to you, but in the end, we all need Jesus. So, if there is anyone here this morning who does not know you, I pray you would reach into their lives and call them into relationship with you. We need you. We love you. In Jesus' name, amen.