Gen. 1:27 says, “God created man in his own image.” From this verse we can say that there is something in us that is like God, and thus man has something to do with God. The obvious follow-up question is: What does God want us to do?
In the N.T. we find the requirement of God in Jesus’ teachings. For instance in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “You therefore shall be perfect as your, heavenly Father is perfect,” (Matt 5:48). What does the word perfect mean? It means the exact opposite of sin. The N.T. meaning of sin is missing the mark. To be what God means us to be we must be perfect. We must hit the mark and not miss it.
What does God’s requirement mean in our terms? It means God expects us to be what he made us to be – perfect. He does not expect us to be angels, because we were made to be men and women. And is not the passion for perfection common among us all? Isn’t perfection a divine passion in all of our hearts?
When we understand God’s requirement it brings us under the conviction of sin. And we ask, “What does God require of a man or woman under such a conviction?” The answer is: We must do the works of God. What are the works of God? Jesus said, “This is the work of God that you believe on Him whom He has sent,” (John 6:29).
Believe in Jesus,
In Matt 7:2 we read an eternal law of God, “With what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” God’s eternal law is that of retribution. By that I mean how you measure others, is how others will measure you. For instance, if you have been shrewd with others, others will be shrewd with you. If you refuse to forgive others, they will refuse to forgive you. The way you pay others, is the way others will pay you.
Romans 2:1 applies this law in a more definitive way. It says that if you criticize another of something, you will be found guilty of the very same thing. What is the reason that we are so quick to see the faults in others, and not ourselves? It is found in the quote from last week’s sermon, “The chief complaint we have about another person’s sin is actually a chief compliment to ourselves.” I think the mature Christian is always humble. The mature Christian says, “Yes, that sin can be found in me, as well as many others, if it were not for the grace of God. Therefore, what right do I have to judge.”
Jesus told us, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matt 7:1). Who of us would stand before God and say, “Judge me as I have judge others?” Instead we ask God to judge us on the atonement of Jesus’ Cross.
It is hard for us to understand the strain of Paul’s ministry, for he did not have the comforts we have today. Every day Paul relied on God for his food, a place to clean up, a change of clothes, and a place to lay his head. He crossed seas during storms, walked over mountain ranges that were not yet free of snow, was jailed, beaten, left for dead, and chased from towns.
If Paul were here we would ask him, “Why the hurry, why the urgency, why the suffering?” And he would say, “I am a debtor,” (Rom 1:14 KJV).
I am a debtor are the words of every Christian Church. The Church is in debt to the world. Not that the world has given the Church anything, but Jesus has given the Church something for the world. Yes, it is true the world hates God, but it is truer that God loves the world. Yes it is true that the world will not have God, but it is truer that God wants the world. And for this reason God has given the world the Church. If the Church appropriates Christ’s Gospel, and sings her songs about it, thanks God in her worship for what He has done for her, and stops there, she is playing the harlot, she is prostituting her very nature to base uses. This is harsh language, but until the Church takes the Gospel and gives it to the world we are dishonest, for we, like Paul, are in debt.
An old German theologian once said, “There is nothing in the universe so much like God than the human soul.” Read the creation story in Genesis and you will agree, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him,” (Gen 1:27). There is something in man that response to something in God. It is a mystical link that no other animal has. In order for us to understand ourselves, others, and life we must first come to an intimate knowledge of God.
However, there is something wrong with us. We were created to have a relationship with God, but we don’t want God. How is it that the creature who was created to know God, knows so little of God? It is because of sin. Because of sin we have replaced God with our imaginations.
We have lost our sense of God and who He is. We need to get back to God. To do that we need to let God be God. By that I mean we have to accept the fact that we were created in His image, and not the other way around.
We have assembled this morning to worship God. It is our goal to rise up in a Spirit-filled worship, with feet firmly planted in the Scriptures, to see God through our faith in Jesus, and look on God in adoring wonder and amazement. Join us as we rise and place God on His throne.
Reconnecting with God,
When God decided to make man He said, “Let us make man in Our image,” (Gen 1:26). This means God gave man some of His own characteristics, characteristics that separated him from the animals, things like: The ability to think, to use language, solve complicated problems, the curiosity to discover, and He put eternity into the heart and mind of mankind. Then Adam sinned and the special fellowship we had with God was broken, and man was cast out from the presence of God. But man still bore God’s image, and therefore, man will never be complete until that fellowship is restored.
Today’s average Christian doesn’t seem to be making much progress toward restoring that lost fellowship. Today’s Christian is converted, joins the Church, and five years later he is right where he started, and ten years later he has fared no better. For a true seeker of God that will not do, for the testimony of a true seeker is, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirst for God, for the living God,’ (Ps 42:1-2). That is the testimony of a true seeker after God, and nothing is going to slow their progress.
Something has been lost in the churches, so they offer something shiny on the outside to pretend that there is something real on the inside. But you cannot fool a true seeker of God with this kind of thing, for they know better.
Here to restore what was lost,
Recently we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. We celebrate because His resurrection means death has no dominion over Him. And because He is risen from the grave, we too are to be risen with Him to seek those things above.
As followers of Christ are not some commands set before us? Yes! For the Bible, and the holy voices of the saints that have gone before us exhorts us to obey those commands, and live by them. The Scriptures say, “Seek first the Kingdom of God,” And also, “Set your affection on things above.” Doesn’t this mean we are to put off our old ways, forgive everybody in the world, and dedicate our time to Him?
It has been said, “Too often we give God only the tattered remnants of our time.” Think about it, if Jesus Christ had given us only the remnant of His time, we would all be on our way to the darkness below that knows no morning. Christ did not give us His tattered leftovers of His time. He gave us all the time He had. But some of us give Him only the leftovers of our money, and of our talents, and never give our time fully to the Lord Jesus Christ who gave us His all. Because He gave us His all, we have what we have, and He now calls us to be “In this world like Him,” (1John 4:17).
Being a Mirror,
Jesus told His’ disciples they were to “Wait,” (Acts 1:4). Is there a timelier topic than waiting on God? Have we not all waited on, or presently are waiting on God for something? Isaiah said this about waiting on God, “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him,” (Isa. 64:4). The word wait in the Hebrew language is a word-picture that means to entrench. We can say the idea in Isaiah statement is: God works for him that entrenches himself in Him, or waiting on God means we dig into Him.
What does it mean today to wait on God? Waiting for God means adjusting our lives to the truth concerning Him which we know. When circumstance are chaotic, when it is impossible to understand what is going on, or it is impossible to know what will be the outcome of this or that set of circumstances is going to be, that is the hour in which we are to wait for God; that is the hour we entrench in him. When a situation is uncertain, that is the hour we wait on the one thing we know is certain – God.
There are many uncertainties in life. Waiting for God means that I adjust my life to Him rather than to my circumstance, and set my hope on the unalterable fact of God.