THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 10-28-12
LESSON TITLE: “THE IMAGE OF GOD!”
In Ecclesiastes 7 we read, “A good name is better than precious ointment.” What kind of name do you have in this world?
Good morning! What a privilege we have this day to join together in the study of God’s Living Word. We are happy you have chosen to be with us today and are excited about this opportunity we have together to glorify our creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let’s approach our Father’s throne in prayer.
It’s now time to start our praise through song. Won’t you join in the first hymn of the morning, as we together sing, “Purer in Heart O God!”
(SONG # 1)
When was the last time you heard someone say, “I don’t care what they think,” or, “it doesn’t matter what they say about me.” The fact is, we all have probably said this from time to time - not really considering that it is in contradiction with what the Bible says!
The truth is it does matter what we say and how people perceive us in the world in which we live. Our name is very important because we are either seen as Godly and righteous by those around us, or rude and unlikable. I like the way Solomon also put these thoughts in Proverbs 22:1, there we read, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,” There we have it from the wisest man who ever lived. The most important thing in life is that we live in such a way to exemplify Christ in all that we do, so that those we come in contact with will want to know more about our Jesus.
The New Testament writers also had a clear handle on our topic this morning. You might recall what Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12, there we read, “…but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” Notice the many areas Paul encouraged Timothy to be a good example in. In fact, if you consider the many areas which are mentioned he really covers the entire spectrum of life: what we say, what we do, how we treat others, how our attitude is. Furthermore, he mentions that faith and purity are a part of what all must see in us as Christians.
I also like the way Paul instructed the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 11:1. There he told them, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” Again in a nut shell we are to be Christ-like. Those of this world must see Christ in everything we do.
A final verse I might mention is found in 1 Peter 2:21. There it says, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:” You see we are to follow the example which Christ left. If that doesn’t mean that we are to be Christ-like - I don’t know what else would!
So let me encourage us all to remember how important it is that our names show forth the praises of Him who died for us. So that in all things God may be glorified and His Will may be done.
Our topic today will again focus on our series called “What Is Man!” Our specific study this morning is entitled, “The Image Of God!” So stay with us and in a few minutes I will return and lead us in our thoughts of the Day. Now it’s time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, “Redeemed.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
Thank you so much for continuing with us now as we go to God’s word and continue a series that we began last week concerning the question, “What is man?”. This thought is actually taken from some words that David spoke there in the book of Psalms but specifically in Psalm 8. You might turn with me there and consider just for a few moments the great encouragement of this short Psalm. First of all, David declares the glory of God, the excellence of His name, the wonder of His power, the ability He has and has shown through creation, and the power of all creation including humanity. But then after stating all of this glorious thought of God he then there goes in verse 4 and says, “What is man that You are mindful of him…” and he ends that same verse by saying, “…And the son of man that You visit him?”. “Why Did My Savior Come To Earth?” you remember the old song that we often sing? The beautiful thought about why did Jesus come, why is God so mindful of you and I as His creation despite the fact that while we were yet sinners Christ had to die for us? When He realized that really we would reject Him and at times would fall short of His glory, He still loved us enough to present the gift and show us the opportunity. As we actually go on in the same text it talks even further there in verse 5 and following about how that He has made us even just a little lower than the angels, and the same way that Jesus became lower than the angels. The Hebrew writer there in Hebrews 1, tells us the very same thing that man is God’s creation just under even those great celestial beings, those angelic beings that are made for His specific purpose. So again how precious we are as we saw last week how special, how unique, in the creation of God that He created man and that when He created man He gave man a clear distinction between that and all of the other parts of creation that are living and breathing. The fact that man is able to have knowledge, he is able to reason, he is able to understand, he is able to believe, he is able to obey and to follow, and he is able to be a living soul and really that is the distinction that we want to consider together this morning. That our God created us in His image, in His likeness, and therefore we bear the very spirit of God as well as we show forth the flesh of His creation.
So we will begin there together in the book of Genesis once again and you might recall within the great creation that there on the sixth day the Bible tells us in chapter 1 that man was created. But notice the discussion that God has with Himself; certainly we know that God the Godhead encompasses the Father, the son and the Holy Spirit. So God specifically there in verse 26 of chapter 1 says, “Let us make man in Our image...” What was God wanting to do? To create man in His image, like Him, in fact the next word that He uses, “…according to Our likeness…” But He doesn’t stop there He reiterates the same thing, He says, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created Him and male and female He created them.” So what was different about man? Well, in the same text if you back up to verse 25 He talks about the creation of the earth, those things that are living such as cattle, such as those creeping things, those things that even breathe and eat, and even do many things even such that humans do. But then when he says lets create man there is a distinction not in the image of the fleshly creation or the animal kingdom but in my image and my likeness man and woman in my likeness. In fact when we go on there in chapter 2 we find out that God actually did this and He breathed into the nostrils of man after forming Him in verse 7 from the dust of the ground and He gave Him life.
Now what is beautiful about Genesis 1 there near the end as well as Genesis 2 is we really see both sides of man demonstrated in the creation of God. First of all we see that God determined to make man in His image but then that He might be able to dwell on the earth there was a fleshly house, temple, tent that was necessary to house the spiritual likeness of man which was similar to God. So therefore what do we learn there concerning God’s wondrous, His ultimate, His perfect creation man? We learn that He made the man of flesh but within the man of flesh that is of the earth, that is even the Ecclesiastes writer Solomon says there in 12:7, “Will return to the dust,” in other words the flesh that has come from the dust will return to the dust in the end that there is also that part of man that is the spiritual side of man. The Spirit or soul of man that also, guess what, will not return to the dust but the same text Ecclesiastes 12:7, “but will return to God who gave it.”
So what is this flesh? Well, you and I know about the flesh, you and I know how temporary the flesh is, and how really the flesh does not last. In fact we could even turn over together to the book of Corinthians and we are going to actually look at several different texts in the book of Corinthians so if you have your Bibles I would certainly encourage you to turn over there. But if you will notice with me first of all in the book of Corinthians, 2 Corinthians that is, in chapter 4 verse 16 he says this, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing…” What you mean this flesh is dying? Yes from the moment we are born we are headed toward what, till death. And we know eventually even from a scientific standpoint that when the body dies, it does what, it decays and returns to the dirt or that which the Bible refers to as the dust or the ground. So, therefore as we read here it’s exactly how God has declared it and set things in order. The outward man is perishing, everyday I find new aches and pains, I see new wrinkles, and I see different changes that come about in a body that is deteriorating little by little. The outward man is perishing but then he says in verse 16, “…yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” What? You mean that the inward man, the soul of man, that place, that spirit of man that really this tent houses that is the eternal part of man that will not die like the dust which is that flesh again which the dust comes from. There again if you will notice in the same text in 2 Corinthians 5 he actually mentions there, “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed…” we have another building. What building? It’s a building He says, “…from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” So what we really begin to see which is so beautiful for the child of God really to comprehend because of the hope that it gives us because we know we have all been to funerals, we all know that death is inevitable from a physical standpoint. So that hope that we have, that ability to believe what God has said, and to know that there is something beyond this world and there is life everlasting encompassed in the spiritual side of man.
Now hear it again Genesis 1, “Let us make man in our own image, according to our likeness…” So what was God talking about, what is God? Well, John 4 tells us there in verse 24 that God is a spirit; God is not flesh and blood. In fact now if we will go back to the text in Corinthians but in 1 Corinthians 15 you will notice with me there that text specifically says verse 50, “…that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” You know why? Because the kingdom of God is not made up of fleshly things. So again what does that tell us? What we have been looking at. The fleshly side of man that was made after the concept or the likeness of the dirt, or the dust, or the earth will perish and it will pass away and that’s why the Bible continually tells us about the brevity of life in Hebrews 4, or the fact in Hebrews 9 that we will all appear for the judgment seat I Christ when we die. That is the reality but then the same beautiful reality is that there is a part, there is a portion that God has given us that will never die and that is again the spirit of man. The same text 1 Corinthians 15 helps us to see and to comprehend this very thought so well, in fact we would need to read the last half of that chapter but certainly time does not permit on such a short program. But if you will look with me specifically within that same text first of all in verse 49, I want you to notice what it said there again 1Corinthians 15:49, “And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.” So there are two sides; the man of dust, the man of heaven or spirit, the man of fleshly things that returns to the dust, the man of God the image of God and likeness of God and the spirit. God is the spirit the spiritual side of God will never die whether we go to Heaven or whether we are lost eternally in Hell, the soul continues to exist. He also clarifies it even more in the same text if you will back up to verse 44, 1Corinthians 15, “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” Well what is Paul talking about? Well, the two different bodies, the parts of man, the flesh the physical and that which is perishing, and the spiritual that is being renewed day by day. He goes on there in verse 45 to even be more specific as He quotes even from the old testament there in Genesis, he says, “And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” So what was Adam? A fleshly being and a spiritual being. Verse 46, “However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.” That means that God had to form the earthly temple or tabernacle to do what? To place the spirit within so you have the flesh and the spirit. But then guess what will happen verse 47, “The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly.” As we are in the image of the man of dust, verse 49, we are in the image of the heavenly or spiritual man which is that man of God. So how much more beautiful then when we get to verse 50, when it says we will not inherit the kingdom of God with flesh and blood for it is not that which makes up heaven so therefore the next thing he goes on to say is that there is a mystery that I will reveal to you.
In verse 52 he says that mystery is, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed.” You mean this fleshly body cannot go to Heaven? Certainly not, we have already read that it cannot go to heaven because heaven is not flesh and blood, God is a spirit. And so what does the fleshly body that is going to perish have to do? It perishes but the heavenly body is changed and it says here immediately what happens, verse 53, “So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality…” in order that we might do what, verse 54, swallow up death. You mean that we will never die with God? Not spiritually. You will live forever if you are a child of God and you will live forever even if you leave this earth because you will be with God’s spirit in heaven eternally in a changed, incorruptible, immortal form that will never die. You know isn’t that comforting, isn’t that wonderful to think about, doesn’t that maybe help us then decipher some what really is happening at a funeral when we see a dear loved one and a good Christian who passes away and we sometimes mourn but then we need to remind ourselves that the dust goes to the dust but the immortal, incorruptible, spiritual man never ever dies. It continues to exist and as stories of the Bible teach us including such as that of the rich man and Lazarus in the book of Luke, there immediately he went to Abraham’s bosom and was being cared for in that bosom of Abraham as the rich man immortal one that would never die yet would be in punishment he immediately went to torment, a place like hell.
So within all of these things will we find that encouragement? That encouragement that continues to be found maybe in the passage there that you could read later in Romans 5, that continues to tell us that we have a choice in this life. Are we going to serve the flesh that is perishing, that will not save, that cannot help us get to heaven or are we going to serve the righteous, spiritual, pure, the holy side, the Godly side, the heavenly man. For we know the heavenly man is that part which will never die, which will give us an eternal existence, and would not only bless us in the eternal concept after this life, but even give us blessings from God today. So who do you serve? Do you not know that the one you serve you are that ones child? Are you a servant of God? Will you give yourself fully to God and will you know in doing so that heaven is yours and you will live forever?
(SONG # 3 - “Savior Lead Me”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord’s Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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How blessed we are to be created in the very image and likeness of God Himself! The question is, “will you live up to such a perfect, pure and holy image?” And thus, Will you present yourself before this world as a true child of the King?