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Image Bearer

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We're made in God's image to bear His image

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Intro

One of the most powerful symbols of the Civil Rights Movement is the iconic image of sanitation workers on March 28, 1968 when they protested while holding signs that said, “I Am A Man.”
This was just a few days before MLK Jr. was assasinated.
This phrase has historically been a rallying cry against oppression for minorities.
Psalm 139:1–18 ESV
O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.

These sanitation workers were decrying that many considered them, because of their race, less than human.

But what they were declaring was what God had already said about them, that they were created in the image of God and established with full humanity.
Since the fall in the garden of Eden, we have been tempted to see our neighbors as less than human.
The Bible describes humankind as having unique dignity and worth, but in every generation, there are assaults on this dignity.
Consider the ways our society often labels and treats certain vulnerable groups:
The unborn
The poor
The immigrant
The elderly
The disabled
The gospel gives us a perspective of human dignity that begins with creation and ends with God’s redeemed people bearing witness to Jesus as the express image of God.
For 40 years the conversation remains irrepressible in our public policy discussion, elections, films, sitcoms, newspapers and coffee klatches. We can’t move on because the issue won’t go away. Our consciences, individual and corporate, can’t let it.
And for 45 years the conversation remains everlasting in our public policy discussion, elections, films, sitcoms, newspapers and conversations.
e gospel story o ers the world a unique vision of human dignity that begins with creation and ends with God’s redeemed people bearing witness to Jesus as the express image of God.
We can’t move on because the issue won’t go away.
Because our consciences, as individuals and even as a society, can’t let it.
God Incarnate
We’re still talking about the sanctity of life because the mere mention of it creates in us a moral friction on our human souls –
Session Summary
And our souls have been modeled after the Creator God who makes human beings distinctive among His created order.
It is this imago Dei – image of God – embedded in human beings () that makes us human in the first place.
And most of us understand that being created in the image of God means we are special in creation.
In fact, the imago Dei is the genesis of the biblical worldview: that God created and imprinted His image upon each person, giving dignity and value to every single human life despite its stage of development.
But have we fully understood this important reality?
So we have value and we have worth.
What does it really mean to bear the image of God?
But it’s not just in the unborn that we find value and worth
answers by affirming that God places high value on each one of us.
If you take stock of your life and say, "What difference does my life make? Does anybody really know or care about me?", then you're in the right place at the right time this morning. God has a word for you in . He wants to show you a different picture of your life. He wants to give you a view from the top, to help you see the meaning of your life from His perspective.
As you begin to dig into this psalm, You can begin to see why we can say with absolute confidence that God considers all of our lives to be sacred and precious treasures.
answers by a rming that God places high value on each one of us. As we study this impressive psalm, we’ll nd why we can say with absolute con dence that God considers all of our lives to be sacred and precious treasures. If you take stock of your life and say, "What difference does my life make? Does anybody really know or care about me?", then you're in the right place at the right time this morning. God has a word for you in . He wants to show you a different picture of your life. He wants to give you a view from the top, to help you see the meaning of your life from His perspective.
How does Christ restore our image-bearing purpose?
It’s in this psalm that the psalmist wants to show you a different picture of your life.
We’re so prone to look at things on the horizontal level
We look at life from the here and now, usually without any regard to the purpose or meaning that God has for us
But the Psalmist wants to give us a view from the top, to help us see the meaning of our lives, those living and those yet to take a breath, from His perspective.
And how does human dignity influence the way we live in the world?
There are four truths that, if believed, are guaranteed to replace pity-parties with purposeful pursuits as we learn the true value of our investment in others
And what I want to do this morning is a little different
Since today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday I want to spend our time together thinking about what that means
And thinking about these questions and seeing what God’s Word has to say about them.

What does it mean to bear the image of God?

Genesis 1:26–27 ESV
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.
Have you watched the news lately?
Genesis
There’s not much good to it
Each time we hear about violence on the news, we cringe. Each time we experience the tragic loss of life of someone close to us, we mourn. Each time we see images of tragedy overseas, our hearts break. Why is this? Death strikes us di erently than any other kind of tragedy because instinctively we know there is something special, unique, and important about human life.
In fact, the majority of what you hear about is all of the bad, the tragic and the violent
Each time we hear about violence on the news, we cringe.
Each time we experience the tragic loss of life of someone close to us, we mourn.
Each time we see images of tragedy overseas, our hearts break.
Why is this?
Because instinctively we know there is something special, unique, and important about human life.
And when we see the calamities that others go through, our emotions are stirred
And the Bible tells us why we feel this way.
We were created, as Genesis informs us, unlike the rest of creation.
The Creator spoke the universe into existence (ex. ), but we are told humans were endowed with special value.
Moses, who wrote Genesis, recorded God’s words saying that humankind was created in the image of God.
But what does it mean to be created in the image of God?
Theologians have wrestled with this idea for centuries, but here’s what we do know: unlike the plants and the animals, people were created as image bearers of their Creator.
In Moses’s day, back in Egypt it was common for the Pharoah to set up images of themselves throughout their kingdom so that their subjects could be reminded of the ruler’s likeness and would remember who held the power and who deserved to be worshiped.
Well, the Bible says that God created humans to image Him.
So, this has means a couple of things for us

First, it means that value of human life is hardwired into us.

There is something of God’s imprint on every human soul.
We are told in that while the rest of creation was spoken into existence, human beings were sculpted by God and given the breath of life.
David later described each human conception as an intricately crafted process by a loving God ().

But just as the value of human life is imprinted on our soul, then bearing God’s image means that we have a responsibility.

Then bearing God’s image means having responsibilities. Humans uniquely are empowered to think, to reason, to create, to love, and to feel. Humans were created to represent God in His un nished world, to take the raw materials of creation and bring Him glory by creating and lling the earth.
So think about it with me.
Second, bearing God’s image means having responsibilities. Humans uniquely are empowered to think, to reason, to create, to love, and to feel. Humans were created to represent God in His un nished world, to take the raw materials of creation and bring Him glory by creating and lling the earth.
As humans we are uniquely empowered to think, to reason, to create, to love, and to feel.
And as humans we’re created to represent God in His unfinished world,
As His image bearers we’re to take the elements of creation and bring Him glory by creating and fulfilling the earth.
But then happened and sin entered the picture
Sadly, the curse of sin has not only diminished our capacity to bear God’s image, it has turned us in on one another in ways that violate God’s original purpose in creation. We are tempted always either to turn toward God or away from Him.
And the curse of sin has not only diminished our capacity to bear God’s image, it has caused us to violate God’s original purpose in creation.
And as a result we are constantly torn between turning toward God or away from Him.
But our purpose from the beginning has been to bear His image and likeness
And as His children we do that by valuing all human life and take responsibility representing who He is with our lives.
But sadly as a society we fail miserably at carrying this out.
So how do we return to our initial purpose?
That’s where the gospel comes into play

How do we restore the image of the Father in our lives?

Hebrews 1:3 ESV
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
I really enjoy reading a good novel and about 15 years ago, my brother in law introduced me to an author by the name of Daniel Silva
And while he’s written several different types of novels, there’s a series that he’s written about a man named Gabriel Allon
And Gabriel Allon is an Israeli spy who, in his “real job,” works as an art restorer.
Now what’s interesting is how Silva, when writing about Gabriel Allon, describes in depth, the patient process of restoring classic works of art, such as Michelangelo’s expansive work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Here’s what I’m getting at: great works of art erode and fade and decay over time and must be refreshed.
But not just anyone can do the work of restoring.
In order for art work to be restored, it has to be done by a gifted artist who is intimately familiar with the original work.
Well think about this, in we’re told:
Ephesians 2:10 NLT
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Jesus is the artist who is intimately familiar with the Creator’s original design.
If you are in Christ, the Holy Spirit is at work slowly, patiently, and productively peeling away the layers of damage that the curse of sin has plagued us with.
So even though we’ve been created in the image of God and our lives have this intrinsic value, because of sin and the damage that it does, can only be restored in the gospel work of Christ.
esus restores our image-bearing purpose.
Jesus restores our image-bearing purpose.
Jesus is the One who reversed the curse of sin and death and begins restoring the image-bearing purpose in His people through sanctification.
The gospel turns people from doing violence to the image of God in others to loving their neighbors as themselves
Jesus reversed the curse of sin and death and begins restoring the image-bearing purpose in His people through sancti cation. e gospel turns people from doing violence to the image of God in others to loving their neighbors as themselves (see
; ). e writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus, as the God-man, is the perfect
And the writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus, as the God-man, is the perfect image of God, (exact imprint of his nature - ESV)(express image of His person - KJV)
Another Bible translation renders this phrase “the express image of his person” (KJV).
image of God, “exact imprint of his nature.” Another Bible translation renders this phrase “the express image of his person” (KJV). Paul declares in Colossians that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” ().
What’s interesting it that while we are created according to or in the image of God to be a mirror or reflection of God, Scripture never describes human beings as the image of God.
I’m not splitting theological hairs here
This distinction is very important because only one human being is ever described as being the perfect image of God—Jesus Christ.
But humans are created in the image of God.
Humans are created in the image of God. Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, is the image of God.
Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, is the image of God.
This is what makes the Christian perspective of human dignity so unique.
The Bible makes the case that it was God’s eternal purpose to create humankind to reflect the image of Christ, who is the image of God.
Jesus matters because in Jesus we see the fulfillment of what Adam was created to be but failed.
This is why it is so important for us not simply to dwell on the beautiful fact that every human is created in God’s image.
Christ not only redeemed us from the power of sin and death that assaults the image of God in us;
is is why it is so important for us not simply to dwell on the beautiful fact that every human is created in God’s image.
He not only defeated the curse and is making all things new;
Christ not only redeemed us from the power of sin and death that assaults the image of God in us; He not only defeated the curse and is making all things new; He is molding us into His image and transforming us into renewed image-bearers who spread His glory throughout the earth.
He is molding us into His image and transforming us into renewed image-bearers who spread His glory throughout the earth.
So what do you do with this?

First, our status as redeemed image-bearers should affect the way we see ourselves.

We were created by God with intricate care.
We are loved by God enough that He sent Jesus to redeem, rescue, and restore us.
We are not defined by our struggles or sins or preferences,
Neither are our identities found in what others think of us or our social or economic status.
We see ourselves rightly when we see ourselves in Christ alone.

Second, our status as redeemed image-bearers should affect the way we see our loved ones.

Our neighbors, our family, and our friends—these are people created in the image of God.
When we respect and love and care for them, we are fulfilling our God-given mandate.

Third, our status as redeemed image-bearers should affect the way we see our mission in the world.

In Christ, we’ve been restored again to our original image-bearing purpose ():
Our daily work has a new dignity, our existence has a new purpose, and our lives have new meaning.
We’ve been empowered to live on mission in this world.
Instead of turning on each other, we should look for ways to love our neighbors (who also bear the image of God.)
Instead of ignoring the vulnerable, we should speak up for those who have no voice ().
Proverbs 31:8 NLT
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.
We must be motivated to share the gospel with our neighbors.
The most loving thing we can do for others is share with them the good news that in Christ they can be reconciled to the Creator who created them in His image.
is teaching is exactly why we should not be embarrassed to be Christians but to press the goodness of this gospel story into the brokenness of our world. Christian theology uniquely o ers the world a better story than other religions and philosophies and has the only resources to solve its deepest and most vexing problems.
And we don’t have to apologize or be embarrassed to be Christians but rather we need to press the goodness of this gospel story into the brokenness of our world.
Christianity offers the world a better story than other religions and philosophies
And Christianity has the only resources to solve its deepest problems.

The gospel proves to us that there are no accidental humans, that each person is created with care and wonder by an creative God.

We are more valued than the animals, than the angelic host, than the plant life.
e gospel story teaches us that there are no accidental humans, that each person is created with care and wonder by an artistic God. We are more valued than the animals, than the angelic host, than the plant life. is should inform the way we see the world and should motivate us to speak up for the most vulnerable, who have no voice.
So this should transform the way we see the world and should motivate us to speak up for the most vulnerable, who have no voice.
Whether it be the unborn, the elderly, the disabled, or the refugee
We live in a world where humans are inventing new ways to assault the image of God in each other.
But the good news is Christ has broken in and has reversed the curse of sin and death and is calling us, His redeemed image-bearers to be conformed to His image and to live on mission for Him in the world He created.
in the world He created.
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