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Image Bearers

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Intro: Welcome

Good Morning! Welcome to City Centre Church. My name is Adam and I am privileged to share with you while our pastor is away. My day job is a Chaplain or Campus Pastor at the University of Alberta.
I’m on campus because Jesus continues to transform my life every day. He changes everything, and I want to see a move of God on campus, so I work toward being able to host it well. I’m attempting to foster a culture of leadership development and service. Currently the main vehicle to that end is Red Frogs. Through Red Frogs we reach out and serve students on campus. So far this school year we’ve done 30 events. Students themselves have spoken on our behalf, in a survey done by student group services, Red Frogs was voted as one of the most helpful services to incumbent student execs.
Kevin told me to shamelessly promote myself. I raise my own support, and I want to let you know that City Centre Church is the highest supporting church I have. It is because of your dedication to giving, that City Centre is able to support me, and sustain the ministry happening on campus.
I’ve entitled my message this morning Image Bearers....hopefully that hasn’t sold the farm, but I’d like to investigate two questions this morning.

Who Are We & What Are We Supposed to Do?

Who are we and what are we supposed to do?
Today I’d like to ask and hopefully provide an answer for two questions. Who are we and what are we supposed to do?
Who are we? This first question is the intro, setting up to what I have found to be a more pressing question for believers.
We are all image bearers of God. There is a difference between being a child of God, reserved for those who have proclaimed allegiance to Christ and being an image bearer because he is our creator and we, the created, bear his is image.
states:
John 1:12 ESV
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
John 1:12 ESV
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,”
egardless of where one stands in relationship to God, all are image bearers of Christ.
Regardless of where one stands in relationship to God, all are image bearers of Christ.
However, regardless of where one stands in relationship to God, we are still image bearers of Christ.
We were granted free-will, given dominion over the earth, gifted with creativity. All of us are made for eternity, built for immortality. God does not make junk.
It is important to note the difference because some who have never in their hearts or minds made a commitment to Christ believe that God is their Father, but they have not been transplanted from darkness into light. They are misled.
It is usually compounded by the notion that if God was their father, then there shouldn’t be any issues, life should be easy. Unfortunate circumstances, struggles in life, witnessing a broken world with it’s injustice and cruelty and pride register to them an uncaring God, who is either negligent or cruel. Disillusioned they end up angry at God.
At bottom, no matter where you stand in relationship to God, you bear his likeness and are loved.
Mankind, we seem to posses a knack for defaulting to broken. To making mistakes, pursuing through a lust of life and experience our own good. Balking at justice if it’s inconvenient. Despising kindness if it is toward an enemy or even if it is someone that will not repay us. In pride so often we go our own way, not trusting the Lord with our circumstances, or that he has a mind for what is best in our lives.
At bottom, everyone is created in his image and so life has value, enough that God would die. The gospel - the good news is this. There is a God. He loves and desires to be your father. He is good, revealing his great kindness and love to us through his son Jesus.
In relationship his peace and joy become your strength. His goodness and patience through his Spirit lift and renews our strength.
We still contend living life in a broken world. I was going to point to the news and what we see and hear everyday. But I have another story for you, a story about a man name Adam. A lawbreaker.
Micah 6:8 ESV
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
As an illustration of this brokeness in the world, I have a story about a man name Adam. A lawbreaker.

Lawbreaker

I was going North on the QE2, slightly faster than the flow of traffic. I was also multi-tasking, on my phone. I had places to be, people to see.
While I was in the left hand lane passing another vehicle. A white van flew up behind me. I shoulder checked and decided to get around the vehicle I was passing, because this other guy was in a real hurry. After passing I had hung up my phone and was continuing in the right hand lane.
I noticed that the van, instead of just continuing on was keeping pace with me. So I glanced over and this guy sitting in the van waves a cell phone at me. In that moment, I was just annoyed. My thought was, “ok, so what if I was.” I didn’t make a face or anything, I just slowly turned my face back to the road. I was just going to ignore him.
Then he flipped on his lights. My stomach flipped and lurched. He had me dead to rights. I had been breaking the law.
I pulled over, and I was really sorry I had been caught. I was already calculating what it was going to cost me, in a season that I can ill-afford extra expenses.
He pulled in behind me and leaving his lights flashing strolled up to the window. He bent over looked me in the eye and just asked me a question.

“Whats the rules [sic]?”

I mumbled out my response. “No cell-phones.”
He shook his head affirmatively and said, “If you need to chat find an offramp, pull over on the shoulder. It can get real expensive real quick.”
With that, he turned around and went back to his van. He pulled out into the lane a little with his lights still flashing to give me space to get back on the highway.
He let me go, without a even a written warning. All I could think about was his question, how much I was an idiot, but how much bigger had been his show of mercy and kindness.
The passage we are going to look at this morning is found in Micah, one of the minor prophets at the end of the Old Testament. It is hear that we will look to answer the second question. What are we supposed to do?
Micah 6:6–8 ESV
“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:1–8 ESV
Hear what the Lord says: Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice. Hear, you mountains, the indictment of the Lord, and you enduring foundations of the earth, for the Lord has an indictment against his people, and he will contend with Israel. “O my people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me! For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. O my people, remember what Balak king of Moab devised, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.” “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6
Background
Background:
Background:
Micah is in a day where society is falling apart. Even the family unit is crumbling, there is not trust only division and everyone looking out for their own needs. He prophesies about the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel.
He is a voice against the false prophets of his day who speak only of success and prosperity, turning a blind eye to the injustice and corruption of a kingdom serving only the ends of a wealthy elite and false religion complicit and lending authenticity to their rule.
He has been regarded as the prophet of the poor, or the people.
In vs 6-7 we see the attitude and heart of the people revealed. They try try to nail God down. Extract from him the letter of the law. Ironically in this case, it is the people asking God, whats the rules?
This is so that they may know the extent of what he is due, they seek to bargain with God. It reveals hearts far, with no desire for fellowship, or to know God. In fact their willingness to commit child sacrifice betrays that they have not known God or his character for some time. They have become blinded, and so their false religion is just a transaction that buys his patience and longsuffering, delaying retribution and allowing them to live without his Lordship or meddling.
Micah 6:6–8 ESV
“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
While Micah preached judgment for sin, he preached grace for the repentant. It is here and other places that echo what God truly desires.
Mercy not sacrifice.
Micah 6:8 NIV
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah
Micah 6:8 NIV
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8
When I look at this verse, I see Jesus. God in every circumstance does not just make demands and leave us to sort it out, but shows as the way.
is where I see Jesus.
This is where we see what we are supposed to do.
Do Justice
If it is Law that is given and governs over all areas of life and circumstance, justice in this context is the notion that in some circumstances the strict application, following the letter of the law, will actually result in an injustice.
However, it is not the abolishment of law, but a greater fulfilment of the law resulting in true justice. Sound familiar? Jesus stated that he himself is the fulfilment of the Old Testament law.
When the adulterous woman was brought before Jesus, her accusers were right that the law demanded she be stoned to death.
No one knows what Jesus wrote in the sand, but he acted, he delivered her Kingdom justice and she was free. He told her to go, and sin no more.
I was confused, after the cop let me go I was thinking about justice and mercy. I was humbled and appreciated the mercy, but wondered how to reconcile the tension between justice and kindness.
The act of justice we are commanded to follow here is this. Recognizing that our rights may afford us our pound-of-flesh, and destroy the other person, acting justly towards them is
or a “kindly abatement of what we might justly demand.”
Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 694). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc..
In acting justly we move closer to seeing people as our neighbours.
In acting justly we move closer to seeing people as our neighbours.
God shows us this same justice through his Son Jesus. Jesus makes up our lack. In making payment on a debt we could never afford.
Jesus is our justice.
Love Mercy, Love Kindness, Act in Love
Love Mercy, Love Kindness, Act in Love
Kindness for me is sort of like Love in Motion.
There are many translations of this portion, but regardless we all appreciate it when it comes our way. We all love mercy. I sure did.
God keeps on surprising me with his acts of love and mercy to me everyday. Usually coming from the most surprising sources. A cop in an unmarked white van. A complete stranger in the parking lot of a Save On.
It was a windy day and before I could stop it, the wind caught my door, slamming it into the side of a vehicle. Guys, I wrote her note with my information, but I had people with me. Would I always do it? God is gracious.
She let me off, would not force me to pay the high quotes. A stranger showed me mercy and kindness. Her husband didn’t want her to, but she did.
In acts of kindness, again I see Jesus showing the way. Basically every act in his earthly ministry, but to to give example, his assent to healing the servant of the Centurion. True on the word of some of his followers, speaks to the partnership we have with Christ.
Here again I see Jesus leading the way. His assent to healing the servant of the Centurion. A man even further removed from his target ministry audience than a few of the Samaritan women scripture records he healed or blessed.
The compassion he had on the multitudes moving him to feed them physically as well as spiritually.
Jesus consistently displays kindness and love throughout his ministry, touching and healing those considered beyond the scope of God’s care, the hopeless of society.
Finally challenged on who our neighbours are, Jesus spells it out in the parable of the good Samaritan. The lawyer asking the question, thought he was being smart.
Doing justice when we are wronged, loving mercy and kindness when we are not obligated, this moves us from enmity into relationship.
It brings restoration and healing.
There is an interesting difference between goodness and kindness. I stated kindness is love in motion. We often sing about God being Good. It is true, but more than good, he demonstrates his great kindness for us through Jesus.
Jesus is our kindness and mercy.
Why should we do it? You are getting the third question here as well.
1. God fulfils these commands himself showing us the way through Christ.
2. We are all image bearers of Christ. The price of our humanity, our value was set by the death of God on the cross.
At bottom we are all image bearers of Christ. The price of our humanity, our value was set by the death of God on the cross.
Fortunately, our Lord is risen and because of this we have the right to become joint heirs, children of God through his justice and kindness.
Fortunately, our Lord is risen and because of this we have the right to become joint heirs, children of God through his justice and kindness.
Through our allegiance to Christ we are family.
Everyone is an image bearer. That is why any sin committed, is ultimately committed against God.
We can all think of people that have wronged us, maybe they are here today, they perhaps could use an act of justice. Likewise there are many that would be brought to life and reconciled by a show of goodness and kindness.
Justice is moving beyond a transgression, kindness is moving beyond expectation.
Walk Humbly
Do Justice!
The oppressed cheer!
Love mercy/kindness!
The oppressor cheers!
Walk humbly with your God reveals that we are all both. Mercy and kindness once received is something at once humbling, and when truly received is an act that one does not want to spurn.
It is realizing in humility that we could never fulfill the letter of the law.
It is seeing the irony in the questions we have for God that sound a lot like “Whats the rules?” because we feel we need to earn it, or we want just enough of Jesus for an insurance but have no desire for relationship.
Its also coming to realize that instead of a God asking the same question, he seeks to move beyond the courts and into your heart with Jesus. It understanding that he did justice, loved mercy and yes even walked humbly first.
Jesus is our justice, he is our kindness and he demonstrated unimaginable humility by meeting us in our circumstances, not considering equality to God something to be grasped and even going to death, death on a cross for us.
Who are you? You are an image bearer of Christ, and if in relationship with our Lord, a child of God.
What are we supposed to do? Justice, mercy and walk humbly.
Pray
Bless you church!
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