Faithlife Sermons

God's Good People

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People were created by God to bear His image in every facet of our lives.

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Introduction
This morning we are again going to be , and we will be talking about how God Made Man and it was very good. To introduce this idea, we will first hear the hopeful story of a boy named Foli, who was rescued from slavery by the International Justice Mission. Take a look.
Then we began this Gospel Project initiative just last week. I have to tell you I have been torn on what to do today because I am convinced that God is already working through the Gospel Project…just as I was convinced that He wanted us to spend one Sunday this year with a focus on Freedom for those caught in the abuses of modern day slavery.
So I didn’t know what to do. Have you ever had that experience when there are two good things that you know God would be pleased with and you feel like you have to chose one or the other. Those are really hard places to be in, and the only way that I know to handle them is to pray and ask God what direction He would want you to go.
Sometimes in my life he had just said, Choose one - I’ll bless which ever one you chose.
Sometimes he had said, “Choose this one, because this is what is needed at this time and I will see to the other in my perfect timing”
Video: The Deep Place - Foli’s Story
And sometimes he shows you how both are possible and not just that they are possible, but they will actually make each other even better. That is what I believe God has lead us to this morning.
So we are going to focus in on Freedom Sunday just like so many other Churches are around the World, but we are going to look at it through the lens of the topic of “God’s Good People” that we have from the Gospel Project.
The big idea for us this morning is that “People were created by God to bear His image in every face of our lives”. I invite you consider that truth as we experience this hopeful story of a young boy named Foli:
The big idea for us this morning is that “People were created by God to bear His image in every face of our lives”. I invite you consider that truth as we hear the story of a young boy named Foli:
Video: The Deep Place - Foli’s Story
Tell me that there isn’t something that this story touches in you deep inside. If the video was too dark to see or difficult to follow, let me fill you in a little more on Foli’s story from IJM.
Tension
Foli grew up in a poor family in the country of Ghana. His mother was absent and his father died before he was born, so he grew up living with his grandparents on a farm. He loved living on the farm. When his grandfather was injured in an accident, a relative offered to care for Foli until he healed. His grandparents accepted, but they had no idea what lay ahead for Foli.
he was born, so he grew up living with his grandparents.
¡¡ When his grandfather was injured in an accident, a relative offered to care for
Foli until he healed. His grandparents accepted, but they had no idea what lay
ahead for Foli.
To set the stage even more it might be helpful to know that there are 25 million people who live in Ghana, and almost 10% of the population lives on less than $2 per day. Nearly 50,000 children work in Ghana’s fishing industry, with tens of thousands working at Lake Volta alone.
Globally there are an estimated 40.3 million people held in slavery today. 1 in 4 victims of forced labor is a child. IJM has helped rescue more than 17,000 people from forced labor slavery. The youngest child rescued from Lake Volta was four years old.
Foli clearly remembers the moment his new boat master told him he would be going to work on the lake. He arrived at his new home on a remote island with no school or medical facilities. The next day he began fishing.
than $2 per day.
the lake. He arrived at his new home on a remote island with no school or medical facilities. The
next day he began fishing.
next day he began fishing.
Nineteen-hour work days would become routine for Foli. Monday through Friday, his day started
Nineteen-hour work days would become routine for Foli. Monday through Friday, his day started at 1 a.m. when he would row out in the dark of night to set the fishing nets. Foli would return at 6 a.m. to collect the fish and take them to market, where he would sell them until 1 or 2 in the afternoon. He would go to sleep about 8 p.m., only to start again in a few hours.
at 1 a.m. when he would row out in the dark of night to set the fishing nets. Foli would return at 6
at 1 a.m. when he would row out in the dark of night to set the fishing nets. Foli would return at 6
a.m. to collect the fish and take them to market, where he would sell them until 1 or 2 in the afternoon.
a.m. to collect the fish and take them to market, where he would sell them until 1 or 2 in the afternoon.
¡¡ 1 in 4 victims of forced labor is a child.
He would go to sleep about 8 p.m., only to start again in a few hours.
He would go to sleep about 8 p.m., only to start again in a few hours.
Despite not knowing how to swim when he arrived at the lake, he had the dangerous job of diving
Despite not knowing how to swim when he arrived at the lake, he had the dangerous job of diving into the murky water to untangle nets when they caught on branches. He knew of other boys who dove to untangle a net and never came back to the surface.
into the murky water to untangle nets when they caught on branches. He knew of other boys who
into the murky water to untangle nets when they caught on branches. He knew of other boys who
dove to untangle a net and never came back to the surface.
¡¡ Nearly 50,000 children work in Ghana’s fishing industry, with tens of thousands
dove to untangle a net and never came back to the surface.
“Sometimes when people go on the lake, and their boats capsize, those who can’t swim die. I was
“Sometimes when people go on the lake, and their boats capsize, those who can’t swim die. I was sad whenever I saw this.” - Foli
sad whenever I saw this.” - Foli
Tension
sad whenever I saw this.” - Foli
If you are like me then a flood of emotions are run through your heart and mind when you hear a story like this one. Sadness, anger, compassion and a drive to do something seem to all crash together in such an overwhelming way that can make us feel hopeless to do anything about it. But you know that this is wrong, and if you thought you could do something about it you would.
This emotional drive that is swelling up inside of you was placed there by God when he created you. That is part of what being made in the “image of God” is all about. Every person, whether a follower of Jesus or not, will feel some degree of impact over a story like this. While each of us is tainted by our sin, there is still a remnant of the character and image of God inside all of us. That is what we are going to look into today as we dive into the part of God’s Story where He created our first parents, Adam and Eve.
This is one of the places where our two focuses today align. That emotional drive that is swelling up inside of you was placed there by God when he created you. That is part of what being made in the image of God is all about. Every person, where a follower of Jesus or not, will feel some degree of impact over a story like this. While each of us is tainted to one degree or another by our sin, there is still a remnant of the character and image of God inside all of us. That is what we are going to look into today as we dive into the part of God’s Story where He created our first parents, Adam and Eve.
So open up with me if you will to last section of Genesis chapter 1, still on page 1, I’ll pray and we will see what God wants to teach us about us this morning.
FOLI’S STORY – PART 2
¡¡ IJM has helped rescue more than 17,000 people from forced labor slavery.
Tension
Truth
At this point in our text God has created everything else in the known
Genesis 1:26–27 ESV
26 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.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:26–31 ESV
26 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.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 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.” 29 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. 30 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. 31 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.
In , Paul warns us to “not think of ourselves more highly than we ought”, but sometimes I think we swing the pendulum too far and we have a hard time thinking anything good about humanity. This is not what tells us about us. It is clear that the creation of mankind is the pinnacle event of the creation story. We were the big finish, the grand finale, the “piece de resistance”, but it can be easy to forget this was true when we read the tragic headlines or watch the nightly news. But there is no mistaking that this is what tells us..
In , Paul warns us to “not think of ourselves more highly than we ought” but that does not mean that we should not think highly of ourselves at all. Especially when we are considering how much God invested when he created us. We have to remember that the creation of man is the pinnacle event of the creation story. We were the big finish, the grand finale, the “piece de resistance”, and I think it would be helpful to remember this.
Let’s look some of the markers from these particular verses that point to how the creation of mankind was the pinnacle of God’s creation.
Genesis 1:26-
Romans 12:3 ESV
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

(Gen 1:26-31)

(Gen 1:26-31)

In , Paul warns us to “not think of ourselves more highly than we ought” but that does not mean that we should not think highly of ourselves at all. Especially when we are considering how much God invested when he created us. We have to remember that the creation of man is the pinnacle event of the creation story. We were the big finish, the grand finale, the “piece de resistance”, and I think it would be helpful to remember this.
Where do we get this idea frHow do we know this is true? Well there are several markers that point to this:
The creation account shows an ascending order of significance with human life being the final creative act. As such it stands as the most significant act in the order.
We can see the significance in the amount of the text dedicated to this event, and the detail that is offered in it. As we keep reading we will see that there is more said here on the creation of these two creatures than on any other act of creation.
The wording in this creative act is much more personal. In each of the previous acts of creation God says, “Let their be…” or “Let the earth do this or that...” and certainly this was God’s will and so it happened just as He declared it, but the wording of this act of creation is much more intimate and personal.
We find in verse 27 a literary structure called the “chiastic” form. Basically, this form elevates and emphasizes one particular idea by repeating it two more times. The big idea that is pointed to over and again is not just that we are the next thing created, but that we are created in a special way.
This is the only creative act where there is divine deliberation. All three persons of the Trinity are distinctly on display here in the creation of man. The deliberated over us. Let’s Do this thing, “Let us..”
The Hebrew word for “create” used throughout the creation story is the word “bara”. This word is only found in Scripture to describe how God creates, it is never used to describe the creations of any man. That word for the special creating power of God is used repeatedly in this section compared to only single uses of it when describing God’s other acts of “bara” or creation.
This creative act is much more personal. In each of the previous acts of creation God says, “Let their be…” or “Let the earth do this or that...” and it would do it before him. The wording of this creative act is much more intimate and personal.
This is the only creative act where there is divine deliberation. All three persons of the Trinity are distinctly on display here in the creation of man. The deliberated over us. Let’s Do this thing, “Let us..”
Human life alone is created in the image of God and has the special assignment to rule over the created order. All of God’s creation is important, because it reflects the creative character of God, but mankind is special in that we alone are made in the image of God. “Imago Dei” is the Latin term that Theologians like to use. There are so many doctrines, principles and practices that begin here in this truth, but for right now we will simply mention it as another marker of our significance in the creation story.
Probably the most significant of any other marker is that man alone was created in the image of God. All of God’s creation is important, because it reflects the creative character of God, but we were created in God’s image. “Imago Dei” is the Latin term that Theologians like to use, literally meaning the image of God.
You might notice that verse 27 seems to be repeating a similar thing, and that is very intentional. The Hebrew word used throughout the creation story is the word “bara”. This word is only found in Scripture to describe how God creates, it is never used to describe the creations of man. So repeating that word three times, means that God “bara” us in very special and intentional way.
Admittedly, that was pretty academic. Some of your eyes have glassed over and you have checked out…but the truth is that I could go to so many doctrines, principles and practices that have their beginning in this truth, but I would like to take us a different direction this morning. I would like us to just stop for a moment to consider and wonder over the impact of this truth. So I am going to ask you to do an excercise with me. It won’t hurt and anyone can do this. Just close your eyes with me for a moment and declare: I WAS CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD.
We are about to keep reading even more about how God created us, and in it we will see how there is a lot more detail given on this creative event than any of the other ones
As this point I could go to so many doctrines, principles and practices that have their beginning in this truth, but I think that we need to just stop for a moment to consider the wonder of the truth that you and I were created in very image of God. That when God created us He placed in us something of his character, something of his nature, something of his image.
The literary structure of verse 27 is in a “chiastic” form, which basically elevates and emphasizes one particular idea with the repeating of it two more times. The author does not want anyone to miss the significance of the point that we are created in the image of God.
Unlike the animals that God caused to come from the Land in v 24, we are a very direct and personal creation of the Trinity.

We bear God’s Image

Can you feel the weight of this truth over your life and over the life of every person in this room? God chose to create us in HIS image. It is mind boggling. That when God created us He placed in us something of his character, something of his nature, something of his image. Grapple with that for just a moment. What does it mean that we were created in the Image of God?
the wonder of the truth that you and I were created in very image of God. That when God created us He placed in us something of his character, something of his nature, something of his image.
I think of how sometimes people will come up to me when I am with my children and they will something along the lines of, “Oh, yeah. We can sure see that these are your kids”. They see different things at different times. Sometimes it is the resemblance in our facial features or the way they carry themselves or the way they see bacon as a major food groups. Something in them resembles me so that someone can say - “Oh yeah I can see they are your children”. And I love that. I am proud to be their Father and love that people see something of me in them.
All of these point to the creation of mankind as being God’s greatest creation on this earth, and this is important for us to remember. It is important because it not only comes with great honor, but it also comes with great responsibility.
God the Father wanted that in His Children. So that when someone looks at us, they can see the image of the Father in his children.
That might be a tough place to get to, but we still have a remnant of that image inside of us.
Of course, the realists among us (myself included) would be quick to point out that humanity today is nothing like it was originally created to be. That we are stained and tainted by the sin of both nature and choice, and that is true, but as we often do when we are reading the Bible, try and place yourself in this historical context where God just thought up the pinnacle of his creation, Man, and He is so pleased with what He has created because He created it in His image.
lets try an exercise for just a moment. We have done this before with other historical contexts, let’s try and place ourselves back here in the beginning, in , when God has thought up his idea of man and has created them in His own image and He is pleased with all of His creation, but he is especially pleased with His creation of Man.
What an honor that is. What a privilege and we should take time to reflect on it, but we also need to remember that with any great honor, comes responsibilitiy. There are responsibilities that come with being made in the Image of God.
, God has made man -Last week we focused on finding and seeing God’s glory in the beauty of nature. That might be a tough place to get to, but we still have a remnant of that image inside of us.

To be made in the Image of God is a great honor, and we should take time to reflect on it, but we also need to remember that this honor comes with responsibilities.
This is why as Christians we seek to protect human life in every stage and season. A few of our families took the opportunity to stand with the APPLE pregnancy center last Saturday to say that it is not ok to take the life of unborn babies because they are made in the image of God, and they are deserving of value, dignity and compassion. Many of us have actively cared for our aging parents or grandparents despite our cultures declaration that since they are not useful in same way as before they are no longer valuable. We stand against that evil, because no matter the stage in life, we all have dignity, value and worth given to us by the fact that we were made in the Image of God.
About 14 of us took the opportunity to stand with the APPLE pregnancy center last Saturday. We banded together with many other people to walk through the river district of Eau Claire in matching Tshirts to declare the message that it is not ok to take the life of unborn babies because they are made in the image of God, and they have value, purpose and wotht.
Many of us have actively cared for our aging parents or grandparents despite the message that our cultures would throw at us that since they are not useful to society in same way as before they are no longer valuable. We stand against that evil message and the act of euthanasia , because no matter the stage in life, we all have value, purpose and worth given to us by the fact that we were made in the Image of God.
This is why when we hear the story about a young boy enslaved in the fishing trade in Ghana, or young girls enslaved in the brothels of India, or entire families enslaved in the brick making fields of India, we can confidently proclaim that this is wrong. That this is evil. We don’t even know these people, but that doesn’t matter. No person should have to endure the cruelty of slavery, because every person is made in the image of God and they are just as deserving of value, dignity and compassion as everyone else.
To be made in the Image of God…it is a great honor, and we should take time to reflect on it, but we also need to remember that just as certain as the honor that comes with being created in God’s image is the responsibilities.
It is important for us to not lose sight of the honor To be made in the Image of God is a great honor that should be upheld by every person for every other person. This is an honor that comes with great responsibilities.
To be made in the Image of God is a great honor that should be upheld by every person for every other person. This is an honor that comes with great responsibilities.

We bear God’s Image So… We have a responsibility in how we rule over the earth.

Because we bear God’ s image,... we have a responsibility in how we rule over the earth.

Genesis 1:28–30 ESV
28 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.” 29 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. 30 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 because of that we bear responsibility that nothing else in creation bears.
Because we are made in God’s Image:

we have a responsibility in how we rule over the earth.

Genesis 1:28–31 ESV
28 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.” 29 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. 30 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. 31 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.
Many of you know that I am a big Spider-man fan, and one of the things that I enjoy most about the series is the motto that Peter Parker first heard from his Uncle Ben, but never really understood until after his Uncle’s tragic death. Do you remember Spiderman’s motto? “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.”
Now that is just a comic book series, but we have the same idea being pointed to here in Genesis. Look at the power and authority words found here in these verses:
Look at the power and authority words in these verses.
We are to multiply and fill the earth.
are to subdue the earth. We are to exercise dominion over the creatures of the earth. What does that mean for us? It means we have a God given responsibility to care for and steward the creation that God created for His glory.
We are to subdue the earth. (govern over)
We are to exercise dominion over the creatures of the earth, sea and sky. (rule over)
We have even been given the plants on the earth for food, for us and for the other creatures of the earth
We were created by God not just to exist on this “3rd rock from the Sun” but to have a special role, the role of ruling over it. Now the difficulty of that rule increased with the presence of Sin, but the responsibility remains ours. Christians should care more than anyone else about the “environment.” We should care for it because God created it for His glory and because He gave us the responsibility to care for it for His glory. That is on us, each of us needs to take the responsibility that God has given us seriously.
I am hesitant to even say it, because it has been so abused, but Christians should care more than anyone else about the “environment.” Understanding the “environment” to the be the natural world that God had created. We should care for it because God created it for His glory and because He gave us the responsibility to care for it for His glory. That is on us, we need to take the responsibility that God has given us seriously.
That being said, I do feel like I have to qualify this some, because some Christian “environmentalist” have swung the pendulum so far that it has gone beyond what the Bible teaches. Their claim is that if we all would reduce, reuse and recycle enough then eventually it would remove the stain of sin to our natural world. They teach that it is just the poor environmental practices of man that has kept us from living in a world like the Garden of Eden. The Bible does not teach this. tells us that even creation itself is groaning in anticipation of Christs return to make all things right again. Jesus is the only one who will redeem any aspect of our world from the stain of sin, not recycling.
That does not mean, however, that we should treat God’s creation like the many disposable products that we use each day. The Bible is clear that we will be held accountable for the ways in which we managed the resources that God has given us to steward for His glory. How are we going to answer God when he asks what we did with the natural resources that He gave us? Are we really going to depend on excuses like “Well it was just quicker, easier or cheaper” to do it that way, even though we knew it would bring unnecessary damage to the things that God has entrusted to us?
We cannot recycle ourselves back to the Garden or Eden, but that doesn’t mean that we treat the world like the many disposable products that we use each day. We are to be good stewards of what God has given us. So we should reduce, reuse and recycle to the glory of God, but not because we think it will bring back the Garden of Eden.
Jesus is the only one who will redeem any aspect of our world from the stain of sin, not recycling. That does not mean, however, that we should treat God’s creation like the many disposable products that we use each day. The Bible is clear that we will be held accountable for the ways in which we managed the resources that God has given us to steward for His glory. How are we going to answer God when he asks what we did with the natural resources that He gave us? Do we really think that excuses like “Well it was just quicker, easier or cheaper” will fly when we have to explain why we made decisions that we knew would bring damage to the things that God had created?
I am certain that one of the ways that we can apply this passage this week is to chose to reevaluate how we live and see if there is any areas where we could reduce, reuse or recycle more effectively to the glory of God, but not because we think it will bring back the Garden of Eden, only because God has given us the responsibility to rule over His creation until he returns to make all things new.
us back the garden of Eden. That and reimagine have gone so far as to That doesn’t mean that we can manage the natural state of the world back to the Garden of Eden, but we do have a responsibility to not only stop doing anything that will damage

We bear God’s image So… We have a responsibility in how we work and rest

Genesis 1:31–2:2 ESV
31 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. 1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.
Genesis 1:31–2:3 ESV
31 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. 1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
Genesis 2:1–3 ESV
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
One of the things that is important to note here is that God’s rest is not like our rest. When we think of rest, we often think of something like a “nap”. Remember back in Kindergarten when we had “rest time”? We all knew that meant that we were going to be taking a nap. Ah, the good ole days. Teachers would have us do this because they knew that if we didn’t we would pretty much useless for the rest of the day.
Genesis 2:15 ESV
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
;
It is pretty easy to understand how God worked in his endevor to create the heavens and the earth, but what is difficult for me is to understand why he stopped to rest. Why would he need to do this? He doesn’t get tired, like you and I do. He doesn’t have to hurry up and get something done because he got behind. What would cause God to spend an entire day of creation in rest?
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Well one of the things that is important to note is that God’s rest is not like our rest. When we think of rest, we often think of something like a “nap”. Remember back in Kindergarten when we had “rest time”? We all knew that meant that we were going to be taking a nap. Ah, the good ole days. Teachers would have us do this because they knew that if we didn’t we would pretty much useless for the rest of the day.
God’s rest here was not a nap because he needed to recharge or re-coop from all the energy that he used up in creation, it was simply a rest from the act of creating. He stopped creating. Why would he keep going?
Do you see what it says there in the final verse of chapter 1, God saw everything and it was very good. Before he created mankind, things were good. Then he personally, plurally and intimately created man as the pinnacle of his creation. Man was created “very good”. And not only that, but since God had created man very good it brought a completion to everything else that He had created in such a way that it was now all “very good”. So God didn’t rest because he got tired, He just stopped because he didn’t need to keep going.
Then he blessed this 7th day and set it apart as Holy, because it pointed to the work that he had finished. So now we are to set apart the 7th day as Holy, and stop from our work. Not that our work is finished, because we are going to pick it up again on Monday, but because it honors God to remember how He had created everything so very good that nothing else was needed.
Some people have a harder time of this “resting” than others. On one side there are people who are so energetic that they hear a “day of rest” and all they can think of is laying around all day and that is not something they handle. They are always on the go. On the other side there are people who work so little all week long that a day of rest really doesn’t look any different than any other day. Both of these extremes need to get a better idea of was a day for rest is all about. It is not about laziness, but about intentional worship and connection with the God who made them in His image.
I hope to do an entire series on this someday, but for now just know that God created us to work. We see here how God worked in creation and so working is a part of operating in God’s image. God was the first employer. He gave Adam a job. It was his job to work. Reading on in chapter 2 to verse 15:
Not only that, but if we read further in chapter 2 we see How God directly gave man the job of working.
Genesis 2:15 ESV
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
Remember, this is before Adam and Eve sinned. Work is not evil, it is an attribute of God. God did it, and does it and He expects that his people will do it because we are made in His image. Work was always a part of being human, but when sin entered our world, work became more difficult and dissatisfying.
that came as a result of sin was that work became more difficult and dissatisfying. What this means is that we might work hard caring for a garden, field or animal and there is the possibility that that fruits of our labor will be destroyed by disease, pests or natural disaster. That is very dissatisfying isn’t it. Contrast that experience against the satisfaction found in a good days work where you really felt like you made a difference and accomplished something that day. There is joy the work of those days isn’t there. Adam and Eve experienced that joy in their work every moment in the Garden of Eden.
What this means is that even if do work hard caring for a garden, field or animal, there is always the possibility that that fruits of our labor will be destroyed by disease, pests or natural disaster. That is very frustrating and dissatisfying isn’t it. Contrast that experience against the satisfaction found in a hard days work where you really felt like you made a difference and accomplished something that day. Even when you are tired, it is a good tired. There is joy in the work of those days isn’t there. Adam and Eve always experienced that joy when they worked in the Garden of Eden.
...We have a responsibility in how we work and rest
destsroyed by a disease or varmit is very dissatisfying. Adam never had to deal with that. When
Then finally

We were created in God’s image So… We have a responsibility in how we relate to God and others

Genesis 2:16–25 ESV
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Genesis 2:16–18 ESV
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
Genesis 2:16-18
Rachel and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary this past Friday and we got the opportunity to watch our Wedding video. Anyone else do that on their anniversary? We don’t do it every year, but we took the opportunity to do it this year and as is so common at weddings we had this passage, read. It is a common thing because it is such a fitting thing to remembering how God established the first marriage and officiated the first wedding.
Genesis 2:21–25 ESV
21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Rachel and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary this past Friday and we got the opportunity to watch our Wedding video. Anyone else do that on their anniversary? We don’t do it every year, but we took the opportunity to do it this year and as is so common at weddings we had this passage, read. It is a common thing because it is such a fitting thing to remembering how God established the first marriage and officiated the first wedding.
What I have never heard at a wedding ceremony is someone including the verses immediately preceeding these on Adam working the garden and then the command to not eat from the forbidden tree. That would make for an interesting wedding ceremony wouldn’t it. But if we were going to find a theme that is woven through these two sections it must be that God is the one who has established what our relationships with Him and each other should look like.
God gave Adam the command to not eat from this particular tree in order that Adam might trust God and take Him at His word. It was not an arbitrary command to trick them or even tempt them, it was there to establish their relationship with God. A relationship of trust where Adam and Eve would believe God’s Word and trust in his leading.
The one command that God gave Adam and Eve was not really there to trick them, tempt them or tie them up. It was to offer the opportunity to chose to believe that that it is very appropriate to remember the very first wedding at the beginning of each marriage, but I have never heard anyone include thethat union is not what I would like to focus us in on this morning.
In the same way, it was God who said that it was not good for Adam to be alone. It was not Adam who said he was lonely, it was God who recognized Adams need for relationship. Did you notice that this is the first time that God said that anything was “Not Good”?
So God had Adam name every animal but none of them had what was needed for the kind of relationship that God wanted for Adam. So God made Eve and gave her to Adam. Now they had the relationship that God uniquely designed for them. God is the one who designed the man and woman and He is the one who designed the relationship of marriage between them. No other relationship could satisfy what God desired for Adam.
Obviously I could go on and on about what this means for every husband and wife, but I don’t have time this morning to do that. What is both wonderful and frustrating about the book of Genesis is that it is simply the beginning of all things. The Bible goes one to establish a long trail of doctrines, principles and practices that find their beginnings here in this first book. But even looking at them with the wide lense that we are we can find applicable truths that we need to move on this week.
Because we were all created in God’s Image… We have responsibility in how we rule over this earth
What I want us to see if the relationship between God and man. go back the very first wedding when
Because we were all created in God’s Image… We have responsibility in how we rule this earth
Because we were all created in God’s Image… We have responsibility in how we work and rest
Because we were all created in God’s Image… We have responsibility in how we relate to God and others.
Because we were all created in God’s Image… We have responsibility in how we rule this earth
Application
Being created in the image of God is an incredible honor, but as we have seen it also carries with it significant responsibility. The image of God in every person gives their life intrinsic value, purpose and worth. We never sit as judge to say that one person was somehow created more in the image of God than another. Every person was created equally in the image of God, and as such the life of every person has value, purpose and worth. This is why as Christians we seek to protect human life in every stage, season and situation.
Each one of us bear the image of GOd
Because every human being has intrinsic value, purpose and worth. We don’t get to sit as judge and say that one person was created more in the image of God or less - every person was created equally in the image of God, and as such every person has value, purpose and worth. This is why as Christians we seek to protect human life in every stage and season.
It is why about 14 of us took the opportunity to stand with the APPLE pregnancy center last Saturday. We banded together with many other people to walk through the river district of Eau Claire in matching Tshirts to show solidarity in the message that it is not ok to take the life of unborn babies because they are made in the image of God, and their life has value, purpose and worth.
It is why many of us have actively cared for our aging parents or grandparents despite the message that our cultures would throw at us that would say that when someone appears to be less useful then they were, they are no longer worth our time. As Christians, we stand against that evil message and the fruit of it in the the act of euthanasia. Why? Because no matter the stage in life, we all have value, purpose and worth given to us by the fact that we were made in the Image of God.
This is why when we hear the story about a young boy enslaved in the fishing trade in Ghana, or young girls enslaved in the brothels of Cambodia, or entire families enslaved in the brick making fields of India, we can confidently proclaim that this is wrong. That this is evil. We don’t even know these people, or their culture but that doesn’t matter. No person should have to endure the cruelty and oppression of slavery, because every person is made in the image of God and they are just as deserving of value, dignity and compassion as anyone else.
This is what God’s Good People Do. We fight for life in every arena because we too are made in the image of God and we want to reflect His Love, Character and Compassion well.
It is because of God’s Good people that one day a boat came for Foli. A boat carrying members of Ghana’s Anti-Human Trafficking Unit and an IJM team member pulled alongside Foli’s wooden boat and brought him to safety.
One day, a boat carrying members of Ghana’s Anti-Human Trafficking Unit and an IJM team
One day, a boat carrying members of Ghana’s Anti-Human Trafficking Unit and an IJM team pulled alongside Foli’s wooden boat and brought him to safety.
pulled alongside Foli’s wooden boat and brought him to safety.
pulled alongside Foli’s wooden boat and brought him to safety.
“At the beginning, I was afraid because I couldn’t identify anybody in the boat. I didn’t know what
“At the beginning, I was afraid because I couldn’t identify anybody in the boat. I didn’t know what was happening.” Foli said, reflecting on what was racing through his mind when the rescue team showed up. “After a little bit, I liked the people and was happy to be there.”
was happening.” Foli said, reflecting on what was racing through his mind when the rescue team
was happening.” Foli said, reflecting on what was racing through his mind when the rescue team
working at Lake Volta alone.
showed up. “After a little bit, I liked the people and was happy to be there.”
showed up. “After a little bit, I liked the people and was happy to be there.”
¡¡ The youngest child rescued from Lake Volta was four years old.
He and the nine other boys rescued in the operation—IJM’s first in Ghana—were immediately
He and the nine other boys rescued in the operation—IJM’s first in Ghana—were immediately given food, clothing and medical attention. He stayed at a shelter for three months before going home to be with his grandparents. “That day, people were celebrating all over the community because Foli was lost but now was found,” his grandmother said.
given food, clothing and medical attention. He stayed at a shelter for three months before going
given food, clothing and medical attention. He stayed at a shelter for three months before going
home to be with his grandparents. “That day, people were celebrating all over the community
home to be with his grandparents. “That day, people were celebrating all over the community
because Foli was lost but now was found,” his grandmother said.
because Foli was lost but now was found,” his grandmother said.
Today, Foli is able to enjoy simple pleasures again, like sleeping through the night, eating more
Today, Foli is able to enjoy simple pleasures again, like sleeping through the night, eating more than one meal a day, and playing soccer with his friends.
than one meal a day, and playing soccer with his friends.
than one meal a day, and playing soccer with his friends.
Truth
When God created mankind He made them Free and he saw that they were very good. Evil things like Abortion, Euthanasia and Slavery are not natural to God’s Good People. They are all products of the Sin that is corrupting us as individuals and the earth that we dwell in. But Jesus’ death and resurection has conquered the power of Sin in the life of the believer so we no longer are bound to it.
When Jesus came to earth he first proclaimed this and then accompished it.
We were created good, we fell in sin, but in Christ we are New Again. Re-newed if you will. God has always desired for His people to be free. Free from oppression, free from harm, free from all the affects of sin. That is why Freedom from those who are being oppressed has always been something close to God’s heart. Jesus when He was here on earth said:
God has always desired for His people to be free. Free from oppression, free from harm, free from all the affects of sin. That is why Freedom from those who are being oppressed has always been something close to God’s heart. Jesus when He was here on earth said:
Luke 4:18–19 ESV
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Sin corrupted our calling, but it didn’t cancel it. As new creations in Christ we are able to play a part in pointing people to the freedom found in Jesus Christ, one of the way that we do this is to advocate for the freedom of all those who are made in God’s image. Along with fighting for the rights of the elderly and the unborn, Christians need to be on the front lines in fighting against the growing epidemic of human trafficking and slavery.
I would like to tell you that this is something that is far from us, but you probably know that there have been reports of these kinds of activities as close as the Twin Cities and even rumors of it in the city of Eau Claire. THer
Luke 4:18–19 ESV
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
The video that I shared this morning was made possible thorugh the International Justice Mission which fights for the rig
Luke 4:17 ESV
17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
You might already be actively involved in supporting ministries and organizations that value life, and if that is the case then I wanted to say thank you and well done.
But if you aren’t then I would encourage you to consider where God might have you get involved. The video that I shared this morning was made possible through an organization called the International Justice Mission, and there is more information in the bulletin about the work that they do around the world to end slavery and human trafficking. What hit me most profoundly is the success that they have been able to have to almost eradicate human trafficking in certain areas in our world. It seems overwhelming, but there is hope for ending slavery in our world today and if God has placed that on your hearts this morning then I would encourage you to get involved here. Become a monthy freedom partner to pray and support this organization in the name of Jesus Christ.
I would encourage you to pray for them and to ask God if He might have you support their effort to try and end slavery. Their are so many of God’s Good People working there and in other organization like it to make sure that no child or adult is oppressed in such a way.
You can find out more about them in the brochure in your bulletin, and if you want even more information come see me and I can connect you with them directly. God has called us into things like this, so I encourage you consider how God might use you today.
He declared that his mission was to
Landing
We are made in the image of God, and it is that image that cries out when we see injustice like this happening and causes us to want to do something about it. We can do something, and we are called to. God made us very good, and in Jesus Christ we are returning that very good. Let me close with
ulfil God’s desire for freedom for every life. God created us to be Good, and through Jesus we can do this again.
Ephesians 2:8–10 ESV
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Let’s walk in them together.
Ephesians 2:10 ESV
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Local ways to get involved: Just us for Justice / Fierce Freedom /
Application
Landing
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