God's Master Piece
Good Morning. I hope you all are doing well today. You know one of the things I enjoy are those little Hersey’s Kisses. Man aren’t they yummy. Last year my family and I an opportunity to drive to Las Vegas NV. We went by the Hersey store. There was chocolate from floor to ceiling in every kind of flavor you could want. And the shapes - goodness. You had the small kisses, big kisses, candy bar from mini to regular to a whooping 5-pound bar. I remember when Zoe held it up it was about this BIG. Ok - maybe I exaggerated a bit. The other think I noticed were all the different color foil wraps. In some parts of the store it was just a sea of Hersey’ kisses of all different colors.
I’ve always wondered how the kisses are made. We didn’t get a backstage pass that trip to see how the kisses were made or wrapped for that matter. But when you look at a Hersey kiss, they for the most part have the same shape. The most part the foil wrap is about the same, and most of the time you have this paper tail sticking out. Now I had to look this up. That little paper tail is knows as a Niggly Wiggly. Some these Niggly Wiggly’s are perfectly shaped displaying a perfect marketing campaign. Others are bent, some are torn, some are longer than others. And, sometimes that little Niggly Wiggly is just not there. I mean really who studies the foil wrap and Niggly Wiggly? We just want to get the chocolate kiss. Who cares what the outside looks like. I want that perfect on the inside.
If we are concerned with only what’s on the inside, why do we care what we see on the outside. Well it’s because we are visual creatures. We enjoy being visually stimulated. Colors and texture stimulate our brains and which helps introduce emotion. Our society places enormous value on our visual ques to stimulate a reaction. This goes with our person as well. By our person, I mean this earth suite we wear every day. If you look at your person right now, and if you could only pick one thing - what would change. Now you don’t have to raise you hand, but how many of you picked something exterior? Hair color, eye color. Perhaps weight loss or weight gain. Many of us have something we would like changed.
The digital age has brought with it wonderful advantages in all aspects of people’s lives, but it has also created unexpected troubles, one of which is a detrimental change in society’s perception of beauty. Many of us in the constantly-changing age are bombarded what our society defines are healthy, desired and socially acceptable. When we fall outside these unrealistic demands, and we can place, sometimes, impossible expectations on ourselves.
Did you know God has another plan? His plan in not influenced by what our society thinks, or what our society considers to be quote-unquote perfect. Our passage this morning takes us to the first chapter of Genesis. If you have your Bibles with you this morning, turn with me to chapter 1. We will be reading verses 26 and 27.
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Our passage this morning starts us off in the 6th day of creation. When you start studying the creation account each day God did something significant. One interesting aspect to see is God’s power. At each day, Moses records the words “then God said.” This is significant on several levels. It shows the sheer power of how the universe responds to the command of God. All God has to do is speak and things happen. Things happen out of nothing, because God said for it be.
When you look at the whole creations account, there are a couple things that stand out. First, is the command the God gives at each stage. At each stage, Moses writes, “God said.” This displays God’s sovereignty, and the response of our known universe to the power and voice of God. The second interesting point when God issues his command for creation is, what some might think as suttle, but in fact this is significant. During the other stages of creation, God says “let it, let the, let there be” - light, let the earth sprout vegetation, let the water swarm and so on. The difference is when we arrive to verse 26. We see the words change from let it, to “let us.”
As we start digging deeper - this naturally brings us to the question of who is “us.” Who is God talking about when the reference of us is given. Is God talking to a court, meaning only those who are present? Is God talking before all of heaven, meaning all the angles?
I believe “us” does not include the angels, and this could be the first reference to the Holy Trinity. Over in chapter 9 of Nehemiah, he prays acknowledging God as the one true God of creation who gives life to all. He confirms God’s involvement of all things without angles in 9:6.
When Moses was talking with God, the conversation was with God, one self-existent, sovereign good God. At this time, Moses would not have known about the Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit yet. Moses knew God as one God. For you and I today, we have all this Holy scripture. We have been gifted to look back in time, and learn about God. Part of that is learning about the Holy Trinity. We know the Trinity is made of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, each different, and each with their distinct role.
So see the finger print of the Trinity involved in the frame work of mankind. Our passage this morning has two reference points to mankind. First in verse 26 and again in verse 27 with the words:
Let us make mankind in our image, and So God created mankind in his own image.
Let us make and created are profound statements, they pack a lot of power. When I was studying this, I was grateful for the Holy Spirit’s leadership. My roots grew in a new way. You should have seen the office desk. It was a sea of books and papers. It was so exciting knowing the day would come when I could share.
But! what is meant image and likeness? In the Hebrew the word “image” refers to a representation. Likeness points to “similar in appearance.” These two meanings, representation and similar in appearance, is what we get by looking at these two words separate. But they are not meant to be separated. Instead they are meant to be put together. “Likeness” complements “image” to mean we are more than just a mete image; we are a likeness of God.
Think of a baby. To the baby nothing is real except what satisfies the baby. Keep the baby warm, fed and allow the baby to sleep, and the baby is satisfied. The baby’s father and mother have in their minds for him/her are completely outside of baby’s recognition. As the baby grows, the baby’s world enlarges. Those of us who are parents see that. One example would be when our baby starts to crawl. First you could leave them right there, come back in a few minutes, and the would still be there. When the baby crawl’s - they are every where. The time will come when the best that mother and father are, with their hops, principles and purposes, will become the baby’s inheritance. This inheritance is often not physical. It is more internal. The baby is being fashioned in the parents image.
How many of you, and you don’t have to raise your hand, seen something your parents did or said something to you, and you thought - “when I’m a parent - I’ll never say such-and-such or do such-and-such to my child. Only to catch yourself here-and-there saying to doing the same things.
When we look at the words “image of God.” It is meant for so much more than just to have man to look like God or divine beings. As a living image of the living God, we have a relationship to God like that of a child to parent. We are made for an initiate relationship with God.
When we get to this stage of creation, we are the high point o God’s creation. We are patterned after God. This means humankind is set apart from the previous acts of creation. This also means you are not a mistake. When Adam was created. He was formed by God, shaped by the Divine Potter’s hand.
King David knew this marvelous work of God when he wrote Psalm 139 verse 13
13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
This one simple verse shows God was active in an unformed embryo which will eventually grow and develop. When your mother became pregnant, there was nothing she could do as you were being knitted together. She did not have say over the color of your eyes to the shade of this external organ - that so many put an emphasis. Or, the size of these things we use to cover our birthday suit. All she could do was wait until you made your entrance. You were made special. You were crafted uniquely - one of a kind. This is even so for twins.
One of my best friends and mentor is a twin. When you see the two brothers together, of course there are similarities between the two, the two are worlds apart. And, although they were crafted at the same time, each is their own person, with their own likes, dislikes, families, strengths and weaknesses. This because each is made for a purpose.
God has made us what we are. Paul talks a little about his purpose in Ephesians where the mystery of the gospel is revealed. Paul says in:
7 By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News. 8 Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. 9 I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning. 10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
We see an example of Paul doing what he feels like his purpose to be. He performs without worry or reservation to what others may say or think. Paul knows he’s got God on his side, and that’s all he needs. Paul does need to worry about the opinions of others. Do you know you are loved and accepted by God just the way you are?
He is not impressed or influenced by our social position, by how we look or our financial status. He loves us just the way we are. This means we do not have to chase after the world seeking it’s acceptance, or listening to what our society tells us what is and isn’t socially acceptable.
When we realize the magnitude of the Father’s love for us, we can be free from loneliness and the fear of rejection. The Lord wants us to live in harmony with Him and be filled with confidence and courage. You are made in God’s likeness and image. You are made for a purpose. And, there is no way you would ever have been a mistake. You are loved and accepted by God.
Are you struggling with something today our culture is telling you to do? Perhaps your peers are turning the heat up? Or perhaps do you feel like God may not accept you? Do you feel like you have junk in your trunk? God loves and accepts you right were you are. You are God’s mater piece. You were made by the one living God, who created everything we have here on this rock.
Do you need to pray before God this morning? The Bible say’s all we have to do is come. Come to Jesus. All it takes is one step at a time.