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The Mosaic Image

2 Corinthians 3:18, 4:1-6

Theme: We are created and restored to image God in the world.

Introduction: What is a mosaic?

A.    Hagia Sophia

1.              Pictures

a.        Building

b.        Pantokrator mosaic

2.              The history of the Pantokrator mosaic

a.        Hagia Sophia as the center of Eastern Christianity

b.        Constantine had moved the capital of empire to Constantinople in 330

c.        From 532-537 the Emperor Justinian had Hagia Sophia built

(1)              When it was done, he exclaimed, “Glory be to God, who has deemed me worthy to accomplish such a work!  Oh, Solomon, I have surpassed you!

(2)              As a sign of worship, worth-ship, beautiful mosaics were made on the walls of the church

(3)              These were all made with semi-precious and precious stones

(4)              These mosaic were images to witness to the presence of God through Christ and the heritage of the saints

d.        In 1204 the Fourth Crusade conquered Constantinople, a Christian city, a ravaged the treasures of Hagia Sophia

(1)              They took the stones of the mosaic as far as they could reach

(2)              Thus the lower half of these mosaics are gone

e.        In 1453 Constantinople was conquered by the Muslims

(1)              Since Islam forbids images, they plastered over the mosaics

(2)              Only in the last hundred years are they being uncovered

B.    What is a mosaic?

1.              It is art made of a variety of stones, glass, gems, or tiles

2.              The origin of the name is debated, but many think it is related to the same root word behind music and museum

a.        Does anyone know what this is?

b.        It is the word “muse”

3.              The Muses were the 9 Greek goddesses of art and literature

a.        It was held that these  goddesses inspired such works

b.        They came into the artists and worked through them

c.        Music is the outcome

d.        Museum are the places of the muses

C.    This morning I want to look at images

1.              We will start with 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

2.              Then we will use other Scriptural passages to bring the pieces together in a Scriptural Mosaic

I.       The Ministry of Imaging God—2 Cor. 3:18-4:1; Genesis 1:26

A.    The Church’s Ministry

1.      Paul speaks of “this ministry”

a.      He is referring to his ministry as an apostle

b.      Some in Corinth were challenging this

(1)   They do not want to listen to Paul

(2)   They question his authority and his motives

c.      Much of 2 Corinthians is Paul’s defense

d.      He states his main point in 2:17

(1)   Paul is an messenger from God, an apostle

(2)   In 5:20 Paul uses the wonderful image of being an ambassador of Christ

2.      But this ministry is more than Paul’s.  It is the ministry of the church

a.      The “this” in verse 1 refers back immediately to 3:18

b.      We are all to image God’s glory

c.      We are being restored more and more by Christ through the Spirit to show who God is

d.      This is the church’s ministry, to help people see God

B.    Humanity’s Mission

1.      This is not new

a.      This is a renewal

b.      The church is to be what all humanity was originally created to be

2.      Genesis 1:26 tells us that humanity’s mission in the world was to be image bearers of God

a.      God’s representative

b.      Evidence of God’s claim to rule creation

c.      This is foundational to our understanding of ourselves and our role in the world

d.      We were created to be precious gems reflecting the nature of God in the world

3.      What happened?

II.     False Images of God—2 Cor. 4:2-4, Genesis 3:4-5

A.    Deception of the Image

1.      What happened was deception

2.      Humans fell victim to believing they could be God

a.      They were not content with reflecting God in the God

b.      They were not content with being God’s agents

3.      Humans want to be God, to be in control of all things

4.      This was the god of Paul’s age and still often of ours

a.      The god that deceitfully says you can be like God

b.      The god that blinds people to reality

(1)   Blinded to our needs

(2)   Blinded to our limits

(3)   Blinded to God’s help

c.      This is the god that leads to imperial pride like that of Justinian, the builder of Hagia Sophia

B.    Distortions of the Image

1.      This has lead to all kinds of distorted images of God

2.      So often humans make God look like a God of power, who forces His will on His creature

a.      This was the god of the crusades that damaged the mosaics of Hagia Sophia and for century damaged the vision of God

b.      This still seems to be the god of Christian crusaders today who want to force their views on others

c.      It seems parts of the image have been stolen or covered over by violence and power

3.      This is not the God we see in the face of Jesus

a.      This is in image that has driven people from the church

b.      This is why so many do not feel welcomed or loved in the church

III.  The True Image of God—2 Corinthians 4:5-6

A.    Christ Jesus is the full, true, image of God

1.      What has he shown us about God?

a.      God wants to be with us, a seeking, welcoming, God

b.      God defeats evil by suffering, a loving, serving God

2.      The God who exposes our deceit and distortions

a.      Not to judge and destroy

b.      But to bring life and newness of life

c.      The God of mercy and grace

3.      Truth, not as a crusade of power, but as the power of the cross

B.    Christians are to be image bearers of this God

1.      To look increasingly more at the light of this God

2.      To reflect this God in our lives

3.      The real Muse is the Spirit of God

a.      The Spirit of God calls and inspires a new humanity to image God in the world

b.      The Spirit of God calls us into a new mosaic

(1)   Individually he is working to make us more precious

(2)   Together we are working to create a new picture

(3)   A renewed image of God in the world

(a)   A new music full of wonderful harmonies

(b)   Not in a museum, but in everyday life


Conclusion: A New Mosaic

A.    A few years ago I spoke at Dordt College about joining the mosaic of the campus

1.              At the end of that Chapel we created a mosaic

2.              This was to express how we are all parts of the whole

B.    Living Water Community Church is seeking to be a new image of God is this community

1.              Everyone of you and more are needed

2.              All people are created to be part of God’s mosaic and restored to be part of His mission

3.              Each of us is different and has something to contribute to the whole

a.        We need the musicians to help us hear and speak God’s glory

b.        We need the artists to help us see the light of beauty

c.        We need the teachers at all ages to help us know the true God

d.        We need servants to show His grace and mercy

e.        We need children to help us see God’s face of blessing and joy

4.              It needs to be a growing picture

a.        It will be an unfinished picture until Christ returns

b.        Now he is adding more and more parts to His picture

C.    Let’s start a new mosaic

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