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Genesis 1:26-31 | God Creates His Image-Bearers | Andrew Gutierrez

April 29, 2018 Speaker: Andrew Gutierrez Series: The Beginning of Creation

Topic: Worship Gatherings Passage: Genesis 1:26–1:31

Well, Genesis 1. Our text is verses 26-31, and we’ve got a lot to do in a little bit of time, so here we go.  Genesis 1:26-31:

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.

The title of this message is “God Creates His Image-Bearers.” We are in the sixth day of creation, going through the book of Genesis verse by verse (at least the first 11 chapters), and we come to the sixth day of creation. We actually got there last week, and we saw God create other living beings, animals. Now, we come to the part where he creates humans, really the pinnacle of his creation. No matter what your dog tells you, you are the pinnacle of God’s creation, not him.

Now, what does it mean to be an image-bearer? Think of a statue. What is a statue meant to show? A statue is meant to show an image of somebody, the likeness of somebody. So, if you’ve ever gone to Washington D.C., there are a lot of statues.

Maybe you went to one. You walked along the mall in Washington D.C., walked by the grass and the sidewalks, walked by the pool and the fountain and walked up some steps at the end of the mall—the opposite end is the capital building. You walked up some steps and you saw a statue of a man sitting on a chair, Abraham Lincoln. Now what is that statue trying to get you to think about?

When you go see that statue, you don’t really put your arm around your son and say, “Son, have I ever told you about Jackie Robinson?”  You don’t do that. You say, “Let’s talk about Abraham Lincoln. Let’s read about Abraham Lincoln.” You start talking about Abraham Lincoln. The statue is meant to arrest your mind and to help you think about who it’s representing—Abraham Lincoln.

You could say that we are, in that sense, meant to represent God. Humans are created so that people see them and what they’re like and how they work and how they—later on after chapter 3—respond to evil.  And therefore how God would respond to evil, how God would work, how God would do what he does. So we, in that sense, are meant to mirror God, image God, show what he’s like.

Now, how has God equipped us to do that? How does he expect us to do that? This morning in our text, we’ll divide it up into four provisions God has given his image-bearers.  So we are meant to reflect the image of God. He’s given us four provisions by which to do this.

1.  God Has Given Us Dominion

You see this in verse 26. God has given us (and when I say us, I mean man and woman) dominion. As image-bearers we exercise authority over the rest of the created world—plants, animals, everything. We demonstrate how God therefore would rule that world. So God can rule it by himself, but he has determined to create some beings that would rule it with his delegated authority.

So he delegates authority to us. We rule the world, and we’re meant to show people this is what God’s like. So when you rule your house, Mom and Dad, you’re meant to show your children what God is like. Not just what he says, but what he is like. When you work, you’re meant to show how God would work. When you care for people who are sick, poor, dying (and again this is a post-Genesis 3 world), you’re meant to show the care of God himself. We’re meant to do all that we do to reflect what he’s like.

Verse 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.’”

Now the first thing you’ll notice is what God says at the beginning of that statement, “Let us make man in our image.” Plural. What’s the deal with this plural stuff? I thought God was one. Deuteronomy 6. I thought we were not to have any other gods before him. Exodus 20. What’s this plural stuff? Is this talking about the three persons of the Trinity?

I would argue yes. But to the original recipients of this letter, they wouldn’t have understood it to the degree that we understand it now after receiving much more revelation. They had the first five books of this larger book. We have the other 61. As we understand the other 61, we see the triune God, the three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

So, yes, I do believe this is a reference to the Trinity, but the main point here isn’t teaching the Israelites a lesson on the Trinity. The main point is, God created human beings in his image. He says, let us make man in our likeness. Let us make man to display their characteristics of us, to show what we are like. Let us make man to show off our character.

So man can be in many ways like God. Now, we ultimately don’t act like God perfectly, but we can be loving. We can pursue holiness. We can be compassionate. All those things reflect his character and who he is. And then he says that these created beings will have dominion or authority over, control of, dominate (you can say) the created earth. We will rule 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.

We have dominion. Now here’s something to understand. This isn’t just the Christians that have dominion over the world. There is dignity in every single human being. Even unbelievers, according to Jeremiah 27:6, have dominion over the world. Now remember, we are before Genesis 3 so far here in this passage. This is God creating these men and women, and they are perfectly going to rule his world for a short amount of time.

Later on in Genesis, we’re going get to his commands for them to go and continue ruling the world, but it’s going to be a lot harder to do that. We’re going to see that in the curse pronounced in Genesis 3. We’re going to see in Genesis 9, once Noah and his family waltz off to the ark and he tells them, go and have dominion over the earth, it’s going to be difficult for them.

And no longer are they going to be friends with the animals in a sense. Now there’s going to be contention there. There are going to be threats. And animals will eat other animals, and animals will scare humans, and humans will scare animals. It’s going to be an exercise of this dominion but under a curse.

So far, here in Genesis 1, there is the exercise of dominion without a curse. God has determined that we, men and women, would image him by ruling over his creation. And in that sense, mankind is the pinnacle of his creation.

Psalm 8:5-8:

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

This is cause to worship the Lord. God, why have you made man the pinnacle of your creation? For the time being, you have set us under the angels, but one day (read Revelation) we will rule over angels. We will judge angels. So he’s created us as the pinnacle of creation.

I love the way Psalm 8 ends. “O Lord, our Lord,    how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Only you can come up with this plan. Only you can determine to show your greatness off by creating a lesser being meant to image you. You are all wise. You are majestic. He’s created man and woman to rule over the earth in his infinite wisdom.

We’ve been created to represent God uniquely in a way that aardvarks can’t. We’re different. We can do more than they can. So, students, kids, you’re meant to represent God in all you do. Our God is a God of order and care and so your desk at school is a way to govern a certain area of this world to show off his character. God gives good gifts. He means us to manage those good gifts to get the most use out of them, so we sharpen pencils, and we keep order.

Those are little examples of how God wants us to live—to use the resources he’s given us for our good and for his glory—your home, your mind, your children (mothers and fathers), your skills, your office. We’ve been given places, resources, skills, abilities in order to rule this world as God would have us.

So, again, we’re always talking about how this effects Monday morning. This is how it effects Monday morning. We wake up saying, Lord, help me to image you in everything that I do. That changes the way and the reason you wash a car. That changes the reason you care for the goods he has given you. That changes the way that you use the skills and abilities that he’s given you. You use them to reflect his glory.

In that sense, every single thing we do has purpose—to represent God. Now, side note, when we talk about representing God, because we (and when I say we, I mean every single human being that has ever existed) are made in the image of God, every single life has dignity. Every single life is precious, is important and has dignity.

The secular worldview claims to prize this. Life is important. But ultimately they will compromise in certain areas. Life is important, unless the life that is in your womb is inconvenient for you. Then you can end the life. Only the biblical worldview prizes life, every single life, at all times. Only the biblical worldview.

I heard a story this week of a single mom, pregnant, 17 years old in a rough part of America being told it would be best to end the pregnancy. There is no hope for the child in your womb. It’s best to end the pregnancy. That’s secular thinking. God’s thinking is that every single human being is formed and knit by his own wisdom in its mother’s womb. Jeremiah 1. And every single life is therefore precious and has dignity. Psalm 139.  That’s what the Scriptures teach.

I saw a picture of a fair, a carnival, in 1911. A bunch of kids were standing around a game. You know the game, where you throw the ball and it hits the target and you knock someone into the water? The name of the game was called “Hit the n_____ baby,” and a picture of monkeys was on the banner. We think that shows dignity for other men and women? No.

Sometimes, Christians forget this, don’t we? That every single life is important, that every single person is therefore important because they are made in the image of God. Now are most people in the world in rebellion toward God? Yes, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not still created in his image. They’re in his image, in his likeness. Marred? Yes. Broken? Yes, like all of us, but they’re still with dignity.

That’s why if you take the life of someone, you can expect the only right punishment is for your life to be taken. That’s whether they are a Christian or not. Every single life is important.

You know, you can find out now whether your child has Down syndrome or not before he or she is born. Now, for planning purposes that might be okay. But sometimes the attempt to find out whether or not they have Down syndrome is to choose whether to abort him or her or not, to kill him or her. Our world is not good at showing the dignity of every single human being.

God shows us the dignity of every single human being. Now, listen to James 3:8-9. It’s the famous passage about the tongue. We know this, and I’m going to start reading this, and you’re going to be tempted to check out. We know this passage. We memorize this passage, and we gossip too much. Listen to what he says.

James 3:8-9:

[B]ut no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.

Do you see how important viewing people as made in the image of God is in the Scriptures? It’s saying, don’t even curse them or gossip about them. They are made in the image of God. We can’t glorify God by decrying abortion and then going home and gossiping this week or being pugnacious on social media. Both attack image bearers. Abortion attacks image-bearers. Gossip attacks image-bearers.

They’re both horrendous because man in that sense is valuable—created in the image of God. Everybody’s valuable because everybody has been created in the image of God. We, not animals, not plants, have been created to exercise dominion on the earth.

2.  God Has Given Us Genders

Secondly, God has given us genders.  Verse 27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” So he uses a general term for all mankind. God created man in his image. Then, specifically, at the end of that verse he talks about the types of men he’s created—men and women—the two different types. God created men and women in his image. Two different genders are part of his purpose.

Now, that verse right there, verse 27, is the first poem in the Bible. That is poetry. This is celebrating something.  God, in the form of poetry, is celebrating the fact that men and women are created in his image. That’s what this passage is doing. It says that he created them three times in that verse.

So he created them (1) man in his own image, in the image of God (2) he created him, male and female (3) he created them. The theme? God created man and woman. Make no mistake.

He created male and female intentionally. God has determined that his creation would be ruled by men and women. They are different. They are not the same. Not just humanity in general. The distinctions are important to God, and they are good distinctions.

In a couple of weeks, we’ll get to Genesis 2:20, Lord willing. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens. This is Adam before Eve. “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.”

First problem in the Bible? Just man; no woman. It’s not good that man is alone. There needs to be a helper fit for him. He is supposed to subdue the creation, and he is not going to capably do it by himself. He’s going to be part of a team in that sense. The Lord is going to unite him to a woman and they together are going to rule over the creation. That will be good in God’s eyes.

Today, there’s an effort to do away with gender distinctions. It doesn’t really matter. Yes, it does, according to the Scriptures. Today we are told that gender is just a social construct. No, it’s not. It was created in the beginning. Genders were created in the beginning. Today there is an effort to promote the changing of genders and to go away from God’s original plan.

Now, next week we’re going to step out of Genesis for a moment, and I’m going to do a specific sermon on transgenderism. What is it and what is the Christian response? I want to be clear about what it is, and I want to be clear about what our response should be. And if you’re a person here who is sympathetic to transgenderism in any way, I’d invite you to come. We’re just going to go with what the Bible talks about in terms of man and woman. I want to make some things clear.

You might be thinking at this point, oh, he’s just going to hammer transgender people. He’s just going to lash out against them. He’s going to be heavy handed. You may be surprised.

We are going to talk about a problem. We are going to talk about the truth. But we’re also going to talk about the Christian response, and it might be different than you expect if you think that a Christian is what the media tells you a Christian is. So, I think this is a message that all believers need to hear as well, so we’ll spend more time on it next week.

For the sake of today, God has created us in his image, male and female, and he’s determined that those would be good distinctions. He’s given us gender.

3.  God Has Given Us a Mandate

Third, in order to represent him, God has also given us a mandate. We are to exercise dominion by being fruitful and multiplying. Verse 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.’”

God blessed them. We heard last week that God blessed the animals. He gave them a mandate to reproduce and spread out all over the face of the earth. Similarly, he’s blessed man. You also be fruitful and multiply. But for man and woman, he adds something to it. He didn’t tell the animals this part.  He didn’t say, subdue the earth and have dominion over it. He only told men and women that.

So he gives us this mandate: to be fruitful and to multiply—to have children so that they could then go and manage a different part of the earth. Adam and Eve couldn’t manage the whole entire face of the earth. They couldn’t. What’s the solution? Have children so that now they go into a further field or a further garden, and they manage that area. And they have children, and they go to a further field or a further garden.

And as technology changes and metal working and masonry comes in, then their children could then be masons, and their children could then go and work in metal. And their children can then work in IT. And their children can then go be art teachers, and so on and so forth. We have children, and we manage the world. That’s the idea. That’s the mandate. Fill the earth and subdue it.

We have dominion over the animals. We have dominion over the plants. We have dominion over natural resources. We are to use them. We fill the earth and have dominion over them.

So, Christian parent, Christian grandparent, do you pray the same things for your children that an unbeliever would? Do you pray for their academic success? Do you pray for their social success? Do you pray that they would get into a good school, have a good job, have a good spouse, have a good house, have a good white picket fence around that house, so they can have good kids and good pets? How in the world is this different from those who are not seeking to make God known? How are these desires different from the unbeliever next door?

Christian parenting, Christian grandparenting should be different. Our kids exist, like we do, to make him known, to show him off. I would encourage you parents to pray, aim, teach, and prepare your children to exercise dominion. I would encourage you to not just provide them sweet Instagram-able experiences and a happy life. That’s aiming way too low.

Let’s prepare our children to go and lead and rule. It might be ruling over some sort of business on the graveyard shift. It might be the CEO of some business. It might be cultivating a garden. It might be taking care of a home. It might be taking care of some children themselves. It might be producing something from the earth. Who knows? Wherever God has put them, wherever he has placed them, in the future, let’s teach them that I’m doing this to represent God. I’m doing this to rule and govern his creation, to make the most of it for my good and for his glory. That’s what we teach our children. That’s how we parent.

Grandparents, pray for your grandchildren to be launched purposefully into the world to represent God. We need to treat our children like arrows and not teacups. Arrows are shot for a purpose. Teacups, fine china (you rarely ever drink out of it) is for display, and you bubble wrap it. That’s not how we treat children. They’re not for display. And they’re not to be bubble wrapped.

I’m not saying, you know, let them go and play with rattle snakes. Okay? There is a curse. I’m not saying we throw caution to the wind, but we want our children to be brave and strong. See 1 Corinthians 16. And those are not just male characteristics, brave and strong, because they will have hardship in this world. When the first supposed friend doesn’t invite them to a birthday party and they invited the rest of the class, we teach them to be strong, and we comfort them. And we teach them to respond how Jesus would when people maybe rejected him.

We’re creating them to show off God. God in human flesh—Christ. We want them launched. Our kids are on offense. I think too many parents are playing defense. I don’t want the world to touch them, hurt them, affect them. Bubble wrap, bubble wrap, bubble wrap. Our God owns this world, and he creates for us children to go and rule this world and to represent him in this world. We are on offense, not on defense. We’re going somewhere.

Psalm 127:3-5:

3Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them. He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Arrows. Pray big prayers for your children. Pray that they would have dominion over some little sphere of this earth, and as they rule that sphere of this earth, they would represent God. People would see how they work, how they play, how they eat, how they marry, and how they have children. They would see all that and think about God. That shows the character of God.

4.  God Has Given Us Resources

The final way this text reveals to us that God has equipped us to represent him, we learn that God has given us resources.

God doesn’t just tell us to go and work. He gives us the nourishment we need in order to be strengthened. Verse 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.’”

So, you are going to cultivate and manage the earth so that you can receive the fruit of it from the earth. So I’ve given you every plant that bears fruit, so that you can eat it and you can cultivate it so that more and more and more people can eat it. I will supply you everything you need and you are going to rule my creation. I create banana trees to produce bananas. You cultivate that. You will also receive some of that. You will get to eat them.

You’ll teach your children to do that and their children and their children and their children. That’s the idea. So God is giving us these resources for us to cultivate for his glory. I don’t know the purposes of God, but he evidently created men and women as vegetarians in the beginning. I didn’t choose that, okay. That’s just what he did.

Now, in doing that, in having men and women just eat plants and fruit and things like that, if he had us eating meat from the beginning, there would be animosity between men and animals from the very beginning. We know that that is not how he created the earth.

So, barbeque comes because of the fall. So God can work all things for his good. Yes, he can. And somehow, before the fall, Adam and Eve did not think that they lacked anything in relation to food until they thought they did. We’ll get to that later.

Verse 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.”

So animals also were created vegetarians. My son asked a great question yesterday. Then why do they have sharp teeth? Well, you can have sharp teeth and eat salad fine. Perhaps though, this is a guess that God created them with sharp teeth because also he knew that there would be a fall. And he knew that they would need to eat other things in addition to plants, but that’s his wisdom. That is speculation. He created them originally to eat plants, fruit and things like that.

Verse 31: “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”

Now before you think that’s just like the other five days with a little difference, there’s an adjective put before “good.” Very good. It was very good. It wasn’t just good, it was very good. What was better about day six than days one through five? Men and women. Men and women created in his image to rule over his creation. That’s better or else his creation has no governor over it. And he’s determined to use us as the governors of his creation. So when we are created, he says it’s very good. And there is evening and morning on the sixth day.

So we are not called as humans, biblically … we are not called to save the earth. It’s not our job to save it. Our job is to use it responsibly. So you have two spectrums. Save the earth. Don’t even eat a plant. Don’t walk on the grass. That goes against Genesis 1. But yet the other extreme—just get all the resources out and who cares what happens to the earth. No, we’re meant to use it so that it keeps producing for us.

So we receive the fruit of it, but we make sure it remains in a place where it can keep producing for us. So we manage resources. And we’re wise. But we still use those resources. I have no problem going home and eating ribs today. It’s created for us. Plants, fruit—created for us. So we use it, but we use it responsibly so that it keeps growing. And that’s going to be difficult because of weeds and thorns and thistles. God will tell Adam that in a couple of chapters.

But we’re not called to save the earth, but we’re also not called to irresponsibly use it. We use it and govern it so that it functions well and continues to function. And one day, by the way, the earth will be done away with. And God will bring a new heavens and a new earth without a curse. So we’re not going to save it even if we try. We know what 2 Peter 3 says. It burns.

So, men and women created in the image of God to rule over his creation. That’s what he created us to do. There’s a problem. And we’ll get to the problem soon won’t we? We’ve sinned. So we will be lazy and not rule the creation well. We will fight against other people who are called to rule over the creation. We will get jealous. Man and woman will unite, and some of them will go and find another man or woman—immorality, adultery. There are problems. So we’re reading about Genesis 1, but we’re living in post-Genesis 3.

We’ve marred the image we’ve been created in. We’re still created in the image of God, but we are marred because of our sin. So what does God do about that? Last week, we ended in Colossians 1. I’m going to read some passages from the same passage that we ended in last week.

Listen to Colossians 1:15. Speaking of Christ, it says this: “He is the image of the invisible God.” Does that sound familiar? That was us, created in the image of God. That was Adam, created perfectly. Adam sinned. Then what happened? God the Father sent his Son—sent another Adam, a second Adam, a new Adam. And that new Adam would not be affected by sin. He is the image of God.

So God sent his Son to the world. God could have done away with the entire world and not saved one family in Genesis 6 out of his anger and justice and would have been just to do so. But he didn’t. He saved a family, and let them, then, create more and more people until later on, thousands of years later, he would send his own Son in human flesh who would be the perfect image of God.

What would this perfect man do? He would obey in every way. He would rule over the areas that he had to rule over perfectly. He would be what Adam was not. He would also do something else.

Colossians 1:22: “[H]e has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.” So, the Son of Man comes. He is the image of God, the perfect image of God, not marred by sin in any way. Seeks to reconcile God and man together, so that God would look at man and see (what would he see?) that you are holy, blameless.

Now how many of you if I asked you, are you entirely 100% blameless from the day you were born until now? There’s nothing that anyone could ever say that you’ve ever done wrong? No one would raise their hand. No, I’ve got blame. Maybe not as much blame as her, but I’ve got blame. We’ve all got blame. We’ve all sinned.

But God has determined that he would send a perfect man, unite the Father and sinners, so that they would be considered blameless. Blameless. Is that staggering to anybody else? Holy. God considers us, as we are in Christ, as holy, perfect. That’s how we’re considered. Now, in reality, until we get to heaven, we still have sin hanging on. We still have the flesh that we have to fight with.

That’s why Colossians 3:9-10 tells us to keep putting on the new man. You put on the new man. The old man? Gone. You put on the new man. Listen to this: “You have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”

So God creates Adam. Adam messes it up. We’re the children of Adam. We’ve messed it up. God sends his perfect Son. He unites us back to the Father, and not only does he say, okay, now you’re considered perfect like Adam once was in the garden, he enables us to grow more and more, day by day, more into the image of the Creator until one day he comes or we go home to be with him, and we are perfectly in his image.

But now we are becoming more and more like him. We’re the only people on the face of the planet that can say that. We’re being renewed into the image of our Creator. So what does that make us want to do? It makes us want to do Colossians 3:5 because of how we’ve been changed, because of how we now live. This is our approach.

Colossians 3:5-13:

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.

So, in order to be free from the wrath of God you need someone to reconcile you back to God. Christ did that.

7In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

He’ll go on to say, “Put on then …” Hear all this putting on language?

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

So, what is the application for this message? We’ve marred the image of God. We don’t just go and sit on the couch and go, I’m a sinner. I can’t do anything. I’ve messed it up. No, we’ve been reconciled back to God. And he’s put on us Christ; he’s put in us Christ. So now, when we’re working at work and the boss is going to do something he shouldn’t do or a co-worker is going to have some quarrel with us, we can be like Christ.

Where before we weren’t. We just fought with them. We can pursue sanctification. We can pursue holiness. We can pursue being more and more like Jesus. And in that sense, then, we get to again represent him to the earth. And we couldn’t do that before we were Christians. We’ve got opportunity here.  We’ve got opportunity.

This passage has shown us that God has given us four provisions in order to be his image bearers. He’s given us dominion, genders, a mandate and resources. Tragically, the world doesn’t always understand this. To the world man is coincidence. It somehow happened one day. What really is man’s purpose? And if there are weak men and women as children, or handicapped, they’re not useful to us, so maybe we can get rid of them. There’s no purpose. There’s selfishness.

The world doesn’t have a high view of man no matter what they say. Maybe it’s summed up in what Ernest Hemmingway wrote. “Life was all a nothing, and man a nothing too.” That’s what people think today. It’s all pointless. I’m pointless. I don’t matter. There’s nothing for me to do. No purpose. The Bible says differently.

Listen to Isiah 43:20-21, God speaking of his own people Israel. And you can see similarities. He speaks of us—the New Testament church.

20 The wild beasts will honor me,
    the jackals and the ostriches,
for I give water in the wilderness,
    rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
21 the people whom I formed for myself
that they might declare my praise.

God has a purpose for men and women. And when he created them, he said, this is good. Everybody matters to God. His people, especially, who’ve been reconciled to him through the death of his Son, are in a place where they can declare his praise.

Let’s pray.

Lord, we want to be these people. We want to represent you well at home, at work, at school. We want to show you off. We want to declare your praise. We want to sing about you, tell others about you. We want them to see what we do and know what you are like. We want them to hear what we say and know what you are like. Lord, help us to be the image-bearers that you have enabled us to be. We pray this in the name of Christ, the perfect Son of God. Amen.

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