This is the most wonderful aspect of the dignity of being a man that no one else in creation anywhere could ever share. This is a glory that transcends the glory of the sun.
This is the glory that transcends everything else. The unbelieving world believes there's nothing terribly special about human beings. Any dignity we have is at best equal to other animals, the assumption being that we all evolved from the same original living cell, which arose by time and chance. But believers know we have dignity, accorded by God. And that's again our subject today as Pastor Don Green continues a message titled, Who Are You?
And Don's here now to further introduce today's program. Well, friend, today's broadcast is really vital to understand your place in the universe. You know, you did not evolve from an ape. You're not an animal. You are someone who is created in the image of God, and that's a position of dignity in his created order.
You have an eternal soul, and that's a wonderful thing to have. And yet your position in the universe comes with responsibility and even a sense of vulnerability. I encourage you to listen today and get the full picture as we answer the question, Who Are You?, on today's edition of The Truth Pulpit. Thanks, Don.
And friend, have your Bible handy as Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word in The Truth Pulpit. We share dignity. We have dignity in the sense that we are created in the image of God, that we are made, as it were, in the created order. We have dignity in the created order. Dignity is made in the image of God. And thirdly, we have dignity in human relationships.
It impacts our human relationships. Why is it that murder and abortion and cursing are sins? Cursing others. Why is it that taking the life of another is a sin? Evolution can't really answer that question in a satisfying way. The biblical doctrine of man explains it perfectly. Look over at Genesis chapter 9. Genesis chapter 9 verse 6 says, Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed. For, here's the grounds for capital punishment, here is the reason why murder is sinful. It's not primarily because it's a man-on-man sin.
It is a violation. It is an attack on the image of God. Look at verse 6 with me again.
Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed. For, there's the reason, in the image of God, he made man. It's as if God says, how can you attack someone I made in my own image? Where do you make that attack against me? You are a creature.
You're attacking one made in my image. That is guilty. That brings great guilt to bear.
And you say, well okay, I never commit murder, so that's not, so I'm good here. We'll look over at James chapter 3. James chapter 3, where the same reasoning, based on the image of God, applies to a sin that we are far more prone to share in. James chapter 3 verse 8, addressing the tongue.
James 3 verse 8, just after the book of Hebrews. No one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it, we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Those verbal attacks on other people are verbal attacks on the image of God. Scripture says the cursing is wrong because you are cursing one made in the image of God. And so this changes the way that we look at everyone around us.
And so let me say this. When men degrade themselves with immorality, when a man stumbles to his death in a drunken stupor, it's more than a personal tragedy that we see unfolding before us. When we see people degrading themselves with their public acts and displays of immorality, when we see drunkenness and all that around us, we need to think about that theologically and realize that this is more than a personal loss, a personal tragedy that has taken place here. What should really grieve us as Christians is the fact that, oh, I'm seeing yet another perversion of the image of God on display.
A drunken man stumbled to his death. He was perverting the image of God while he had breath. And then look at this outcome. This was not the design.
This is not the way it's supposed to be. And as one who loves the living God, you look at that and say, this grieves my heart. It's not just because it offends my ethical sensibilities.
It's not just because it's developing an environment in the world that I don't want to see passed on to my children. You look at this and say, this is a violation of the very purpose of man. And you go and you humble yourself before the Lord and you say, oh God, won't you send a powerful revival on these people who need Christ? God, won't you do a work in my heart because I myself fall short of the fullness of displaying what the image of God should be in my own life? Oh God, oh God, man is not what he's supposed to be.
And it grieves me, Lord, not just for the sake of my own sin, but because your image is being distorted by what's going on. Now, there's a final aspect of the dignity that belongs to us as men, as members of the human race. And this is the greatest dignity of them all. This is the most wonderful aspect of the dignity of being a man that no one else in creation anywhere could ever share. This is a glory that transcends the glory of the sun. This is a glory that transcends the glory of the night skies.
This is the glory that transcends everything else that the lion and the king of the jungle could never aspire after. We share a dignity that no one else does, that nothing else does in this. The supreme dignity of the human race is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the Lord Jesus Christ, we won't look at these passages, but the New Testament applies Psalm 8 to Christ in 1 Corinthians 15, in Ephesians chapter 1, and in Hebrews chapter 2. And here's what I want you to see in this, is that the Creator Himself became a man. You and I, as members of the human race, share in the nature that Christ Himself took upon Himself in the incarnation. The ultimate dignity that was bestowed upon the human race was when Jesus Christ became a man and walked on the face of the earth. God, holy, pure, majestic, transcendent above time and creation and history, became a man.
We have one like us in heaven. The dignity of the human race finds its true expression, its true fulfillment in Jesus Christ, who came in flesh to redeem men from sin. And do you realize that dignity is going to be further manifested when Christ returns to earth and personally rules over creation as a man? The total absolute dignity of Christ. The total majestic worth of His character. And He stepped in to our nature. He took on human flesh. We share in the nature that Christ Himself shares in, only He doesn't have the sin of it. No lion, no chicken, no fish, no star.
Not the most magnificent astronomical thing shares that kind of glory. And yet, Christ became a member of our race. The holy Son of God has a nature like ours, accepting the sin of it. That is the ultimate dignity bestowed upon the human race. Now, we're answering the question, who are you? Say that you are a creature and you are a creature with dignity because of the manifold ways that the image of God displays itself out in the human race.
Now thirdly, shifting gears here into a different aspect of who you are. Thirdly, you are mortal. You are mortal.
You are frail. Go back to Psalm 8 with me for a moment. Psalm 8 in verse 4. David says, what is man that you take thought of him and the son of man that you care for him?
The word for man that he uses there is a word that suggests the frailty of man. For all of your dignity, for all of the dignity that we share, we're mortal. As we read earlier from 1 Peter, you know, that the flower falls off. We're like a fading flower, a mist in the wind. You will soon pass away.
Soon defined either in a matter of days or soon defined in a matter of years. It doesn't matter compared to the backdrop of eternity. It is a wisp of time. And I realize how uncomfortable it is for some of you to think about this. And so I speak with gentleness and love in my heart.
But we have to consider this. Turn to Psalm 103 verse 15. You cannot think rightly about your life at all unless you contemplate this. Psalm 103 verse 15. Actually, we'll start in verse 14. God himself knows our frame. He is mindful that we are but dust. And the way Scripture puts those things side by side, created in the image of God with dignity and ruling over creation, and yet man is but dust. This is part of how we have to understand a balanced view of ourselves. And in verse 15 he goes on, he says, As for man, his days are like grass. As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer.
You are made in the image of God, and yet you are mortal at best. Whenever I think about this, I always think about that grainy video from November 22, 1963. President John F. Kennedy riding in his motorcade. Riding as the most powerful man in the free world, the most powerful world arguably in all of the world.
And adoring crowds calling out to him, straining to see him. And they make the turn down the street, and the assassin's gun ends it. And like that, the most powerful man in the world is reduced to facing eternity in a moment. Well beloved, if that can happen to the president, how much more mortal must we be?
People die in accidents all the time. And even the most powerful people are not immune from an immediate display of their own weakness in mortality. We can't contemplate life rightly unless somehow that factors into the way that we think. Unless we somehow contemplate the fact that we are subject to divine call at any moment. Life can change quickly.
Prosperity comes and goes. And beloved, here's what we should think about this. Not only should that cause us to keep a short account of sin in our lives, not only should it make those of you that are still apart from Christ flee to him quickly. If a president can die in a moment, so can you.
Flee to Christ while you can. But beloved, here's the other thing that I would have you say, think about by way of application on this as well. This really shapes the way that we think about life and the way that we approach what happens to those around us. If this is true that you are mortal, if this is true that we're all mortal in this way, then this follows. When illness comes, it's no surprise. When death comes suddenly and unexpectedly, it's no surprise. When illness and death come, there should be a sense in which you say, oh, of course, this is the nature of man. Man is mortal because I understand that death can come at any time because it is endemic, it is intrinsic to the nature of man in this life that we are mortal.
We are like grass. Because what this does is it humbles us. It takes away a false sense of security that life is always going to go on like it has before.
It's not. That's a false sense of security. You say, well, if that's, then what am I going to do if I don't think that way? You know what you're going to do if you think that way is you're going to become, as a Christian, you're going to become more consciously dependent and humbled before the presence of the one who purchased you with his own blood. You approach life with the sense, Lord, I can't clench onto this because I know that I'm mortal.
Thank God I am just dependent upon you. And rather than resting and trusting in a false sense of security that life tomorrow will be like it was today, instead, this brings you to a point where you anchor your life in the character and faithfulness of the living God who saved you from sin. And you say, God, my hope isn't in tomorrow.
My hope is in you. And when those loved ones are taken from our arms before we think it's time, we say, with tears streaming down our face, oh, but God, you've made this plain all along. Of course, Father, and this is where it takes you. You say, Father, not my will but thine be done. God, what else could I pray in response to this except for the fact that I received my life from you. You're the one who appoints our days and you have deemed this wise for this expression of mortality to break into my life now. God, this hurts.
This surprises me. I didn't see this coming. But God, not my will but thine be done because I trust you and you told me in advance that we're all mortal, that we're all like grass, that it's all passing away.
God, you didn't hide anything from me. And so I quietly, reverently submit to this stroke of sorrow that you've seen fit to bring into my life. Because beforehand, God, you equipped me to realize the mortality of man and to realize that illness and death can come at any time. And you see, beloved, in seeking to the best of my ability the health of your soul in this moment, is for you to realize that when this factors into your thinking, this makes you love this world less and makes you love and anticipate the world to come with Christ all the more. You don't clench this world because you know it can be taken away. You've seen it in your own lives.
I have too. And rather than denying that and turning away as if it's just something that we can't contemplate, Scripture bids us to think about it. To contemplate the fact that man is like grass.
And the effect of that is not to discourage us or to depress us. It's to say, oh, but thank God in heaven. This isn't the life I'm living for primarily anyway. Thank God in heaven, I have a life yet to come.
Thank Christ in heaven that he's there preparing a place for me and one day will welcome me into that presence with the full image of God restored, where joy and heaven and peace are mine forever. Never to be assaulted by this earthly mortality again. You see, beloved, that's where a proper contemplation of the mortality of man as a Christian leads you. You say, then it can't be about this life. Oh, it's about that life yet to come that Christ has secured for me. And no longer am I threatened by the horizontal mortality around me. I am secure, I am strengthened, I rejoice in the vertical eternality, the vertical permanence that will one day be mine. And when your heart is there, beloved, then your soul is going to prosper far more than in a sense of false security or wondering how did this mortality strike me. There's no exceptions. We're all subject to it.
And I like to be really practical on this point. If this is reality, then let's embrace it. And then think and learn and grow in that which transcends this reality so it no longer threatens and frightens my soul. And when you look for that reality, you look up and you see your brother in heaven preparing, John 14, read it, I go to prepare a place for you and if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again. And the love and the affections of your heart are not set on this mortality around us, but on that which Christ has promised for those who love Him. And beloved, I know, I know that if that's the love of your heart, you're going to prosper spiritually in this life. And that's all I care about as your pastor.
I want you to prosper spiritually in this life. Now, who are you? You're a creature. You have dignity.
Not shared by anything else in the universe. And yet you're mortal. You're frail. My final point is that you have responsibility. You have responsibility.
And I'm just going to spend a minute here. You have dignity as one created in the image of God. Here's what I want you to understand. God does not bestow that dignity lightly.
We will give an account to Him. Hebrews 9 says, it is appointed for men. Those men created in the image of God, it is appointed for them to die once and after this comes judgment. God gave you life to live for His glory. If He has saved you, He has saved you all the more to live for His glory. If you're not yet in Christ, oh, cry out to this one who alone can save sinners. He will receive you.
Think about it this way. Christ did not lightly take on humanity. The fact that He took on the nature in which you share shows the fact that He is a willing Savior, willing to receive everyone of like nature to Him who would come to Him for eternal life. Beloved, be encouraged. You have dignity. Beloved, worship and give thanks for your creature. Beloved, take heed.
You're mortal and you have responsibility. But above all, take hope in Christ, the one who became man to save men from their sins. That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, with part two of a message called, Who Are You?, part of the series, Key Questions Answered.
Next time, Don begins addressing the question, What is sin? So join us then on The Truth Pulpit. But before we go, here's Don with some closing words. Well, I just want to thank you for listening today to The Truth Pulpit.
It really means a lot to me that you would stay with us today. This message is really vital to understanding why you exist. And let me invite you as a friend of our ministry to get a free copy of the full-length message on CD so that you can fill out the rest of your study.
Bill will tell you how to find it. Just visit thetruthpulpit.com. There you'll also find a link to Don's Facebook page. Once more, that's thetruthpulpit.com. And by the way, thanks for your support of this ministry. Now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright. We'll see you again next time as Don teaches God's people God's Word from The Truth Pulpit.
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