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January 24, 2022 1:00 am
Together from shawl soulmate and pardon me, but just got too much of the King James and me in the Psalms will read from King James version tonight hello Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth, who ß thy glory above the heavens out of the mouth of babes and sucklings are starting strength because of thine enemies that might is still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider thy heavens, the work of my fingers, the moon and the stars which Doster named, what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the Son of Man that outdistanced him last made him a little lower than the angels and is crowned him with glory and honor the latest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands that has put all things under his feet. All sheep and oxen J and the beasts of the field. The fowl of the air, the fish of the sea and whatsoever passed through the paths of the seas, Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth. Let's pray together. Almighty God at the climax of creation. You said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness with father.
We have sinned against you, and against your purpose for us.
We've marred the reflection of your glory in us that we have rebelled against the responsibility that you placed on us.
We have not esteemed your wonderful works as we should grievously devalue life and personhood Lord grant us repentance by your grace, enable us to value life as you evaluate to see in others and ourselves. The reflection of your glory, though it be damned in marred by our sin. Father son and Holy Spirit, be glorified in us. We pray in the name of Jesus, our Savior and Lord may be seated back in the early 80s, Pres. Reagan set aside up to the third Sunday of January as sanctity of life Sunday and many continue to mark the current Holocaust in America by setting aside this day is a special day of remembrance and of prayer thinking in terms of what we have done over the last decades since that infamous decision by the Supreme Court in 1973 Roe V Wade as we know it is not my intent tonight to rail against the evils of abortion as bad as that is normative, castigate women who've been let down that path of destruction by the lives of the enemy, not even to prorate or chastise politicians and judges who facilitate that slaughter. My purpose tonight is to focus on the question that is asked in verse four of Psalm eight I'm not going to exegete that text assets put in an attempt to clarify our thinking regarding the nature of man, how we as believers are to regard our fellow travelers in this world.
I want to ask myself, and us together like that question, what is man, the psalmist frames it in context of considering the heavens, the moon and the stars that God has ordained. I'm struck Linda every time I read the first chapter of Genesis. The fact that to God creates the moon and the stars in the greater lesser light and then just almost an offhanded way since the stars also utilized as a young boy I was given a book on science and I was fascinated and enjoyed that. I don't remember much from that book is one fact that just struck me in and still sticks with me their estimate at that time was that the universe is 66 2 million light years across will now you this is still expanding and they have no idea how big it is. But that number just stuck in my mind.
It boggles the mind to try to contemplate such immensity. Think about this.
The speed of light is 186,000+ miles per second. There are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes an hour 24 hours in the day that comes out to 86,400 seconds every day, underneath 6000 mi./s, 365 days in a year times 86,400 that comes out of 31,536,000 seconds in a year and every second.
Light travels 186,292 miles. That means that in one year. Light travels 5,000,000,000,806 5,000,695,000 miles every year so 66 2 billion light years six with 21 zero. Multiply that times that 5,000,000,000,005.8 trillion, and it's a number just beyond our ability to even think about really.
And of course, as I said is still expanding the light still traveling wheat we stumble and fall, and our feeble attempts to comprehend the immensity of God's creation. When you just said let it be in there.
It was got telescopes and satellites in space stations and rockets and truth is we can't even grasp the wonders of this little planet on which we live. This microscopic viruses kept us on our knees for a couple years now we can begin to understand it all were astounded by the billions of galaxies, and the innumerable stars but get this cotton numbered every one of them and gave them names gave them names he tasked Adam with naming the animals what if you had the name the stars. I did a little research today.
There are currently just over 7000 known languages in the world and that if you start with the Oxford dictionary for English language there something like 228,000 words in the English language that are enlisted in the Oxford dictionary, you multiply that by 7000 languages and course most of them don't have that many words, but you want to come up with the just a little over 1.5 trillion words there are multiply billions and billions and billions of galaxies and stars and God named everyone of them numbered so the psalmist says when I look at that I want to know what is man, God is mindful of him, God visits him the vastness of the universe is incomprehensible to us and it reveals our insignificance.
We are just little dots on this planet and it's not even the largest planet in our solar system, our galaxy. Why would God take any notice or give any thought to man and yet look at Psalm 139 and the Bible tells us that God knows us in the womb, someone 39 verse 13 says for you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother's womb fact, every detail of our life and being his first thought in the mind of God.
Verse 1516 the someone 39 says my frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth your eyes saw my unformed substance in your book were written every one of them. The days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them got knows it all is intimately acquainted with every detail of who we are. David cries out and wondering that's all. How precious to me are your thoughts of God.
How fast is the sum of them if I would count them there more than the sand. God gives thought to man. We consider the creation his thoughts toward us. Amaze us and we are filled with wonder why would God give any thought to man.
Amazing, but only consider the re-creation we marvel even more reminded of Isaiah 55 God says, my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither my ways your ways heavens as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts than your thoughts close that section. He says that my word goes for my mouth. It shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent God sends out his word and evil wicked deceitful heart of man is transformed and changed.
Faith comes by hearing hearing by the word of God. God is holy God man is sinful and rebellious back tells us that God is pure – then to see evil and cannot look at wrong golf that separates me from God's holiness is far greater than the vastness of this universe that I can't begin to comprehend and yet he has regarded little estate.
He has redeemed us from the curse of the law, not material things.
Precious things like gold and silver with the blood of his only son lamb without blemish, without spot. God reveals his love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us to consider the heavens. The physical creation we ask, what is man, God thinks on us. We see our own insignificance and we see that God gives thought to us and takes care of us. We were reminded of that powerful this morning to look at Psalm 121 that God is our keeper and he never sleeps and never slumbers he cares for us. So when we consider the re-creation the spiritual realm we ask again what is man that God is mindful of him, that God visits what is man, how holy God stooped to redeem sinful man.
What could ever replace my filthy rags and make me fit at her throne room of heaven. What is man that God would think of us. The Bible gives us the answer in the very first chapter man is the image of God image of God.
So for the next few moments I want us to think about what that means objectively and practically, what are the implications for our daily life to understand what this means, of course, we must go to the word of God. What what should be our attitude toward life toward man. There is no better summary, I suppose, of the nature and character of God and what his desires are for us then the 10 Commandments which they reveal to us the very nature of God. What he's all about, and so will start the law of Moses and God says thou shalt not kill.
So what exactly is prohibited.
What is forbidden by that commandment can be all killing because God also commanded that his people go out wage war and sometimes destroy man, woman, child, everything some killing is required. In fact, the required death of the one who created who committed certain sins what God is forgetting here is an intentional, willful, premeditated kind of killing comes from hatred and enmity to ask a question of why is it that God forbids murder in the answers again for us in the very first book of the Bible when he says that whoever sheds the blood of man by man shall his blood be shared by four God made man in his own image. It's because of the image of God, that murder is forbidden because we are made to be a reflection of who God is. So how do we obey this commandment too often when we look at the commandments of God. We set up a set of rules that we think will fulfill what God requires and and we set up our own rules as long as we keep those overt rules were like Pharisees.
We think were okay where self-righteous but God doesn't require just kind of a passive avoidance of the thing. He requires that we positive affect who he is in his nature.
The opposite of the flipside of that commandment you every one of those commandments has not only a negative but a positive aspect to it as well. I think for example about the First Amendment.
He says thou shall have no other gods stated sort of negatively but as Jesus says to Satan when he is tempted, it said positively to you shall worship God and him only shall you serve as a positive aspect to it. And so when we think about thou shalt not kill, is not enough just to avoid murdering we have to also actively and positively seek the good of others, and do good for them are standards that we point too often the larger catechism has a really wonderful way of putting our duty with regard to this commandment is kind of ancient language, but stay with it and listen to what it says. The duties required in the sixth commandment are all careful studies and lawful endeavors to preserve the life of ourselves and others by resisting all faults and purposes subduing all passions and avoiding all occasions and practices which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any by just defense thereof against violence, patient, bearing of the hand of God, quietness of mind, cheerfulness of spirit a sober use of meat, drink physic sleep, labor and recreations by charitable thoughts, love, compassion, meekness, gentleness, kindness, peaceable, mild and courteous speeches and behavior forbearance readiness to be reconciled. Patient bearing and forgiving of injuries and reclining good for evil, comforting and suckering the distressed and partaking in defending the innocent is a lot in there that if we don't do an active positive way. The divines are saying we are guilty of that sixth commandment would Jesus say said you heard it said that it was said to those of old, you shall not murder, and whoever murders will be liable to judgment. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother's lives. Judgment same consequence is murder, forgetting that whoever insults his brother will be liable to the Council and whoever says you flew will be liable to the hell of fire. It's a little different light on the sixth commandment doesn't Christ makes obedience a matter of heart attitude, not just external action. True obedience means we obey in fault in word and indeed because man is made in the image of God. How do we think about other people. How do we speak to other people how to react toward obedience and thought rather than anger. Christ requires steam forgiveness forbearance thickens to three in the lowliness of mind that each esteem other better than themselves.
Colossians 313, forgiving one another, even as Christ forgave you patient for two with all lowliness and meekness with long-suffering forbearing one another in love.
We obey the command of what we think of others acknowledging the image of God in them.
We've already seen how Jesus warns about insults and denigrating disparaging words instead as Paul says in Ephesians 4 we are to speak the truth in love, and let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace under the these commands from Paul's letters written to the churches about relationship with fellow believers were also to recognize that those who are outside, are created in God's image. Just as we are. And so Jesus says we are to love even our enemies finally do that. We talked about obedience and thought, word, what about directions or deeds.
Jesus says, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute well we could you on that idea of blessing others.
We think most often.
I think blessing as being spoken blessing.
And that's a part that we should affirm and think others but goes beyond that we should act in the way of blessing their lives serving them and showing hospitality.
Many of you probably are aware of the story of Ms. Benefield who was caught up in sinful lifestyle.
And yet who was brought to Christ through the loving acceptance and hospitality of a pastor who didn't condemn but just loved. We bless them that would curse us, do good to them that hate you share your wealth, your goods, your knowledge, time with those who hate you, pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you wait and we tend to pray most of the time. Our prayers are filled with things that relate to the temporal material physical things of life for start of the prayers of the New Testament. You will find that the ratio of spiritual request to material physical request is about 24 to 1. One of the ways to learn how to pray well is to study the prayers of Paul.
It would take a whole series of messages to mind the depths of Paul's prayers about this. Look at a couple of examples tonight as we share this together.
Romans chapter 15 verse 13, Paul says now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope of the power of the Holy Ghost notice a few things about the square. First of all, notice that he addresses God using the idea of an attribute of God that meets the needs of the spring before God is is now may the God of hope closer to abound in hope, God has given us plethora of names by which we can come to him and address him recognizing that each of those names tells us something about who he is and what he does for us and who we are and what our need is from him focusing on the attribute of God that corresponds to the needy also acknowledges dependence on God's power. He says you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. We are absolutely dependent on God and in prayer. We need to recognize that notice also that he asks in great measure.
This is no change in prayer. He says May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, you may abound in hope, in another place he talks about the fact that God is able to do far more exceedingly more than we could ever begin to imagine. Pray big is a big God.
And he connects his prayer to faith. He says be filled with all joy and peace in believing, resting, trusting in God. What other prayer. 22. First Corinthians the first chapter, verses four through nine Paul prays says to the Corinthians 20 prays I thank my God always on your behalf for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ, that in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you so that you come behind in no gift waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall also confirm you unto the end that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called under the fellowship of his son Jesus Christ our Lord.
This is a letter to the Corinthian church, a church that was just full of problems. In fact, almost every chapter in Corinthians is addressing some particular problem. Everything from division and disunity to sexual immorality to disorder in the worship service they had it all had a lot of gifts to they have a lot of problems and yet in this prayer, Paul says I thank my God always on your behalf for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ. Do we look at others like that giving God thanks for the grace of that is given them through Christ that image of God that is being renewed in them. Paul even says these grandparents I have to speak to you as babes in Christ or Carly right you're not maturing you're not growing, and yet he thanks God always because he knows that what God has begun.
He will complete. He says the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, you shall also confirm you to the end that he may be blameless in the day of the Lord, what got started. He's going to finish it may not be very evident, yet growth will happen. God will bring them to full maturity.
We must learn to see others as God sees them and knowing there created in the image of God and God's purpose will be fulfilled in Christ will be formed in them. Paul writes in Galatians is how Paul prayed for other believers, but I Christ says it were also to pray for our enemies. In fact, he goes on to say in that same sermon be perfect, as your heavenly father's perfect. Well that's impossible in our own strength and we can only be what we should be because of what God has done in Christ no one can live like this without Christ, there's good news in Christ we are new creations. Everything is new, what's in my heart.
Christ renews Colossians 310, Paul says, and have put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created that image of God in us as being renewed and restored fact all God's children are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ. God son the image of God is continually being renewed in us. Paul writes to the Corinthians in the second letter we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed from glory to glory, changed into the same image even as by the spirit of Lord we are being changed again into that image of God which we were created for what is man is the image of God, we esteem others as image bearers of the God we worship when we are confronted with the evils of our day with tyrannical government with wholesale slaughter of children with sexual perversion, gender confusion and lawless thieves and murderers who we by the power of God's Spirit indwelling us. Remember that every man is created in the image of God.
I pray that we can gracefully see the gospel can renew that image in any man will use every means at every opportunity to avoid anything that would agree take away life would strive rather to give life sharing the gospel. The power of God to salvation by which God restores that image in which we were created spray father. We are amazed and stand and wandering all when they behold the heavens the beauty of this world that infinite creativity which you spoken to be aware amazed even more father when you say you created us in your image and in your likeness because of your spirits quickening power. We understand that we are sinners, rebellious hating you hating your ways, but in grace. Father, you have called us to yourself.
You have poured your grace and for our lives. You have given us yourself.
You have indwelt us by your spirit day by day. You are changing us conforming us. Help us father to receive the difficulties of this life. The difficulty of unlovable people that hatred and persecution of those who hate you and hate your ways help us to receive it all as from your hand. The purpose of doing good to us, molding and shaping us in the your likeness that Christ may be exalted and you be glorified in your people. We ask in the name of our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen