Summary: Humanity, created in God’s image, has smeared it with sin.
The Big Picture -
Romans 1: 18-32
CALVIN CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH
You are the eyes of God.
Yours are the hands of God.
Your words are the words of God.
When people see you they see the Lord.... at least they should.
That is what we came to realize the last time we were together, when we talked about the image of God. Here at Calvin we’re in the middle of a Sunday morning sermon series we’ve titled, "The Big Picture" - on worldview.
We began by trying to figure out what, roughly, that word means. Came to realize that when you take the deepest values and core beliefs that we hold about this world and life in it, about time and eternity, about what is seen and what lays beyond the sense --
– when you bundle all of that together in a package, you can stamp on it the label, "Worldview."
Then we took a step back for long perspective, big picture look at things. We discovered that the Bible’s view on things is that we’re living in God’s world; He cares deeply about it..... from beginning to end.
Scripture begins on earth. Scripture ends NOT with some escape from earth and the eternal plucking of heavenly harps while the Rome on earth burns. Rather, it ends on a renewed earth, God dwelling with humanity, and people able to once more work for their Creator Lord in developing and caring for the Creation as had originally been the intent in Paradise.
It was that task of working which we considered next. You know how it is that sometimes one can look at a child and say, "My, she’s a chip off the ol’ block.... he’s a spittin image of his father...."
When God first created humanity, He made male and female to have some of that in them - we are fashioned out of a chip of divine marble, as it were; created to image our Heavenly Father - something like Him, reflecting Him;
that when others see us they, somehow, are reminded of where we came from, and whose family we’re part of - the divine family of God which we celebrated earlier through the marvelous event of baptism.
that when others see us, they see a a glimmer, a reflection, of God.
We call that the imago dei, the Image Of God.
I want to carry on with thinking about that a little bit this morning.
Think about Jakob and Anke and Sklyer.
Little images of God.
Growing up in a home with bigger images - Ed and Jo, who together with us pledged to the Lord that, in response to His divine promise of holy paternal care and the love of Jesus, they would raise these children His way; they would mold and shape them, sculpt their characters and morals, hope and dreams and behaviors to reflect Him.
What sorts of challenges will face them in living out that calling to image God? What sorts of obstacles and pitfalls await them? Temptations? Dangers?
What are the sorts of things with which, not only they, but we struggle in that whole image-bearing project?
We do that thinking and reflecting underneath this large cross at the front - reminding us of the suffering, sacrificing, saving work of Jesus; reminding us that somewhere way back human beings crashed badly while engaged in the expedition of imaging God.
A disaster! So bad was it that outside saving help was needed - the eternal and renewing salvation that Jesus brings.
We note that at this point in the series, because any consideration of a Christian worldview, a Christian way of understanding things in this life, simply cannot function without an acknowledgment of this disaster – this huge, grinding twist and corruption in the image-bearing project. We have to factor it into not only understanding how things were, but how they function right now.
How life, with all its challenges, will function for Ed & Jo’s kids.
How life’s aberrations confront them as parents
How they assault you and I.
Today is the "heads up!" call that allows us to be watchful, wary and careful as Christians working our way through life.
The problem, then,
the disaster that occurred, was that while the mission was to reflect, to image God, humanity somehow got sidetracked and ended up trying to reflect, to image, something or someone else.
Whatever or whoever that was varied depending on time, place and circumstance.
And..... The exact whatever or whoever doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that there was some stand-in at the center, at the place where God rightfully belonged.
There was an illegal substitution.
Focus became shifted in a wrong direction.
And the whole purpose of human living - reflecting God, imaging Him, representing Him and His ruling majesty in this world –