Summary: Sermon three in a fourteen sermon series based on the popular Bible study by Henry Blackaby.
God made man with a purpose in mind. As man communed with God and followed His direction, God’s eternal purpose was accomplished through man as he lived in such a way as to bring glory to God; and man was blessed and fulfilled.
Genesis 1:26-27 tells us how man was made. Man was made in God’s image, which means that man was made with a spiritual nature so that he might commune with God and a physical nature so he could commune with the created world.
Genesis 1:26-27 also tells us why man was made that way. Literally, the phrase “in our likeness’ contains the idea of purpose—that is, the reason man was created with a spiritual dimension to his being was so that by communing with God and obeying his direction, he could reflect God’s glory, his likeness. Additionally, man was to lead all of creation to bring glory to its creator (v. 26).
But when man chose to decide for himself what was good and what was evil, he experienced death. Literally translated, verse 17 says, “dying, you will die.” In other words, the instant that man chose to decide for himself what was good and what was evil, instead of trusting God to guide him, he placed himself in the role of God and consequently, cut himself off from God, who is the source of all life.
Sin entered the picture (sin is going my way as opposed to God’s way), and man immediately died spiritually (being cut off from God, the source of all life), and eventually died physically.
“For the wages of sin is death.” - Romans 6:23a (NIV)
Sin keeps man from fulfilling God’s original purpose and leading creation to do the same. Consequently, man condemned himself to living an unfulfilled life. “All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.” - Romans 3:23
Charlie Brown rested his head in his hands while leaning on the wall. He was looking miserable, as usual. Lucy approached him and asked, “Discouraged again, huh, Charlie Brown?” Charlie Brown doesn’t even answer. “You know what your trouble is?” Lucy asked, “the trouble with you is that you are you!” Charlie Brown turned to her and said, “Well, what in the world can I do about it?” Lucy replied, “I don’t pretend to be able to give advice Charlie Brown, I merely point out the trouble!”
Well, thankfully, God’s Word doesn’t just point out mankind’s problem, it also tells us of God’s solution. Jesus Christ is God’s solution to mankind’s sin problem. Through His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, Jesus conquered sin for all mankind. Christ has taken care of the sin problem for all mankind. But just as the problem of sin came upon all mankind as a result of the individual choices of Adam and Eve; the solution for the sin problem must be received by each individual member of the human race.
Though sin is a problem for the entire human race; salvation from sin can be experienced by each individual human being who chooses to accept Christ and his payment for our sin on the cross on our behalf. When I accept Christ as my personal Savior, I am immediately saved from the penalty of sin - I know I am going to Heaven and not to Hell; and I will one day be saved from the very presence of sin, when I eternally enter into the presence of my Lord. In the meantime, however, by virtue of my personal relationship with Christ, I can experience salvation from the from the power of sin, as I learn to live in such a way as to prevent sin from ruling my life and keeping me from bringing glory to God.
“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” - Colossians 1:27 (NIV)
By the power of the person present within me, I can be helped to live life beyond the power of sin and bring glory to God as He originally intended for man to do.
But to do this, I need to learn how to live a God centered life. There are two ways by which we can live our lives as Christians. Our lives can either be God centered or self centered. Note the contrast between these two ways of living:
The Self Centered Life The God Centered Life
1. Focused on self 1. Focused on God
2. Dependent on self 2. Dependent on God
3. Affirms self 3. Denys self
4. Self confidence 4. God confidence
5. Seeks man’s approval 5. Seeks God’s approval
6. Glorifies self 6. Glorifies God
7. Human perspective 7. Divine perspective
8. Ordinary living 8. Extraordinary living
“My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” - Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT)