Summary: This message focuses on the images we should be seeing versus what we are currently focusing on.
Painting God’s Masterpiece
Last week I introduced this message with an example of how important images are. I stressed the fact that we live by the fulfillment of images – meaning that the image we see in our minds is what we will attempt to bring into reality. However, the problem we face today is that some of the images we are focusing on are not the images that God desires for us to bring into reality. I told you on last Sunday that we were in an identity crisis as Christians. We often identify ourselves based on some position we hold on a job or what profession we have entered into for a career. When people ask us what we do for a living, we often tell them about our jobs. When asked this question I told you that I have never heard anyone answer that question with “I serve God” unless they were in full time ministry. And often those in full time ministry identify themselves by their position they hold within the Church. “I am Pastor so and so from……” or “I am a Missionary based in Africa”. So even people in full time ministry often identify themselves with the position they hold versus just being a servant of God. Remember what I shared with you from Proverbs 23:7 that what is on the inside of us (the image we see) is what we will bring to reality. I close the message with Proverbs 29:18 which tells us that without a revelation (vision) from God we are unrestrained (we perish). To give you the appropriate image, I used the example of the old maps we had to use before we got MapQuest or GPS devices. Remember, maps are used to restrain us from getting lost while traveling from one point to another. So last we I focused on the fact that all of us live by images and often times it is not the image that God has for us. Because we live by images – and often times the wrong ones, this morning we will examine some images that we must see in order to move closer towards the image that God has of us.
Some of you may be wondering why I have this blank canvas before me. As I work through the rest of this series, I will gradually be drawing an image on this canvas. This act will reflect what we are doing in our lives. Remember I told you last week that our lives represent a blank canvas when we were born. God had an image of what He wanted us to become, but it is up to each of us to bring that image into reality with our lives. I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination, but I will attempt through this message of bringing the image from my mind into reality on this canvas. At the conclusion of the series, hopefully you will recognize the image and my point will be made with this series. Now why am I doing this? God made us in His image and gave His Son as an example for us to follow. In order for us to do this, we must see the image God has given us. As I work on this picture during this series, I am representing what we should be doing in this life – working on bringing God’s image of us into a reality. I am starting with a blank sheet just like we all have when we were born into this world. Each experience in our lives are like paint strokes on a canvas – they develop into an image. It is up to us to take those experiences and let the image of Christ come through. We will start this morning in the book of Genesis.
I. What We Must See
Last week I told you that when Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa he started with an image in his mind. He saw the painting and he took his time to ensure that the painting accurately reflected what was in his mind. He worked, for seven years, until the image in his mind was caught in the painting. When God made man, He also took His time and made sure it was right. Why? Because we were being made in His image. Let’s examine more closely what God did when He created us. I touched on this last week, but I want to make sure we get this today.
In the first chapter of Genesis, the writer records the God-head working during creation. When you study creation closely, you will find that They did not “make” everything the same way. For example, Genesis 1:3 says “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light.” Notice that God spoke and the light appeared. For a majority of the creation, God spoke it and it came into being. The sun; the moon; land fit for habitation; the solar system; vegetation; fruit trees; stars; and other living creatures. All of these things were created by God speaking them into being. Now let’s examine what happened when God made man. Remember our foundational Scripture from Ephesians 2:10 which states: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” We are His workmanship – His work of art. If God had just spoken us into being, it would not take a lot of work, as a matter of fact, it would have taken but a few seconds – as long as it took to speak the words. But He wanted us, you and me, to be something special so He took the time to make us with His hands. Genesis 1:26-28 records the following: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” How did God do this? Look at Genesis 2:7 which we also read last week. It states “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being (or soul). The Hebrew word for the word “formed” means to press, mould, work with, fashion and shape like a potter. Isaiah captured this right when he said “…O, Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8) Based on this Scripture, we know that God did not speak man into existence; He took the time and made us with His hands. He shaped up. How did He know what we should look like? How did He know not to make us with elephant ears and tiger claws? Because He made us in His image and He was very specific in how He did it. Are you starting to see this now? We are not mistakes!!!! We may fail from time to time, but we are not mistakes. We may not look like someone else, but our lives are not mistakes. Because He formed us specifically, He desires to have a very special relationship with us. He made us in His image, yet that is not what we see – we are seeing something different. God spoke other things into being but when it came to man, He got personally involved. He, as we often say, “got in and got His hands dirty. Let me use this analogy about the specificity that God used in making us.