Summary: Are we the image of God or Christ? Do we present to others a photographic image of him?
The Family Photo Album
a. Discuss why we take pictures and the effect they have on us when, at a later date we sit down and take a trip down memory lane.
(1) They allow us to recall past events and memories.
(2) They can show us what we will be like when we grow older (like parents and grandparents, for example).
b. The Bible is like a family photo album. While we have never seen God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit physically, the scriptures paint vivid pictures of who they are and what they are like.
(1) James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited—There is a painting in a palace in Rome by Reni. It is painted into the ceiling of the dome, over 100 feet high. To stand at floor level and look upward, the painting seems to be surrounded by a fog that leaves its content unclear. But, in the center of the great dome room is a huge mirror, which in its reflection picks up the picture. By looking into the mirror you can see the picture with great clarity. Jesus Christ, born in a manger at Bethlehem, is the mirror of God. In Him we see a clear reflection of the Father. Jesus said, ’If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.’ No power on earth has done more to tame the hostile forces of humankind, and cause us to beat our swords in tools of useful productivity and our spears into peaceful instruments of creativity than this Child of Bethlehem, who came in weakness to lead us in strength.
(2) When others look at us, do they see a picture of Christ? When we look into the mirror, do we see a reflection of Christ?
c. The following are photos or snapshots of Christ as Paul took them.
2. Christ as a Rescuer
a. Read Col. 1:13-14
b. Webster’s definition of rescue—to free from confinement, danger, or evil; to save or deliver; implies freeing from imminent danger by prompt or vigorous action. Synonymous with deliver, redeem, ransom, reclaim, save.
(1) Deliver implies release of a person from confinement, temptation, slavery, or suffering.
(2) Redeem implies releasing from bondage or penalties by giving what is demanded or necessary.
(3) Ransom applies to buying out of captivity.
(4) Reclaim suggests bringing back to a former state or condition of someone or something abandoned or debased.
(5) Save may imply a preserving or maintaining for usefulness or continued existence.
c. We are saved from a “dominion of darkness,” a realm where we fight against dark forces that are against us and what we stand to gain if we are victorious.
(1) Eph. 6:12—For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
(2) We are not fighting against human opponents as they are the real enemy and we can’t assume the battle can be fought by using merely human resources.
d. Through Christ we are rescued. We are brought from a rebel kingdom and placed under His sovereignty.
(1) The benevolent rule of God’s son.
(2) Freedom from external control.
3. Christ as Creator
a. A little boy was working hard on a drawing and his daddy asked him what he was doing. The reply came back, ’Drawing a picture of God.’ His daddy said, ’You can’t do that, son. Nobody knows what God looks like.’ But the little boy was undeterred and continued to draw. He looked at his picture with satisfaction and said very matter-of-factly, ’They will in a few minutes.’
b. Read Col. 1:15-16
c. Paul’s picture of Christ includes some vivid descriptions.
(1) The word translated image in verse 15 (eikon — i· kone) is the word from which we get our word icon.
(a) An image, figure, likeness; used of the moral likeness of renewed men to God the image of the Son of God, into which true Christians are transformed, is likeness not only to the heavenly body, but also to the most holy and blessed state of mind, which Christ possesses.
(b) Just as an icon on the computer is a representation of the entire program, Christ is an image that represents all of God.
(2) Christ is the image of the invisible God.
(a) Heb. 1:3—The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.