Summary: God loves humanity and looks at us with favor; this should transform how we look and treat others.
TUG OF WAR
Sermon Objective: God loves humanity and looks at us with favor; this should transform how we look and treat others.
Can I think out loud with you today? I just want to talk to you for a few moments.
We are all theologians. We live our theology. In fact, the theology we live is our real theology – our stated theology is often just mental assent, wishful thinking, or the answers we think we are supposed to give. We show what we really believe by how we live.
Our living theology is worship. Worship is not just what we are doing here today – worship is what we did last night and what we will do after we leave here. That’s where we reveal what we really believe. That is when we bring glory to God or bring glory to something else, thus showing what we really worship.
Worship is theology that has come alive.
Our theology (and worship) is deeply and intrinsically related to our identity. What I think of God directly affects how I think of myself. And how I think of myself directly affects what I think of God.
• If God is judgmental, seeks reparation, and keeps a ledger then I tend to see myself as inadequate and woefully incapable of pleasing him.
• If I understand God to be redemptive, pardoning, and seeking to reconcile the relationship with humankind then I can see myself as filled with potential and capable of living in His pleasure.
13Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. 14They came to him and said, "Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? 15Should we pay or shouldn’t we?"
But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. "Why are you trying to trap me?" he asked. "Bring me a denarius and let me look at it." 16They brought the coin, and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?"
"Caesar’s," they replied.
17Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s." And they were amazed at him.
28One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
29"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: ’Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’31The second is this: ’Love your neighbor as yourself. ’There is no commandment greater than these."
32"Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
34When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
Genesis 1:26-27 (portions)
26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, … 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Psalm 139: 13-16
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be
YOU ARE WHAT GOD DESIGNED YOU TO BE
• When God formed you you were not an afterthought
• When God made you you were not an experiment
• When God made you his hand did not slip
• When God made you he didn’t lose his concentration
• When God made you he never said “Oops!”
• When God made you he made you with intricate detail and forethought
• When God made you he counted the hair on your head
• When God sees you he sees a piece of art … not a “piece of work.”