Summary: When we "Contend For The Faith" we need to realize the importance of contending for the fact that we have been created in the image of God. We're not an accident - we have value and a reason to live. But if folks damage that "image" how can they fix that?
(We started out the sermon with a video from BBC One Videos - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auSo1MyWf8g - which displays the wonder of God’s creation accompanied by a poetic reading of the song “What A Wonderful World”)
What a wonderful world we live in. The Psalmist observed “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” Psalm 8:3-4
We live on a wonderful world - remarkably designed for life. And the more we know about our planet the more amazing it is that life exists at all. As I was researching for this sermon I ran across a site that told of 154 different factors that would need to be in play in order for life to exist on ANY planet (http://www.reasons.org/articles/fine-tuning-for-life-on-earth-june-2004 154 factors necessary for life to exist on any planet in the universe). Those factors point to the fact that ours is a unique and wondrous example of God’s creativeness.
For example Scientists have determined we’re in “goldilocks” region of our sun. We’re not too far away, not too close… we’re JUST RIGHT. If we were much closer the sun we would be cooked to death. If we were much farther away, we would be frozen solid.
More than that, - during its next orbit around the Sun - if the Earth were to deviate by only a fraction of an inch every 20 mils or so we would either freeze/fry within a year.
In fact, our planet is tilted (with regard to sun) in a very “Goldilocks” kind of way. As the earth revolves around the sun, it does so at a constant 23 degrees on its axis. Because of that “tilt” our planet can support far more life than if we were perpendicular. If the Earth wasn’t tilted, the poles would be colder, the equator would be hotter, and less of the earth’s surface would be livable.
Now, some night, look up at the moon. Our moon seems to be a lifeless dust ball in the sky… and that’s because it is. Even though the moon is roughly the same distance from the sun as we are, its temperatures range from 214 degrees above zero to 243 degrees below. No life can exist on the moon.
But if it weren’t for that lifeless moon, our earth’s oceans would be dead. The moon’s magnetic attraction on earth creates the tides on our oceans. If the moon were much bigger or closer, ocean tides would overwhelm us with waves the size of tsunamis. But if it were much smaller or farther away the tides would be almost nonexistent and life in the oceans would be impossible.
Those are just a few of the reasons that we know we live on a wonderful – life filled – world. And there’s a reason for that. Genesis tells us “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God created our planet to be LIKE NOTHING ELSE in the universe.
ILLUS: Back in 1968, Bill Anders an astronaut in the Apollo 8 space mission (the first crewed mission to not only leave the atmosphere but to circle the moon and return). He took pictures of earth while in space that have been very popular because they showed us the earth in a way that mortals had never seen. Reflecting on that, he said of our planet: “It was the only color we could see in the universe.”
What’s interesting is how God created the world. He created LIGHT and said “It is good”. He created VEGETATION and said “It is good”. He created the FISH OF THE SEA and birds of the air and said “It is good”. And He created the sheep and oxen, and beasts of the field and He said “It is good”.
But then He created Adam and Eve. And do you know what He said then? “It Is VERY GOOD”. And so the Psalmist asks: “…what is man that you are mindful of him…?” Psalm 8:4
Well the Bible tells us WHY God is mindful of us, why He cares for us. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them…” Genesis 1:27-28b
ILLUS: I want us to go back in time and imagine what it must have been like to have when all this took place. In order to do that I’m going to need a volunteer (I picked on someone I knew would be a good sport and had him come up and stand beside me). I want you to imagine being there at the creation of the most perfect man who ever lived (I looked doubtfully at my volunteer).