Summary: God restores the community we destroy.
The Greatest Place on Earth – Part 2
January 20, 2002
Big Idea: God restores the community we destroy.
Lee Strobel wrote: People today will admit any problem - drugs, divorce, alcoholism - "but there’s one admission that people are loath to make, whether they’re a star on television or someone who fixes televisions in a repair shop. It’s just too embarrassing. It penetrates too deeply to the core of who they are." People don’t want to admit that they are (sometimes) lonely. "Loneliness is such a humiliating malady that it ought to have its own politically correct euphemism: ’relationally challenged.’ Or its own telethon. Anything to make it safer to confess.
Because right now it’s a taboo, an affliction of losers and misfits. And - to be honest - of respectable people like you and me." (Lee Strobel, God’s Outrageous Claims, p. 118-134)
George Gallup Jr. concluded from his studies and polls that Americans are among the loneliest people in the world. (Randy Frazee, The Connecting Church, p. 24)
Seems unbelievable when you think of the availability of transportation and the billions of dollars of discretionary money we have available for entertainment. Americans can buy so much activity – how can they possibly be so lonely? More than ¾ of the American people live in metropolitan areas, and more than 2/3 of those live in suburbs. We are surrounded by more people than ever before in the history of our country.
We have greater technology providing avenues for connectivity through portable phones and the Internet. With these undeniable benefits in place, how could we be among the loneliest people in the world?
The answer is because we’ve lost something essential to our well-being.
We are a fast paced society, leaving many people dislocated and far from home.
ILLUS – As one weary wife, tired of career moves for her husband explained her loneliness and said, “I got so tired of saying good-bye, that I stopped saying hello.”
Perhaps we don’t even see what we’ve lost.
In 1965 Jackie DeShannon had a hit song that proclaimed – “What the World Needs Now is Love, sweet love.”
By the mid 1990s the band Cracker scored a hit with a song that said – “What the world needs now is another folk singer like I need a whole in my head.”
When we listen to God we learn that what the world needs now is a fresh vision of what it means to live in community. A fresh vision of what it means to be the people of God.
TRANSITION: In the book of Genesis, way back when God first put people on the earth the design was revealed. A fundamental reality about humanity was uncovered. The truth is…
I. WE ARE CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD
Genesis 1:26 - 26Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
God put his design in us. He made us in his own image.
Let’s consider what that means:
Made in God’s image means we have…
Special standing – recipients of God’s greatest love (sent His own Son for us), endowed with special worth (Jesus said we are much more valuable to the Father than the birds of the air), given special responsibility (Genesis says we’ve been placed in the unique position of caring for creation.)
Made in God’s image also refers to a…
Future goal – 2 Corinthians 3:18 says we are being transformed into his likeness (the likeness of Christ) with ever-increasing glory. We look forward to that day when we will participate in the full likeness of Christ one day in heaven.
Perhaps more than anything made in His own image is a statement of….
Fellowship and Community -
We learned last Sunday that God in his essential nature is a fellowship. Three distinct yet equal and interdependent persons harmoniously exist in one being. God models within himself perfect unity. His favorite word is ONE.
So creatures that are made in His image would certainly be relational creatures – designed for the most intense and intimate kind of fellowship – created to live in unity with others in a state of oneness.
Stan Grenz writes: “The divine image is…a shared, corporate reality. It is fully present only as we live in fellowship. It is ours only as we enjoy ‘community.’” (Stanley J.Grenz, Created for Community, p. 79)
He also suggests:
“As we enjoy the fellowship God intends for us, we are the image of God.” (ibid)
Look at Genesis 1:27 - So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;