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Summary: You can be more than you think in the present moment by opening your heart to the Spirit of Christ who has taken away the sin of the world.

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Today I want you to hear this from the opening pages of the Scripture:

Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness… So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Gn. 1:26, 27).

According to an ancient legend, there was a time when all human beings were gods. However, they treated their divinity with such disrespect that the chief god, decided that their divinity should be taken from them and hidden in a place where they would never again find it. The question was, "Where to hide it?"

The chief god consulted with all the lesser gods on the problem. The lesser gods said, "Let us bury man’s divinity deep in the earth." But the chief God said, "That will not do. Man will dig into the earth and find it."

Then the lesser gods said, "Let us sink man’s divinity in the deepest sea." But the chief god replied, "That will not do. Man will learn to penetrate the deepest waters and will find it on the ocean bed."

Then the lesser gods said, "Let us hide man’s divinity on the highest mountain peak." But the chief god again disagreed. "Man will surely climb to the top of all the earth’s mountains and someday will find it."

The lesser gods were discouraged. "It seems there is no place on land or sea that man will not eventually reach."

Then the chief god said, "We will hide man’s divinity deep in man himself. He will never look for it there." "And ever since then," the legend concludes, "man has been climbing, digging, diving, exploring -- searching for that which is already within himself."

It has been said that "Two thousand years ago, a man named Jesus found it, but in the Movement that sprang up in His name, the Divinity in man has been the best kept secret of the ages."[1]

"To you the secret of the Kingdom of God has been confided... The Kingdom of God is in your midst" (Lk. 17:21), Jesus told His disciples. It is not a matter of reporting that it is "here" or "there," He said. Rather, "The Kingdom of God is at hand" (Mk. 1:15).

The Reign of God, the Rule of God, the Kingdom of God, the Spirit of God is within you. Have you made the great discovery of the potential that the SPirit of God has placed within your life?

In a novel by Lloyd C. Douglas, Miriam is telling Marcellus the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector whose life was totally changed after he had spent an hour visiting with Jesus. "But what had happened?" Marcellus asks. "Nobody knows," Miriam replies. "Maybe He didn’t say anything at all. Perhaps He looked Zacchaeus squarely in the eyes until the man saw -- reflected there -- the image of the person he was meant to be."

In today’s Gospel lesson, John the Baptist captures the image of the person Jesus was meant to be from all eternity. "... when John caught sight of Jesus coming toward Him, he cried out, Look! This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!" (Jn. 1:29). Then he said,

I saw the Spirit descend like a dove from the sky, and it came to rest on Him. Now I have seen for myself: This is God’s chosen One (Jn. 1:32, 34).

The English clergyman, John Newton, is remembered for his great Christian preaching and for his role in the production of many outstanding sacred hymns, especially Amazing Grace. His mother died when he was seven-years-old and, with his father at sea, he was left largely on his own. As a young man he was conscripted into the British Navy. He deserted the Navy and became a slave-trader in Africa.

And if ever there was a man with a poor self-image it was John Newton. According to one writer, he was "a wreck of a man ... He was a hard, rough, dirty sailor with a foul mouth and an appetite for rotten living. He hated life and life hated him."

But, somehow, into the hands of this "wreck of a man" was placed a copy of "The Imitation of Christ" by Thomas A. Kempis. John Newton slowly began to change. For six years he struggled to find inner-peace until finally he began to love life, and life began to love him.

When he entered the ministry, he wanted people to know that he had a marvelous secret to share and he went all over England sharing his secret in his preaching. Toward the end of his life (he died in 1807) he insisted on preaching every Sunday even though he was nearly blind and needed an assistant to stand with him in the pulpit.

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