Month: April 2018

Four – Understand Our Purpose – pg. 119

creation of man

April 30

By the time of the arrival of The Christ, our original design and purpose had become mostly “lost” to us. A major factor in the arrival of Jesus was to restore what had become so “lost” and forgotten.

The Lord Himself referred to this condition in the account of His encounter with Zacchaeus (Luke 19). At the conclusion of His encounter, Jesus makes an amazing statement. He speaks openly about His Divine purpose and the restoration to come to humanity through His Presence:

to seek and save

Jesus’ purpose was much deeper than merely seeking to save people from their sins – His purpose was to restore what had become lost to us.

“That which was lost,” when mankind fell into sin, was mankind’s sense of the immense value and importance of being the very “image” or “picture” of God, and of being “crowned with glory and honor” by the Most High. A remnant of this hope, capacity, and purpose, has always remained within human hearts – but it has so often been pushed aside and trampled in humanity’s attempts to be our own gods, to create our own image, to seize godlike control over our own lives, circumstances, and surroundings. It is a pointless pursuit, producing empty results. God did not design us to exalt ourselves. He designed us to exalt Him!

This is where the Christian message shines and the true Christian life inspires. The true message of Christianity is one of the complete restoration of mankind to God’s original design, and to God’s true purpose. Jesus came to reestablish that state where mankind could live life “crowned with glory and honor.” This is the kind of life that The Christ came to demonstrate to us, and to make possible for us. The things that Jesus demonstrated daily, through His life and ministry, illustrated and confirmed humanity’s divine purpose.

jesus healing man

The Christ’s redemptive work, through His suffering, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, fully facilitated the restoration of humanity’s purpose for all of humanity to experience. Jesus, the eternal Son of God, came to this earth and exhibited the manifest presence of God. When He came to this earth, He revealed God to us, as He really is. He came to be that living, active “picture” of God – to be “God with us.”

Jesus also came to restore us back to what we were all designed to be. He came to enable all of us to fulfill God’s special purpose for humanity. The redemptive work of The Christ brought about this great enabling. It is an enabling that is available to all who will truly believe. This is the great message of the true Christian faith.

Four – Understand Our Purpose – pg. 118

creation of man

April 29

Crowned with Glory and Honor

Picking up on the thought that mankind was created to be a living display of God’s nature and character, The Psalmist was inspired to reflect upon God’s special creation and purpose for mankind:

What is man

This last phrase is more marvelous than it might first appear. The “heavenly beings” (most believe to be angels) were God’s special creations – creatures designed to be “ministering spirits” (Hebrews 1:14) and to accomplish God’s commands. Scripture records many instances of these powerful “heavenly beings” in action. God inspires the Psalmist to understand that man was made just a little lower than these amazing “heavenly beings.” This is inspiring news on its own, but the Psalmist goes on to say that mankind was “crowned… with glory and honor.”

crowned with gloryGlory and honor are two words almost always associated with God Himself! We see the word “glory” frequently used in Scripture to describe the manifestation of the very Presence of God (see Exodus 16:10; 24:16-17; 40:34-35;1 Kings 8:11; etc.). When the glory of God is manifested (or becomes physically perceptible), the Presence of God is so profuse that little else can be done but stand (and often fall!) in awe and amazement. The glory of God is just that extraordinary. Mankind, according to the inspired Psalmist, was originally crowned with “glory.” As we mentioned earlier, when God “breathed” into Adam (and he became a living being) God was giving us a picture of how He was endowing mankind with that which was within Himself. This endowment was a portion of His Person, His Presence – His Glory.

In a similar vein, mankind was also crowned with “honor.” This word denotes the concept of a special reverence given to those of lofty or important status. It is regularly employed in association with kings and other special dignitaries. In Scripture, once again, we see “honor” most often used in relation to God. He deserves our “honor” because He is the most exalted of all beings. He is worthy of the highest honor, above all kings or dignitaries, because He is the Most High and He is Almighty. Yet, this Most High God graciously bestows “honor” upon humanity. God chose to place “honor” upon humanity like a crown of royalty, or royal favor.

CrownedByOurLord

This “glory and honor” is the special endowment of God’s character and presence. This could only be possible, and graciously given, because God has a divine purpose for humanity. Man was placed upon this earth by special decree and design of God. Mankind was given a unique and magnificent purpose to represent His Creator upon this physical earth. To accomplish this purpose, mankind was “crowned… with glory and honor” to equip us for the task at hand.

Four – Understand Our Purpose – pg. 117

creation of man

April 28

As God’s specially-formed representatives, God originally designed people to continually make Himself “real” to us. He meant to keep His Presence, His character and His nature ever before us all – in a tangible and dynamic way. His plan was to present a real, physical image of Himself to all of His creation. Human beings were designed as the keepers of this “image.”

made in God's image

In its most basic and foundational form, when God says, “Let us make man in Our image,” He is referring to the concept of a “picture.” Quite literally, humankind was designed to be a visible “picture” or physical “snapshot” of the invisible God.

It bears reiterating: People were specially formed, fashioned and energized, by God Himself, to live and to be seen as the physical representation of the unseen God. People’s actions, in harmony with their Creator, were intended to be the physical reflection of the divine character.

Just as creation itself was meant to provide a visible picture of the glory and goodness of God – so also was God’s specially-formed creature. People were made in the “image” of God to display God’s invisible qualities, eternal power, and divine nature as God’s chosen vessels for this particular and important task.

reflect His glory

Four – Understand Our Purpose – pg. 116

creation of man

April 27

Most of us have taken pictures with our cameras – or have been the subject of pictures taken. taking picsWhy do we take pictures? We take them so the pictures can be seen and shared with other people. We take them to capture a moment in time, a special or significant event, or the people who are special to us. Pictures give us the opportunity to reflect back on those moments, events, and people, at some future occasion. We take pictures to allow us to remember, to recall, and to reflect upon the occasions we have experienced and upon the people we know, love, and cherish. Photographs are literally the snapshots of the moments, and people, that make up the tapestry of our lives.

Just the other day, my wife was sorting through our basement “collectibles” and ran across a dresser drawer filled with old photographs – the photographed images of our children as they grew up from infancy. In sorting through those images we found ourselves lost in time as we recalled each special moment, each amusing activity, each occasion of achievement, and each fond memory captured on film.

old-photos.jpg

Pictures, in a very real sense, allow us to relive the special moments of our lives – to recall the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings associated with those events or persons. The images provide us the opportunity to experience those moments, and those people’s lives, afresh and anew. There is a special joy discovered in sitting down and recollecting those moments. They are the patchwork of the timeline of our lives – and allow us to reconnect with occasions, experiences and people from our past.

Especially precious are those images of those persons who are no longer with us. We are able to draw upon our memories of their faces, their personality, their sense of humor, their strange quirks, and their contributions to the world, to their families, or to our own lives. It’s as if, in seeing those images, we bring those people back to life – they become real to us again. Our attachment to them is recalled and reinforced and our connection with them reinstated. This is the power and the importance of “images” to our lives.

It is so important to note that God designed us this way. He gave us eyes to see and a special capacity in our brains to remember, recollect, and reflect. What we see with our eyes deeply affects us, perhaps more than any other sense – either for the good or for the bad. Perhaps this is why Jesus said things like… 

eye lamp.jpg

What we view with our eyes is an essential part of the Creator’s design of human beings. Never is this more important than when we are viewing other people, and their corresponding actions toward others, or ourselves.

Four – Understand Our Purpose – pg. 115

April 26

We have all seen those motivational posters. They are usually comprised of a single word and a short description – but the most important aspect of the poster is the picture. The picture captures the main thought and presents it to us in a way that communicates the objective of the poster so clearly. The picture draws us into the experience and provides a connection point with what is said, and with our own experiences in life. We draw motivation from these posters because they connect with us, and communicate with us, in a way that is immediate, inclusive, and insightful.

Dream Big mot post

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and this is never truer than when you are attempting to communicate something to someone who has never seen what you are trying to describe. If you know what a “cummerbund” is, for example, all I need to do is say the word, “cummerbund” and you immediately know what I am talking about. If you don’t know what a “cummerbund” is, my description of one may not be very helpful. You could possibly conclude that a cummerbund is something entirely different from what I am attempting to describe – maybe something that is not at all like the actual item.

But if I just show you a picture of one, there is an immediate point of connection.

Cummerbund

You know exactly what I am talking about, and you also have real knowledge whenever anyone else mentions the word, “cummerbund.” You may never have seen an actual cummerbund, but you know what one is because you have seen a picture of one. A picture provides an immediate opportunity for explanation, connection, and understanding.

Now, let’s draw this into God’s proclamation about mankind. On the sixth day of creation, God specifically states His desire to make mankind in His “image.” Another word that we might commonly use for “image” is the word “picture.” The creation of mankind afforded God a special opportunity to display His grandeur, glory, and majesty in virtual and expressive imagery.

As all of creation itself was meant to be a physical display of God’s Own nature and attributes; so also was His crowning achievement of creation. Humanity, more than any other created thing, was given the special opportunity to display the wonder and majesty of the invisible God to all of creation. Mankind was specially and specifically created to be the physical “picture” of God – to live life as the living, breathing, active, physical demonstration and representation of the Great Creator.

made in God's image

Four – Understand Our Purpose – pg. 114

creation-of-man.jpg

April 25

We have seen all the personal attention that God gives in the creation of human beings? But why was God so intent on being actively involved in the special creation of mankind?

The answer forms the underlying basis behind the first facet of mankind’s purpose… God took extra personal care in the creation of Adam because he was to be God’s Own physical representative on this earth.

Adam was designed and created to be the visible embodiment of the invisible God on this physical planet. The Lord God took great care to endow Adam with all the necessary qualities to ensure that human beings would be an unequivocal physical reflection of the One true spiritual God. This forms the centerpiece of God’s great plan. Amidst all the majesty, beauty, and wonder of this physical creation, God placed a precise physical emissary of Himself.

Adam

Made in the Image of God

This is the wonder found in how God created, formed, and imparted life to mankind. God succinctly states it this way in Scripture: “Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26)

dominion 1

Many volumes have been expertly written on what it means to be made in God’s image and likeness. For the sake of simplicity, in this chapter, we will take just a brief opportunity to center our thoughts on one basic concept that best leads us to a proper practical focus and understanding…

Four – Understand Our Purpose – pg. 113

April 24

gen 1 26

Concerning God’s creation of mankind, several things are strikingly different from every other aspect of creation. Before Adam was created, God spoke to physical matter, and what He desired to happen, occurred.

This was not the case with the man He created. With Adam, God spoke of what He was about to do. God voices His intention before He accomplishes His work. He speaks of what the man is about to be and do… once He is placed in God’s creation. God has two specific and distinctive purposes in Mind for creating people. Adam has two special and distinguished purposes once God creates him. These two purposes are indelibly intertwined. They are like the two sides of the same coin. God is the One speaking of these purposes – they are His intentions; in accord with His Sovereign choice as the God of all that He creates.

So God creates Adam with these dual purposes, firmly in Mind. But He accomplishes this act of creation differently as well: “The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)

formed in Gods image

Two things immediately jump out and grab our attention.

First, Adam was actually formed by God. The Hebrew word means to shape, to frame, to fashion, and to form by willful design. potters wheelThe potter working with clay on the potter’s wheel is an illustration of this word. The potter shapes and forms the clay in whatever manner he desires, to fulfill a specific purpose that the potter has in mind. The word speaks of a specific will involved – of a special intent brought to reality by the personal attention, handiwork, and skill of the potter.

This particular wording tells us that Adam was not just another, smarter, animal, spoken into being on the sixth day of creation. Adam was the special creation of God – personally formed and fashioned to be just as the Master Creator intended.

The other thing that captures our attention is the fact that God Personally caused Adam to become a living being. The Scripture says that God, “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” It is, specifically, the “breath” of God that imparts life to Adam.

genesis 2 7

The concept we draw from this word picture is that God is taking from what resides within Himself and imparts it (“breathes” it) into Adam. The breath is representative of the very Life of God, now being intentionally imparted into God’s specially formed creature.

The man was specifically fashioned by God, demonstrating God’s excellent craftsmanship and skillful handiwork. But what really captures our imagination is when God consigns His Own life into what He has Personally formed. God does not just bring mankind to life – He imparts His Own life into mankind, energizing (and equipping) mankind for God’s Own purposes, to fulfill God’s specific plan.