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Thinking in God's Image

David Kim

Description

God created us in His image, and that includes his ability to think. So how should we utilize this gift that he has given us?

Presenter

David Kim

Adventist Business Executive and Co-Founder of the Nicodemus Society

Recorded

  • June 16, 2018
    11:30 AM
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Good morning. Happy Sabbath. It's wonderful to be with you this morning would you pray with me. Lord God our Father. Once more we come before you to ask for your blessing especially upon. The message or do you have laid a message upon my heart Lord you know how I've been preparing and praying over this week Lord and you know how I've been praying for this congregation for each person who would be here because you knew in advance who would be here to receive this message and so Lord I pray that all of all of the prayer and that the Holy Spirit would all come together Lord in this moment at this time so that each and every 1 could receive this message let me not be seen Lord but let this be purely your words we pray this in the powerful name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior Amen. Then God said Let Us make man in Our image according to our likeness let them have dome any and over the fish of the sea over the birds of the air over the cattle over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth so God created man in his own image in the image of God He created him male and female he created them the Bible is clear we are created in the image of God but what exactly does that mean. Of course the 1st thing we think about is physical physical creation and according to many passages in both the Old and the New Testament it is clear that there is a physical resemblance between ourselves and our Creator for example in Exodus Chapter 33 when Moses asks God to show him show Moses God's glory when he says the got Show me your glory God says I cannot show you my face because no man can see my face and live but he says to Moses that I will hide you in the cleft of the rock I will cover you with my hand and I will show you my back and so from that passage we know that God has a face that God has a hand and God has a back Amen. That's not very complicated is it and an echo in that was Exodus but in Revelation Chapter 1 Verse 13 through 16 we see a description of Jesus Christ in Heaven and it says that Jesus has feet and chest and head and hair eyes of voice mouth and face we see very clearly both in the old and the New Testament and there are many other passages we could look at that God has a physical component and that part of being created in God's image is the physical component we see that God is a physical God and that we are His physical creation. But there is more to it than just being like God in the physical sense there is also an emotional sense and when you look through the scripture you can see God expressing the full range of emotions ranging from love joy and gladness to anger sadness regret and everything in between. And so we can also see that God is an emotional God and that we are His emotional creation. A motions are directly connected to the next dimension of being created in God's image building upon our emotional nature we are also relational we are relational just as God is relational. From time immemorial God himself was defined by a relationship that relationship was Father Son and Holy Spirit from the very beginning we see that God the Father created all things through Jesus Christ His Son and that the Holy Spirit was hovering over the waters of the deep and from the creation we see that God created us in His image he did not create us in solitude but he created us as a pair male and female he created them and then the 1st thing he said was to be fruitful and multiply in other words to make another to make a family. And God uses many other relationships throughout the Bible as illustrations of who he is and how he relates he talks about father and child mother and infant groom and bride husband and wife friend teacher and disciple he even talks about himself as a mother hen with his chicks and so we see that God is a relational God and we are His relational creation but there is yet another element another dimension in which we are created in the image of God. Let me quote to you from the book Education Page 17 and it reads every human being every human being created in the image of God is in Daoud with the power akin to that of the Creator Now what is this power this power is individuality the power to think and to do. The men in whom this power is developed are the men who bear responsibilities who are leaders in enterprise and who influence the character. Being created in the image of God not only has physical emotional and relational components but he also gives us a power that is described as being akin or another way to describe that is essentially similar He gives us a power that is essentially similar at its essence to his own power and that is the power of individuality which is further defined as the power to think and to do God did not create robots we are not some highly evolved form of the Schimmel a thoughtless machine who simply executes preprogrammed instructions rather God gave us the incredible gift of having the power the power akin to his own to make decisions to a stablish identity to make choices and to take actions God gave us the power to think and to do amen this is a profound thought this is a thought which we could expand upon for many hours but given the time we have this morning I'd like to focus on 1 component and that component is the power to think. How to think in the image of God Now the word think can be defined in multiple ways but the most pertinent to our discussion this morning is what Webster's Dictionary describes as the exercise of the powers of judgment of conception or inference also known as to reason the power of comprehending inferring or thinking is specially in orderly rational ways does this definition make sense to you this is what we're talking about this morning to think God created us as rational beings and God calls us to exercise this power to think yet somehow somehow we Christians have become labeled and stereotyped as people who do not think we have become labeled and stereotyped as people who turn our brains off and according to some in the world we are willfully ignorant at best and imbecility and stupid at worst Now maybe this is an American stereotype. I know we are from many countries in this room but in any of your countries is there this perception that Christians are people who have turned their brains off who are ignorant or imbecility or stupid Who would you raise your hand if you're from a country where this perception exists so actually it is a very small percentage of this room I mean am I reading this right I would say 5 percent of this congregation comes from a country where Christians are considered this way so from 95 percent of you your from a country that does not have this kind of stereotype about Christians am I correct. If I'm correct please say amen. Well God bless you that must be quite an amazing experience to live in a country where you are not perceived as ignorant imbecilic or stupid or potentially stereotype that way by virtue of your faith and I would dare say to you praise God for the privilege of growing up and living in such a country but I will tell you that in the United States large parts of Europe and other of these sorts of countries there is this stereotype Are you aware of this OK so even if you are not from a country that suffers from this situation you are aware that such a stereotype exists Amen All right so that is what we are talking about this morning and I want to give you an illustrative set of of quotations from 1 person he's a very famous author scientist and by his own definition an anti-theist anti-theist not atheist anti-theist so Loesser for named Richard Dawkins have any of you heard of Richard Dawkins a few of you if you've heard of Richard Dawkins police say Amen amen OK so maybe half to 2 thirds he's a famous author scientist an anti-theist philosopher and here just a sampling of some of his quotations in his bestselling books 1st 1 is he writes I'm against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world it teaches us religion teaches us to be satisfied not understanding the world. In another place he writes faith is the great copout the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence faith is belief in spite of perhaps even because of the lack of evidence and then this last 1 is especially. Tough he says it is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution that person is ignorant stupid or insane or wicked but I'd rather not consider that these are outrageous statements yet as outrageous as they are is it possible that we Christians are aiding and abetting providing fuel for the fire and playing into the hands of these anti-Christian skeptics who want to paint the people of God as ignorant stupid insane or wicked Is it possible that we are actually contributing to these stereotypes how many of us out of our own minds using our own words could coherently and logically present answers to a nonbeliever or to a skeptic to questions like why should I believe in the Bible as a reliable source of data about the world past present and future could we answer that in a coherent logical way to a nonbeliever How about this 1 how can you believe in creation given all of the scientific evidence out there or why was the God of the Old Testament so cruel and genocidal could we answer that question in a coherent logical way to a skeptic or how can you believe in a God who allows so much suffering. Or what is sin why does it matter and what does it have to do with salvation could you in your own words from your own mind from your own lips answer these questions to the satisfaction of a skeptic in a logical coherent way and there are many other questions the problem is that many of us believe things but we cannot coherently and logically explain to someone else why they should believe these things the famous Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias tells of a conversation he had with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem 1 of the highest clerics in Sunni Islam Ravi was talking to the ground Misty about matters of faith and of Christianity versus Islam and when Ravi asked the Grand Mufti what he believes and why he believes it the response was simply I just have to tell you what's in the Koran and that's what I believe in other words the grunt moved he simply asserted the truth of the Koran without providing any rationale or reasoning which a nonbeliever might find compelling or at least thought provoking to lead his or her mind out to investigate I just have to tell you what the Qur'an says and that's what I believe what do you think of the statement is this a compelling statement do you find this a compelling statement who who finds this to be a compelling statement that does anyone find it to be a non compelling statement do you think that this statement is affective in leading others to Islam No I just have to tell you what the Qur'an says and that's what I believe is that a good way to convince someone else of what you believe. Of course not we can all agree that to simply assert the truth of a text to someone who is not a believer is not an affective apologetic when we are trying to win souls to Christ from among those who have no experience with him our unsupported statement in favor of the Bible has no more force or efficacy than the Grand Mufti statement about the Koran brothers and sisters we must equip ourselves to be able to make a case for Christ which is not only understood by the nonbeliever but is also compelling The problem is that many of us believe things but because we believe we never fact check the speaker to see if what is being said is actually true 1 fact which I've often seen presented in the 7th Day Adventist Church is that the Catholic Church has removed the 2nd commandment which prohibits idol worship have any of you ever heard this fact fact well I have too many times while so 1 day I was preparing a Bible study about the identity of the Little Horn power I was preparing a bible study that I would share with 1 of my peers and I would illustrate to this person who the little horn power was the 1 who would intend to change times and law of course I had learned this fact that the little horn power had changed the 10 Commandments in a number of ways 1 of which I had heard was removing the 2nd commandment. Now when I prepare Bible studies I like to go to primary sources whenever I can to see what is actually being said by the this the party by the other party and so in this case I went to the Vatican's website and I went to the Catholic cavity catechism the Catholic catechism online it's a public website anybody can go to it and so I went to the section in the Catholic out of catechism about the 10 Commandments and this is what I read the text of the Catholic catechism read I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt out of the house of bondage sounds good so far doesn't it you shall have no other gods before Me Sounds good doesn't it here was the next line you shall not make for yourself a graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is in the earth beneath or that is in the water under the earth you shall not bow down to them nor serve them hoof surprised to hear that coming out of the Catholic catechism is anyone surprised to hear that it's online just google search Catholic catechism online you will go directly to the Vatican website you can click to the section where they talk about the 10 Commandments and this is exactly what you will see and so I thought that was strange as well because I had heard that the Catholic Church had eliminated that text so then I went to the do a rhymes version of the Bible so they will know what the do it rhymes version of the Bible it is a 1 to do a Rhymes is the standard English translation of the Catholic Church so I went to the do a rhymes and I went to Exodus Chapter 20 in the DO A runs Bible and it was exactly the same the language was all there. Now let's be clear what the Catholic Church has done is that they combined what they what we call the 1st and 2nd commandment they call it the 1st commandment and then they take what we call the 10th commandment about coveting your neighbor's house and then coveting your neighbor's wife and they split that into 2 That way they still have 10 In other words what we have is that we have a difference in numbering but the language is all still there now they have gone to great pains to reinterpret that language and to justify their practice of adoring icons or graven images and my sermon this morning is not about Catholic theology and it's not I'm not here to defend that theology either I believe that they are the little horn power but imagine yourself giving a Bible study to a Catholic 1 who's not a nominal Catholic but 1 who actually studies Catholicism 1 who actually has read the Catechism 1 who actually reads the Bible imagine giving a Bible study to such a person and you present this fact to them about how the Catholic Church has eliminated the the commandment about worship engraving graven images and what if this this person says to you don't hold on hold on let's turn to the Catholic catechism and they show you or hold on let's turn to the do a run of Bibles a standard english translation for the Catholic Church and they show you what would your how would you feel in that moment disappointed yes in fact if you if you had not done this research if you had in fact checked you would be caught completely off guard you would feel disappointed but I know speaking for myself I would feel foolish and I would have my face shaken. Furthermore in the mind of this Catholic seeker who you are studying with you have now undermine the credibility of everything else you are about to present. And they will feel that they need to fact check you. This would be a gross unforced error which is tragically completely on necessary because the case against the little horn power is so strong even without this so called fact brothers and sisters let us follow the example of the Bereans who receive the Word with already miss and search the Scriptures daily to find whether these things were so Amen The problem is that many of us believe things but we are afraid to talk about them with others because we're afraid of being challenged or ridiculed. It is the apostle Peter who wrote but sanctify the Lord your God in your hearts and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you with meekness and fear how often should we be ready to give a defense. Always always be ready to give a defense quoting from the review and herald December 8th 1905. The servants of Christ must meet the highest standard they are educators and they should be thoroughly versed in the scriptures then from their own experience they will feel the necessity of devoting less time to sermonizing and more time to educating those for whom they labor. They will study how to make these personal efforts interesting and to oppress upon impress upon all the necessity of searching the scriptures for themselves. Brothers and sisters we have the distinct upper hand in any of these kinds of discussions because what we believe is true. Amen. Brothers and sisters let me say it again you don't have to be afraid because what we believe is true but we must convince ourselves and equip ourselves to convince others. The problem is that many of us believe things but we will uncritically read and share any article on Facebook or social media which purports to report the facts that support the things we believe I know no 1 else does this here but has anyone ever seen an article passed along by somebody that they think is a true article but it's totally false they were never had that experience would you raise your hand. 50 percent of us have had that experience maybe the other 50 percent are not on social media God bless you. There is a lot of fake news out there and if you are sharing suppose it facts that are being passed along by undocumented sources unknown websites and anonymous blogs you are not just undermining your own credibility you are also playing into the hands of Richard Dawkins and other anti-theist who declare that God is imaginary and that faith is fit only for the mentally impaired I plead with you this morning check your sources. And here is the standard I would recommend if the source is not a source that a nonbeliever would find credible don't share it expecting that they're going to have their eyes opened it's 1 thing if you want to share something uncritically because it makes you feel good but remember brothers and sisters if you are followed or connected to people on social media who are not believers you may actually do harm to the credibility of the Gospel in their eyes. The problem is that many of us believe things but we will make sure that everyone else knows that we believe these things like a bull in a china shop using the bible like a blunt force object rather than using it like a 2 edged sword which is powerful and sharp piercing even to the division of soul and spirit and of joint and marrow discerning the thoughts and intense of the heart brothers and sisters let us learn from the example of Paul the Apostle and as it is recorded in the book the acts of the apostles speaking of Paul in Athens and the way that he reasoned with the learned philosophers there on Mars Hill it is written Paul's words contain a treasure of knowledge for the truth he was in a position where he might have easily said that which would have irritated his proud listeners and brought himself into difficulty had his oration been a direct attack upon their gods and the great men of the city he would have been in danger of meeting the fate of Socrates who is killed but with a tact born of Divine Love he carefully drew their minds away from heathen deities by revealing to them the true God who to them was unknown. In fact you can see from the Scriptures that the dominant method that Paul the greatest evangelist that Paul used was reasoning let me go through a set of verses very quickly Acts Chapter 17 verse 2 it says then Paul as this custom was went into them and for 3 Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures Acts Chapter 17 verse 17 it is written therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers and in the market place daily with those who happened to be there in Acts Chapter 18 verse 4 it says and he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath and persuaded both Jews and Greeks in Acts Chapter 18 verse 19 it is written and he came to F.S.S. and left them there but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews and Acts Chapter 19 verse 8 through 10 it is written and he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for 3 months reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the Kingdom of God But when some were hardened and did not believe but spoke evil of the way before the multitude he departed from them and withdrew the disciples reason reasoning daily in the school of Tarana and this continued for 2 years so that all who dwell in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus both Jews and Greeks. Acts Chapter 24 verse 2425 and after some days when Felix came with his wife Drusilla who was Jewish he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the face in Christ now he reasoned about righteousness self-control and the judgment to come Felix was afraid and answered go away for now when I have a convenient time I will call for you and in Acts Chapter 26 verse 25 it is written but he said I am not mad noble Festus but speak the words of truth and reason brothers and sisters the Lord God our Creator has done us the highest honor of creating us in His image in His image we are made physically emotionally relationally and as we've explored today intellectually with the power to think we need this power for 2 reasons 1st for our own sakes and for our own salvation so that we can solidify in our minds the truth of God and salvation and so that we can stand when we are tested that's the 1st reason and the 2nd reason is for the sake of the great commission so that we can coherently compellingly and powerfully reason and persuade others to believe in God and to rest upon Jesus for salvation and in abundant life both here on Earth and in future eternity yet we as his people have unfortunately fallen short in living up to the gift and responsibility we have to cooperate with God in restoring his image in our lives. We have fallen short in developing our power to think in God's image and we have fallen prey to shortcomings like not being able to coherently explain Bible truths to nonbelievers we have fallen prey to shortcomings like not fact checking what we hear but simply accepting and repeating we have fallen prey to shortcomings like being afraid and timid when engaging others on spiritual topics Stude of fear of being challenge and ridiculed and not equipping ourselves to represent the truth we have fallen prey to shortcomings like uncritically sharing false information and fake news without thinking about the impact it can have on others and we have fallen prey to shortcomings like using the Bible as a blunt force instrument to beat up nonbelievers rather than exercising the tact reasoning and persuasion exemplified by the Apostle Paul if you identify with any of the shortcomings if the Holy Spirit is impressing upon you that you are not thinking in the image of God that you are not utilizing his power of thought to the extent you up then I would exhort you to the following 1 confess to the Lord your God your shortcoming and make it a matter of daily prayer and devotion to resolve that by the Holy Spirit you will study the Bible and make it your own and 3 this afternoon at 3 pm I will be presenting a seminar on how to talk with nonbelievers about these tricky questions and so if you are available I would invite you to join us to hear some of these methods that are effective with nonbelievers and so with that. I pray that someone here that someone here that your heart has been touched that you need to truly sink in the image of God that you need to not only look like God and and have emotions like God and relationships like God but you need to think like God 1 for your own salvation and 2 for the salvation of others. Let us pray. Lord God our Father this this message has been a difficult message a tough message and 1 for each and every 1 of us myself included Lord I pray that someone here would have had his or her heart compelled and convicted by the Holy Spirit Lord we've all fallen short in 1 way or another but it is never too late and by your grace we can all sink in your image. We pray this in the powerful name of Jesus Amen. This media was brought to you by audio crews a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio or if you would like to listen more sermons Please Visit W W W dot audio for dot org.

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