Mankind's Sure Identity

Sermon by Al Neumann

There is an old story about God discussing with His angels where He should place the SECRET OF LIFE so it would be most difficult to find.

  1. SUGGESTED: Let us bury it deep in the earth.

  2. SAID: Place it in the deepest part of the sea.

  3. INSISTED: Put it on the highest mountain.

  4. OBJECTED: Mankind will eventually search out these places. There is only one place where mankind will never dream of looking for the SECRET OF LIFE is to put the SECRET within himself. There is some validity to the story.

In finding the SECRET OF LIFE let us go to the Bible.

Genesis 1:26-28: "Then 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.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.'"

One stimulation factor is how close humans resemble God. A glimpse of the image of God in man tie together mankind's sure identity, which is the secret of life.

The Bible does not indicate the exact meaning of the image of God in man. There are 7 conceivable points of that image:

(1) The physical resemblance. (2) Dominion over creation. (3) Unique personality. (4) Intellectual, logical and rational capabilities. (5) What a person does. (6) Relationship with God. (7) Combination of some or all.

Alex Kurion, author of Anthropology: The Doctrine of Humanity, presents this concept; that mankind carries a two-function responsibility: induced by the "IMAGE OF GOD" in us.

(1) REPRESENTATIVE ROLE, God gave man authority to act in His stead. (Genesis 1:26): "Then 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.'"

This is a mandate that takes care of creation. One definition for image and one for representative figure.

(2) RELATIONSHIP ROLE, like God, man experiences, relationship with God and man. We should love God, love one another, love our enemies and love our neighbors. Representative role and Relationship role is part of the "IMAGE OF GOD" in us. In the IMAGE OF GOD every human being is precious, even our enemies. This is one of the hardest things to live up to.

Psalm 34:15-16: "The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry; the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth."

God gave us faces; we create our own expressions. God makes it easier to smile, then to frown, but He gives us the choice.

Matthew 4:4: "Jesus answered, 'It is written: "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."'"

Who do we take after? Every single one of us are: A copy of the original and a prototype of the future genuine symbols of our creator. What Adam did for the physical Christ does for the spiritual.

2 Corinthians 3:18): "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lordís glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."

We are being transformed into the likeness of Christ, by the Spirit. In Romans 8 it makes it more convincing.

Colossians 1:9: "For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding."

Paul was looking for maturity and for wisdom and understanding on a spiritual level.

This is the pinnacle of wisdom and understanding and it starts in Job chapter 28:12. Where's Wisdom? Where's Understanding? (verse 14). Not buried in earth nor found in the sea (1st and 2nd angel, verse 20). Where's Wisdom? Where's Understanding? (verse 23). God understands its way, He knows its place (verse 27). Literally He saw wisdom (verse 27). Literally He saw wisdom (verse 28). Fear of God = wisdom, respect and honor. Depart from evil = understanding. Pride stunts growth.

With humility first wisdom increases allowing the Spirit to remove the hold evil has on our heart and our understanding increases. God knows the secret of life and it is within us. Mankindís sure identity is in Jesus Christ and the image of God who is the source of wisdom and the source of understanding the source of life.

Sermon summary prepared by local Glendora church member Charlie Schreiner.