More Than Dust

Genesis 1:1-2 - In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
  • Let there be light…
  • Let there be a space between the waters…
  • Let the waters beneath the sky flow together…
  • Let the land sprout with vegetation…
  • Let lights appear in the sky…
  • Let the waters swarm…
  • Let the earth produce every sort of animal…
Genesis 1:26-27 - Then God said, “Let us make…

We would expect God again to speak a word, but instead, God bends down.

“Let us make… (‘asah: to do, to fashion, to produce, to bring about, to press/squeeze) human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
  • This is why we believe protecting life, at every stage and every facet is worth protecting!
  • Many of the problems in our families and communities can be traced back to a faulty understanding of what it means to be created in the image of God. 
  • The image of God in man condemns any type of bias toward, discrimination against, or exploitation of anyone on the basis of skin color (racism), gender (sexism), economic status (classism), ethnic origin (ethnocentrism), or age (ageism) as sin.
James 3:9-10 - Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!
Genesis 2:7 - Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.
Psalm 139:13-18 - You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. 17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

**If this is not a call to protect life I don’t know what is! 

What does it mean to be created in the “Imago Dei (“em aa go day”), image of God?

  1. We are spiritual beings.
  2. We are personal beings.
  3. We are moral beings. 
  4. We are relational beings. 
  5. We are rational beings. 
  6. We are emotional beings. 
  7. We are creative beings. 

More Than Dust

As you read through Scripture, a common picture used to illustrate God’s creative power when making mankind is that of a potter and clay. Listen to what God told the prophet Jeremiah...

Jeremiah 18:1-6 - The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2 “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” 3 So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. 4 But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. 5 Then the Lord gave me this message: 6 “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.

Take you back to art class. There are two forces at work:

(1) The vision of the potter
(2) The readiness of the clay

The potter has a vision for the clay. By the time the potter touches the clay, he is already creating on the outside what is complete on the inside. God has a plan for your life!

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

 
In this story: 

  • God is the POTTER
  • We are the CLAY  
  • Life is the POTTER'S WHEEL
v4 - But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped…

What in our lives would tarnish the work God is trying to do?
>> Clay is blinded to its own impurities and imperfections.

Psalm 19:12 - How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.

Sin will spoil you, tarnish you, scar you, limit you. Sin will delay the work God wants to accomplish in your life. But God is too loving and too kind to stick us in the fire if we’re not ready. 

It’s the lovingkindness of the potter that says “Let’s start again.” It’s the mercy and love of the potter that says, “You thought you were at the end… actually we’re going to start all over again.”

The Process of Being Formed into the Image of God

1. First thing the Potter does is purify the clay 

Denying purification is to deny your destiny and purpose

John 13:6-8 - When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” 8 “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”

2. Ensure the right condition of the clay 

Jeremiah 18:12 - But the people replied, "Don't waste your breath. We will continue to live as we want to, stubbornly following our own evil desires."

When we hardened our hearts, we make it impossible for God to mold and shape us into the image of His Son.

3. The clay needs to stay on the wheel 

We love being on the wheel and in the hands of God while things are going right.
But what about when life doesn’t seem to be headed in that direction?

You’ve got to stay on the wheel.

Whether you are loved or you’ve just been hurt in love--stay on the wheel.
Whether you have a job or no job--stay on the wheel.

v4 - But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.

In our world, when something doesn’t go our way we are so quick to discard. To throw it off to the side and forget about it. We don’t want to fix what is broken, just give us something new to work with. 

God is not like that. He’s the God of the “so,” a word filled with compassion and grace. It is filled with a character of a God that is slow to anger and rich in love.