Who do you think you are? (7 Oct 2018)

Psalm 8

Genesis 1:27; 2:19-20

Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12

Today’s Bible readings raise questions like…

Who do you think you are?

Where do you fit in?

How important are you?

Do you really matter?

One of a few thousand people in Bellingen

25 million in Australia (7/km2)

1,300,000,000 in China (145/km2)

7,400,000,000 in world (50/km2)

We live in a place of great beauty – mountains, trees, sky at night, comfort, safety, plenty, lovely people around us

With no control over the weather – including the drought

Some people stick needles in strawberries and other nasty things

Look at Psalm 8

1 Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory in the heavens.

2Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.

3When I consider your heavens, the work of your hands, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

4what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?

Considering the awesome majesty, power, glory, authority of the creator God, looking at all he has made and done – do you and I matter to him? Where do you and I fit in?

David the psalmist asks this question goes on to give us the answer:

4what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?

5You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour.

6You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet:

7all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild,

8the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.

Back in Genesis 1: 27So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

28God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’

29Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

So here you are: you don’t have the purity and freedom of an angel but you are only just a little less important or authoritative.

These passages tell us that you are made in the image of God.

You have been given responsibility and authority over the created world.

Our job is to care for it as stewards on behalf of its creator.

Obviously that means we are not to abuse or damage it but to take care of it and use it responsibly

After all, it was made for us to enjoy, from which to find food and shelter.

God made it and saw it was good. It’s our job to keep it good.

The writer to the Hebrews pointed this out in Chapter 2 and quotes the Old Testament:

6…‘What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? 7You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honour 8and put everything under their feet.’, In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them.

We are reminded that God has made us in his image and in his care, just a little lower than the angels and with a special role and authority to care for the creation.

But we also know that although God left nothing that is not subject to us yet at present we don’t see that working out completely.

But – we see Jesus.

The difference between Jesus and us is that he did it perfectly.

Hebrews 1: In these last days God has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

Hebrews 2: 9But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.

So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters as part of God’s family; He says,

‘I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;

in the assembly I will sing your praises.

  • What this tells us is that we can learn a lot about God, his awesomeness, power, authority and glory just by looking around at the creation he has made.
  • God made us humans a little lower than the angels but still very special, with special gifts, roles, authority and responsibility.
  • We can learn a lot from what the preachers, prophets and teachers of the past have told us, particularly in the Bible.
  • But we see Jesus, who tells us with complete clarity about God’s love for us.
  • It was by Jesus, through Jesus and for Jesus that creation was made, and it is Jesus who keeps it all running. Through Jesus God made the universe and is sustaining all things by his powerful word
  • Jesus is the one with complete authority. He has been appointed heir of Almighty God, the Creator, the Father. Jesus is the inheritor, the owner of everything; the King of all things
  • Even Jesus was made, for a time, a little lower than the angels. God in human form he lived life as a man; experienced all the problems, pains and joys of being human – knowing just what it’s like to be you.
  • This was done so that he lived as a man, with the purpose that he would be killed on a Cross; crucified and buried – he suffered death.
  • He died so that he could take the power and penalty of sin and death and offer us forgiveness, cleansing, purification and eternal life.
  • God thus brings us – his many sons and daughters – to glory, to our Father God.
  • Jesus now is so much higher than the angels and sits as King of Kings at the right hand of the Father, crowned with glory and honour.
  • He is the one who makes people holy. Those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. Jesus is not ashamed of you – he happily calls you more than a friend: a brother, a sister indeed. Jesus is not ashamed of you – he loves and fully accepts you!
  • Like us Jesus is made in the image of God but unlike us he does it perfectly. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being. Find out what Jesus is like and you find out what God is like. Get to know Jesus and you get to know God.
  • So how does someone get to know what God is like? Have a look at his image – in Jesus, obviously.
  • But you and I are made in the image of God. People should be able to see what God is like, what Jesus is like by looking at you and me. Our goal must be to live so we can say – I am made in the image of God; look at me to see what Jesus is like, what God is like.
  • When I look at my fellow Christians I am sure I at least get glimpses of God in whose image they are made! Have a look around at the images of God around you. Granted, they are not quite angels – just a little lower than angels. They are what the Bible calls “saints”.
  • Jesus thinks very highly of you and me…
  • The Bible says, ‘Jesus will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.’

Zephaniah 3: do not let your hands hang limp.

17The Lord your God is with you,

the Mighty Warrior who saves.

He will take great delight in you;

in his love he will no longer rebuke you,

but will rejoice over you with singing.’

Where do you fit in?

How important are you?

Do you really matter?

To God: YES!

Made, for the time being, only a little lower than the angels yet more precious than angels.

So precious that we see Jesus who came to die to make us holy, of the same family, so that Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters, even acknowledged by him and in the assembly of saints and angels he sings our praises.

Which brings us back to Psalm 8 to respond ourselves with its last verse:

9 Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

 

Bellingen Uniting Church 7 October 2018

 

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