Faded Glory : Imago Dei
November 24, 2019, 11:30am
Welcome everyone! Good morning! Are you guys ready for Thanksgiving? You sometimes have to leave your loved ones to go see your family, don’t you? I’m just kidding. I’m just joking around. I’ll never forget the first time Lisa and I went to Las Vegas. We were in a taxicab, cruising down the strip, and we looked at all of the signage. We couldn’t believe the signage. No one does signage like they do in Las Vegas. They were advertising casinos, they’re advertising different musicians, and movie stars, and shows, and sex, and buffets, and we’re just like… whoa! Unbelievable! The signage in Las Vegas is absolutely stunning. I thought to myself, you know, Las Vegas doesn’t have a lot to say but they really know how to say it. Those of us who call ourselves Christians, we have everything to say but so often we don’t know how to say it.
The Bible tells us that we’re here to glorify God, to glorify God. That phrase is sort of muddy. It’s difficult to wrap our brains around and there’s no way we’ll ever understand the glory of God, until we get to glory from this side to the other side. We are pretty much one and done here on Planet Earth. We live, we either choose to glorify God or not. We either turn our mirrors toward him or not. Then, when we die, we pass from this life to glory. And the Bible says we have new and glorified bodies because these bodies would disintegrate in the brilliant blaze of God’s glory. So, it’s going to take us an eternity to even comprehend the glory of God. Now, when I say to glorify God, I’m not talking about to borify him. It should be exciting, exhilarating. I’ve got to ask you, though, are you an advertisement of the glory of God or would you say you’re into false advertising? Because all of those signs that we took in from Las Vegas, they were elevating messages and they were exalting messages, and obviously they believed in these messages.
All of us glorify something. Did you know that? We have a glorifier inside of our lives. We are going to glorify something. It could be the arts. It could be athletics. It could be education. It could be money. It could be fame. It could be who knows. We all have a glorifier in us, this something that wants to elevate and exalt something or someone. When we understand God, that God’s about glory and we’re made to glorify him, then we’ll understand ourselves. Let me say that again. We will never understand ourselves until we understand the glory of God. It’s just not gonna happen. That’s why so many people are trying to find the meaning of life. The meaning of life is to glorify God. What does it mean to glorify God? It means to reflect his activities and attributes in everything we do, say, touch, and feel. Because God glorifies God in everything he does, says, touches, and feels. There’s no way you’ll comprehend it, nor will I, but I had to throw that out because that’s what the Bible says. We have to understand the fact that we’re not gonna understand God. He’s outside the Universe, yet inside of our life. We have to understand that God sustains us and maintains us. He’s massive, yet he’s miniscule. He’s dynamic and also detailed. He knows when a bird falls to the ground, and he holds the galaxies in his hands. We can’t understand him, measure him, quantify him, or qualify him. We can’t really compare him with anything or anyone anywhere, because he’s God and he is glory. It’s the Is-ness of God. He doesn’t need anything outside of himself to make himself better or more glorious. He doesn’t need clicks or views or likes. He doesn’t need t-shirts or songs, or he doesn’t need churches or hospitals named after him. We can’t tweak him, we can’t oblige him, we can’t obligate him. He is God. He’s sovereign and specific, powerful and prolific, massive and microscopic. God, our great God.
Isaiah 43:7 says, “Everyone who is called by my name I have created for (let’s say it) my glory.” My glory. So, we’re here to glorify God. The Bible says in Genesis 1:26, it says the following: “Then God said, ‘Let us (us, the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit), let us make man in our image.” That’s the imago dei, the imago dei. We are made in the image of God. I say imago, you say dei. Imago (dei), imago (dei). That’s being made in the likeness of God. We’re not animals. We’re not spawning salmon, we’re not dogs in heat. We are made in the likeness of God. As you read the Hebrew in Genesis 1 it’s almost like a hip-hop song, like Kanye <beat box sound effect> and all of a sudden, wha-wha-wha! It goes off! God goes off and then he creates man. We’re unique. We’re different. We’re not educated apes. We’re not. We’re human beings, made in the image of God.
Now, some of the attributes of God are communicable, others are noncommunicable. For example, I’m going to talk about some non-communicable attributes of God in a little while, but the attributes that are communicable would be love, grace, forgiveness, creativity. Whenever you see someone and you go, wow! Look at the commitment of that person! You’re seeing the glory of God. Look at how that person helped someone less fortunate. You’re looking at the glory of God. You’re driving down the strip in Las Vegas in a taxi and you see the creative signs and the architecture. Well, that’s a sliver of the glory of God. Your ability to relate and your desire to relate to someone, that’s the glory of God. Wanting to get together with your family, that’s the glory of God. We have to come a point in our lives, though, where we make a choice. And it’s the free will of man and the sovereignty of God, and those are two rivers that only meet in the mind of God. You have a choice, my friend, so do I. I either turn the mirror off myself and put it towards God, or not. And if I don’t do that then I’m never going to discover the meaning of life. If I do do that, then I’m going to discover the meaning of life. I’m justified, I’m saved, by grace through faith. Then the sanctification process happens as I grow and as I reflect and as I elevate and exalt the glory of God.
So again, when you’re around your spouse are you advertising God? When you’re in the boardroom are you advertising God. When you’re performing surgeries are you advertising God? When you’re with that client are you advertising God? How about in the locker room with the teammates, are you advertising God? What does your life say about God? When God looks at you and looks at me, he wants to see reflected back his glory. That’s why 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whatever you do (that means whatever you do), do it all for the glory of God.” Everything I do. So, as a believer I don’t come to Fellowship Church just to glorify God for an hour and 5 minutes (or sometimes under an hour if I speak under 30 minutes), I should come glorifying God. I’m commanded every week, because God knew we would need a weekly reminder, to gather together with others and glorify God. I glorify God by hearing his word. I glorify God by singing worship songs to him. I glorify God by applying what he tells me. I glorify God. I don’t show up to church to rate the church, to go thumbs-up, thumbs-down. Because we have to realize God is the environment. Like water is the environment for fish, God is the environment, his glory. And the Bible is an unfolding story of the glory of God. Pretty cool stuff, isn’t it?
I’m made, and you’re made, in the image of God. Imago dei. Now, due to the fact that man sinned, and the Bible says in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” So, man had this mirror, as we’ve been talking about, that reflected the glory of God pristinely and perfectly. Because man had a freedom of choice, man chose to turn the mirror toward himself. Sin entered the human equation. Man fell short of the glory of God, and from that day forward we’ve been trying to recover our image, which is really his image. We have a glimmer of it but that eureka moment happens, the seismic shift takes place, when we make that turning. We turn from our sins, turn toward the Lord, and we say, God, I am going to receive what you did for me. Jesus Christ, who the Bible says was the full manifestation of the glory of God, lived perfectly, died sacrificially, rose bodily, giving us an opportunity to open the lid of our lives up and invite him in. And once he comes in, the image is restored and then we start this sanctification process as we reflect and exalt and elevate the glory of God.
So, what do you say? I mean, I have everything to say. Am I saying it right? Am I? Let me give you some handles, some simple but not shallow ways to glorify God where you are today. Notice that glorifying God is a response, it’s a response. When I glorify God, I should Respond To His Identity, to God’s identity. We’ve been talking about the Is-ness of God. God is. He is. And it’s interesting, as he unfolds the story of his glory, how he substitutes his name for his nature, because his nature is his name and his nature is his name. God says from cover to cover, I want you to be just riveted by the fact that I exist. It’s the Is-ness of God.
There’s also the otherness of God. I asked this question a while back and it messed some people up. I said, what is the #1 attribute of God? And a lot of people said, oh, love. And even some seminary students said that. That’s incorrect. The #1 attribute of God is not love. The #1 attribute of God is holiness. That’s the nucleus of God. From holiness you flow grace, you have love, you have forgiveness. But it’s not, oh, God is just a God of love. No, no, no. He’s holy. So holy we can’t even comprehend it. Also, when it talks about the identity of God and who God is, we need to look at the omnis, the omnis, the omnis. God is omnipresent. God is omniscient. And he is omnipotent.
That reminds me of what happened a while back. I walked outside, standing in my driveway, it was at night. I noticed the spotlight kind of shining down on the cement. And I saw in the shadow what looked like an alien. And as I looked closer it was a magnificent beetle. I think it’s called maybe an emperor beetle. He was just walking across the driveway. So, I thought, I’m gonna go face-to-face with this beetle. I don’t know why I did it, but I did. I got down on his level and I just looked at the beetle. Have you ever stared in the 400 eyes of a beetle? I don’t know how many eyes they have, I just made that up. But this beetle was massive. You could see the biceps and triceps and I think he had a shirt on that read “I CrossFit” or something. So, he was, this is my beetle face, just cruising along, confidently, slowly, right toward me. And I thought to myself as I was looking at him, this thing is not gonna alter his course. He’s not gonna go to the right or to the left, he’s gonna come straight toward me. Then I found a stick, took the stick, and the beetle crawled on the stick and I took the beetle to the grass and I let him move out on his merry way to beetledom. That’s my beetle story. That’s pretty much it, but you know, sometimes we’re like beetles, aren’t we? When it comes to the things of God we don’t realize, like that beetle did, who we’re messing with. I mean, if I wanted to, I could have smashed and squashed the beetle. I wouldn’t do that because I love the wild kingdom, but I could’ve because I’m stronger. I’m powerful. Also, that beetle had no idea that I’m about 10x smarter than him, or her. Who knows the gender? Then, he didn’t know that I owned the driveway and legally speaking, I guess I owned the stick I used to take the beetle from the cement to the grass.
We see God that way. We don’t know who we’re messing with. We don’t realize the power of God. We don’t realize the knowledge of God. We don’t realize the presence of God. We don’t! We think God is on earth for us! I’ve got news for you. God is not here for me. God is not here for you. Jesus is not your homeboy. Jesus was and is the full manifestation of the glory of God. So, I’m here for God. God’s not here for me. Yet, God is omnipotent. If we knew his power, we wouldn’t believe it. One of the reasons we’re so enthralled with power lunches or powerful people, or going on cool trips, or bow-hunting in Africa, you know, the wildebeest. We just want to be in touch with that power. Could that be a desire to have a greater power, which is the power of God? The Bible says when we become believers that the power of God, the Holy Spirit, comes into our lives. And the Bible calls this power dunamis. We get the word dynamite from it, but I want you to know you should glorify God, so should I, just be he’s powerful. We have no idea how powerful he is.
Not only is he omnipotent, he’s omniscient. He knows everything. Everything! For God, time is now. I’ve been saying that when we glorify God, we reflect his glory in everything we do, say, touch, and feel. But God knows what we are going to do before we do it, what we’re going to say before we say it, what we’re going to touch before we touch it, and what we’re gonna feel before we feel it. And within that, and this doesn’t make sense, it’ll make your head swirl, we have a freedom of choice. So, God is omniscient. There’s no such thing as any conversation on the downlow. There’s no such thing as deleting something, or scrubbing something, or oh, God didn’t know that! He knows it all, yet, he still loves you and me. I love that, that God loves you and me. He knows our thoughts.
God also is omnipresent. We serve and all-everywhere God. If I could grab some of God, I would grab his essence, everything about him: his Is-ness, his otherness, his omnipotence, his omniscience, his omnipresence. The same is true if I grabbed air. I would grab all the essence of air. Sometimes, though, I think I’m sort of hiding from God. And if you are that way, maybe you’re like my granddaughter, Sterling.
<VIDEO PLAYS: “Where’s Sterling?”>
That’s what I look like when I think I’ve done something away from God, and that’s what you look like, too. Oh, no one sees that! No one really knows where I’m going. No one knows I thought that! Well, that’s how we look in the brilliant blaze of God’s glory. Yet, let me say it again, he still loves us. So, I need to glorify God because of his identity, his identity.
We show our ID everywhere these days. Just try to jump on an airplane. ID, ID, ID. They’re gonna see if it’s authentic. They’re gonna see if it matches. I’m afraid that many of us don’t have a real identification of who God is, because if we really knew who God was and is, it would change the way we do life. Wow. So, I’m responding to the identity of God.
Well, there’s something else. I also, as I glorify God, another practical way, I can Respond To His Activity, his activity. If you just consider what God has done in the past, the Bible talks about that. We think about God’s love, his grace, his sovereignty, his glory, what he’s doing right now in the present. The Bible talks about that. Think about your life, what he’s done in the past. Think about what he’s doing now, in the present. Think about what he’s going to do in the future.
I think about Fellowship. It’s an amazing place. Over the last, in fact we will celebrate our 30-year anniversary, I think it’s gonna be in early February. Thirty years of God’s blessings and grace. And some of you were here back in the day with just 30 families in a little office complex in a city called Irving. I’ve always wondered, maybe God told me Irvine and I heard Irving. Anyway, no. Irving. And how God began to just move, and how faithful he has been as tens of thousands of lives, maybe more, have been altered for forever due to the glory of God, due to the size of our church, the scope of our church, our digital ministry, being on television, radio, our ministry to pastors around the world, our assistance to the poor. I just did a recording between services where we’ve served over 14 million meals to those in Haiti and Nicaragua and Guatemala. Think about what God is doing, what he’s doing right now is we’re building this amazing campus in Frisco, right off the tollway. And even how we were able to get that building is a complete and total God thing. To God be the glory. I think about what we are doing right now as we’re updating so many of our campuses at this very moment. It’s amazing! The past, the present, and the future, so we should, when we see that, and we see the signs that say “Pardon our Progress” we could go, wow. God, I just want to glorify You. I just want to glorify You that I’m here. That’s a whole ‘nother sermon. But there’s one more and then we’ll watch the Cowboys beat the Patriots, OK?
Oh, we can take out old man Tom. Old man Tom Brady. Nah, he’s a great old man. I shouldn’t. I’m not gonna throw any shade on Tom Brady.
Well, we need to Respond also when it comes to the glory of God to His Creativity, to his creativity. I have written and talked about this subject for many, many years. God is creative, and all of us are creative because we’ve been made in the image of our creative Creator. So, whenever we say we’re not creative, we’re making a mockery of God’s creative genius. What I want you to think about, though, is just coming in contact with the glory of God. All you gotta do is just walk outside and you’ll see the splendor of God. Now, kids, I know some of you have not been outside in 2-3 years. Walk outside and just look around! You won’t believe what you’ll see!
Let me throw some verses your way. John 1:3, “Through him all things were made. Without him nothing was made that has been made.” Job 12:7, 10, “Ask the animals and they’ll teach you, or the birds of the sky and they will tell you, or speak to the earth and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature, the breath of all mankind.” Psalm 96, “Let the Heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad, let the sea resound and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant and everything in them. Let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.” “The Heavens declare the glory of God,” Psalm 19 says, “and the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Drop the mic.
Walk outside and look up. Look at the sky. I should glorify God because one day Jesus is going to come again from the sky to right here. Think about the clouds. We always have clouds coming and going and the Bible says in the book of Hebrews that we have a cloud, a crowd, of witnesses cheering us on as we run the race. And I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday, and I was telling her because she recently has lost her husband, that I really believe, and I don’t know how, that the dead in Christ, who are now alive and glorifying God, can actually see maybe all or some of the stuff we’re doing.
How about water? Hopefully you took a shower this morning, or a bath or whatever. Jesus said, “I am the living water.” Go outside and look at trees. I love trees. Trees, trees, trees, it’s growth! We should be “like a tree,” the Bible says, “planted before streams of living water.” Have you been planted? Have you received Christ? I love fruit, organic fruit, that is. The Holy Spirit of God comes inside of our lives and what happens? He works from the inside, out, to produce fruit. Not plastic fruit, not fruit for our consumption, but the fruit of the Spirit. Love and joy, and you know. How about flowers. You like flowers? I know some people love flowers. I do. I need to give Lisa flowers more than I do. The Bible says, “The grass withers and the flower fades but the word of God stands forever.” So, everything I see should cause me to glorify God. How about dirt? That’s where we come from, dirt. God, thank you for dirt. We have rocks. We look at rocks. Jesus said build your foundation on the Rock. Sand, you realize that Scripture says that the thoughts that God has about you and me are as numerous as the sands on the seashore. Again, see, we can’t even comprehend all of this, but I wanted to just throw it out.
And then, we walk. You know, everybody walks. I have a unique walk, as I said, I have kind of a pimp limp. You know, somebody, I love the coaches walk. All coaches kind of walk like this because they’ve been beat up because they were former football players. The coaches come up there. I love coaches, now, they have so much paraphernalia on. It’s like they’re carrying 4-5 computers and headsets, and everybody walks differently. Some people walk on their toes, and some pastors have that holy hunch. You know? Whenever you see someone walk, think about walking with Jesus. Because that’s the Christian life. But we can’t walk until we take the first step, and the first step is becoming a Christian. So, we have an opportunity to walk, to do life with Jesus.
How about talking? How about texting? We do that. Some of us just text, we don’t talk any more, but we’re communicating. The Lord Jesus wants to communicate with you and me. Fog. This summer Lisa and I saw a lot of fog. And the fog, all of a sudden, would dissipate. The writer of James said life is like fog, it’s like a mist. Here one moment, gone the next. Again, we’re just one and done, here to glorify God. Any scars on you? I have a cool scar from here to there when I had my mitral valve surgery. The scar should remind me that Jesus died on the cross for my sins. One time he went face-to-face with doubting Thomas. He said, “Thomas, just look at the scar. Touch the scar!”
Have you ever cried? Have you ever shed tears over who knows or whatever, when how? I don’t know. We all have. The psalmist said that God literally, literally, he used this terminology, he has a bottle for your tears and mine. God is not mad at you, he’s madly in love with you. You know I love this new album that Kanye just released. I really do. “Jesus is King.” We need to get Kanye to Fellowship, don’t we? Well, if you know him, give him a call. Now I know some friends that know him pretty well, but I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to be that guy, like, “Hey, would you mind talking to Kanye about coming to Fellowship?” Well, I might, though. I might. I’ve changed my mind. But I’ve been asked a lot, “Ed, do you think this C-change in Kanye’s life is real?” I really believe it is. I really do. I was contacted a couple of days ago about going on, I think CNN and Fox, and actually talking about Kanye. Who knows if it will happen, but I really believe it’s a genuine thing.
But I love his album. “Jesus is King.” He is King. He is, he is, he is. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” He said, “I am the water of life.” And he said, “I’m the resurrection and the life.” He said, “I’m the way, the truth, and the life.” He said, “I am the door.” He said, “I am the true vine.” So, it’s the Is-ness of God. So, glorify God. I mean, put your sign up for God. No false advertising, no smoke and mirrors. You can take a page out of the Las Vegas playbook but make sure that you have the authentic God-glorifying sign of his actions, activities, and attributes in everything you do, say, touch, and feel. Because then you’ll have no faded glory. Would you pray?
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]