Imago Dei, Part Five - The Image of Love (Firm Foundation Podcast - Audio and Video)


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1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God uses many activities to prepare people to receive the Gospel of Christ. For example, we cannot preach the Gospel to hungry people until we feed people. We cannot preach the Gospel to persons who have experienced injustice without dealing with the forces of injustice. Whatever injures Imago Dei (Image of God) in people hinders the heart and mind from receiving the word of God.

What was impossible, the love of God made possible.

John 3:16, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

We carry that same love. Love awakens the Imago Dei by connecting us with the nature of God, which is love.

“As we begin to treat each other with more love and empathy, it will not only change the world around us; it will also change us. As I have taken steps to promote racial justice, I have developed more endurance, discovered untapped wells of creativity, and experienced more joy than I ever expected. The journey of racial justice is itself transformative." (Jemar Tisby, How to Fight Racism, p. 7).

This love helps us not to stumble, or help others not to stumble.

1 John 2:10, He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.

Definition of stumble:
σκάνδαλον

Transliteration, skandalon - The Greek word for “stumble” means, “a trap, snare, a stumbling block, any impediment placed in the way and causing one to stumble or fall. Sounds like “scandal.”

Think of the all the traps and snares that come when we don’t receive God’s love, or share His love with others.

Realizing Imago Dei within ourselves and helping others realize it, is a function of the love of God.  First, it is that God loved us, followed by the truth that because He loved us that we can love one another.

Many believers have misunderstood that social work and social justice is also the work of God and a manifestation of love.

Anything that restores Imago Dei in people is a work of God.

Reflection Questions:
1. Why is love related to the Image of God?
2. Why do good deeds represent the love of God?
3. How to walking in love help yourself and others not to stumble?


Jesus' Offer to Religious Establishments: Broken or Ground to Power?



Luke 20:17, Then He looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone’? 18 Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” 19 And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people—for they knew He had spoken this parable against them.

Jesus had no respect for the religious establishment of his day. He did not respect people who used their authority, not to serve others, but to exercise control over others. Regardless of their original good intentions, the Pharisees had become a little more than a religious aristocracy.

Jesus came to liberate and redeem the Jewish people, which put Him in direct conflict with those who wanted to keep people under the bondage of their perverted form of Judaism. God's purpose for the old covenant was always to serve as a "schoolmaster" to lead people to Christ. (Galatians 3:24) The religious establishment had perpetrated a fraud of spiritual leadership and oversight. Jesus knew this. He intentionally spoke and worked to contradict and correct it.

It is interesting that every generation, including ours, has to deal with religious establishments and oligarchies. One feature of all of them is the rejection of Jesus as the "Chief Cornerstone," not in word, but in practice. These religious establishments speak more about themselves than about the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Scriptures (including New Testament letters) are not regarded as any more authoritative than the thoughts and words of the persons who form the religious establishment.

Jesus offered a startling solution citing the words of David, "The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone." (Psalm 118:22)

He said to them, and they knew it. ("F
or they knew He had spoken this parable against them."):
1) "Fall on the Stone and be broken." This is an invitation to repentance.
2) The Stone will fall on you and "Grind him to powder." This is the promise of judgment.

Jesus the Christ is the Stone that breaks or grinds. Being broken is the advantageous solution. Being ground to powder is the judgment.

... So we choose to fall on the Stone.


Imago Dei (The Image of God) - Part Three: Why Am I? | Firm Foundation (Video and Audio)





Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.

God’s image - Character
God’s likeness - Outward witness
Dominion - Responsibility, tasks, duty, service
Fruitful - Utilizing abilities and gifts
Multiply - Reproduce yourself, empower others
Subdue - Create and maintain order

What is the imago Dei?
Imago Dei is the Latin term for “image of God.”
Knowing who you are is foundational to both a healthy self-image and a strong sense of purpose.

God’s Purpose for People
Micah 6:8, He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly,To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

Isaiah 43:21,This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise.

1 Peter 2:9, But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light

1 Corinthians 15:9, For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Imago Dei of God Calls to Imago Dei in You
Psalm 42:7, Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me. 8 The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song shall be with me—A prayer to the God of my life.

Reaching Our Community
Romans 9:1, I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, 2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh…

Factors Working Against Imago Dei
1. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
2, Mindsets not introduced by family and Kingdom of God
3. Anti-Christ forces
4. Self-loathing, Self-hatred
5. Confused and negative people
6. Failure to worship God

Reflections
1. Why was I born?
2. What place does Imago Dei have in my day-to-day life?
3. What is my role in the lives of others?

Imago Dei (The Image of God) - Part Two: Restoring Human Identity and Purpose

 


Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Psalm 19:7 NAS, The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 

What is the imago Dei?
Imago Dei is the Latin term for “image of God.” Knowing who you are is foundational to both a healthy self-image and a strong sense of purpose.

Psalm 86:10, For You are great, and do wondrous things; You alone are God. 11] Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. 12] I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore.

In today’s culture, people believe in a “God” who is made in their own image. He is a God who changes, adapts to whims and customs and permits whatever the maj
ority of people want to believe. Their god has many names, multiple personalities, no exclusive holy book and cannot be grieved by any act of sin except “intolerance.” – Dallas Willard

There are two Gods. There is the God that people generally believe in—A God who has to serve them. This God does not exist. But the God who people forget—the God whom we all have to serve—exists, and is the prime cause of our existence and of all that we perceive. God being God offends human pride. “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3:18) When the light of God is absent, the intellect become dysfunctional, trying to devise a truth that will be compatible with the basic falsehood that man is god. 
– Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines

Image
Hebrew צֶלֶם - ṣelem (Pronounced seh’-lem) 
From an unused root meaning a representative figure or image
It is best understood as representing the character of something or someone. 

Likeness
Hebrew דְּמוּת - demût (pronounced, dem-ooth’)
Stong’s dictionary word (#H1819); means, resemblance; shape; like (-ness), manner, similitude.
This is best understood as representing the likeness or appearance of something or someone. 

Indicators of the True God:

• Is from everlasting to everlasting
• Known to Adam, Abraham, Moses and the pagans of every generation
• Has the power to create, destroy, heal and reform
• Passes final judgment
• Knows the hearts of people
• Knows the motivations of the heart
• Has purpose that transcends the lifetime or sensual interests of people
• Manifests His presence in the earth through the Holy Spirit
• Has a son name Jesus Christ, who is God the Son
Thought: images, concepts, judgment; enables our will (or spirit) to range far beyond the immediate boundaries of our environment

Feeling: sensation, emotion; inclines us toward or away from things that come before our minds; involve a tone that is pleasant or unpleasant. Thoughts and feelings go together

Choice: Will, decision, character; our choices produce our unique contribution to reality. Temptation is the thought plus the inclination to sin. We must very careful about the things we allow our minds to dwell upon or allow ourselves to feel. Human life does not run by will alone. It must be organized by the will if it is to be organized at all. People nearly always act on their feelings, and think it only right.

Body: Our primary source of energy and the place from which we live. The body cannot be understood apart from human relations, The re-formation of the body is one major part of the process of spiritual formation. Spiritual formation is also and essentially a bodily process. It cannot succeed unless the body is reformed.

Social Context: The human self requires rootedness in others—God first, then people

Imago Dei (The Image of God) - Part One: Who Am I? | Firm Foundation (Video and Audio)


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Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

This is an instance where a biblical worldview is helpful. A Christian worldview only applies to Christians, but a biblical worldview is for everyone.

What is the imago Dei?

Imago Dei is the Latin term for “image of God.” The term is used because it is distinctive and beautiful sounding. Knowing who you are is foundational to both a healthy self-image and a strong sense of purpose. (Watch this video)

Humankind was created to be an image bearer of the Creator. This ideal state was to be a representation of who God is and what He is like. Of course, humanity is far from this ideal state.

“The imago Dei is not a quality possessed by man; it is a condition in which man lives, a condition of confrontation established and maintained by the Creator. … The imago Dei is that in man which constitutes him as him-whom-God-loves.” –John Piper

The imago Dei was the outcome of being created by God. No other creature was made in the image of God, not even Angels.

Look at the words image and likeness in Genesis chapter 1

Image

Hebrew צֶלֶם - ṣelem (Pronounced tseh’-lem)

From an unused root meaning a representative figure or image

Stong’s Dictionary word (#H6754) is used in the old testament as image (16x) and vain shew (1x).

It is used mostly to denote objects of false worship such as idols. It is interesting that this is the word used to describe people being made in the image of God. It shows that this word is only understood by the context in which it is used.

It is best understood as representing the character of something or someone.

For example, my father is technically inclined, a problem solver, and a hard worker. I have my father’s or character IMAGE in me. My mother loved people, served people, and had great compassion. I possess that particular image or character of my mother.

Likeness

Hebrew דְּמוּתd - demût, (pronounced, dem-ooth’)

Stong’s dictionary word (#H1819); means, resemblance; shape; like (-ness), manner, similitude.'

This is best understood as representing the likeness or appearance of something or someone. For example: I RESEMBLE both my mother and my father.

Maximizing Imago Dei (Genesis 1:26-28)

God’s image - Character
God’s likeness - Outward actions
Dominion - Responsibility, tasks, duty, service
Fruitful - Utilizing abilities an gifts
Multiply - Reproduce yourself, empower others 
Subdue - Create and maintain order
__________

Reflection Exercise 
1. Describes ways in which you carry Imago Dei (the image of God)
2. Describes ways in which you represent God’s likeness, His witness to the world around you