I’ll admit I’m chafing a bit. I desperately want to get to the sermon series’ section on Women because, well…obvious. But, I’m a sucker for order, so I’ll keep pushing forward one sermon at a time.
It isn’t easy for me to commit to studying through a sermon series like this because I have a toddler and a mobile infant nearing toddler-dom. I’m glad that I am doing this, however, because I have a strong belief that I need to do it.
I need to understand more about God’s design.
First, I’m going to pull out a few parts of the sermon that I really appreciated most. ***All quotes listed below are directly from the transcript of Matt Chandler’s sermon “A Beautiful Design–Part 2”. These quotes will be in bold followed by my specific thoughts and reactions.
“Last week when we talked about origin, I simply said, very briefly, “We’re created,” and because we
are created and not the creator, we are not the measure of anything. I pulled back on that and
simply said, “We’re not the point.” That’s hard for us, because if we can be honest… It’s church. I’m
not pretending we can’t. But if we could be honest, we like to be the point. I like to be the point. I
like everyone to defer to what I want, what I need, what I desire, and so do you. Don’t judge me
right now. You’re just like me.”
I absolutely love Matt Chandler’s style. I have appreciated it ever since I read his book The Explicit Gospel. It was one of the first books that I read after I was saved, and it rocked my carefully crafted hope that God was only love and nothing else. I wanted God to be only love because I felt raw and wounded by all the sin I had let into my life in the 25 years leading up to my conversion. Turns out God is much bigger than my sin and much bigger than my individual life. M.C. speaks beautifully to that truth in this quote. I agree with him wholeheartedly. I struggle most days because I want to be the point. I want to be the center of it all. It’s just a creative way of thinking that I could be God and do it well. Psh.
“What I want to show is that on the idea of design, how the world actually operates and what’s best
for human flourishing are inseparably linked to God being the Creator of all things, who not only is the foundation of our origin but also grants us our purpose and has designed things to work a specific way. When we play in that space, human beings and the world really flourish, and when we refuse to play in that space, things go really badly.”
I needed this reminder. For my own life. And for using as part of the lens through which I look at the world. The world wants desperately to be good. To be good enough. To be right. The world, at large, wants desperately to both independently and globally, be God. It goes completely against what God designed, and as a result, it is going badly. Very badly.
“You can’t define it that way. In fact, science is so on the side of life beginning at conception that the argument for choice has completely changed in the last year. The argument for choice is no longer, “That’s not really a human; it’s a fetus.” The argument is now the mother’s life is more valuable than the baby’s, even if the mother’s life is not at stake. Her comfort, what she wants, what she desires, is more valuable than the life of the distinct human being inside of her. This is wicked and dark, evil built on a doctrine of demons, and it’s murder. Now the only people in this room right now are sinners in need of grace. Those are the only people in this room. So if you’re like, “Man, this is my first time in church in three years. You’re going to start us off with I’m a murderer?” Knowing who we are is the best way to get where Jesus wants to take us. So yes, I am. The hope is that regardless of what baggage we’ve carried in here today, Christ is bigger and Christ’s forgiveness can lay on top of whatever we’ve done and forgive and heal and
I’m just going to let you chew on that yourself.
Now for the study guide portion of this reaction. I will not put the questions here, but hopefully my responses will be easy enough to understand.
-I am a scary and complete blend of both of my parents. I am also uniquely and completely myself. Separate from them in every way. Sometimes, I get glimpses into their deep-dark, and I feel like I’m grasping just a bit the overwhelming nature of the genetic nature of sin.
-As image-bearers of God we are called to a unique role in the universe. He made the whole world good including the creatures in it, but none of those creatures is us. We are to bring order. In being fruitful, we are to populate the earth. We were commanded to fill this earth with all manner of life that this earth would bring glory to God. That it would reflect His glory.
-We are to reflect God by ruling over this world. We are to reflect God by having a higher level of understanding and drive and desire for Him.
-I’d say there are many stereotypical views that our culture has about masculinity and femininity. But, I’d also say that the lines have become so blurred that it is almost impossible for me to pull any individual qualities out and talk about them.
-There are many aspects of being human that men and women share. The first character trait that came to mind is kindness. Men and women can both be kind. They can both act kindly. This is not distinct to women. It is not only women who know how to be kind. There are not specific qualities of character that only men have or specific qualities that only women have. We are equal before God because He made us equal. He made men to be men and women to be women and He made humanity in His image. We are as much alike as we are different.
-Being made in the image of God does not make all people inherently good. I think people get lost in this idea because we want to believe ourselves good. We want to believe those around us to be good. But then we rage against evil. We rage against those that abuse and hurt and harm and kill and destroy. Humanity cannot be basically good and commit this level of atrocity against each other. The Bible opens with God’s creation, and it all changes after the Fall. Throughout the Bible, God tells the story of humanity over and over again pointing out that while He made us good, we chose ourselves above Him, and it is the reason why we are so lost. So damaged. But He can make it right again. Only He makes it right again.
-All people have value. I have a hard time understanding this sometimes. Just because I believe in the principle doesn’t mean I always treat people in a way that is real and understanding. It is one of the biggest reasons that I still struggle with shame over my pornography abuse in the past. It is because I now understand that I participated in the degradation of those people that I looked at engaged in sexual brokenness. It sickens me when I think on it, and I know it is the Spirit at work in me shaping and molding me to understand how valuable each person is and how sad and wrong and terrible it is when an individual has been forcibly robbed of that value and put forward as food to feed someone else’s sin.
-There are too many voices, all mostly interested in their own view, that clutter up the discussion when it comes to being image bearers.
-I do a lot of things that belittle God making us in His image. I make choices that hurt my own self and hurt others. I elevate myself above others mentally if not in any other way. I put my own emotional desires and my own struggles above that of the people around me. It takes work NOT to do that. NOT to see myself before I see the other person.
At the heart of this sermon is the reality that we have a broken view of what it means to be image-bearers of God. I repent of my own self-centeredness and hardened heart in this area. I pray that God would help me to always look at others as someone bearing His image and in need of His redemption and sanctification. I pray that I would look at myself through the same lens.
Thoughts and reflections are always welcome. But just you stopping by is appreciated as well. 🙂