What does it mean to be human?

As I was studying for this sermon all I could think of was a song from the 1960’s: “RESPECT, find out what it means to me…” That is all I knew of the song, so I looked it up. I don’t know that the song is all that appropriate depending if it is literal or has other innuendo, so I won’t share anymore lyrics. However, all people, male and female, should be treated with the utmost respect because we are created in the image of God. We are God’s image bearers.

We are not accidents. You are not accidents.

Just think how powerful it is to be created in the image of God. Just think how powerful it is to reflect God’s image. When you hurt another person created in the image of God you hurt the image of God.

As you know I am continuing a series based on Theology or Christian doctrine. It is called “The Study of God.” Today, we begin a worldview question. What does it mean to be human? This is still Theology because being human means that we are created in the image of God. Being human means that we do not own our body, God does. Being human means so much more. However, we must understand that our understanding of this broad topic has wide implications on every decision we make and how we view society. Furthermore, we must understand that this topic is too big for one sermon. Still, this topic should be addressed in at least one sermon. How does this topic relate to how we view society? I am glad you asked: Do you want to talk about same sex marriage? That means we must talk about what it means to be human. Do you want to talk about transgender people? We must talk about what it means to be human. Do you want to talk about abortion? We must talk about what it means to be human. Do you want to talk about sex outside of marriage? We must talk about what it means to be human. Do you want to talk about gender equality? We must talk about what it means to be human. Do you want to talk about race relations? We must talk about what it means to be human. Do you want to talk about creation and evolution and everything in between? Then we must talk about what it means to be human. Do you want to talk about sin and what is wrong with the world? Then we must talk about what it means to be human. Do you want to talk to people who believe there were ancient aliens who created things and populated our race? We must talk about what it means to be human. Do you want to talk about murder and crime and adultery and stealing and punishments and prison reform and the death penalty? We must talk about what it means to be human. Do you want to talk about hate crimes? We must talk about what it means to be human. Do you want to talk about parenting? Then we must talk about what it means to be human. Do you want to talk about education? Then we must talk about what it means to be human. We must talk about this subject. Let’s talk about the subject.

Theme: You are created in God’s Image.

Applications:

  1. Live for God, He is Your Creator
  2. Respect all people, they are also God’s creation.
  3. Respect yourself, you are God’s creation.

Let’s read Genesis 1:26-27

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

The Moody Bible handbook says:

The study of man is called anthropology from the Greek words anthropos, meaning “man,” and logos, meaning “word” or “discourse,” hence, anthropology is a discourse about man. The term anthropology can be the study of the doctrine of man from a biblical standpoint or it can refer to the study of man in his cultural environment. The former procedure will occupy this study.

  1. We are created in the image of God.
    1. We were created male and female
    2. Genesis 1:26-27, we are like God and we represent God.
    3. Genesis 5:1-2: This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created.
    4. We were created male and female for a reason.
    5. James 3:9 shows that men, not just believers, are created in the image of God.
    6. It takes male and female both to reflect the godhead. God created both genders and both genders reflect God’s image.
    7. Being created in the image of God shows:
      1. We are moral.
      2. We are Spiritual.
      3. We are mental.
      4. We are relational.
    8. I could talk about each of those topics right now, but I am not going to. We could add to this. God likes to create and so we like to create.
    9. However, we are talking about what it means to be human and there is much more to be said.
      1. Being human means that we are sexual and God has called us to marry and to have children, though some are called to celibacy and that is a call of God as well.
      2. Being human means that we like to play and have fun and that is good.
  • Being human means that we are learners, as stated above we are mental.
  1. Being human means that we are stewards. God owns our bodies. We must take care of them for Him.
  1. Since we are created in the image of God means that we have hope, we have purpose, we have value. The conflict over the worldview of the world and the worldview of culture is important because the worldview of the culture is leading to destruction.
  2. Culture means “Cult of the populace.” This cultural view is leading to our culture falling apart from the center. We are losing morality, we are losing purpose, we are losing grounding and foundational beliefs. Our lack of a Biblical view of what it means to be human is leading children and adults to lack purpose. Children and adults are lacking identity. Children and adults are lacking meaning. Children and adults are lacking value. Yet, we all have value, meaning, purpose and identity because we are created in the image of God. We are not accidents.
    1. Currently, physician assisted suicide is being legalized in many states. How is the Christian to respond? It is simple. We respond with grace and truth. Truth teaches that we are created in God’s image. Truth teaches if God created us we do not have rights over our bodies. We are just care takers. We are stewards. Grace teaches we must love all people and sympathize with their pain and suffering, without compromising the truth already stated. In some European countries physician assistant suicide is legal, even with young people when mental illness is present. Here is an example:

In early childhood, the Dutch psychiatric patient known as 2014-77 suffered neglect and abuse. When he was about 10, doctors diagnosed him with autism. For approximately two decades thereafter, he was in and out of treatment and made repeated suicide attempts.

He suffered terribly, doctors later observed, from his inability to form relationships: “He responded to matters in a spontaneous and intense, sometimes even extreme, way. This led to problems.”

A few years ago, 2014-77 asked a psychiatrist to end his life. In the Netherlands, doctors may perform euthanasia — not only for terminal physical illness but also upon the “voluntary and well-considered” request of those suffering “unbearably” from incurable mental conditions.

The doctor declined, citing his belief the case was treatable, as well as his own moral qualms. But he did transmit the request to colleagues, as Dutch norms require. They treated 2014-77 for one more year, determined his case was, indeed, hopeless and administered a fatal dose of drugs.

Thus did a man in his 30s whose only diagnosis was autism become one of 110 people to be euthanized for mental disorders in the Netherlands between 2011 and 2014.

Case 2014-77 appears on the Dutch-language Web site of Holland’s Regional Euthanasia Review Committees, which review mercy killing in the Netherlands — but almost never find fault. Of 5,306 euthanasias listed in the committees’ 2014 annual report, the vast majority based on physical illness, regulators found a lack of “due care” in four, or 0.08 percent. The consequences of these rulings, if any, are unclear.

Now, however, doctors from elsewhere are starting to apply independent scrutiny to the increasingly common euthanasia of Holland’s mentally ill, and their findings are not so reassuring. To the contrary.

According to an analysis of 66 of the 110 cases from 2011 to 2014, by psychiatrist Scott Kim of the National Institutes of Health and two colleagues, Dutch psychiatric patients were often euthanized despite disagreement among consulting physicians as to whether they met legal criteria. In 37 cases, patients refused possibly beneficial treatment, and doctors proceeded anyway.[1]

  1. Listen, I do not deny that people are hurting. I believe people are hurting. I do not deny that people have real and painful mental illness. I just believe that:
    1. We do not have the right to take life.
    2. Taking a life does not fix the problem.
    3. We must give real and true hope from the Biblical worldview.
      1. They need Jesus. Let Jesus help.
      2. Having Jesus means a Biblical worldview which recognizes that we are created in the image of God, we have a purpose, we have meaning, we have identity.
      3. Jesus gives hope and comfort through the church, the Word and the Holy Spirit.
    4. We have a nature that has fallen from grace, but this is not originally what it means to be human.
      1. Let’s read Genesis 3:1-7: Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make onewise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.
      2. Now, many people will say, “I am only human” as they excuse sin. However, Adam and Eve were fully human before sin entered. We were not created to sin.
      3. In Genesis 9:6 it shows even after the fall we are still in God’s image.
      4. Let’s read Romans 3:23: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
      5. Let’s read Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • We can only be saved through Jesus.
    1. We must understand as humans that we were created good.
    2. We must understand that as part of human history we fell from grace.
    3. We must turn to Jesus for redemption.

Close:

Understand, every time you turn on the television, or the radio, or the computer, or your smartphone you are seeing images and ideas that are contrary to what the Bible says it means to be human. Understand, every time you read the newspaper, or an article or a book you are reading contrary ideas to what the Bible teaches it means to be human. We need our views to come from the Bible.

Our world will tell you that being human is without purpose and without meaning. This is nihilism. This is shown in a song titled: “Mr. Rogers” by Korn: You told me everybody was my neighbor.

They took advantage of me.

I wish I hadn’t watched you.

I hate you . . .

There is a lot of nihilism in rock.

Our world will tell you that being human means we must FIND meaning in my life because there is no meaning in my life. That is existentialism.

The world will tell you that life has no meaning or purpose except for pleasure so we should go for pleasure and this is hedonism.

The world will tell you that life is about making the world a better place for humans and this is called humanism. An example is Star Trek. Star Trek is all about a humanistic idea that humans can make the world better and bring peace on their own.

I use the word ‘Humanist’ to mean

someone who believes that man is just

as much a natural phenomenon as an

animal or plant; that his body, mind

and soul were not supernaturally created

but are products of evolution, and that he

is not under the control or guidance of

any supernatural being or beings, but

has to rely on himself and his

own powers. Julian Huxley, American Humanist Association[2]

The Bible responds to these. The Bible tells us we were created in the image of God. We have sinned, but we are redeemed in Jesus. The Bible tells us we have purpose because we were created by God. The Bible gives us purpose and meaning and hope from Genesis through Revelation. The Bible tells us we are God’s special creation and we reflect the creator. We glorify God because we reflect Him.

Children need to be taught the Biblical worldview.

Teenagers need to be taught the Biblical worldview.

Young adults need to learn the Biblical worldview.

Parents need to study and teach their children the Biblical worldview.

Everyone must embrace the Biblical worldview.

Knowing Jesus and embracing His worldview is the only hope for our society. We must change the cult of the populace. We must transform the culture. We must redeem the times.

People need the hope of what the Bible says it means to be human.

Theme: You are created in God’s Image.

Applications:

  1. Live for God, He is Your Creator
  2. Respect all people, they are also God’s creation.
  3. Respect yourself, you are God’s creation.

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

[1] https://nypost.com/2016/02/27/europes-cure-for-autism-is-euthanasia/

[2] These last quotes were taken from Dr. Bill Brown’s chapel powerpoint at Cedarville University on 02/11/2003

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