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SermonLiving Image of God
An all-creatures Bible Message

Living Image of God
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
19 February 2017
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Genesis 1:26-27
Leviticus 19:1-18
Ephesians 4:25-27

Living image of God? Who is it?
 
It sure sounds like Jesus Christ, doesnít it?
 
But if we follow the teachings of Jesus, then we should also be living in the heavenly will of God here on earth; and if we are, then each of us who do this becomes a living image of God or, more precisely, we become living images of Godís heavenly will on earth.
 
Note what we are told in Genesis 1:26-27 about being created in the image of God.

26. 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. And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
NASB

This was before the Fall, when Eve and Adam disobeyed God, and when we lost the perfection that God created us to be.
 
And remember that this was all at the time when both humans and other animals were to eat only plant foods, so we know that the ďruleĒ that God is talking about has to be a protective one, which in no way permits us to bring any form of harm upon any other living being.
 
Each of us was to be a living image of God, just as every born again Christian is to be today; but unfortunately most of them have followed the corrupt ways of this world, just as Eve and Adam did.
 
In Leviticus 19:1-18, we are told how each of us is to be a living image of God.

1. Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
 
2. "Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, 'You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.

In other words, we are to be like God.
 
Each and every one of us is to be a living image of God, and show the world around us that we can and should live in His heavenly will here on earth, no matter what others say or do.

3. 'Every one of you shall reverence his mother and his father, and you shall keep My sabbaths; I am the LORD your God.

Every one of us should reverence (love) our parents even if they do things that we donít like. We donít have to be a part of ungodly things they may do, but we are still to love them and pray for them; and always we must show them the heavenly will of God in our lifestyle.
 
Being a living image of God really makes every day a sabbath day, for we keep every day holy; we do nothing outside His heavenly will.

4. 'Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves molten gods; I am the LORD your God.

We may not turn to the kind of idols that the people of old did, and as some people still do today, but not all idols are molten gods, people make idols of things in their lives, such as their cars or other things, or their pride, for they put these things before God.
 
As an example, people who say that they cannot live without eating meat are really showing us and the Lord that killing and eating animals is more important than God, for there is no pain or death in heaven or in His heavenly will.
 
Then we come to a portion of this passage that we need to look at through the heavenly will of God, and remember that animal sacrifices should have all ended since Jesus is considered the last sacrifice.
 
Jesus even showed us that instead of blood, we are to use the juice of the grape, and instead of flesh, we are to use bread, and if our repentance precedes the taking of the bread and wine, that becomes our peace offering to the Lord.

5. 'Now when you offer a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD, you shall offer it so that you may be accepted.

This happens when we are offering our repentance before partaking of our peace offering.
 
This is being a living image of God.

6. 'It shall be eaten the same day you offer it, and the next day; but what remains until the third day shall be burned with fire.

This rule was set forth because living flesh decays rapidly, and people get sick from eating it.

7. 'So if it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an offense; it will not be accepted.
 
8. 'And everyone who eats it will bear his iniquity, for he has profaned the holy thing of the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from his people.

The personís iniquity is most likely suffering from food poisoning.
 
Each person who is a living image of God, and who lives in His heavenly will before others, does not need to worry about such things, because they would never be a part of such worldly ways.

9. 'Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest.
 
10. 'Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God.

This is a bare minimum, for such little food would never feed a person for an entire year, and it would be even worse for an entire family.
 
Jesus showed us that we are to care for whoever is in need, and we have seen this happening in many areas, but it is being done mostly in a worldly way, because most nations and organizations do this by causing other species (animals) to suffer and die.
 
We are charged with protecting the whole of creation, and not just selected areas we care about; this is what those who are a living image of God do.

11. 'You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.

Think about what we hear coming from most of our elected officials, who are to protect their constituents; are not many of them doing exactly what this verse is telling us not to do?
 
No one who does these things can be a living image of God; instead they are living images of the devil and his minions.
 
We are not to be like them; we are to be living in the heavenly will of God here on earth as a witness against these worldly people, no matter what their position or authority.
 
Each of us is to be a living image of God.
 
Letís pause for a moment in our discussion of this Leviticus 19 passage and take a look at Ephesians 4:25-27, where Paul explains to us how we are to be living here on earth as the peacemaking children of God.

25. Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.
 
26. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
 
27. and do not give the devil an opportunity.
NASB

To anyone who is a living image of God, this is just common sense.
 
But to worldly people who are egotistical, prideful, self-centered, who cannot stand any criticism, such things are a threat to them, because they live in the falsehoods of their own minds, and the corrupt ways of this world.
 
Such people are working at cross-purposes with God.
 
Letís continue by going back to our Leviticus 19 passage.

12. 'And you shall not swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God; I am the LORD.

It we love the Lord our God with all our heart and all our might and with all our mind and with all our strength, we would never even think about doing anything that would profane the name of God.
 
We are no longer of the ways of this world; each of us is a living image of God who lives in His heavenly will.

13. 'You shall not oppress your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you all night until morning.
 
14. 'You shall not curse a deaf man, nor place a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall revere your God; I am the LORD.
 
15. 'You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly.

Just think about the fact that when we love the Lord our God unconditionally, as we stated above, wouldnít we just naturally love the whole of Godís creation?
 
Sure we would, and if we do, then we wouldnít do anything to harm any part of his creation which includes every other living being, including doing any of the things the examples above tell us not to do.

16. 'You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the LORD.
 
17. 'You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him.

No one who is a living image of God would ever think about doing any of these things either, for God created them just as He created us.

18. 'You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.
NASB

Jesus taught us that if we couple what we are told in this verse with loving God unconditionally, we actually fulfill everything else that is in the Bible, which is living in the heavenly will of God.
 
This is the way a living image of God lives every day of their life as an example before others.
 
Amen.

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