I want to begin this morning with a simple question: What will you be remembered for? What is it about you that people will remember even after you’re gone?
Some people, like Wayne Gretzky or Tiger Woods, will be remembered for their great ability to play sports. Other people, like Sir Winston Churchhill or Abraham Lincoln, will be remember for being great and influential leaders. Still other people, like the Wright brothers or Thomas Edison, will be remember for their life-changing inventions.
But how about you? Not all of us will be world class athletes or national leaders or famous inventors. So how will we be remembered? How will you be remembered?
This morning we are beginning a new message series. And the title of this series is “Built to Last”. And one of the main issues we want to tackle is, “What can we do with this brief period of time called “our life” that will have lasting impact? Because, I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want my life be useless. I don’t want to live on this planet for some 90 years and accomplish nothing of value. I want to do something that matters. I want to be a part of something that will last.
And so for the next few weeks we are going to look at what the Bible says about how we can make our life count – how we can have a greater significance than hockey players, world leaders, or famous inventors – how we can build something that will last.
Now before we get into this too far, we need to make sure that we’re all on the same page. We all need to have the same starting point, so that’s what we want to try to do this morning. And a great place to start is at the beginning, so if you have your Bibles, you can turn with me to Genesis chapter 1 – verse 1.
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
This is our starting point. Everything else that we are going to talk about is built on this fact. That in the beginning, GOD created the heavens and the earth. He is our Creator. We did not come from a Primordial Soup, we did not evolve from bacteria to fish to apes to people. We were created by God.
And in fact, not only were we created by God, we were created in the image of God.
26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”
27 So God created human beings in his own image.
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
So not only were we created, we were created in the image of God. Now what exactly does that mean? Does that mean we look like God? Does it mean we act like God? What does that mean to be created in the image of God?
Well, that’s more than a simple question and I certain won’t be able to fully answer that in the time we have today. But just to get us started, let me give you three qualities that God has given mankind because we are created in his image. Keep in mind that there are many more, but these are just three that I want to talk about this morning. Here’s the first quality that we have because we are created in the image of God.
We are Creative
People don’t often think about this, but I think that this is one of the coolest attributes of God. He is SOOOO creative. I mean, just look around at the world He made. He made wooly mammoths, octopuses, lightning bugs, alligators. He thought up the flavors of root beer, peppermint and lemonade. He thought up music and sunsets. He came up with the fragrance of roses and and the scent of pine trees. He decided that the same white fluffy clouds that gently float in the sky would occasionally darken and be filled with lightning and thunder and would unleash furious storms upon the earth – only to be followed by a rainbow of color splashed across the sky.
And what about snowflakes or fingerprints? God makes an original design every single time. Or what about the stars? If you look up at the sky on a clear night, you can probably see about 3,000 of them. But there are about 100 billion stars in our galaxy. And if that’s not enough, there are billions of galaxies each with billions of stars! Incredible!
1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.
That is SO true! God is amazingly creative. People who paint heaven as a boring place where you just sit on clouds and play harps all day have NO IDEA! If God created all this in just six days… What’s He going to do for eternity? It’s mind boggling…. But here’s the cool part. (If that wasn’t cool enough already.) You are made in the image of God. Therefore, God has given some of that creativity to you.
Do you ever wonder why cows don’t write symphonies? They’re not created in the image of God. But we are. Do you ever wonder why bees don’t invent a machine to make honey making easier? They’re not created in the image of God. But we are. Do you ever wonder why monkeys don’t spend their time writing children’s books? They are not created in the image of God – But we are.
What an awesome privilege God has given us to be creative! Every time you hear a song, or look at a painting, or see a fantastic invention – you’re seeing the image of God in man. And we’ll talk a little bit more about what we can do with that creativity in just a bit.
But that’s the first quality we have from being created in the image of God: Creativity. The second quality is that:
We are Relational Beings.
We were made to have relationships. Just ask any teenager! They’ll tell ya! In fact, God says in Genesis 2:18….
“It is not good for the man to be alone.” Genesis 2:18
Why does He say that? Well, look at God… Is He alone? No, God isn’t just one person. He is three persons in one. (This is tough one to wrap your head around…) There is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Three persons – one God. As you read through the New Testament as Jesus talks with his disciples about his relationship with the Father and with the Holy Spirit, you see that the three have a very close relationship with each other. For just one example, we read in Matthew 3:16-17…
16 After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”
There is clearly a close relationship within the Godhead. Then God creates man in his own image. And it is not good for the man to be alone.
And that’s why #1. We need relationships with each other. And #2. We need a relationship with God. And we’re going to talk a little more about those things a little later on in this series, but that’s part of us being created in the image of God. That’s the second quality. We are relational beings.
We are Eternal Beings.
Look at Revelation 1:8.
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.” Revelation 1:8
God is eternal. He has always existed and He always will. This is another one of those things that we have a hard time wrapping our heads around. How can someone exist forever? We just can’t even fathom it. But that’s what the Bible teaches – that God is eternal.
And having been made in his image means that we too, are eternal. Now, of course, unlike God, we were created – whereas He has always existed. He had no beginning. But like Him, we will continue to exist for eternity. That’s why the Bible is full of both promises of eternal life and on the flip side of that, warnings of eternal separation from God. Both are eternal realities because we are, very literally, built to last. Although our bodies may die, we will continue to exist – either with God or separated from Him. And again, there are many verses that talk about this in the Bible – Here’s one in 2 Corinthians 5:1.
“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.”
2 Corinthians 5:1
We have been created for eternity. We have been built to last.
So what of it? What difference does it make anyway? I mean, that’s interesting information to know – but how does that really affect my life right now?
Well, what it boils down to is that our choices today will have an affect on eternity. God has given us a very short period of time on this planet – (maybe 30, 60, 100 years) and during that time the things that we do and the things that we say and the decisions we make will all have a lasting affect on eternity.
Let me give you a few examples:
Remember how we said earlier that God created us to be relational beings? And that the two types of relationships that we can have is with God and with other people?
Well, the most important relationship that we can have is with God. If you were here last week, you’ll remember that we talked a little bit about how our sin separates us from God. We’re all born with sinful nature – we naturally rebel against God from birth. (Just look at little children – no one needs to teach them to be selfish or to tell a lie – it comes quite naturally.) And therefore, because of our sinful nature, we are born with no relationship with God – in fact, we are his enemies.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
We deserve death – we deserve eternal separation from God, but God in His great mercy, has paid Jesus our wages. Jesus took our penalty of death when He died on the cross so that we could have the free gift of life. We can begin a new relationship with our Creator. But each one of us must make that decision to begin that relationship before we leave this planet. If your earthly body gives out and you die before you accept God’s forgiveness and his free gift of life, then the Bible teaches that you will spend an eternity separated from God. But on the other hand, if you do accept God’s forgiveness and his free gift of life, then the Bible teaches us that He gives us abundant life from now through eternity, because we were built to last.
So you can see how very much our choices today have an impact on eternity. And not only for you, but for others as well. Because we are relational beings, our relationships with each other are impacted as well.
And I don’t think we realize how much our actions and our words affect the people around us.
I have three kids. And the choices I make and the words I say and the way I live my life has a profound affect on those three kids. Not just while their growing up, and not just for the rest of their lives, but for eternity. My choices will have an affect on whether or not they decide to have a relationship with God – whether they choose eternal life with God or whether they choose eternal separation from God. That’s a huge responsibility for me! Certainly it comes down to their personal choice – I can’t make that choice for them – but I’ll have a lot of influence on that decision.
And not only will I influence my kids, but I’ll influence my friends. My neighbors. My relatives. The people I meet in the grocery store.
The choices I make today will have an impact on eternity, because the people I influence are built to last.
So here’s my three challenges for you this morning, and then we’ll be done.
- If you have not yet done so, I urge you, begin a relationship with your Creator. He loves you like crazy and wants to give you the most abundant life you can imagine.
- Live your life wisely. Remember that you influence a lot of people and all of them are built to last.
- Use your creativity for eternity.
Remember how we talked about God’s creativity and how, because you were made in his image, you too have creativity? You can use that creativity for eternal impact.
Our church mission statement is “to draw our community into life with Christ.” How are we going to do that? Well, that’s kinda up to you. You see, this God-given creativity allows us to be great problem solvers. Just look at mankind’s advancements in science & technology – our ability to figure stuff out and come up with creative solutions is amazing!
So why don’t we use that creative ability for eternal impact. There are people all around us, people who are built to last, who have no idea that there is a God, no idea that He loves them, and no idea that the decisions that they make on this earth will determine their eternity.
God’s given us the fantastic ability to be creative, so let’s come up with new and creative ways to share the Good News with our families, with our neighbors, with our friends – and draw them into life with Christ. There is nothing more valuable that we can do with our lives, nothing with more long-lasting results, then to creatively invest in people who are built to last.