Important to God
Preached in Quabbin Valley on 12/7/08
Lesson Text: John 3:16
John 3:16-17 16 ¶ "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
For the past few weeks we have looked at some of the most important questions a person can ask, who am I, and what is God’s will for my life. This week I want us to think about the question, am I important? Do I have any worth?
People in our day and age have a real problem with self worth. Some think they are so important and more important than anyone else while many people feel they have no worth, value, or importance at all, in fact there are many people who commit suicide because they feel that they are not important and have no value. Many people find their self worth in the material possessions that they have or the people they know.
But what is the truth? Are we valuable if we have a lot of material possessions? Or are we important only if we are managers, c.e.o.’s or presidents? What is the truth?
We need to answer these questions as Christians.
1) Are you important?
a. Not all that great
a. We can tend to think that we are not all that great, that we are unimportant. Often we look around and see other people of the world who are richer than we are or have more political or social power. We see famous people and we can think I am not as valuable as they are or maybe someone has said to us that we are unimportant. There are many reasons why we might think ourselves to be unimportant or not all that valuable.
a. We might think I am a sinner. Look at the wicked things that I have done, I can’t be useful at all. I have met people who have said that they could never enter a church building because it would fall down on them because they are so sinful. But the fact is that we are important, you are special and have worth. That worth has nothing to do with your outward appearance, your beauty or clothing and who others think you are. Where does our importants and worth come from? That’s the real question.
2) You are important
a. Made in God’s image
a. Genesis 1:26-27 tells us that we are made in the image of God.
b. Genesis 1:26-27 26 ¶ Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and 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.
c. We are a reflection of God, made to be relational, and rational, creative and many other things that show that we are made in God’s image. Now that image has been tarnished through sin but what makes us important and have worth is the fact that we are created in the image of the creator.
d. Valuable Necklace - An American tourist in Paris, who purchased an inexpensive amber necklace in a trinket shop, was shocked when he had to pay quite a high duty on it to clear customs in New York. This aroused his curiosity, so he had it appraised. After looking at the object under a magnifying glass, the jeweler said, “I’ll give you $25,000 for it.” Greatly surprised, the man decided to have another expert examine it. When he did, he was offered $10,000 more. “What do you see that’s so valuable about this old necklace?” asked the astonished man. “Look through this glass,” replied the jeweler. There before his eyes was an inscription: “From Napoleon Bonaparte to Josephine.” The value of the necklace came from its identification with a famous person.
c. Our value comes because of our being made in God’s image. People might look at us or we look at ourselves and ask what’s so special about me? What’s so special is that you are made in the image of God.
b. You are unique
a. Also the fact that you are you. You are unique and no one else is exactly like you not even identical twins are the same. They have different likes and dislikes often and they often think about things differently have different quarts about them. What makes you important and have worth is that you are the only you and God loves you, and created you to have a relationship with him. We find our importance ultimately in God; it was God who created us and God who made us in his image to reflect his glory.
3) The Cross says you’re important
a. Jesus died to save you
a. How do we know that we are important to God? Other than the fact that we are created in his image and that we are unique, how do I know I am important to God?
b. Why did Jesus come to earth? Was it to show how great he was, how humble he is? Was it for his own self esteem? It was to save sinners and bring them to life in him and to give them back the relationship they lost through sin. The tarnished image has been restored in Christ, we are, over time being sanctified being transformed in the image of Christ who is the perfect and exact image of God in human flesh.
c. Colossians 1:15 15 ¶ He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
d. If God didn’t love you Christ would not have come. If God didn’t think you were important Christ would not have come. If God didn’t think you had worth Christ would not have come.
e. So what does it tell us that Christ did come? That you are important to God.
f. John 3:16-17 16 ¶ "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
g. Ephesians 2:1-10 ¶ And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
h. We should also note that as Christians we are given the Spirit to indwell us and He sanctifies us and we can be lead by the Spirit if we will be open to Him, but what does this tell us about our worth that God would dwell in us and with us? It tells us that God thinks we are important and he loves us even if no one else does he does and that means you have worth.
Self-worth, Evaluation of
Suppose that during the past week a young wife gave birth to her first baby. Now suppose that as she held her new baby in her arms and was enjoying the pleasure of motherhood, someone came up to her and said, “How much do you want for the child?” Of course she would show no interest in the offer and would be offended at even a suggestion that her precious babe was for sale. But the stranger is persistent and offers ten thousand dollars, then a hundred thousand dollars, and finally one million dollars. The offers are in vain because the mother will simply press the baby closer to her and reply, “My baby is worth more to me than all the world!”
Of course, if she didn’t say that, we would question whether she had the proper attitude for motherhood. But why does she say it? Because she looks forward to thousands of dirty diapers, sleepless nights with a sick child, and the costs of raising that child? Because the child will bring her fame and fortune? Of course not. Rather, it is because she has chosen to value this tiny person, to deem the small one to be of worth, and to love that baby of hers. Such worth resides in the very identity of a person, not in their performance. And such worth, coming from the image of God in all of us, must be the basis for our concept of ourselves, too, if our self-portrait is to be durable and worthwhile.
The Cross tells us that you are important to God not because your great in and of yourself but because God made you and loves you and you bear his image. God loves you because you are unique.
We are cleansed from the tarnish of sin and are being sanctified, purified to be in the image of Christ who was the perfect, exact image of God in human form.
Over the last three weeks we answered some of humanities most asked and important questions. Who am I, as a Christian you are the Temple of God, a holy nation and priest, and your lives are to be living sacrifices to God. We answered the question what is the will of God for my life, and we saw that the will of God for every Christian is to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances. And this week we answered the question am I important, do I matter, and the answer is yes. The proof of that is the cross.
If you want or need proof that you are important to God look to the cross of Christ and there you will find the answer. As we participate in the Supper each week it reminds us of God’s love for us and Christ’s sacrifice and his coming again but it also reminds us that we are loved by God and are important to Him.