Who Are You?

What Does The Bible Say About The Purpose Of Man?

Dan Franklin
Oct 17, 2021    40m
This message, taught out of Genesis chapter 1, examines the question, "What does the Bible say about the purpose of man?" God created us, both man and woman, to bear His image, to take care of the Earth, and to multiply so that are more humans to bring glory to God. Video recorded at Upland, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Unknown: [00:00:00] Hey, there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:19] We're going to start off this morning before we get into the message with a scripture reading. If you want to follow along and you have your Bible open, you can open up to page one of the Bible, Genesis chapter 1 verses 26 through 28, and I'll read them for us as we get started this morning.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:36] Genesis chapter 1, starting in verse 26, "Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, a and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” This is God's word.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:29] Let's pray together. Father, thank you for this morning, thank you as we reflect back on last week and what so many of us got to experience in remembering your goodness and faithfulness to us. Father, we pray that you prepare us this morning to hear your word, and to respond to your word, and to know who you are and who we are because of what you've said. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:56] So we all want to know who we are. We all want to know who we are because when we know who we are, we know how to function, we know how we fit into the world. This is true in all of life, this is certainly true when you think of something like a football team, knowing who you are tells you what you're supposed to do. If you're the quarterback, you know you're throwing the ball. If you're the running back, you know they're going to hand you the ball and you're going to run with it. If you're a wide receiver, you're going to go out for catches. If you're a kicker, you're going to kick. All right, good, you're awake. If you're a defensive player, you're going to defend and you're going to tackle. If you know your role, you know how you're supposed to function. Knowing who you are, tells you how to be in the world.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:43] And most of us in here aren't on a football team, but we still kind of engage in a similar way when we think of how we're interacting with our family, or with our group of friends, or even with our church. We're looking around and we're trying to figure out who exactly am I. Am I the smart one that knows things and people go to me when they need to know something? Am I the fun, adventurous one that's bringing excitement to the group? Am I the wise one giving good advice? Am I the funny one, sort of with the comic moment? We're all looking around at the world and we're trying to figure out who we are, because if we figure out who we are, we'll know how we're supposed to engage in the world.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:23] And our culture has a solution for the fact that we all need to know who we are, the cultural solution is basically this, I decide, I determine my identity. I look around and I figure out who I want to be in the world, and I just decide that I'm that, everything from personality, to job, to calling, to sexual identity, any of those things, I just determine my identity.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:49] As I was thinking this last week, about what we were going to be talking about this morning. I remembered back to high school, and I remembered back to a girl that I knew in high school. She was in my friend group the first couple of years, for freshman and sophomore year, she was just a really smart girl, she was in honors classes, she was really easy to talk to, she was kind of shy, but she was really smart. She was good friends with us freshman and sophomore year, something happened, I'm not sure what happened, something happened this summer before sophomore year and junior year because when we came back, it was like she was a completely different person. It was almost as if she had opened up a book that was called Every Stereotype of the Dumb Blonde, and then she took that as her marching orders. And it was bizarre for those of us who knew her freshman and sophomore year, because this girl where before you would talk to her, and if you talked to her, you'd have this intelligent conversation, and it'd be really interesting. Now if you talk to her, you'd get a lot of silliness, a lot of giggling, and she'd usually say something dumb and then laugh at herself to end the conversation. I had never in my life seen such a stark example of somebody choosing to change who they were. It was like she looked around and said, who do I have to be to get what I want? And then she went ahead and did that. And by the way, it kind of worked, she kind of got what she wanted, she was very popular with this new persona that she'd taken on, but it was the most stark illustration I'd ever seen of somebody choosing to determine who they were going to be in the world because that was going to tell them how to function.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:30] Now I have something to tell all of you, you do not decide who you are, you do not determine your identity. There's a very simple reason for this, do you know what the reason is? You are not God, you didn't make you, you don't decide who you are, you don't decide what you're for. What we need, is we need hear from God about who he is and who we are. So for the next couple of weeks, we're going to be digging into the question of identity, but today we're just going to start at the base level, and the base level is learning this, it's learning that our identity is not something that is chosen by us, it's something that's given by God.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:17] So to figure this out, we're going to go all the way back to the beginning. We already read it, we're going to go to page one of the Bible, chapter 1 of the Bible, and we're going to see what God says when he creates the human race. And when God gives us our identity, what we're going to see is that there are three gifts that he gives us when he gives us our identity, let's talk about those.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:40] The first gift that we're going to see that God gives us is the gift of dignity. Now, it shows up right away in verse 26, if you still have your Bible open or if you're looking up on the screen, "Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness." And then the next verse begins with similar words where it says, "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them."

Dan Franklin: [00:07:08] Now, first things first, you may have noticed this, this is a little weird, it says, "Let us." God, singular says, "Let us make mankind in our image." This is a weird way to talk, and there's debate about what exactly is going on here, why is singular God talking in terms of us and our? And people debate this, good Christians debate this. Some people say what's going on here is that God is sort of speaking to the heavenly court, he's speaking to the angels who are watching the creation happen, and so he says, "Let us make mankind in our image." It's not impossible, but that would be kind of weird because the angels aren't part of creating things, they're not teaming up with God in the creation. And also, the angels don't bear God's image, so it would be weird for him to say, Let us, God and angels, create mankind in our image.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:05] Some other people say, well, what's going on here is this is sort of the royal we. Like, if you watch a movie from an old monarch, and the Monarch might be talking in terms of we and our, even though it's just one person. And again, that's not impossible, but if that is what's going on, it's pretty much the only place in the Bible that God ever talks that way. What a lot of scholars think, and I think they're right on this, is that this is the first hint in the Bible of the fact that God is triune. Something revealed much later on that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and even in page one of the Bible, we get a hint of this. That God is not an isolated God apart from everything else, but before we were ever created, God was a community of persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:53] Now, that's going to come into play more later, but let's move on to the second headline here, and the second headline is that God created mankind in his image. Now, in ancient cultures, in other ancient cultures that were around at the time that Genesis was being written, there were other creation accounts, they have their own creation stories. And in some of those creation stories, the idea of the image of God was present. But in those other creation stories, the only people who bore the image of God were kings, royalty, great warriors, really, the very famous great people of the world. What we get in Genesis is something that flies in the face of that idea, because what we see in Genesis one is that it's not just the kings and queens who bear God's image, it's not just the celebrities, it's not just a great warriors, it's not just the rich people, it's not just the really good looking people, every human being in existence bears the image of God, black or white, rich or poor, near or far, tall or thin, every human being bears the image of God, and with that comes dignity.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:11] Now, a quick definition, people are always debating what precisely does it mean that we bear God's image, and it's not spelled out for us in the kind of definition that we want in 2021 here. But I'll give a quick summary of what it means to be created in the image of God, it really is two things. It means that as human beings, we both reflect God, and we represent God. As human beings, more than anything else in all creation, we reflect the glory of the God who made us, and we also represent him to the entire creation. We're going to see later on, God calls human beings to rule, God is the ruler, and we rule in his name, we reflect God, and we represent God.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:00] And the fact that something big is going on here, there's clues to the idea that there's something big going on with the creation of mankind here. If you're familiar with Genesis, you know that there's a phrase that God uses over and over again, when he creates things. It shows up in Genesis 1:3, when he creates light and he says, "Let there be light." The phrase, let there be. Let there be light, let there be trees and vegetation, let there be a separation between the waters, let there be sun and moon and stars up in the sky, let there be, let there be, let there be.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:35] And then it gets to verse 26, and what does he say? "Let us make." Mankind is not just one more notch on his belt, it's not just one more thing that he's creating, mankind is the crown of God's creation. And if you ever been away from the city lights and out in the place that you can really see the stars, and you just look up at the stars and you're in awe of them, and you just soak it in and you say, what an amazing creation, look at the stars. Or you go to the ocean, and you say, oh my goodness, look at the power of the ocean. Or you see a mountain and you just see the majesty of it and you're amazed. We sometimes stand in awe of God's creation, and what I want you to know is that the creation stands in awe of human beings, we are made in the image and likeness of God and nothing else in all creation has that claim. We are not just at the top of the evolutionary process, we are distinct from everything else that God made, and we're made in his image.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:42] And I put the word dignity up there because it shows that there's a dignity that goes along with being human that's not true of anything else in all creation. There's a couple of ways to disclose that, in fact, I'll show you a couple of passages that make this connection for us. The first one is just eight chapters from now, Genesis Chapter 9 verse 6, this is after the flood, God is speaking to Noah, and he says this, “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind." Now, this sermon is not a deep dive talking about capital punishment and the death penalty, that's not the big point of this. I don't want you to miss the bigger point, God says, hey, if one person kills another person, that's a really big deal. Do you know why that's a really big deal? Because the person who was killed is made in God's image, and that means he takes that personally.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:39] Another passage, maybe slightly less intense, but the same idea is brought out. In Proverbs chapter 17 verse 5, the writer says, "Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker." If you mock a poor person and God says, hey, it's like you're making fun of me. Do you know why? I made that person. It would be like if you went to a building, you were like, oh my gosh, this looks awful. Who made this, did a 10-year-old make this? Nothing's going right, everything's out of order, and the maker of the building is right there. They would say, you're not just making fun of the building, you're making fun of me. When you show mockery to any other human being, because they're poor, because they are a different ethnicity, because they have different political beliefs than you do, if you show disdain for any other human being, you are showing disdain for God. Every human being bears his image, and that means as you are sitting here this morning, you are not an accident of some long process of chance, you were created in the very image of the one true God, and you have dignity.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:49] That's gift number one, gift number one, is dignity. But there's a second gift that we see as the passage unfolds, and that's that we also have the gift of gender. Maleness and femaleness doesn't show up in a passing statement 12 chapters later, it shows up right in the creation account in verse 27. And it says, "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."

Dan Franklin: [00:15:22] Now, I already mentioned this, but we have that weird thing in verse 26 with the us, the let us create mankind in our image. And I already said what I think is going on there is that that is showing that God in his very person, the one true God in his very person, is actually a unity and a diversity. There's Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all three, three are one, and there's total unity, even though there's distinction. And what we get in the creation of mankind is we get a reflection of that, God doesn't just create one sort of human being, he creates two sorts of human beings. He creates a man, and he creates a woman, so that there can be partnership, and so that God's glory can be reflected as two people that are a lot alike but are also pretty different. Safe to say, if you're married, you're like, yeah, pretty different. If you're not married, hopefully, you've noticed, yeah, pretty different. We're one, we have a lot in common, but we're pretty different, and the idea that we'd have unity, not just through marriage, but the way that men and women engage with one another. That there would be a beautiful unity in humanity, even though God created us different from each other.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:40] And part of what this points out, and this is important for us to see, is gender, our maleness, or our femaleness, it's not something that sort of peripheral to our identity. Like I could say, well, I'm an introvert. Well, OK, we kind of just made that phrase up, that's a way of describing the fact that when I'm around all of you guys, I need to go and rest afterwards, you guys just exhaust me. So it's all right, so that's the way to describe me, that's not core to my identity. And who knows, in fifty years we may be talking about things like that differently, that is not a core part of who I am in the world but being male is a core part of who I am in the world, it shows up right away when we see this described.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:20] And in fact, if we're going to talk about this, if we are saying, all right, we want to understand who we are, so we know how we engage in the world, so we want to understand who we are. Here's what we would start with, here would be the ranking of the top three. Number one would be this, you are created in the very image of the God of the Universe, and you have dignity, and you share that dignity with every other human being, that's number one. Number two would be your status with God. If you have placed your faith in Jesus, you're not just a human being created in the image of God, you are brought into the family of God through the death of Jesus Christ and through his resurrection, and you are God's son or you are God's daughter, you're brought into the family, that's the second most core thing about you. You're made in God's image, brought into God's family, do you know what number three is? You're a man or you're a woman. It is that core to who we are in the world, it makes the top three and how we understand our identity in the world around us.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:26] Now here's the deal, if I said everything that I just said, you know, 10 years ago, no problem. But we all know in the culture that we're in right now, even though 10 years ago, that's no problem, nobody's blinking an eye. All right, saying that today is actually kind of a controversial thing to talk about. The idea that who we are genetically, the idea that I'm a man, and that some of you are women, that that's part of the core of who we are. And that we can't just simply look at ourselves and decide, well, I born a man, but I kind of feel like I'm a woman, so I'll embrace that as my identity. Or I was born a woman, but I kind of feel more like a man, and so I'll embrace that as my identity. But instead that our calling is to embrace who God has made us to be as part of our core in how we interact in the world.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:12] And so as I talk about this, I do want to recognize, I don't know where everybody is at here now, but I know that in our culture, there are definitely people, and there are people that we know who are wrestling with this. Who when I talk about this, you're just like, OK, that's easy for you to say, I guess, but you don't know what I'm going through here? You don't know how out of place I feel in my own body, and I just feel like I would have more peace, and I'd really be embracing who I am if I was just able to identify that I'm a man, but I want to identify as a woman, or I'm a woman, and I want to identify as a man.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:42] So if that's where you're at, I want to say three things, I just have three brief things to say. The first is this, if that's where you're at and you decide to come out and share that with people at this church, or with your Bible study leader, or one of your pastors, you will be received, you will be welcomed. We are glad that you're here, we want you here, you're not going to be kicked out, you're not going to be exposed, you're not going to be shamed, you will be received if you decide to take the brave step of talking about where you're at with this stuff, that's number one.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:17] Number two is this, at this church, we will tell you the truth. Part of the dignity of being created in the image of God is that we feel like that we don't have to patronize each other or B.S. each other, but we can say, here's what God said, now let's deal with it. So at this church, you're going to be told the truth, you're going to be told the truth of what God has revealed, you're going to be told the truth in love and in care and in community, but you're going to be told the truth.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:42] And number three is this, the reason that we don't think that you should just say, well, I'm a man, but I'm going to identify as a woman, or I'm a woman, and I'm going to identify as a man, is because you will never find the peace you're looking for that way, it's a lie from the enemy, it's a lie from our culture. We're not just a bunch of old-school people that are like, ah, the kind of freaks us out, so, no, you're not allowed to do it. We say, we want everybody to experience the peace of the fullness that God has for you, and you don't get that through moving away from God and from his purpose for you, you move towards that by embracing who God has called you to be. So if that's where you're at, I hope that you take the brave step of sticking around and giving this church in these people a chance. And by the way, I just put all of you on the hook, because I just told people how we're all going to respond to them, right? We are all a part of that.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:35] All right, so with that said, I want to say is part of the unique way that scripture describes the maleness and femaleness, is that while there's a lot that we have in common, and while there's a common calling for all of us, there are distinct callings for men and for women. If you look through the New Testament, what you won't find is any time that an author is like, all right, I'm going to give different commands for tall people and short people, I'm going to give different commands if you have red hair or if you have black hair, that never shows up in the New Testament. But what does show up at several different points, is the author saying, men do this, women do this, most of it we all have in common, but there's a distinct calling for men and a distinct calling for women.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:18] And just like this isn't a deep dive on capital punishment and the death penalty, man, we could spend eight weeks just talking about what does it mean biblically to be a man, and what does it mean biblically to be a woman? So what I'm going to do is I'm going to give a sentence for each just to try to sum up the biblical teaching on this.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:35] I'll start with those of us who are men, here's God's calling for us as men. God's calling for us as men is that we would courageously take responsible leadership for the purpose of sacrificing to benefit others. Men, that's our calling in our families, in our friend group, in our church, and in our society, that we would take the courageous step of saying, all right, we're going to take the lead, we're going to go first, not because we want to be in charge, but because we want to lay down our lives and sacrifice to benefit all of those around us. That is the unique calling for men in the world.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:15] And for women to summarize the unique calling biblically for women in the world, women are called to respectfully support and help men fulfill this calling by bringing all gifts and insights to bear. Throughout Genesis 1 God keeps saying when he creates stuff, it's good. It's good, it's good, it's good. Genesis 2:18, he says something's not good, do you know what's not good? "For the man to be alone." God's like, this is no good, this is just a guy, he needs some help, and so he creates the woman. We know, I hope I don't need to spend time up here trying to prove, or trying to show evidence for the fact, that there are things that women see that we as guys just don't see, we need our eyes open, we need help. If we're going to have a society where we're saying, hey, it's good for men to sacrificially put themselves out there and take the lead and try to figure out what we're supposed to do. We cannot do this unless we have godly, respectful, courageous women stepping up and saying, I don't think you guys are seeing this, I want to help, I want to help you see what you're not seeing.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:22] What we ultimately need in our marriages, and in our church, and in our society, is that we need to put aside our juvenile battle of the sexes, it's pathetic, it's not dignified, and it's not helping anyone. The way that we thrive in marriage, in church, and in society, is when we have men and women not fighting with each other but engaging in this dance of people that are different and yet about the same purpose. We don't have any intention of trying to downplay the fact that men and women are different, we don't have any intention of downplaying the different callings that we have. We think that we thrive in God's calling for us when we play that up, and we say part of your calling, if you're a woman, part of the core of who you are in this world is that you're uniquely bringing your femininity to that. And if you're a man, part of how you interact in this world as God intends, is that you uniquely bring your masculinity to that. Gender is not just a construct, it's not just something that we made up, it's not just in our heads. It is a gift from God, and it's a good gift. Does anybody think, Amen? I think, Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:33] God gives us the gift of dignity, that we're made in his very image. He gives us the gift of gender, the beauty of us working together as men and women. But there's one more gift we're going to talk about, and that is the gift of purpose. Now I said at the beginning, if we're looking at this, we want to know who we are so that we know how to function in the world. This is where the rubber meets the road with this, God is about to give the first man and the first woman a couple of commands to say, here's how you function in the world. And we'll look at verse 28, then we'll look back at verse 26, which reinforces this. It says, "God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” And as I mentioned, this was already alluded to back in verse 26 when he says, after talking about mankind being made in God's image, he says, "So that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Dan Franklin: [00:26:41] Now, if we're looking at this, there's a lot said in verse 28, it really boils down to two commands that God gives the first man and the first woman. And to sum up, the two commands, he says, fill the Earth, and then he says, subdue the Earth. Here's what you're supposed to do, here's your purpose, fill the Earth. Number one, that's pretty straightforward, that’s be fruitful and increase in number, he says to the first man and woman, get busy, have kids. We want lots of kids around here, we want lots more people, overpopulation does not seem to be a problem that's on God's grid. Do you know why? Because we're made in his image. And you know what's better than one image-bearer? Two image-bearers. Do you know what's better than two? Alright, we could be here all day doing this, it's better to have more around, it's better to have more human beings around. This is something it would be like asking me, you know, Dan, how many Dodger fans are too many Dodger fans? I'd be like, uh, you know, my head would explode, I wouldn't understand the question. I'd be like, how could such a thing ever be true? To ask, alright, how many human beings are too many is a bizarre question to ask, we reflect him and represent him to the world, more is better. All right, that's all I'm going to say on that.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:01] The second command is, subdue the world. And this is a description of everything that he said about your ruling over the animals, your ruling over the created order, that we represent God as rulers in his place. And to subdue something basically means that instead of being at the whim of our environment, and of the animals, and of the problems that we face in life, that we're taking control of that by solving problems, that were being industrious.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:30] So just try to imagine for a second, think of what this would be like, we've got the first man and the first woman, they start having children, so there are more and more people around. And with every generation, there are new tasks that are being taken on. They're looking around and they're saying, all right, well, we need water to get to all these trees and all these plants, so we're going to create an irrigation system and we're going to find a way to get the water where it needs to go. And also, sometimes the weather is kind of bad, so we're going to find ways to get ourselves into houses and ways to keep warm and ways to keep cool when the weather's really bad. And not only that, we're going to figure out ways to keep the animals out from trampling on all of these other things, so we're going to build walls and fences, and we're going to have creative ways of doing this. And then with each generation, there are just more problems being solved, and people are walking in harmony with God because there's no gap between us and God. And there's this beautiful reflection of human beings conquering the Earth, trying to figure out how to take on problems, partnering with one another in total harmony and walking with God, and worshipping and reflecting Him to the world. That's the dream.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:32] Now, turn on the news, are we there? You're like if this is what we were made for, we have failed miserably. Like Dan, what you just described, that is not what the world is like at all, there is chaos. With each generation we're not getting more ordered, we are getting less ordered, there's more chaos, and more pain, there's murder, and there's death, and there's violence, there are horrific things in the world. And if you're looking and saying, that's what seems to have happened, I'd say you're absolutely right. Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." We were made for glory, we were made not just to be flesh and blood people that live here for a few decades and then go away and are never hurt, we were made for glory, and we've really mucked it up.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:22] The world is a mess because of our sin and because we said to God, we've got a better way than the way that you have for us, and so we're living in a world where there is sin and death and chaos and violence and disorder. And that's the bad news, do you want to know what the good news is? The good news is that God did not look at all of the chaos and disorder and pain that we created and say, well done with them, time to start over. God looked at fallen, broken, godless sinners, and he sent his beloved Son in his image as a human being to redeem and restore the entire human race. There is hope for us, there is hope for us because the Son of God took on flesh and decided to become a human being so that his death could cover our sins, and so that his resurrection could open up eternal life, so that we could be indwelt by the Spirit of God, so that we could be adopted into the family of God, and so day by day we could be restored to the original idea of what God has for us.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:30] By the way, there are passages in the New Testament, including Second Corinthians chapter 3 verse 18, that talks about the idea that as we walk with God, day by day, we are being transformed from glory to glory. Do you know what that means? We still bear the image of God, but it's faded because of our sin. When we walk with God, that image is becoming more and more prominent in us. If you're here this morning, and you're not a Christian, and you're listening to all of this, what you need to know is that the biggest problem in the world is not overpopulation, or lack of education, or over-incarceration, or any of those other problems that we take on, the biggest problem in the world is that we are estranged from God and we need to be restored to him. And if you're not a Christian, the greatest invitation that I could give to you is, bow the knee to Jesus, put your faith in him, so that you can be adopted into God's family and so he can transform you into who you were always meant to be. And that there are some more things to talk about, but if that's you today, if you're like, oh my goodness, I know I need this, don't leave today without talking to me. After the service, there will be a bunch of us down here afterward, I'll be there also, don't leave without taking that step to put your faith in Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:52] But let me also say a word to those of us who are believers, they're like, all right, I have put my faith in Jesus. Here's the deal, subduing the Earth is still what we're called to do. And you might think, well, that's weird. I can't just go up to people and be like, I'm in charge, do what I say. So what does it mean to subdue the Earth? I'll tell you three things that it means for those of us that are Christians.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:16] Here's where the subduing starts, the subduing starts with us subduing ourselves. With us looking at the fact that we have sin, that we have dysfunction, that we have temptations, and that the most human thing we can do is not just to give vent to all of our instincts and desires, the most human thing that we can do is to subdue those. To practice self-control under the power of the Holy Spirit, to walk with God in a way that instead of just being like the animals and working on instinct, we're putting sin and dysfunction to death in our lives. The first move of subduing for any of us, is to say I'm a mess and under the power of the Holy Spirit, I'm going to look to walk and rule my own body and my own instincts in the power of the Holy Spirit. That's our first step of subduing.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:09] A second one is, that we subdue society. And here's all I mean by that, what I mean by that is that we bring our Spirit led, Bible infused, Gospel empowered, selves to the table, and we look to solve problems that are marring society. We don't just say, alright, I'm going to get my family straight, and I'm going to get my marriage straight, and whatever anybody else does, that's their deal. We look to be salt and light, so we look around and we say we've got a lot of violence, or we have a lot of divorce and dysfunction, we have a lot of anxiety, we have a lot of conflict, we have a lot of imprisonment. We look at all of these things, and we as salt and light in our society, look to subdue the problems that are marring us under the power and under the leading of God's Spirit, that's number two.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:56] And here's the third one, we subdue ourselves, we subdue society, and the third one is that we subdue the world through evangelizing the world with the Gospel of Jesus. Now, I want to be very, very clear in case somebody on YouTube takes this and is like, here's what he's saying, I am not saying that we use force or violent means ever. It's not what Jesus did, it's not what the Apostles do, that's not our calling as believers, to say we're going to go out in force people to bow the knee to Jesus. Our calling is to go out in the Spirit with which Jesus did and announce his rule to the world, announce that Jesus is Lord so that in every nation, people can bow the need to Jesus, and so that his glory will be known in more and more places, in more and more homes, in more and more families, and in more and more nations. We are going out under the authority of the King, announcing the King, and saying we're inviting all to bow down to the King. We look to subdue the Earth through spreading the Gospel, not under our own power or under our authority, but as image bearers, and Spirit indwelt people. When you share the Gospel with somebody else, that's not just you sharing your faith, when you share the Gospel with somebody else, that's you doing one of the things that you were made to do, and that's you announcing the glory of God to the world around us.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:18] Friends, here's what I want to say, don't settle for just choosing your own identity. Don't settle for just saying, well, this is who I need to be in the world in order to get what I want, so here I am, I'm an extrovert, I'm an introvert. I'm tall, I'm thin, I'm athletic, I'm the funny one, I'm the smart one, I'm really academic, any of those things, I'm a four, I'm a six, I'm a nine, some of you know what I'm talking about with that. Don't settle for that, don't settle for that being who you are in the world, you bear the image of the one true God, and you bear his dignity, and so do others, so walking that dignity. You are uniquely created as a man or as a woman, embrace who God has made you to be, in order to function the way that he's called you to function. And you are made to reflect God's glory, you were made to fill, and you were made to subdue, so let's walk and reflect that.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:21] But as a reminder, none of this is even possible if God hadn't sent his Son to buy us back from death, so that we could be a part of this. And so what we're going to get to experience in the next part of this service, is that we're going to get to experience the reminder of what God did to buy us back, and that's that he sent his one and only Son to have his body broken and his blood shed for all of us. That's what we celebrate when we celebrate Communion, the bread represents the broken body of Jesus, and the cup represents the shed blood of Jesus for our forgiveness.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:05] And so that means if you're here, and you're not a Christian, we don't take communion because we think that it's something that sort of does something to you when you take it, we take communion so that those of us who are believers in Jesus can be reminded of what was done for us. So if you're not a Christian, this is not for you, this is for believers. But if you are a believer, this is an opportunity to reflect on what was done for you.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:27] Now we're doing communion a little bit differently today, we didn't pass the elements, and we're not going to all take communion at the same time. Instead, what we wanted to do in this service is we wanted to create some space for us to just be before God before we remember and take these elements. And so you can see Andy up here, in a minute after I pray for us, there's going to be an extended portion of time where Andy's just going to sort of play some music and we're going to give all of us some time for quiet prayer and reflection. And what's going to happen after that time for quiet prayer and reflection, Andy's going to lead us in some songs so that we can worship God together as a church family.

Dan Franklin: [00:39:10] We're not going to tell you when to take communion. We're going to say, you know what, when you've gone before the Lord and you're ready to celebrate, to worship, when you're confessed up, and you're prayed up, and you're thankful, go ahead and just wherever you are, take the elements. It may be at this portion of silence that we're going to have, it may be during the song one of the songs that we sing, that at some point in the song you say I'm ready to take and you go ahead and take communion. But what we wanted to do is create space for us to commune with the God who created us in his image and to remember all that he's done for us. So at any point in the rest of the service, when you just feel ready, when you feel like I want to take these elements in worship, in celebration, you go ahead and do that.

Dan Franklin: [00:39:56] Let me pray for us. Father, you didn't even have to make us, you didn't find a world that already had a bunch of human beings and you had to make the most of it, you set us into being and you gave us the dignity of bearing your image, it's more than we could ever ask for or deserve. And, Father, please rescue us from the lies that dehumanize us, and the lies that lead us to settle for an identity that's nothing compared to what you've made us to be. We pray that you lead us to embrace Jesus, to walk with Jesus, and to fulfill your calling for all of us. Father, we pray that during this time that you bring to mind the price that Jesus paid so that we can live in that, and worship in that, and remember that.

Recorded in Upland, California.
Read More
Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848