Sermon Audio & Review
Pastor Mike Hixson
- Category: Morning Worship Series
- July 23, 2017
As Creator, God has revealed his majesty and has given us dignity – all so that we might worship Him!
The following is a quotation from scientist Carl Sagan, famous for his “Cosmos” documentary series:
“Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people… I am a collection of water, calcium, and organic matter called Carl Sagan. You are a collection of almost identical molecules with a different collective label.”
Feeling very small is not uncommon when contemplating Creation. As individuals, we are incredibly small. In the universe, even collective mankind is tiny.
Science can direct our attention to all that is out there and outside of us, relegating humanity to only a fraction of what really exists. This isn’t bad, but a mind bent on sin will interpret this perspective one of two ways: he will devalue and diminish man’s significance in the grand scheme of life, or he will attach meaning only to his time here on earth. What’s more, if his existence is seemingly insignificant, how much less significant is his behavior, his decisions, his way of life?
In Psalm 8, a shepherd-turned-king of Israel looked up at the stars and had similar thoughts. “Who are we? What are we here for? Where are we going? And if God created all this, why would he care about me, one of a few billion people on the planet?”
God reveals His majesty to us through His creation.
God’s greatness can be seen in the vastness of creation (Psalm 8:1). This is a common theme in Scripture – God revealing Himself in the created universe around us. Psalm 19:1-2 says, "The heavens are telling of the glory of God… Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge." We all have our Grand Canyon stories, where we are faced with something absolutely incredible in nature and realize that this could not have happened by itself. Romans 1:20 tells us that God is clearly seen through creation. We can see His eternal power and Godhead.
God uses the stars and the heavens to declare His majesty, but he also use the most fragile of humanity to declare his Majesty. Psalm 8:2 is admittedly a difficult passage to interpret. How do infants show God’s strength? And how do they "make the enemy and revengeful cease"?
In verse two, the infants and babies proclaim God’s praise, in the simplicity of them in their message is enough to damn the most powerful enemy. In Matthew 21:15-16, the children praised Jesus when He entered Jerusalem, and Jesus referred back to Psalm 8 as a rebuke to the Pharisees. Clearly the Pharisees should have been joining the children and even leading them in praise to the Messiah! Instead, they acted as his enemies and were judged for their stubbornness.
Once we have this knowledge, merely acknowledging God is not the whole of our responsibility. Just as being aware of a traffic law is not enough to keep us safe on the road, failure to obey God's revelation will not end well for us.
God shows mankind their value through His Word.
Without God’s Word, we are left with a majestic God and an insignificant identity (Psalm 8:3-4). Man is left to see his life as having little significance or value. Thankfully, we have God’s special revelation in His Word, the Bible. Instead of seeing man as minuscule, God has given man great importance, especially in comparison to the rest of creation. This is the role of special revelation – the revelation of God that is specific to man about what his role is in the universe (Hebrews 1:1-3, 2 Peter 1:19-21). Special revelation always gives value to God and to man.
We are closer to God than any other created thing (Psalm 8:5). Translators disagree about whether mankind was made lower than God or angels. Man’s present moral state is inferior to angels, but his position of significance is higher than the angels. Hebrews 2:5-18 give us some insight. The Son of God became fully man and shares in our same flesh and blood. Christ died not for angels, but for mankind and his sins; angels who have fallen (demons) are not able to accept Jesus as their Savior and be forgiven.
Through Christ, we have been made into family members (Psalm 8:10-11). Jesus’ humanity qualifies him (and us) to be of the same family. We have the same Father, and Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers.
Jesus' sacrifice for us has paid a full atonement for our sin since he tasted death for everyone (Psalm 8:9). Though we do not see the full implications in reality now, Christ has conquered our greatest enemies for us. One day we will be in a state of moral perfection (1 John 3:2).
We have superior standing in the created world (Psalm 8:6-8). Man has a position that is superior to the animal kingdom (James 3:7). One of the distinguishing factors between animals and man is his ability to consider existential questions such as those posed in this psalm.
Implications of the Dignity of Man
The dignity of human life must impact how we treat others. The Death of a Salesman contains this powerful quote:
You can’t eat the orange and throw away the peels. Man is not a piece of fruit!
This selfish attitude is especially at the heart of lust, sexual sin, and pornography. Consuming the product of pornography encourages and perpetuates the devaluation of living souls.
Today there is much talk about empowering women, and we should be all for empowerment when God empowers them. Women's bodies are not for men to consume like an orange mentally or physically. The significance and identity of women is not tied to their sexual behavior, ability to attract a mate, or the number on a clothing tag. Why is it that we need something like cancer to teach us that our worth is not tied to physical attractiveness? Men and women have dignity because God has given it to them.
By showing us the importance of Christ coming in the flesh, God’s Word shows us the value of physically being with one another. Believers will prioritize meeting together (Hebrews 10:25). If God wanted to, He could have communicated truth from heaven as he had for centuries before. Instead, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). We will also be resurrected with physical bodies. There is something different and unique about being with other saints physically and worshipping together. This is why simply listening to a live stream or podcast of a service will not be the same as actually being there.
God’s majesty and man’s significance should point us to our ultimate purpose in existence: worship! Every person is a worshipper. The object of our worship is what differentiates us. Following the quote at the top of the page, Carl Sagan continued:
“Some people find this idea (being made up of water, calcium, and so on) as demeaning to human dignity. For myself, I find it elevating that our universe permits evolution of molecular machines as intricate and subtle as we are.”
Sagan reveals that he worships the creation and not the Creator, just like Romans 1 says. Perhaps you have not submitted to God and have not sought forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Today can be that day! If you are a true worshipper of God through Jesus Christ, then your lifestyle of worship should reflect not only God’s majesty but also man’s dignity.
- Children giving simple praise to God is convicting to adults. Have you "outgrown" simply praising God for who He is? Are you more occupied with temporal things?
- Are you a true worshipper? Does your life reflect God's majesty by living with Him as your Lord? Do you treat others with dignity, not to advance yourself?