“Then God said, “Let us make human beings[a] 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,[b] and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” – Genesis 1:26-28.
People matter to God. Just look at the details that went into making us reflected in Genesis 1:26-28. We see that God made us in his own image. That means we reflect God somehow – when you look at someone, anyone, you see an idea of who and what God is. A desire to love and be loved, an ability to create, the gifts of imagination and so much more. We have been tarnished and battered by sin, but that does not alter the fact that each and every person you and I come into contact with bears the image of God upon them. Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago, said, “You’ve never locked eyes with anyone who does not matter to God.”
Psalm 139: 13-16 tells us: “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”
Not only did people matter to God in the beginning and during David’s time – they still do. God is with us, all of us, and we matter to Him. Jesus Christ didn’t die on the cross for church budgets, church programs, church attendance figures, technology or sound systems. Jesus didn’t die on the cross for the number of satellites, or cutting edge programs or parking-lot size.
Jesus died on the cross for people. People who attend the church and people who do not. For you and me and for the people we struggle to like. It was the value that God places on people which drove Jesus to the cross and which kept him there through all the pain and suffering that was involved. People matter to God.
I believe God is asking Northstar to continue to make room for more people, to reach beyond our walls and accept all kinds of people. God wants us to strengthen our foundations, but lengthen our ministries to reach the world around us.
This is the purpose of the church. This is why we do what we do at Northstar. God’s heart is for the lost and for the coming generations. The reason we need to be concerned about church growth is because people matter to God. That is the reason we don’t pull back and say we are large enough. To say that is to say we don’t care about those outside of our church. Because we do care – we want to win more people to Him. We do this because people matter to God and they matter to us.
- Read John 3:16 and 2 Peter 3:9. How do these verses reflect God’s heart for people?
- How did this message change your perspective of how much people matter to God?
- Pray this week that God would give us new ideas and new strategies to reach the lost in our area. Pray for people in our communities to come to put their faith and trust in Jesus.