Oxford University has a rich heritage when it comes to the Bible. The first English bible had it's origins in Oxford translated by John Wycliffe. He was expelled from the University and His writings banned! Wycliffe lit the flame for the English Reformation and was often called the 'morning star of the Reformation' The Reformation also had string links with Oxford. The Oxford Martyrs Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley and Thomas Cranmer, were tried for heresy in 1555 and burnt at the stake in Oxford, England, for teaching and preaching from the bible. They were zealous christians who advanced the biblical truth of justification by faith alone and the authority of the word of God alone. The men were burnt at the stake just outside the city walls to the north, where Broad Street is now located. Latimer and Ridley were burnt on 16 October 1555. Cranmer was burnt five months later on 21 March 1556.
LOGOS LECTURE 1
Therefore being justified
Here is something you MUST have.
If it matters to you what brand your phone is or what label is on the bottom of your shoes keep reading because you have all the signs of being ‘image conscious’ We are ALL victims - influenced by a constant stream of promotions and advertisements that tell us ‘you can’t do without it today,’ yet knowing that it will be ‘out of date’ by tomorrow! Our world is dominated by updates and upgrades - symptoms of a world driven by consumerism and dominated by mass media.
Wikkipedia defines consumerism as “a social and economic order and ideology that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-greater amounts.”
Young people are easily caught up in a ‘must have’ mentality driven by a desire to be popular but sadly foreign to the teaching of the bible. The bible has much to say about our image with clear guidance as to how ‘image conscious’ we should really be.
The Bible defines the meaning of image in Genesis ch1v26:
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Our image is our likeness. God created us with a likeness after him. That likeness was spiritual, giving us a God consciousness with a moral and spiritual awareness distinct from animals. This image was distorted through the entrance of sin but God in his wondrous grace provided redemption for us through the precious blood of Christ; who was not 'made in the image of God;' because He is the ‘express image’ of God. The purpose of God in saving us is highlighted in Romans ch8 v 29:
“To be conformed to the image of his Son.”
This begins the moment we are saved and will only be complete when we reach Heaven. ARE YOU SAVED? It is a MUST. Christianity is not found in baptism, prayers or religion, it is found in one person alone, Jesus Christ. Acts 4:12 in the bible says,
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Here is something that is a 'must have' - salvation through Jesus Christ alone. No one else can save us from God's wrath eternally. People may say they are christians but the test is what they think of Christ. Are they 'born again' or just 'church attenders?'
The word ‘conformed’ is the greek word, symmorphos and means ‘to have the same form as another or to be similar to another.’ The challenge is whether you allow your image to be conformed and molded by the world and it's sinful habits or by the word of God. Buying the latest smart phone to make your life more efficient makes perfect sense but if your motivation for what you buy is only because everyone else has one you are conforming to the crowd and not to Christ. He made himself of no reputation and choose to live in a place that certainly was not high on the image stakes! The question was asked, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” John ch1 v 46.
If your image is based on current trends you will never be content for it must be continually updated in response to each new fad...In contrast, Paul tells us that,
“Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
1 Tim ch6 v 6
Your quest to achieve the image of reality TV stars, footballers and WAGS will lead to a carnal walk influenced by unbelievers. God expressly forbids us to be conformed to the image of the ungodly, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Rom ch12 v 2
Today many young people feel under pressure to alter their image on social networking sites. Perhaps the desire to have a following, to gain ‘friends’ and ‘likes’ can tempt you to create an online profile that is far from what you really are and more sinister - far from what you should be.
Daniel and his three Hebrew friends are an example of young students away from home who were pressurised to conform to the world of Babylon. Daniel’s three friends refused to bow down to the image of gold, despite being in the minority and facing death. However, God was with them in the fiery furnace and rewarded their courage to stand for God and not to worship a pagan image. Have you the courage to stand for God?
Maybe the next time you are tempted to queue all night for the latest iPhone or you feel under pressure to buy a Hollister hoody just to improve your image - remember that you are not your own, you are bought with a price. When Christ was on earth He did not fulfill the image the world expected of a King. Their rejection of Him proved that when it comes to being ‘image conscious’ the world can get it badly wrong!