2 corinthians 4:7-12 Love. Win. Grow. “Treasure in a Jar of Clay”
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; in you. perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life
I. Every man is simply an empty jar filled by something.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
A. The treasure that each one of us holds is glory of God which is seen in us.
7 But we have this treasure
Illus: Take a moment today and truly think about the wonder of redemption. God who has always existed, who created the world with just the spoken word of his mouth, sent His only son to die on this earth. Not only did God send his Son to this earth to die for our sins, but places his spirit within each one of us so that we might bear his glory.
Now take a moment and think about us. We have a beginning, and each one of us will have an end. We are all sinful by nature and action. There is not one person sitting here that can sat that they have not fallen short of God’s glory this week, this day, dare I say even this hour.
Worship begins in this understanding; it is understanding who God is, who we really are, and then living out that reality.
Illus: 2 Corinthians 4
6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
B. We must realize our place, we are not a gold goblet or even a porcelain serving dish—we are a clay jar.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay,
Illus: What man would walk into the white house, take his shoes off only to expose his grass stained socks by putting them up on the presidents coffee table. What person would come before the queen and give her a high five.
If we know to respect our authorities on earth, how much more should we honor and revere the King of heaven.
He is the great potter- we are the clay. He is the Lord, we are his servants… our lives should be dictated by our understanding of our maker, and in that understanding, we realize how minute, how clay we.
Illus: Romans 9
20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use?
C. Everything we are should point to the potter who has made us and filled us.
to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
Illus: Here’s the simple truth, When you begin with God, perfect, holy, all powerful, wise… you understand who you are, imperfect, fallen, finite, a simple jar of clay… at this point you realize that every thing good that comes out of you…everything is of God, and when everything comes from him, he gets the glory for every bit of it.
Illus: Jeremiah 18:1
18 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4 And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.
II. We gladly bear affliction knowing that we are filled with the Power of the gospel.
8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; in you. perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
A. What matters in this world comes down to this- we know that our clay pot will eventually perish, so when it is afflicted, perplexed, persecuted and struck down, we do not worry. Our hope is simply that what fills this old pot will never perish for it is eternal and secured by God in Christ Jesus.
8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
Illus: If I gave you $100 to invest in the future, how many of you would go down to taco bell… walk up to counter and buy 100 burritos so as to stick them in a safety deposit box so that in 30 years you might come back and reap a profit on a taco investment.
No one- you would have squandered you money.
A man who puts his hope in himself, his own work, and his own righteousness is more foolish than a man who spends his fortunes on taco investments.
Illus: Romans 8:18
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
B. Our hope is found in only one place- the cross of Christ.
10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus,
Illus: In our current culture the cross has become too pretty… it has become to a large degree a fashion accessory… we all wear them… look at them and yet most times never contemplate what it stands for.
The cross is a symbol of death. It is a symbol of suffering, a place of shame.
How many of you would wear a knife, a gun or an electric chair around you neck…
Our glory is solely in the cross of Christ. We don’t fear suffering because our lord suffered the most brutal death in the history or the world… we dont fear persecution because our life was born out of the brutal inhumane death of Jesus Christ.
Illus: The lords supper is us finding our hope in a crucified Christ. 1 Corinthians 11
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
C. Only in the death of Christ do we life.
10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested
Illus: We must see the greater purpose for Christ death. When I was young I learned that Jesus loves me and that he died just for me. This view is a very self centered view of God’s work… it makes us the center of God’s will. Though I am a recipient of the Love of God, I must realize that his work in my life is for the purpose of God’s work on this earth… Christ lives in me so that the world might see Christ through me.
Illus: John 14:6
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
D. Eternal life does not begin the day we pass on, but the moment that God moves into our lives.
10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
Illus: Ask your self the simple question… is the life of Christ seen in me on a regular basis… if not why not?
Illus: Romans 8:10
10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
III. Our life is found only in Jesus Death.
11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life
A. God’s call for us is simple, to put to death our flesh and its desires so that we can be filled with the life that Christ brings.
11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake
Illus: Jesus said take up your cross and follow me… the cross leads to death… what dies, us. As we die, as we give up our will, as we surrender everything, Christ lives in his fullness.
Illus: Galatians 2:20
20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
B. The simple purpose of God’s work in us is that Christ might live in our mortal flesh.
11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Illus: As a puppet is lifeless without the hand that moves it so we have no glory unless Christ fills us. The call is simple, to become nothing, to be empty, to become an empty jar ready to be filled by the glory of God.
Illus: Luke 9:23
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.