Treasures in Jars Of Clay
2 Corinthians 4:3-12 (NIV)
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
TREASURES IN JARS OF CLAY
I remember studying with two brothers
Late nights and at all hours - I remember when studying the Bible actually became good news to me
Good news the gospel of Jesus came to me
Heaven assurance of heaven
Relationship with God
God has finally taken me inside his fold and under his wing
Saw hopes of having a Great life marriage, children etc - divorce was imminent!
Blessings of job, home & peace
POWER OF HIS WORD
As time has passed I sometimes need to be reminded how great that news still is. The gospel, the good news!
Christ's ministry WALK WITH ME
Intro on John the Baptist
A miraculous birth
Purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus-who was bringing the gospel and is referenced as the good news - preparing the hearts of the people to meet God in the flesh.
So he had done an incredible job but his remaining days he is in prison ( depressed) strong start - as his life was -
SPIRITUAL REALIGNMENT - lessons learned
THE CALLING of the gospel
Matthew 11:1-15 (NIV)
1 After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. ( all he did TEACH, PREACH AND HEAL)
2 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
JOHN WAS EVEN QUESTIONING WHO JESUS REALLY WAS -I MEAN WAS HE NOT THE ONE THAT PROFESSED ABOUT THE CHRIST??
4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
JESUS IS AWESOME AND SO MUCH MORE DIFFERENT
NOW I WOULD HAVE BEEN A BIT DIFFERENT
You and I may feel sorry for John
He does not answer John question directly? But shows validation
What would tell someone who asks are you a disciple?
May be read Acts 2
Tell them where in the book of Jeremiah it says that ?
Or I am able to quote the scriptures quite well
SEE HOW GOD IS BLESSING MY LIFE
Reminder to John - the great things that gospel was doing in the lives of the people
So he very clearly points to his ministry
Q) Do you have a ministry to point to?
JESUS BEGINS TO REALIGN THEIR PERSPECTIVE ON what the gospel requires to be effective and every time I think I got it, Jesus makes it clear I may have clearly missed it
7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind?
The cost of a man bringing he gospel to this spirituality impoverished world !
DID YOU EXPECT TO SEE A MAN WHO SWAYED WITH THE CHRISTIAN TREND OF THE DAY? EASY with many supporters? (Boston persecution at its finest - Sister was murdered - and the stories )
Constant against the grain of our society)
8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? (Comfortable & Cossey, surroundings not here buddy) No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING AS A CHRISTIAN? WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING YOUR MINISTRY WOULD BE LIKE WES?
Luke 9:57 -
9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written:(NIV) “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you. 11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
JESUS GOES ON TO STATE THAT THOSE IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD ARE GREATER THAN JOHN - THE VALUE OF THE GOSPEL IS SO FAR MORE VALUE THAN JUST THE INTRODUCTION OF CHRIST
Originally John's mission was so very clear to him, should it not be the same to me? His mission was not Raising kids ? Being married? Setting up his career? His timeshares or 2nd home? Or setting up for his retirement plan? Nor was it all about his children, prestige, comforts of life? What was it about? The next vacation? Great meal? Nice stuff which to my shame I can be so preoccupied with those things!
I remember coming out of baptism and it was super clear what my life now meant
IM IN STILL VERY MUCH IN THE STATE OF LEARNING THE VERY HARD TRUTH OF DELIVERING THE GOSPLE
SOMETIMES WHEN IT COMES TO A LIFE OF A DISCIPLE WE CAN BE STUCK IN A ROUTINE
Read, pray, confess & share, midweek, bible talk, church
These routines become habits - it unfortunately happens that we can become nice warm & friendly people because we have very good habits, yet the mission of the gospel becomes very cloudy and leaves the person just a person with good habits
2 Corinthians 4:1-4
Paul sees the inexpressible value of being a Gospel compared to what Moses had brought (Chap 3)
He emphasizes the glory of the ministry of Christ how much more amazing it is compared to anything you are hoping for
The amazing transformation of a soul, from being without God to being with God, which at the core of the matter of every human being,.. further more it VERY LITTLE to do with making ones life better(martyrdom), SINCE IT is so far more significant and eternal
HIDDEN GLORY IN THE GOSPEL
Most times the glory and blessings are in the trials
2 Corinthians 4:1-13 (NIV) 1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. (ITS EASY TOO LOSE HEART) 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 4:4 MSG
All they have eyes for is the FASHIONABLE god of darkness. They think he can give them what they want, and that they won't have to bother believing a Truth they can't see. They're stone- blind to the dayspring brightness of the Message that shines with Christ, who gives us the best picture of God we'll ever get!
not a disciple - SATAN HAS GOT YOU GOOD - it is not about what you like or don't like about the church that should dictate your decision to follow such an incredible loving God - the doctrine is correct we are all just a mess - let know one tell you any different.
(MANY TIMES THIS IS A BATTLE FOR ME AS WELL , I WONT DENY THAT IM BLINDED AT TIMES)
Satan also has many of us in the place
COME TO CHURCH, CLEAN UP YOUR LIFE AND YOU WILL HAVE GREAT FRIENDS, GREAT JOB & a fantastic spouse and awesome kids
THE GOSPEL IS SOOOOO MUCH MORE POWERFUL - DON'T LET SATAN LIE TO YOU WITH TEMPORARY PLEASURE AND COMFORT
5 For what we preach is not ourselves, (not about me at all) but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure (power in the ministry of the gospel) in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
This was a life style I signed up for many years along with some of you but the truth be told we shy away from this all together .. it's as if we all subscribe to Christians Today magazine - what's popular and ok, how to live faithful but not painful.. we snob at the prosperity gospel but enjoy living by it anyway
IT ALMOST SEEMS A SHAME..The jars of clay are not impressive as we would like them to be, in so many ways it's the opposite . our challenges, our sacrificing, our turning of the other cheek, abstaining from materialism, the call to love even our enemies, enduring accusations against Christ because of his standards, our surrendering to countless things in reverence to Christ looks un attractive, defeating and pale in comparison to what this fashionable god has to offer it's like a jar of clay but the truth be told we have more than our weight in gold because this type of faith & persistence gives glory to God it is at the purest form what every human being needs - deep connection with Christ it heals them it strengthens them it transforms them, it encourages them it inspires them, it is what truly fulfills them from the inside out!
10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. .....
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (outwardly it appears as if I'm loosing this battle.) you may see the progress of others and wonder what am I doing wrong?
17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Is this to be expected?
Ohhhh how I want to ease these troubles
Hidden Glory Confirmed by Christ
John 12:23-26 (NIV) 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains
only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
MUCH MORE WILL COME OUT FROM OUR SUFFERINGS AND SACRIFICES ? Right the more things I die to the greater the FRUIT!! , THE GREATER THE BLESSING, THE GREATER JOY, THE GREATER THE HEART TO HEART CONNECTION TO GOD & THE GREATER THE IMPACT THE GOSPEL HAS
A GOSPEL COMPELLED BY LOVE
2 Corinthians 5:11-15 (NIV)
The Ministry of Reconciliation
11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves (to what degree have you taken this scripture to heart & implemented it)
but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Man am I so worldly in my thinking
HOW CONVINCED AM I ? That CHRIST DIED FOR THE UNGODLY? For hitler , for politicians, child pedophiles, homeless, liars, murderers? What does that imply ? What does that say about every human being on the earth ?
GOSPEL OF SACRIFICE
2 Corinthians 6:3-11 (NIV)
3 We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.
What comes to mind when you hear of a discredited ministry? Would CHRIST discredit my ministry? Or give me a rating that is poor,not based on numbers or how many times I shared my faith or church attendance- I think it would be based on how much of my faith and trust and hopes were BASED on Christ and how much love was expressed through a sacrificial life,
JOHN WAS ABOUT TO DISCREDIT HIS MINISTRY BY WORRYNG ABOUT HIS LIFE AND BECAUSE HIS PERSPECTIVE OF SERVING THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST WAS SKEWED TO THE POINT OF HIM FALLING AWAY
So Paul lists a number of situations that could be clearly a stumbling block to an effective ministry . With such determination he proclaims that himself and others with him will not allow these situations though some are very challenging to discredit their ministry of reconciling men & women to God
4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
1 Corinthians 9:19-26 (MSG)
19 Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: 20 religious, nonreligious, 21 meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, 22 the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn't take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I've become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. 23 I did all this because of the Message. I didn't just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!
24 You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. (BOLTs was mischief and quite silly until he took it seriously. The mindset I have nothing to loose if I give it all up)
25 All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally.
26 I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got. No sloppy living for me! 27 I'm staying alert and in top condition. I'm not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.
Jesus challenges us to see where are treasure lies truly
Matthew 6:19-21 (MSG)
A Life of God-Worship
19 "Don't hoard (NIV STORE UP) treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars.
20 Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it's safe from moth and rust and burglars.
21 It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.
TREASURES IN JARS OF CLAY
Where are you heart when it comes Ministry of Christ?
What expectations are you holding on to?
Do you value the treasures you now hold?