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Clay Vessels for God's Glory

Clay vessels for God's Glory  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

Let me ask you a question today, are you ready?
Do you realize who you are today? Now there might be a multitude of answers to what i have just asked you...
But in reality I want you to know, we are clay vessels.
Now why do i say that? Well the Scriptures identity us in this way.... earthen, clay vessels.
Now consider this thought, why??
It is perhaps difficult to answer in a satisfactory way, but here goes....
We are his creation, the origin of man is from the earth, Adam the Bible says was formed form the dirt of the ground. Indeed a special creation, God has formed each of us.
And when you consider the text, earthen suggests common everyday materials, not gold or silver, not something really extravagant.
But at the same time, Jesus died for us, we are important, we are heirs of God and co-heirs in Christ.
But remember this: we cannot forget that Jesus died for us, and as such we are not our own, we have been bought with a price.
And we are here for God’s glory.
Now this morning I want to take us on journey to show us a little about our self in Christ and what God hopes to do through us.
So we will look at two passages this morning the first will be and the second will be .
So lets get ready to begin....
Take your Bibles and lets find
Jeremiah 18:1–6 ESV
1 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.
Jeremiah 18:1–20 ESV
1 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. 7 If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, 8 and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. 9 And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10 and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. 11 Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: ‘Thus says the Lord, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.’ 12 “But they say, ‘That is in vain! We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’ 13 “Therefore thus says the Lord: Ask among the nations, Who has heard the like of this? The virgin Israel has done a very horrible thing. 14 Does the snow of Lebanon leave the crags of Sirion? Do the mountain waters run dry, the cold flowing streams? 15 But my people have forgotten me; they make offerings to false gods; they made them stumble in their ways, in the ancient roads, and to walk into side roads, not the highway, 16 making their land a horror, a thing to be hissed at forever. Everyone who passes by it is horrified and shakes his head. 17 Like the east wind I will scatter them before the enemy. I will show them my back, not my face, in the day of their calamity.” 18 Then they said, “Come, let us make plots against Jeremiah, for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, let us strike him with the tongue, and let us not pay attention to any of his words.” 19 Hear me, O Lord, and listen to the voice of my adversaries. 20 Should good be repaid with evil? Yet they have dug a pit for my life. Remember how I stood before you to speak good for them, to turn away your wrath from them.
So here we are looking at one of the major prophets in the Old Testament, a man God called to speak to the house of Israel during a difficult time in their history.
And when you look at the word God shares with Jeremiah we can see something pretty wonderful that can speak to our life as well if we allow it.
So lets begin with this thought...

1. The Potter is Always at Work

If there is one truth I want you to take into account my friends it is this truth, the Potter is always at work, and God is the Potter.
There are people in our world who say God created, put everything in motion and then stepped away never to be heard from again. He doesn’t do anything else in our world. He doesn’t help, work, call or inspire any longer.
But you know what… there are two scientific words for their theory ...hog wash.
The Bible illustrates that God is at work.
Take our text for example...
says the word of the Lord came to the prophet Jeremiah… Jeremiah arise and go to the Potters house and there I will let you hear the word I have for you...
Jeremiah 18:3–6 ESV
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.
I love this passage, you know why?
God gives Jeremiah a picture he can understand without any doubt, without any error.
As Jeremiah looked into the Potters shop, he saw that Potter at work and his project it spoiled, it didn’t work out just as He planned and so he started again..
Now I can relate to that…
I remember High School art class, and in art you had a little time when you got to sit at one of the pottery wheels. And the teacher would give you some instruction and then let you have a try at it.
You would throw the clay down and start the wheel.. and always, always there would a problem something you would have to figure out, i need to hold my hand here this way, and to do this, another… an yes at times I would need to stop and start again.
But no matter, the person at the wheel keeps going until he or she is satisfied.
Jeremiah saw the Potter and this one thing is certain, the Potter did not stop or give up.. The Potter was always working on the design in His mind.
God is always at work in us until His plans are complete. I see that in this passage and I believe and I know for certain our God is still at work because His plans are not complete.
Now a person might say… how do I know....
Let me share a story with you, Friday morning I was just getting up and found a email from a old friend, the note said “…I was thinking about you this morning and I said a prayer for you.” There is proof God is at work, for some reason God had directed a person to pray for me.
I can tell you another thought… God is still at work because Jesus has not come back yet, and since the rapture has not occured, God is still at work in the world and in the hearts of the lost. He will continue to work until He tells his Son to go get your bride..
Now here is a question for you....
Do you trust that God is at work in your life?
What is he doing for you? What is he preparing you for?
He is at work my friends.... He is at work in your life today.
Now lets look at this second thought
Now lets look at this second thought

2. The Potter Transforms His Creation...

Think about the word transformation....
Transformation means to make over, but please do not think God made a mistake and had to start over… no, not at all.
Transformation means to change....
Think about the caterpillar, it is functional on its own. it has a job and a purpose, but then at the right time it spins a cocoon and there a transformation takes place. Then at the right time, the butterfly emerges...
Transformation has taken place...
As God works in us, transformation takes place...
Go back to our text with me
Jeremiah 18:3–6 ESV
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.
Just as the Potter took what seemed failed in his hands and made it over… the Lord declares to Jeremiah, can I not do the same to the house of Israel.
Now here is a question,
Can he not do the same to us as well?
Yes, the Bible tells that “we are a new creation in Christ Jesus...” The old has gone and the new has come.... how did this happen.
Through the blood of Jesus, we have been transformed. and this transformation is not for us, but truly it is for the glory of God.
Now are you ready....
Another question… What does God seek to change in your life? God is always at work in the lives of His children, what does he seek to do in your life?
And why does God do all this....
Because of Jesus in us....

3. We Hold a Wonderful Treasure

Without a doubt God loves us and has blessed us in a marvelous way! Why am I certain of this? Because of what He has done in us… He has placed himself in us.
He resides here… in our heart.
Before I get ahead of myself, lets find our next text…
2 Corinthians 4:7–11 ESV
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; 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.
Do you see verse 7....
We have this treasure in clay jars. Now think if this....
Clay jars refers to us, the most common of all creation. Clay is from the material of the earth, material that is found everywhere it is good and safe, but it is not silver or gold.
Clay jars are fragile, they can chip, they can break, and sadly they can shatter. But with all of that, they were the most used containers of the world in that day and time.
Think about what’s in your house, there is something that is probably pretty common, but you use it all the time. a certain cup or mug.
It the common that we use the most..
And it is the common that God has chosen to use. God has chosen to use humanity for his work, and inside of us He has stored a treasure.
2 Corinthians 4:10 ESV
10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
2 Corinthians 4:10
The treasure we have is more precious than gold or silver, it is the truth about Jesus, the message of the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord that has defeated death and given life to all who call upon the name of the Lord.
And i have that stored in my life? The most precious news, the good news is stored in my heart.
And you know what…?
I can give it away and never loose any of it. I can share it, and it blesses me and those around me.
What a glorious treasure it is my friends. And if you know Jesus and your Lord and Savior, You have that treasure stored in your life as well.
Do you have this treasure?
I want to tell you if you don’t, you can walk away with this treasure today
Now I want to share on last thought with you...

4. God’s Glory is Revealed

If there is one thought from this text in that speaks to my heart it is the fact God sustains us, and in this He is glorified.
We may feel like nothing… But God’s glory is revealed in us.
Let me take you back to this passage again...
2 Corinthians 4:7–11 ESV
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; 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.
Listen to what Paul says here.
The treasure has been placed in us to show us and the world that this wondrous power is God’s not our won.
The Holy Spirit has been placed in us, filled all the way up if you will… revealing the magnificent power of God.
No matter what we face, God sustains us for the joy of Jesus being made manifest in us for the world to see.
Paul uses the words that remind us of his suffering… consider this....
A. Afflicted in every way… but not crushed… Paul says suffering abounds, stressed to the max but there remains hope… (it’s Jesus).
B. Perplexed but not driven to despair..... Paul says confused, to the point that he doesn’t understand all they why’s but he has not lost hope, he has not lost his composure, mentally or spiritually.
C. Persecuted but not drive to despair… harassed and attacked because of his belief in Jesus, because of his faith and values.... But Jesus stands with him… He never leaves him and has not forsaken him.
Matthew 5:3 ESV
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:7 ESV
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Matthew 5:5 ESV
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
D. Struck down but not destroyed… Paul suffered much for Jesus to the point of being stoned, beaten and abused but His life was spared for God was with him.
Matthew 5:8 ESV
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Matthew 5:9 ESV
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
And for Paul, it didn’t matter...
Matthew 5:10 ESV
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
all that mattered for that Jesus was revealed in His life.
And for Paul, it didn’t matter...
Verse 11… reminds us that death is very real for us.
All that life has for us,
Death begins to approach the moment after we are born, but after the “new birth” we may face death, death may taunt us and the devil might afflict us… But death has no power over us.
And the glory of God is revealed in us no matter what we face.
reveals it the best
2 Corinthians 4:15 ESV
15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 4:15 ESV
15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
The word all here is what you should focus on...
All that we face, persecution, labors and ministry challenges, we face it all so that God is revealed more and more, so that his grace is manifest in us.. and it not only blesses us.
No… but it is revealed so that more and more people might believe through the grace of God seen in us
There in God is glorified.
Here is a question for you/....
What are you facing today.... what have you faced.. did you live in such a way that God’s glory is revealed in you...
When God’s glory is revealed, when others see Jesus in us, God is gloried!!!!
And we live in breath for the glory of God...
Is He glorifed in your life? If not why and what are you going to do about it.
What will you do about it?
Pray/.
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