Confused and Bruised, but We Refuse to Loose
Proposition: even in the direst of situations, the Christian must not loose heart or give up. We cannot focus on the situation we find ourselves in, but rather if we keep our mind focused on Jesus and the task at hand, then we can find our way out of any trap that the enemy has set for us.
Introduction: Inspiration For This Sermon
I count myself blessed to know Pastors Foote and Fannon. I thank God constantly for letting our paths cross.
It helps when you have someone who understands your situation. All three churches understand the challenges of keep the doors open at our size. Both Pastor Foote and Pastor Fannon understand what it means to be a pastor of such a church, so we can help each other through the good and the bad times.
I enjoy the conversations that we have. I recall one conversion that Rev. Fannon and I had not long ago. It’s not the content of the conversation that I remember so well, but it’s how he answered the phone. I asked him a question in no particular way, but he answered the question in a very determined manner. I basically asked “how are you?”
Pastor Fannon replayed in an easy but firm way, and he said, “I refuse to complain!”
All I could say is, “Wow!”
If we are going to make it as ambassadors for Christ, then we have to adopt that same attitude. The enemy is not going to let us perform our duties, but the enemy desires for us to walk away from the office that God has put us in. If we can be made to give up on our ministry, then that is one battle won for an enemy who has already lost the war.
There is enough work for all of us to have something to do. Our churches need each and everyone doing what our pastors need and what God has equipped us for.
We have a mandate to carry the Gospel to light up a world full of darkness.
I. The Power of God and the Weakness of Mankind
A. The Treasure
The treasure is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
What is more valuable that a person’s soul.
Man would have no hope without the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
B. The Vessel
The earthen vessel represents the individual Christian.
The earthen vessels mentioned here were fragile clay pots.
These pots were of little value and were used for common house hold functions.
C. The Glory
It is possible for the power, strength, and glory of God to exist in even the weakest of vessel. The glory of God was able to exist in tents in days of old.
We must remember that the glory goes to God alone. It would be wrong for us to expect to receive praise for what God has done.
There is something wrong when the vessel robs the treasure of its glory, when the casket attracts more attention than the jewel which it bears. There is a very perverse emphasis when the picture takes second place to the frame, and when the ware which is used at the feast becomes a substitute for the meal. There is something deadly in Christian service when “the excellency of the power” is of us and not of God. Such excellency is of a very fleeting kind, and it will speedily wither as the green herb and pass into oblivion.
J. H. Jowett, Life in the Heights, p. 65.
II. Under Pressure, but Not Pressed
A. Hard Pressed
The first section of the eighth verse is saturated with the idea of pressure. There is an idea of trouble pressing in on all sides, or more specifically on both sides (From without and within). There is pressure from our children, our cars, our homes, our jobs, our spouses, our churches, our expectations, our emotions, and so on, and so forth.
B. Not Crushed
In light of our brittle and fragile makeup pressure is the worst thing to deal with. The slightest pressure could destroy us, because we fracture so easily. The pressure on us is indeed high, and under normal circumstances we would crack under this type of force.
We are certainly 'Troubled on every side'. Beyond any shadow of any doubt we are hard pressed, but thanks to God that this little clay pot has not been crushed.
It's not what the pot is made of that prevents it from being crushed to a fine powder, but rather what is in it. If the pot were empty it could be shattered by the slight contact, but there is something in this clay pot that absorbs the shock and dissipates the force evenly. It's the strength of Him that is in side of us that keeps us from being crushed.
III. Lost, but Still Looking Ahead
The word translated as perplexed in our text has the idea of not knowing which way to go (to be at a loss).
The way is not only straight and narrow, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out. Sometimes it seems like we take one step forward then two steps back. Seems like we suffer wrongly for doing what is right.
B. Not in Despair
The literal translation of our next word is to not have any way out. Our text states that we may not understand the way we must go, but at least there is a way to go.
Jesus is the WAY, the Truth, and the Life. He is the Good Shepherd. We know His voice and we will not follow another's voice.
We must walk by faith and not by sight to travel this road.
IV. Running, but Not Running Alone
While we travel along the way that God has laid before us, there will be those who systematically follow us in order to harass us. They will organize and take every opportunity to oppress us. When we try to do our very best to avoid any type of conflict and live peaceably they still will raise all sorts of trouble in our lives.
B. Not Forsaken
Jesus is the Good Shepherd. The hire hand may leave at the first sigh of trouble, but the Good shepherd will not leave nor forsake us. Jesus told us that “lo, I am with you until the end of the world.”
V. Knocked down, but Not Knocked Out
(R.I.P. Rev. Edwards)
A. Struck Down, but Not Destroyed
Being knocked down is not always a bad thing. Sometimes we forget that we are mere clay. Sometimes we let too many things get in the way of our relationships with God and man. When you have been knocked down off your feet for one reason or another, it is then when you begin to reflect on what is important. The man in jail somehow sees his need to find Jesus although he never saw such need when he was free.
I do not mean to suggest that everything that knocks us to the ground is our fault, but one thing I can assure you of is that not even one bird hits the ground with out my God's knowledge. Don’t worry about being knocked down, but rather worry about knocked out.
Jesus put it this way:
28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
The New King James Version. 1982 (Mt 10:28). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Conclusion: I'm Coming Lord (Canton Spirituals).
I'm coming Lord
I'm coming by my self
I may be blind, crippled, and sick
And can't see, walk, or get well
You can look for me
Don't call the role until I get there