From Jeff’s Desk….
Today we begin a new series about fundamental facts we must not forget. I remember hearing Alan Highers say in effect that sometimes we teach error by failing to teach truth. You don’t have to preach error, just start ignoring the truth on a given subject, and error takes over. I do not assume the hearers in my midst know some of the fundamental facts we will discuss. If you know them, congratulations, this is a refresher course.
Our text today is II Corinthians 4:1-7. The thing I want you to see is that God’s greatest treasure, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is placed in earthen vessels like you and me. The NIV uses the phrase, “jars of clay”.
First, I wonder if I would entrust to you my greatest treasure. As a teenager, I was hesitant to let even my best friend borrow my car. I had suffered to buy that thing and feared losing it. One friend was offended when I refused his request. Meanwhile, God’s greatest treasure, the treasure He sacrificed to obtain, is placed in the hands of “earthen vessels” like you and me. How unsearchable are His judgments!
God uses earthen vessels in conversions to Christ. In Acts 2 the Spirit is present in a glorious way but God used Peter, an “earthen vessel” to preach the Gospel. In Acts 8 an angel was well aware of the Ethiopian Eunuch searching for truth but that angel called Philip, an earthen vessel, to share the story of Jesus. Acts 9 tells of Saul’s conversion. Beyond the flash of light and the voice of our Lord, God sent Ananias, an earthen vessel to instruct Saul further. The same with Cornelius in Acts 10. God could have used angels, visions, or some direct operation of His Spirit to share the treasure with Cornelius. He used Peter, an earthen vessel.
Jesus confirms God’s use of earthen vessels to carry the treasure of the Gospel. You are the light of the world, let it shine he says in Matthew 5:14-16. Go preach and teach and teach them again he says in Matthew 28:16-20. He even speaks of the Counselor who will prepare his disciples to testify about him, John 15:26-27. I’ve always loved that Jesus prayed for we who believe on him through their message, John 17:20.
Sometimes, people are still awaiting some fantastic working of God’s power before they will believe and obey the Gospel. Meanwhile, in our midst, God has placed a “treasure” in “earthen vessels” like you and me. Are you carrying that treasure well?
You are probably thinking, that was them, not me. They were good earthen vessels with great treasure, not me, “I’m too earthy”. That’s the point of the whole matter. You are no more “earthy” than Peter, Ananias, or Paul and the treasure has not diminished one bit. As an earthen vessel with a treasure inside you are obligated to carry the treasure well. Are you???
It is good to be at Southside!!!
Jeff W. Smith