Summary: The Lord places this most precious treasure in Jars of Clay - so that others will see and experience the treasure of Christ rather than being impressed with or find fault in us.
TITLE: JARS OF CLAY AND CRACKED POTS
SCRIPTURE: II CORINTHIANS 4:7
I want to read this text from the King James Version and the NIV- New International Version –
“BUT WE HAVE THIS TEASURE IN EARTHEN VESSELS, THAT THE EXCELLENCY OF THE POWER MAY BE OF GOD, AND NOT OF US?”
“BUT WE HAVE THIS TREASURE IN JARS OF CLAY TO SHOW THAT THIS ALL-SURPASSING POWER IS FROM GOD AND NOT FROM US.”
I want to lift as a thought for our consideration and comfort – Jars of Clay and Cracked Pots. Every once in a while, an event comes into our lives which changes things. The death of a loved one is one of those events.
• Sometimes we have time to plan for it
• Although I don’t really think we can plan or prepare for an impending death
• Sometimes we don't have time to plan and prepare
• When it arrives, we know that life will never be quite the same again
• In a sense, we can go back and re-live our times together with the one who has died
• We can go back in our memories
• We can remember the good times and the not-so-good times
• But, in a real sense, we can never go back
• The door is closed
It seems to me the basic teachings of Christianity come to a focal point at a time like this. It is here we put these teachings to their most important test. I’ve had people over the years tell me the funeral of a faithful Christian believer is very different from that of a person without faith. And I certainly agree with that statement. The one outstanding feature of a Christian funeral is there is a strong sense of hope.
• As God’s people, our sense of loss is tempered by an equally strong promise for the future
• We understand this is not a Finality but simply a transition from Time to Eternity
Hope still speaks this morning because rev. Jobie Kirk’s faith still speaks.
• His faith speaks about his relationship with God
• His faith speaks to acts of service in God’s name
• Bro. Kirk’s funeral is not an admission of Defeat but a statement of Victory
• And that victory is made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and by the fact that Bro. Jobie believed these words with all his heart
We are comforted this morning in knowing that a special saint – and, in the Bible, a saint is anyone who has faith in god and in his son, jesus – Rev. Kirk has gone home to be with the Lord.
• Bro. Jobie wouldn’t want us to make him the focus of this service today
• He would want the focus to be on the God He worshipped
• Bro. Jobie wouldn’t want to be put on a pedestal
• Jobie Kirk’s life was like a COIN WITH TWO SIDES
• His Humanity was balanced by his Faith
• Each one balanced the other and made him who he was
Let me get right to the heart of the matter. God uses flawed people to demonstrate his grace so that when the victory is won, he alone gets the glory. Paul confirmed this in our text for examination -- “NOW WE HAVE THIS TREASURE IN JARS OF CLAY, SO THAT THIS EXTRAORDINARY POWER MAY BE FROM GOD AND NOT FROM US.” That’s all we are, just clay pots, ordinary kitchenware, clay pots that are easily cracked and often broken.
• We’re not expensive China that you buy in some high-dollar store in New York City or Los Angeles
• We’re ordinary Wal-Mart kitchenware, useful but not expensive
• We’re all cracked and chipped in various places, yet God in His Grace uses us anyway
Clay jars in the first century were Ordinary – Common - Easily Broken - Often Discarded. They were used for carrying water and other ordinary functions. The image of pottery is it is fragile and can easily become cracked, chipped, or broken if dropped. So, it's terribly humbling to realize the APOSTLE PAUL tells us we are clay pots. Harshly unflattering. It would not be so bad if he was talking about our lives B.C. (Before Christ), but he's talking about after we have Christ in us.
God puts the Unbelievable – Inconceivable – Unthinkable – Unimaginable - Implausible Treasure of the Universe "the very presence of the almighty God of the universe" in us!
• You would think that would make us expensive containers
• Precious contents go in valuable containers
• That would make perfect human sense
• But no
• He places this most precious treasure in "JARS OF CLAY"
• So that others will see and experience the treasure of Christ rather than being impressed with us