Summary: Like the clay jars that Gideon and his soldiers broke, there a tremendous value in being broken. We throw things away when they’re broken, but God cherishes and uses broken people. So, broken down, cracked pots, rejoice because God uses cracked pots so th
The title of my teaching series from 2 Corinthians is “Hope for Cracked Pots.” Today, we’re going to look at 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 which is the passage for which I named the entire series. Today we’re going to talk about “God uses Cracked Pots.”
Since I moved to Texas almost 17 years ago, I’ve discovered that Texans are a unique kind of people. I came across a humorous list of ways to know if you’re really a Texan. V For instance, you know you’re a Texan if:
1. You’ve ever had to switch from “heat” to “cool” on the same day.
2. The value of a parking space is by the availability of shade.
3. You or someone you know has a belt buckle bigger than your fist.
4. You know someone who consulted a college football schedule to plan their wedding date.
5. You’re not surprised to find movie rentals, ammunition, beer, and bait in the same store.
6. You say you’re going to stop for a coke and get a Dr. Pepper.
7. Your grandmother’s car is a “dually.”
8. Someone in your family does a pretty good Willie Nelson impersonation.
9. You know cowpies aren’t made of beef.
10. You’ve eaten “little smokies” in a crock pot for special occasions.
11. You’ve ever gotten a Whataburger at 2 a.m. and knew five other people there.
12. You know what someone means when they say “I’m fixin’ to go.”
Well, I’m fixin’ to tell you that God can use all kinds of people. He can even use Texans! We’re entering a section of 2 Corinthians that contains profound truth. In my mind, 2 Corinthians 4 and 5 are two of the most important chapters in all of the Bible. This section ranks right up there with John 3, John 14, and Romans 7 and 8 in containing life-changing truth. This section we’re going to read explains the process by which God releases His power among people. In the last lesson we examined Paul’s description of his ministry. He was battling against the god of this age who is aggressively blinding the eyes of unbelievers to the truth. But there is a gospel light that is much brighter than any darkness Satan can cause.
Let’s read 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 to learn how God uses cracked pots:
“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 the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing [huperbole] power is from God and not from us.”
As we talk about this truth, I want to focus on three truths. First, I want to talk about the pots—that’s us. Then I’ll talk about the power—that’s Jesus in us me. Finally, I want to talk about the paradox—that’s the mysterious process God uses to release His power in this world.
1. THE PLAIN POT: My humanity is like an empty clay jar
The word for “clay pots” is ostrakinos which literally means earthenware. It was word used to describe plain, ordinary, run-of-the mill pots. That’s not a very complementary term. This is a good analogy of our lives, because the Bible says in Genesis 2 that when God made man he formed him out of the dirt, or the clay of the ground. There are many references in the Bible that speak of God as the Master Potter and we are the clay. In Isaiah 64:8 we read, “We are the clay, you are the Potter. We are all the work of your hand.”
I’ve heard there is a new line of psychoanalysis in California. It’s called “psychoceramics,” because it deals with cracked pots. We’re all flawed and cracked in our humanity. Like clay pots in the Old Testament we’re just baked (some half-baked) containers made of mud.
Say this out loud with me: “I’M CLAY, BUT HEY, THAT’S OKAY!” God can use clay pots. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32) So here’s a
LIBERATING TRUTH: God didn’t create me to be a decoration, but to contain something valuable.
A pot or a vessel is designed and created to hold something, not to be an object in itself. Consider for a moment the pots in your kitchen cabinet. As long as they sit there empty, they aren’t really fulfilling the reason they were made. A pot really doesn’t truly become a pot until it’s holding peas, spaghetti, or soup. In the same way, our lives are a contradiction until we understand that God created us to contain something.
I have three clay pots on this table. The first one is a piece of pottery that has been fired, glazed and then painted. It is pretty enough to be decoration alone. It calls attention to itself because it is such a pretty pot. That reminds me of some people who think they are doing God a favor by being around. They display their own talents and abilities. But God didn’t create you to be a decoration. He created you to contain something important. The next pot is much plainer than the first one, but it’s doing what a pot is really designed to do: It’s holding something. In this case, it’s displaying some flowers. Our attention isn’t drawn to the pot itself, but rather to what it is displaying. The third pot is a cracked pot, which I’ll talk about near the end of the message, but for now look at the first two. God didn’t create you to sit around and look nice and call attention to yourself. Instead, God created you and me to be plain pots, to contain something very valuable.