Summary: This looks at how to allow yourself to be molded by God into what He wants.

In the Hands of the Potter

Jeremiah 18

1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

2 Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.

3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.

4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

Illus. The Story of the Teacup.

A grandfather and a grandmother were in a gift shop looking for something to give their granddaughter for her birthday. Suddenly the grandmother spots a beautiful teacup. "Look at this lovely cup", she says to her husband. He picks it up and says, "You’re right! This is one of the loveliest teacups I have ever seen."

At that point something remarkable happened - something that could only happen in a children’s book. The teacup says to the grandparents, "Thank you for the compliment, but I wasn’t always beautiful."Instead of being surprised that the cup can talk, the grandfather and grandmother ask it, "What do you mean when you say you weren’t always beautiful?" "Well", says the teacup, "once I was just an ugly, soggy lump of clay. But one day some man with dirty wet hands threw me on a wheel. Then he started turning me around and around until I got so dizzy I couldn’t see straight. ’Stop! Stop!’, I cried. "But the man with the wet hands said, ’Not Yet!’ Then he started to poke me and punch me until I hurt all over. ’Stop! Stop!’, I cried. But the man said ’Not Yet’.

"Finally he did stop. But then he did something much worse. He put me into a furnace. I got hotter and hotter until I couldn’t stand it. ’Stop! Stop!’, I cried. But the man said ’Not Yet’. "Finally when I thought I was going to burn up the man took me out of the furnace. Then some short lady began to paint me. The fumes got so bad that they made me feel sick. "Stop, stop!’, I cried. ’Not Yet!’ said the lady. "Finally she did stop. But then she gave me back to the man again and he put me back into that awful furnace. This time it was hotter than before. ’Stop! Stop!’, I cried. But the man said ’Not Yet’.

"Finally he took me out of the furnace and let me cool. When I was completely cool a pretty lady put me on this shelf, next to this mirror. "When I looked at myself in the mirror, I was amazed. I could not believe what I saw. I was no longer ugly, soggy, and dirty. I was beautiful, firm, and clean. I cried for joy. It was then I realized that all the pain was worthwhile. Without it I would still be an ugly, soggy lump of wet clay. It was then that all the pain took on meaning for me - it had passed - but the beauty it brought has remained."

I. The clay is the potter’s, not the potter the clay’s

a. Romans 9: 20 “…O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”

b. Many Christians see God as someone to give them what they want.

i. They rely on Him to give them abundant life with nothing in return.

ii. They secure fire insurance

c. Though Christ lives in us, He isn’t ours. We are His.

i. If we could just get that through our thick sculls, we would be a lot better off.

ii. Instead, through our selfish ambitions, unwillingness, and unbelief, we become useless clay.

II. Are we like clay?

a. When we are first saved, we are seeking a change, and willing to let God change and mold us.

b. But most Christians get older, more stuck in their ways, and no longer care for change. They don’t want to be molded into something else. And so they become as useless clay.

i. Bone dry –

1. nothing penetrates.

2. the food of the Word becomes like water hitting an umbrella.

3. unmoving, unyielding.

ii. Without moisture –

1. These folk go to church, they love God, they believe in salvation, they participate in worship. But that’s as far as it goes, they never surrender their will to God.

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