Summary: There is a resounding cry in our churches for a stallworth hope that encourages and does not fester. Let us be Pots of hope, and encouragement.
JELLICO FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH/JELLICO. TENN.
SUNDAY Morning: January 7, 2001
PASTOR: Michael Blankenship
WHO ARE WE: JARS OF CLAY OR POTS OF HOPE?
Paul is writing to the church at Corinith, as well as to each of us today.
Many false profits had sought to destroy Paul’s work that he had begun.
They plied their words on the ears of their victims planting both the doubt as well as, the thought, and concept that maybe Paul did not have apostolic authority. The troublemakers presumed that he was to hard, and to rigid, in his observance of the guidance of the Holy Spirit to really be authentic. Many of the false profits had even stirred up questions about Paul’s motives.
Have you ever dealt with similar situations, where someone enviously begins to try to erode your ministry? Maybe you taught Sunday school and someone who wanted your class started telling anyone who would listen that you really were not a good teacher. They may have even posited that you had other motives for teaching the class, like getting into a better social situation. Perhaps, they said, you were trying to politic, and advance your desires through the Sunday school program. If this happened to you, would you be hurt? Would you be surprised to find out that your class could believe such irrelevant rhetoric?
Paul was and yet, rather than retaliation, as many of us might do in a knee jerk situation; Paul thinks on the higher things of Christ Jesus.
That is where you and I must look to in our hour of distress and pain, to God who mercifully gives us life and all the accessories we have obtained along the way. Scripture says that, “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them [you and I] that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
Now, I do not know what trial you maybe facing today but I do know Jesus holds the strength you need to get through. He is the refreshment amidst this dry and desolate existence in which we endure. Will you trust Him? Paul points to Jesus our Savior’s glory as he writes in 2 Corinthians 4:1-7. This is our standard for ministry regardless of how large or how small our mission may seem.
1. WE MUST PERFORM OUR MINISTRY WELLGIVING HONOR TO CHRIST.
I believe that today right now more than ever before we must band together as believers in Christ holding each other up in prayer and supplication.
A. Because we have this ministry: what is your ministry today? Many people when asked what their ministry is often times do not have a very specific answer. We each have a gift instilled in us by God almighty. And more often than not, we are not just good at a single task. we are in fact, very good at seeing several tasks performed.
B. Paul in writing to the church, or body of believers at Corinith says, “we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;”
- We have a ministry of mercy as children of God, saved through the blood of Jesus Christ.
- We have a ministry of love to others inspite of how they may behave towards us. Sometimes people make us very angry, and we want to retaliate, and develop a type of reciprocal, sort of exchange. The result is losses on both sides of energy and emotions and time. Time you could spend enjoying the company of friends and loved ones, rather than fighting.
I was listening to Public Radio on Thursday as My family and I drove to the funeral home where my Grandmother’s service was. They were doing a series of interviews with Centurions. Not, like the Roman soldier type, but folks who had celebrated their one-hundredth year of life. One thing they all seemed to have in common, as they were interviewed from various parts of the country was their love to just sit and talk. At first thought, we may dismiss this as natural. heck your hundred, you probably do not feel like doing much else. Just sit and talk, eat and sleep. Then as the interview progressed, one elderly man said something that struck me as quite profound.
He said, “life’s years pass by so fast, yesterday I was twenty and today I am one hundred and two.” When asked what he though the most important thing in life may be his reply was in itself as unique as turning one hundred.
He said, “the most important thing is to talk to each other, to make friends as often as you can, to be loved, and enjoy one another’s company.”
- Wow! It seems that is what Paul is telling us here, is that we have a ministry to each other.