Summary: The Scripture teaches that God loves you. If you have Christ in your life, you have become a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way.
Charlie Brown built a beautiful sandcastle. He worked on it for hours. Finally, he stood back and admired his masterpiece. Just as he is admiring his work of art, a rebellious 8 year old boy runs across the sandcastle, destroying it. And with extreme frustration, Charlie Brown says to himself, “I know there’s a lesson in this, but I’m not sure what it is.”
Well, today, we want to learn some lessons.
Lessons about the God’s Masterpiece.
Lessons about the enemy who wants to destroy God’s Masterpiece.
Lessons about the fingerprints of God upon our lives.
2 Corinthians 4 gives us three pictures of our spiritual life.
1) PICTURE OF OUR LIVES ON THE ANVIL
2 Corinthians 4:6 “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.”
With a strong forearm, the apron-clad blacksmith puts his tongs into the fire, grasps the heated metal and places it on his anvil. His keen eye examines the glowing piece. He sees what the tool is now and envisions what he wants it to be – sharper, flatter, wider, longer. With a clear picture in his mind, he begins to pound. His left hand still clutching the hot mass with the tongs, the right hand slams the two –pound sledge upon the moldable metal.
On the solid anvil, the smoldering iron is remolded.
The smith knows the type of instrument he wants. He knows the size. He knows the shape. He knows the strength.
Wham! Wham! The hammer slams. The shop rings with noise, the air fills with smoke and the softened metal responds.
But the response doesn’t come easily. It doesn’t come without discomfort. To melt down the old and recast it as new is not easy. Yes, the metal remains on the anvil, allowing the toolmaker to remove the scars, repair the cracks, refill the voids, and purge the impurities.
Then the blacksmith stops. He ceases his pounding and sets down the hammer. With a strong left arm, he lifts the tongs until the freshly molded metal is at eye level. In the still silence he examines the smoking tool.
He keenly searches for mars or cracks.
There are none. Now, the Master can finally see his reflection.
Now, light shines where it once was dark.
What was once dull is now sharpened.
What was crooked becomes straight.
What was weak becomes strong;
And what was useless now becomes valuable.
Principle: The hand of God purifies you.
Perhaps you’ve been there. Perhaps you are there.
Perhaps you know what it feels like to be disciplined by the Lord.
Now, you reflect the light of the Master.
Now, light shines in the darkness. Now, others can see Christ in you.
Charles Colson in his book “Loving God” tells about his experience in prison. While in prison he remembered his life before prison, the honors he earned, the court cases he won, and the prestige in government positions. His life had been the perfect success story, the great American dream fulfilled. But while in prison he had time to think and pray. He realized all his achievements meant nothing in God’s economy.
His greatest victory was his biggest failure, being sent to prison was his great humiliation – but prison was the beginning of God’s greatest work in his life. God chose the one experience in which he could not glory for His glory.
People are like tea bags . . . if you want to know what’s inside of them, just drop them in hot water.
2) PICTURE OF OUR LIVES AS A JAR OF CLAY
2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (v. 8) We are hard-pressed on every side BUT not crushed; perplexed, BUT not in despair; (v. 9) persecuted, BUT not abandoned; struck down, BUT not destroyed. (v.10) We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
Principle: The hand of God shapes you.
The Cracked Pot
A Water Bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and one half pots of water in his master’s house.