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Summary: For Human Clay to be effectively shaped and ultimately used it must cooperate with the Potter - We are clay with a will of our own!

"The Potter and the Clay"

Text: Jeremiah 18:1-6 & Selected

Cross Creek Community Church

Pastor Dave Martin – December 1, 2002

God’s Word is Powerful, Relevant, and Life Changing!

From an article in Reader’s Digest: A friend of mine awoke one morning to find a puddle of water in the middle of his king-size waterbed. In order to fix the puncture, he rolled the heavy mattress outdoors and filled it with more water so he could locate the leak more easily. The enormous bag of water was impossible to control and began rolling on the hilly terrain. He tried to hold it back, but it headed downhill and landed in a clump of bushes that poked it full of holes. Disgusted, my friend threw out the waterbed frame and moved a standard bed into his room. The next morning, he awoke to find a puddle of water in the middle of the new bed. The upstairs bathroom had a leaky drain. Life is that way sometimes isn’t it? Life sometimes can be full of confusion for us or maybe it’s stress in our lives over some bad decision we have made.

In Jeremiah’s time the people of God found themselves deep in disobedience to God. As a nation they were sliding deeper into sin. Reading Jeremiah 17 there were

Three main areas of Israel’s rebellion and sin:

1. Idolatry v2 (even sacrificing their own children – Jer. 19:5)

2. Wealth and materialism v3

3. Self-centeredness v5

Jeremiah goes on to say how bad they were in:

Jeremiah 17:9-10 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?

Throughout history and in the scriptures… God uses many things to teach us. Jesus used a bucket of water, fish, trees, boat, stones, etc. God used many things in the Old Testament; donkey that spoke, birds, quail, fiery bush, etc. In our passage we see the Lord imparting a lesson to Jeremiah about the wickedness of Judah and how they need to repent. Or else, God the Potter will do as He pleases with His vessels of clay for He is Sovereign.

Jeremiah 18:1-6 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2"Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message." 3So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. 5Then the word of the LORD came to me: 6"O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

** “For Human Clay to be effectively shaped and ultimately used it must cooperate with the Potter” **

“We are clay with a will”

Cooperate – Willing to work together for a common goal.

If we belong to Christ, as clay in His hand we need to be cooperative with the Lord.

The clay is totally subject to the design of the Potter, yet the clay has a will of its own.

If you are unwilling to submit to the Potters hand he could break you and start all over again.

Charles Osgood told the story of two ladies who lived in a convalescent center. Each had suffered an incapaciting stroke. Margaret’s stroke left her left side restricted, while Ruth’s stroke damaged her right side. Both of these ladies were accomplished pianists but had given up hope of ever playing again.

The director of the center sat them down at a piano and encouraged them to play solo pieces together. They did, and a beautiful friendship developed by cooperating with each other like the Potter and the clay.

Cooperative Clay must…

1. Be Free of IMPURITIES.

Proverbs 28:13-14 He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. 14Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.

When a potter is modeling the clay, he’s doing two things. He’s working the clay to work out any tiny air pockets for he knows when the pot is fired in the kiln, they will explode and destroy the pot. He’s also searching for any tiny pebbles that will weaken and blemish the finished pot.

Sin always makes our hearts hard and unpliable, we need to be in cooperation with the Potter.

Have 1John 1:9 committed to your memory – being free from the impurities of sin.

2. Remain CENTERED on the wheel.

Romans 9:19b-21 For who resists his will? But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ’Why did you make me like this?’ " 21Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

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