Summary: This sermon is intended to challenge people to recognize their potential as vessels of honor in God’s hands.
The Potter’s House
If you have your Bibles I’m going to ask that you take them out and turn with me to the book of Jeremiah chapter 18. If you don’t know where Jeremiah is at, open up to the middle of your Bibles, Jeremiah follows Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, then Jeremiah. After Isaiah, before Lamentations and Ezekiel.
“The Game is Only Half Over”
On New Year’s Day, 1919, Georgia Tech was playing California. Late in the second quarter, Roy Regals recovered a fumble for California, and in his excitement he became confused and began running in the wrong direction. After racing sixty-five yards he was finally tackled by his own player at the Georgia Tech two-yard line. California attempted to punt from deep in their own end zone, but the kick was blocked and Georgia Tech scored a safety. In the locker room at halftime, Roy Regals sat in the corner with his hands buried in his face, crying. Everyone else was silent. The coach didn’t make his usual halftime speech, but shortly before the team was to take the field for the second half, he said, "The starting team is going back onto the field to begin the second half." The whole team left the locker room except for Regals, who remained in the corner, face in hands. "I can’t do it, Coach," he said. "I can’t play. I’ve ruined the team." The coach said, "Get up Regals. The game is only half over. You belong on the field."
Jeremiah was a prophet whom God had called to confront God’s people of their sins. The people of Judah had fallen far away from God’s intended purpose for their lives. Not only had they forsaken His law, but they had given themselves over to false idolatry and worship by bowing down before man made idols. God called men like Jeremiah to warn His people for their sins and to compel to repent from their wickedness before His judgment would fall upon them. Unfortunately, instead of heading the Word of God and turning from their wicked ways, the people mocked the prophets and continued in their wrong ways. Jeremiah was a man of great sorrow. He is sometimes referred to as the weeping prophet for not only did he experience persecution from his fellow country men, but he lived to see the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of the Jewish people by the hand of the Babylonians.
This illustrative message that Jeremiah received at the Potter’s house was originally intended for the Jewish people and was another call for them to heed the message of God. And yet, though the message was originally penned for them, this great illustrative message has a call to each of us as individuals.
Listen to the words of another prophet, Isaiah, in Isaiah 64.
Isaiah 64:6-8 “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs up to take hold of You; for you have hidden your face from us, and have consumed us because of our iniquities. But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.”
The Bible tells us that we are the creations, and God is the Sovereign Creator. As such He is the potter, and we are the clay. As the potter, God is actively working in our lives to mold us and shape our lives as He wills. As the clay, we are in need of a touch to form us into the designer’s great plan. As clay we are far from perfect, in fact our lives are often filled with disappoints in failures, but just as Roy Regals needed to be reminded in the locker room so many years ago, the game is only half over, and the story has not yet been told.
As we look at Jeremiah 18:1-6 this morning, I want us to first the role of the Potter in our lives.
1. Has something for us to learn (18:2)
-As as a prophet, Jeremiah was reliant upon the Word God for his messages. A prophet’s primary role was to proclaim God’s message for His people. He was God’s spokesman. As such, it was of absolute importance that Jeremiah be available to hear the Lord’s voice when He called. This is exactly what we find in verse 1, “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying:”
-The Lord had something to show Jeremiah, he was about to reveal His word to him by way of an illustration. You see, God is always interested in teaching us that which is true.