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Summary: PENTECOST 2(B) - June 2, 2002 - Believers have God’s treasure in jars of clay: this treasure is God’s light and Jesus’ life.

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WE HAVE THIS TREASURE IN JARS OF CLAY

2 Corinthians 4:5-12 - June 2, 2002

. 5For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For 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.

7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

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Dear Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:

When we have a treasure, we usually try to protect it very well. We might hide it; we might put it in a safety box; but we would make sure that it is secure and safe from being stolen or ruined. Yet, in our text we heard how the Lord tells us we have treasures in jars of clay. Now that is not a very safe place to put our treasure. It is almost as if putting or hiding something under the mattress of our bed, not very safe when it comes to those who want to steal it or take it away. Yet, the Lord reminds us that this treasure in jars of clay refers to mankind himself--that we are jars of clay. The Lord reminds us of that from the very beginning. When we turn back to Genesis and look at crea-tion, we read: "The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being"(GENESIS 2:7). Thus from the dust, the jars of clay were formed. God’s choice is upon mankind to have in him the treasures, which He has given to each one of us. What are those treasures? Our text tells us, and we use as our theme the verse in the middle of our text: We have this treasure in jars of clay. I. This treasure is God’s light, and II. this treasure is Jesus’ life.

I. THIS TREASURE IS GOD?S LIGHT

Now in order to understand the importance of being a jar of clay, Paul tells us in verse 7: "We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." We know that a jar of clay is not very sturdy. When you tip over a clay pot, it is broken. There is not much you can do about it. Paul says there is a reason for this. There is a reason that God put into jars of clay His treasures. That is so the jars of clay would be reminded that they have no power and that they are as fragile as a jar of clay or a clay pot, but God has all-surpassing power. This is an all-surpassing power, which is to sustain His clay, jars; an all-surpassing power to make sure that this divine treasure is taken care of.

That is important for us to remember as we study the rest of our text. We as jars of clay are on own fragile, but God has His all-surpassing power to take care of us. In verse 5 we read: "For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake." Paul realized as a jar of clay he had no power or strength on his own, but his only power and strength that he had came from Christ and Christ alone. That was always his message--he would preach Christ crucified. He would declare to the world around him the light of the glory of God. That was the treasure that God had given him. He says, "God, who said, ’Let light shine out or darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts." Here, Paul goes back to creation and says, "Imagine that! This God who created the heavens and the earth and who made light itself when the world was empty and without form and was dark." This God who said, "Let light shine" made light shine in the hearts of believers.

Again, we don’t probably treasure that light as much as the people of the Old and New Tes-taments. They didn’t have flashlight. They didn’t have electricity. They had dim lamps and flicker-ing candles. They did not walk around with matches to light those lamps and candles. They had to make sure a fire was burning or another candle was lit in order to have something to light the next candle. So the Lord talked about this light. It was, indeed, a precious treasure.

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