Monday, September 21, 2020

New Creation In Christ - 2 Corinthians 5:14-17

New Creation In Christ

Text: 2 Corinthians 5:14-17

Power Point Link

Video Link

Introduction:

Outline of chapters 4 and 5

Paul's ministry contrasted. 4:1-18.

The hidden and the open. 4:1, 2.
The blinded and the enlightened. 4:3, 4.
Slaves and the Master. 4:5.
Darkness and light. 4:6.
The frail and the Mighty. 4:7. (Glorious Gospel of Christ 1-7 )
Trials and triumphs. 4:8-10.
Death and life. 4:11, 12.
The written and the spoken. 4:13.
The past and the future. 4:14.
Grace and thanksgiving. 4:15.
The outer and the inner man. 4:16.
Affliction and glory. 4:17.
The seen and the unseen. 4:18a.
The temporal and the eternal. 4:18b.

Paul's ministry motivated. 5:1-6:10.

Motivated by knowledge. 5:1-9.
Motivated by judgment. 5:10.
Motivated by fear. 5:11.
Motivated by unselfishness. 5:12, 13.
Motivated by love. 5:14, 15.
Motivated by regeneration. 5:16, 17.
Motivated by reconciliation. 5:18-21.
Motivated by time. 6:1, 2.
Motivated by suffering. 6:3-10. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

Our sermon is taken from verses 14-17 that we are going to take our sermon today, New Creation In Christ.

Introduction Joke:

A teen age Amish boy and his grandfather went to visit the new mall in the city. They were amazed by almost everything they saw, but especially by two shiny, silver walls that could move apart and then slide back together again.

Having no idea what an elevator was the young boy asked, "What is this, Granddad?"

"Sonny, I have no idea, I never seen anything it in my life."

While the boy and his granddad were watching, a old woman hobbling on a cane walked up to the moving walls and pressed a button. The walls opened, and the lady slowly stepped between them into a small room. The walls closed and the boy and his father watched the some numbers above the walls light up from 1 to 10 and then from 10 to 1.

They kept watching and the door opened back up again. Suddenly, out steps a young, beautiful, 24-year-old woman, smiling big and striding fast.

The father, watching as the young woman walks away, then says quietly to his grandson, "Quick, boy, go get your grandma."

 

The truly amazing thing about Christianity is its promise of newness, of a profound and powerful change for the better in us. We experience a new birth, our sins are forgiven and forgotten by God, often even our physical way of life can so change as to make us totally different people.  The wonder of this newness is more than just a new birth though. It is also the reality of newness every single day. Yet, the power of such a truth is seldom realized in our lives. We don’t really grasp the potential of all we can do and all that can be done.

 

So, how can we grasp the reality of becoming new? This passage gives us three keys that we, as Children of God, need to understand in order to be be new every day.  If I believe these principles, then the future is unlimited in its hope and unhindered by the past.

 

Here are three keys to grasping the truth of being always New In Christ.

Believing there has been a change in my purpose for living.
Realizing there is a change in my Knowledge.
And finally acting upon the change in my self.

 

New  Living -  2 Corinthians 5:14-15

For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

Paul’s Challenge

He says, the love of Christ constrains (presses us, holds us, impels us) because if Christ died for all, (in our place and taking our punishment) then we were all dead (dead in sin, guilty before God.)

Christ then died for all so that they which now live through Him, should not live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Christ died for us paying the penalty of our sin therefore if we believe then we cannot live for ourselves, but for Him. We have risen together with him to a new life, a new purpose.

Baptism is a symbol of this truth. Romans 6:4-6 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Our Challenge

Christ died for me because I was a sinner. When I accepted him as Savior I begin walking in a new life. Things that used to own and define me no longer apply.

Your past does not own you. Your habits, character flaws and weaknesses do not hold you. Your job, career or ambition does not define you. These things cannot possess you because Christ paid the price of His life, bought you with His blood and now you belong to God!

We were born in sin and owned by the god of this world, when we make a conscious, spirit led decision to choose God’s gift of salvation then we are set free and made new. We experience that newness, the first time at salvation, but we must also experience newness everyday through that same gift of grace.

But you have to rise to the challenge and let the love of Christ constrain us.

Let me give you Three New Life Tests.

Are you alive in Christ? John 5:24-26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;

Are you living for Christ? Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Are you living for others? Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another

Illustration: Same houses new owners

Once on vacation I took my family by some of the houses I had lived in growing up. Some looked worse, some looked better, one was torn down, but all looked different. Why? The owners had changed and the person on the inside made the outside look different. They showed their ownership by the appearance of the house. The same is true for us and who owns us. Christ’s ownership will show itself in us as new creations.

New Knowledge - 2 Corinthians 5:16

Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

Paul’s New Knowledge

Paul says this change in ownership, this change in relationship with God changes everything he knows. Even his mind, his knowledge is new. He no longer sees man kind in just the light of the physical, or the fleshly but now in the knowledge of the spiritual.

Quote “Spiritual insight had changed Paul's center of gravity; eternity had become the yardstick of all measurement. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

Even his knowledge of Christ has changed. Though Paul looked for a descendent of David, to fill the role of Messiah and take the throne of Jerusalem and reign as King from Mt Zion, he now knows that physical sight was short sighted. Jesus of Nazareth, that died on Calvary, rose again and called him to be an apostle was much more than just another King to sit on a throne. Paul knowledge of the Messiah, of Jesus lacked spiritual insight and now he knew Jesus and all others in a completely different way.

Paul no longer has just a physical knowledge but now a spiritual knowledge because his ownership had changed through salvation, so also had his understanding of everything. This new knowledge changes the way he sees, thinks and understands everything in this world including himself.

Our New Way of Thinking 

We should also have that new kind of knowledge, that spiritual vision and thought life that come with our new life in Christ.

In our thoughts our dreams, our aspirations we must quit thinking like Clint Eastwood saying, “Make my day, punk!” and more like Paul saying, “I am crucified with Christ!”  I should know that there is more joy and fulfillment in being John the fisherman, than in being Jame Bron the athlete. I know there is more to be gained by being in a Bible study group than in winning America’s God Talent.

Seeing the world with the new spiritual knowledge and realizing that eternity is just a step away, changes everything about me and around me.   

Can I give you just a few examples of how this new knowledge changes everything?

Knowledge  of God’s Perspective (The Way God Sees)

Isa 55:8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

This changes my perspective of the world and what is happening in it.

Knowledge of Faith’s Power

John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

This changes my understanding of what is possible in me and the world.

Knowledge of the Holy Spirit’s Person

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

This knowledge changes my understanding of where I am and what I am doing and what I’m facing because God is always with me.

Knowledge of the Priority of Love

1 Cor 13:13 Now abideth faith, hope and love these three, but the greatest of these is love.

This knowledge changes my motivation for everything I do as a Christian, as a parent, as a spouse and as a person. Love is the greatest force for change because God’s love is eternal.

With this new knowledge, comes the power to make changes in us and in the world around us.

Illustration: Amazing Changes In South Seas

In 1833 Charles Darwin went to the South Sea Islands looking for the so-called “missing link.” As he studied the cannibals who lived there, he concluded that no creatures anywhere were more primitive, and he was convinced that nothing on earth could possibly lift them to a higher level. He thought he had indeed found a lower stratum of humanity that would fit his theory of evolution.

Thirty-four years later he returned to the same islands. To his amazement he discovered churches, schools, and homes occupied by some of those former cannibals. In fact, many of them wore clothes and frequently gathered to sing hymns. Missionary John G. Paton knew something that Charles Darwin would never know. He knew Christ and, in that knowledge, and relationship he had come to the islands and preached the Gospel to the savages, that Darwin thought were below human and beyond hope. Darwin never believed in God, but he was so astounded by the change, that he gave a generous gift to the London Missionary Society.

Transition: The finally key to the reality of being new in Christ is in vs. 17

 

New Person - 2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new

 Paul’s Conclusion

Therefore, In Christ, we are new.

Let’s break this down phrase by phrase.

If any man be in Christ, this is a universal promise of salvation and reconciliation to any and all who believe. Here again is that first class condition that sets up the rest of Paul’s conclusion, “Since you are saved, since you are in Christ.”

Then you are a new creature, a new creation in the power of God.  This means we are given a fresh start, a new beginning, literally it means we are a new creation.  And notice it is in the present tense. It doesn’t say you were, or you become a new creation, it says you are right now. “He is a new creature.”

Next Paul adds, “Old things are passed away.” This is in the aorist tense meaning it is a completed past action. In other words, in God’s eyes your past no longer exists.

Now notice the word of exclamation at this miracle, this wonder. Paul says, “Behold!” There is no exclamation point after behold, but it could have used one because this word is telling us, look at this, see the wonder, the amazement of such an incredible reality. Or if reading this from the Bill and Ted version of the Bible, “Dude, check it out!”

What is so amazing? What needs should we stand back in awe and behold? What should we check out? “All things are become new.” This phrase is in the perfect tense, a past action that continues on into the present and the future. All things are become new means permanent, never ending newness for us.

Quote: In the natural world it is impossible to be made all over again, but in the spiritual world it is exactly what Jesus Christ makes possible. - Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)

Time To Arrive At the Same Conclusion

It is time for all of us to understand and act upon what it means to be made new in Jesus Christ, today and everyday.

First, you must be reconciled to be renewed

2 Corinthians 5:19-21 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

This is not turning over a new leaf but turning over your life to God.

Secondly, To those who are reconciled and in Christ, understand that the new you didn’t stop at the new birth. Now, for some unfortunately it has, but it shouldn’t. Its not supposed to. For the child of God, every day in Christ is a new day, and a brand new fresh start.

Ephesians 4:22-24 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

He is talking to Christians, to members of the church at Ephesus. Put off the old conversation, your lifestyle, (like taking off your old dirty clothes) and

Then be renewed in the spirit of your mind (made new again through what the Spirit of God in you can do)

Put on the new man (literally this says, put on the brand new man, a new person who is remade through the power and according to the design of God.)

Illustration: Augustine and the Prostitute

Soon after Augustine's conversion, he was walking down the street in Milan, Italy. There he accosted a prostitute whom he had known most intimately. She called but he would not answer. He kept right on walking. “Augustine,” she called again. “It is I!” Without slowing down, but with assurance of Christ in his heart, he testified, “Yes, but it is no longer I.”

You are no longer you, if you know Jesus Christ as savior, you are a new person and you can remain a new person, with a new hope, a new perspective and a new outlook every single day. That is the power of being New In Christ.

Conclusion:

None of us has a little room that we can enter into, push a button and come out physically new, but every one of us has a very big Savior and when I enter into a relationship with Him, then everyday, I can be new spiritually.

Every day, I should acknowledge that I belong to Christ. Every day I should see the world and everyone around me in the new knowledge of eternity. And every day, I should put off the old man and put on the new man that I may once again be a new creation in Him.

Imagine what we can do as a church, if each one of us is new each and every day. Don’t you imagine that all of Athens, Texas will be saying, Behold, Calvary Baptist Church or they may say, “Dude, you need to check them out.”  

 

 


 

 

 

Monday, September 14, 2020

The Glorious Gospel of Christ - 2 Corinthians 4:1-7

The Glorious Gospel of Christ

- 2 Corinthians 4:1-7 

Power Point

 

1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2  But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

Introduction:

Paul had sent Titus to Corinth to correct to encourage the local church and to complete their contribution for the poor saints at Jerusalem. Paul, was troubled in spirit, and so departed from Ephesus come to Troas, looking for Titus. He grew more troubled when he did not find Titus there so, he departed hurriedly to Macedonia. There he found Titus, just back from Corinth with good news, the church had acted on Paul’s corrections from the first epistle. Other things were still problems though. Paul to act decisively and strongly. 2 Corinthians gives us the three things Paul had to fix. First, he had to present the Gospel more fully to the Christians; second, to put push them to finish the collecton for the Jerusalem church and third, to defend his apostolic calling and authority against those who would turn the church from the New Testament back to the Old and from the glory of the gospel to the bonds of being a Jewish sect instead of being a New Testament church.

The epistle was written during Paul's third missionary journey around 57 AD, months or even up to a year 1 Corinthians. Written from Macedonia, where Paul found Titus and most likely from Philippi.

Chapter 4 that we will be in today, flows from chapter 3 and is closely tied to it. Chapter 3 is the buildup to the glory of the Gospel and wonder of serving Jesus as a New Covenant assembly.

Chapters 3 and 4 Connection

In chapter 3 Paul says, the Commission and calling of the New was a greater than the Old because the letter of the law kills but the Spirit gives life 2 Corinthians 3:6  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

Preaching the Gospel is superior because it was a ministry of greater glory through the Spirit, a ministry of righteousness rather than condemnation 2 Corinthians 3:8-9 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

It was a ministry that allowed them through Christ and the Holy Spirit to experience the unveiled glories of God, 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

And so we read in chapter 4 verse 1,

Our Ministry - 2 Corinthians 4:1-2

Therefore seeing we have this ministry (greater more glorious, superior ministry), as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

Paul’s Ministry

It was his and the Corinthian churches ministry, their service to God and for God because it was given them from God.

It was also theirs because they have received mercy and through that great gift of mercy that put them in the service of God, he also knew we could not and would not quit, “we faint not.”

God through his mercy enabled Paul to bear the unbearable and overcome the insurmountable.

Paul bore the beatings and the betrayals, the danger and the doldrums, the pain the passion.  This he could do because of the empowering grace of God.

Scripture: 2 Cor 11:26-29 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28  Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. 29  Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? 

Paul said in verse 2 that because he would not faint, not quit, he also had “renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, craftiness and deceit, but would let the truth manifest itself, let the truth shine in its glory to every man’s conscience. His calling to the gospel was also a calling to the truth and power of the Gospel.

Our Ministry

Of course, as Paul said last week, these things are written for our examples. Just as the saint and leaders in the Old Testament were examples to the early church, the leaders and apostles in early church are examples to us. Paul’s letter didn’t just arrive in Corinth and quit, it continues to encourage us to understand this amazing, incredible, overwhelming calling and ministry we all have as New Testament believers, especially as members of the Lord’s church.

Just listen to this apostle of the apostles, this preacher of preachers, this missionary of missionaries as he encourages the Corinthians and us not to faint but to hold our ministry as a precious gift from God.

Scripture: 2 Corinthans 4: 8-16  8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you. 13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

The Gospel is to be preached by the minister of God, but Paul didn’t limit that calling to just himself, he purposely used the plural including the entire church and even us in this day and time. It is ours for the same reasons it was Paul’s ministry.

The calling to the ministry of the Glorious Gospel is our calling. Ours because it is given to us by God.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Because the calling of the gospel is ours we will not faint. Paul did not and by the same mercy, grace and strength we as member of Calvary Baptist Church, will not faint. At the end of his time on earth Paul wrote to Timothy.

 2 Timothy 4:6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

And a vital part of not fainting is to share the Gospel in all of its truth and power. We cannot cheapen it or make it more amenable by not telling the world that sin will bring them to the wrath of God. We cannot ignore the negative side of the truth in order to amplify the positive. It is the Gospel and the Gospel must not be diluted, dampened or deemphasized. Instead if must be unleased, unfettered and unadulterated in order to bring a sinful world to salvation.

Illustration: David Livingstone’s Last Birthday

Do you remember the story of David Livingstone’s last birthday? When Stanley found Livingstone, the great missionary who spent thirty years in darkest Africa, he wanted him to come back to England with him, but Livingstone refused to go. Two days later he wrote in his diary: “March 19, my birthday. My Jesus, my King, my Life, my all, I again dedicate my whole self to Thee. Accept me, and grant, O gracious Father, that ere the year is gone I may finish my work. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.” A year later his servants found him on his knees, where he had died in prayer. He did not quit, he did not faint, because like Paul and like us, He was called to the ministry of the Glorious Gospel of Christ.

Transition: Paul’s ministry seen in truth

The calling to this ministry for Paul and for us is incredibly important because only the light of the Gospel can unblind the eyes of this world.

Our Gospel - 2 Cor 4:3-6

 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5  For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.6  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Satan blinds but The Gospel Shines

In verse 2 Paul says he would let the Gospel manifest in truth, he would let it shine and not hide it by using human ideas of how to make it better.

Then in verse 3, “but if our Gospel be hidden” Notice first that Paul says it is our gospel.

No longer just God’s or Christ’s alone but now it is our Gospel, our good news.

It has been entrusted to Paul and he has invested his life and future in this Gospel.

It is his by the gift of life from God and now by the gift of his life to God, he possesses the Gospel Christ. It is his!

Yet this precious gift may be hidden to others. The word hidden word means veiled like Moses before the people of Israel, that he spoke of in Chapter 3

The lost do not see this light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, because Satan has blinded the minds of those which believe not.

The words “are lost” here is the same word used in 1 Cor 2:15 “perish” It describes the condition of those in this world that Satan has blinded, has veiled the Gospel so that they cannot not truly see its glory.

They are lost they are perishing because they have not yet seen the Glorious Gospel.

Paul says there is only one hope and you know what it is, the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, the image of God must shine. In verse 5 He says, “we preach Christ Jesus the Lord,” in vers 6 God commanded the light to shine out of darkness.

That light shined in our hearts, it gave knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, and it will do the same for the blind of this world if we will own the gospel as our own and by God’s mercy faint not and let it shine!

Let it Shine, Let it shine, Let it shine

Satan is not greater than God, Paul said, God commanded the light to shine out of the darkness.”

1 John 4:4  Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

When it seems that all the world had gone mad and turned to anarchy. When I can see the blinding of Satan literally displayed in the cities being burned, the hatred of Christianity, the closing of churches, the desire to kill and silence anything that resembles truth. When I see these things it might seem hopeless, but we faint not because our blindness was overpowered by the light of the glorious Gospel. The dark it grows the more we must shine.

Isaiah 60:1-2 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

We cannot stop, we cannot quit. As a the church of Jesus Christ, as servants of the most high God, we have this ministry, we must let the Gospel shine. It is not our job to worry about how dark it is, it is our job to turn on the light.

Illustration: The life saving crew.

 In the old days lighthouses were often manned by a crew of lifeguards, who when a ship was stranded on  the rocks would go  out and with a rowboat ferry the passenger to safety.  One night during a terrible windy storm a ship full of passengers struck the rocks and began to sink.  The captain of the lifeboat called his crew into the little open rowboat to attempt a rescue of the shipping ship about a half mile offshore.  One of the rowers seeing the wind and waves yelled at the captain over the noise of the storm.   "Sir if we go out we'll never be able to row back!"  The captain looked out at those on the  ship turned to his men and said, "Son , it's not our job to worry about coming back. Its our job to go."

It is our gospel and we will preach on deserted corners, or empty buildings or to the hard hearts of the unhearing. We will preach it because God has commanded the light to shine and nothing else matter.

Our Vessel - 2 Corinthians 4:7 

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

The Treasure

Paul says we have the treasure, this calling, this ministry to share the gospel in earthen vessels. This is the next contrast that Paul uses through out this chapter. The hidden and the open in vs. 1-2, The blinded and the seeing vss. 3-4. The servant and the master in vss. 5. Darkness and light in vs 6 and now in vs 7 Priceless and Common

The priceless treasure of the gospel is in earthen vessels. What a contrast. Our bodies, our lives, frail and worthless but now holding an eternal treasure.

Why would God entrust such riches in such worthless vessels? Paul says, “That the excellency of the power may be of God and not us.”

Scripture: Ephesians 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 

The Chest

How can we as weak, and sin stained as we are be worthy of such a calling? Yet, if you are saved, then you have experienced the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ and you now have, inside your mortal body, the immortal riches of the glory of the Gospel.

This is not by accident. God did not just let this happen, He has a purpose. He could have turned as all into powerful angels and flown through the heavens shouting “Repent!” but he did not Why would God choose such a shameful, sinful, sorry chests to contain such a wonderful treasure? Paul says it is that very frailty, that very weakness that lets the world see the excellency of the power of God.

When the world sees us they don’t see anything special, but when they see the Gospel through us and in us then they see that only God could do something that special.

I think this works most plainly in us as it did for Gideon.

Illustration: Gideon’s broken pitchers

Do you remember the story of Gideon, this man who was called to fight the Midianite? Do you remember how under God’s instruction he took 300 men against thousands armed with only a clay pitchers and a lamps? How could such a small weak force overcome the power arrayed against them?

As they stood on the hills Gideon called out, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon.” The clay vessels were broken and the light inside blazed like the torches of a million warriors. God used those broken vessels to show his power and glory in the midst of a dark Judean night and the enemies of God fled.

Our lives are the vessels that contain the treasure of the glorious gospel of Christ. It is the light that must be seen in this Satan blinded, sin darkened world. When we in our weakness and frailty are broken, then the light inside us, the Glorious Gospel of Christ, shines out and the world can’t help but see. When this earthen vessel at that point that the treasure is spilled out. It is at that point that the lost look and truly see the power is not in us for we are broken but  there in the shattered pieces of what we used to be they see the treasure, they seen the excellency of the power of God.

Conclusion

Chosen Vessel

 

The Master was searching for a vessel to use;

On the shelf there were many - which one would He choose?

“Take me”, cried the gold one, “I’m shiny and bright,

I'm of great value and I do things just right.

My beauty and lustre will outshine the rest

And for someone like You, Master, gold would be the best!”

 

The Master passed on with no word at all;

He looked at a silver urn, narrow and tall;

“I’ll serve You, dear Master, I'll pour out Your wine

And I'll be at Your table whenever You dine,

My lines are so graceful, my carvings so true,

And my silver will always compliment You.”

 

Unheeding the Master passed on to the brass,

It was wide mouthed and shallow, and polished like glass.

“Here! Here!” cried the vessel, “I know I will do,

Place me on Your table for all men to view.”

 

“Look at me”, called the goblet of crystal so clear,

“My transparency shows my contents so dear,

Though fragile am I, I will serve You with pride,

And I'm sure I'll be happy in Your house to abide.”

 

The Master came next to a vessel of wood,

Polished and carved, it solidly stood.

“You may use me, dear Master”, the wooden bowl said,

“But I'd rather You used me for fruit, not for bread!”

 

Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay.

Empty and broken it helplessly lay.

No hope had the vessel that the Master might choose,

To cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use.

 

“Ah!  This is the vessel I've been hoping to find,

I will mend and use it and make it all Mine.”

“I need not the vessel with pride of its self;

Nor the one who is narrow to sit on the shelf;

Nor the one who is big mouthed and shallow and loud;

Nor one who displays his contents so proud;

Not the one who thinks he can do all things just right;

But this plain earthy vessel filled with My power and might.”

 

Then gently He lifted the vessel of clay.

Mended and cleansed it and filled it that day.

Spoke to it kindly.  “There’s work you must do,

Just pour out to others as I pour into you.”

-Beulah V. Cornwall