Let us pray: Dear Lord, everything about us is frail and fragile except our egos. O how our ego enjoys taking credit for successes in life that rightly belong to You! Lord, forgive such sin and through the humbleness of faith enable us to give all glory and honor only to You! Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE SOURCE OF THE MOST PERFECT OF GIFTS: THE GOSPEL!
TEXT: 2 Cor. 4: 5-12
Dearly Beloved By Christ:
When I was installed as your Pastor many years ago, the preacher wrote his sermon on this text. It was honest and forthright. It was also a bit sobering being compared to a clay pot—fragile and breakable.
It’s especially sobering considering it was penned by St. Paul, the great NT hero who all Christians adore and admire. For everything he mentions here is something he lived through and experienced directly. In fact, all Christians, if they are honest, experience such “clay pot” times. “We are hard pressed on every side”—think of how Paul was hounded across the Roman empire for simply preaching Christ crucified. Yet, it didn’t crush him. “Perplexed”—Recall his lament from Romans: “The good that I would, I don’t do, and the evil that I don’t want to do, that I keep on doing.” ”but not in despair.” Then there’s this one: “Persecuted, but not abandoned.” “Struck down”—recall him being stoned—“but not destroyed.” This is what preachers and all believers suffer, either physically and/or emotionally throughout their lives. It comes through second-guessing ourselves; from failure to visually “see” the fruits of our labors. And from Satan’s constant meddling into the affairs of God that we seek to carry out. Being a clay pot is not flattering to our ego, is it? But it is honest.
So, why do we keep on working to save souls in God’s kingdom? Why do any of us hold on to Christ and the forgiveness wrought by His cross? It’s certainly not to build our ego, to get rich, or to amass personal power or glory. Why do any of us, in word or by our actions, preach and lead people to Christ? Well, Paul tells us why: “For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 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.’”
Life alone, without Christ and the light of His love, breeds dark thoughts, dark times, and a darkened soul. But knowing Him as our Savior breeds the opposite. Once you experience and taste just a small morsel of His love, you’ll brave anything to taste it some more. Why are we Christians so addicted to Him? Because He alone gives us hope that does not disappoint! Hope for the future. Hope for the present. Hope that never dies and culminates in heaven!
So, we may be “clay pots” who are fragile and seemingly worthless to human senses. But in us God conceals a hidden treasure which contradicts our outward shell. Thereby God shows the awesomeness of His love. He reveals thereby “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding.”
We know that as believers. We relate to Paul’s words: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” Then to expand on this Godly condition we all struggle with, he is very honest but also very uplifting: “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For 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. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”
Ah, here is the paradox of Christianity. Death brings life! Sadness brings joy! Humility brings power! And clay pots like us can contain and hold the richness of His love! The human ego rejects all those truths. But the Spirit, through His gift of honesty, brings them alive within us. And thereby He fills us with the richness of God’s amazing grace. Wow! What a God! That’s exactly why we all hold our heads up and rejoice! Amen
THE PEACE OF GOD…..
Pastor Thomas H. Fox