Share This Episode
Running to Win Erwin Lutzer Logo

In The Potter's House Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
November 23, 2022 1:00 am

In The Potter's House Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 696 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.


November 23, 2022 1:00 am

Many believe the myth that we are in control. But, like clay in the potter’s hand, we are being shaped by God. In this message, we examine God’s purposes through the stresses and challenges of life. His purpose will take us through the fire so that we become a useful vessel for Him.

This month’s special offer is available for a donation of any amount. Get yours at rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-217-9337.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Insight for Living
Chuck Swindoll
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
Summit Life
J.D. Greear
Insight for Living
Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Pulpit
Don Green
Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Seeing ourselves as clay helps us avoid the I'm in charge attitude we all too often have. As the potter, God's in charge, and He has a purpose we cannot see, a purpose that will take us through the fire so that one day we'll come out as gold.

Stay with us. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, going through the fire does not sound like much fun.

Is there no other way to be refined? Dave, it really seems as if all of us have to suffer to prove our faith and that our faith might be purified. You know, while you were talking, I was reminded of the words of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane when he said, Father, if it be possible, remove this cup from me.

But of course, it wasn't possible. And I'm thinking also of 1 Peter where the scripture says so clearly that we are being tried by fire that our faith might prove and honor the Lord Jesus Christ when He appears. So, yes, I think our faith always has to be refined and suffering does it. You know, when we think of suffering, we're also thinking of the cross of Jesus Christ.

I mentioned Gethsemane just a moment ago. And as we are contemplating Christmas, which is just around the corner, we're reminded that Jesus Christ came to save sinners. Now, I want to ask you a question that I'm going to answer at the end of this message, and that is simply this, and you may know the answer. What composer said these words when he was finished writing?

I did think that I saw all heaven before me and the great God himself seated on the throne with his company of angels. Well, you stay tuned and I'll let you know. But for now, let us remember that he is the potter and we are the clay. But you know that the vessel has no right to tell the potter you can't use that person or that circumstance.

You have no right to do that. The potter can use whomever he wishes. Think of it this way. In the case of the Apostle Paul, the potter used Satan, a messenger of Satan to trouble Paul and to give him the thorn in the flesh. In the life of someone like Peter, what you find is that God used his own deception and his own unwillingness to follow Jesus Christ. And in the case of Joseph, whom I spoke about earlier, God used his brothers. His brothers were the wheel that God used to produce with each of his brothers.

To produce within him Christ like character, because that's what God is after. And indeed, the Bible says all things work together for good. That's the wheel. There was a very wise Chinese man. I read the story some time ago. Who had a son and a horse, and that's all that he had.

But his son let the horse out of the barn, so the horse ran away. So this man's friends gathered together and they said, we want to sympathize with you over the bad thing that happened. And the man said, how do you know that this is bad?

Next day, the horse returned and brought 10 stray horses with him. All of his friends gathered together and they said, we want to celebrate with you regarding the good thing that has happened. He says, how do you know that this is good? His son was trying to break one of those new horses and the horse threw him off and the boy broke his leg. Everybody gathered around and they said, we want to comfort you regarding the evil, the bad that has happened. How do you know that it's bad?

Next day, soldiers were coming through the countryside looking for young men to fight. And his son was exempt because he had a broken leg. Oh, let us gather together and let it. Well, you know, this story could go on for a long time. As Christians, we do not make superficial judgments. All things work together for good to them that love God. That's the wheel upon which God places us.

All right. We have looked now and back behind that wheel, my friend, is God. So we've taken two pictures. We've taken a picture of the potter. We've taken a picture of the wheel. Now it's time to take a picture of the first vessel. That's the third picture that we take.

Notice what it says. He was working at his wheel, verse four, and the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand. We look at this vessel, and there was something within it that resisted the potter. Possibly it had some lumps within it. It is as if this vessel was rebelling against what the potter wanted to do. And these lumps were creating difficulty.

The lumps showed that there was also a lack of symmetry. A lack of symmetry, symmetry is very, very important to the potter. And as a result of that, this particular vessel, despite the fact that the potter was working authoritatively, this particular vessel was marred, it was spoiled, it was ruined in the hands of the potter. And by analogy, what the text is teaching us here is that there is within us the possibility, now we're looking at the human side, of rebelling against God, rebelling against his intentions, rebelling against his plan. And so you find that we are standing against God rather than submitting to God. And the vessel is lumpy, and the vessel does not have symmetry, but is marred or spoiled in the potter's hands.

We could give many illustrations. I'm thinking, for example, in the Old Testament of King Saul. King Saul was gifted by God. He was drop dead, good looking, taller than all of the other people. He seemed to even have humility. He had the gift of being a prophet.

They all said, is Saul also among the prophets? He was able to win victories, and yet he was filled with rot. And think of how he ended. He ended without God's blessing. He ended trying to keep the kingdom, which God took away from him. And he is a sorry, sorry blot on the history of Israel. And you and I can also be a King Saul.

I'm not a poet, but I'll throw this in. There's a little bit of Saul in us all, and we need to be careful. Because even this vessel was spoiled in the potter's hands. I've met people who think that they know better than God as to whom they should marry. They know better than God as to what their vocation should be. They know better than God the path that they should take in life. And they keep bumping into one briar patch after another.

And God takes them through one circumstance after another. And they are marred in the potter's hands because they will not submit to his authority. Well, now we've also looked at the first vessel. But there's a fourth picture that we have to take, and that is the remade vessel. Notice it says, and the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hands. And he reworked it.

I love that. He reworked it into another vessel as it seemed good for the potter to do. Now, what would you do if you had this piece of clay that was lumpy, that was not fitting together, the clay that was not being formed according to your specifications? Well, I know what I'd have a tendency to do, just to take it and to pitch it against the wall, and then get a new lump and say, if that's not going to work, this is.

But the potter very patiently takes that lump and squishes it. And there is such a thing as the breaking of the people of God. There is such a thing as brokenness of taking our lives and reordering them, taking our agendas and making them quite different, and bringing into our lives that which we could never anticipate. And God does that because he's after something. He wants to reshape us and remake us into another vessel. You look again at the scripture and you find that God was doing that all the time. Here's Abraham, who's a pagan in Ur of the Chaldees and God calls Abraham. Yet Abraham has lumps, Abraham lies, Abraham disbelieves God, and what does the potter do? The potter continues to work with Abraham so that as we go through his life, the older he becomes, the more sanctified he becomes, the more truthful he becomes, and the more faith he begins to have.

Because the potter has worked in Abraham's life and remade him. You have, for example, in the scriptures, David with all of his potential and all of his love for God and all of his sin of murder and adultery. But though he committed those sins, God was still not finished with him. Marred in the potter's hand, spoiled in the potter's hand, to be sure, but God remakes him into another vessel.

God brings about a spirit of repentance and even though David's consequences continued and the impact of his sin reached future generations and ultimately eternity, the fact is that as for David himself, if you read Psalm 51, he was being remade into another vessel. Renew within me a right spirit. God remakes spoiled vessels. And so what we have is here, there is a crushing of the child of God and the vessel is prepared to be used. Now, what does a potter do? He has this vessel that he has made and it has symmetry. The lumps are out of it. Is it ready yet?

No, it's not ready to be used. If a potter made a water pot and didn't put it into a furnace, it would become a crackpot. And so what he has to do is he has to put it into the furnace, into the kiln. So he takes this vessel that he has made and he puts it in a furnace and he knows exactly the temperature that the vessel needs and how long the vessel has to be there.

He has it all worked out according to his timer. And if the vessel could speak, the vessel would shout, no, this hurts. But the vessel has to be there because the potter has something in mind. He wants a vessel that is going to hold water, a vessel that will be able to keep flowers, a vessel that will be worthy for the treasure that he's going to put into it.

And some vessels in those days were made specifically that they might be able to hold treasures. And so what God does in our lives is to say, I want to glaze you. That's another part of the process. But I put you through the fire and we shout, no, this hurts. No, it's too much. And God says, I have my hand on the thermostat and I know what you can take.

I know where you're at, but I also know what I am after. And there we find ourselves frequently in the furnace of affliction. But it is there that God helps us. In fact, to refer again to Joseph, he says, when he has a second son, he says, you have made me fruitful in the land of my affliction. It is in the affliction in the furnace that God makes his vessels.

And so the dream is realized. You'll notice that the text says he made it into another vessel, the same material, to be sure, because he reshapes it. But he remakes it into another vessel, even as it pleases him. I need to share with you today that God loves, loves to remake spoiled vessels. In fact, there is more grace in God's heart to do that than there is ability for you to confess your sin that it might be done. God's grace outweighs our sins, and he loves to remake people as it pleases him.

His shape. Number of years ago, Rebecca and I had the privilege of having a lunch with Jim Baker. Now, some of you who remember back in the 80s during the PTL scandal, Jim Baker ended up spending about four or five years in prison, as a matter of fact, because of some deceptions that went on at PTL. And then he wrote a book later entitled I Was Wrong, in which he detailed his experience in prison, what he learned in prison, and all of the good changes that God made in his life. And we were there having lunch, perhaps an hour and a half or two actually, with him and the wife to whom he is now married, namely Laurie. And I looked at Jim and I thought, you know, despite all the past that I used to have questions about, that process in prison remade him into a vessel that honors God. And today, there are many of our many people listen to our ministry in prison.

And I want to say a word to those of you who are listening to this broadcast, that it is oftentimes in the crucible of that furnace that God remakes and reshapes and redirects the vessel that has been spoiled. And then we think of Jim's wife, Laurie. Now, I'm telling you things that are actually in her biography, though she shared those things with us too. She met Jim when he was working in a rescue mission in Los Angeles, I believe it was, or some city in California.

And she had five abortions before the age of 21. When she accepted Christ as savior, she said, I memorized 400 verses just to get my mind cleared and my mind straightened out. And together today, they give their lives really in their new ministry of service for Christ and trying to win as many people as they possibly can to Jesus Christ. Now, when you look at those lives, Jim was converted before his prison experience. But in that experience, God remade him.

His wife was converted later after her terrible experiences of sin. But God remade her because God loves to remake spoiled vessels. And where you are sitting today and listening, God is talking to you and giving you hope and saying, no matter where you find yourself, you submit yourself to the potter and be willing to do whatever the potter wants you to do. And God will remake you into a vessel as it pleases him. And that will be for your good and for his glory.

And those two are connected. Your good and the glory of God are directly tied together. Now, what happens when a lump of clay absolutely refuses, refuses all direction? What happens when a lump of clay stands against the potter and says, I will die rebelling against you? We can see this story played out in the New Testament in the life of Peter and Judas. Peter was a vessel that needed to be remade. But after he committed his sin of saying that he didn't know Jesus and denying Jesus, he was deeply repentant. And God remade him into the man that we admire today, who wrote two books of the New Testament and who is so prominent in spreading the gospel as it's given in the book of Acts. So from that standpoint, Peter was remade into a vessel as it pleased God. Judas also denied Christ.

But Judas had so hardened his heart that he was no longer pliable. That he was no longer pliable, the potter could no longer work with him. And what happens to clay that eventually will not submit to the potter? It is cast aside and that's where you get what is called pot sherds. And if you're there in the potter's house, you can see over in the corner, there are these lumps of clay, totally dried, totally worthless to be thrown out.

The bottom line is this. Where are you on the continuum? Are you willing to submit to the potter and to say, Oh God, you are the potter. I am the clay. Thank you for using people.

Thank you for using circumstances. Thank you for using disappointments and shattered dreams that you might remake me into a vessel even as it pleases you. Now I need to emphasize that the point of beginning, for those of you who are here who may not realize this, the point of beginning is of course, in your relationship with Jesus Christ. If you want to connect with God, that's the first step.

Because Jesus came to save sinners, to connect us with God, to take away our sins so that God can declare us as righteous as Jesus himself is. That is the process of first of all being remade. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. All things have passed away. All things have become new. That's the beginning point, but it's not the end. It's the beginning.

The end is saying, Lord, here I am. Make me into whatever you want me to be. Thou art the potter.

I am the clay. All rebellion ends here. Let's pray. And our Father, we want to thank you today that you work in our lives with purpose. You have something in mind, namely that we might look more like Jesus. Thank you for circumstances. Thank you that behind that wheel that seems to run so aimlessly is your eternal purpose for us. Cause us, Father, to submit to that. And we ask for those who may be here who have never even entered into a life that has been transformed by you. May they come to Jesus.

May they acknowledge their sins and receive him as their savior. Help us, Father, we pray. And now before I close this prayer, I want you to pray. What is it that you need to say to God today? What have you been resisting?

And if you never trusted Christ, why don't you reach out to him right now and say, Jesus, I want to believe. I want to receive. I want to be changed by you. Father, the work that you have begun in our lives, please complete it. Despite the temperature of the furnace, we ask Father God that you might grant us the grace to be who you want us to be, the vessel you have in mind. May that be true of us as individuals, as well as true of the Moody Church, we pray in Jesus' name. Amen. You know, my friend, as a matter of fact, the Bible says in the book of Hebrews that even Jesus was perfected through suffering.

As a man, he had to suffer. At the beginning of this message, I raised the question, what composer said these words when he was finished his work? I did think that I saw heaven before me, and the great God himself, seated on the throne, would come and say, and the great God himself, seated on the throne, with his company of angels.

Well, you've guessed right. That was Handel when he finished the Messiah. We are making this special resource available to you as you contemplate the fact that Christmas is just around the corner. For a gift of any amount, this CD set can be yours.

Two CDs, Handel's Messiah, the Cambridge Singers, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and what an opportunity for you to worship at Christmas time. Here's what you can do. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com.

Of course, rtwoffer is all one word. Or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. Be among some of the first who are going to be receiving this special resource so that you are ready to worship at Christmas. Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And when you listen to the Messiah, you'll understand why Handel made that statement.

It was as if he saw heaven open and God himself sitting on the throne with a company of angels. Hope to hear from you right now. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635, North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. The Bible tells us, In everything give thanks. Does this mean being thankful for illness or loss, or being grateful for having no job? Next time on Running to Win, why the Bible's command to be thankful does make sense, even when to us it doesn't. Join us to learn why Thanksgiving changes everything. Thanks for listening. For Pastor Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-23 03:34:18 / 2022-11-23 03:43:03 / 9

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime