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Unlikely Vessel

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
December 27, 2020 5:00 am

Unlikely Vessel

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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December 27, 2020 5:00 am

As we enter the new year, Pastor Jason invites us to consider the treasure we have in the gospel. In difficult and uncertain times, the light of the gospel shines even brighter. But what should overwhelm our souls is that God chooses to house this precious gospel in us.

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The year was 2013. Dori Rhodes and her family decided it was time to make a little extra cash. So they cleaned out the closets and they were going to get rid of some junk. That's right, it was time for them to have a yard sale. As her family began to pile up all the things they were collecting in their small garage, things were piling up and Dori realized, I don't really have any of my own stuff in the pile. Her kids looked at her and said, Mom, you've got a lot of junk. Why isn't your stuff in this pile too?

Fair question. Dori realized she should contribute as well. So up the stairs she goes where she grabs a few things and puts them in the pile. One of those items was an old denim jacket.

No big deal, just your normal run of the mill, John Muller-esque denim jacket. Knowing she hadn't worn it in a while and that just like everything in America these days, what was once in style went out of style and will come back in style again. She threw it in the pile knowing full well that a millennial would come along and they'd buy it. So at some point in the morning, the garage sale gets going and she starts haggling back and forth with a young guy. All right, she was asking a whopping $25 for the jacket. Now the buyer thought to himself that price is way too steep for a yard sale item. Okay, the buyer's like, I want nothing to do with that.

Dori starts working a deal with the guy. So she gets it down to the whopping price of $20. Boom, she sells the jacket, the old rickety jacket for how much money?

20 bucks. She was pumped. She had finally gotten rid of some junk and she made some cash in the process.

Now it wasn't until later on during that afternoon when she realized she had just made the biggest mistake of her life. Why? Well, like many of us, Dori had some fears. And what are some of your greatest fears? I'll tell you some of my greatest fears, okay? Number one, snakes, plain and simple. I hate snakes.

If I came across a snake, I would stomp on its head because I believe that's what God would want all of us to do, okay? Now Dori had a legitimate fear as well. One of her biggest fears was that someone would come into her house and steal her stuff. So like anyone with that kind of fear, she wanted to ensure that she kept her valuables in a place that even a possible thief would never think to look. So surely the pockets of an old denim jacket would be the perfect hiding spot for, I don't know, her diamond earrings, a wedding ring, and some cash that she had been saving up to surprise her family with for a vacation.

That day, Dori Rhodes sold her old rickety denim jacket for a whopping $20. The contents that were inside the pocket valued upwards of $20,000. People have a tendency to hide treasures in places that are strange. Unlikely, shoeboxes, underwear drawers, behind books on a bookshelf, in the pockets of old denim jackets.

Something of great value to you being stored in an unlikely place. Now what I'm getting ready to say to you may be the biggest understatement of this entry, but can we all disagree that 2020 has been a weird year, right? I mean, like the normal rhythms of your life have been shaken up. I mean, your parents are always yelling at you to get off your phone, turn off the computer, quit playing video games. But this year they're like, whatever it takes to get you out of my hair for a few minutes, just go, go and get online.

That's fine with me. That's weird, right? I mean, parents have been watching kids' school sports games all the time.

Sports games on Zoom. And at the beginning of 2020, it was toilet paper that was the most impossible thing to find. And now at the end of the year, you know what's really hard to find?

A live Christmas tree. I mean, come on, man, this has been a crazy year. Even Dude Perfect had to switch things up for a while.

I thought those guys were untouchable. And y'all, can we just go all the way back to the beginning of the year in January? Kobe Bryant died. I'm still in shock. Weird days, my friends, weird days. Now, what if through the chaos of 2020, God has been at work underneath the layers of all this chaos, where He's been shaping you, preparing you, changing you, an unlikely vessel with an unrivaled message to make the name of Jesus famous with your life?

In the book of 2 Corinthians, the apostle Paul is writing another letter to followers of Jesus in a city called Corinth. Now, these people are people that Paul really cares about, but man, they are giving my man Paul some serious heartburn. You guys have people like that in your life?

I have three of them, okay? They're ages 12, 9, and 7. Holt, Annie, and Parks.

I love them, but man, they can really just crush me sometimes. The Corinthians are those people for Paul. They have started to believe some messed up stuff. They were led to believe that because Paul was a broken human being, meaning that he didn't talk the way that they thought a leader should talk. He didn't look the part. He didn't dress the part. Because he didn't have all of the external things that he really couldn't believe, they really couldn't believe that he was actually one of God's guys. Who wouldn't trust such a great treasure to such an average guy?

There's no way, they thought. Paul reminds them that the gospel lives in unlikely people and it shines the brightest in difficult and unlikely times. Let's read it together, 2 Corinthians 4. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but we're not crushed. We're perplexed, but we're not in despair. Persecuted, but not abandoned.

Struck down, but not destroyed. Two very simple things I want us to see today. Paul reminds the Corinthian church of two truths. He reminds them of this great possession that they have and a great message that they have. Number one, our unique possession. We have, he says, we have this treasure.

The word that's used here in the Greek is meant in the present tense. That means we have something now. Okay, if you were to just take a second right where you are and you thought about the last five, 10, 15 minutes of your day, you probably had something in your possession that you do not currently have right now. Maybe you're at home and it's a blanket.

Maybe it's a phone. Maybe it was a glass of sweet tea, God's favorite. You had it, but now you don't. The great thing about the gospel is that you don't have it and then you just don't. It doesn't just disappear, okay?

It's locked deep in the recesses of your heart. The hope and the glory of the gospel is not just a hope for the future. It is a hope for the future, but it's not just a hope for the future.

It's a hope now. It's life altering for your life right now. It's life shattering now. It's life giving now.

Everybody say now. Now, that's right. Jesus would say it this way in John 10, verse 10. I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly now. Jesus did not come to make life miserable for you. He came to bring joy, unspeakable joy in all seasons right now. Now, what I'm not saying is that Jesus came to make your life comfortable and pain free.

Okay, that's not it at all. In fact, exhibit A, Hebrews 11, the Great Hall of Faith, right? And when we read that chapter, we tend to focus on the ones that saw God do great things, like God shut the mouths of lions for them, right? We tend to focus on the guys that God did incredible things through, but we tend to forget the ones listed that because of their faith, they had some pretty bad things happen to them as well. Some of them lost their life because they refused to deny their greatest treasure, Jesus.

Listen closely. Jesus did not say that you'd be safe and comfortable following Him. What I am saying, though, is that whether you walk through the valley that feels like the shadow of death, or as you stand on the mountaintop and feel like you've just been at the feet of Jesus, you have the same treasure in both places. You possess Christ, and in Christ, you are enough because Christ is enough. Jesus is our great possession. He is our great treasure. And that treasure isn't just a flicker of light at the end of the dark tunnel. Jesus, our great treasure, illuminates every dark corner of that tunnel. He illuminates every dark alley of your life. Maybe the enemy has grabbed a hold of your mind this year and driven a wedge of doubt where trust used to exist. Can I just say something?

He's got to go, okay? Not today, Satan, all right? Don't let the enemy, don't let the enemy take a weapon of your worship, which is your mind, the things that you think upon, the things that you meditate on, don't let him take your weapon of worship and let him turn it into a weapon of destruction in your life. Don't let the, if God can God, where is God, dominate every piece of your life. We begin to forget that we possess the greatest treasure and that nothing can take him away.

Signed, sealed, delivered. He is your greatest treasure. How do I take hold of this treasure that is Christ every single day?

That's a question that I think is important for us to ask. How do I take hold of this treasure and take hold of this treasure daily? Now, I started the year off with this, I'm ending it with this.

I spent every day reminding myself of this and I'm rolling into 2021 with this as the banner of my life. I'm going to say it again and again and again. The way that you grab hold of that treasure is eyes on Jesus, E-O-J. I said it again, E-O-J. I don't have a tattoo mainly because I don't have any muscles, okay?

But one day when I do get some muscles, I'm going to get some ink and on that ink is going to get E-O-J right there, okay? Because I always want to be reminded that the cure for distraction and the cure for discouragement, okay? And the cure prescribed, it's not just like a cure that's prescribed by me, it's a cure prescribed by God in the Word of God is to set your eyes on Jesus, to lift your eyes, to fix your eyes, to behold, to remember. Psalm 121, verses one through two says this, the psalmist says, I lift my eyes towards the hills.

Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. Hebrews chapter 12, verse one and two. Therefore, he says, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, that's all of Hebrews chapter 11, right? Since we're surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off the things that hinder us and the sin that entangles us and let us run with perseverance to the Lord.

It's the race marked out before us. But he's like, how do I run with perseverance? How do I run in this world?

How do I run in this chaos? How do you do it? By fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Are you struggling to believe that you possess a great treasure within you because of sin that you've allowed to creep into your life? Eyes up. As far as the east is from the west, Psalm 103, verse 12 says, as far as the east is from the west, so far as he removed our sins from us. Eyes on Jesus. Lamentations 3, 22 and 23, the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies are new every morning.

Great is his faithfulness towards you. Don't let the enemy try to dim the light of Christ in you. How rich a treasure you possess through Jesus Christ our Lord. We have a great, great possession in Christ. Number two, we have a unique message and we are unique messengers. Okay, now we have something to say to the world.

You have something to say to the world, even if you don't feel qualified to say it. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, he says, look at this, to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. Now, here's the crazy thing, okay? We have this great treasure in a dirty old beat up jar.

One that's this fragile, one that's fading, one that's passing away. Like if you were to go into the garage of your house, you walk out the door and go into the garage at your house, okay? And you look at the nasty beat up stinky pile of shoes that are gathered right by your door and you know that you got them there, right? Okay, Paul's like, that's us. That's us. We're not the shoes in the shoe box that are all nice and shiny and beautiful. No, we're the shoes, just the average run of the day shoes that you put on your feet to mow the grass in. You're a clay pot.

That's it. A jar of clay, average, every day, run of the mill, not polished, not fancy. The imagery that Paul gives you here is something that everyone had in their homes.

It's like saying, hey, you got a million dollars stashed in your shoe pile in the garage. Who does that? God.

And the best part is he takes great joy in it. Isn't that the way that Jesus came? He didn't come in riches and glory, but in a lowly manger. Not through an earthly ruler that was in power, but through the lowliness of two obscure people. And he didn't come in one of the great cities of antiquity.

No, he came in Podunk, Bethlehem. God does the same thing with you and with me. God put His greatest treasure, the hope of the gospel in our broken hearts. In your heart, my heart, broken, imperfect, unsuspecting, ordinary people. Aren't you glad that human weakness is no barrier to the purposes of God?

I am. And that's what God does. That's history. That's His strategy to reach your school. That's His strategy to reach your friends at work, to reach your neighbors, your friends on your sports teams and in your clubs and the world. So no one but Him gets the glory.

He puts His perfect treasure in an imperfect people. Do you feel underqualified in every aspect of life? Take courage. Welcome to the bus stop. Good luck finding a seat when we get on this bus because it is crowded on the Jesus bus with imperfect people.

I mean, look at this. Peter, the leader and spokesman of the 12 disciples, right? The guy was outspoken as all get out.

The one whose confession Jesus says He would build His church upon. But really, when you get down to it, He's a little bit of a goober, okay? He denied Jesus multiple times and then God uses Him to set the world on fire in the book of Acts. His life was a life of ups and downs over and over and over.

Fall down, get back up, fall down, get back up, fall down, get back up. Most people probably looked at Peter and thought, what a noob, right? Like, who is this guy? He's just a clay pot.

David, David was a man after the heart of God. He had it all and then he blew it. He messed up. He was in a relationship that he shouldn't have been in.

He plotted and succeeded like somebody in the mafia to have somebody killed. Somehow God used David to make His glory known. He's just a clay pot. Moses stuttered in speech, quick tempered, yet he was the man chosen by God to lead God's people out of the cruel hand of Pharaoh. What was Moses? Was he special?

No, just a clay pot. Jonah ran away from God. God, Job, Job was making it rain, man. He had all the money. He had all the land. He had all the cattle, but then he lost it all.

Broke. Clay pot, you, me, us. We are broken, imperfect people, yet God. See, God values us clay pots enough that He will put the greatest treasure the world would ever know deep into the recesses of your heart.

Why? So that you may make known the light of Christ everywhere that you go. In every season that you go through, Jesus made famous through your life. So 2020 may have had you feel impressed, but can I just tell you something? In Christ, you're not crushed. You're not abandoned. You may feel struck down, but you're not destroyed. That's our message. Never get over the treasure that is Christ in you. A broken, fragile clay pot. Now, go put your eyes on Jesus and tell the world about the greatest treasure that you have found.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-06 23:19:16 / 2023-09-06 23:27:06 / 8

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