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Treasures from Trials, Part 1

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
January 17, 2022 7:00 am

Treasures from Trials, Part 1

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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January 17, 2022 7:00 am

Some people will tell you that the Christian life is all smiles and sunshine and good times. Dr. Tony Evans will explain why, even though that's not true, there's treasure in our trials.

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God has placed a treasure in you and me. He wants the treasure to be made manifest.

Come out. But Dr. Tony Evans says sometimes that doesn't happen until our lives are turned upside down. That's when He becomes real to you and not just a sermon or a song or an event. This is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans. Author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. Some people believe that Christian life is all smiles and sunshine and good times. Well, today Dr. Evans explains why even though that's not true, there is treasure to be found in our trials. Let's join him as he explores our relationship with God the Comforter.

Paul continues this theme of affliction and comfort. He makes a statement in verse 7 of 2nd Corinthians chapter 4 that just this statement is enough to blow your mind. He says in verse 7, but we have this treasure in earthen vessels. Earthen vessels means a clay pot. He's referring to our bodies because our bodies are made from earth, dirt.

And he calls them earthen vessels. In biblical days, an earthen vessel would be a clay jar or a clay pot. But in that clay pot or clay jar, you might put something very valuable inside of it. I'm sure many of us in our homes have expensive things in cheap containers.

You might have rings in something that's inexpensive. So in that inexpensive container, you are containing something of vast treasure, wealth, or that has substantive or significant value. He says, but we have this treasure in earthen vessels. Inside of you, your body, and inside of my body, that's the vessel, is a treasure.

What is the treasure? Well, he's told you in verse 6, he says, For God, who said, Light shall shine out of the darkness, is the one who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. Inside of you is the knowledge of God.

And by knowledge, he means the experience of God, not merely information or data about God. Inside of you, there is a treasure that is of immense value, and inside of you is the knowledge of God that you experience in the face of Christ. There is this treasure—I mean, if you could go and walk up to God and talk to him face to face, have him talk back to you, you knew it was God, and you could interact with him, would not that be a treasure?

That would be something of inestimable value. He says, in this earthly vessel, your human body is a treasure consisting of the knowledge of God that you get to unwrap. You get to unwrap this treasure, he says, in the face of Christ.

Or to put it another way, the closer you get to Christ, the more of God you experience. In the face of Christ, staring him in the eyes, the closer you get to Christ, the more of God, the knowledge of God, the experience of that knowledge, is yours. You don't have to turn there, but Colossians 2, verse 3 says that in Christ is hidden.

All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In Christ is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Verse 9 of that same chapter, Colossians 2, 9 says that in Christ is deity in bodily form.

In other words, Christ is God only with skin on. So if you want to unwrap God, he says, look at Christ, and if you unwrap Christ, you get all the wisdom and knowledge, because all of that is in Christ. So in Christ is wisdom and knowledge, and the more of Christ you get, the more of God you experience. So if you want more of God, draw near to Jesus.

And if you draw near to Jesus, you get the experience of God, and when you get the experience of God, you're getting wisdom and knowledge on how life is to be lived, how life is to be experienced. The problem is that this wisdom and knowledge is tucked into a container that's earthen vessel. In other words, something expensive has been put in something cheap. And you the cheap one. I'm the cheap one. All right? I hope you know, well, with inflation, you're just about worth about $7.50 now. So you ain't all that.

And neither am I. On our best day, we're dignified dirt. Now we're dressed up dignified dirt, got our hair done dignified dirt, got designer clothes dignified dirt. It's dirt driving a car or living in a nice house.

Designer dirt. He says, we have the treasure, and the treasure is not you. That's why God hates pride, because that's making you think you the treasure. Or to put it in everyday language, you are all that. He says, no, no, no. The treasure, we have this treasure, this spectacular possession, and it is inside of us, and it is in an earthly vessel, a clay jar, that when you look at the face of Christ, like Moses said on the mountain, show me your glory, let me see your face, God.

He wanted to experience God. You cannot always measure the value of something by what you see. In fact, you usually cannot. If Jed Clampett walked up the street, and we didn't know who Jed Clampett was, he just walked up, we just say, that's a hillbilly. That's a hillbilly from the hills of Tennessee. But if we got a little closer to Jed Clampett, and discovered what he discovered, that in Jed Clampett is a treasure, and in that treasure is all the wealth of the oil that was discovered while he was shooting raccoons or whatever he was shooting, and got the oil that come up from the land.

He may be a hillbilly, but he a Beverly hillbilly. That's because you don't always see all there is unless you can get beneath the package, unless you can get beneath the external. That's why the Bible says, don't look down on other people who don't seem to measure up to your human standards, because you might just have missed an angel unaware. You might just have missed a divine messenger that God put in rags just to see whether you were going to be prideful. He says, we have a treasure, the knowledge of God in the face of Christ, and it is located in an earthling vessel, like pearls and oyster. You may not like oyster, but you better not throw away that oyster too quick, or that clam too quick, because that thing that you might think is slimy might be holding something of tremendous value. Every believer, every Christian possesses a treasure that may to this point still be unwrapped.

Maybe covered up or covered over. But if you are a Christian, you have the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ. That's what he said you have.

Now, why has he put that expensive a value in this cheap of a package? He says at the end of verse seven, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves. He says that this experience of the knowledge of God, this treasure that God has provided or placed in every believer has been so situated in you that it cannot be manifested by your power.

It must be the reflection of God's power. It's not who you are, who you know. It's not anything, nothing will keep the knowledge of God far from you than you forgetting you're an earthly vessel.

Because that's pride. That's thinking more of yourself than you ought to think. That's Jesus praying, Lord, I hope you hide this from the intellectuals who think they can figure it out independently of God. The moment you move independently of God, that means you're moving independently upon you. And when you move from dependency on God to dependency on you, you're missing the treasure. Now, he has stated this, that you and I have something very expensive inside of us. The living God who wants you to experience is reality, so that's where we're starting.

Hold on to that point because everything takes off from this. You are very expensive on the inside because of the treasure you have, not because of who you are. Now, before I move on, a lot of folks suffer from self-esteem. They think lowly of themselves.

That's because you don't know what you're carrying. See, if you know what, my goal isn't to give you self-esteem. Because self-esteem, I might just be helping you get more pride. I want to give you God-esteem, which will give you the right kind of self-esteem, because then you will not think more highly of yourself, and I won't, then we ought to think. What ought to give you esteem is what you're walking around with. You're walking around, if you are a believer, with the living God, the knowledge of God that becomes manifested in the face of Christ. That is what you have.

That's what you're walking around with. Now, having said that, let me give you what you might consider the bad news. We are afflicted in every way. Verse 9, persecuted, struck down. Verse 10, always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus. Now wait a minute, I felt so good when you were talking about verse 7.

Because when you were talking about verse 7, I feel better already. I'm somebody. I'm walking around with royal blood in my veins. I'm walking around with a treasure that's very expensive. I'm walking around with the living God. I felt so good. Then you had to go to verse 8.

I feel so bad now. Because in verse 8, you're telling me life is rough, persecuted, struck down, afflicted. See, verse 7 is shouting verse.

Let's get you shouting. Amen. Hallelujah. Verse 8, 9, and 10 does what you just did. Get quiet. Because that's not shouting verses.

Yet. But we will get to those shouting verses when Dr. Evans continues our message in just a moment. Stay with us. Dr. Tony Evans understands firsthand what this type of compounded pain feels like. He knows what it is to face one tragedy after another until you begin to dread the next day, simply because you don't know the bad news it may bring. After losing seven close family members, including his precious wife, in a span of just two years, he doesn't write or speak from a theological position of platitudes on pain, but from the heart. In his new book, Hope for the Hurting, Dr. Evans gives you practical spiritual principles to help you face pain and hurt well based on the life of Paul.

He shows you that there's love and happiness on the other side of it all if you will learn how to walk through the hurt with both peace and joy. Go to tonyevans.org to find out more and request your copy of Hope for the Hurting. In celebration of the release of this brand new book from Dr. Evans, we'd like to send one of the first copies to you as our gift in return for your donation toward keeping this ministry coming your way each day. And for a limited time, along with Tony's Hope for the Hurting book, we'll also include all 20 messages, 10 on CD and 10 as digital downloads, from the new audio compilation you're listening to today called Coming to the Comforter. This collection offers a healthy perspective on the pain and trials we all go through and can help you find the strength you need to hold on during tough times, allowing you to discover the healing and wholeness God has in store for you. Request this special package of resources right away at tonyevans.org, where you can even get the companion Hope for the Hurting Bible Study DVD and study guide. Again, go to tonyevans.org for all the details, or let one of our resource team members help you by phone day or night at 1-800-800-3222.

That's 1-800-800-3222. Well, right now, Dr. Evans picks up with part two of today's message. Why does he jump from telling me about this treasure to telling me I'm afflicted, I'm persecuted, I'm caring about the dying of Jesus? Verse 10, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

The body is the earthen vessel. He says the way you experience the life is through the death. If you're not carrying the death, you don't get to experience the life. He's not talking about going and looking for problems.

He's not talking about creating problems. He's not talking about sinning. He's talking about carrying the dying of Jesus.

What does that mean? When you are seeking to unwrap the treasure of the experiential knowledge of God by looking at the face of Christ, God allows circumstances, 8, 9, the first half of 10, in your life to force you to Jesus. That's why he says in verse 10, carrying about the dying of Jesus. He's not talking about you physically dying. He's not talking about that because you're carrying this.

He's talking about the problems in 8, 9. He is saying those problems are designed when you are seeking to experience God to kill something in you, dying, but to kill something in you through your identification with Jesus as you go through it. So if you are seeking God, seeking to please God, seeking to know God, and stuff is going wrong in your life, I know this won't feel good, but it's going wrong on purpose. God wants you to carry about the dying of Jesus. He's trying to kill something.

What is he trying to kill? Something that is getting in the way of you coming into the experiential knowledge of God that you only get in the face of Jesus Christ. So if stuff is going wrong and you're trying to be right, that means you ought to draw nearer to Jesus, not further from Jesus. You ought to draw nearer to Christ, not further from Christ, because God is trying to unwrap some treasure.

He's trying to reveal something about this special thing you have inside of you that has still gone unwrapped to some degree. You say, well, how do I know that I'm connecting with Jesus while I'm going through this? Well, he actually tells you, because he says you will be afflicted in every way, but you won't be crushed. He said the way you know you're connected with Jesus is it's messing with you, but it's not destroying you like you thought it was going to be. You thought you were going to lose your mind and you haven't lost it yet. You are not crushed. He says you're perplexed. You don't know what in the world's going on, why it's going on, why it's going on so long, but for some reason you're not despairing.

You still have hope in the middle of this thing. He says you are persecuted. It ain't fair.

It's not right. They shouldn't be treating me like this, but God shows up in some way and you are not forsaken. He says you will be persecuted but not forsaken. You will be struck down, but you won't be destroyed.

In other words, you will see Jesus place limitations on how far this thing goes until he kills what he's trying to kill. Now, roasted peanuts. Anybody like roasted peanuts? Anybody like roasted peanuts?

Okay. I've never seen anybody get excited about the shell. Oh, that's a nice looking shell. Let me try me some shell.

I've never seen it. You know why? Because the treasure is the nut. The treasure is the nut. Now, I want the nut.

Now, I'm glad the nut was encased in a shell, but I'm not all excited about a shell. I'm after the nut. When I cracked the nut, then I got skin over the nut. I squiggly the skin off because I'm trying to get to the nut.

Now, wait a minute. In order for me to get to the nut, I got to do some damage to the shell. I got to hurt the shell a little bit. I got to crack it. I got to squeeze it.

I got to split it. I got to open it. I'm not trying to be mean to the shell. It's just that the shell is getting in the way of the treasure. And the treasure is the nut.

And I don't love the shell so much that I'm allowing it to keep me from the nut. God has a treasure in you and he does not want your humanity to block the treasure. So he will allow things that come into your life that may not be inconvenient because he got to get something out the way so we can get to the treasure so the nut can be made manifest.

He said, so the life of Christ, verse 10, can be made manifest, can show up. That's why he's allowed this thing in your life if you are pursuing him. That's why he's allowed this thing in your life if you really want to know him. Now I'm not talking about the person who doesn't want to know him, the person who's just being evil. I'm talking about the person who's struggling and wanting to know him. He says between verse 7 and the end of verse 10 comes 8 and 9 and there's no other way to get there.

You can't skip 8 and 9. You don't go out and create it, but when God allows it or brings it, you can't skip it. Negative experiences are designed to give us a share of a new level of experience with God. You look for Jesus. I hope everybody here is reading through the Bible. Our goal is to read through the Bible in a year. We want all of you to read through the Bible. If you haven't started yet, it's not too late.

It's not too late. No, you start right where you are and then just slowly catch up, okay? But here's the secret to reading the Bible, particularly when you're reading the Old Testament. You're reading all these stories.

Here's the secret. Look for Jesus. See, because Jesus says in Luke 24, the Old Testament speaks of me. See, you always keep your eye focused on Jesus. How does this connect to Jesus? What does this look like to you? Because the knowledge of God, the treasure, comes through looking at the face of Jesus.

It's the Jesus factor that unveils the knowledge of God, and it's never unveiled any more than when life is not working. You remember the old piggy banks we used to have? Drop your coins in the top, in the slit in the top? Now, when you wanted to get your money back, because the treasure is in a vessel, okay?

The treasure is in a vessel. You had to turn that thing upside down and shake. Remember how frustrated it was when the stuff wasn't coming out right? You're like, what did you do? You shook it more, all right? You shook it more.

Sometimes you just got violent with it. And there were some piggy banks that were so designed that when they got full, you had to break them to get it out. God has placed a treasure in you and me.

It's in earthen vessels. He wants the treasure to be made manifest, come out. So sometimes He has to flip us over and shake, turn us around and shake, and sometimes break in order that He might be made manifest. His reality might be exposed.

And that's when He becomes real to you and not just a sermon or a song or an event. Dr. Tony Evans talking about the upside of downtimes in a message called Treasures from Trials. If you'd like to get a full-length copy of this lesson, it's included as a part of that comprehensive 20-part series I mentioned earlier, Coming to the Comforter, available with 10 messages on CD and the remaining as digital downloads. The complete collection is yours with our thanks when you make a contribution to help keep Tony's ministry coming to this station and other outlets around the world. And for a limited time, along with the Coming to the Comforter series, we'll also send you Tony's newest book, Hope for the Hurting. As always, the details are waiting for you online at TonyEvans.org, where you can browse through our huge library of resources and sign up for Tony's free weekly email devotional.

And if you want to explore this topic even further, check out the companion Hope for the Hurting Bible Study DVD and study guide. Again, that's TonyEvans.org. Or let one of our friendly resource team members assist you with your request at 1-800-800-3222.

That's 1-800-800-3222. It's been said kindness is a gift everyone can afford to give. Well, Dr. Evans believes we're in a time when kindness is a gift that our society can't afford not to give. Take the time to show kindness to those you meet every day. And in the name of Jesus, look for opportunities to demonstrate kindness to someone who needs a touch from God. You'll help make our world a better place when you display the love of God through your acts of kindness. Well, tomorrow, more from Dr. Evans on how God takes us through trials instead of around them, including the choice we need to make in order to see the purpose in our pain. I hope you'll be back with us. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative and is made possible by the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-23 13:54:10 / 2023-06-23 14:03:10 / 9

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