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The party house pt1
Jeremiah 18:1-6
1This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
2“Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.”
3So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel.
4But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
5Then the word of the LORD came to me.
6He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. The lesson at the potter’s house and the response to it.

1. (Jer 18:1-4) Jeremiah visits the potter’s house.

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: "Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear My words." Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.

a. Arise and go down to the potter’s house: As God sometimes did with His prophets, He instructed Jeremiah to learn a lesson through a living lesson, something from daily life.

b. The vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter, so he made it again into another vessel: Watching the potter at work, Jeremiah noticed a lump of clay that seemed uncooperative. The potter decided to start again, making something that seemed good to the potter to make.

i. “Power was manifested in his manipulation of the clay, and pity in his remaking of the marred vessel….The clay was suddenly marred, twisted; it failed to express the potter’s thought….He saw that the potter did not abandon it.

2nd Corinthians 4:7-10

7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;
9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.
12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

(2Cr 4:7) A great treasure in such a humble container.

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

a. This treasure: The treasure is the greatness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the glory of God made evident through that gospel. It is the very light of God and the light of the knowledge of the glory of God reflected in the face of Jesus Christ. This is the greatest treasure in all creation!

b. We have this treasure in earthen vessels: When Paul considers us as earthen vessels, he isn’t disparaging the body or considering it merely a receptacle for the soul. Instead, Paul simply compares the “value” of God’s light and glory and the “value” of what He chose to put His light and glory into. When you compare the two, it isn’t hard to be amazed that God has put such a great treasure into clay pots.

i. Who is worthy to be a “container” for God’s light and glory? The smartest person isn’t smart enough, the purest person isn’t pure enough, the most spiritual person isn’t spiritual enough, and the most talented person isn’t talented enough. We are all just clay pots holding an unspeakably great treasure.

ii. Earthen vessels: Earthenware vessels were common in every home in the ancient world. They were not very durable (compared to metal), and they were useless if broken (glass could be melted down again). “They were thus cheap and of little intrinsic value.” (Kruse) God chose to put His light and glory in the everyday dishes, not in the fine china.

iii. We almost always are drawn to the thing that has the best packaging, but the best gifts often have the most unlikely packaging. God did not see a need to “package” Jesus when He came as a man to this earth. Jesus was not embarrassed to live as an earthen vessel. God is not embarrassed to use clay pots like us.

c. That the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us: Why does God put such a great treasure in such weak vessels? So that the greatness of the power may be of God and not of us. So that it would be evident to anyone who had eyes to see that the work was being done by the power of God, not the power of the vessel.

i. Why did God choose risky, earthen vessels instead of safe, heavenly ones? Because “perfect” vessels are safe but bring glory to themselves. Earthen vessels are risky but can bring profound glory to God.

ii. In the story of Gideon, it was the breaking of vessels that made the light shine forth and bring victory to God’s people (Judges 7:20). In the rest of the chapter, Paul will show how God “breaks” His clay pots so that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

3. (2Cr 4:8-12) The suffering in Paul’s ministry brought forth life.

We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you.

a. We are hard pressed: This has the idea of “hunted.” Paul was a wanted, hunted man because of what he was for Jesus. In Acts 23:12, 40 men conspired together to not eat or drink until they had murdered Paul. Paul knew what it was like to be hunted.

b. Yet not crushed: Living as a wanted, hunted man means terrible stress, experienced every moment of the day. Yet Paul was not crushed by this stress. He could still serve the Lord gloriously.

c. Hard pressed... perplexed... persecuted... struck down: Paul’s life was hard, and it was hard because of his passionate devotion to Jesus Christ and His gospel. Yet look at the triumph of Jesus in Paul’s life: not crushed... not in despair... not forsaken... not destroyed. Paul knew the power and victory of Jesus in his life because he was continually in situations where only the power and victory of Jesus could meet his need.

i. When we talk about suffering like this today, it is easy to think we are just saying “spiritual things,” because some of us live very comfortable lives and do not suffer much at all. Nevertheless, we should remember that everything Paul said about suffering, he said as a man who probably suffered more than you or anyone you will ever meet. This was not a theory of Paul but real life experience.

d. Always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested: Paul, like any Christian, wanted the life of Jesus evident in him. Paul knew this could only happen if he also carried about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus. There are some aspects of God’s great work in our lives that only happen through trials and suffering.

i. By writing always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, Paul meant that he felt as if the death of Jesus was being spiritually worked inside of him. He is saying that the death of Jesus was not only a historical fact, it also was a spiritual reality in his life.

ii. In Philippians 3:10, Paul speaks about the glory of knowing Jesus: that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. Many long to know the power of His resurrection but want nothing to do with the fellowship of His sufferings or being conformed to His death. However, there are certain fragrances God can only release through a broken vial, so Paul rejoiced in knowing both the suffering and the glory. He knew the two were connected.

e. Always delivered to death... death is working in us, but life in you: Paul knew the spiritual riches that he brought to the Corinthian Christians came in part through the death-like suffering he endured in ministry. God made Paul more effective in ministry through his suffering.

i. Sometimes we think that if someone is really spiritual or really used to God they will live in a constant state of “victory” that means life will always be easy. Understanding what Paul wrote here not only tells us that God’s servants may experience death-like suffering but that God has a good and glorious purpose in allowing it.

ii. G. Campbell Morgan tells the story of a great young preacher who was impressive early in his ministry. Once he had the young man to speak at his church, and after the sermon, Morgan asked his wife, “Wasn’t that wonderful?” She quietly replied, “Yes, but it will be more wonderful when he has suffered.” Morgan adds: “Well, he suffered, and it was more powerful.”

f. Death in us, but life in you: Here is the irony. The Corinthian Christians despised Paul because of his great sufferings and because of what they thought was their great lives of “victory.” They did not see that their lives of victory were only possible because God made Paul such an effective servant through suffering.

i. “Very good interpreters think these words a smart ironical expression, by which the apostle reflecteth upon a party in this church who from his sufferings concluded against the truth of his doctrine, or his favor with God.”

Matthew 16:24 (AMP)
Discipleship Is Costly
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].

roberte Mar 14 · Rate: 5 · Tags: teaching
A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to
Leave the examination room and said,

‘Doctor, I am afraid to die.
Tell me what lies on the other side.’

Very quietly, the doctor said, ‘I don’t know..’

‘You don’t know? You’re a Christian person,
and don’t know what’s on the other side?’

The doctor was holding the handle of the door;
On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining,

And as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room
And leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said,
‘Did you notice my dog?

He’s never been in this room before.
He didn’t know what was inside.
He knew nothing except that his master was here,
And when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.

I know little of what is on the other side of death,
But I do know one thing…

I know my Master is there and that is enough.’

~ Author Unknown

Bill's Note. . .
May today there be peace within you.
May you trust God that you are exactly
Where you are meant to be.
I believe that friends are quiet angels
Who lift us to our feet when our wings
Have trouble remembering how to fly.

My Mother’s father worked as a carpenter. On this particular day, he was building some crates for the clothes his church was sending to orphanages in China. On his way home, he reached into his shirt pocket to find his glasses, but they were gone. When he mentally replayed his earlier actions, he realized what had happened; the glasses had slipped out of his pocket unnoticed and fallen into one of the crates, which he had nailed shut. His brand new glasses were heading for China!

The Great Depression was at it’s height and Grandpa had six children. He had spent $20 for those glasses that very morning. He was upset by the thought of having to buy another pair. “It’s not fair,” he told God as he drove home in frustration. “I’ve been very faithful in giving of my time and money to your work, and now this.”

Months later, the director of the orphanage was on furlough in the United States. He wanted to visit all the churches that supported him in China, so he came to speak one Sunday at my grandfather’s small church in Chicago. The missionary began by thanking the people for their faithfulness in supporting the orphanage. “But most of all,” he said, “I must thank you for the glasses you sent last year. You see, the Communists had just swept through the orphanage, destroying everything, including my glasses. I was desperate. Even if I had the money, there was simply no way of replacing those glasses. Along with not being able to see well, I experienced headaches every day, so my coworkers and I were much in prayer about this. Then your crates arrived. When my staff removed the covers, they found a pair of glasses lying on top.

The missionary paused long enough to let his words sink in. Then, still gripped with the wonder of it all, he continued: “Folks, when I tried on the glasses, it was as though they had been custom made just for me! I want to thank you for being a part of that.”

The people listened, happy for the miraculous glasses. But the missionary surely must have confused their church with another, they thought. There were no glasses on their list of items to be sent overseas. But sitting quietly in the back, with tears streaming down his face, an ordinary carpenter realized the Master Carpenter had used him in an extraordinary way.

— Author Unknown


Biil's Note

There are times we want to blame God instead of thanking him! Perhaps it is something we ought to try more often, “Thank you God for not allowing my car to start this morning.” He may have been saving your life from a car accident. “Lord Jesus, thank you for letting me lose my glasses; I’m sure they’ll be put to good use or there is a lesson to be learned.”

Here are 10 suggestions to help you develop and maintain a healthy self-image. It is also a great way to begin your new year on a good start.  Read them slowly. Meditate on them regularly.

1. Hate your sin, but never hate yourself.

2. Be quick to repent.

3. When God gives you light, walk in it.

4. Stop saying negative things about yourself. God loves you and it’s wrong to hate what He loves. He has great plans for you, so you’re in conflict with Him when you speak negatively concerning your future.

5. Never be afraid to admit that you’ve made a mistake and don’t always assume that when things go wrong, it must be ‘my fault’.

6. Don’t meditate excessively on what you’ve done, right or wrong; both of these activities keep your mind on you! Center your thoughts on Christ.

7. Take good care of yourself physically. Make the best of what God gave you to work with, but don’t be obsessed with your appearance.

8. Never stop learning but don’t allow your education to become a point of pride. God doesn’t use you because of what’s in your head: He uses you because of what’s in your heart.

9. Realize that your talents are a gift, not something you have manufactured yourself; never look down on people who can’t do what you do.

10. Don’t despise your weaknesses they keep you dependent on God.

~ Author Unknown

Back when the telegraph was the fastest method of long-distance communication, a young man applied for a job as a Morse Code operator. Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the office address that was listed.

When he arrived, he entered a large, busy office filled with noise and clatter, including the sound of the telegraph in the background. A sign on the receptionist’s counter instructed job applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office.

The young man filled out his form and sat down with the seven other applicants in the waiting area. After a few minutes, the young man stood up, crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and walked right in.

Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering what was going on. They muttered among themselves that they hadn’t heard any summons yet.

They assumed that the young man who went into the office made a mistake and would be disqualified.

Within a few minutes, however, the employer escorted the young man out of the office and said to the other applicants, “Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming, but the job has just been filled.”

The other applicants began grumbling to each other, and one spoke up saying, “Wait a minute, I don’t understand. He was the last to come in, and we never even got a chance to be interviewed. Yet he got the job. That’s not fair!”

The employer said, “I’m sorry, but the last several minutes while you’ve been sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out the following message in Morse Code: ‘If you understand this message, then come right in. The job is yours.’ None of you heard it or understood it. This young man did. The job is his.”

We are so busy living in a world that is full of noise and clatter, like that office. People are distracted and unable to hear the still, small voice of God as He speaks in creation, in the Scriptures, and in the life and work of Jesus Christ.

So I ask you, as I ask myself, “Are you listening, or are you waiting to be called? Do you hear the Lord when he speaks to you?

— Author Unknown

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