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Home Sermons God's Trash is God's Treasure - 2 Corinthians 4:7

God's Trash is God's Treasure - 2 Corinthians 4:7

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God's Trash is God's Treasure 2 Corinthians 4:7

The reality is that sooner or later we lose heart as Christians. There are many reasons for this.

We can lose heart because of the times in which we live. There may be division in the church, we lose our job or our marriage falls apart. A child or an unborn baby dies suddenly. We get serious ill unexpectantly. So extreme difficulties in our lives can cause us to lose heart.

Also we can lose heart because of the task before us. Maybe it's stress of shepherding a growing church or a difficult of personal counselling or dealing with a church member who is under disciple. Even the demands of the great commission can cause us to lose heart. “It’s just to difficult and costly engaging in this whole ministry of personal urban evangelism,” we say.

Often we can lose heart because of the temptations we face. The world, the flesh and the Devil seem to come in upon us like a mighty raging river. We fall into some grievous sin that entangles us and robs us of joy and the Lord’s presence. We face opposition from Christians who we thought where our friends, but we find have been bad mouthing us behind our backs.

The great Apostle was a realist. He tells us that amidst the greatest personal difficulties he does not lose heart. “ Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.”  Why?

Well. He tells us in the verses that follow (2 Corinthians 4:2-6 ) it’s because of the incredible transforming power of the gospel.

Then in our text verse 7 he says a further powerful reason. “ We have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of ourselves.”

He says to you who have lost heart…

CHEER UP YOU MAY FEEL LIKE TRASH…

“We have this treasure in earthen vessels…” (2 Corinthians 4: 7a) To draw the great contrast between the great value of Christ he’s referred too...”the glory of Christ, who is the image of God…” ((2 Corinthians 4: 4b-c) and the worthlessness of himself he uses this metaphor or picture.

It was a common practise to keep valuables in clay pots. He says in effect, “Although our defence is this priceless treasure, I’m just like one of these cheap clay pots over there in the corner.

You can get them at any market for a few cents. He says, “That’s what it’s like when you criticize me unfairly, I’m like that trash can; bent smelly with a lid that long since hasn’t fitted.”

The wonder is that God made us from the earth, from clay. He is the potter and we are the clay. He says this, “Does not the potter have power over the clay…” ( Romans 9: 21a) This will keep us from getting proud when God blesses our ministry. We are no-bodies, just like those cheap, trashy pots.

What is to be your defence and comfort when people against criticize your ministry?  It’s the fact that although in their eyes you’re a nobody, in God’s eyes I’m a somebody, why? Because Christ lives in me! He is the treasure in me; the trash. 

Paul opponents and ours can say, “ Your trying to be a somebody, but we can reply by saying, “ Yes we are of no value but look here is one who is of inestimable worth. He, Christ is the soul purpose of my life and ministry. He is the one I want to magnify in my body because He is magnificent. Our ministries but not be all about us, but all about Christ. If He is our motivation, He will shine through our cheap trashy weak bodies so He is glorified.

Next notice he says…don’t lose heart, you are trash…

BUT YOU HAVE CHRIST – THE TREASURE…

“you have this treasure…(2 Corinthians 4: 7b)  What is this treasure he talks about?


Paul says, “You have this treasure.” (2 Corinthians 4: 7b) What is treasure? It’s the gospel Paul has been talking about in verse 3-6 It’s something of great value, something that is very rare. The treasure discovered in the wreck of the Titanic is worth a great deal of money because it is of great value. Now if that is true of worldly treasure it is doubly true of the treasure Paul mentions here. But what is it?

It’s good news about a Person. Paul wrote to the Romans…”

“ …Separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1: 1b-4)

Firstly, you have Christ – the treasure which is God’s good news  “ Set apart for the gospel of God.” (Romans 1: 1b)  He is the originator of the gospel. It’s His idea, not mans. God is the first preacher of the gospel. Paul tells that to the Galatians, “God preached the gospel to Abraham. ( Galatians 3: 8b)

The divine being who wrote it spoke it. This glorious gospel was conceived in the holy mind of God. This gospel of God is how God the father decreed before the world began to save a people for Himself. He sent His son on a search and rescue mission to buy back a people in bondage to sin and destined fro hell.

This is a rebuke to your opponents and should cause you not to lose heart. Why? The treasure you have is at the heart of the Gospel and that heart is Christ Himself. Is this man’s idea? Never, t it’s God’s idea that He send His Son to come to redeem men and indwell them.

Secondly you have Christ – the treasure that is good news promised, “which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,” (Romans 1:2 ) This is the gospel that God promised through the Old Testament. What did the prophet Isaiah say?

“ Look to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by myself; the word has gone out from my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to me every knee shall bow, every tongue take an oath.” (Isaiah 45:22-23 ) The word here equals the gospel!

Of the more than forty prophecies concerning Christ in the Old Testament each and everyone was perfectly fulfilled in the New Testament. What did the aged Simeon say who was looking for the Christ?

“My eyes have seen Your Salvation which you prepared before the face of all the peoples, a light to bring revelation to the gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.”  (Luke 2 : 30-32)

This is a rebuke to your opponents and should cause you not to lose heart. Why? Because this treasure you have inside of you;
Christ was promised and God has kept his promised and Jesus Christ has come to earth to dwell with men, so don’t lose heart, you have the promised one living by faith in the person of the Spirit of Christ!

Thirdly you have Christ – the treasure that is good news about God’s Son. “ Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord…”  (Romans 1:3 )  It’s all about Christ, what He has done and who he is. But why is it such good news?

Because it’s news of a great victory, won by God’s Son. What did the angel have? News, great news, “And behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son and you shall call His name Jesus.” And then he goes on to tell us why this is good news. “Because He shall save His people from their sins.”

That’s the gospel, what incredible news that I can be safe from God’s anger over my sins because His Son has taken that anger I deserve in His body on the cross. And I can now enjoy peace with this God and complete forgiveness for all my sins; past present and future.

So I’m not guilty before this Holy God but He now treats me as His friend and no longer His enemy. He calls me his child, He has given my His Holy Spirit as the down payment that one day He will give me the balance; heaven when I die and a new glorified body like that of Christ’s because now by His Spirit through this gospel He is lovely transforming me into the image of His Son.

What a Gospel. What good news! What a rebuke to your opponents who don’t believe this goodness. What a tonic to your own heart, so you want lose heart in tuff times.

Fourthly you have Christ – the treasure, which is good news because He’s King and Lord, “who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh.” (Romans 1 : 2b)

The three wise men saw not just a baby, wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. This was none other than God come in the flesh! This baby was born for royalty. He was a descendant of the King.

“The Lord will give Him the throne of His Father.” (Luke 1:32 ) But He is not only a perfect man who is king. He is Lord and master, “He is the name which is above every name. “ (Matthew 28:18 )

This is historical fact; the one who walked and talked with His disciples is the one who, “Walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.”

What then is your defence when you are unjustly criticised? Do as Paul and tell them you possess a treasure and that treasure is God’s own Son who is King and Lord of the universe and demands we submit to Him as such.

So don’t lose heart when life is hard, you have one who is complete control of this world and your life. Submit you every circumstance to His sovereign Lordship and experience His “ peace that passes understanding.” ( xxxx)

As he must have reminded himself when faced with unjust criticism, remind yourself and be encouraged.

You possess Christ the treasure, He’s…

The Bread of Life, what a treasure you have when you’re hungry!
The Light of the World, what a treasure when you’re in darkness!
The True Vine, a treasure you have when your feel disconnected!
The Lamb of God, what a treasure you have when you’re feeling guilty!
The Good Shepherd, what a treasure you have when feeling sad and discouraged!
The friend, what a treasure you have when you’re feeling lonely!   
The physician, what a treasure you have when you’re sick!
The Saviour, what a treasure you have when you’re a sinner!
The Lord, what a treasure you have when you’re feeling powerless and helpless!

Christ your treasure is your Mediator, Master, Holiness, Passover, Redemption, Justification, Advocate, Apostle, and High Priest and so we could go on and on…

So don’t lose heart, you are trash…but you have Christ – the treasure…next,

DON’T LOSE HEART BECAUSE YOU’RE POWERLESS

“That the exceeding excellence of the power may not be of us…” (1 Corinthians 4: b) Paul now says that the whole purpose of him being like trash is that there is no possibility for one second that this power exists or comes from us…

After all this is the man who said… “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything of ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.” (2 Corinthians 3:5

He talks about the same thing when he says,”For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.” (2 Corinthians 13:4 . In other words you think I’m weak, well so was Christ!  He was crucified in weakness.

What does he mean? Christ had a feeble human frame, so do we. He was subject to the weakness of the flesh, so His body died, so do we.

Why he can make his defence against personal criticism and not lose heart is the same for you…so

TAKE HEART BECAUSE YOUR GOD IS POWERFUL

“That the excellence of the power may be of God… (1 Corinthians 4: c)

This is the whole point of his defence against his opponents. You can’t argue against the power of God. Only God can do this! And this must be our defence when we are attacked in ministry and so lose heart.

What is happening in my life and ministry is God is at work displaying His power. So in attacking me your attacking God because only He could do what’s happening?

Amen

Last Updated on Saturday, 29 January 2011 09:48  

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