NEWSLETTER

MARCH 2010

 

2 Corinthians 4:7  


“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that

the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God

and not from ourselves.”

Before salvation, many of the saints at Corinth had been involved in extreme depravity. But through Paul’s ministry to them they had been sanctified, 1 Cor 6:9-11; 2 Cor 3:2-3.
 

After Paul had painstakingly called them to repentance in his first letter to them, false teachers arose in the Church of Corinth. Their intent was to take the place of Paul as their spiritual mentor of this Church. They deceptively and recklessly did all they could do to discredit Paul in the minds of these saints.

But Paul did not defend himself against these personal attacks. Instead, he disarmed his critics. Paul wrote 2 Corinthians with amazing humility. He did defend himself for the sake of the gospel, however, he emphasized that he was of no personal importance.


Paul saw himself as a clay pot, a mere earthen vessel, but Paul was liberated by the power of the gospel, and Christ was now living within him. Likewise, Christ dwelt within those saved at Corinth many of whom had come to Christ through Paul’s ministry.
 

In the ancient world, clay pots were used to contain garbage and human waste, but they were also used to store valuable treasures. Their value was determined by their purpose.

Paul viewed his many weaknesses as credentials, not disqualifiers. The treasure he possessed was the gospel’s saving truth, residing within all Christians.

 

In constant persecutions, Paul pressed on for the sake of the elect.He rejoiced in his infirmities, because when he was beyond the limits of human endurance, Christ was most gloriously magnified.

As he told the Church at Corinth; “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)

Like Paul, we too are earthen vessels containing the Gospel’s treasure of Jesus Christ. How then should this impact us?

 

  We too have this “surpassing power” in all that we are, all that we do, and every trial that we 
     face. Because of this “surpassing power”, we can do all things God asks of us, Phil 4:13.
 

  We are to find our true identity and significance not in corrupt values of this passing world,
     1 John 2:15-17,
but in the knowledge that through the gospel Christ indwells us.

 

  You and I are to “give preference to one another in honor”, Rom 12:10. All believers possess this
     indwelling “treasure”.
 

  Because of this precious truth, all of us should be compelled to “with humility of mind regard one
    another as more important than ourselves”, Phil 2:3.

  This amazing truth should enable us to “not lose heart”, 2 Cor 4:1 despite great trials, and even
    when others reject us, oppose us, even despise us, not because of our sin, but because of 
    Christ’s presence within us.

  No matter how tough things are for us, we are not to be overcome by despair or self-pity. We
    possess this ministry. It is transforming us from glory to glory in Christ’s image, 2 Cor 3:18. In
    every circumstance we face, this ministry is to liberate us. We have this Gospel to share with
    those who are blinded by the god of this world to the glorious light of this saving Gospel,
    2 Cor 4:4.

With that in mind, let us preach Christ as Lord to those headed for wrath, 2 Cor 4:5!

Written by Guy Harrison

 


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Community Church of the Santa Ynez Valley
240 E. Highway 246
Buellton, CA 93427