Jars of Clay be encouraged!

March 18, 2009

jar-of-clay

2 Corinthians 4

4The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

 7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

 God doesn’t use beautiful flasks to house His fragrance.
He has chosen to put the treasure of His fragrance in clay pots.
He uses earthen vessels, not the fine china. He takes simple clay pots and fills them with His glory. Fragile and flawed, cracked and leaky clay pots are His choice vessels.

He uses clay pots so He alone can get the glory.

Most of the time these old pots have to be broken before they emit the sweet fragrance of His grace. God does it through the pressures that come in our lives.

The apostle Paul writes: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (4:8-10, KJV).

The NASB reads, “we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also maybe manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (4:8-11).

God’s power is perfected in our weaknesses. When we die, He lives. When we lose, He wins. When we are weak, He is strong. When we are dependent, He is powerful. When we are tempted, He is triumphant.  

 

(excerpt from www.abideinchrist.com )


‘Gift of the Gospel’: The Gospel by the numbers

October 27, 2007

I have recently come across the Westminster catechisms, it is the best orthodox Confession ever produced and is a “must read” for every Christian.However, today we are going to take a walk through the “Westminster shorter catechism” as it was written to be shared with lay people and young children, to give people a handle on huge parts of Christian theology, all while being spread over 107 small questions and answers.

The first 12 questions concern God as Creator.

Questions 13-20 deal with original sin and the fallen state of man’s nature.

Questions 21-38 concern Christ the Redeemer and the benefits that flow from redemption.

Questions, 39-84, discuss the ten commandments.

Questions 85-97 teach concerning the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. The final set of questions

98-107 teach and explain the Lord’s prayer.

So lets explore WSC for a clear, accurate, deep yet simple telling of the gospel spread over 22 of the questions

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?

A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. Read the rest of this entry »


Deadly Serious Offer About Life

October 13, 2007

Talked to a guy today, he told me that his dad had died of pneumococcal infection in his early 40s. His dad had faith when he passed away but the son didn’t. I talked to a woman earlier in the week whom I had bought my family car from a few months ago. She informed me that her healthy 56 year old husband had died from complications in a routine operation just two weeks ago. I was reassured to hear that this woman’s husband had recently professed faith and started attending church. Death has been in my radar through these and many other experiences in recent days and months. Death is real. Death is certain. Timing is the only variable. You are going to die. I am going to die. When?

As I was pondering this fact I wanted to remind myself of the only comfort that really matters when you die. It’s the answer to this question: where will I spend eternity?Hell and Heaven are both equally impossible to really comprehend. Eternal joy and peace or eternal pain and torment. These are ultimate realities but often a long way from our daily experience. We often get a mingled taste of pleasant and unpleasant experiences and occasionally (in our middle class – western society) make forays into the extreme highs and extreme lows. Jesus was very certain about these realities. Read the rest of this entry »


Gift of the Gospel – Why is Jesus so Narrow Minded?

October 8, 2007

In the bible we read Jesus repeatedly explaining himself to be the exclusive means of forgiveness. Jesus does not give room for any other paths to God. He is clear that things such as forgiveness, love, joy and heaven are found exclusively in him. According to Jesus any other ‘way’ is not a way at all but a sham; Jesus claims nothing less than exclusive authority and ability to save sinners. (Jn. 14.6; Mat. 7.13-14)

So to why is Jesus so narrow minded?

because there is only one God

The bible teaches that there are not many Gods but rather just one. And from this one God everything that has been made was made. This same God now sustains everything with his own power & sovereignty. People may claim that there are other Gods, however, God, in response, says that this is not true. God is intolerant of competition. (Is. 44.6-8; Acts 17.24-28)

because of the high standards of God

God has made everything for himself, to give him pleasure. His standard is inflexible. He demands absolute perfection. The way in which this shows itself is by loving him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. This is shown through passionate devotion & obedience to God.

Even the slightest variation from God’s design is rebellion & God views rebellion as worse than treason. The consequence for rebellion is death; expressed now in terms of death, sickness, and inability to earn his favor, and ultimately in terms of eternal condemnation. Where perfect love for God is lacking certain & relentless divine judgment is present. (Mat. 22.36-40; Rom. 3.23; Rom. 6.23; Col. 1.16; Jam. 2.10)

because it is the truth

Jesus himself being God is perfect & cannot lie. So we must remember that if Jesus said it then it is true! Jesus became a man to live here on earth. In his life he showed perfect & sinless love through obedience to God. Jesus is the only substitute for rebels. Our responsibility as humanity is to please God according to his standards (this we did not do), however, Jesus did.

And further Jesus also satisfied the inflexible justice of God by bearing the eternal judgment of God on the cross. Jesus distinguishes himself as the only one eligible to live perfectly and pay adequately for rebels who stand in God’s righteous crosshairs. (2 Cor. 14.6; Tit. 1.2; Heb. 1.3)

JESUS’ narrow MESSAGE for everyone

God was satisfied with Jesus work furnishing proof by raising him from the dead. Now Jesus commands his followers to tell everyone the glorious truth that he is the only Savior; the only one who is able to give rebels forgiveness, life, joy & heaven.

This forgiveness is not automatic like voting when we are 18; instead it comes by recognizing Jesus as king & ruler over our lives. In doing this we turn from rebellion (sin) & turn to Jesus (submission). It is this posture of submission to Jesus as king & following him as Lord that characterizes the Christian life & gives God pleasure.

While there is not room on Jesus’ narrow road for other saviors, there is room for everyone who will come to him for life. Jesus’ truth telling then shows him to not only be the exclusive Savior, but the loving Savior! (Jn. 14.6; Acts 17.30-31; 1 Tim. 2.5; Jn. 3.16-18)

This gospel presentation has been downloaded from Irish Calvinist. It is available as a free tract download. Thanks to Irish Calvinist for their ministry.


Gift of the Gospel Saturday

September 29, 2007

Gift of the Gospel

I was searching youtube for a snazzy gospel presentation for this week. I got very frustrated, because I couldn’t find what I thought I needed. I wanted a presentation that showed you your need for a saviour. Here’s what I found, the words of Charles Spurgeon on the blackness of sin:

This isn’t the gospel, this is a taste of where sin leads you. What is sin? Disobeying the law of God. Lying, stealing, blaspheming, hating, killing, making gods of our own.

The gospel is this:

God will one day judge us. He sees that we are without excuse and without hope and he loves us so much anyway that he made a way for sinners to be saved. He came to this earth in the form of a man (Jesus Christ), lived a perfect life, and took the punishment for sin on the cross. When Jesus hung on the cross he paid the price for sin, then he rose again, defeating death and hell. Thanks to this amazing, undeserved gift we can spend eternity in heaven with him if we will repent (turn away from our sin) and trust in Jesus. God’s amazing love in doing this is what draws us to him. His kindness is incredible. Charles Spurgeon in this quote warns us of the peils of hell. He is right, we should be afraid of the wrath of God. Even more, we should be grateful and stand in awe of the amazing gift of life that Jesus offers us.


The Gift of the Gospel (week 3) – free mp3 download

September 8, 2007

Welcome to Saturday Gift of the Gospel fun! Download this short gospel presentation, currently available in mp3 only, but soon to be upgraded to video.

Either right click on the speaker and save the file or play it from the window that pops up when you scroll over the speaker.

 Do it now, it’s only 3 minutes or so long, what have you got to lose?


The Bad News and the Good News (Gift of the Gospel – week 2)

September 1, 2007

The BAD NEWS
…for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one.
13 Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:
17 And the way of peace have they not known:
18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

The GOOD NEWS
21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus.
Romans 3:10-23
So What?
Looking in the mirror of scripture (James 1:22-24) what an ugly image we see reflected back. A miserable, mean, cruel, good hating creature that speaks evil, thinks evil and acts evilly in every way is before us, indeed is us. We are born in this state and without divine intervention in our lives this is the way we will be when we leave this life and face the good, righteous, just and holy God – a God who is angry with us for what we have done and who we have been all our lives (Psalm 7:11)

If you think you can make good with God by renovating your life, keeping the law to save yourself, then think again for you just read “ by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Indeed even if you could keep the law, which you can’t, you don’t and you won’t keep, you still owe God an eternal debt for all the times you broke His law in the past.

Your only hope, your only way to get right with God and avoid His judgment and punishment (Hell) is to have faith (v.22) in the sin offering, the sacrifice made by the one who is the revelation of God’s righteousness (perfect, holy and sinless) Jesus Christ. If you don’t enter the path to heaven by the door of complete faith in Jesus Christ’s person and atoning work and utter dependence on Him to make you righteous and good before God then you don’t enter the path to heaven at all. Jesus was emphatic “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. Not a monk, not a minister, not anyone, no matter how nice they are, can get to heaven on their own merit.

Repent and believe in the sin offering. See your sin and your sinful condition for what it is – horrible and hateful to God, yourself and others around you. Stop trying to save yourself by being a better person. Turn to Jesus Christ and believe that He is who you need to pay for your sins and present you faultless before the just God of the universe. And then live. Live a life of thankful obedience to God’s word – listening to the voice of the Saviour, being empowered by the Holy Spirit and loved by God the Father. And have peace, hope and joy. Be eternally at peace with God, look forward in certain hope to eternal life with Him and being made like Him (1 John 3:1-3), and experience the joy of knowing that you possess more than all the money in the world could ever buy (Romans 8:18) – forgiveness and life.