We may not look or feel like God’s
masterpiece, but we are. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
We go through life seeking an identity for ourselves. We aren’t much
different from the ancients. We turn the world upside down—we travel to
the far reaches of space to discover our origin in hopes of discovering
beginnings. It is really a search for our true identity. Listen to some
of the questions we ask ourselves. They are about discovering our true
“What is the purpose of my life?”
“Why do I exist?”
“How do I find meaning?”
“How do I satisfy my need to be significant?”
We turn the world upside down to
discover the answers.
16 You turn
things upside down,
as if the
potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is
formed say to him who formed it,
"He did not
Can the pot
say of the potter ,
When we seek answers to these questions
down the wrong paths the search leads to some most troubling questions:
“Why are my relationships in shambles?”
“How did I get so far in debt?”
“Who am I trying to please, anyway?”
“How did I get caught up in the rat race in
the first place?”
Do you know anyone who ever won the rat
race? Our material standard of living has skyrocketed, but our
moral/spiritual/relational standard of living is in a nose dive. Our
desire for instant gratification has led us down the wrong road.
“In late 1955 the church publication
Christianity and Crisis commented grimly on America’s ‘ever-expanding
economy.’ It observed that the pressure was on Americans to ‘consume,
consume and consume, whether we need or even desire the products or ever
desire the products almost forced upon us’ It added that the dynamics of
an ever expanding system require that we ‘be persuaded to consume to
meet the needs of the productive process.” (Patrick M. Morley, The Man
in the Mirror, Wolgemuth & Hyatt Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, pg.
We are living at the apex of human
knowledge and human potential. I gave Jared a ride to church
Wednesday night. He made a remark I shall never forget. He said,
“Grandpa, did you know that we can learn more in a day than many in
ancient times could learn in a lifetime.” Our technological advancements
and creature comforts are unbelievable.
20 If they
have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse
off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been
better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have
known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was
passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to
its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the
Peter says to have knowledge and not use
it is like a dog returning to its on vomit. This is the
spiritual condition of the world today. To know what the world knows and
live as the world lives is to live without a conscience. No generation
of people will be judged more severely than ours.
God sent Jeremiah to visit a potter to
bring him to an understanding of God.
18:1 This 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." 3 So I went down to the
potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But 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. NIV
God’s the Master Potter. He is in charge
of shaping our lives according to his desires.
We may not be that familiar as the ancients
with the image of a potter molding a piece of clay, but we know how the
world seeks to shape our lives. The biggest battles in mass media today
are around who will shape our thinking.
The majority are seeking an identity without
7 No one calls
on your name
or strives to
lay hold of you;
for you have
hidden your face from us
and made us
waste away because of our sins.
8 Yet, O LORD,
you are our Father.
We are the
clay, you are the potter ;
we are all the
work of your hand.
9 Do not be
angry beyond measure, O LORD;
remember our sins forever.
Oh, look upon
us, we pray,
for we are all
your people. NIV
Lives through Service
Jesus came to minister to us. Amazingly,
he didn’t come to be served by us.
"You know that
the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials
exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants
to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to
be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to
be served, but to serve , and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Jesus came in the example of service,
for he knew we become what we do. Jesus taught it is more
blessed to give than receive. The giver receives more than the receiver.
7 You must
each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don't give
reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who
gives cheerfully. 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then
you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share
with others. 9 As the Scriptures say,
give generously to the poor.
deeds will never be forgotten." NLT
Real spiritual growth occurs through
engaging in personal ministry. Eric Swanson surveyed his
congregation asking, “To what extent has your ministry or service to
others affected your spiritual growth?” Ninety-two percent indicated
their service contributed to their spiritual growth. Sixty-three percent
indicated their service was equally as important as prayer and Bible
study. Over half those who were not actively ministering to others felt
either “not satisfied” or “somewhat dissatisfied” with their spiritual
growth. (Eric Swanson, What You Get from Giving, Leadership Journal,
Spring 2003, p. 37.)
Knowledge leads to growth through
practical use of knowledge. I am always surprised that through
trying to do something for the first time leads to knowledge. Doing can
and often leads to knowledge. Numerous times I have sought to repair
something on my car I knew nothing about, and surprisingly in doing it,
I learn how to do it—my knowledge grows. It is actually rewarding when I
spend $200 on what would otherwise cost $1,000 at a garage.
Learning through doing is a realistic
approach to learning. Babies learn to walk by walking. They
learn to talk by talking. A teacher learns more through teaching than
one would learn as a student.
Families survive by each member doing
his/her part. Noah’s family survived as each member did their
part. It makes little difference how big or small the
family is. The family’s maturity expands as each member does their part.
The critical part of any family is each member doing their part. If this
is done a family will be able to sustain itself, regardless of how small
Connecting with Christ comes through
service to others.
21 In him the
whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in
the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a
dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. NIV
We connect with God through spiritual
1 Peter 2:4-5
4 As you come
to him, the living Stone — rejected by men but chosen by God and
precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a
spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. NIV
Serving is an important aspect of
building the body of Christ.
11 It was he
who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be
evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God's
people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son
of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness
of Christ. NIV
speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who
is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and
held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up
in love, as each part does its work. NIV
Christians connecting in service has
Being connected increases our
Being connected increases our
Being connected increases our worth.
It is hard for us to understand God
wants us in ministry. We may ask, “What do I have to offer?”
Paul picks up on the metaphor of a potter in Romans.
20 But who are
you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who
formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" 21 Does not the potter
have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for
noble purposes and some for common use? NIV
Think of those God used in the
past—Gideon—Samson—Jephthah—we want to be a Solomon. You don’t
need a lot of self-confidence, you don’t have to be the sharpest person
in the crowd, and you don’t have to be the most level headed person in
1 You then, my
son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things
you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to
reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. NIV
of the Gospel
The message of the gospel is simple and
clear—God wants to come to life in you. Anything short of this message
isn’t the message of the gospel.
Think about what God wants to do with
2:1 As for
you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used
to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the
kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are
disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying
the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and
thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. NIV
God has saved us to custom design our
8 For it is by
grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For
we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do. NIV
We come into Christ to live a new life
8 Now if we
died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we
know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again;
death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to
sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same
way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. NIV
It all begins by clothing ourselves with
Christ in baptism.
26 You are all
sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were
baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is
neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all
one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's
seed, and heirs according to the promise. NIV