The Glory of God in Jars of Clay
August 9, 2015 Preacher: Series: Jars of Clay
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:1–4:18
Key Truth: The leaders of the church are jars of clay who will suffer for God’s glory and your gain of life in Christ but can endure as a result of the promise of resurrection in Christ.
Q: What should be the main focus of church leaders according to the Bible? What do you think is the reality? What are some things that distract them from this focus?
“Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."
2 Corinthians 3:4-6
Charge to the Candidates: The Ministry of Christ Alone by God’s Mercy Alone for God’s Glory Alone:
2 Corinthians 4:1-6:
“The office of the ministry, if conscientiously discharged, is the most honourable and useful that a human being can execute: but, if perverted to carnal ends and purposes, it debases a man’s character, and renders him more injurious to society than a raging pestilence.”
Charles Simeon, Horae Homileticae,Vol. 16: 1 and 2 Corinthians
Q: What is your main ministry? What are you to proclaim?
Charge to the Congregation:
Jars of Clay Filled with the Treasure of God’s Glory for Your Life in Christ:
2 Corinthians 4:7-12
“Paul did not want the Corinthians to forget that they benefited from the sufferings of the ministers of the gospel. The pain and trials endured by Paul and others made it possible for the Corinthians to have eternal life in Christ. Those who suffered brought the gospel to the church, teaching and leading the church. The Corinthians should have realized that their new life in Christ came at the cost of suffering by those who ministered to them.”
Richard L. Pratt, Jr., Holman New Testament Commentary: I&II Corinthians
Q: What is the cost of being a leader in the church? What is the gain? How can you encourage those in leadership?
Charge to All:
The Resurrection and the Weight of Glory:
2 Corinthians 4:13-18
“The apostle is here exulting in the assurance that, however persecuted and down-trodden here, God, who had raised up Jesus, would raise him up and present him with all other believers before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. This it was that sustained him, and has sustained so many others of the afflicted of God’s people, and given them a peace which passes all understanding.”
Charles Hodge, 1&2 Corinthians
Q: What is the goal of the church? What is our hope?
“The treasure of Gospel light and grace is put into earthen vessels. The ministers of the Gospel are weak and frail creatures, and subject to like passions and infirmities as other men; they are mortal, and soon broken in pieces. And God has so ordered it that the weaker the vessels are the stronger His power may appear to be, that the treasure itself should be valued the more. Note, There is an excellency of power in the Gospel of Christ, to enlighten the mind, to convince the conscience, to convert the soul, and to rejoice the heart; but all this power is from God the Author, and not from men, who are but instruments, so that God in all things must be glorified.”
Matthew Henry, Commentary on 2 Corinthians
2 Corinthians 4:1-18 teaches us that:
- the leaders of the church are given the ministry of Christ alone by God’s mercy alone for God’s glory alone
- the leaders are but jars of clay filled with the treasure of God’s glory who suffer so that the members of the church may have life in Christ
- because of the assurance of the resurrection, we all can endure whatever may come so that more will come to know God’s glory and life in Christ