Text 2nd Cor.4:7 "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."
I. Meaning of "this treasure".
A. In the context of this and the preceding chapter, "this treasure" is spoken of as the Blessed Holy Ghost. He illuminates, transforms, saves, sanctifies, and abides.
B. Called a Treasure:
1. To denote His great value.
2. Because of the abundance, variety, and excellence of the gifts and graces He bestows upon us.
3. Properties of this treasure (verse 6 " For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.")
a. Heavenly light
b. Spiritual knowledge
c. Divine glory
d. Holy joy "Oh the joy of sins forgiven, oh the bliss the blood washed know."
II. What is meant by "this treasure" being deposited in "earthen vessels"
A. The English Version we understand to be the frail corruptible bodies of the saints in verses 10-16.
"10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
11 For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;
14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
and 5:1,2 "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:"
B. "Earthen" suggests our humble origin, frailty, imperfections, and mortality. All Christians are depositories of this Celestial Treasure. "Know ye not that you are the Temple of the Holy Ghost?"
C. "Vessels" suggests instrumentality. We are to live for others. Keep pouring! "Let your light so shine among men." You and I are all Christ has to carry on His work.
III. The reason why God commits this treasure to earthen vessels
"That the excellency (or exceeding greatness) of the power may be of God and not us." The grace, love, and power which excelleth are all from God. We are dependent on Him. No flesh is to glory in His presence. When man is humble and God is exalted, He can work in mighty power through earthen vessels. Romans 1:16 says, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth: to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
2nd Cor. 10;4,5
"4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"
"No matter what our physical condition may be, our bodies are 'earthen vessels'. Let us who suffer from infirmities take comfort in the exceeding greatness of of the Lord's power...Ofttimes from the feeblest and frailest, the light of the treasure shines more radiantly. Faithfulness is what the Lord will reward, not success. Faithfulness brings suffering, but 'our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;".- Echoes of Service
Example: Fanny Crosby:
"Fanny Crosby was born March 24, 1820 at Southeast, New York, and fied February 12, 1915, at Bridgeport, Connecticut. Had she lived nineteen days longer she would have reached her 95th birthday.
"She lost her sight when she was six months old. When she was old enough to understand, her mother told her she would never see the faces of her friends, the flowers of the fields, the blue of the skies, or the golden beauty of the stars. So she made up her mind to store away a little jewel in her heart, which she called 'content'. This was the comfort of her whole life. she was of a happy, contented disposition and refused to be pitied because of her great affliction, and when only eight years old she wrote:
'Oh! what a happy soul I am!
Although I cannot see,
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy
That other people don't!
To weep and sigh because I'm blind
I cannot nor I won't.'"- source not given but was cut and pasted on sermon notes
Fanny Crosby married a blind boy. They lived happily together for 44 years. My grandfather says on the back of this page, "He probably was an old boy because they were together in a school for the blind in N.Y. State, & she was 43 years old when they were married." She loved her Bible. She called it, God's Treasure House. Her hymns, altogether over 8,000 were full of the Bible and have led thousands to Christ. She said, "The best preacher is the heart; the best teacher is time; the best book is the Word of God; the best friend is God." Some of her songs include: God be With You Til We Meet Again, Blessed Assurance, Safe in the Arms of Jesus, Rescue the Perishing, Pass Me Not Oh Gentle Saviour, Saved by Grace, and Speed Away. Fanny's own favorite was Faith of Our Fathers which was sung at her
If you want more of God, just enlarge your vessel. Obey God and you will grow in grace.
This concludes my grandfather's sermon. I trust it was as much or more a blessing to you as it was to me. Thank God for the fact that "We have this treasure in earthen vessels."
Yours for Radical Holiness,
Richard D. Swift
505 Hickory Hills Dr
Dexter, MO 63841