Foolish Faith

Just How Marvellous is the Resurrection!

Luke 24:1-12,36-48

Resurrection  Sunday

Pastor Craig Ledbetter                                           

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland

12 April, 2009  AM


I.        Introduction (1Cor 4:10; Acts 8:35-38)


A.      What we believe is actually quite foolish. Very Crazy. Quite Impossible!

B.      We actually believe that a very dead man, a VERY dead man, got up out of a grave that first Easter morning! Hey… dead men don’t get up!

C.      And when I say that we believe it, I mean we actually, really, fully believe it (Acts 8:35-37). The key word is “is”! The eunuch said, “I believe that Jesus Christ IS – not WAS – the Son of God!”

D.      We not only believe it, but we preach it (1Cor 1:18,21,23,27)

E.       And beyond that again, we actually LIVE it (Gal 2:20)

F.       To the world, we must look pretty foolish.

G.      But, the cross was not the end! It should have been, but it wasn’t!

H.      But that is what makes our faith so marvellous! Because the resurrection is SO impossible! And yet it happened! It will never make sense, but it happened anyway!

I.        Oh may this message increase you faith, and make you so foolish looking today!

J.        Oh that we all had such foolish faith, such crazy faith (1Cor 3:18) – such marvellous faith! Faith in the God who really CAN do the impossible! Amen?


II.      Background (Luke 23)


A.      The twelve Apostles had planned and expected Jesus of Nazareth to march into the Temple and declare that He was King, and would begin an uproar that would turn against the Roman armies, and drive them out of the land, thus establishing Israel once again as an independent nation, under God, with Jesus as Messiah and King of Israel

B.      But instead, Jesus kept telling everyone that He was going to die, and three days later get up again. He would be hated of all men, and rejected by all. He would be abandoned by His own closest apostles, and that even Peter would deny knowing Him three times!

C.      Then, on Wednesday evening, Jesus sat with His disciples and ate the Passover with them, and told them one more time, this would be the last meal He would share with them until He rose again.

D.      He then took off  His robe and wrapped Himself with a servant’s towel and began to wash His disciple’s feet. One by one, the disciples tried to stop Jesus, but with great firmness, Jesus removed each and every sandal, and washed the dirt and the sand off from every callused foot.

E.       He then commanded them to serve one another just as He had served them! And told them, they would never be happy until they did!

F.       Anybody watching would have been “gob-smacked” and thought it was the craziest way for a KING to be acting and talking!

G.      But that was not the craziest thing yet.

H.      They walked to the garden of Gethsemane around 10pm that evening, and Jesus began to pray. He prayed for three hours, as Judas betrayed Him for thirty silver coins and gathered a small mob to capture Jesus.

I.        And then Jesus turned Himself in. He gave up. He actually allowed those wicked, angry men to bind Him and lead Him away.

J.        For then next twelve hours, Jesus would be subjected to the most awful, cruel tortures and acts of hatred and mockery imaginable.

K.      Why would you follow such a Man?

L.       I’ll show you why!


III.   Message


A.      We Have a Very Surprising Faith (Luke 23:46-56; 24:1-6a)


1.       It doesn’t always make sense, as you can already see.

2.       God very often surprises us doesn’t He? As a matter of fact, He constantly surprises me!


a.       It surprises me still when God answers my prayers

b.       When He saves a stubborn hard hearted soul

c.        When He puts back a broken marriage

d.       When He turns things around for our good when He didn’t have to

e.        You have to admit that we are often quite surprised at what God does in our lives!


3.       Fact 1 – We have already seen that Jesus didn’t do things as expected

4.       Fact 2 - Jesus is very dead. He truly died on that cruel cross


a.       ILL:  One lady wrote in to a question and answer forum.

b.       "Dear Sirs, my friend said that at Easter, Jesus just swooned on the cross and that the disciples nursed Him back to health. What do you think? Sincerely,   Bewildered.

c.        Dear Bewildered, Beat your friend with a cat-of-nine-tails with 39 heavy strokes, nail him to a cross; hang him in the sun for 6 hours; run a spear thru his side...put him in a tomb for 72 hours and see what happens." Sincerely,  Charles.


5.       Fact - Everyone had faith up until the cross


a.       They had faith that Jesus was the Messiah – the Promised King

b.       They had faith that Jesus was even the Son of God – Peter knew it

c.        They had faith that everything was going to be fine and dandy now that Jesus was in Jerusalem

d.       But then Jesus turned Himself in to the angry mob in the Garden of Gethsemane, and then didn’t defend Himself before Pilate or Herod, or the High Priests.

e.        While Jesus was whipped and beaten, Jesus never shouted, or screamed, or yelled, or resisted at all.

f.        And then Jesus willingly carried His own cross up Golgotha’s hill, and then laid Himself down on the cross, and extended His arms and hands to the Roman soldiers who nailed Him onto the cross without a fight!


6.       You talk about surprises! That was such a surprise to everyone! And our faith is full of surprises like that!

7.       If Jesus really IS the King of kings, would you expect Him to put up with THAT? I wouldn’t! But He did!

8.       Well, it gets wilder!


a.       Jesus, on His cross, between each breath prays for everyone who has just hurt Him – asks God to forgive them all!

b.       He then encourages and saves a wicked sinner on the cross next to Him

c.        He then takes care of His mother’s need for a home

d.       And then He cries out “It is Finished!”

e.        And then He dies. And I mean He dies! He does not faint, or collapse. He dies. It is so shocking to Pilate to find out He is dead that he orders Jesus’ side pierced to make sure. And yes, He was very dead!

f.        And then He was buried. Buried in a nearby tomb belonging to a rich man named Joseph of Aramathea.

g.        A heavy stone was rolled over the entrance, and four Roman soldiers were stationed at the tomb to make sure no one, and that meant NO ONE would try and steal that body.


9.       Now comes three days later. THREE whole days later.

10.    Just before sunrise, four women get up very early to go to the tomb and try and honour the burial of the only Person who had ever loved them unconditionally.


a.       And they found the stone rolled away!

b.       It was not just rolled back – it was driven back – probably off its rail!

c.        Aren’t you glad for a surprising kind of faith? I am!

d.       And it gets better!

e.        They peeked into the tomb – just a peek

f.        And the body – that broken, bleeding body was GONE!

g.        They looked all around for what they expected and found it not!

h.       Oh man! Aren’t you glad for some good surprises? I am!


1)       ILL: This makes me think of people who on their birthday come home expecting there to be a surprise birthday party waiting for them, and when they open the door, there is no “SURPRISE!” yelled, and when he sort of jumps into the sitting room, the lights do not flick on with a crowd of happy people gathering around him.

2)       That’s what these ladies are expecting – they are expecting a crumpled up body to be found tossed into a corner or something.

3)       They didn’t expect the body to be clean gone!

4)       But they were in for some surprises that wonderful resurrection morning, AMEN!?

11.    Then two angels appear and totally “freak” them out!


a.       They hit the dirt in fear and amazement

b.       And then they get the biggest surprise of all

c.        The two men ask one of the dumbest questions ever asked – Why are you looking for a living man, among the dead?

d.       The answer is obvious – because they saw Jesus die, and be buried in that very tomb!

e.        But those two men in perfect unison said, “He is not here, but is RISEN!”

f.        “Don’t you remember how he told you He would rise again?”

g.        Surprise! He was telling the truth!


12.    If anyone wanted to certify us as crazy, they could certainly do it on the fact that we believe such a crazy thing that Jesus is alive!

13.    I am “certifiable!” I hope you are too!


B.      We Have a Very Constraining Faith (Luke 24:6b-8)


1.       Our foolish faith comes straight from the Bible!

2.       These ladies were not being told anything new. they were being reminded just what Jesus had SAID!

3.       And it wasn’t all mysterious and hocus-pocus. It was as clear as day!


a.        “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men” –that’s clear

b.       “and be crucified” – that’s pretty clear and plain to me

c.        “and the third day rise again” – Wow! You couldn’t miss that if you tried!


4.       I love the next words… “and they remembered his words!”

5.       And do you know what is funny? THEY STARTED TO BELIEVE THEM! Notice how the verse does not end with a full stop (24:8). They took off running! They had to go and tell somebody that Jesus was alive!

6.       Our faith – WHAT WE BELIEVE - is based ONLY on what God says in the Scriptures. And when we believe it, it does something to us that no other book has ever done!

7.       Everyone today wants to examine all the theories, all the religions, all the popular viewpoints

8.       To be constrained means that we believe only what is in this Book called the Bible. Yep. That’s all we believe!


a.       Someone says, “You have cancer. You are going to die” I respond, My Bible says, in John 11:26 “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” Amen! This robe of flesh may have to be dumped one day, but I will live forever! “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

b.       Somebody in the scientific world 1000 years ago said the world was flat. My Bible in Isaiah 40 says it is a circle, and in the Book of Job, it says that this planet is floating in space, hanging on NOTHING!

c.        I just LOVE believing my Bible! I don’t need anything else!


9.       Oh we may look very foolish just believing the words of this Book, but I’ll be a fool then, any day, because this Book is the only true thing that exists:


a.       Religions change their mind on heaven and hell – this Bible doesn’t

b.       Philosophers change their mind on the soul, but this Bible doesn’t

c.        Politicians change their mind on what is right and wrong for society, but this Bible doesn’t

d.       Oh, we are not very “cultured” and very “open-minded” like the rest of society –


1)       No, our children come home when we tell them to

2)       Our marriages last a life time

3)       We don’t join riots and try and overthrow governments

4)       We dump MTV and filthy movies in the sewers where they belong

5)       We give our money to feed the world with the living bread of the word of God

6)       We love everybody, but hate sin, and have no tolerance for it


10.    And by-the-way, we believe it all (Luke 24:25-27) – from cover to cover


a.       From six day creation, to the soon rapture of the believers out of this world

b.       We believe there is a wicked man who will very soon rise to power called the anti-christ who will wow everyone into following him by doing miracles and supernatural events, but who hates God and hates everything related to God

c.        We believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, for a lifetime

d.       We believe the greatest life is one lived in service to Jesus Christ

e.        We believe that there is coming a day when Jesus will return, and set up a perfect kingdom

f.        But until then, there will be wars and rumours of wars, and persecutions, and hurricanes, and earthquakes, and disasters


11.    And we got all that from this one Book!

12.    Some people think we are foolish for limiting ourselves to this one, single, Book, but I have found, that it has enough to keep me occupied for a thousand lifetimes!


C.      We Have a Very Embarrassing Faith (Luke 24:9-11)


1.       Not only are things in the Bible surprising

2.       Not only are we limited to what we believe

3.       But it is easy to be embarrassed by what we believe – why?

4.       Because most people WON’T believe what we believe!


a.       Notice, the women race to where the Lord’s eleven apostles are gathered, moping around, and they burst into the room, panting, and smiling, and yelling, and talking as fast as they can

b.       They said the body gone! It’s gone, it’s gone! And they said it like it was great! Like it was the best news!

c.        They said that they had prepared a huge bundle of spices to anoint the body of Jesus with, and had gone to the tomb early to try and honour the dead only to find the stone rolled clean out of the way, the soldiers wiped out, and the tomb empty!

d.       They then said that two angels met them, and talked with them, and encouraged them, and reminded them of the words of Jesus that He would rise again after three days

e.        They said that they REMEMBERED those words, and they believed that Jesus really WAS alive and had risen from the dead!

f.        And when they finished retelling all those events, the blank faces of everyone in the room just turned away, and went back to complaining how Jesus had failed them, and abandoned His mission.

g.        Folks, these great “apostles” just laughed at these women and their restored faith. they didn’t call them liars, but they came pretty close to it!

h.       They made fun of them, and just turned away from them!

i.         What they believed was just too crazy to actually believe!


5.       The world will think the same – if you really believe it!


a.       They will think you are a fool to believe all this stuff

b.       They will say you are brainwashed

c.        They will think you are throwing your life away believing and reading that Bible

d.       They will laugh at you, and mock you, and try to get you to be embarrassed

e.        Romans 10:11 says however, that whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed!

f.        At least “I’M NOT!”

g.        They will say we are not “smart” because we don’t believe we evolved. I say THEY are the dumb ones!


D.      We Have a Very Life Changing Faith (Luke 24:30-34, 36-48)


1.       It Motivates Defeated People – the women at the Tomb

2.       It Provokes Sceptical People – like Peter (Luke 24:12)

3.       It Convinces Seeking People – like John (John 20:3-8)

4.       It Blesses Hungry People – like the two disciples (Luke 24:25)

5.       It Converts Unbelieving People – like Thomas

6.       It Changes any and all people – like you and me

7.       This is the only “faith” that works! I wouldn’t believe it if it didn’t work.


IV.    Conclusion (1Corinthians 15:1-3)


A.      Oh for such “FOOLISH FAITH!” For a Faith that would:


1.       Confuse us

2.       Constrain us

3.       Embarrass us

4.       And Change us


B.      Christ died for OUR sins, according to the Scripture.


1.       He did not die for Himself—He was sinless.

2.       He did not die for Angels—They cannot be redeemed.

3.       He did not die for the righteous—There are none righteous.

4.       He died for sinners—Of every type and size!

5.       “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Mk. 2:17). 

6.       “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (1 Tim. 1:15).


C.      He was buried.

D.      He arose from the dead.

E.       Just like the Scriptures said he would – not what logic said, or learning, or theories

F.       If you just fully Believe it - you’ll be saved. What a wonderful Bible word!

G.      Saved from a devil’s hell, and saved to be with my living Saviour, for ever!

H.      And Jesus did it all for me…


1.       He came into the sinner’s WORLD


a.       He came from a world where there is no sin, no pain, no greed.

b.       And He came into world of pain, grief, disease, hunger, greed, and war—A world torn by storm, earthquake, crime, lies, and hate.


2.       He died in the sinner’s PLACE.


a.       Isaiah 53—“…He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows… He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniq­uities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him… All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all… for the transgression of my people was he stricken…”

b.       Luke 22:19-20 – And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for [in be­half of] you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup af­ter supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for [in behalf of] you.

c.        The word "for" means "in behalf of."  Christ is our Substitute.  A sub­stitute takes the place of or acts in behalf of another.  Jesus Christ's body would be broken in behalf of them.  His blood would be shed in behalf of them.

d.       1 Pet. 2:24—Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree …

e.        1 Pet. 3:18—For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

f.        Romans 5:6-8 –  For when we were yet without strength [helpless], in due time Christ died for [in behalf of] the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for [in behalf of] a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for [in behalf of] us.

g.        1 Corinthians 5:7 –…Christ our passover is sacrificed for [in behalf of] us.

h.       2 Corinthians 5:21 – For he [God] hath made him [Jesus Christ] to be sin  for [in behalf of] us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

i.         Galatians 1:4 – Who gave himself for [in behalf of] our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world…


3.       He lives right now to save a sinner’s soul! Oh to be come a fool for Christ!


I.        I invite you repent of your stubbornness, and be born again today!


I Am Not Ashamed

Things No Christian Should Ever Be Ashamed Of

Romans 1:14-16

DATE: 20 Aug, 2006 AM                                                                                                                                                      PLACE: BBC Ballincollig


I.                    Introduction (Romans 10:11)


A.      To be ashamed means to be embarrassed - humiliated

B.      Some things we Christians ARE ashamed of:

1.       Our selves, our selfishness, stupidity, spiritual apathy, and most of all our sins!

2.       If you thought about it, you should be able to remember quite a few times in your past where you did things that you are now ashamed of

3.       EXAMPLE:

a.       Sneaking out of the house

b.       Trying that first fag


C.      But there are some things, some very important things that no Christian should EVER be ashamed of

II.                  Message

A.      I am Not Ashamed of the Truth (John 18:33-38; 17:17; 6:66-69; 2Tim 2:15)

1.       Jesus IS the truth

2.       God’s word IS the truth

3.       No Christian can name the name of Christ and be ashamed of the Bible and its message

4.       The apostle Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel – the truths of the Gospel

a.       That all of us are in a spiritual mess

b.       That all of mankind is without God, and headed to a devil’s hell

c.        That Jesus Christ is the only answer for this world

d.       That faith alone in Jesus alone is totally sufficient to save anybody

B.      I am Not Ashamed of My Testimony (Titus 2:14) – of who I am

1.       I was fearfully and wonderfully made

2.       I grew up in Texas

C.      I am Not Ashamed of My Walk With God

D.      I am Not Ashamed of My Trials and Troubles

E.       I am Not Ashamed of My Time Spent

F.       I am Not Ashamed of My Christian Family

G.      I am Not Ashamed of My Future

III.               Conclusion – Application

A.      Are you easily embarrassed of Jesus Christ, His cross, His Bible, His will for your life, His Church, and His ways?

Yielding to the Potter’s Hand

How to Be a Better Yielder!

                                                              Jeremiah 18:1-6


Pastor Craig Ledbetter                                           

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland

26 April, 2009  AM


I.       Introduction


A.      Our memory verse this month is Psalm 40:8


1.       I delight to do thy will, O my God

2.       I love doing what YOU want done!

3.       I YIELD to your will, and dump my own

4.       I know, and I TRUST that your will is infinitely better!

5.       That’s why I delight to do it!


B.      But do we all believe that, or yield like we should?

C.      Well, this morning, we are going on a school-trip, of sorts!

D.     We want to go down to the Potter’s House

E.      Not a very fancy place. Kind of plain, and simple, but one of the most powerful lessons that can be learned MUST be learned down at the Potter’s house

F.      Why are we going there?


1.       To learn that God is always working on us, with purpose and care

2.       To learn that He has a marvellous design in mind for our lives

3.       To learn that He uses pressure and circumstances to help mould us

4.       To learn that what is so wrong in us, can be perfectly worked out


G.      When I was 8,9,10 and 11 years old, my mother taught me how to mould pottery clay and to work with pottery. She had a shop that sold handmade pottery and other crafts. She taught me as a child what we are about to learn from Jeremiah 18.


II.    Message


A.      The Potter’s House (Jer 18:1-3)


1.       Pottery was a big business up until the industrial revolution of the 1800’s.

2.       The wealthy used pewter (lead) plates, and cups (and died early of lead poisoning) for their household vessels

3.       But normal people used pottery. They had no glass or plastic cups

4.       Special things were made by the potter like vases, water pitchers, tea pots, and even special storage boxes for jewellery and fancy serving bowls

5.       Mundane things were also made by the potter like water jugs and mugs and cisterns and cups and plates

6.       They were all produced down at the potter’s house

7.       It was there that God told Jeremiah to go and learn a powerful lesson so that he could turn around and teach to Israel


B.      The Potter’s Work (Jer 18:3)


1.       A Potter works on clay


a.       Potters don’t work with gold, or silver, or stainless steel – only clay

b.      Clay is a kind of a mud, straight from the ground

c.       Not all mud can be used in pottery, but clay can be (I have plenty of it in my back garden – that’s why nothing grows in my back garden!)

d.      A potter would usually have an entire field of clay right next to his house to gather clay out of and use for his work


2.       A Potter works on the wheels


a.       This was a special contraption

b.      A pottery wheel is a well designed structure that allowed him to easily fashion a vessel like a cup, or a plate or a vase

c.       It had a spinning top (a wheel) that was attached to a rod and another wheel at the bottom that was pushed by the potter’s feet to keep it spinning

d.      These two wheels would allow the clay to be spun so that it was balanced as he fashioned the item

e.       Note: None of the potters work was natural, or haphazard, or accidental (not because of any evolutionary steps the clay took) – it was always on those wheels, because only by those wheels did anything ever come of that clay!


3.       A Potter works by HIS own hands


a.       Pottery required the Potter to get involved

b.      Making pottery was not an automated process done by machines

c.       He didn’t ever leave the work of moulding the clay to anyone else besides himself

d.      HE fashioned the clay

e.       He couldn’t just sit back and use mind over matter and wish for the lump of clay to become something – He had to make personal contact with the clay

f.        As he used his hands, and as the lump of clay spun around on those wheels, he would apply pressure to form, and mould it into a new shape - an unnatural shape – a shape of HIS design, not what comes easy or naturally


C.      The Potter’s Design (Jer 18:4b) – look at the last part of the verse!


1.       When the potter sat down with the lump of clay, he would have a design in his mind

2.       He knew what HE wanted to make

3.       He didn’t ask the clay!

4.       Maybe someone needed a salad bowl, or a tea pot, or a special jar for holding important papers

5.       So the potter would go to work.


a.       First imagining how it should look,

b.      and then gathering the fresh clay out of the field

c.       And then slamming it down onto the ground – more about this in a moment!


6.       Remember, the clay was NOT anything until the potter began to work on it!

7.       Is anyone starting to get the lesson yet?


D.     The Potter’s Problem (Jer 18:4) - Marred Clay


1.       The clay was flawed – ruined

2.       Unyielding to his hands

3.       Normal clay has stones, and straw and dried clay in it

4.       It did not take on the shape of the master’s hands

5.       If the Potter stopped now, and just left it alone, it would have been a bad testimony to the Potter’s abilities

6.       Yes, it could have been discarded, but a good Potter keeps the clay, and tries again


E.      The Potter’s Work  


1.       Let me describe it!


a.       Taking the formless lump of clay from the ground


1)       He would first separate it from all the rest of the clay field

2)      Then cut it to size

3)      Then… Violently throw it to the ground. Over and over!

4)      What a sight!

5)      This was not anger, or madness, or wrath. It was the Potter’s Work!

6)      The next would kneel over the clay, and begin the kneading process. Like you would bread

7)      The kneading was to work out air pockets and impurities so that the vessel would not fall apart under the stress of spinning on the potter's wheel.

8)      He would then throw the small lump of clay onto the centre of the wheel and begin!


b.      Once it was on the wheel…


1)       Using only a bucket of water to keep the clay from drying, and several sharp instruments for cutting and shaping…

2)      He would press the spinning clay with his thumbs.

3)      And almost instantly a simple cone would begin to emerge which he shaped, reshaped, and pressed again.

4)      Note:


a)      Throughout this entire process, only the clay moves.

b)      The hands of the potter were perfectly steady because the clay must conform to the potter's hands, not the potter to the clay.

c)       Ponder that for a month or two!


5)      Often, there is more clay than the Potter needs, and so he uses very sharp instruments to cut away all that was not the vessel he was creating.


c.       What if it didn’t yield, or take on the shape of the potters will?


1)       If I were to put a lump of clay off centre that had not been kneaded, it would suddenly fall apart spewing wet clay in all directions. It would make a mess.

2)      But, if you then took the bits of clay, and wadded it up into a ball, knead it again, throw it back on the wheel and started anew to make a vessel of honour out of it, it might just yield to your hand!


2.       So, What is the Potter’s Work?


a.       The Potter’s Work is a Continuous Effort


1)       He made it again – such sweet words

2)      He started over – God’s mercy in new/reset, every morning


a)      He did it with Israel coming out of Egypt

b)      He did it with the apostles on the day of Pentecost

c)       He did it with Peter


3)      Maybe you won’t let God make you what He thinks is best, well, He will work on another design then

4)      I would start letting God make something beautiful of me if I were you (Eccl 3:10)


b.      The Potter’s Work is A Hard Effort – not an easy task making something useful


1)       Had to use a lot of pressure

2)      Had to keep the wheel spinning at just the right speed

3)      Had to apply just the right amount of water

4)      Had to know when to remove extra clay (pruning) that was not needed for the final product


c.       The Potter’s Work is A Fruitful, Beneficial Effort


1)       It is not all pressure, and troubles

2)      There is an end to the work, amen! (Philp 1:6)

3)      And the Potter does sit back after his labours and is pleased, and he does stop the wheels thankfully!

4)      And he moves his work to the kiln, so that he can use it for a great purpose

5)      Don’t wait until heaven to be useable by God – then is too late


d.      The Potter’s Work is a Pleasant Effort! Hey! Did you know, the potter actually enjoys working with the clay, and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty to create a new vessel. It is a messy process but the pots and dishes he made were wonderful to behold!


F.      The Potter’s Fire – not described here in Jeremiah 18, but is understood throughout the rest of Scripture


1.       No clay, left to itself is of any use to anyone but pigs. It is only wet muck! This is how we all start, and it is amazing that we want to be left alone, to stay that way!

2.       But as you now know, clay has to be kneaded and worked on and spun and shaped in order to be useful

3.       But that is not all - It also has to be “fired”

4.       Oh how we do not understand this process!


a.       Why can’t clay just be used without going through the heat?

b.      Because we have NO strength in ourselves, and when water touches the clay, or any pressure is applied to the shaped vessel, it crumbles


5.       The heat of a special thing called a kiln will correct that

6.       Do not imagine that a potter is placing the cup or bowl of vase in purgatory, or into a kind of hell – this is not a place of purging, but of strengthening!!!


a.       The drying times are important so that the vessel would retain its new shape, and be strong enough to carry burdens that are placed in it.

b.      The drying times, those desert seasons, those times of persecution, those times when you are mocked, and ignored, well, they are just as critical as being on the wheel.


7.       The Potter would put his new vessels on the shelf and sort of "forget" about them until they were ready for the kiln, much as the Spirit of God does when He seems distant from you, and when your prayers are as silent screams, and you feel abandoned and alone.

8.      But there is glory in the firing process!


a.       It really is beautiful when the clay vessel glows white hot at some 1200 degrees Celsius. The clay will not explode. It glows!

b.      This is called the first firing!

c.       In the first “firing”, the silicon within the clay turns to a kind of a glass inside and the beauty of the vessel begins to emerge.

d.      It is then that the pottery is taken out of the heat and painted and adorned with colours.

e.       But there is a second firing that brings out the hidden colours of the clay itself, and it mixes with the paint and colours of the Potter. All of the glorious beauty hidden beneath comes to the surface and the vessel becomes both useful and beautiful.


G.      What if the Potter had just left the clay alone? What if he never worked on the clay and prepared it for such fiery trials? What if the Potter tried to cut corners, and skipped some steps in the whole process?


III. Application - How This Applies to Us (Jer 18:5-6)


A.      God spoke to Jeremiah as he watched the Potter work with that clay

B.      Two Simple Questions:


1.       Cannot God Do as the Potter Does? Isn’t HE allowed to work on US?

2.       What is Stopping Him?


C.      Here are the truths!


1.       God is the Perfect Potter – you need to believe that (Ps 18:30; 111:2,3; 139:14)!


a.       He does not make mistakes!

b.      Troubles aren’t fashioning you - God is

c.       Your enemies don’t ruin you. Your problems aren’t in charge

d.      God is in charge – remember that!


2.       We are in God’s hands (Isaiah 64:8; John 10:27-29)


a.       If you are born again

b.      If you are not in the hands of the Lord Jesus, you are at the mercy of the destroyer (John 10:10)


3.       God has a Perfect Design


a.       When the potter sat down with the lump of clay, he would have a design in his mind. He knew what HE wanted to make. He didn’t ask the clay what was best!

b.      Remember, the clay was NOT anything until the potter began to work on it

c.       This is where we see something called the sovereignty of God

d.      God working out His will in our lives (See Romans 9:20,21)

e.       Therefore, when God sees us, He sees us for what we can be, more than what we are


4.       We are troublesome to the Potter


a.       To yield is our greatest goal!


1)       To give up, as something that is claimed or demanded; to resign; to relinquish

2)      To give in, to surrender

3)      To give up the contest; to submit

4)      To submit to an authority

5)      To become SOFT and not HARD in the hands of the Lord

6)      To yield to God’s hand (1Peter 5:6) – humble yourselves therefore, under the mighty HAND of God!


b.      We do not normally, easily yield

c.       We are stubborn, stiff-necked, hard hearted, rebellious, headstrong, obstinate, hyper-opinionated, rigid, self-willed, implacable, UNYIELDING!

d.      Sound like anyone YOU know?


5.       But THANKFULLY the Potter does not stop working on us


a.       He does not throw us away! He cannot do that!

b.      He slams us, and kneads us

c.       Over and over, and over, and over – as long as it takes!

d.      Working OUT those things that hinder His work IN us

e.       HEY! What are your troubles? Are they CURSES? Or maybe blessings, as God breaks you and humbles you, and softens you, and helps you YIELD to His perfect will! Perfect design

f.        No one prays, “Not my will, but thine be done”, until they have been slammed several times, and then looks to Jesus!!!

g.       So, if we do not respond well to God’s work ON our lives, He applies more pressure – guaranteed!


1)       Aren’t you glad that God isn't afraid to start over in our lives if we fall apart?

2)      Those hidden things in us, those unconfessed sins, act like impurities in the clay. Though they may be hidden from human sight, sooner or later they will emerge and must dealt with or the clay will be forever only half formed and useless.

3)      Thank God for His ability to start over (Lam 3:22,23)


6.       As He begins to finish His work, God trims more and more off of us – pruning (see John 15) – less of you, so there can be more of HIM!


a.       Yes, He uses very sharp instruments to cut away all that was not the vessel he was creating

b.      Like the sharp edge of the sword of the Spirit – the word of God

c.       Like the sharpness of rebukes from family and faithful friends

d.      Like the sharp pains of this world to crucify our flesh that we might walk with Him.


7.       When we have gone through the kneading, spinning, shaping process, there is one more step – the kiln – the firing. Don’t be afraid:


a.       Fiery trials perfect us – make us strong and ready for the Master’s use (James 1:2-4; 1Peter 1:6-7)

b.      Fiery trials protect us – from falling apart later under stress


8.      When God is finished, we can say like Job, “I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:12). A lump of clay CAN be made into priceless gold!!! But only when yielded to the mighty hands of Jesus!


IV.  Conclusion


A.      Is God allowed to work on YOU?

B.      What is Stopping Him?


1.       Probably fears

2.       Probably hurts

3.       Probably confusion


C.      Go to the Potter’s house and learn that HE knows what He is doing, and can be trusted

D.     Maybe you won’t be able to say, “I DELIGHT to do thy will oh my God” but you can say “I have decided to do God’s will!”