Sermon outline: Make God’s clay great again

Today, we’re going to look at a story.  It’s an illustration that God picks to describe his relationship with us.  And you’ll notice as we study, that God had to arrange a special event to show our prophet.  We’re going to look at the “Potter and the Clay”.  This analogy has been used often, like the shepherd and the sheep.  And often it’s used in a tone like “God’s the Potter, and we are the clay.  Who are we to question Him?”  While that statement is true, there’s another important lesson we can learn from today’s story.
So if you have you Bible, please turn with me to Jeremiah 18.
<Pray>
2.  First, I’ll give you a brief background.  Jeremiah is the prophet of the Southern kingdom of Judah.
  a. Cultured Judaism.    (Isaiah 1)
  b. People living for self, creating evil, oppression, injustice, corruption.
  c. Liberal King- Menassah.
  d. Now, it’s too late.  But there’s a tiny hope.  God’s final warning before pulling the trigger of destruction.
3. Now, I’ll post the verses here, and you can follow.  But I’m going to paraphrase this story.
  a. Potter has a good plan for the clay.
  b. Potter didn’t spoil the clay.   (In his hand, not BY his hand)
       i.  How could a clay be defective?   sand, stone, unbalanced moisture, air bubbles.
  c. What options does the potter have?
       i.  throw away and use a new one
      ii.  fix the lump and retry
     iii.  repurpose.  – what happens when you repurpose a defective clay?
4. Who really decides the destiny of Judah?  God the potter or Judah the clay?
   a.  It’s up to you which destiny you end up.  The choice is yours.  If you choose to live for self, God has another plan for you.  I don’t know what it is.. but I bet in eternal perspective, you’ll regret it.
   b.  I’m not saying that God is hands off.  He’s sovereign and actively making the new design/pot happen.
       Examples
         i.  Garden of Eden.
         ii.  Pharaoh’s example.  Exo 9:15-17
        iii.  Israel’s example  Exo 19:1-6 vs Exo 32  ???
  c.  predestination argument.  (clay has no arms, will, voice = totally passive)
      i.  purpose of the illustration
     ii.  divine bully
         I’ve seen people who grew up under that kinda teaching, and some of them are angry at God.  And I think they have the right to because under that teaching, God’s a divine bully who pushes His way through us.  They ask “If God’s all powerful and loving, why did He cause bad thing to happen to me?”  You see, God is all powerful and sovereign and all that.  But He has set in placed spiritual laws that He chooses to obey.  One of which is that He has given the human race free will to respond to Him, and He will NOT take that away.  Because if He did, He would have reduced us from being made in His image.  It means we could never be His children.  It means we can only be His pets, robot, or.. His toys, pokemon.  That’s not the God of the Bible.
    iii.  2 Tim 2:20-21
 6.  So, you have the choice to choose between being an honorable item, or dishonorable one.
   a.  Living for self = bored.  need to relieve boredom.  meaningless.
   b.  God’s original plan for you is to live for some thing, someOne greater than you.  Not to live for self.  Living for God, for people = eternal relationships.  = treasure.
   c.  Don’t kid yourself.
7.  Conclude..
   To be part of God’s beautiful plan for you, you need to stop fighting Him.
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