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Jars of Clay

May 31, 2015 | Michael Cotten

Guest speaker Michael Cotten, speaks on how our perspective of the past effects our perspective of today. God uses us regardless of our past. When we look beyond our failures and shortcomings and allow God’s glory and light to come through that is when the world is affected by Him.

Listen to the Sermon

Sermon Notes

Conundrum: How can God use someone with my past in a ministry of “glory?”

  1. We are given a ministry of glory — 2 Cor. 3:17,18
  2. Contained in earthen vessels — 2 Cor. 4:7

We are being transformed — 2 Cor. 3:18

  • Jesus is the Chief Shepherd and Bishop of my soul — 1 Peter 2:25; 5:4
    • He changes, heals and transforms me — Phil. 1:6
    • I must believe this — that is, have faith

Symptoms of a lack of faith in transformation

  1. Memory gaps — Forgetting does not heal — Remembering heals
  2. Shame and regret
    • “If you really knew me . . .” A hidden life prevents a discovery of love
    • “How could this happen to me . . .?”
    • “I can’t believe this has happened . . .”
  3. A persistent feeling of embarrassment or reproach
  4. Self consciousness
  5. Presumption or “pushiness.”
  6. Inability to talk about the past (lack of transparency)
  7. Fear of exposure
  8. Unforgiveness
  9. Root of bitterness
    • God has disappointed me
    • God has lied to me
    • God doesn’t answer me
  10. Depression

“Northing bad can happen to you.” (Ben Kinchlow, FGBMFI Regional Convention, Raleigh, NC ca. 1974)

  1. God uses everything in our lives — our passions, our training and education, even our pasts — to create in us a life message — Rom 8:28
  2. “And we know with an absolute knowledge that for those who are loving God, all things are working together resulting in good, for those who are called ones according to His purpose.” [Wuest]
    • absolute knowledge — not guessing
    • are working — an ongoing, unfolding series of events
    • purpose — Everything that happens to us has a redemptive value

How do I get there?

  1. By faith — 2 Cor. 4: 16-18
  2. Get out of denial — James 3:14
  3. Cut off a root of bitterness — Heb. 12:15 (“He/she/it/that painful event was My gift to you, ___________. You have never been this way before, and I have used the way you’ve come to make you ready for where you will go.”)
  4. Go to the one Who has borne our reproach
    • Joshua and Israel came out from the reproach of slavery —             Joshua 5:9
    • We go to Jesus Who has taken the reproach of our slavery upon Himself – Heb. 13:11-14
    • You can always find Jesus at the garbage heap
  5. And we become empty vessels fit for His glory — 2 Cor. 4:7
  6. And are content that we would be used as vessels for glory — “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:1-2 ESV)