Participants: Alvin Kibble
Series Code: AOT
Program Code: AOT000126
00:12 Welcome to Anchors Of Truth
00:15 live from the 3ABN Worship Center.
00:21 Well we just welcome you to a cool rainy night here
00:26 in southern Illinois.
00:28 But it's warm in this auditorium.
00:31 And we're so happy tonight to have Dr. Alvin Kibble
00:36 who is going to be our speaker for this special
00:41 Anchors Of Truth.
00:43 And he's going to be speaking on a Christian view
00:47 of suffering and heartache.
00:50 Because this is something that Christians face
00:54 just like everybody else.
00:56 And it's an amazing adventure in some instances.
01:02 This whole series came out of a discussion that
01:06 Pastor Kibble and C.A. Murray and I were having together.
01:12 And this took place at ASI last August in Orlando, Florida.
01:21 We were talking about an illness that Pastor Kibble went through
01:27 that was extremely serious.
01:29 I happened to have been in the office next to him
01:32 during those years.
01:34 We were both vice presidents, general vice presidents,
01:37 of North American Division.
01:39 And Alvin Kibble had a cancer battle that was like
01:46 none I have ever witnessed.
01:49 We were so worried and concerned that we were going to lose him,
01:54 but through the treatment, through the prayer,
01:57 through all of those things that took place,
02:00 we saw healing emerge.
02:04 But that road to healing was a long and rocky road.
02:10 He's going to be sharing some of those things with us.
02:13 And it is going to be exciting.
02:16 Backstage just a moment ago, I said something to him
02:21 about this, and he said, "You know, I wouldn't wish
02:24 what I went through on my worst enemy.
02:28 But I wouldn't have missed it for the world,
02:32 for the experience that God brought me through."
02:38 And he's going to share that with us.
02:39 Some of you are suffering.
02:41 You may know someone who is suffering.
02:42 Go to the phone right now, call them.
02:44 Tell them this series is for them.
02:47 You know, some series we do on prophecy,
02:49 some series we do on some of the exciting issues of today,
02:53 and some we do on things that are of a very spiritual nature.
02:59 And this is one of those.
03:01 Because, my friend, going through suffering with our Lord
03:06 can be a deep spiritual experience.
03:11 And I hope that if you are going through something,
03:15 that you will not miss the blessing that comes from it.
03:20 And that's what this series is going to be about.
03:23 And so we invite you to join us.
03:26 As I mentioned, Pastor Kibble, Alvin Kibble, is Vice President
03:31 of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.
03:35 He's a well educated man.
03:36 All of his education in the early years, of course, was
03:40 Christian education from academy grade school,
03:46 academy, college, Atlantic Union College,
03:50 and then Andrews University.
03:52 And then he's done doctorate studies beyond that.
03:56 So this is a man who has been very diligent
04:01 in the study of God's Word and in preparing himself
04:05 for ministry.
04:06 He's a very detailed individual.
04:09 Pastored eight churches.
04:12 Was president of a conference in addition to having now been
04:18 Vice President of North American Division.
04:22 He does so many things there, wears so many hats,
04:26 that it would be almost impossible for me to
04:30 give you the rundown of all the committees
04:32 that he chairs.
04:34 He is married to the former Jewel Peck.
04:40 And Jewel is a lady of distinction and we just
04:45 love her, Camille and I do.
04:47 She's a registered nurse,
04:50 she's a performance improvement consultant,
04:54 a musician.
04:55 They have two adult sons, Santo and Jason,
04:59 one daughter-in-law, Danielle, three grandchildren,
05:04 Trinity Marie, Jason II, and Hailey Madison.
05:09 And, my friend, it's going to be my privilege to sit
05:14 tonight at the feet of a man who I love as a friend,
05:20 I trust as a brother, and I believe in as a dedicated
05:28 Christian servant of God.
05:32 And you'll be listening to him.
05:34 He will open the series tonight with prayer before his sermon.
05:39 But before he comes, we've invited
05:43 Michael and Celestine Berry to come and to present
05:49 the beautiful song, Were It Not For Grace.
06:22 Time measured out my days,
06:28 life carried me along;
06:36 in my soul I yearned to follow God,
06:43 I knew I'd never be so strong.
06:48 I looked hard at this world
06:52 to see how heaven could be gained
07:01 just to end where I began
07:05 where human effort is all in vain.
07:16 But were it not for grace
07:23 I can tell you where I'd be;
07:29 wandering down some pointless road to nowhere
07:36 with my salvation up to me.
07:42 I know how that would go,
07:49 the battles I would face;
07:55 forever running but losing the race
08:02 were it not for grace.
08:14 So here is all my praise
08:20 expressed with all my heart,
08:27 offered to a Friend who took my place
08:34 and ran a course I could not start.
08:40 And when He saw in full
08:45 just how much His love would cost
08:53 He still went the final mile between me and heaven
09:00 so I would not be lost.
09:08 But were it not for grace
09:16 I can tell you where I'd be;
09:22 wandering down some pointless road to nowhere
09:29 with my salvation up to me.
09:36 And I know how that would go,
09:42 the battles I would face;
09:49 forever running but losing the race
09:56 were it not for grace.
10:04 Forever running but losing the race
10:11 were it not for grace.
10:36 Good evening.
10:38 I am so grateful to be with you as we begin this spring,
10:45 as we begin this spring series.
10:51 I've traveled pretty much all day,
10:53 but I've had a wonderful day.
10:56 And I've been looking forward to the time when we would come
11:00 and we would experience the power of Jesus
11:06 through His preached and through His divine Word.
11:15 This is the spring time of the year.
11:18 And spring time for me is one of my favorite seasons.
11:24 Because it evidences the promise of renewal.
11:30 It evidences the assurance that life can start over again.
11:38 And so as we pick up this Anchors Of Truth series
11:45 I want us to focus clearly on God's Word
11:49 and His promises to us.
11:52 Because God is never short concerning His promises,
11:58 but He is long suffering.
12:01 Our message this evening is taken out of the
12:05 book of Jeremiah.
12:07 And I'd like, if you have your Bibles, to turn with me
12:11 to the book of Jeremiah and the 18th chapter.
12:15 And we're going to look at verses 1 to 6.
12:19 Jeremiah chapter 18 verses 1 to 6.
12:28 Here's what it says.
12:30 "The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,
12:35 'Arise and go down to the potter's house,
12:39 and there I will cause you to hear My words.'
12:44 Then I went down to the potter's house,
12:48 and there he was making something at the wheel.
12:53 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred
12:57 in the hand of the potter;
13:00 so he made it again into another vessel,
13:03 as it seemed good to the potter to make.
13:09 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
13:12 'O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?'
13:18 says the Lord.
13:21 'Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand,
13:26 so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.'"
13:37 Before I speak to you, please join me as we talk with God.
13:45 Holy God, our heavenly Father, speak to us
13:52 the wonderful words of life.
13:56 Rekindle within us the faith that will ensure us
14:04 the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.
14:08 Demonstrate Your power once again to save,
14:13 and that mightily.
14:15 In the blessed and holy name of Jesus, amen.
14:22 Watchman Nee, the great Chinese theologian,
14:26 said on one occasion that God is a domestic God.
14:32 Domestic in the sense that some of His best works
14:37 and many of His miracles have taken place in a house.
14:43 Assuming that this divine domestic label that has
14:47 been attached to God is true, it is no surprise that the
14:52 first public miracle of Jesus Christ, according to John,
14:57 took place in a house.
15:02 In fact, when you peruse the Scriptures you discover that
15:05 many of the Scriptures substantiate the claim
15:10 that our Lord had a certain affinity with the house motif.
15:17 On one occasion in Saint Luke's gospel, chapter 19,
15:22 the Bible declares that as Jesus made His way through Jericho
15:27 He stopped at a Sycamore tree.
15:30 A Sycamore fig tree.
15:33 And looking up, He discovered a man who was short of stature
15:37 peeking through the branches.
15:40 And Jesus said, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down,
15:45 for today I must stay at your house."
15:52 The gospel of Saint Mark, chapter 1 verses 29 to 31,
15:57 tells the story of how Peter's mother-in-law lay prostrate
16:01 sick with a fever.
16:04 When you read the account, we discover that the panacea
16:08 for the particular problem was Jesus stopping by her house.
16:16 A few chapters later in Mark chapter 5 and verse 35,
16:21 we hear how Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue,
16:24 had received word that while Jesus was en route to His house
16:30 his daughter had died.
16:32 But the record declares things got measurably better
16:37 when Jesus went into his house.
16:42 So when you look at the Scriptures, some merit
16:46 can be made and some validity can be attached to the fact
16:51 that it was something about the house that God often used
16:57 to illustrate His point.
17:00 Even when Elijah's brook dried up, in 1 Kings 17,
17:06 God told him, "Go by the house of a widow of Zarephath."
17:15 When he died and Elisha took his place, in 2 Kings,
17:19 there was a woman whose property was almost in probate court.
17:24 Her sons were about to be taken as bond servants.
17:27 And Elisha, the man of God, verse 2, looked at her and
17:32 asked her a question.
17:33 Do you remember what it was?
17:36 He asked, "Tell me, what do you have in your house?"
17:45 So it is, my brothers and sisters, that on the canvas
17:50 of this text God has a special message for us tonight.
17:58 For we discover that Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah,
18:02 Jeremiah the prophet, God's mouthpiece,
18:05 God's prognosticator, God's preacher,
18:09 received commission to arise and go down to the potter's house.
18:18 Now if we are to understand the magnitude of this message,
18:23 we have to understand where Jeremiah is living
18:27 in proximity to where the potter's house is located.
18:32 Jeremiah is living up in Jerusalem.
18:36 Up in the plains.
18:38 Which explains why the text said that he had to go down
18:43 to the potter's house.
18:46 The potter's house was located south of the Valley of Hinnom.
18:53 And this valley is a very important valley.
18:57 Most of you as Bible students will remember,
19:00 in 2 Kings chapter 16, when King Ahaz was king of Israel
19:06 He used the Valley of Hinnom as a place of infant sacrifice.
19:14 Turn to your neighbor and say, "Say what?"
19:18 Infant sacrifice.
19:22 Where their children, their children,
19:25 their children were set on fire as offerings to the fire god.
19:33 To put an end to this abomination,
19:36 the place was polluted on purpose by Josiah
19:40 who made is ceremonially unclean by spreading human bones
19:46 all over it.
19:49 After that, it appeared to have become a cesspool for the city
19:55 where it's sewage was collected and carried off by the
19:59 waters of Kidron.
20:01 Some years later, due to the remains that stayed in the
20:06 Valley of Hinnom, Jews changed the name
20:09 of the Valley of Hinnom to the Valley of Gehenna.
20:16 Now when you translate the name, "Gehenna," to the Greek word,
20:22 when you translate the name, "Gehenna," into the Greek word,
20:26 it means, "hell."
20:30 So to understand where God was trying to direct Jeremiah,
20:39 you have to understand the background and the context
20:43 of this message.
20:45 God is saying to Jeremiah, "I've got a word for you.
20:49 I've got a message for you.
20:51 But in order to get the message, you're going to have to
20:54 go through some Gehenna.
20:58 You're going to have to go through some places
21:01 that are not sacred.
21:04 You're going to have to go through some
21:06 uncomfortable conditions."
21:08 Does anybody understand where I'm going with this message?
21:13 Often, my brothers and sisters, God will allow you to go through
21:19 something in order to get a word to you.
21:25 And I believe that there may be some who are watching
21:29 this series this evening, or some of you who are here tonight
21:34 who can testify, "Yes, Pastor Kibble, God will sometimes
21:39 allow you to go through something to get a word to you."
21:43 In fact, that might explain why some of you are
21:47 catching some things right now.
21:50 On your job, in your home.
21:54 Right now.
21:58 Some time ago one of my pastor colleagues came to my office
22:02 in Silver Spring, Maryland for a visit.
22:07 And as we talked, he enquired, "Pastor, why would God
22:15 allow you, a man of God, to go through that experience
22:21 that you had with cancer?"
22:24 And if I had the time I would talk a little bit about that.
22:31 One of the most rare cancers in the world.
22:34 Highest incidences in China and in North Africa
22:41 among people who were heavy smokers...
22:43 I had never smoked in my life.
22:46 ...people who worked among formaldehyde...
22:48 I hadn't been around formaldehyde since
22:51 college biology class.
22:56 ...or people who ate a high diet of salt fish.
23:04 I'm a vegetarian.
23:08 Never ate fish in my life.
23:12 It is because God is getting ready to take you
23:17 to another level.
23:20 He's getting ready to take you to a level that is greater
23:26 than your pain predicament.
23:29 A level that is bigger than your burden.
23:33 But in order to get you where God is trying to take you,
23:37 you've got to be willing to go through something.
23:41 I can remember the conversations that I had with God.
23:47 And we all go through that.
23:50 When something awful happens to us,
23:53 we are prone to ask, "Why me?"
23:59 And I distinctly remember God saying, "Why not you?
24:06 Are you better than the child that was born with brain cancer?
24:13 Or the little girl who was born with her internal organs
24:18 outside of her belly?
24:22 Are you not mine?" He said.
24:27 "Can I not do with you what I will?"
24:35 Now some people don't want to ever go through anything.
24:41 They always want their streets to be straight,
24:45 they want their skies to be blue,
24:48 they want their apples to be shiny,
24:50 they want their flowers to be in bloom,
24:53 they want their tides to come in,
24:55 they want their birds to sing,
24:57 they want their harvest to be bountiful,
24:59 their grass to be green, their stars to twinkle,
25:03 their hills to be low, and their eggs sunny side up.
25:10 But every now and then, God will take us through something
25:14 to get our attention and to help develop our characters.
25:22 And that's why I've come to spend this time with you
25:26 and to share with you out of the general theme
25:34 how Christians view trouble...
25:45 ...and heartache.
25:50 He will sometimes take you through something that will
25:53 test the very fabric of your faith.
25:57 So God declares to Jeremiah, "I want to give you something,
26:00 but in order to give it you're going to have to
26:04 go through something."
26:09 There are some individuals right now who are
26:11 scratching their heads trying to figure out,
26:14 "Why am I going through this?
26:18 Why is this happening to me?
26:23 Why is all of this mess happening now?"
26:27 You've been faithful in your engagements.
26:30 You have been exemplary in your deportment.
26:32 You have put a watch before your mouth.
26:35 You have avoided all tale bearing and backbiting
26:38 and excessive anger.
26:40 You have been curbing your temper.
26:42 Your response has been, "yea, yea," and, "nay, nay."
26:45 You have abstained from alcohol, you have never touched tobacco.
26:50 You even became a vegetarian.
26:52 You've been cutting back on dairy products.
26:55 You drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day,
26:58 exercising regularly.
27:00 You have been returning a faithful tithe unto the Lord.
27:04 You have been faithful in your church attendance.
27:06 You have been zealous in your efforts to advance
27:09 the kingdom of heaven.
27:10 But seemingly the more you give, the worse things get.
27:17 Am I talking to anybody here tonight?
27:22 Can I tell you something?
27:25 God may be trying to take you to another level
27:30 that is greater than your affliction.
27:35 He might be trying to get you ready to promote you
27:38 to a new assignment.
27:41 So instead of getting bitter, you ought to try to get better.
27:46 Instead of getting mad, you ought to count it all as joy.
27:50 God said to me, "If I were to have assigned you
27:54 to some serious assignment, some challenging assignment,
28:00 wouldn't you have accepted it?"
28:05 It was then that I came to realize that my ministry
28:09 was not something that I do.
28:15 My ministry was who I was.
28:23 My life is the canvas.
28:27 Good, bad, or indifferent, my life is the witness.
28:34 Not just the words that come out of my mouth.
28:37 Not just the activities of my limb.
28:43 My limbs.
28:45 So when you fall into diverse temptation,
28:51 know that the trial of your faith worketh patience.
28:56 "Arise Jeremiah, I want you to go down to the potter's house."
29:03 And the text says that God sent him to the potter's house.
29:09 And that is significant as well, because He is not sending him
29:14 to the potter's showroom, but to the potter's shop.
29:21 And there's a difference between the showroom and the shop.
29:26 Because the showroom is where the completed
29:29 vessels are stored.
29:35 The shop is where clay is under construction.
29:43 And don't you know that there's a difference
29:46 between seeing you on the showroom table
29:51 and seeing you in the shop?
29:54 Some years ago my wife and I decided to buy
29:58 a brand new Toyota Rav4.
30:02 And we went down to the CarMax dealership and we looked around
30:08 and she picked out the car that she wanted.
30:11 And we outlined sort of a budget as to how we were
30:18 going to handle this.
30:20 And a few days later we got a card from the dealership
30:25 inviting us to come for a special invitation
30:32 to meet with some of the mechanics in the shop.
30:39 And we were kind of...
30:43 We were a bit uncertain as to what this was all about.
30:47 But we decided to take them up on their offer.
30:50 And so we drove over that afternoon, and sure enough
30:56 they had some cookies and some punch,
30:59 and they walked us through the shop to explain to us
31:03 the mechanics of the car that we were about to buy.
31:15 You don't really know what you are made of
31:20 if you only view yourself from the showroom.
31:26 People really don't know who you are until they have
31:29 seen you in the shop.
31:32 You can't know me by looking at my accessories;
31:38 my clothes, my car, my house, my bank account.
31:44 In order to know the measure of who I am,
31:49 you've got to watch me when I am being reviled,
31:54 when I am being persecuted.
31:56 You have to watch me when people are saying
31:59 all matter of evil against me,
32:04 when my back is against the wall,
32:06 when I'm way down yonder all by myself.
32:12 When it's me, it's me, it's me, oh Lord,
32:16 standing in the need of prayer.
32:20 When I can no longer say the Lord is blessing me right now.
32:27 "Jeremiah, I want you to go down to the potter's shop."
32:32 And I'm glad He didn't send everybody to the potter's shop.
32:38 Because, you know, everybody can't handle seeing you
32:41 in your raw undone condition.
32:46 While I was sick, and my illness extended over several years,
32:52 people would call me from all over the country.
32:55 And sometimes early in the morning
32:58 and sometimes late at night.
32:59 And when they called, they expected to hear from me,
33:05 "Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised."
33:10 But there were some days that I didn't feel up to that.
33:16 There were some days I was awfully sick.
33:22 I was on a feeding tube for over two years.
33:27 I lost my taste buds.
33:29 I lost my saliva glands.
33:33 Tropicana orange juice tastes like vinegar.
33:37 Haagen-Dazs ice cream tastes like cold butter.
33:42 I could not chew a piece of bread.
33:47 My white blood cells had become so meager
33:55 that if I went to Wal-Mart and a baby sneezed,
33:58 I could catch pneumonia.
34:01 I had no germ fighters.
34:04 If I got up and took care of a few things around the house,
34:08 maybe washed a few dishes, I would have to go back
34:12 and lay down and sleep for the next four hours
34:15 because I was exhausted.
34:18 I couldn't drive either of my cars.
34:20 I couldn't take care of my house.
34:24 I couldn't wear my clothes.
34:28 Of all my clothes, the only thing that I had left
34:31 that was of any use to me were my handkerchiefs, my ties,
34:37 my socks; even the shoes became too big.
34:41 And people were calling saying, "Well, how are you today?"
34:46 Everybody can't see you in your raw undone condition.
34:51 I remember one lady called me one day and she said,
34:54 "Pastor Kibble," she said, "you don't know me,
34:59 so I don't need to give you my name.
35:03 But the Lord asked me to call you and tell you that
35:07 if you're too tired to pray, "I've got your back."
35:13 "I've got your back."
35:20 Everybody can't handle the real you.
35:25 And there are two you's.
35:30 Paul talked about that as well.
35:32 There is the you with your holy habit.
35:37 And there is you, "When it's me, it's me, it's me, oh Lord,
35:43 standing in the need of prayer."
35:49 But God says, "Jeremiah, go down to the potter's house.
35:54 Because I want you to hear My word."
35:58 And verse two says that Jeremiah gets up
36:00 and goes down to the potter's house.
36:02 And when he gets to the potter's house, he sees
36:05 clay under construction.
36:09 Can I take you through this text?
36:12 And Jeremiah says, "God spoke to me out of this theophany.
36:21 When I got down to the potter's house, I saw several things.
36:25 The first thing I saw was clay being molded."
36:30 And verse three says that when he got to the potter's house,
36:34 that the potter was at work on the wheel.
36:39 Now clay being molded is what I call
36:42 the progression of the clay.
36:45 Because clay does something that the text does not celebrate.
36:51 And that is, clay makes progress.
36:54 You see, if you took the text at face value,
36:58 you would think that the clay originated in the house.
37:04 Because when you first look at the text, the first thing
37:07 you learn about the clay is that the clay was on the wheel
37:11 in the house.
37:12 But that's not where the clay came from.
37:15 The clay did not come from the wheel in the house.
37:18 The clay came from the dirt in the yard.
37:22 And the mere fact that the clay has come from the
37:25 dirt in the yard to the wheel in the house
37:29 lets us know that the clay has made some progress.
37:33 Can you say amen to that?
37:36 Every now and then you need to stop and give God praise
37:41 for your progress.
37:44 You weren't always in the church.
37:49 In fact, you were not always active in the Lord's service.
37:56 You weren't always singing the hymns of faith
37:59 and walking up the king's highway.
38:04 Let's be real.
38:07 You were not always saved, sanctified,
38:13 and filled with the Holy Ghost.
38:16 And the mere fact that you, like so many others,
38:20 are in progress is something to celebrate.
38:25 And you ought to turn around to your brothers and sisters
38:28 and say, "We've made some progress."
38:32 Because you really have.
38:42 Make no mistake about it, I love this church.
38:48 I love the message of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
38:54 I've got the good ole Seventh-day advent message
38:58 down in my heart.
39:04 There is much to be celebrated.
39:08 And yet, I'm not in the showroom.
39:13 I'm still in the shop.
39:17 Sometimes if you ask a fellow member,
39:20 "Are you saved," they start fumbling and mumbling.
39:24 They're almost scared to answer.
39:28 If somebody asks, "Are you saved,"
39:31 you ought to be able to give a resounding, "Yes."
39:37 Because you are saved.
39:39 You have been saved from the power of sin.
39:44 But you are also in the process of being saved
39:48 from the presence of sin.
39:51 We are justified, the Bible says, by faith.
39:56 I am saved.
39:58 God treats me just as if I have never sinned.
40:03 But I am being sanctified.
40:05 Which is a day by day process as God pours His life
40:10 into my life and acts out through me the will to do
40:18 His commandments.
40:21 But finally, I shall be saved.
40:24 That's glorification.
40:27 Saved; past tense.
40:34 Being saved; present tense.
40:39 Will be saved; future tense.
40:44 Did you get it?
40:46 So the clay is not in the showroom, it's on the shelf.
40:50 But the mere fact that the clay is in the shop
40:56 on the wheel and not in the showroom on the shelf
40:59 lets me know that the clay still has a long way to go.
41:05 But the fact that the clay is no longer in the yard in the dirt
41:09 but on the table on the wheel in the house
41:13 lets me know that the clay has come a mighty long way.
41:18 So you can rightly turn to your neighbor and say,
41:20 "You know, I've come a mighty long way."
41:25 In fact, when you look at the fact that the clay
41:29 is in the house on the wheel, you'd have to realize
41:33 it has been dug up, it has been brought into the house,
41:37 it has been washed off, it has been put on the table,
41:41 and now the clay is in the hand of the potter.
41:48 Doesn't that sound like somebody's life that you know?
41:53 And you ought to thank the Lord that you were dug up
41:55 with the plowshares of the gospel,
41:57 and that He has washed you off in that
42:00 fountain filled with blood, and He has brought you into the
42:03 house of His tabernacle, and He has put you on the wheel
42:06 of sanctification.
42:08 The hand of the Lord is upon your life.
42:11 And even now when people look at you, they realize that
42:16 you are not the same.
42:18 That you have been changed.
42:25 The Bible says if anyone is in Christ,
42:28 that they are new creatures.
42:30 "Old things have passed away;
42:32 behold, all things have become new."
42:35 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 17.
42:39 The old slave picked that up and said, "I looked at my hands
42:42 and they looked new; I looked at my feet and they did too."
42:47 We've made progress.
42:50 Jeremiah saw clay being molded.
42:53 Clay being molded speaks of the progression of the clay.
42:56 The second thing that he saw was that the clay was marred.
43:02 Which speaks of the problem of the clay.
43:06 The Hebrew word for, "marred," is, "shachath."
43:10 It means, defective.
43:12 It means, spoiled.
43:14 It means, ruined.
43:15 The clay had some imperfections, it had some blemishes,
43:19 some cracks, some damage.
43:20 It was marred.
43:22 But when you keep looking at the text, you discover that
43:24 though the clay was blemished it was not banished.
43:29 For it was still in the potter's hand.
43:31 Do you get it?
43:33 Somebody is not getting this at all.
43:35 And what excites me in the text is that the imperfection
43:39 of the clay did not lead to the rejection by the potter.
43:46 In other words, our hang-ups don't affect the hand of God.
43:54 And I praise God that my imperfections,
43:58 my flaws, my blemishes, are not so disgusting to God
44:04 that He is willing to throw me away.
44:07 That even though I am marred, and even though I have
44:10 imperfections, and even though I still have a plethora of
44:14 problems, that my mistakes and my hang-ups have not hindered
44:20 the hand of God.
44:22 Because as long as I am in His hand,
44:26 there's a chance that I'll get it straight.
44:30 And I want to encourage anybody who is listening this evening,
44:34 don't give up on God.
44:37 Because God will not give up on you.
44:42 Don't give up on God.
44:45 I'm talking about His hands.
44:47 Hands that formed man from the dust of the ground.
44:51 Hands that manage my time.
44:53 Hands that feed me, hands that guide me,
44:56 hands that uphold me, hands that were pierced for me.
45:00 Hands that heal and hands that bless.
45:03 And hands that will one day wipe tears from my eyes.
45:08 You see, the only thing that separates me from the person
45:12 that doesn't know the Lord is not that I am not messed up,
45:21 it's not that I am not marred.
45:24 The only thing that separates me from the man on the street
45:28 is that I am in the shop and I am in God's hands.
45:36 I may be talking to somebody tonight who has
45:39 some real life issues.
45:42 And I am so glad that I can tell you that
45:45 God can handle your issues.
45:50 I am so glad tonight that we serve the God who is
45:54 able to deal with your dilemmas.
45:56 He has answers for your agonies, and blessings for your burdens,
46:00 and cures for your calamities,
46:02 and deliverance for your distresses,
46:04 and erasers for your errors, and forgiveness for your faults,
46:08 and grace for your gloom, and sunrises for your sunsets,
46:12 and beauty for your ashes,
46:14 and the oil of joy for your mourning.
46:20 We serve a God who is able to reach down in our humanity
46:26 and who saves from the uttermost to the gutter most.
46:32 The gutter most to the uttermost.
46:35 The clay was marred, but it was still in the potter's hand.
46:41 You know, my dad had some big hands.
46:50 And as a toddler, I loved to hold my father's hand.
46:56 My little hand would just be lost in his.
46:59 We lived in Chicago and sometimes when we'd
47:04 go walking down in the loop, that is the downtown
47:09 shopping district, and I was so proud to hold my dad's hand.
47:17 As I grew up, as a youth I was sometimes rambunctious
47:26 and rebellious.
47:28 And my biggest fear was when my father had to raise his hand
47:34 to reprimand me.
47:37 Now my father had big hands, he also had fast hands.
47:43 And there would be times when he could quiet down the
47:46 whole back seat of the car just with one swipe of his hand.
47:54 There were times when I would pout, shrug my shoulders,
47:57 mumble something under my breath.
48:01 Times when I would even talk back a little bit.
48:06 And I knew because I was marred that I might do something
48:09 that might cause my dad to have to lay hands on me.
48:15 Well, my dad is now resting in the Huntsville, Alabama
48:19 Memory Garden awaiting the call of the life giver.
48:23 But I have another fear.
48:26 Because I am still marred, because I am still blemished.
48:31 My fear is no longer my daddy laying hands on me,
48:35 but my heavenly Father taking His hands off of me.
48:41 You see, every now and then I've got to say,
48:44 "Father, I stretch my hand to Thee; no other help I know.
48:50 If Thou withdraw Thyself from me, wherever shall I go?"
48:56 Jeremiah saw the clay, it was marred.
48:59 But it was still in the potter's hand.
49:03 Somebody has made some mistakes in their life,
49:07 and loved ones won't forgive you.
49:10 People won't let you forget it.
49:14 But as long as you stay in His hands,
49:17 everything will be alright.
49:18 Family may not love you, people may not give you
49:21 a second chance.
49:22 Those who you live with will hold you hostage to your past.
49:29 But I am glad tonight to be able to say to you
49:33 that we serve a God not of just a second chance,
49:37 but of another chance, and another chance,
49:40 and another chance.
49:42 A God who said to Peter when Peter had messed up,
49:47 and asked, "Lord, how many times do I have to forgive
49:51 my brother who has wronged me?
49:53 Seventy times?
49:55 Seventy times seven?"
49:57 And God said, "No, seventy times seven times seven times..."
50:01 It's an infinity of forgiveness.
50:08 You may still have some issues, but you're in His hands.
50:11 I've got some problems, some hills to climb,
50:14 but I'm in His hands.
50:18 Jeremiah saw clay being molded, which spoke of the
50:21 progression of the clay.
50:22 He saw some clay that was marred, which spoke of the
50:28 problem of the clay.
50:29 But then he saw clay being made over,
50:33 which spoke of the potential of the clay.
50:35 When Jeremiah said, "I saw clay in his hands,"
50:38 when he testified that the clay; and it was being molded
50:42 and developed, and the imperfections and the mar...
50:45 If I had been the potter, I would have
50:47 thrown the clay away.
50:50 And you know, I couldn't have blamed the potter if he had
50:53 decided to shove the whole mass of clay that I represented.
51:02 If you and I had been the potter, we would have
51:04 probably trashed it.
51:06 You couldn't have blamed the potter.
51:08 The potter had given the clay every possible chance.
51:13 Dug it up out of the ground, washed it off,
51:15 brought it in the house, put it on the wheel.
51:18 And this old hard-headed clay would not do right.
51:23 But what I like about the text is not just the potential
51:27 of the clay, but the patience of the potter.
51:31 Ah, I'm feeling good now.
51:33 Because the Bible declares that instead of throwing the
51:37 clay away, the Bible says that the potter made
51:40 the vessel over again.
51:43 I don't know how that makes you feel,
51:45 but that makes me feel great.
51:53 Women are not the only ones who get an extreme makeover.
51:59 God does extreme makeovers all the time.
52:04 And He made the vessel over again.
52:09 And as I hasten to close, I wondered how in the world
52:13 did the potter make the vessel over again.
52:17 And I came to the conclusion that the potter
52:20 had to crush the clay.
52:25 You know, the potter has several instruments.
52:29 He has a shovel to find the clay,
52:32 he has a table to turn the clay, he has water to soften the clay,
52:37 he has hands to shape the clay, he has a furnace to
52:41 strengthen the clay, but he also has a mallet
52:44 to beat down the clay.
52:46 And every now and then what the potter has to do
52:50 is to take out the mallet and beat the clay down.
52:56 The Bible says in Hebrews 12 and verse 6,
52:59 "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth,
53:01 and scourges every son whom He receives."
53:06 So that means that every now and then what the Lord has to do is
53:11 He has to chasten us.
53:13 He has to make us over again.
53:20 When I look back over my life and I find myself asking God,
53:25 "Why did you have to make me over again when I thought
53:28 that I had just arrived?"
53:30 When I thought that I was just getting my praise
53:34 to a certain level.
53:35 When I thought that my prayer life had just reached
53:38 a certain platitude.
53:40 When I thought that my devotion was at a certain level.
53:46 God saw some imperfections in me.
53:49 He saw some blemishes yet.
53:53 And what the Lord did was, He had to make me over again.
53:58 I don't know who may be listening tonight,
54:02 but I believe that I have a witness somewhere
54:08 in the media world, somewhere in this auditorium tonight,
54:13 that can declare and testify that when you are in your
54:18 darkest moment, it is then that the Lord is trying to
54:26 make you over again.
54:28 And so I've come to the place in my life where I am
54:31 willing to say, "Anyway You shape me,
54:34 anyway You make me, I'll be satisfied."
54:43 But I want to ask you is whether or not you will be faithful.
54:48 God will mold you, He will shape you,
54:51 He will hold you.
54:54 But you have to be faithful.
54:56 I heard God talking to Jeremiah and He told him,
54:59 "Jeremiah, did you see the potter?
55:01 Did you see the clay?"
55:03 He said, "Jeremiah, I am the Potter and you are the clay.
55:08 Son, it ain't about you, it's about Me.
55:13 So let Me do it.
55:15 I'm able to mold you, I'm able to shape you,
55:19 I'm able to hold you.
55:23 And I'm able to bring you through."
55:28 And the more I read this Bible, the more I discover
55:33 that it's not about me.
55:36 It is about Him.
55:38 And that's why it's called good news.
55:46 And I am so glad...
55:52 ...because He has me in the palm of His hands.
55:57 "I've seen the lightening flashing,
56:00 I've heard the thunders roll,
56:02 I have felt sin breakers dashing trying to conquer my soul.
56:07 But I heard the voice of Jesus telling me still to fight on.
56:12 He has promised never to leave you,
56:15 never to leave you alone."
56:18 I'm nothing but clay under construction.
56:23 But one of these days when the Lord gets finished with me,
56:28 one of these days when the Lord has molded me and shaped me,
56:33 I shall come forth as gold when I have run the race,
56:38 when I have finished the course, when I have kept the faith.
56:43 So don't become weary in well doing.
56:46 For at the proper time you will reap a harvest
56:52 if you don't give up.
56:57 Your heads are bowed, your eyes are closed.
57:05 Father, we give our lives to You in full surrender,
57:16 and ask that You will work in us that which is well pleasing
57:23 in Your sight.
57:28 Through the glory and by the power of Jesus our Christ, amen.