Hidden Treasure? Dave Holden
The primary reason for everything we do is to make Jesus known. The world is in desperate need for news about Jesus, to hear about Him and see Him at work through us.
John 12:32 If we keep lifting up Jesus then He will draw all people to Himself.
How do we do this?
- Worship. Not about our preferences but about glorifying Jesus, loving Him and celebrating what He’s done.
- Preaching. He must always be the focus of what we’re talking about.
- Good deeds. These are an expression of Jesus’ love, whether on a personal, local, or national scale.
- Through ordinary people...
People are familiar with Christmas but they don’t know the rest of the story. But Christians can tell it and show it to them.
2 Corinthians 4:7-12 tells us that Christians have treasure in them. It’s real treasure from God Himself. Everyone on the planet is looking for this, and we have it. It’s a living message of transformation, that we are new creations, born again with eternal life. We've had our sins forgiven and forever removed from us, Christ is in us and we are in Him. We have been adopted, we are being filled with His Spirit, we have assurance of God’s love (see Ephesians 3:1-14 for even more).
If all that is true, how will people see this treasure in us? 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 gives us the answer: we’re a jar of clay. This describes weakness, fragility, some temporary and ordinary; it is so different from the treasure that God has put in. That’s the point of God’s wisdom: putting glorious treasure in something not very glorious shows how glorious the treasure is. It’s about the treasure, not you (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)! We go through the same struggles as other people so that the treasure can be shown in us if we live not for ourselves but for God and others (Galatians 2:20).
What will be the most visual displays of the treasure?
- Freedom (John 8:36). The world thinks of this externally (e.g. prison or slavery) but Jesus gives true freedom. This has been known by Christians imprisoned for their faith. The world also thinks about freedom as being liberated from social mores but Christians have a far greater liberty.
- Joy (1 Peter 1:8). Not a temporary response to something happening that you like, Christian joy can be known whatever is going on because it is a gift of God.
- Peace (John 14:27, 16:33). Everyone knows that they need this and are trying to find it, but God alone deals with the very root of our problems.
- Love (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Romans 5:5,8). The love of God is far better than anything else on offer, it is profoundly different to what most people think about as love. It doesn’t start with someone’s loveliness but with God’s love for us. We can show this.
- Hope (Romans 15:13). “Hope is the fuel that the human heart runs on. A car crash or a diving accident can paralyze a body, but the death of hope paralyzes the spirit. We can survive the loss of an extraordinary number of things but no one can live without hope.”
This all means that wherever we are, whatever is happening, we can be jars of clay displaying God’s treasure.
- What are your thoughts about the weekend’s big announcement?
- What do you think it should look like for you to lift Jesus up?
- Who is hearing about Jesus from you? How are you doing this?
- How often do you consider yourself to have treasure within you (as in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12)? How does having this perspective change how we think about ourselves and evangelism?
- Why does focusing on your failings and/or self-improvement completely miss the point of God’s purpose to show His treasure in us? How can we think correctly about this whilst still pursuing holiness and becoming more like Jesus?
- Which of the five ways Dave suggested to visibly display God's treasure are you most excited about doing?