Come, thou fount of every blessing
I love thy kingdom Lord
My hope is built on nothing less
Saviour like a shepherd lead us
How rich your bounty King of kings
Lead on oh King eternal
Laud and honour to the father
Scripture 2 Corinthians 4:1-18 text vv 7-18
 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.  For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So death is at work in us, but life in you.
 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak,  knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.  For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4 ESV)
Intro: cute cuddly images influence people to buy products, even if the product is substandard. We live in an image obsessed world.
Imagery has been part of human existence from the being of time. Eve saw it was pleasing to the eye.
When we look at ourselves we can think that we are unimportant... We are a small church, it is easy for us to lose heart.
This passage reminds us that WE HAVE THIS TREASURE. Riches beyond measure. The light of the gospel of Jesus Christ the glory of God.
We show people God. That is what we hold out to them. We need to remember this treasure that we have.
We are jars of clay holding this within ourselves. The picture is that of the cheap plastic or aluminum containers purchased today.
This isn't the picture of an easy comfortable life. We are containers easily damaged a bond tossed aside. So Christians are opposed and persecuted, a people given over to death.
God choses us. He wants to show that it is all through his power. It is God's power that is to be seen, not ours. The church's power is not what is important.... God's power needs to be evident.
The world's external looking at things is not truly indicative of importance.
We can be persecuted, afflicted, struck down, perplexed.... But God does not leave us there. His life lives in us. God's power works regardless. Our death is for Jesus' sake. He is made manifest in us. That should be all that matters.
So be like Paul and rejoice in your weaknesses. See God at work in you despite your weakness.
See how God worked in China. Christians were kicked out.... And the church grew regardless.
Let God work. Be chosen of God despite your weakness. It's our weakness that shows God at work. Do OT lose heart. Let God work. Know that he is working. He is our life.
What we deal with on earth is but a momentary affliction. God is above all.