Posted by: The Simple Guy | January 17, 2010

We have this TREASURE in earthen vessels. .

Studying for next Sunday’s sermon on 2 Cor 4:7-16 brought this John Piper video to mind.

Examine yourself. . .


2 Corinthians 4:7-18 MKJV
(7) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us;
(8) in every way having been troubled, but not having been hemmed in; having been perplexed, but not utterly at a loss;
(9) having been persecuted, but not having been forsaken; having been thrown down, but not having been destroyed;
(10) always bearing about the dying of the Lord Jesus in the body, so that the life of Jesus also might be revealed in our body.
(11) For we who live are always being delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus might also be revealed in our body.
(12) So then death works in us, but life in you.
(13) For we, having the same spirit of faith (according as it is written, “I believed, and therefore I have spoken”); we also believed and therefore speak,
(14) knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus shall also raise us up by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
(15) For all things are for your sake, so that the superabounding grace might be made to abound through the thanksgiving of the greater number, to the glory of God.
(16) For this cause we do not faint; but though our outward man perishes, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
(17) For the lightness of our present affliction works out for us a far more excellent eternal weight of glory,
(18) we not considering the things which are seen, but the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are not lasting, but the things which are not seen are everlasting.

Incidentally, verse 13 is a quote from Psalm 116.  Good background reading for this text.



  1. Very probing Craig, there is always that danger of looking on Christ as just another trinket amomg your other trinkets or as a “means to an end”!

  2. Don’t most of us come to Christ because we have a need? The people in the book of Acts on the day of Pentecost cried out, “What should we do?” They were cut to the heart and needed forgiveness. Didn’t Jesus warn of hell? I think Mr. Piper is way to altruistic. We learn to love and cherish Him as we grow in grace and sanctification.

  3. Just a comment with regards to Civilla’s concern that Piper is to altruistic. First, I do not believe he is discounting the sense of particular needs, but that these needs being met are never the final focus or ends.

    “Altruism”- unselfish interest in the welfare of others.

    Is not this simply the call of Christ to those who would be His disciples?

    “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
    And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
    He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (Mat.10:37-39)

    Regardless of the initial point of conviction and sense of need there must be this progression, and this is the missing element that Piper is bringing out. Where is this “all out” counting all but loss for Christ?
    What if our churches were full of altruist’s? What a blessed place to be and a hard place to leave! There indeed is growth in these areas, but that understanding and Christ-centeredness evidently arrives fairly quickly as illustrated in Acts 2:42-46.
    The problem today is the opposite, love of self and the profession that one is a disciple of Christ in contrast to what He declares as being required of those who will follow Him. He is, as Paul says, “Our Life” and therefore it only follows that if this is so He will be supremely valuable to us.

  4. I would like to add that one could probably make the same statement about me if they listened to certain 5 minute blocks of my sermons. I do not know the entire context of Piper’s sermon in this instance.

    I know that Piper’s emphasis on the fight for joy in Christ is a difficult message to receive and understand for some. As I said in the next post, it was not my intention to condemn or hurt anyone with the post. My concern is the tendancy in myself at times to treat Christ as an accessory rather than the treasure of my heart and life.


  5. I’m thankful for how you’ve connected one of my favorite passages (2 Cor 4) with dealing with depression.

    Very, very helpful.

    To God be the glory.


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