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Reimar A.C. Schultze

Past Issues of the Call To Obedience

"We Have This Treasure"

by Pastor Reimar A. C. Schultze

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.—2 Corinthians 4:7

Do you know that you have a treasure? Every Christian has a treasure. Paul did not say "I have this treasure”; he said that we have this treasure. He said, "What I have as an apostle you have as an usher, as a nursery care worker, as a choir member, as a deacon, as a helper to the needy. Your treasure is not any less than mine in value, in weight, in beauty or glory. Your treasure is not any different than mine.”  All who are born of God have received this treasure. There are no exceptions to it. Whether you are learned or unlearned; whether you are a healthy child or a poor old man with his teeth falling out and one foot in the grave; whether you are a doctor, dishwasher, have cancer or are crippled; whether you're black, white, red or yellow, you have this treasure. It makes no difference whether you live in a palace or sleep under a bridge; whether you are a billionaire or don't have a nickel in your pocket, you have this treasure. On the day that you received Jesus you received a treasure. We have this treasure!  You have the same treasure as the apostles Paul, Peter, James and John and so you have the same spiritual potential to sit beside Jesus on the Great Day of the Lord.

Now, let's talk about the value of this treasure. This treasure is greater in value than anything you can put into the bank, in stocks, gold, real estate, pearls or jewelry. It cannot be stored in a safe.  God did not put this treasure in any of those places. None of them are good enough for this treasure. When God looked for a place to deposit this treasure He looked at what is the dearest and nearest to Him. And that is the heart of man. He put this treasure into His children because this treasure needs portability. It is not made for just sitting somewhere. God wants this treasure to be wherever we are. He wants it to be where you will never forget it when you leave home. He does not want this treasure to be where it can be lost under a piece of furniture, in the laundry, or in the trunk of a car.

He wanted his treasure within us so we have it ready to be used anytime.

He wants you to have it when your doctor tells you that you're going blind. He wants you to have it when your teeth are being pulled.  He wants you to have it when you have a head-on collision with your car, and are lying out on the cold asphalt in the rain.  He wants you to have it when you miss your plane and you see your aircraft taxiing away from the gate, while you are still inside the building.  Wives, God wants you to have it when your husband is grouchy.  Husbands, He wants you to have it when your wife's love grows cold.

Youth, He wants you to have it when your parents are breaking up.  He wants you to have it when you lose your job or when you can't find your credit card.  He wants you to have it when you are misunderstood, rejected, mocked and hated.  He wants you to have it when you're arrested, cast into prison and tortured.

We have this treasure in earthen vessels!

Oh, may God help us not to be so overwhelmed with problems that we forget our treasure. We must review, review, review the things of God so we will not forget. We live in a world of trouble. Don't expect to be without it for very long. Let us see how Paul expresses this. He goes from…”But we have this treasure in earthen vessels”...to “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body (2 Cor. 4: 8-10).

Many churches preach that once you receive Christ, all your troubles are over.  Tell this to the apostle Paul! Tell this to the rest of the apostles. Most of them were martyred. Tell this to the new converts in Iraq , Iran , Morocco , Saudi Arabia , Syria , Vietnam and North Korea . Don't believe that when you get saved your troubles are over. Let's go back to Paul once again. Let us get more detail. Let us look at Paul's conversion in Acts 9.

When Paul received Jesus he was struck with blindness for three days. Was that a time for celebration or was it troubling? It depends on your point of view.  If you don't know the value of the treasure Paul received on the Damascus road, this sounds like an unnecessary, cruel hardship. But if you know the value of this treasure, the immensity, the beauty, the glory of it and the power that is in it; if you know the love it contains, the intimacy with the Divine that springs out of it, and the heaven that opens for those who have it; then blindness is but a small affliction. It could even be a blessing. Seeing brings many distractions. By taking away Paul's eyesight God made him to see Jesus only. Have you ever been there? Sometimes God has to take everything away from us that is dear to us to make us see only Him. No one knows the kind of fellowship Jesus had with Paul in those three days. We don't know whether Jesus took Paul on a tour of His kingdom or whether He showed him the first or second heaven. But whatever it was it prepared Paul for the next message Jesus had for him through the words of Ananias:

“But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:  For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake”  (Acts 9: 15-16).

Every suffering has a blessing in it. If you reject or grumble about it, you will miss it.  Suffering and mission always go together. The sent ones are the suffering ones. The suffering ones are the overcomers. They triumph with Jesus and Jesus triumphs with them! Oh, my friend, constantly draw on this treasure. You will never be disappointed in what you get in return for it. Now, consider some more points about troubles:

1. When we come to Christ our worst troubles are over. We are no longer on the way to a place where the fire is not quenched and the worm dieth not (Mark 9:44 ).

2. When we are saved, as we abide in Christ, no trouble can ever break our fellowship with Him. We always will have have exceeding, abundant power to be more than conquerors..  We will always have meat to eat that no one knows of. We always can draw water out of a rock and bread from the sky - anywhere!

When we are saved we become like corks. Every time you put a cork underwater it comes back up. The deeper you put the cork into the water the quicker it comes back up. And the quicker it comes up the higher it jumps above the surface. In Acts 16 we find Paul and Silas in a maximum security prison; their feet in the stocks; their backs bleeding. They were in deep trouble. They were way under the surface of what things should be like. But at midnight they began to praise God. Metaphorically, the cork popped to the surface and above it with great energy. An earthquake occurred and all the prisoners were set free. We have this treasure! You have this treasure! This treasure will not prevent you from going down under but it will guarantee that you always come back up with great power.

We have this treasure in earthen vessels. That means that we are only clay. God formed us out of clay. Clay is worthless on the stock market. It is not even listed as a commodity. A clay pot is fragile. But in the kingdom of God fragility is canceled out by virtue of what it has inside of it. Hallelujah!

The treasure comes by receiving Christ. Let us ask now how this treasure can be lost.  The devil cannot steal the treasure, because when the devil touches the treasure he will be destroyed by it. Unbelievers cannot take the treasure away from you. They would not know where to find it, and if they did, they have no power to take it away from you. Jesus will not allow for them to put their wicked hands on it. The only way you can lose the treasure is by neglect.  Neglect is one of the greatest thieves in Christianity. Neglect in obedience, prayer, praise, witnessing, tithes and offerings, servanthood; neglecting our spiritual armor before we leave our homes. When you start being neglectful in one area, you will soon be neglectful in many areas. Neglect is the only way by which you will lose this treasure. And when you lose it, you lose all. Oh, my friend:  The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field (Matt. 13:44).  Have you found this treasure? Seek after it and you will enter the realm of the supernatural.