Because we are saved, Christ is in us [Col 1:27] and we are in Christ [1 Cor 12:13]. We have Jesus Christ and eternal life in us. Thus, according to our text in 2 Cor 4:7, we have this treasure in earthen vessels. We must be reminded, then, that our lives are about the treasure that’s in us and not about the earthen vessel that contains the treasure. We need to remember to set our affection on things above, not things on the earth [Col 3:1-2]. We need to remember that our conversation is in heaven [Phil 3:20]. We must remember that we are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus [Eph 2:6].
Too often, our thoughts, affections, conversations, desires, investments, dreams, and aspirations are all about things on the earth because we are in earthen vessels. And when something crazy happens, of course, we get anxious and worried about our earthen vessels. So, we need to get our bearings in the Bible and come to a sensible understanding of where we really are in this world. We need to get our minds back on the eternal and heavenly things and off of the worldly things.
Souls are in earthen vessels – 2 Cor 4:7. What’s inside of all people on earth is a soul. Every earthen vessel is going to die. Every soul is going to live forever. When you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior, your soul is saved. According to 2 Cor 5:8, as soon as you die you are present with the Lord. Monday, I was discussing a sermon I preached on Sunday with a preacher friend of mine. I mentioned the point that Jesus delivered us from the fear of death. He made an astounding observation. He said, “Christians spend more time praying to keep Christians out of heaven that they do praying to keep sinners out of hell.” It’s like we’re doing everything we can not to go to heaven. That means that we are way more concerned with the earthen vessel than we are with the soul inside. Here’s the problem, we start concentrating on our bodies and we neglect our souls. Here’s another problem, we start neglecting the souls of other men, as well. We become more concerned with our earthly needs and comforts and less concerned with our eternity. That’s not good. Every person on earth will die (or change if they’re saved and alive at the rapture). There is no escaping this fact. So, rejoice when you remember that Christ is coming and we are going. And the sooner the better. Why not, therefore, invest the rest of your life in the business of telling others about Jesus Christ. The souls of those who get saved will be with us in heaven for eternity.
Service is in earthen vessels – Col 3:23-24. Once again, no matter what you do, build, own, or accomplish in this earth, it isn’t going to survive over time. When you put all that effort into things down here for the sake of accomplishing something, your results are temporary at best. But think about how much time Christians spend down here serving their own bellies, and their own lusts, and their own desires. We must, therefore, remember that only what’s done for Christ will last. Why not apply yourself for the rest of your days on earth to the task of serving Jesus Christ. Everything that you do heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men, will be rewarded with the reward of the inheritance. Imagine that. You will see in eternity what you spent your time serving the Lord for in the earth. Isn’t he worth working for all the remaining days of your life.
Treasure is in earthen vessels – Matt 6:19-21. You can just feel the tension right now over the economic effects of the coronavirus. People are worried about their jobs, their homes, their investments, their retirement plans, their savings, and so forth. Of course, these are troubling economic times. But you must remember that no matter how you invest or save your money, when it’s in earthen vessels it is going to go away. Riches will fly away [Prov 23:5]. Riches will become worthless [Prov 11:4]. Gold and silver will canker [Jas 5:1-3]. Thieves will steal [Matt 6:19]. Moth and rust will corrupt [Matt 6:19]. No matter were you put it, no matter how you invest it, no matter what you do with it, as long as it is in the earth you only have it temporarily. And you can see how fast vast sums of it can disappear. What you should have done and what you should do from now on is “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” You see, anything that you have given to the Lord is doing just fine in the heavenly bank and it will be there for you when you arrive. You don’t have to spend one second worrying about your investments in eternity. We’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing for decades now, laying it up on the other side.
Prayers are in earthen vessels – Ps 141:1-2. No doubt, there are many people praying right now. However, prayers out of dirty earthen vessel don’t go very far. The Lord doesn’t hear the prayers prayed from a heart that regards iniquity [Ps 66:18]. The prayers of those who turn away their ears from hearing the law are an abomination to the Lord [Prov 28:9]. There are many people praying about many earthly things right now. We need prayers that will reach all the way to the throne of grace [Heb 4:16]. We need prayers that honor God and ascend before God like the prayers of the saints in the tribulation [Rev 8:3-4]. We need prayers that are going to have an affect in heaven and result in answers that make a difference in eternity. We need prayers for his glory and that align with his will [1 Jn 5:14-15].
Conclusion: quit worrying so much about all this that’s going on around you right now. Reflect on how you have been living your life, instead. And consider how, beginning right now, you can spend the rest of your life investing your time and money in heaven. That’s the only safe place in the universe to invest them.