Yes, People Can Change for the Better in God’s Hands

Potter Herman Kahler in his Workshop

A sermon idea based on Jeremiah 18:1-11.

Jeremiah 18:1-11 NRSV

[1] The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: [2] “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” [3] So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. [4] The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.

[5] Then the word of the LORD came to me: [6] Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the LORD. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. [7] At one moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, [8] but if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will change my mind about the disaster that I intended to bring on it. [9] And at another moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, [10] but if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will change my mind about the good that I had intended to do to it. [11] Now, therefore, say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the LORD: Look, I am a potter shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Turn now, all of you from your evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.


The relevant topic I would be addressing, based on this text…

The invitation is always open to allow God to shape us into something better than we could ever have been on our own.


Information about the text that matters to the message…

Oh, what a mess we are when we resist the work of God in our lives. That’s the message of Jeremiah to the people of Israel, who had failed to remember the sovereign position of God over them as a people.

God leads Jeremiah to observe an illustration of a potter shaping a creation. When things go wrong, the potter can start over and shape it into something beautiful again.

As Paul said,

Ephesians 2:10 NLT

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

While Jeremiah’s tone is one of lament over the doomed nation’s unwillingness to repent, there is a hint of possibility in his message. His prophecy is preserved for us today so that we can get the message.

In the hands of the Potter, we can become something beautiful.


The big call-to-action in the message…

Are there ways in which you’ve been resisting the shaping and influencing work of God in your life? Yield to what he wants to do and he’ll make a beautiful masterpiece out of your life.

Appreciate these notes?
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About the Cover Art: Ring, L. A. (Laurits Andersen), 1854-1933. Potter Herman Kähler in his Workshop, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.

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