TD Jakes - The Silent Sermons of God
And so, I thought I would start the sermon by talking about the potter's hand. For the potter's hand has reached down into the ground and extracted from the dirt the clay he thought most usable. And the reason I want you to see this image of the stooping potter, is that when Jeremiah is looking at the potter stooping down into the ground to pull up the clay, my mind went back to God. You realize our first glimpse of God was a God stooping over the earth to establish that this potter that Jeremiah is looking at is just a shadow of the real potter who stooped down. The living touching the lifeless. The celestial touching the terrestrial. The divine touching the human. The miraculous touching the mundane.
We have a God who can stoop, good God. And there, as the potter's stoops down and pulls up the clay, we get a picture of God's commitment to touch the lifeless. If there are any lifeless people listening at me, and you cannot reach God, don't worry, he stoops. He will come where you are. He's not afraid to get his hands dirty. He's not afraid to get down into the muddy, messy business of formation. Some people only want a finished product. I listen at 'em talkin' about dating before the service started. Most people are dating looking for the finished product, but God is not looking for the finished product. He'll come and get into the messy business of formation. Oh, the living touching the lifeless is a picture of the incarnation itself. That God in his divinity would wrap himself up in humanity is holiness dressed in wretchedness.
The incarnation of Christ is the Word made flesh, the Word wrapped in clay. That's all he needed Mary for. He was the Word before Mary's mama met her daddy, but he said, "Mary, I need to borrow some clay," and the Spirit of God came up on her, not even saying a word when he did it, but it was to make the silent sermon that we call Jesus, who is the Word walking in the garden. Write that down, the Word walks. The Word walks. It's not just that the Word talks, it's that the Word walks. The Word walks. The Word walks. The walking Word is a picture of Jesus. A Jesus indicating to us that God stoops. In fact, Jesus himself is God stooping. Jesus himself is God reducing himself down to his lowest common denominator, that he could come on a plane that we could behold the wonder of his glory. When God got ready to stoop, he stooped in Jesus. No wonder he says that he is the potter and we are the clay. Because we have a stooping God.
So, I wanted to talk a little bit about the potter's hand, because I saw the potter's hand in the making of Adam. I saw the potter's hand in the incarnation. I saw the potter's hand in the woman taken in adultery. You will remember in the New Testament when they caught that woman taken in adultery, and they ask Jesus, "What sayest thou about these things"? and he didn't answer them a word. When he didn't answer them a word, I said this is a silent sermon. The Bible said rather than say anything, he stooped down. That's what he did. Now, you don't get it yet. That's what he did when he saved you, he stooped down. That's what he did what he washed you, he stooped down. That's what he did when he called you. He's a stooping God.
Oh, my God, the Bible said rather than to argue with the Pharisee and the Sadducees, Jesus never said a word. He said let me give you a silent sermon. He stooped down. Thank you Lord, for stooping for me. I could not reach you. I could not touch you. I could not live up to your word, I really tried, I can't do it. I wanted to be everything you wanted me to be, but I couldn't do it. And when I could not reach high enough, thank you that you reached low enough, and your arm is not short that you cannot save, and your ear is not heavy that you cannot hear. He stooped for me, that's why I have to praise him. For you, praise may be optional, because maybe you had an eye-to-eye encounter with God, but I have to praise him, because I am a product of God's silent sermon. He stooped down for me. He came where I was.
It occurred to me that Jeremiah never got to see where the clay came from. That he showed up on the scene after the clay had been selected. That God did not divulge the past of the clay. Oh, if people could see where God pulled you from. Now you're deacon so and so. Now you're prophet so and so. Now you're apostle this and that. Oh, but God didn't even let the prophet see where he selected the clay from. He said this is personal. Jeremiah arrives on the scene when the clay is on the wheel. God does not allow him to see the back parts, the hidden parts, the private parts, the broken parts, the messy parts.
You see, if you're going to be a potter, you can't be afraid to get your hands dirty. This is a messy business. Redemption is a messy business. Everybody who thinks they're called to preach is not ready to preach. Redemption is a messy business, and you have to be ready to get your hands dirty. We are introduced to both the potter and the clay on the wheel. When Jeremiah starts writing, he says, "The work that he wrought on the wheel". In other words, Jeremiah starts watching in the spin cycle. The clay is in the spin cycle.
Now, I wanna digress a moment. I was talking to one of our pastors, I was telling him all through 2019 I was preaching about it feels like we're racing towards something, and I didn't know what it was. I told my wife, it feels like I'm racing towards something, and I don't know what it is. Everything keeps getting faster and faster in the world, and it feels like a we're headed for somethin.' I could feel it all through 2019. I didn't know what it was, but I knew we were headed toward something. In 2020, we hit it. We step into the scene in the spin cycle.
Point two, the potter's wheel is the spin cycle. When God gets ready to make something out of you, he puts you in the spin cycle. He puts you in the spin cycle, where everything is a blur in the spin cycle. I've been pastoring this church soon to be 25 years, and when I look back at it, it's almost a blur. It doesn't feel like 25 years. Everything was happening so fast, I can't even describe everything about it. I'm still tryin' to dissect it, because I was in the spin cycle. Some of you don't understand what you've been goin' through, but you've been in the spin cycle. Your life has been in a blur, but you've been in the spin cycle. You don't rest as good as you'd like to rest, because you've been in the spin cycle. You don't know what to say about how you feel, 'cause you've been in the spin cycle. People ask you how you're doing, you give 'em some candy apple answer, 'cause you haven't even diagnosed how you're doing, because everything's goin' around so fast, so fast, so fast, and all you know is that you're in the spin cycle.
Can I talk to somebody in this place who's been in the spin cycle? All hell is breaking loose, good things are happening, and bad things are happening, and sometimes you feel up, and sometimes you feel down, and sometimes everything's going so fast you can't even describe it, or explain it, or fully see it, because you are in the spin cycle. But the Lord told me to tell you he controls the speed of the spin. The Lord told me to tell you he controls the speed of the spin. That no matter how fast it may seem to you, God knows just how fast to spin the wheel without allowing you to fall off. And he told me to tell you to take notice of the fact that you're still here. That no matter how fast your life was spinning, God sustained you, because he controls the speed of the spin. Somebody say, "He controls the speed of the spin".
Don't be worried, don't be anxious, don't be worried, because God controls the speed of the spin. He knows how fast to take you to shape you into what he wants you to be. He controls the speed of the spin. People comin' in your life, and people going out of your life, and people clapping for you, and people trying to crucify you, sometimes all in the same day. You get a good call and a bad call. You get something that lifts you up and you get something that takes you down. And God said don't worry about it, it's not them in control. God said I control the speed of the spin. I don't know who that's for, but the Lord told me to be sure and tell you that while his hand is moving on the top, his feet is moving at the bottom. For the feet of the potter control the spinning of the wheel. And God said I'm controlling the speed of the spin. It's not your mama, it's not your enemies, it's not your haters, it's not your naysayers, it's not your ex-husband, it's not your ex-wife, God, God controls the speed of the spin. And while the clay is spinning, the potter says nothing at all.
The so is the response to the dilemma of what happened. Look at somebody or type on screen, "Something happened to me". Something happened to me. Something happened to me. You should have met me before something happened to me. I wish you'd have known me before something happened to me. What you're seeing is what's left after something happened to me. Something happened to me. Can I be real with you? Somethin' happened to me. I used to laugh louder. I used to be more fun. I used to be more jovial. I used to be more trusting. I used to be more expressive, but something happened to me. And now Jeremiah watches the potter, who has gone through all the investment of lifting the clay out from the soil, extracting all the debris that was in it, of shaping it, and wetting it, and putting it on the wheel, and spinning it, and molding it, and making it. And now it is something has happened to it.
And so, the so is a suspended phrase that demands a verdict. It is a moment where the jury has gone out, and the trial has been suspended, waiting on a verdict. The evidence has been entered into the court docket that proves that the vessel is guilty of being marred. There is no question to the authenticity of the depth of the scar, but we are waiting for the jury to come back in to determine the outcome of the trial, because there is no dispute as to the authenticity of the occurrence. It is a suspended moment. The so has got the whole text in jeopardy. It's got the whole moment held. It has put us all on pause, the so. It's the same thing that in music would be an augmented chord, an augmented chord. Give me an augmented chord. An augmented chord is a suspended chord. There you go. There you go. That's an augmented chord.
When a singer hears the augmented chord, that is a suspended moment. It means the introduction has been played, and the augmented chord means that something is about to happen. Play it again. This text is suspended, suspended by the nail holes of two words, so. Will he throw it down and start over again? Will he walk away and be frustrated? Will he give in and present it broken? We don't know, the jury's out. The so means that the jury is out. And so, all of a sudden, we come face to face with this moment in time where we are waiting on an answer, and we are waiting on the premise of a word, S-O. No wonder the Bible... somebody say, "So". Somebody say, "So". Somebody say, "So". No wonder the Bible says let the redeemed of the Lord say? Let the redeemed of the Lord say? Let the redeemed of the Lord say? Let the redeemed of the Lord say? That is how we got redeemed. We got redeemed in the silent sermon of God, where God is making a judicial decision about someone who is obviously guilty, and something has happened.
Can I go deeper? The silence is pervasive. How long will the jury be out? I cannot tell? I cannot tell how long the jury will be out. I do know that God told Abraham I'm going to bring your children into Egypt, and I'm going to bring them out with great substance, and I do know that they went in 430 years. And at the end of 30 years, they went from being guests to being slaves, and for 400 years, they were enslaved in Egypt. And for 400 years, God said nothing. Four-hundred years they were suspended on a so.
I do know that from the Book of Malachi to the Gospel of St. Matthew, God again gives us 400 years of canonical silence. And for 400 years, we are suspended on a so. I do know that Christ was crucified on the cross no different than the thieves beside him, and on Friday, the gospel was suspended, and on Saturday, the gospel was suspended. But early Sunday morning, God came and took us out of suspension, and responded with his decision when he raised him from the dead, so he made it again another vessel. He made it again another vessel. He made it again another vessel. Now he has done something that is miraculous. You can either make it, or you can make it another, but only God can make it again another. You can either make it, or you can make another one. You can bake a cake, and if it goes bad, you can either go ahead and serve it, or you can make another one. Once you've baked it, you can't remake it, but only God can make the same cake again another. It is it, but it's not it. It is the same, but it's not the same.
All of this is point three, the potter's choice, God's choice. He made it again another. It is me, but it's not me. I am the same, but I'm not the same. He made it again another. I am another. People who knew you before, they come to you looking for it, and you have to tell 'em I'm another. I look like it, but I'm another. He made it again another. That is redemption. He made it again another. Blind Bartimaeus was the same, and yet he was another. The woman at the well was the same, and yet she was another. The woman with the issue of blood was the same, and yet she was another. Over, and over, and over again, we see the same. The lame man at the pool of Bethesda was the same, but yet he was another. The ten lepers were the same, and yet they were another. The crippled man who was carried by four was the same, and yet he was another. Jesus was in the Upper Room, he was the same, and yet he was another. You are the same, and yet you are another. God can make it again another.
"Then the word of the Lord came unto him, saying". All of this happened in the silent sermons of God. As I close, what is going on in the silence of where you're at right now? What does God want you to see about his ability to make you another person? What is God showing you in the silence of the times we've been living in? I have been amazed at how little God needed my stuff to run his church. That God didn't need my parking lot, and he didn't need my building, and he didn't need our theatrics, and he didn't need anything. That God didn't even need us to be here to run his church. That God is still God. What are you seeing in the silence about your life that will change how you live out your life? Because you're starting to understand what does and does not matter. What will you allow him to repair in you where something happened?
I want to talk to some people. I want to talk to some people that have been through something, and something happened to you. And I do not negate the fact that you are in the potter's hand. In fact, in fact, my friend, you have always been in the potter's hand. Even when you weren't living for him, you were in his hand. He protected you when you were drunk. He protected you when you were high. He protected you when you were wild. He protected you when you were in the street. You've always been in his hand, but something happened, didn't it?
Something happened and you've been damaged in the process. And all of that makeup, and all of that hair, and all of that stuff you got on cannot hide the fact that you have been damaged in the process. And all of them red bottoms, and all of that stuff you got on cannot change the fact that something happened in the process. And you workout in the gym until you ripped, but somethin' happened, didn't it? The Lord said I'm not gonna throw you away. I'm not gonna throw you away. I'm not going to cast you down. God said I have a plan for you on the other side of this. God said I love you. If you would lift your hands and worship me, God says I will transform you again into another. I'm not through with you. Your mama left you, your daddy left you, your friends left you, but I'm not leaving. It's been bad, I know you're hurting. You don't have to stay in the shape you're in. You don't have to stay in the shape you're in. I came to tell you, the potter, oh, he still loves you.