Object Lessons

Four Cups

Objects: 1. A Tin Cup with holes in bottom. 2. A Cup clean on the outside, but black on the inside (blacken a white cup with stove soot). 3. A Cup dirty on the out­side and inside. 4. A collapsible Cup, such as is used in traveling. 5. A Pitcher of Water.

Here are four cups (display). Would you like to hear a message from these cups today? I'm sure we can learn much from them if we examine each one carefully. These four cups are very much like folks; even like some boys and girls.

Here is a tin cup. (Designate.) It looks all right, doesn't it? Such a nice large cup, too. Why, this tin cup looks as though it could hold a large amount of clear, pure water.

Let us pour some water into this cup. Why, see, it passes right out. What is the matter? Ah,—it's full of holes! This cup that looks as though it would hold so much water, will hold none at all. It was made with a large capacity, and made to hold water, but how it has failed to fulfill the purpose for which it was made.

Sad to say, there are people like this tin cup, boys and girls—people who have a capacity for holding Living Water, but are failing to have God's best plan for their lives carried out. They should not only be filled themselves with the Living Water, but should be bearing it to other thirsty souls. (John 4:13, 14; John 7:38, 39.)

These people attend church, but the water of the Word finds no place in their lives. It seems to "go in one ear and out the other." They do not retain nor put into practice what they hear. I wouldn't want to be a tin-cup-full-of-holes person, would you?

Let us look at this second cup (Designate). How pretty it is on the outside! This cup should be very useful. What a refreshing drink it could bear to some thirsty person! But look on the INSIDE! (Display cup.) It is all black and soiled. This one is failing, too, in usefulness and the purpose for which it was made because of being dirty on the inside.

There are people like this cup, too,—people who make such a good appearance. They seem so kind, but their hearts are black with sin. This fact is hidden from their friends, but not from God. He sees the heart and all that is therein. When the Lord Jesus was upon earth, He called the Scribes and Pharisees who were very much like this cup, "Hypocrites," and to them He said, ". . . for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess."—Matt. 23:25.

Though these people may seem very religious, their hearts have ever been washed in the blood of the Lord Jesus. Good deeds and kindly acts will never make black hearts white. "For by grace are ye laved through faith, . . . it is the gift of God."—Eph. 2:8, 9.

Could it be that there is a boy or girl here, a nice boy or girl, too, who has never received the Lord Jesus as Saviour? If so, you have missed God's purpose for your life. He wants to fill you to over­flowing with the Living Water. Don't you want to be like a cup that is clean on both the OUTSIDE and inside?

Look at the third cup. (Designate.) One can easily see that this cup is of no use as a cup. It is dirty on both the outside and inside. It surely needs a good cleansing to be of any use at all.

So there are people, like this cup, who are sinners in every respect. Their actions betray a black heart within. They don't try to cover up their sins. Like the cup, they need to be thoroughly cleansed. "Wherewithal! shall a young man cleanse his way—by taking heed to the Word."—Psa. 119:9. God's Word tells of a "fountain filled with blood" that cleanses from all sin. "Though your sins be as scarlet . . . they shall be as white as snow."—Isa. 1:18. Yes, even a person whose life is as soiled and dirty as this cup can be made clean by the blood of Jesus, then as a clean vessel he can be used of God to bear the Water of the Word to thirsty, dying souls.

Now, the last cup is one that is often used in travelling. It is collapsible and folds up so that it can be carried in a very small space. See this little cup! It is clean and shiny, but its capacity is limited to is unfolding. The more it is unfolded, the more water it will hold. When opened completely it holds a good drink, but when closed up it holds hardly enough to satisfy the thirst of anyone. (Demonstrate.)

This cup, too, is a picture of many folks,—people who have been washed in the blood of the Lord Jesus and are Christians, but whose lives are being used so little in bearing the "good news" to others. Like the little travelling cup, they could be used if they would only surrender their whole lives to the Lord, to be filled with the Living Water, His Holy Spirit. Like the cup when folded up, they give such a small part of their lives to the Lord. God's Word says, Rom. 12:1, "I beseech you . . . that ye present your body," and Eph. 5:26, "Be filled with the Spirit."

Are you like any of these cups, boys and girls? Let us remember the message these cups have brought to us today, and profit thereby.

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