"A VESSEL GOD CAN USE"
                                                  2 TIMOTHY 2:19-26
                                                 (2 TIMOTHY 2:20-21)

INTRO: Paul used an illustration of a "great house". This describes the professing Church. Just because a person is a member of one of the LORD'S Churches doesn't necessarily mean that person is a Christian! As in Jesus' parable of the tares among the wheat, there are many mere professors in the LORD'S Churches today! Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

Paul says this "great house" has the foundation of God. The LORD'S Church is founded upon the Rock, Christ Jesus! Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, "… upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." 1 Corinthians 3:11 says, "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." Jesus is the Rock, the TRUE FOUNDATION! All other ground is sinking sand!

Paul further says that this "great house" has this seal, "The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." (v19b). In the BIBLE, a seal is a mark of ownership and security. The Church is a purchased possession belonging to the LORD Himself! Ephesians 5: 25-27 tells us, "Christ...loved the Church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without
blemish."

During the Roman occupation, in Paul's time, no one would dare break a Roman seal. The seal on this "great house" had two inscriptions. The first refers to the God-ward side of the Christian life: God chose us who trusted Him as His elect. 1 Peter 1:2 tells us that
believers are, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ...". The latter aspect is the man-ward aspect of the Christian life (v19b). In other words, those who are the elect of God prove it by living godly lives. According to Ephesians 1:4, we are chosen in Christ "that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" (Warren W. Wiersbe. The Bible Exposition Commentary. Volume 2. p. 247). A true Christian should act as a Christian! Paul lastly tells us that this "great house" has various vessels for performing various functions. He divides them into two classes:
Those of honor and those of dishonor.


All of us who really love our LORD desire to be "A Vessel God Can Use." The question is, “What qualifications does God give us here for usefulness?” There are three qualifications Paul lists here:

 

A VESSEL GOD CAN USE:
(1) MUST BE FIT
2 TIMOTHY 2:21—“If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall
be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.”

A. THE POSSIBLITY—“…a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” The word "prepared" used here is translated from a Greek word that means "made ready". The word “fit” according to Webster's Dictionary means "prepared and ready". It is more important in this life, as believers, how we walk the walk than how we talk the talk! The cause of Christ has suffered great damage over the years from those whose lives have been a contradiction of their
profession! (Philippians 2:15-16a). This world would be better off if could see a sermon
in the lives of God's people than to hear one any day!

ILLUS: Mark 4:21 says, "is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed?" Vance Havner noted two things which hinder our Christian testimony, the bushel and the bed. The bushel stands for business, commercialism, money-making. Our only business is to do the Will of God. That is our vocation but most Christians treat it as a vacation, something to be done only once in a while.

The Bed stands for pleasure, ease, and worldly comfort. There is no testimony among those who are at ease in Zion. Churches are filled with "lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God" (2 Tim. 3:4). What a host of animated corpses run around doing church work! Said the Irishman who saw a tombstone marked "I yet Live": "If I was dead I wouldn't be ashamed to admit it." But professing believers are dead and don't know it. (Vance Havner. The Vance Havner Notebook. p. 29).

B. THE PREPARATION—“…prepared unto every good work.” How do we make ourselves fit so we are a vessel God can use?:

1) Purging Ourselves From Ungodliness (v21a). A good servant of the Lord will separate himself from anything that might compromise his testimony in the LORD! This purging must be in two areas:

? From Sin In our Lives (Psalm 139:23-24).
? From Complicity To Evil (2 Corinthians 6:17). Separation in the BIBLE is not total isolation, but it is from complicity to evil! Ephesians 5:11 tells us—“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

The important thing is that the honorable vessels not be contaminated by dishonorable ones! The useful human vessel of honor does not get involved in the popular things of the world, even the "religious world". We must remain holy, and this means we must be separated from everything that would defile us! (Warren W. Wiersbe. The Bible Exposition Commentary. Volume 2. p. 248). 1 Thessalonians 2:12 commands us—“That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.”

 

2) Prepare Ourselves To Grow (v21b) (2 Peter 3:18). How do we prepare
ourselves?:
? Prayer (Philippians. 4:6-7).
? Bible Study (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17).
? Submission To Christ And His Will (Galatians 2:6-7).

When we do these things then we will be a vessel "prepared unto every good work" (v21c). Only vessels of finest quality are fit for the Master's use! None of us are fit of ourselves, but through His grace we can be pleasing to Him! (1 Corinthians 15:10; Philippians 2:13).


A VESSEL GOD CAN USE:
(2) MUST BE FOCUSED
2 TIMOTHY 2:22—“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

A. THE FLEEING AND THE FOLLOWING—“Flee…youthful lusts: but follow righteous, charity, peace…”. "Flee youthful lusts..." The word "flee" is translated from a Greek word that means—"To run from, to shun, and to escape from." The word "youthful" is translated from a Greek word that means—"juvenile". 1 Thessalonians 5:22 tells us to—“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” A vessel God can use will be mature in the faith! 1 Corinthians 13:11—“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” True Bible separation and growth in grace must be balanced! We will flee sin, but we will follow after righteousness! (Warren W. Wiersbe. The Bible Exposition Commentary. Volume 2. p. 248). We are to flee sin, and follow after righteousness. 1 Peter 1:14-16 tells us—“As
obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” Romans 14:17—“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

"If Christians were afraid of worldliness as much as they are of holiness, they would set the world on fire for Christ." (Albert M. Wells, Jr. Inspiring Quotations-Contemporary & Classical. p. 88).

B. THE FAITHFULNESS AND THE FERVENCY—“follow…faith, charity, peace,
with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Several things are noted:

? Faith (Hebrews 11:6).

ILLUS: The Quakers got their name from the fact that they trembled under the power of the Holy Spirit. At least their faith shook them! Too many of us today are shaky about what we believe but not shaken by what we believe. (Vance Havner. The Vance Havner Notebook. p. 208).


? Charity (Love) (1 Corinthians 13:1-8a). Love is the unmistakable mark of the Child of God! (John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:7).


? Peace (Romans 12:18). A vessel God can use will seek every possible way to be at peace with all!

? Fellowship (1 John 1:7). All effective Christian service is done in fellowship with other brethren!

When a person is focused and has aims like these, there is no question of that person being fit for the Master's Use! (Philippians 1:21; 3:13-14).


A VESSEL GOD CAN USE:
(3) MUST BE A FOLLOWER
2 TIMOTHY 2:23-26—“But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do engender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

A. THE CHARACTER OF A FOLLOWER. Although Paul's primary admonition in these verses are to those who preach the gospel; there are several things we all can learn from them! All of these things show us the character that AVESSEL GOD CAN USE must possess—A CHRISTLIKE SPIRIT. We Must:

? Avoid Useless Controversy (v23). Every Christian should be ready to share his Faith at all times (Psalm 107:2; 1 Peter 3:15), but it does no good for us to foster conflict merely for the sake of conflict!

? Not Argue Over The Scriptures (v24) (James 1 : 19-20). We, as Christians, Must contend for the faith, but we cannot witness to someone we are debating! Ephesians 4:15 tells us—“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.

? Be Forbearing (vv. 25-26). To be forbearing means “to bear long.” There are many with whom we try to witness and share Christ with that are indifferent to our words. Yet God instructs us to have patience! (Galatians 6:9).

B. THE CONCERN OF A FOLLOWER—“In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (vv. 25-26). The concern of a follower is OTHERS! Specifically, “those that oppose themselves.” Those who are opposed to the truth and walking in obedience. Those who have fallen in Satan’s snares and fallen to His temptations.


Unless our lives are taught, guided and controlled by the Holy Spirit of God, all are endeavors for Christ will be vain! (1 Peter 4:1-2).


CLOSING: For God to be able to use us as vessels, we must be empty, clean, and available. He then can take us and fill us and use us for His glory! But if we are filled with sin or defiled by disobedience; He will first have to purge us of our sins (1 John 1:9; Psalm 51:7).

Are you FIT for His use tonight? Are you FOCUSED? Are you A FOLLOWER—showing forth a Christ-Like Spirit? If you answered yes to all three questions, you are a vessel God can use!