Sunday, January 19, 2014

What Kind Of Vessel Are We?

Temple Baptist Church - 1-19-2014
2 Timothy 2:20-23
A. I know that each of us is thankful for our great salvation: totally of the grace of God and eternal in its scope. But, salvation is so much more than just going to heaven instead of hell. Salvation is not just “fire insurance” to the believer; it is a way of life.
B. In these verses, we find that the believer is likened to a vessel. Vessels are used to be filled. They are containers to be filled with specific things and for specific purposes. The Holy Spirit speaks of two types of spiritual vessels: gold and silver or vessels unto honor; wood and earth or vessels unto dishonor.
C. Since First and Second Timothy are written to a young pastor concerning the operation, stability, unity, and protection of the local church, I believe that we can rightly interpret “a great house” as being a type of the local church.
1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
D. In light of this, we find two groups with four types of vessels: two different vessels in each of the two groups. We all will fall into one category or the other and into one of the sub-groups mentioned. This shows us the value and possibility of each believer within the local church. All can be gold! These vessels are not conditional upon the gifts that they are endowed with but rather conditional upon our personal sanctification and willingness to be used.
2 Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
E. Two vessels unto honor:
1. Gold – no doubt the most valuable are those believers who have grown in the grace and knowledge of the Lord and are trying to live a life pleasing and useful to the Lord. These are what I call the heart of the work of the ministry. They are involved.
2. Silver – silver is likewise of value though not as valuable as gold. These are believers who have grown in the grace and knowledge of the Lord but for reasons known only to themselves, not as usable as others. They may do some but not as much as they should.
F. Two vessels unto dishonor:
1. Wood – though wood has some benefit, it cannot be trusted to stand the fires and trials that come and is therefore perishable. They cannot be counted upon when “the chips are down!”
2. Earth – earthy vessels are completely useless. They are not faithful, consistent, godly, usable, or to be depended upon. They are vessels though and area part of this “great house.”
G. How to become a vessel of honor.
1. A vessel unto honor must be meet for the Master’s use. 2 Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. (Meet – Good, profitable, easy to be used, employed.)
a. Purged – There must be a purging! “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity … If a man therefore purge himself from these.” In John 15:2, the branches that do not bear fruit are broken off while those that bear fruit are pruned in such a way as to cut back every non-essential part as to cause it to bear much fruit.
John 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (In this text, the words “taketh away” speak of pruning while “purgeth” speaks of a complete cleansing.)
b. Prepared – Internal fitness. Normally, when we think of prepared, we think of only the outward readiness but this speaks of the spirit of man who is purged and ready for whatever the Lord has for them.
Titus 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
2 Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
2. A vessel unto honor must be vigilant. 2 Timothy 2:22a Flee also youthful lusts:
a. He must be able to see. He must be constantly vigilant and watchful concerning his flesh.
Proverbs 22:3 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
b. He must be willing to flee. The Bible speaks of fleeing fornication, flee idolatry, etc.
1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
3. A vessel unto honor must be proactive. 2 Timothy 2:22b But follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (It is great to be vigilant but the Christian is offensive as well as defensive. Someone once said, “It is much easier to steer a moving car.”)
a. Follow righteousness – 1 Corinthians 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
b. Follow faith – Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
c. Follow charity – 1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
d. Follow peace – Romans 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

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