Study Notes

2Timothy 2:20-26

2:20-21 Vessels

Paul here uses an illustration of the vessels in a house. Inside your house, you have many things. Vessels - containers - for various purposes. You have a vase in which to put flowers, and a toilet for human waste. You have glasses to drink from, and a garbage disposal to rid yourself of refuse. You have a box to store high school memories, and one for your cat to keep his litter in. Many vessels in the house - some to honor, and some to dishonor.

What makes them honorable or dishonorable? What you choose to do with them, what you put in them.

You as a Christian are a vessel - a container - as well. How can you know whether you'll be a vase or a toilet, a water glass or garbage disposal, a box for treasures or a box for kitty litter? It all depends on what you're putting into your vessel. What are you storing in yourself? What are you using yourself for?

We are constantly storing things inside of ourselves. We're continually inputting - through our eyes and ears. What we put in determines what kind of container we make ourselves.

This is an issue that I am particularly sensitive to for myself and other Christians - what are we putting into ourselves?

Input comes in through our ears. Some of the secular music that I've caught lately has grievously offended me. As I sat in a restaurant not too long ago, I heard a song claim that if angels existed, they'd fall from heaven if they ever got a look at this gorgeous person that the song was about. In another song during that same meal, a woman sang that she was coming up with a new religion of black velvet to "bring you to your knees." The other day, as I was working in my garage, I was listening to an acoustic music radio show. Although it was a secular station, the music was acoustic bluegrass, most of which was blatantly Christian gospel, singing the praises of Jesus and about the importance of walking this Christian walk. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, a song came on by a woman named Michelle Shocked to claim that God was a real estate developer, and began to blaspheme. I turned it off. Why? It's only words, right? I'm sensitive as to what I put in this container, this vessel that I am. Jesus Himself warned,

Mark 4:24 ..."Take care what you listen to"...

I don't want myself polluted with garbage. I want to be a vessel for honor.

This stuff also comes into our earthly vessels through our eyes. The entertainment industry has bombarded us with movies and TV programs that glorify adultery, immorality, and homosexuality, while belittling faith, the Lord, and His church. Yet Christians continue to sit and be fed this refuse. It's time that we realized the damage we do to ourselves when we do this. It's time to follow the example of David, who wrote,

Ps. 101:3 (KJV) I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes...

Saints, do you want to be a vase or a toilet? They're both made from ceramics. What makes them what they are is what goes into them. It's not just what we listen to, or what we see. It's what we let our minds dwell on, it's what we do with our bodies. The Lord wants you to be cleansed, so that you can be a useful vessel for honor. He wants us to be sanctified.


Sanctified. Not a common word, but certainly an important one, according to 1Thessalonians 4.

1Ths. 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification

If it's God's will that we must be sanctified, then we should at least know what it is.

To be sanctified means to be separated out, set aside, for God's use.

One of my most-mentioned teachings over the last couple of years has become know as "sanctified ice cream." You see, when we lived down the street from Safeway, every now and then, I'd pick up a container of Ben & Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream. It was - and still is - my favorite flavor of ice cream. And when I'd bring it home to save for later, I'd have to lay down some ground rules. I would tell the family, "Okay guys, listen up. I don't ask for much, and you know that in this family, if it's in the fridge, it's up for grabs. But this is different. This is MINE. Nobody will eat my cup of Ben & Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream if they want to live to see another sunrise."

That cup of Ben & Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream has been set aside exclusively for my use. No one else had better eat it, touch it, breathe on it, or even look at it. It is sanctified. Nobody will open it but me. Nobody will be allowed to partake of it but me. Nobody will enjoy the taste of its creamy richness but me. Nobody. It has been completely sanctified, set apart, for my use.

Just imagine how God feels about you! He has sanctified you - you are His alone! You've been set apart for God's use. Thus, He wants you to live like you are sanctified. The writer of Hebrews said,

Hebr. 12:14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.

Living a sanctified, set apart life, is vital.

2:22 Flee Youthful Lusts

To insure that we are vessels for honor, being sanctified, we must flee from the youthful lusts of our bodies.

Our flesh lusts after many things. It sexually craves satisfaction, it hungrily craves food, it pridefully craves attention. And let's admit it (because the Bible does), that sin is fun. At least for a little while. Hebrews 11 talks about...

Hebr. 11:25 ...the pleasures of sin for a season;

But the ironic thing is, that if you let your flesh have what it thinks will make it happy, you're going to end up sad.

Rom. 6:12 not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts,

I know, easier said than done, right? There is a key to fleeing youthful lusts. There is a manner in which you gain self-control. And that is,

Rom. 13:14 ...put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to {its} lusts.

If you put on Christ, you will be laying aside youthful lusts. That's why Paul says,

2Tim. 2:22 Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness...

The two are interconnected. If you pursue righteous things, you will be running from the unrighteous things. If you are busy about the Lord's business, you're not leaving idle hands for the devil to use. If you're in church, you're not in the bar. If you're reading the Word, you're not reading romance novels. If you're listening to CSN, you're not listening to the blasphemies of Michelle Shocked.

With Those

There is another key to this victory: pursuing righteousness with others who have the same desire. Find people who call on the Lord from a pure heart and spend time with them. Fellowship with other Christians that want to grow, just like you do.

Hebr. 10:24-25 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging {one another} ; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.

That comradery of other Christians will go a long way in helping you to flee youthful lusts and pursuing righteousness.

2:23 Refuse Speculations

How many angels can fit on the head of a pin? Did Adam have a belly button? What is the name of the demon that lives in your neighborhood? These debates are all foolish and ignorant. Why? Because God knows that we don't have need for this knowledge, and chose not to tell us, but we pursue it anyway. If we need to know it, He'll make it known in His Word. Peter wrote,

2Pet. 1:3 ...His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him...

Everything you need to know pertaining to this Christian life and to be godly will be found in His Word. Plainly, obviously, right there. There is no need to speculate - it only leads to arguing and division.

2:24-26 Bond-Servant

A bond-servant is a certain type of servant. Remember that Hebrew slaves were to be set free after six years of serving. But sometimes, the slave decided that he had a better deal in slavery than he would out in the world. His master treated him well, was fair, and provided for his needs. In that case, being set free from his master would have been a step down. So the Lord commanded,

Exod. 21:2, 5-6 If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment... But if the slave plainly says, "I love my master...; I will not go out as a free man," then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.

So the bond-servant was one who voluntarily chose to serve the master for life, because he knew that the life he had as a servant was better than he would have as a free man. Are you one of the Lord's bond-servants? Have you realized that the "freedom" you think you have in the world doesn't hold a candle to the "slavery" that we have in Christ? Have you willingly committed to serve our Master for life?

Paul told the Romans,

Rom. 6:22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.

If you are the Lord's bondservant, you should follow the Lord's expectations of one, as Paul lists in these two verses.

Not Quarrelsome

The bondservant of the Lord is not supposed to be arguing. We're supposed to be Jesus to people. That means not quarreling, but rather teaching them the Word, being patient with people when they wrong us.

How forgiving are you when people do you wrong? Do you do as Paul instructed,

Eph. 4:31-5:2 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you...

Are you walking in forgiveness and love? Do you have bitterness and jealousy in your heart? Are you patient with the people that hurt you? Are you being kind to them?

Correcting Those Who Are In Opposition With Gentleness

Yes, there are times to bring correction. But it must be with gentleness. Something that I have had to learn in ministry is that not every person who opposes me is a wolf. Some are just plain people that are misguided, misinformed, or misunderstanding. And so it is with gentleness that I must deal with the opposition. This is because the confrontation is not about me being right, it is about bringing the person to a right relationship with God. The reason I am to correct gently is that ...

2Tim. 2:25-26 ...perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses {and escape} from the snare of the devil...

God's will is for them to see the light, to turn from their error and repent, to know the truth, that the truth will set them free. Honestly, there are many people in churches today that aren't Christians - I know that some people here come week after week and haven't yet come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. They have been so completely misguided by the devil, believing doctrines of demons, that they are held captive to do the devil's will. But instead of throwing them out, Jesus beckons to them, calling them to repentance. We as Christians must do the same.

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