1 Useful to the Master - Part 2 WISE CORRECTION 2Timothy 2:20-26 STIMULATE - Please open your Bibles to 2Timothy, chapter two. ** Last time we learned that by engaging in "Worldly Chatter" (which Paul defined as arguing doctrine with apostates and false teachers or their followers), we were inadvertently giving them a platform for their Satanic lies. What were the two forms of harm that could come from this kind of worldly chatter? "...it will lead to further ungodliness..." (V.16) "...it will upset the faith of some..." (V.18) MOTIVATE ** Today, as we move on to part two of "Useful to the Master", we want to further understand how to deal with the heresy put forth by the doctrines of demons. What are we supposed to do? How can I become a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, and prepared for every good work? Our passage will show us five steps to becoming an honorable vessel and then give us the answer to how we are to respond to false teachers and teaching. Let's look at our passage together 2Timothy 2:20-26, as we learn the God honoring skill of "Wise Correction". Read passage (V.20-22) (V.23-26) Opening Prayer INVESTIGATE Wise Correction V.20 ** You will remember from last week that the context of this passage is discussing the church, the body of Christ, which Paul had described in verse 19 as "the firm foundation of God" (1Timothy 3:15). How does he now metaphorically refer to the church? By calling us a "large house", representing the household of God. cf. 1Peter 2:5 ** In God's household, the body of redeemed people, are there only valuable vessels? No! His body is made up of both honorable and dishonorable vessels. Some are "gold and silver" vessels that honor the Lord and His word, while others (even though they are saved) are wood or earthenware and in their common or base use of life they bring dishonor to the Lord. V.21 ** We know that when Paul uses a "therefore", he is reflecting back upon what he has just said, so what are we to cleanse ourselves of in order to become a vessel of honor? "...these things..." which refers back to the wood and earthenware type of vessels in the body of Christ! Paul is calling for the godly believers in the church to separate themselves from fellowship with those believers who are not clean, not obedient, not submissive to the Lord, and not eager to serve Him. ** But aren't we supposed to help those Christians who are weak and struggling with sin?
2 Absolutely! We are all sinners! Paul told those "who are spiritual" to restore a brother who is caught in any trespass, in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted. All see - Galatians 6:1 ** So how is this situation different? If I want to become a vessel of honor, why am I supposed to cleanse myself of sinning brothers? Because these "vessels" are not repentant, but have become useless to the Lord in their pattern of habitual sin and sin is contagious! Look with me... Proverbs 13:20 - "...the companion of fools will suffer harm." Proverbs 2:20 - "..walk in the way of good men, and keep to the paths of the righteous." Psalm 1:1 - "...who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked..." 1Corinthians 5: "...remove the wicked man..." ** Now back in verse 21, what are the three attributes of someone who is a vessel of honor? A vessel of honor is: 1) sanctified - set apart [hagiazo], both from sin and unto God. cf. 1Thessalonians 4:3 & 7 2) useful to the Master - God purchased us to be used for His glory! cf. 1Corinthians 6: ) prepared for every good work - willing to serve comes from hetoimazo, which means "eager" and always ready to serve the Lord. cf. Matthew 20:28 V.22 ** Wanting to become an honorable vessel is a note worthy goal, Paul now gives us the five steps to doing just that. The first is in the negative form and the remaining four in the positive. What is the first step? 1) "Now flee from youthful lusts..." this includes sinful sexual desire, but goes way beyond that. Can you name other forms of youthful lust? Pride, craving for wealth and power, inordinate ambition, jealousy, envy, an argumentative and a self-assertive spirit. All of these and more, we are to flee from when we are tempted by them! cf. 1Timothy 6:10-11 ** What are the remaining four steps? Now in the positive or imperative form, these are commands for us as honorable vessels. While we are fleeing youthful lusts, we must pursue... 2) righteousness - Staying in the Word cf. Matthew 6:33 and Psalm 119:9-11 3) faith - pistis or "faithfulness", loyalty, integrity and trustworthiness. cf. Romans 3:3, Galatians 5:22 and Matthew 23:23
3 4) love - this is the agape love that focuses on the welfare of the one loved, not on self-gratification or selffulfillment. cf. Romans 5:8 5) peace - is the word that we get "serene" from and has in mind harmonious relationships between men and God and between men and men. cf. Romans 12:18 V.23 ** Now that we are honorable vessels, with what must we refuse to get involved? "...foolish and ignorant speculations..." Last week we saw how false teachers love to instigate this type of dialogue. cf. 1Timothy 6:3-5 ** What reason does Paul give to Timothy for avoiding this foolish verbal exchange? "...knowing that they produce quarrels..." V.24 ** Remembering that Paul is instructing Timothy as to how he should lead the Ephesian church, by what title does he refer to a man in Timothy's position? The "Lord's bond-servant". This term is used often by Paul to describe himself and others that are in positions of spiritual leadership. ** If our spiritual leaders are not to be quarrelsome, what does that say about all Christians? We too, in following their example (1Peter 5:3), are not to be quarrelsome. For we too are the Lord's bondservants! cf. Romans 6:21-22, 1Peter 2:16 ** So if we are not to be quarrelsome with these false teachers (or their followers), how are we to respond to them? "...kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged..." This response balances the role of peacemaker and teacher into one Godly person. We do not take their foolish attacks against God's truth personally, but rather we teach them the truth without trying to get vengeance. V.25 ** What does this "Wise Correction" look like? It is gentle!!! This requires humility that does not focus on self but on the Lord and the message of His truth! cf. Matthew 11:29 and 21:5 (Jesus) ** As we attempt to correct the error, what are we to remember regarding the chances of the person we are talking to hearing us? It is up to the Lord! "...if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth..." V.26 ** As we gently and humbly proclaim the truth of God's word in the face of error, what "may" happen? God "may" allow them to "come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil..." ** What does that say about Satan's influence upon the unsaved and their ability to understand God's truth? It is Satan's snare that blinds men's eyes or causes their ears to go deaf to the voice of God. All see -
4 2Corinthians 4:3-4 "...the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving..." Ephesians 2:1-2 "...you formerly walked... according to the prince of the power of the air..." 1John 5:19 "...the whole world lies in the power of the evil one..." ** Now back in 2Timothy 2:26, why does Satan want to keep the unsaved as his captive? "...to do his will." ** Do you remember from last week how Satan was described in John 8:44? He is both a liar and the father of lies! It is of no wonder that false teachers reject the truth and spread Satanic lies since they are "held captive" to do his will, which is to lie. ** Is there hope for these individuals to hear the truth in us and come to their senses? Absolutely, as powerful as Satan is, He who is in us is infinitely more powerful! cf. 1John 4:4 EXTRICATE ** From verse 21 of this passage, what were the three attributes of someone who is a vessel of honor? 1) sanctified 2) useful to the Master 3) prepared for every good work - "eager" DELINEATE ** What were the five steps to becoming a vessel of honor? 1) flee youthful lusts - all self-serving sin 2) pursue righteousness - Staying in the Word 3) pursue faith - be faithful to the Lord 4) pursue love - focus on the welfare of others 5) pursue peace - so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men! ** What does "Wise Correction" look like? It is gentle and humble as it proclaims the truth of God and prays for Him to grant repentance to the hearer, so that they may come to their senses. EVALUATE ** Are you prepared to proclaim the truth of God's Word? The answer to that question is yes! He has prepared you at the moment of your salvation to represent His truth to the world that lies in the power of the evil one. The only question which remains is, "Will you be faithful to do it?" ACTIVATE
5 ** What can you do to better prepare yourself as one who can correct with wisdom, and thus become "Useful to the Master"? Some suggestions: Spend more time just narratively reading the Word, which will build your overall familiarity with it. Practice your responses when you hear error, even when you are not directly involved. Hold fast to the Word by becoming more obedient to it when you are tempted, which will build your confidence to speak the truth. Closing Prayer