Useful to the Master

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Before we dive in with today’s message.
What are you asking the Lord for?
James 4:2 says, “You do not have because you do not ask God.”
James 4:3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
So what are you asking the Lord for in 2020?
Grab your bibles and turn with me to 2 Timothy 2:20.

How many of us want to be used by the Lord?

To restore Hope?
To change lives?
To show the Love of Christ?
This morning we are going to look at a few verses that help us to become useful for the Lord.
Are you at 2 Timothy? Let’s read that...
2 Timothy 2:20–21 NIV
20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
Took me time to really grasp these verses.
Looked at a ton of translations and commentaries to fully grasp it.
Then asked the Lord to reveal to me what He was saying here.
In verse 20, I don’t like the word “Common” used here.
Even though it is accurate it is not complete.
The Greek word actually means: Disgrace, Shame, Unclean use.
In other words the picture Paul wants us to get here is this:
There are different vessels in our homes. Some that we use for special occasions and purposes. And then there are vessels that we don’t care so much for.
So we mistreat it or abuse it.
You can probably picture some of those vessels in your home right now.
Please don’t misunderstand that God is saying only Gold and silver articles are for special purposes.
In fact, Clay articles can be for common use and special purposes…
Romans 9:21 NIV
21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

Any of the 4 types of articles mentioned in 2 Timothy 2 can be used for special purpose or for common use.

Look at 2 Timothy 2:21 again.
2 Timothy 2:21 NIV
21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
Those who cleanse themselves from common use… Those who cleanse themselves from Disgraceful, shameful, and unclean use… Can become instruments for special purposes!

Did you know that you are a vessel?

Some of us are made of Gold, others silver, some wood, and even others made of clay.
We are all different and its what makes the church beautiful!
But sadly many of us are not used for special purposes because we have been used for common use.
There is nothing more sad than to see a tool misused and not taken care of!
Listen… God wants to use you! For a special purpose!
He has a plan for each one of us.
However, we have to choose to not live disgraceful, shameful, and unclean lives!

We have to choose to clean up ourselves and designate ourselves for so much more than common sinful lives.

When we do that… Look at verse 21 again.
2 Timothy 2:21 NIV
21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
When we cleanse ourselves… we are made holy.
The word made Holy here means Sanctified - Set apart as Holy.
When cleansed and set apart as Holy, we become useful to the Master....
Ready to do any good work that He has planned for us.
How do we cleanse ourselves?
Great Question!
Verses 22-26 shows us.
2 Timothy 2:22 NIV
22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
We prepare ourselves for special purposes by pursuing righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with others who call on Christ.
Church, as vessels longing to be used of the Lord, we must pursue peace… Love… faith… and righteousness.
Each of these pursuits could take time to really look into, However the one on my heart this morning is righteousness.
Throughout scripture we see “pursue righteousness” everywhere.
Found in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
We can pursue righteousness the wrong way.
And that’s what I want to focus on.
Paul gives us a great example of what I mean by doing it the wrong way.
Let’s turn there real quick and break this down a little more.
Romans 9:30–32 NIV
30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.
You can either pursue righteousness through the path of works...
Or pursue righteousness through the path of faith in Christ...
Where are you going with this Pastor Jeremy?
As you work on cleansing yourself by pursuing righteousness, faith, love, and peace… I want to encourage you to do it the right way.
Many Christians focus on the law and try to achieve a form of righteousness through works… This leads to failure time and time again.
For you to truly pursue righteousness, it is by pursuing Christ and allowing Him to change your life… and when you come up short, your righteousness is still there through faith in Christ!
Look at how Paul says it in another letter in Philippians 3.
Here he shows the difference in the two paths of righteousness.
Philippians 3:4–11 NIV
4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Pursue Christ… And as you grow in your faith… He will bring righteousness into your life!

For us to be useful to the Master...
We must cleanse ourselves of disgraceful, shameful, and unclean living… By pursuing righteousness (through faith in Christ), Pursuing Faith, Love, and Peace!
Let me start to wrap up by going back to 2 Timothy 2.
On top of pursuing these 4 amazing life changing truths… We are also instructed to live a certain way.
Let’s go through it one at a time.
2 Timothy 2:23–26 NIV
23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
I love the last one a lot… Because we as Christians get confused on this.
We are to be gentle, not argumentative, but consistent in teaching the truth of God’s word to those who are not followers of Christ.
With the hope that God will open their eyes and ears.
And yet so often we come across harsh, ugly, and forceful when we are trying to deal with the lost in this World.
And I believe it is because of a misunderstanding of these verses. We mix up 2 Timothy 2:25 with 2 Timothy 3:16.
Let’s look at this verse.
2 Timothy 3:16 NIV
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
We so often take this verse and use it as our excuse to be so strong towards unbelievers.
But if you look at the next verse you will understand that verse 16 isn’t for the lost… its for the believers!
2 Timothy 3:17 NIV
17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
In other words…
The rebuking, correcting, training, and teaching is done in the body of Christ.
Its for you and I to use on ourselves… It’s for us to rebuke ourselves… To correct ourselves… Teach one another.
So that we can be thoroughly equipped… This word means “prepared.”
So that we can be thoroughly prepared for every good work.
So that we can be useful to the Master.
And that brings us full circle to where we started...
As I close, will you stand with me this morning.
The first trap I don’t want you to fall into this morning is a comparison trap.
Satan wants to make you feel like you are not capable of being useful for God to use.
He wants you to look around and see all the other people who are like the Silver and Gold vessels… while you are just made of wood or clay...
Each and every one of us are uniquely made for a special purpose… fulfilling that purpose should be our desire.
So stop looking at what your strengths are and what other people’s strengths are… You have to ask yourself one thing...
Do I want to be useful for the Lord to use?
If your answer is yes… I want you to step out from your seat this morning and gather in the altar area. Spread out...
Doing this symbolizes that you want to be set apart and that you want His help to be cleansed and made ready.
Father purify them… As they pursue Christ, bring your righteousness into their lives.
Cleanse them from all that would hinder them from being useful to you!
Tired of living a life of common use… Tired of the shame, disgrace, and unclean life...
Want to be redeemed for a higher purpose.
Want a relationship with the Lord through Christ.
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