Scripture Reading: II Tim. 2:20-26
Text: II Tim. 2:21″If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, and meet for the Master’s use.”
Paul is writing to the young pastor, Timothy, telling him in this passage how to be “Meet for the Master’s use.” In other words he is telling Timothy how to become useful. Really we should not ask to be used, we should ask the Lord to make us useful. If we become a willing and fit vessel, then God will use us. He gives Timothy here some key qualities to make us useful.
I. Purity- 2:22 “Flee also youthful lusts, but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” He gives here 5 characteristics of a pure heart. Fleeing from our own lusts, following the path of right living, growing our faith, pure and discerning love, and a desire for peace and harmony are characteristics of having a single minded eye in service, not for our own glory but God’s! Paul tells Timothy, “Make sure you get in the right preacher’s fellowship, stay around men who have a pure heart!” Purity is a necessity if God is to use any of us.
II. Discernment- 2:23 “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.” Discernment is the ability to distinguish the truth from error and half-truth. To be useful we must know what we must stand for and what we must not argue over. We can lose our usefulness by being too picky or too lenient. Bob Jones Sr. used to say that balance is the toughest thing about the Christian life. Sometimes we lose our ability to help some people because we are not discerning enough to know what we can look over and what we must contend for!
III. Gentleness- 2:24 “And the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle to all men, apt to teach, patient.” Gentleness is godly strength. If a man breaks his ankle and lady tries to lift him up, she cannot be gentle because she does not have the strength. But if a lady or child breaks their ankle and a strong man picks them up, they can be very gentle and yet get the job done. David said of God, “Thy gentleness hath made be great.” To be able to be gentle with those we are trying to help makes us useful to a greater number of people. Yes, perhaps some people will respond to intimidation techniques, but whether they do or not does not make them right. I believe the opposite of gentleness is intimidation. Some leaders who cannot convince by using the Word of God and loving gentleness, use intimidation techniques. This is not a quality of a servant of the Lord!
IV. Meekness- 2:25 “In meekness…” Meekness is “power under control.” It is losing your rights. The Psalmist said, “The meek will He guide in judgment; and the meek will He teach His way.” If I would be useful, I must develop this attribute which both Jesus and Paul and Moses were said to have which makes me “teachable”. I must let God work through me in His way not force my will on others.
V. Prayerfulness- 2:25,26 “Instructing those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth…” Only God can really change people. I must constantly depend on His power as I preach and teach and go soulwinning..” I desire to be used, O Lord, make me useful!”