A Sanctified Vessel for the Master’s Use
2 Timothy 2:19-21
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 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.”
Today, being led by the Spirit, I would like to bring to you a special, as we commemorate the 19th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service of Gethsemane B-P Church.
Several issues have evoked very deep emotions within me over the past two weeks and also caused me to draw close to God for his help and guidance.
- A place of worship and activities for our church
- Internet Pornography that affects men in the ministry
- 9th Anniversary of our Church
- God’s unfailing provisions for the church, for the ministers of the Word, full-time staff, theological students, and everyone in the church.
All of those matters require appropriate response. But nothing has been more distressing than the sin of pornography that is invading the computers of Christians, and causing many to be entrapped in it.
As I reflected upon God’s goodness in the past years and our duty to Him, the Spirit of God has impressed upon my heart that there is nothing more appropriate for Gethsemaneans, on this Anniversary day, than to be resolved to be sanctified vessels for the Master’s use.
The Need to be Sanctified
Men will infiltrate the church with false doctrines (vv. 14-18, 23) Men will be affected by unwholesome, filthy, destructive communication (vv.16, 22).The pastor is charged to respond to such destructive attack of the devil on the church with appropriate teaching that men who are entrapped might be brought out (vv. 24-26). Only faithful preaching of the Word that appropriately and adequately rebuke, correct, and nurture the church can protect it from the corruption of false doctrines and immorality.
The Encouragement to be Sanctified
“the foundation of God standeth sure”
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his” (v.19a).
- Regardless of all the attack of the devil, God’s foundation of the church is “sure.”
- What is “the foundation of God”?: The truth of God’s Word reveled by the apostles and prophets. Ephesians 2:20 – “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone.”
- The foundation that God has laid for the church is “sure”. The word, “sure” (stereos – Greek) conveys the idea of something that is solid, stable, steadfast, and strong.
- As long as the church remains firmly on this foundation, there is no reason to be troubled from the few-instances of attacks by apostasy and sin.
- Every local church that is solely Bible-based can be sure that the Lord is still building the church, against all the hellish attack on it. Our Lord Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
- All glory to Him for this comforting and encouraging truth that He is building the church. But this truth is exclusively belongs to those who are buidling upon the foundation of God, even the apostolic doctrines.
- So if we constantly respond to all the attacks of the devil by preaching, teaching, obeying the truth, we shall continue to enjoy the Lord’s power and goodness for the building of this church.
- At the same time let us remember Psalms 11:3 – “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” May Gethsemane B-P Church always remain solidly on the Word of God!
“Having this seal”.
· Or rather a seal with this inscription.
What does the word “seal” indicate?
- A seal represents the authority with which a thing is secured. (Matthew 27:66 - So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.)
- A seal is a mark of genuineness. (Revelation 9:4 – And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.)
- A “seal” also indicated authenticity and integrity (cf. Rom. 4:11; 1 Cor. 9:2).( Romans 4:11 “And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:” 1 Corinthians 9:2 “If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.“)
- The allusion here is to the custom of inscribing the name of the builder and the design of the edifice on the corner-stone. It seems to refer to some inscription on the foundation-stone which denoted the character and design of the edifice.
- Likewise the church of Christ is like a building constructed by the hands of God, which has a foundation that has been firmly and securely laid, and on that foundation there is an inscription always remaining.
“The Lord knoweth them that are his.”
- This is one of the inscriptions on the foundation-stone of the church, which seems to mark the character of the building.
- It always stands there. It guarantees God’s authority and power in securing the church. No matter who would attempt to apostatize the church the Lord knows how to take care of His own faithful children.
- It is, at the same time, a fearful inscription – showing that no one can deceive God; that he is intimately acquainted with all who enter that building; and that in the multitudes which enter there, the friends and the foes of God are intimately known. He can separate his own friends from all others, and his constant care will be extended to all who are truly his own, to keep them from failing.
- Nahum 1:7, the following words are found: “And he knoweth them that trust in him;”
- It is clear that he meant to say that it was one of the fundamental things in religion, that God knew who were his own people, and that he would preserve them from the danger of making shipwreck of their faith.
The Process by which we ought to be Sanctified (v.19b-20)
“And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
- This truth must be emphasized in the church.
- The commentator Barnes says, “This is the other seal or inscription which is made on the foundation which God has laid. The foundation has two inscriptions-the first implying that God knows all who are his own people; the other, that all who are his professed people should depart from evil.”
- The meaning is, that it is an elementary principle in the true church, that all who become members of it should lead holy lives.
- It is significant that every Christian would lead holy lives amidst all the defections by the disobedient and unbelieving. All their attempts to draw away others from the true faith, will be in vain if the people of God are determined to avoid evil.
- The church’s purity is dependant on individual members. We must not allow ourselves to sink in the miry clay of sin. We must fight to pull ourselves of every besetting sin.
- Especially in these days of moral decadence, we must not go down without a fight. Fight against every temptation and sin to the point of death. Hebrews 12:4 says, “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”
- Psalm 34:14 “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.“
- Psalm 37:27 “Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.“
- Proverbs 3:7 “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.“
- Romans 12:9 “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.“
- 2 Corinthians 7:1 “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.“
- Ephesians 4:17-22; Ephesians 5:1-11; Colossians 3:5-8; Titus 2:11-14; 1 Peter 1:13-19; 2 Peter 1:4-10; 2 Peter 3:14; 1 John 3:7-10.
V.20-21 elaborates the significance of the process of sanctification further.
“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.”
- In a large household are all sorts of containers. Some are made of gold and silver and others of wood and clay. More importantly, some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble.
- Since the reference so far is to the faithful and the unfaithful within the church, this metaphor should be understood to show how a sanctified Christian can be an instrument for noble purposes, and an unclean life of a church participant make him an ignoble vessel.
- In the church there are some vessels of honour and some of dishonour. Some dishonour the Lord and His church by their corrupt opinions and wicked lives; and others honour and credit it by their exemplary conversation.
Verse 21, clearly declares that “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel of honour.”
- Every one in the church is not only called to depart from evil, but also purify himself of sins that have become part of his life.
- purge himself – ἐκκαθαίρω : clean out, cleanse, get rid of (1Co 5:7; 2Ti 2:21).
- We shall study next Lord’s day how the Scripture teaches us to purge oneself of sins.
- Nonetheless, let us take not it is the will of God that every one who claims to be a Christian ought to rid of every sin that is in him.
The Reward of being Sanctified (v.19b-20)
V. 21b tells us that the sanctified will be “meet for the Master’s use.”
- In other words, the sanctified will be fit to be employed by the Lord Jesus in promoting His work on earth.
- A man must purge himself from these before he can be a vessel of honour, or meet for his Master’s use.
- Every vessel must be fit for its Master’s use. Every one in the church who desire to be in his Master’s service must strive to be fit for His use.