Memphis Belle

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2nd Timothy 2:14-26


“Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  But shun profane and vain babblings:  for they will increase unto more ungodliness.  And their word will eat as doth a canker:  of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.  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.  Flee also youthful lusts:  but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.  And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”


Short Review Of Last Week’s Study


“We have journeyed as far verse 14 in chapter 2 of 2nd Timothy, which begins by saying, “Of these things put them in remembrance,”  Now he’s talking about being a workman/workwoman, we don’t want to leave you gals out, a workman that is approved of God.  He had challenged Timothy in the first chapter not to be ashamed of the Gospel, God had not given him the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  Paul writing from the Mamertine Dungeon in Rome, knowing that his own life is about to come to an end, pouring out his heart to this young man, Timothy.  And, in a sense, looking over his shoulder and wondering how many Timothy’s as it were he really has.  There’s Titus, there’s Timothy, there’s Luke.  But after a life of labour and sacrifice, to a degree that’s hard for us to imagine, after being doctrinally correct for years, the miraculous taking place in his ministry, Christ having appeared to him several times, establishing the doctrine of the Church, undoubtedly as an entity.  He’s got a lot of emotion pouring out to very few that he trusts, that he is going to commit them in the Church to the grace of God, as he signs off and departs for glory.  ‘Put them in remembrance of these things,’ what things?  You know, ‘not being ashamed of the Gospel, not having a spirit of fear, recognizing that it is a trust to have the Word of God given to us, knowing then that we then should find those that are faithful, and pass the Word of God onto them, and that they will then teach others also, the next generation.’  Here we are 2000 years later, that process has continued.  But it’s not easy, he said it’s like someone going to war, there is the difficulty that a soldier faces, he says earlier in the chapter, that warreth, the hardship of a soldier. There’s a battle involved, there’s a struggle.  It’s like an athlete, he says, striving, agonizing for perfection.  They do it for an earthly crown.  Paul says this has to do with eternity, the stakes are unimaginable, and they get blurred by all of the things of this world.  It’s like a farmer who keeps in mind the harvest, as he labours and labours, and knows that one day all of that labour manifests itself as the harvest comes, and it is time for reaping.  And Paul says in regards to all of these things, I want you to understand what I’m saying to you, to think about this, to understand it.  Because it’s in regards to Christ, the son of David, the Jewish Messiah whose risen from the dead.  For all of these things, he said, I suffer and I’m treated as a malefactor.  Again, only twice that term is used in the New Testament, once at the cross of Christ.  I’m treated as an evil doer, a malefactor, Paul said, but he’s the prisoner of Christ.  And now he says in verse 14, “put them and the tenses are ‘I want you to continually put them in remembrance of these things,’  Paul is counting on our penchant to forget, saying that we constantly need to be reminded.  Now I don’t know about you, but I fit well into that category, and the older I get the better I fit into that category.  When I get a chance to be around my pastor, and I have observed his life, and his example, and his ministry, 700 to 900 churches being born out of his ministry here in the United States, 3,000 over in the 10/40 window, where there are over a million home-churches that consider themselves Calvary Chapels [ie in China], as I’ve observed him, it’s funny, when I get to be around him and listen to him teach, he says things, and I say ‘Oh yeah, yeah,’ I’ve heard him say this for 20 years, and I promise myself I would never forget that.  Why do I have to be reminded of it again?  [he’s talking about Pastor Chuck Smith, who just passed away.  See,]  Well, John said, ‘I don’t give you a new commandment, but an old commandment,’ Peter says, ‘I seek to put you in remembrance of certain things,’ and Paul says to Timothy, ‘There are certain things the Church should always be reminded of, Timothy, it produces health.  And if you’re going to be the right kind of workman, your doctrine has to be correct.’ 



Striving About, Over Words To No Profit---To The Catastrophe Of Others


So, he begins by saying in verse 14, ‘Of these things constantly put them in remembrance, charging them, as a soldier, challenging, charging them’ “before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.”  We specialize in that, don’t we in the church?  Striving about words to no profit doesn’t produce anything, but in contrast, ‘to the subverting,’ that’s our word “catastrophe” in English, ‘to the ruin of the hearers.’  ‘Timothy, don’t give yourself to this, you’re going to pass the Word of God along to faithful men, you want to do that.  But it shouldn’t be an issue where you let yourself get entangled and striving about words.’  You know, Paul would say in 2nd Corinthians, “Knowledge puffeth up,” if you have knowledge, great, you know stuff.  But remember, knowledge puffeth up, inflates our pride, but love edifies.  Love seeks to serve the betterment of others.  And here he’s saying, ‘Don’t get involved in the kind of wrangling that goes on.’  You know, where did Cain get his wife?  Why do people always want to know where she’s from, I don’t understand.  ‘Were you baptized in the name of Jesus, only?  Or in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost?  Oh you were baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost?  You’re not really baptized, because you need to be baptized in the name of Jesus only…well Matthew says in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost…’  You know, when you baptize somebody, say “I baptize you in the name of Jesus, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost,” and you got everything covered, and the important thing is you let them back up again, that’s the important thing.  [laughter]  You know, ‘You’re church does Communion with grape juice, it has to be wine, Jesus didn’t use grape juice’ or ‘Your church uses wine!?’…the things that people argue over, divide the Church up over, striving about words.  You know, it’s interesting, as you read the scholars, you know, journeying through the New Testament over the years I’ve had the privilege of reading Weist and Robertson and Lindskey all the way through, and Dean Alford, and you read these guys, and they don’t agree.  They’ve studied Greek their entire lives and they don’t agree on passages.  And you go to the Old Testament and you go to…all of these guys, and they don’t agree.  So there’s no sense arguing over words, getting into those kind of arguments that don’t really benefit anybody.  It says, in fact, in contrast, it becomes a catastrophe, it ruins people, it doesn’t build them up, it doesn’t edify them.  So if you’re going to be the right kind of workman, don’t get involved in this, you know ‘You have the demon of this, or you have the demon of that, or, you’re yawning all the time?  You don’t understand, you must have the sleepy-dopey and grumpy demon,’ [laughter] 


In Contrast To Striving Of Words And Puny Issues---‘Be Eager To Be A Workman That’s Approved’


Rather, he says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (verse 15)  So, in contrast, study to show thyself approved unto God.  Ah, that’s an interesting word, “study”, it isn’t book-learning.  That’s how people use it all the time.  I think book-learning is part of it.  And I think, you know, for the rest of my life I’m going to pursue the academic part of ministry, I love to study, I love to read culture and history and language studies, I’ll do that for the rest of my life [ditto, Pastor Joe, me too].  But the word “study” here means “to be eager” or “to be diligent” and it talks about “the attitude of your spirit, to be diligent or to be eager to be a workman that’s approved of God,”  Because it’s easy to be workmen approved of men, we like to be noticed by people, to get the slap on the back, to get the credential, to get the recognition of men.  Because that’s how the world operates.  But in the final analysis, he says, ‘Be eager for this, Timothy, be diligent about this, to be a workman whose approved of by God, because everything you’re touching is blood-bought, in the final analysis you’re a steward.  None of this is your own, why do you act as though you have something you haven’t been given?’ Paul would say.  It’s counted of a steward, first of all, that he be found faithful, be faithful that God has entrusted this to you, and study to be eager, in that sense, and certainly it has to do with studying, ‘be eager to show thyself approve unto God,’ “a workman” and he gives it two facets here, one is “that needeth not to be ashamed,” and he’s going to talk more about that.  And so, you need to know what you’re talking about.  If you’re going to talk about the golden rule, you know, it’s the golden rule.  ‘What chapter and verse is that in again?’  You know, it’s in the Book of Hezekiah.  You need to study, you don’t need to be ashamed.  “rightly dividing the word of truth.”  “rightly dividing” means “cutting straight”, it’s an interesting word.  Like plowing a straight furrow.  He’s telling him to stay on track, with the things he’s telling him, always put them in remembrance of these things.  ‘You want to be eager, Timothy, to stay in the essential things of the faith, you don’t want to major in minors, you want to major in majors.’  Because if you’ve been around the Church for any length of time, we take our journeys.  We get saved, we’re excited about the Lord, we start to grow, and then when we start to grow, and we drive people out of their minds when we’re first saved,  because we’re just so happy that people can’t stand us.  Unsaved people can’t stand us, that is.  But isn’t it interesting, somehow, as we grow in Christ, our love turns to discernment.  You know how that happens.  Instead of loving people, we start to discern things about them.  ‘I used to love that guy, but you know what I discern about him now?’  And then we start to chase the Holy Ghost here, and we start to do this or that?  Those journeys, you know some of them I think, ‘Well those are not elective, those are mandatory courses, for the bone-headed,’ I’ve gone through all of them.  [me too, see]  But you come back to the cross, you come back to the simple, profound, gracious love of Jesus Christ given without merit.  It could never be earned, deserved.  You come back to the gracious gift of the Holy Ghost, the resurrection of Christ, his ascension, his return, the things that our lives are built around, the inspiration of Scripture.  These things, the things that we should always put people in remembrance of, when you study revival through Church history, it was always around the altar, around the cross, around the bloodshed of Christ, and there was a profound power in the way it was presented.  And in those days, when revivals take place, man’s faith is not built on man’s wisdom, but on the demonstration of the Spirit and power, that their faith not be of man’s wisdom, but on the power of God.  And it’s simple, and it’s profound, and it’s powerful, and it’s life-changing.  So he says ‘Give yourselves to these things, all the time, Timothy, that you might be a workman that’s approved of God, not ashamed, rightly dividing, cutting straight lines in regards to the Word of God.’ 


Teach, Have Right Doctrine


“But shun profane and vain babblings:  for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” (verse 16)  “Profanum” in the Latin means “outside the temple.”  Anything that’s profane is outside the realm of what’s balanced and Biblical.  “Shun” it means “to stay away from.”  And that’s hard to do, because people who are into vain babblings want you to get involved  all the time.  I always have people trying to get me involved in vain babbling.  Especially telemarketers, but [chuckles].  “But shun profane and vain babblings:  for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”  You know, you have people all the time, they come up, and they have some new heavy-revy, you know, ‘The Lord revealed this to me.’  ‘Well the Church has…’  ‘No, no, the Church hasn’t known this, for the last 1800 years, but I know it.’  You know, ‘it’s something the Church hasn’t known about, but God showed it to me.’  Oh, you want me to get up and teach it now, and put it on tapes and sell it all over, and just tell people that you got it?  ‘I got it from the Revelator.’  ‘John, the Revelator?’  ‘No, Harold the Revelator.’  Something new, someone unique.  No, we’re going to study the Word of God, and we’re not going to put into it, we’re going to get out of it, we’re going to expound it, we’re going to exegete it, we’re going to see what it says, and we’re going to stick to the middle of it, and we’re going to plow straightly.  ‘Stay away from profane, things outside the temple, what’s holy as it were, vain empty babblings,’  “for they will increase unto more ungodliness.  And their word will eat as a canker:  of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;” (verses 16b-17)  My Bible says “a canker”, yours might say “a cancer.”  It is a word that means “gangrene.”  “their word will eat that word means find pasture, like sheep finding pasture.  So, don’t feed on it, is what he’s saying.  [Comment:  When someone has defeated cancer, to prevent it’s return, the doctor gives you a “do not eat” list (usually including many of the things Leviticus 11 calls “unclean”), because the things on that list tend to “feed” cancer, any cancer cells that may still be in that person’s body.  Fatty meat is top on the list, interestingly.  But the point is, don’t go back to this mental diet that feeds this spiritual cancer, don’t continue to feed your mind with these vain babblings.]  Because it eats like a sore that consumes flesh.  And he says “of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;” they’re like this sort of thing, “who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already, and overthrow the faith of some.” (verses 17b-18)  So, he says ‘When people come up with these things, side-step it, don’t get involved in it, don’t let the enemy get you on these rabbit-trails, you know, don’t get off on this stuff, stay on the central issues of the faith, you’ll be comprehending them for the rest of your life.’  It says for ages to come we’ll still be learning about his mercy and his grace, which is at the center of what we believe.  It’s unfathomable.  He says, ‘These things, their word, these kind of idle things, will find pasture, they find grazing land inside your brain, your heart, but they don’t produce anything, they consume, they take away, they don’t build.’  And they’re the kind of people that, you know, like Hymenaeus and Philetus.  No, Paul, I don’t know Hymenaeus and Philetus, but I believe you.  I mean, who would he name if he was writing today?  Just use your imagination, you don’t have to give me the answer out loud, but think around the Church world, think on Christian television [laughter].  Just think of people who have departed from the central things of the faith, who build whole ministries on Jesus-and ministries.  ‘Oh yeah, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, but, this truth, that is profound which has to be attached to it, you know, you’re saved, but you’re kind of like a B-Christian, not an A-Christian, until you have grown to this point, where you understand this addendum, which becomes central.’   Who do you think Paul would name today?  I don’t name names.  I’d like to.  I wonder who would Paul name today?  More importantly than that, are you wise enough, have you been sitting under the Word of God for any number of years, and you’re well-taught, isn’t it funny to get around something, and all of a sudden you’re saying ‘That doesn’t sound right.  Did you hear what that guy said?’  Jesus said you’ll know the truth and the truth shall set you free.  And what happens is, you can take for granted, week after week after week after week, getting washed in the Word of God, studying the Word of God, having this simple freedom to go to the Word of God, for me to say ‘Hey don’t believe me,’ Acts 17:11 said the Bereans were more noble because they didn’t believe Paul, they studied the Word of God for themselves, you have the freedom to do that.  But what that does is it builds a tremendous foundation in your life.  Again, so if you come here for a number of years, and you say ‘Hey, the Lord’s calling us to move to Texas,’ and I can say ‘Great,’ and I don’t have to worry about you ending up in Waco.  Because I believe if you study the Word of God for any length of time, you’ll know that David Koresh is not Jesus.  I don’t  know how he convinced anybody of that.  If he was Jesus, why did he need glasses?  [laughter]  I mean, you know, there’s some things right on the surface without thinking a whole lot…Paul would have named him.  They subvert people’s faith, and he says these two, “concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already;”  The idea is they have ‘willingly swerved, wandered, saying the resurrection is something of the past, and with that they’re overthrowing the faith of some.’  What evidently they were saying is, ‘Christ was raised from the dead, but that’s the resurrection that has past, but you and I as believers, we experience a spiritual resurrection, we’re not really physically resurrected, but we go to the afterlife as spirits.’  No we don’t, we’re not Hindus.  What we believe is that this [pounding is chest] bag of bones has not seen, yet what it has been created for.  We believe in resurrection.  When you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and see your children who have gone on before you, and you see your loved ones, you are going to be able to embrace them.  Jesus said ‘Touch me.  Doth a spirit have flesh and bone?  Thomas, put your finger here in the holes in my hand and thrust your hand into my side.  Besides that, you guys got anything to eat here?’  That’s how they knew it was Jesus, gave him some fish and honeycomb, demonstrating the resurrection body.  And Paul says, ‘these guys by saying that are overthrowing the faith of believers, no, no, resurrection is central to the Christian faith.’  Paul said, ‘If the same Spirit that dwells in Christ dwells in you, that Spirit will one day also quicken your mortal body.’ (cf. Romans 8)  And what a day that’s going to be.  Those of you that are 60, 70, how old are you going to be when you’re raised?  30, it’s close enough, ain’t it?  Once you get to 70, anywhere around 30, that’s good.  Jesus was around 30 when he began his public ministry, David was 30 when he took the throne, it’s an interesting number 30-something, long before it was a TV show it was an age of resurrection.  That’ll be great.  I’m 52, sounds good to me.  [he’s 63 now, 11 years later J]  It’s something that we’re hoping, believing, it’s an anchor to our soul.  ‘Well they’re already teaching the resurrection is past, they’re spiritualizing it away,’  Paul said.  Now there’s people that spiritualize all kinds of things away, and if you let that find pasture-land in you, and you let it graze, it consumes, it eats away.  [Comment:  One form of that spiritualizing away, is in the area of 2nd coming prophecy, done by the Roman Catholic Church, which from the earliest taught Amillennialism, that there would be no literal 2nd coming of Christ, that he has come in our hearts instead, which is taking a Bible truth about the indwelling Holy Spirit [cf. John 14] and using it to twist literal prophecies found in both the Old and New Testaments, doing something quite similar to Hymenaeus and Philetus.  This evil doctrine has been responsible for anti-Semitism for 1700 years, and causing the death of millions of Jews.  Another form of “vain babbling and arguing over words” takes place within the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God, and runs rampant every time a Holy Day approaches, and it constantly revolves around the timing of God’s Holy Days and which calendar should we use.  The ones who babble the most are the ones who attempt to get people to follow an astronomically calculated lunar calendar instead of the one the Jews have used since before the days of Jesus Christ.  The answer to the problem is very simple, and you’d think it would end all the cancerous babbling, and that is “What did Jesus do?  Which calendar did Jesus observe when keeping God’s Holy Days, which he kept all his life, from childhood to his death?”  The simple answer, backed up by all four Gospels is that Jesus kept the Hebrew calculated calendar the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees and the priesthood used---the exact same Hebrew calculated calendar the Jews use today, 2000 years later.  The apostle Peter said we are supposed to follow Jesus’ example in 1st Peter 2:21.  The Word of God is simple, not complex.  When in doubt, follow Jesus Christ’s example. And yet, on both sides of the Body of Christ, those that seek to divide the sheep of God are constantly attacking with vain babbling over words.]  It doesn’t produce.  So Paul says, ‘They’re overthrowing, ruining the faith of some.’ 


Have Right Morality


‘God Knows Those Who Are His’


The first thing he’s talking about is right doctrine, now he’s talking about right morality.  “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.” (verse 19)  “having this seal,” the inscription, the imprint, this is the seal of God.  Now most scholars, interestingly enough, feel he’s quoting from Numbers 16:5, and Numbers 16:26, and it’s the scene with Korah.  The Lord knoweth those that are his.  Remember the scene there.  Korah, and his buddies, they come to Moses and Aaron, and they say, ‘You, sons of Aaron, you take too much upon yourself, you think you’re really something, don’t you?  Well we can burn incense too, and we can do this too,’ and you know the New Testament tells us about leadership, about the pastor and different kinds of leadership, and that no man taketh this office to himself, it was something that was prescribed of God.  So, they come and say ‘Hey, we can do whatever we want to do.’  Now Korahs, they’re around today, they never adhere to Scripture.  They claim to know it, but the Scripture says if you have something against somebody, you go to them privately.  God hates those who sow discord.  [Proverbs 6:16,19, “These six things doth the LORD hate:  yea, seven are an abomination unto him…and he that soweth discord among brethren.”]  I know people love to do this publicly.  No, you go to them privately, and you try to gain your brother.  You walk in the light.  Korah, discord, said to Moses, ‘You think you’re something?  Well we have the truth too, and you’re no better than any of us,’ and he goes through this whole thing.  And of course, Moses says ‘Well look, God knows those that are his.  Let’s do this.  You get your censors tomorrow, and you meet us in this place, and we’ll see who God has chosen, and we’ll do something new.  How about if God opens up the earth, and swallows up the guys he don’t like?  That could be a test.  We’ll meet out in the parking lot tomorrow, and we’ll stand there, and you bring your little incense burners, and Aaron will bring his, and you stand there, and he can stand there [over here, not to close to Korah J], and we’ll do something God’s never done before, just to prove the point.  The guys that God doesn’t like, how about it if he opens up a big crevasse in the parking lot, and you just fall alive into the pit and he swallows you up?  See ya tomorrow.’  Now I’m repenting by then.  The next day he says, ‘Separate yourself from those that are wicked or those with iniquity, those who name the name of Christ claiming they’re something they’re not, depart from them.’  And of course the next day the ground opened up, and Korah and his family went alive down into the pit, you could hear them screaming, going ‘Aaaaaaaah!’ and everybody got real serious about Moses and Aaron and their responsibility after that.  And he’s talking about those here that teach false things, Hymenaeus and Philetus and troublemakers, and he’s saying ‘But the seal of God stands sure, it has, God’s signature today and forever.  The Lord knows those that are his.’  Troublemakers will always come in, but in the final analysis the Lord knows those that are his.  There’s a lot of people out there today attacking the Church, attacking our doctrine, attacking those of us who want to believe in Biblical morality, those of us who want to say “No this is sin, God says this kind of lifestyle is sin.”  Oh, you want to say that?  People want to crucify us today if we say that.  But the seal of God stands sure, doesn’t it.  In the final analysis God knows those that are his.  And God’s going to uphold his children who uphold his truth.  ‘So let those who name the name of Christ depart from inquity.’  Great challenge. 


‘Let Those Who Name The Name Of Christ Depart From Iniquity’


Because he’s going to go on to talk about, he’s going to apply that to morality now, and “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth;” you know, baked clay, “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.” (verses 20-21)  Well he’s going to go on to say, ‘Look, the Lord knows those that are his, so let those who name the name of Christ depart from iniquity.’  ‘Oh, I’m a Christian, but I’m sleeping with my girlfriend.’  Oh, really, what, is that 3rd Corinthians?  [laughter], ‘Oh, the Lord knows my heart,’ yeah, we were saying that, “the Lord knows those that’s are his,” you don’t have to convince me of that, you have to convince him of that!  ‘Oh Lord, I’m one of yours, I’m just living in open sin!  But I’m yours.’  Really? ‘Let those who name the name of Christ depart from iniquity.’  There isn’t a more confusing signal that you can send to your children, to youth, to the people you work with, to unbelievers around you, than to name the name of Christ, and then to live in open sin.  Because unbelievers love that.  Unbelievers watch us to find us slipping up anywhere.  Because as long as we walk what we talk, we make them nervous.  There’s validity, God blesses.  There’s an authority to the things we say.  If we say we believe in Christ and we live in sin, they love to be able to say ‘Oh you call yourself a Christian, and you do this?’ ‘Let those who name the name of Christ depart from iniquity.’  There should be life-changing power in your relationship with Jesus Christ.  I’m not saying that Christians don’t slip and Christians don’t make mistakes and Christians don’t sin. What I’m saying is, you shouldn’t stand in that sin, and make excuses for it.  And backsliders all have their favorite verses, ‘Let him whose without sin cast the first stone…take the beam out of your eye, and then you can take the splinter out of me.’  There’s probably a backslider’s Bible [loud laughter], because there’s a Bible for everybody else now these days, Leadership Bibles and Marriage Bibles and Singles Bibles, Divorce Bibles, and ah, Backsliders Bibles.  It’s one verse, ‘Let those who name the name of Christ depart from iniquity,’ that’s the backslider’s Bible there.  Look, if, we’re surrounded with the stuff today.  I mean, pornography comes right into the home.  I think if you’re online you should have a server that protects you, you should have a filter.  Why even put yourself in a position of opening an email or opening something up that somebody sent that is filthy, why put yourself in the position of having something come in front of your eyes that you’re not expecting?  The stuff is pumped into our homes now.  And we go on and we get desensitized, because it’s so prevalent.  And you know, we hear so much in the Church, we can almost sometimes, you’re relieved just to hear about somebody whose involved in good old red-blooded American sin, ‘That’s a righteous sinner, we’re glad to meet somebody that’s doing something normal these days.’   Now that is how desensitized we can get.  ‘Let those who name the name of Christ depart from iniquity, Timothy.’  Paul had murdered the Church, slaughtered Christians, made people blaspheme the name of Jesus at the point of a sword.  Imagine the things that God had purged his conscience from.  No wonder he loved Christ so much.  And his life was transformed by the power of Christ, and so should ours.  You know, to me, that’s the power of the new birth, that’s why it’s called the new birth.  It ain’t the old birth.  It isn’t ‘I need to be born-again again, I was born once a sinner, and I was born a second time a sinner, I need to be born again-again,’  No the new birth is called the new birth, because it’s from above, and it should be different from the first birth.  And if we’re born-again, that should be life-changing power.  ‘Let those who name the name of Christ depart from iniquity,  because Timothy,’


What Is A Vessel Of Honour?  Paul Lists Three Qualifications:


1. We Are Sanctified, Set Apart By God


“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.” (verse 20)  And he’s making a cultural statement, there are some vessels of gold, silver, those are vessels that are used over and over and over, they’re precious.  And the owner of that great house gets much use out of them.  There are other vessels, sometimes made out of pottery, they were used once, and then they were crushed, they were broken in shivers, and burned.  There’s some vessels to dishonour.  ‘You know that even in the natural, Timothy,’ he says “If a man” or a woman, “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.” (verse 21) “of these,” false teaching, of lax morals, of those things that are corrupt, ‘if you purge yourself of these things, the error of them, the false teaching of them,’ “then he shall be a vessel unto honour,” three things make up a vessel unto honour:  One, “sanctified,” two, “meet for the master’s use,” and three, “prepared unto every good work.”  What is a vessel of honour?  There’s three things here, one is “sanctified,” that’s just a simple idea of being set apart.  [Comment:  The Bible defines two types of sanctification, positional and practical. To read about it, see]  Set apart.  Paul’s life was set apart.  After his conversion, his life was set apart.  Shipwrecked three times, beaten how many times.  In none of those things he’s saying ‘This is what I get for serving the Lord?  Where’s the good news?  I didn’t pull this out of my breadbasket this morning, can you swim faster than sharks?’  Nowhere along the way did we find him bitter at God, he’s still filled with gratitude that a sinner like himself could be saved, justified, sanctified and glorified.  So, first thing, a vessel that is suited for honour is sanctified.  It’s something for us to pray about.  ‘Lord, am I set aside for your purposes?  Am I a vessel that’s set aside?’  Not for worldly stuff, not for the stuff that might be put in a clay pot, ‘Am I set aside for your purposes?’ 


2. We Are Fit For The Master’s Use


First thing to ask yourself.  Sanctified, then it says, ‘meet or fitting for the master’s use.’  Fitting for the master’s use, meet for the master’s use, is my life set aside, and because of that, is it fit for the master’s use?  Would it be fitting for him to use me, or are there things that are just not in keeping?  Have I departed from iniquity, or am I a vessel of dishonour?  If you feel like you’re a vessel that’s not clean, he will put you in the dishwasher if you let him.  He will purify and purge, if we come in repentance, and in faith, if we confess our sins he’s faithful and just to cleanse, to cathorize us. You know what it’s like to be cathorized in a hospital, to drain the poison out of your system that you can’t drain out  by yourself, to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 


3. We Have Been Prepared For Every Good Work


And lastly, “prepared unto every good work.”  Now there’s a process here, to be prepared.  And that has with it, yes, to be prepared, but in a sense to being ready.  Now Timothy is probably close to being 35 to 40 years old.  Now some of us, 19 years old, we’re ready to burn down the barn, we’re ready, ‘Here I am, look out God, look out everybody, because here I am, the man of the hour, man of power for the hour, here I am.’  Timothy’s going on 40 and Paul’s still giving him these exhortations, about his life being set aside.  Being prepared, you know that doesn’t happen overnight.  It isn’t a matter of just having intellect and of learning.  It’s a matter of God giving a gift, ‘the Spirit divides severally to every man as he wills.’  We’re all able ministers of the New Testament, we all have spiritual gifts, we’re all called to do something.  [see,, and  scroll to and read the paragraph titled “Different Jobs, Same Church” ]  But I believe as time goes on, those things grow, we grow.  And as we grow, we grow in grace and in the knowledge of who he is.  You know, you see John the apostle end up to be the apostle of love, he started out being the apostle who wanted to call down fire and burn up the Samaritans.  ‘Lord, we tried to get a hotel, a motel-6 in Samaria and they wouldn’t rent it to us.  So why don’t you just call down fire down out of heaven and dissolve Samaria?  That’ll teach them.’  ‘No, John, you don’t know what spirit you are of,’ of course he ends up at the end of his life, tradition tells us, so old and decrepit, he was sentenced to the martyrdom of a long life, that they would carry him into the church at Ephesus, and he would look up and say, ‘Little children, love one another,’ and they’d carry him out.  Well he was prepared.  It takes time.  It says in Zechariah we shouldn’t despise the day of small things, the day of small beginnings.  You know, what has God placed in your life now?  What ministry has he given you, what has he put in your hand to do, what has he set before you?  Is it a phone call, is it a kind word, is it a ministry in a retirement home, is it teaching a Bible study?  Whatever it is, there is a process of being sanctified, of being made fit for the master’s use, of being prepared.  And there’s a process. 


“Flee Youthful Lusts”


And Paul’s encouraging Timothy in these things, because no doubt it was still going on.  He tells us in Ephesians ‘that there are good works fore-ordained, that we should walk in them,’ but he says ‘Timothy, then, you’re going to have the right doctrine, you’re going to be moral, Biblically moral, and what’s the sense of having somebody in ministry whose immoral?’  He’s going to say, ‘Timothy, you need to have right doctrine,’ we looked at that, but then he says ‘there’s no sense in having right doctrine and wrong behaviour, so then your life also has to given to the Lord,’ and thirdly, he says ‘Timothy, these are then your motivations, the things you need to do,’  And he starts by saying this, “Flee also youthful lusts:  but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (verse 22)  So, flee youthful lusts.  Well, isn’t it nice for those of us who are older to be free from all of that?  You young whippersnappers, look out.  You know, David was over 50 years old when he fell into sin with Bathsheba.  Abraham was over 100 when he remarried, Keturah, and had more kids [cf. Genesis 25:1-7].  There’s problems all over the world because of that.  It says, “flee youthful lusts,” it doesn’t say that is a problem that belongs to the young.  It is a youthful lust that finds itself in the heart of an older man or and older woman sometimes, but it is a youthful lust.  Flee those things.  And it should be “flee them without leaving a forwarding address.”  Well, what does it mean “flee”?  Well, it isn’t the kind of flee, you know, are you really looking for it to be complicated?  If a fire started in here, you’d know immediately what “flee” meant, nobody would have to tell you.  You see the most civilized people in the world sipping a cup of tea with their finger up in the air, somebody yells “Fire!” and they have a foot on somebody else’s neck getting out the door.  That’s what “flee” means.  OK?  Run!  Run!  If somebody tries to seduce you, or appeals to your sexual desire, in an ungodly way, ‘Now let’s see, what should I do?’  Run!  Joseph, ran out of the house, left his garment in her hand, he ran.  Flee, just get away from it.  Don’t put yourself in a situation, where, and an interesting thing is, people fall into that kind of sin, it always has a history, it isn’t just a one-time thing.  It’s people where a seed gets planted, a word, somebody says something nice, pays a compliment, and then you kind of water that seed a little bit.  ‘Well, I don’t want it to grow, I’m just watering it a little bit.’  And the Holy Spirit’s saying ‘Hey, man, here’s a line, I’m drawing it in the sand, if you’re stupid step over it.’  You step over the line, and the Holy Spirit draws another line, and if you’re really dumb you step over it this time, and we say to the Holy Spirit ‘Don’t worry about me, there’s weak Christians out there, I’ve got this down.’  You hear the Holy Spirit say ‘wheh! I’m glad, one person I don’t have to worry about, what a relief.’  There’s a process, flee.  Just, if you’re involved in that at work, or involved in that somewhere, take this word from the Lord tonight, “Flee,” don’t let it fester tomorrow, don’t feed it, don’t let it have another inch of your life.  Because it doesn’t want an inch of your life, it wants a mile.  And then it wants the lives of your kids, your husband or your wife, it wants to wreak destruction into the next generation, ‘Flee from lust, Timothy, look, you want to teach the right thing, and then you want to have the right moral purity, so flee youthful lusts.’  And that word is in a tense that means ‘Continually be fleeing youthful lusts.’ 


How Do We Flee Youthful Lusts?---‘Associate With Them That Are Constantly Calling On The Lord’


Well it isn’t just enough to run like a chicken with your head cut off, where do you run?  That’s the rest of what he says, you follow, so you’re running away from something, and you’re running to something else, or else you just spend the rest of your life running around like a chicken with your head cut off.  “Flee youthful lusts:  but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”  (verse 22)  But run towards, continually follow after “righteousness, faith, charity [God’s agape-love], peace,”  How do you do that?  How do you do that?  Flee youthful lusts, ok, I’m gonna get out and run.  And follow after, well how?  It says right here, it’s very important, “with them that are constantly calling on the Lord out of a pure heart.”  If iron sharpens iron, so is a man or woman with the company that they keep.  You want to know how to flee youthful lusts?  That’s the first step, that’s simple, but following after righteousness and charity and peace and purity, that takes place when you’re serious enough to surround yourself not just with people who say ‘Oh, I’m a Christian, I’m born-again,’ but to surround yourself with people that are godly, and that demonstrate godliness in their life.  And that will be a safety to you, because those people, first of all, will love you enough to challenge you if they see something going on in your life.  If somebody comes up to you and says ‘Hey, you know what?  I’ve been watching this, I don’t think it’s healthy for you.’  ‘Hey, mind your own business!’  No, ‘Thanks, I’ll pray about that.  I appreciate you watching my back.’  The way you follow after those things, is “with them that are constantly calling on the Lord out of a pure heart.”  Find yourself godly men and women, and build relationships with them.  I am honored and privileged to work every day of my life around some of the godliest men and women that I’ve ever met.  And what they do for my life is unimaginable, and I probably won’t realize it until I get to heaven [or into the Kingdom of heaven].  I am honored and privileged to spend so much time with so many of you, to know that so many of you pray for me on a regular basis, and for my wife, and for my family.  [I’m kind of all alone, working on this site, see  In real spiritual warfare, what he has described is having a spiritual “wingman” or surrounding yourself in a group of protective aircraft, in the spiritual sense.  I’m envious of Pastor Joe here.]  Someone who is not interested in fleeing, will continue to hang around those who will drag them down into sexual sin, into drugs, into alcohol or one thing or another.  You can see it. …Oh really, name the name of Christ and depart from iniquity, ‘Yeah, but I like to hang around the old crowd.’  Take a German Shepherd, let him hang around with a bunch of wolves, does the German Shepherd become wild, or do the wolves become domestic?  You can’t run with the wolves, and walk with Christ.  So, “Flee youthful lusts:  but constantly follow after righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”  i.e. the way you do that ‘is in company with those that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.’  Find those folks to be around. 


“But Foolish And Unlearned Questions Avoid”


“But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.” (verse 23)  That sounds so nice, what it says is ‘but stupid,’ “unlearned”  is “uninstructed questions avoid.”  ‘Avoid the stupid kind of stuff that people say to make excuses for themselves to do whatever they want, knowing that those kinds of things gender or give birth to strife.’  Believe me, we constantly hear from people, ‘God understands, yes I smoke pot, but it’s natural, God made it grow, put it in the Garden of Eden,’  He put the other tree there too, and said the day you eat thereof you’ll surely die, and nobody listened to that, so don’t be impressed with pot.  ‘Well it’s natural.’  Oh really?  What isn’t?  Lead?  You can shoot one another, it’s natural [J].  Uranium, plutonium, let’s nuke each other, it’s natural.  What’s not natural?  You going to go to another dimension or another planet, what are you talking about it’s natural?  It’s the stupidest thing, you’ve been smoking dope so long your mind is gone, when you say ‘Oh it’s natural.’   That’s all you remember, it’s natural, you don’t remember nothing else.  [laughter]  Well it’s unnatural for a Christian.  You know, I constantly, somebody will come up, you know, if we pray for somebody that has cancer that is sick, and I have a person come up, well-meaning, don’t be offended, ‘He needs to drink vegetable juice, tell him, here’s the tape, this is the book, if he drinks carrot juice he will get over cancer.   Vegetable-man, it’s in the book of Genesis, God gave Adam every herb of the field, and the fruits for his food and the herbs for his medicine.  Tell him to stop eating meat, it raises his acidity, that kind of protein is hard to digest,  Well, chapter 9 of Genesis, God told them they were not to eat meat.’  And if you went to the mandatory Feasts, you had to eat meat, lamb.  It’s a great religion, I love lamb.  It’s mandatory, eat roast lamb.  [laughter]  Alright, Frank has signs everywhere ‘If you love me, feed me sheep.’ It’s a little paraphrase. [loud laughter]  I have to say I understand what you’re saying, and I understand all kinds of stuff about toxins, and bioflavinoids, and antioxidants, and lactoferins, I understand all that.  I understand it.  But you know, this many years in ministry, the thing is, I’ve seen some people go to Mexico, get their colons cleansed, and eat all this stuff, and get detoxified, and die, I’ve seen some of them do that and live.  I’ve seen people eat brown rice and go on macrobiotic diets, and die, and I’ve seen some of them eat brown rice and live.  I’ve seen some people eat pizza and MacDonald’s and get better, [loud laughter] the faith diet.  You know, in the final analysis, that’s not my message, I’m not Vegetable-man.  I’m a pastor, my message is not dietary.  It has to do with salvation and eternity.  But there’s people that want to argue this, ‘You have to read this book, you have to listen to this, you have to watch this tape,’ I understand, I understand, but it’s not my business.  And if I tell a guy to eat brown rice and he does and he gets better, what are we going to do, sing Praise Brown Rice on Sunday morning?  [laughter]  It’s not the message, it’s not the message.  Our days are written out before we live them, they’re numbered, God knows them.  I think we should eat healthy, we should take care of ourselves. We’re learning, there’s all kinds of stuff we learn now, and I think it’s wise, and we do our best with this temple of the Lord, we should take care of it, and be a good steward over it.  I want mine to run until it drops.  My philosophy is, I don’t ever want to be sick.  And I don’t ever want anything to happen to me.  I want to teach the Bible, sing songs, and get Raptured [laughter].  Besides that I’m a wimp.  So I want to take care of it, I want it to keep running until it’s finished its’ course. 


Your Attitude, Especially As A Teaching-Pastor


But don’t get into these things that gender strife and all this.  Why?  Because, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;” (verses 24-25)  When I see somebody striving, it is a dead giveaway that they’re not serving the Lord.  A servant, a doulos, a doulon, the bond-slave, one who has relinquished their rights.  They’re the servant of the Lord, because they are sanctified, they have relinquished their rights, so they’re sanctified, set aside, fit for the master’s use, a vessel prepared, a vessel unto honour, set aside for his use instead of their own.  And because of that, what striving is there?  What’s the sense in striving?  You’re the Lord’s servant.  He’s on the throne.  He grows ministry, he shrinks ministry, he blesses, he heals, he calls someone home.  You know, the servant of the Lord doesn’t strive.  When I see someone striving, ‘And I’m gonna do this, and I can do this better,’ they’ve got an agenda, their pride is involved, their ego is tied in there.  “the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men,there you go, that’s tough, “apt to teach, patient,” patient is forbearing, longsuffering, “in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves;” that’s interesting, in meekness.  Now this is what he’s saying, he started out with, ‘Doctrinally you should be centered on the things that are right, but that’s not enough, because if you live in sin, even though you’re proclaiming the central truths of the Gospel, you might see other people get saved, but there’s no blessing.  And besides that, when people find out what’s going on in your life, you disqualify yourself, they don’t want to hear the message of God’s love if you’re living in sin.  So your doctrine has to be correct, your morality has to be correct, but then also your attitude has to be correct.’  You see, because if we have good doctrine, and good behavior, we can be Pharisaical and look down then on others, and he’s saying ‘No, the spirit of meekness should govern all of this, then as you seek to communicate that message that is doctrinally correct to a lost world, the fact that you’re living the way you should, it’s God’s grace, it’s not simply by your effort, and with a spirit of meekness.’  Jesus said ‘All of those who labour and are heavy laden come unto me, learn of me, take my yoke upon you, because I am meek and lowly.’  The only auto-biographical statement where Christ ascribes a particular character to himself is when he says “I am meek and lowly.”  Here he says that we then as his representatives, in meekness should be instructing those that oppose themselves, those who are just damaging themselves.  You try to talk to a sinner, you try to talk to someone, and isn’t it easy to get frustrated?  I get frustrated with people who don’t believe what I believe.  They’re wrong.  [he laughs]  He says ‘with a spirit of meekness, instructing those who oppose themselves.’  Jesus sat with tax gatherers and sinners, not to find fellowship, but to evangelize them.  The common people heard him gladly.  His life was holy, his doctrine was pure, his words were filled with power, but they were enshrouded in meekness and love as he delivered them.  “in meekness, instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure [perhaps] will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;” epicknosis, they come to then an experiential knowledge of the truth.  You know, you love someone, and love someone, and you pray for them, and they’re a sinner, or maybe they’re a prodigal that’s walked away from the Lord.  You know that you’re doctrinally centered, and your life is the way it should be, but then you can’t be a Pharisee and condemn them.  But with a spirit of meekness, you reach them, as Paul says, we should restore one another with a right attitude [cf. 1st Timothy 5:1-2].  And it says here that if we do that, we’re hoping that they will come to an experiential knowledge of the truth, that’s what that word says there, ‘to an acknowledging, to an experiential knowledge, that Christ all of a sudden will be more real to them than he’s ever been.’  And that God will use you as the vehicle to do that, if you stay majored on the things that are central in the faith, God’s love and his grace and his power.  If your life is set aside for his use, God then can find his way through you as a vessel of honour.  And if you come to others in a spirit of meekness with a right attitude, God may just through your life, grant to them repentance, coming back to a genuine experiential knowledge again of the truth.


Satan And The Spirit Realm Are Real


“and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (verse 26)  ‘Alright, Pastor Joe, I hung in there with you up until this devil thing.  You kind of wore me down a little, don’t tell me you believe in the devil!  A little guy on a tunafish can with a pitchfork and a red tail.’  [no, that’s the deviled ham can J]  That’s who he would like you to think that he is, a little imaginary guy with a pitchfork.  Paul is saying there’s a war for your soul, for your life, there are spiritual powers.  If you’re here and you’re an unbeliever that sounds ridiculous.  Now isn’t it funny, again, you can go to Stanford or to Yale or M.I.T. and you can study parapsychology, ESP, mental telepathy, sit around and try to bend a nail with your mind, and you’re a genius, you can get a PhD and give a dissertation on parapsychology.  You can go to some old funky haunted house somewhere with your thermal cameras and try to take a picture of a ghost, and you’re brilliant.  Talk about angels and devils, and you’re a mental case.  I never understood that, why is that?  There’s no parapsychologists that have come back from the dead.  There’s one guy whose come back from the dead, I tend to give some credence to what he has to say about that other world.  You know, if we understand, we’re willing to acknowledge it.  Well, we built the radio transmitter, we know how it works, sends signals, low frequency, high frequency, and we built a receiver, we know how that works, so yes, there are right now in this room, voices going through this room.  If I had a radio here I could turn it on, and you’d say, “So?  Yeah, there’s voices floating all over this room, but we know how they transmit, we know how they receive, therefore I will acknowledge that they’re real.  Well, what about television waves?  We get a little TV up here, we turn it on to the end of the Sixer’s Game, huh, get a response, see whose winning?  Well that means there’s images, and voices, all over this room.  ‘Oh yea, we know we built the transmitter, we built the receiver, we know how it works, I’m wiling to acknowledge.’  So I’m telling you that there are voices and images that we don’t understand, that are transmitting and they’re receiving.  But the Bible says they’re real.  And that the enemy comes, and that he would love to take us captive, away from the simple beautiful and powerful things of Christ, by vain babbling, and spiritual nonsense, making excuses for a sinful life, because, in the end he wants to kill and to destroy, Jesus said.  He wants to kill, that’s eternally, and destroy.  Jesus said, ‘But I am come that you might have life.’  And the Bible says, for you and I, if we know the truth, and then if it really is truth to us, we’ll live our lives in keeping with it, morally, Biblically moral.  And if we understand what’s at stake, our motive should be that we’re not striving, we’re serving the Lord, we’re his servant, and much in the spirit of our Master, with a spirit of meekness, instead of fighting and arguing, we’re patient, we’re forbearing, talking to those who are opposing themselves, they’re destructive to their own lives, hoping that God perchance might use our mouth and our example to demonstrate his love to someone who then may come to experiential knowledge of the truth of Jesus Christ, and escape the destruction that Satan desires to wreak upon their lives.  I can’t imagine a higher work, a more wonderful thing.  And all of us have the potential to do that.  God sends us tomorrow to where we work, or where we go to school, to where we spend our lives.  And he can say to us in the morning before we leave, ‘You know the truth, you know the way you’re supposed to live, and if you’ll do those things, with humility, knowing how gracious I’ve been to you, and share my love with those that are opposing, being destructive to their own lives, we’ll get something accomplished today.’  What a great work to give ourselves to, a higher calling.  [transcript of a connective expository sermon on 2nd Timothy 2:14-26, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia PA  19116]


related links:


Pastor Joe’s Pastor, the late Chuck Smith.  See,


The Bible teaches about two kinds of sanctification.  See,


We’re all able ministers of Jesus Christ (what is the proper balance?).  see,


We’re all in spiritual warfare. See, (see a booklet you should order at the end the of article.)


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