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A Passion Daily Journey Through 2 Timothy

2 Timothy 2:20-22 // Round Ten // Ben Stuart

Ben Stuart
17.10.21
8 min

All right, well, welcome back. This is round 10 of 20 days in 2 Timothy. We are at the halfway point. You are doing great. And let me tell you this round and the next one are really pivotal in the book. They are showing us how to move from not only being recipients of the mercy of God’s grace, but being vessels of the mercy of God’s grace to others. As I heard one pastor say it, it’s the difference between being an electrician and being an eel. An electrician knows about electricity. An eel has it coursing through them into the world. And here we’re being invited to not just be spectators watching a sport, but to be players in the game. There’s a big difference between rooting on a team and running in the touchdown. And here we’re being invited to be change agents in the world and in this section in the next, Paul is going to show us how. 

And so let’s jump into this and look at this kind of interesting metaphor Paul uses. He says in verse 20, now in a Great House, they’re not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay. Some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. 

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use. Set apart is wholly. Useful to the master of the house. Ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions. Pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace. Along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 

Have you ever been used by God to impact somebody’s life? I mean, truly, like John says, there is no greater joy than watching your children walk in the truth. Do you know that you really helped somebody know God and walk with him? That’s the invitation here. And yet we’re going to be given two things that we gotta get right if we’re going to be useful vessels of the grace of God to other people. And this is an interesting metaphor. If you notice he talks about in a big house, there’s the gold and silver bowls and there’s the wood and clay. And then he says, there’s honorable and dishonorable use. And what he says is these ones for honorable use need to be separated from the dishonorable. 

It would be like this. Imagine if you came to my house for dinner and we served something amazing. It was steak and lobster. And I mean, anything you enjoy is there and you sat down to the table. You could smell it grilling. You’re like, this is going to be incredible. And then I loaded into a used dog bowl and put it on your plate in front of you. You would go, oh. Good meal, bad bowl and a bad bowl is kind of messing with the meal, and that’s the problem. The message can get messed up by the messenger. And that’s what he’s saying here. Hey, if you want to carry a message of pure gold, of value, of beauty, useful to the master, you need to be an honorable bowl. How do you do that? Well, he says, you separate yourself from the dishonorable bowls. That’s the interesting thing. Before he talks about cleaning the bowls, he said, separate yourself from dishonorable ones. And what is that here? Well, remember in the session before it was people who are denying fundamental things about the gospel. Now, does that mean we don’t have non-Christian friends? No. But he means people that are actively trying to push a worldview that is so different than what Jesus gave his life for, what God cherishes, he says. Man, you’ve got to separate your way of thinking from that way of thinking. 

So the first one is you got to change your mind. What am I putting my mind around? I don’t put my fine China next to the dog bowl in the shelf. I don’t put my mind next to ideas that are always, constantly undermining the truth of God’s word. Now, that doesn’t mean we hide from the world. But I do want to challenge you in this section to say, What do you allow to entertain you? Where does your mind dwell on screens, through your entertainment, in conversation? What you set your mind on shapes your mindset. And some of you, your confidence in God, your belief in him making a difference in your life, your belief in him using you, has been undermined because you’ve just let your mind get clouded. You’re too close to some bowls that are just dirty, and you need to clean up your thinking to get your mind set on honorable things separated from dishonorable. Once again, you gotta get your mind right. 

And then it’s not just move yourself away from really bad, erroneous, harmful ways of thinking. Then he moves on and says softly youthful passions. Youthful passions is zeal undergirded by wisdom. It’s energy without maybe some sense. And in this context, he’s probably talking about fighting. Remember, he talked about the word wars earlier. He’s like, don’t don’t constantly fight about ideas that people who are fighting don’t even know what they’re talking about. He said, Don’t get into all that. But I think it could be widened out to to anything that is unhealthy in the way we engage each other. Being lustful, being gossipy, being prideful. Are you in a community that the way we speak to each other is constantly discouraging and cutting down each other? That’s not how we live. 

He says flee from those youthful passions and pursue what is right, what is filled with faith, what is loving, what is filled with peace, and do it along with those who call out to God of a pure heart. He’s saying, the bulk of your time, I would challenge you to get around people who want to know God as much as you do, and then run with those people towards beautiful things. 

So it’s changing your mind and changing your life. Cleansing yourself from toxic ways of thinking and cleansing yourself from unhelpful ways of living. And you do that oftentimes by changing your community. That, who is my core ring? Jesus would hang out with anybody. He had dinner with tax collectors and sinners. He would sit with a woman who was making a mess of her life relationally. Nobody was too far gone for the grace of Jesus. But his inner ring were people that wanted to know God. And I would encourage you in your life. You want to be friends with everybody? Jesus says, love even your enemies. But as you start thinking about your life, do you want to be honorable and useful? Then be aware of what you let shape your thinking and be aware of who you let shape your living. 

I would encourage you. Love everybody, serve everybody, but make your inner ring people who are fleeing youthful lust. They don’t want to laugh at and enjoy and revel in what Jesus came to destroy. But you want to be around people who are chasing him. I want to be more like Jesus. 

I want to be more loving. I want to be more filled with faith. I want to be more filled with peace. I want to make a difference in the world. You get around a crew like that, you’re going to make a difference. You’ll be dangerous for the kingdom because you change your mind. I want to think, right. And you change your life. I want to live right. And when you do that, you’ll make a difference in the world. You’ll be a player advancing the ball. You’ll be a vessel carrying a delicious message. You’ll be an eel. Shocking the world with the good news of Jesus Christ. That’s what I want for you. 

So, so take some time to think about it. What do you entertain in your mind? Who are you letting shape your thinking and living? I’m not telling you to ditch all your old friends, but maybe for some of you, you need to prioritize the community of faith that’s helping you deepen in your faith. What needs to change in your life? What needs to come in? What needs to go out? What do you need to flee from? What do you need to pursue? Spend some time thinking about that and praying about it, and I’ll see you next time.

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