Saturday in the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

2 Timothy 2:20-26

Vessels for Honorable Use

Christians in general and certainly pastors fool themselves if they think that they can be of service to the Lord and not strive to live sanctified lives.  Power comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and he delights to work through those who are honoring the Lord with their lives.  If we are vessels of dishonorable use, we cannot expect to have the Spirit’s power working through us nor expect to be “useful to the Master of the house, ready for every good work.”  Even worse, how many men and women did we think were doing great work for the Kingdom only to see that work crumble to pieces when the scandal broke!  It would have been better if they had never begun.  

So Paul’s command to Timothy: “Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord with a pure heart.”  He gives him other directions which we shall cover in a moment, but holiness begins here.  Where?  In what one flees, runs from, forsakes, denies himself, in the crucifying of the flesh!  Conversion begins with repentance; there must be a turning away from the world, flesh and devil in order to turn towards God, Spirit-empowered to be sure, but still there must be a turning away from.  Being a vessel of honorable use is no different.  All the good works in the world are not going to make up for chasing after youthful passions.  And note too that Paul speaks not of just anyone but of those who have “a pure heart.”  A famous philosopher once said that purity of heart is to will one thing.  To be pure of heart means at the very least to put away vice, but truly much, much more—it is to desire God, His will and His way, more than anything else in the world.  Having fled those passions, righteousness, faith, love and peace ensue.

After this necessary beginning, the Apostle exhorts Timothy to other matters—which would mean nothing without the former.  These matters are: ignoring stupid controversies over words, regulations, and minor points that produce nothing but strife; to be kind to everyone, able to teach (be prepared through study of the word), patiently enduring evil, and correcting opponents with gentleness.  Opponents in this place would mean unbelievers as Paul has made it clear that those who cause trouble within the church must be subjected to discipline if they continue therein after loving rebuke.  But it is important that Christians approach unbelievers with dignity and kindness.  Winning arguments will convince no one, but reason tempered with gentleness and kindness will go much further.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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