2 Timothy 2.20-21 – You Matter

Reasonably often nowadays we see a very fatalistic attitude come to the surface when people talk about religions or faith traditions. Things like, “Well, you know, it’s out of my hands because DEITY will do this or that.”

Whilst there is an element of that in our Christian faith (God is absolutely sovereign over His creation, see Psalm 135.6, Proverbs 21.1, Ephesians 1.11, Acts 2.23 for a couple of examples) we are also encouraged to play our part, to partner with the Lord in achieving His purposes and bringing to fruition His plans. In His great love for us, He actually wants you to be involved. Today Paul makes this clear to Timothy.

20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

Paul writes that in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay. The house is the house of God, built on the firm foundation we read about yesterday. Simply, in God’s house, in the church here on earth, there are those who make themselves available for honorable use, and those who do not.

When you go to church you probably end up looking at and listening to those who have made themselves available to the Lord for honorable use and have the wonderful privilege of praying for the church, leading the church in worship through music, or preaching and teaching the Word. 

Friends, we should all make ourselves available to the Lord for honorable use, He wants you to cleanse yourself from what is dishonorable and to become a vessel for honorable use. We should all want to be more and more set apart as holy (sanctified), and to be useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work


Maybe your good work is in the job you are working, maybe it’s in the family you are raising, maybe it’s in the Bible study you lead, maybe it’s in the witness you give your friends when playing football with them, but we will be given as much opportunity for good work as we make ourselves available to the master of the house, being cleansed from what is dishonorable.


Maybe you think, wait, I am cleansed by the blood of Jesus shed for me, I am justified by my faith in Him, being sanctified day by day and conformed into His image, and I will ultimately be glorified when I am forever in His presence. That’s true, you are. What Paul is teaching Timothy, and the attitude we need to have about serving in the house of God is this,

“…there is another aspect of cleansing which God looks for us to do with the participation of our own will and effort. Not that it is our work apart from God, but it is a work that awaits our will and effort…This aspect of cleansing is mostly connected with usefulness for service, and closeness to God.”

David Guzik

So, friends, you matter. Your character matters. Your conduct matters. Your will and effort matter.

Do you want to be useful to the master of the house? Are you ready for every good work

In this process you make the decision, because you matter.

2 Timothy 1.6-7 – Fan Into Full Flame

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Paul begins by saying for this reason, so we know we need to look back a few words. So, because of the faith that was in Timothy (v.5), Paul encouraged him to cooperate and communicate with the Lord and for this reason…fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands…It seems that Paul had prayed over Timothy, laid hands on him, and conferred and confirmed the Lord’s gifting in Timothy.

Paul then goes on to say that the reason Timothy should do this, the reason he should take the faith that lives in him and boldly fan into full flame the gifts God has given him is because God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control

David Guzik writes on this,

In 1 and 2 Timothy there are no less than 25 different places where Paul encouraged Timothy to be bold, to not shy away from confrontation, to stand up where he needs to stand up and be strong. Because of who Timothy was and the responsibilities he had to bear, this was what Timothy needed to hear.

The chain of connection is clear; faith > gifts > boldness > power-love-self-control.

The Word of God speaks clearly about the fact that we are all gifted by the Lord (Ephesians 4.10-16). This gifting is to be used boldly because God has given us a spirit of power and love and self-control.

The giftings of God are not to be hidden away – we have been given a spirit of power.

The giftings of God are not to be used to control others – we have been given a spirit of love.

The giftings of God are not to be abused and misused – we have been given a spirit of self-control.

Pause and think – what has God gifted you to do?

What are you good at? How do you best serve people?

I would encourage you today to think on this, then with the faith that dwells in you fan it into full flame with the spirit of power and love and self-control that God has given us. 

A Prophetic Christmas

What are you planning to give people this Christmas?

Did you buy them the latest or greatest — ?

Maybe you’re a person that thinks of gift ideas so easily that this time of year is no problem for you.

Maybe you have no idea what you can give people, and so Christmas is a time where you worry about over/under gifting.

How about a word of prophecy?

Perhaps you hear this word and think of the Old Testament guys and gals who predicted (accurately and without fail) future events concerning God’s people and God’s coming Messiah (Micah 4.8, 5.2, Isaiah9.2-7 for example). Let’s be clear: that is not what we are talking about. That ministry is no more.

However, we do read in 1 Corinthians 14.3 that those who speak a word of prophecy speak to someone for their upbuilding, their encouragement, or they consolation.

On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.

In contrast (on the other hand) to the gift of tongues which is personal and private (1 Corinthians 14.2, 5b, 6, 9, 19), prophecy is for others, prophecy is using your words in accordance with God’s Word to build people up, encourage people, and to console people.

So, this Christmas season, many people are so concerned with many things. Be a person who gives a word of prophecy, a word of upbuilding, a word of encouragement, a word of consolation. Second only to the unmatchable gift of God’s expressed love to you in the person of Jesus, I’m not sure there is anything more we can give people than love, upbuilding, encouragement, and consolation. 

1 Timothy 4.6 – Words and Ways

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.

Timothy’s job as the pastor of this new church in Ephesus is to instruct, to teach, and to model, by putting these things before the brothers and sisters. ‘These things‘ would appear to be the Word of God and prayer (v.5) and the sum of Paul’s instruction so far (2.1-4.5). 

The pastor, then, needs to be in the Word if he is to teach the Word.

The pastor, then, needs to be in the Word if he is to model the word by his ways.

The pastor, then, needs to be in the Word.

But, is the pastor the only person in church that needs to put these things before the brothers? Is the pastor the only person who needs to model the words of faith and the good doctrine?

This is really a call to everyone who has submitted and committed to the Jesus-following life. All of us are called, by our words and ways, to put these things before the brothers and sisters

David Guzik writes,

It is also important to say that instruction should be understood in a broad sense, not only as classroom-style teaching or Sunday preaching. Jesus instructed His disciples, but with His presence, His life, and His practice as well as with His words.

Surly there can be no greater reward for ministering in this manner than being called a good servant of Christ Jesus. We long to hear the words of Matthew 25.23,

‘Well done, good and faithful servant.

You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.

Enter into the joy of your master.’ 

Let us go today and resolve to put these things before the brothersbeing trained in the words of faith and of the good doctrine.

1 Timothy 3.16 – Basics of Belief

Have you ever stopped to think about what makes you a Christian, or why you are a Christian? 

Maybe it was a personal experience with Jesus so powerful that you are wholly convinced.

Maybe it is the nature of the Word of God written for us; complete, sufficient, illuminating, instructive, inspired.

At the core of both, or of anything we could give as a reason for why we believe, is the person and work of Jesus.

16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.

These six things are the basics of our belief. Jesus was;

…manifested in the flesh – John 1.14

…vindicated by the Spirit – Matthew 3.16, Romans 8.11a

…seen by angels – Luke 2.8-14

…proclaimed among the nations – Luke 24.27, Colossians 1.28

…believed on in the world – John 3.16

…taken up in glory – Acts 1.8-11

The key to the character needed by the believer (1 Timothy 3.1-13), is being in a personal relationship with this Jesus (v.16 above). The basics of our belief are found in a personal relationship with Jesus.

Take a moment today and think – why do I believe, and am I in this relationship?

7 Attributes of Christians (According to Jesus)

Today we’ll pause our regular devotionals and read a series written by my friend, Pastor Pilgrim Benham. 


Chances are you have heard of the Tour de France, the famous bicycle race in Europe—but have never heard of the worldʼs shortest bicycle race in India. Hereʼs why this race is different:

All of the racers line up at the starting line, ready to go. Theyʼve got their stretchy riding pants, helmets, water bottles, numbers on their backs, even corporate sponsors!

The starting pistol goes off and the racers jump onto their bikes. But nobody goes anywhere. They all stay put. You see, the object of this race is to see who can go the shortest distance possible within the specified time limit. Racers are disqualified if their bike tips over or if their feet touch the ground. The cyclists inch forward just enough to keep their bikes balanced. They canʼt go backward.

At the end of the race, when the gun goes off, the cyclists who have gone the farthest are the losers. The racer closest to the starting line—which, in this case, is also the finish line—is the winner. A little ironic, right?

Some things in life are like that, they are just backwards! The kingdom of heaven is like that: it is a backwards kingdom compared to this world. This backwards kingdom was explained by Jesus through a teaching called, “The Sermon on the Mount”. He begins His sermon with what we call the Beatitudes. These are less about things we do—and more about things we intrinsically are as citizens of heaven—as recipients of the Gospel. Someone once said that if you wanted to get to know the human race, just take the Beatitudes, turn them upside down/reverse them, and you would get a good idea of what the human race is all about. I couldnʼt agree more.

The Beatitudes are a stark contrast—a breath of fresh air—in a world of selfish, prideful, wealthy, power-hungry pollution. Godʼs kingdom is a kingdom of paradoxes. The Bible tells us that the only way to save your life is by losing it. To become strong you have to be weak. To truly live you actually have to die, to self. Look at Matthew chapter 5, starting in verse 5, and notice how Jesus describes the Christian. They are marked by at least seven characteristics.

Though these are not exhaustive, they are instructive:

5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousnessʼ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

From tomorrow we will look at one characteristic each day with Pastor Pilgrim.


Pilgrim was born to two Christian hippie parents in the late 70‘s. At age 4 he made a decision for Christ and repented of his deep 4-year stint of sin and depravity. Raised in a Christian home, Pilgrim learned of and followed Jesus through his childhood and teen years. In youth group at age 13 Pilgrim made a profession of faith and desire to follow Jesus into full-time ministry.

Eggs; the inner egg and the outer shell

In Romans 8.2 we read that the law of the Spirit of life has set us free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. We are no longer bound by meticulous religious rules covering everything from our dietary intake to our haircut (good news for some…).

This freedom is liberating, we are now bound only to live the life of the Spirit, in the Spirit, for Christ. If we want to mix milk and meat in a meal, that’s fine. If we want to cut our hair short on the sides and round off the corners of our beards, that’s fine. If you want a tattoo, or to pierce your ears, fine too. If the ladies don’t want to wear a head covering in church, that’s fine too. We are no longer under the law as a heavy yoke, which invariably we would break, which leads to sin, which leads to death. Bad. Now we are living under the Spirit of life. Good.

This means, in a strange sort of way, we are like an egg.

We are free to associate with whoever we want, go wherever we want, eat and drink whatever we want, watch anything we want on the tellybox, be friends with anyone we want. Jesus was not concerned with His outer shell or its appearance, was He? He hung out with some pretty down and dirty people during His incarnational ministry (His time on earth living as fully God and fully man, incarnation literally means ‘in the flesh’).

Like a toddler at meal times, Jesus’ outer egg shell was covered with all sorts of things that people thought it should not be; don’t talk to her, don’t touch them, don’t stay at his house…

Jesus trashed His outer shell, ultimately breaking it for us, but never compromised His inner self.

Therein lies the lesson for us; we are free from the law as a heavy yoke and now have a wonderful liberty as Christians. But, as Jesus ultimately broke His body for our benefit, we need to use our liberty for love, for the benefit of others, not to simply have a good time. 

So yes, we are free to eat, drink, watch whatever we want, but the bigger Christian principles still apply; who is being glorified through what you are doing? Things too, like Philippians 4.8,

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

So, yes, we can dirty up our outer shell, but we must never compromise our inner egg. And, if we are dirtying up our outer shell, let us make sure that it is for the benefit of others, using our liberty for love, not lusts.