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.

Yes I Will

John Piper wrote this about worship,

“This is the final end of all existence: the worship of God.

God created the universe so that it would display the worth of his glory. And he created us so that we would see this glory and reflect it by knowing and loving it — with all our heart and soul and mind and strength.”

In Revelation 22.9 John receives the simple command, “Worship God!

Elsewhere in God’s Word to us we are told we are created for His glory (Isaiah 43.7). We are made in His image (Genesis 1.27), to display His glory, for His glory, to bring Him glory. Paul writing to the Corinthians says that whatever we do, we are to do it to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10.31).

So far, then, we can say it is in our DNA to worship God, it comes naturally, it’s the natural thing to do. 

But some days, in some experiences, in some seasons of life, do we really want to? It doesn’t feel like the natural thing to do, does it? This is where we need to be so careful; if we live our faith life based on feelings, when those feelings aren’t there, is our faith not there too?

Does God not still deserve the glory due Him?

Is our fundamental purpose as people not present because we don’t have a certain feeling?

Worship of God is natural to us,

but it is also a choice we need to make.

We are not robots; robots made to worship, worship-bots if you will, we are made with the wonderful gift of free will. 

So worship comes natural to us, worship is natural, but worship is also a choice. It’s an attitude, it’s a perspective, it’s a lifestyle, it’s a choice. 

Maybe you have heard a song with lyrics that communicate this truth beautifully well;

Yes I will, lift You high in the lowest valley

Yes I will, bless Your name

Oh, yes I will, sing for joy when my heart is heavy

All my days, oh yes I will

And I choose to praise
To glorify, glorify
The Name of all names
That nothing can stand against

Even when life is difficult, God is working it out for you.

Even when we don’t particularly feel like worshiping God, we must still choose to praise Him.

Even when we don’t think we need to, we must give Him what is rightfully His, fulfil our most fundamental purpose. 

He is never late, always on time, with us all the time, good or bad. He is still there despite our perceived lack of feeling it and for this we can worship Him, glorify Him, trust Him.

See, worship comes naturally, but it is also a choice. When we take to heart the truth of the Word of God, when we put hope, faith, and trust in the name and work of Jesus, when we submit and commit to the Lord, worship becomes the natural choice in all situations. 

Take four minutes now and listen to this, as loud as your current surroundings allow…then have a great day, choosing to praise and glorify God!

Psalm 121 – Moving Forwards – 7

7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;

    he will keep your life.

8 The Lord will keep

    your going out and your coming in

    from this time forth and forevermore.

This is so comprehensive, this is total, isn’t it, this is not half a job, 

7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;

    he will keep your life.

8 The Lord will keep

    your going out and your coming in

    from this time forth and forevermore.

So, where can we look to draw hope and strength for the future as we move forwards?

We look to God, the maker of heaven and earth, a very present help, no sleeping or slumbering, keeping us from all evil. We need to know this, and we need to trust this, completely.

Trust me also when I say that this will totally and completely change how you view your life, everything that happens to you, or involving you, this will bring a total change in worldview.

A number of years ago Captain D. commanded a vessel sailing from Liverpool to New York, and on one voyage he had all his family with him on board the ship.
One night, when all were quietly asleep, there arose a sudden squall of wind, which came sweeping over the waters until it struck the vessel, and instantly threw her on her side, tumbling and crashing everything that was moveable, and awakening the passengers to a consciousness that they were in imminent peril.
Everyone on board was alarmed and uneasy, and some sprang from their berths and began to dress, that they might be ready for the worst.
Captain D. had a little girl on board, just eight years old, who, of course, awoke with the rest.
“What’s the matter?” said the frightened child.
They told her a squall had struck the ship.
“Is father on deck?” said she.
“Yes; father’s on deck.”
The little thing dropped herself on her pillow again without a fear, and in a few moments was sleeping sweetly in spite of winds or waves.

She knew that her Father was always watching, keeping her safe, not slumbering nor sleeping, and that he would keep her life safe.

For us then, we look ahead and move forwards to what is coming in the future, look ahead to what is coming in the new year and push on to it, safe in the knowledge that our help comes from the God who made and sustains heaven and earth, always watching, never sleeping, now and forever more.

I lift up my eyes to the hills.

    From where does my help come?

2 My help comes from the Lord,

    who made heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot be moved;

    he who keeps you will not slumber.

4 Behold, he who keeps Israel

    will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord is your keeper;

    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.

6 The sun shall not strike you by day,

    nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;

    he will keep your life.

8 The Lord will keep

    your going out and your coming in

    from this time forth and forevermore.

Psalm 121 – Moving Forwards – 6

5 The Lord is your keeper;

    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.

6 The sun shall not strike you by day,

    nor the moon by night.

Do you know, as with sunstroke, too much time in the sun and you feel ill, people believe that moonstroke is the same? There is also a thing called starstroke, apparently…

Whether these two things are solid, medically proven conditions or whether they are superstitions, any superstitious fears are of no concern to those whom God protects. He keeps, preserves, and protects all day and all night.

James Montgomery Boice said

“What the psalmist really means, though in figurative language, is that nothing either of the day or night can harm us if God is keeping guard. God is our covering against every calamity. He is our shade against the visible perils of the day as well as the hidden perils of the night.”

The main point here is that our help comes from God, and God alone, against things we see, and against things we don’t see, and everything in between.

What a peace this brings; everything that happens to us day to day, week to week, month to month, and year to year, is known to Almighty God. 

Now, this isn’t to say that when you submit and commit to the Lord that your life is gonna be a sweet smelling, soft touch, bed of roses, no, that is not what the Bible says, but we do know that everything that happens to us, around us, and involving us has been Divinely ordained;

God knows…God knows, God cares, God guides, God decides…

So whatever we are moving forwards to He knows, He cares, He guides, and He decides.

Psalm 121 – Moving Forwards – 5

3 He will not let your foot be moved;

    he who keeps you will not slumber.

4 Behold, he who keeps Israel

    will neither slumber nor sleep.

God would help His people by establishing them in a firm place, He will not let your foot be moved. Think back to 1 Peter; chosen and precious Cornerstone…that is where we stand, nowhere else. Our feet are not being moved from that!

I love what David Guzik wrote about this,

For the Christian, this reminds them of the principles found in Ephesians 6:11 and 13—that the believer is to find a place to stand, and this can only be done by looking to the Lord and trusting He who will not allow your foot to be moved.

The standing of the believer in Jesus is impressive.

· We stand in grace (Romans 5:2).

· We stand in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1).

· We stand in courage and strength (1 Corinthians 16:13).

· We stand in faith (2 Corinthians 1:24).

· We stand in Christian liberty (Galatians 5:1).

· We stand in Christian unity (Philippians 1:27).

· We stand in the Lord (Philippians 4:1).

· The goal: that we should stand perfect and complete in the will of God (Colossians 4:12).

Again then,

He will not let our foot be moved,

He will not slumber or sleep.

The short answer to where does my help come from? was that we look to God for our help.

He does not sleep or slumber, He is always watchful, always watching over us as we are moving forwards to the next thing He has called us to.

Isn’t that a glorious promise to us? God will not allow my foot to be moved. He’s watching over me night and day. He will preserve me (Smith).

Psalm 121 – Moving Forwards – 4

People nowadays worship all sorts of gods, don’t they…pleasure, power, prestige, career, cash, all sorts…But the God that we worship is the only true, eternal God who has created the heavens and the earth, the living God. So, 

“From whence cometh my help?

My help comes from Yahweh which made the heaven and the earth.”

So, new year, new target, new goals, renewed you, maybe even new you if you are on the verge of committing to Christ or been window shopping Christianity and now is the time to really go for it. The new year then could well bring, literally, a new you. Literally. The new birth, the new you, and the Bible says that unless we are born again of the Spirit we will never see the riches that He has laid up for those who love Him.

So wherever you are on the journey, we look ahead to where we are going and we know that God is our help, a very present help, Jesus is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us, the indwelling Holy Spirit is alive in us and active in the world, we know this, we look ahead, and we push on, knowing that God has a plan and a purpose for you this coming year, as He does every single day of your life. 

We just need to submit and commit, there is a new year’s resolution that we can get on board with;

submit and commit.

This is the year I will;

read the entire counsel of God’s Word to us,

attend a home group,

serve in church not just come and go as stealthily as possible,

this is the year I will smash that spiritual hangup I have had for X number of years,

this is the year I ditch all the excuses that have prevented me from living the life that God wants me to live, that I will ditch all the excuses that keep me from being here with God’s people, that I will ditch the excuses that stop me being who God has made me to be! 

We look ahead and we push on and we move forwards knowing that God is our help, and that if God is our help, if God is for us, then who can be against us?

Psalm 121 – Moving Forwards – 3

2 My help comes from the Lord,

    who made heaven and earth.

Our  help comes from God. Not in the journey itself, not in the city we are walking towards, not in the job we are pursuing, not in the bank balance we are chasing, not in the promotion we are desperate for, in absolutely nothing that is of this world.

See no riches but in grace, no health but in piety, no beauty but in holiness, no treasure but in heaven, no delight but in “the things above.”

Anthony Farindon.

I was running along recently, well, chasing along half a step behind two far better runners than me, trying not to wheeze out loud, running along and watching the water lap the shore or crash against rocks, can’t remember really as I was too focused on not collapsing, and the conversation went something like this…

this is beautiful…wheeze cough wheeze cough…this is beautiful…but we should never worship the creation always the creator…

That was quite profound given the beautiful, natural surrounds of where we were running, and it’s the same with the help. We don’t get help from the city, we don’t get help from where we are going, what we are going towards, we don’t get our help from the creation, our help comes from God, the Lord, not from anywhere else.

He works in and through others, sure, the church is His chosen vessel to bless the nations, wow, how much do we want to be part of the church, but the power, the goodness, the ability, is His, He actualises our potential, we are FULL of potential, God has none, He cannot become anything else, He IS, so, when we need help moving forwards,

2 My help comes from the Lord,

    who made heaven and earth.