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.

Amos 2.6-16 – The responsibility of privilege

Have you ever noticed that when a group of children is being a group of children, yours is the only one you can see or hear? There might be a big bunch of them running around and being loud, but yours appears to the loudest and the most involved. Maybe they actually are, maybe they actually aren’t, but we look at our own children with a stricter lens, so to speak, than others. Yesterday we said it’s easy to look at those who are not believers and judge what they are doing, but it’s even easier to look at our own and hold them to a higher standard.

We feel that they should know better, we feel that we have told them enough times not to do that/to do that, we feel that we have given them examples in our own behaviour and character that when they do not follow our example, this upsets us all the more than other kids tearing around wrecking the place…if ours says/does/thinks/even tries to do anything we feel like “How could you do this to me!”. Dramatic, maybe, but true to a degree, absolutely.

Here in Amos 2 we see God’s judgement on Israel, and it is around three times longer and more detailed than previous judgements. It actually carries on in to chapter three, but for now we see a couple of really important things that show us that the privilege we have as God’s people brings us a responsibility to live accordingly.  

In Exodus 22 we read

26 If ever you take your neighbor’s cloak in pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down, 27 for that is his only covering, and it is his cloak for his body; in what else shall he sleep? And if he cries to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.”

Here in Amos we see that the people lay themselves down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge…a clear cut example of the fact that Israel should have known better.

Verses 10 and 11 are key, too,

10 Also it was I who brought you up out of the land of Egypt and led you forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite.

11 And I raised up some of your sons for prophets, and some of your young men for Nazirites. Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?” declares the LORD.”

God brought them out of Egypt, they have this reminder of His wonderful power and how it worked in their favour. God took them from slavery (brought you up out of the land of Egypt), cared for them in the interim (led you forty years in the wilderness), gave them land in which to dwell (to possess the land of the Amorite), and provided for their spiritual needs too (I raised up some of your sons for prophets, and some of your young men for Nazirites).

Their rejection of God’s ways and their lifestyle of habitual sin is all the worse, then, because they had first-hand eye-witness testimony of God miraculously working among them. Their privilege became a responsibility they could not carry.

We too have a huge responsibility as we bear the name of Jesus (Christian means, literally, little Christ), and we are called to display this clearly and for all to see (Matthew 5.14-16).

This is our privilege, and this is our responsibility.