2 Timothy

2 Timothy 2:20-22 – The Characteristics of a Christian Who is Useful to God

2 Timothy 2v20-22

 

The Characteristics of a Christian Who is Useful to God.

 

Introduction.

In every one of our homes we have a variety of utensils – pots / pans / bowls / dishes / cups / plates etc. Some are cheap and disposable while others are very valuable and are brought out on special occasions only with great care.

 

Two kinds of utensils.

 

Paul uses everyday household receptacles to describes two uses, special / menial, noble / ignoble.

2 Timothy 2:20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble.

 

To what is Paul referring in all this? It is true that in other places he uses this imagery – 2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (NIV)

In this verse he refers to himself and his fellow-workers as jars of clay – weak, physical, imperfect creatures carrying a message of infinite value – a treasure.

He is not suggesting that he is fit only for menial ignoble use BUT that he – as we – carry the treasure of the gospel just as a fragile clay oil lamp carries the light. Here referring to our imperfect, fragile mortality.

 

In this letter to Timothy Paul seems to be using the imagery in a different way. He is comparing two kinds of vessels – representing two kinds of teachers in the church – true and false teachers. In the previous few verses he talked about good and bad workers but here changes the metaphor to noble and ignoble vessels.

In the first he is emphasising their activities but in this his emphasis is on character.

 

In verse 21 Paul lays before Timothy the wonderful privilege of being useful to the master of the house – Jesus Christ. The conditions for usefulness are laid out in these verses.

He is talking primarily about those who teach the gospel – but the principles apply to all Christians. The thing he focuses on however is not their teaching ability or their knowledge but their character. 2 Timothy 2:21 21 .. a man cleanses / purifies himself …… an instrument for noble purposes, … holy, useful to the Master …. prepared to do any good work. (NIV)

 

The primary condition laid down by the Master of the House is that the vessel must be pure / clean. In the previous section about being a good worker the emphasis was on purity of belief / doctrine – viz. holding fast to the Word of Truth. In this section about the great household the emphasis is on purity of character.

 

This focus on purity of life is confirmed by the fact that this metaphor of household / vessels is sandwiched between two appeals to personal holiness.

2 Timothy 2:19 …, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

2 Timothy 2:22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, …

 

God, the master of the House wishes to uses clean vessels. It is true that God sometimes uses impure vessels to accomplish his purposes. On a number of occasions in the OT God used Pagan kings – Assyrians / Babylonians / Persians… BUT the overwhelming emphasis of the Bible is that God uses his people – those who are righteous before him Romans 6:13 13 … instruments of righteousness. – – to achieve his purposes.

 

In order for us to be useful to the master of the house we are to negatively avoid certain things and to positively pursue other things.

 

Negatively.

2 Timothy 2:22 Flee / Shun the evil desires of youth, ….

These youthful passions are not restricted to youthful lust – they include self-assertion / self-indulgence / selfish ambition / arrogance … all those things that often characterise youthful passions. Sadly some people never seem to grow up.

 

To flee / shun lit. means to “seek safety in flight” / to run away from danger to a safe place. It is used of Joseph and Mary when they took baby Jesus and fled from the murderous King Herod to Egypt. It is used here figuratively to flee from spiritual danger.

 

ALL Christians are commanded to flee from idolatry, from pride, from immorality, from the materialism and the love of money and here from youthful passions. All these areas of human life are temptation to us all. Or as John puts it in his letter – 1 John 2:16 16 For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world. (NIV)

1 John 2:16 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (KJV)

 

There are times when we are called upon to withstand the onslaught of the Evil One – to stand against evil / wrong and see it flee in the face of right and Truth.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (NIV)

BUT there are times when the best course of action is to run / to have nothing to do with something /someone. To get as far away as possible.

 

ILLUS.: The story of Joseph in the OT. He was a slave in the house of Potiphar the King’s / Pharaoh’s Chief of Staff, Mrs Potiphar had roving eyes and Joe was a handsome young man. Joseph was a god-fearing man and so when Mrs. Potiphar try to seduce him he left his coat in her hands and ran for his life. He was falsely accused and put in prison – but he kept his integrity before God. A vessel useful in the hands of his master.

 

As Christians there are certain things we simply cannot get involved in – things that are dishonest, immoral, corrupt … big things and little things. Sometimes the big things are easier to deal with. It is easier to resist blatant fraud on our tax returns than it is to resist the temptation to gossip about someone even when we know that what we are saying is at best ½ true! It may be easier to resist an adulterous affair than it is to resist dwelling on immoral thoughts yet Jesus said the one made us just as guilty as the other.

 

Positively.

If the word to flee is a strong word then the word to ‘pursue’ is equally strong but opposite. It means to run after / chase / hunt – of a hunter pursuing game, at a time when hunting for food was often the difference between life and death!

 

Paul uses this word metaphorically when talking about pursuing the will of God.

Philippians 3:12-14       12 … I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 … straining towards what is ahead, 14 I press on towards the goal ….

 

The same strong word is used here to urge Timothy to passionately pursue moral righteousness. In different texts different aspects are emphasised.

Hebrews 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no-one will see the Lord. (NIV)

1 Timothy 6:11 … pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. (NIV)

1 Corinthians 14:1 Follow the way of love….

Romans 12:13 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practise hospitality.

1 Thessalonians 5:15 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. [AND MANY OTHERS>>]

And here in this text …2 Timothy 2:22 … and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (NIV)

 

To have a character that is useful in the Master hands we need to cleanse / purify ourselves by fleeing from those things that are displeasing to God and by pursuing those things that are pleasing to God. Get rid of one and replace with the other.

 

We don’t want our lives to simply be a vacuum – getting rid of the bad only – in fact that is not really feasible. Something must fill the vacuum

 

ILLUS.: On Friday evening I was watching Ground Force. The programme where Alan Titchmarsh and his team go in and revamp someone’s garden as a surprise. In this particular programme one of the things they constructed was a bamboo waterway / mini-aquaduct. Now they explained that for it to work as designed it need to be kept clear, not bunged up with leaves and junk, so the water could be kept clean and flow freely. BUT if the water was turned off the bamboo would dry out and crack and be of no use to anyone.

Negatively it needed to be kept clear of junk BUT positively it need something good to flow through it.

 

I am sure you can see the connection. In our lives we need to be rid of the bad while holding on to the good.

 

We need to run away from spiritual danger but run after spiritual good.

To flee form the one in order to escape but pursue the other in order to attain it.

 

As Christians we are to have a double duty – to deny ourselves and to follow Christ. To put off what belongs to the old life and put on what belongs to the new life. To constantly put aside out fleshly desires [the lust of the flesh / the lust of the eyes / the pride of life] and to walk in the Spirit. It is a combination of the ruthless rejection of the one and the relentless pursuit of the other.

 

By nature we pander to ourselves / our wants / our desires / our agenda.. BUT if we are going to be fit for the Master’s use we need to be pure and holy

 

The best example we have of this deny self and pursuing God’s will is Jesus himself – although he was perfect and didn’t need purifying – he was still human and had all the temptation we have.

 

He is our Lord and Master

“You call me Lord [teacher] and Master…” John 13:13

Paul is giving instructions to Timothy as one who is a teacher and leader

But in a sense, “Every Christian must be a LEADER.” If we define LEADERSHIP as follows: A LEADER is a believer who takes initiative in the use of his/her personal gifts for personal growth, for the blessing of the Body and for the Glory of God. In this sense we are all leaders in some form or other.

Where have we developed in church-life this attitude of spectatorism, this terrible spiritual psychosis which is totally contrary to what the Scripture teaches and the Lord expects. We pay the Pastor to preach, we pay for others to sing, we pay for technicians to keep the ecclesiastical structure running smoothly and we remain comfortable in our pews, enjoying what others have done to keep us coming. Not only is this a travesty of the Biblical pattern of Every Member Ministry, but it shackles the individual from ever discovering the reason why he is failing to be a Change-Agent in a world of catastrophic need.

 

Bearing in mind that we are all leaders in some way – all called to follow Christ our teacher and master

 

  1. LEADERSHIP is characterised by humility, eager to serve and not to be served, vss.4,5.

A leader never drives, he draws (John 12:32). He never yields to circumstances, he changes them (Romans 12:2). He never shrinks from menial, ignoble tasks, he uses them to fulfil his purpose (Matt.20;28).

 

  1. LEADERSHIP is characterised by authority, (John13:12,13) teaching because he has been taught. And it is when a person exercises the initiative of teaching that he possesses what he has learned. A leader not only talks, he teaches, he rouses response (2 Tim.2:2). He seeks instruction from the Word of God, which fills him, enables him, equips him for service and not for sitting comfortably letting others do the job (Ephesians 5:25,26; 2 Timothy 3:16).

 

  1. LEADERSHIP is characterised by dependability, (John 13:14,15) who can be consistently counted on because he is conscious of his mission. He wants to be an unashamed workman (2 Timothy 2:15). He has learned the value of instant obedience in studying and pondering the Word of God (1 Peter 1:22-25).

 

  1. LEADERSHIP is characterised by predictability, (vss.16,17) consciously eager to give God his human best, filled with the Holy Spirit. He accepts his place as a servant (vs.16). He accepts his mission as one sent (vs.16, John 4:34; 17:18). He accepts his instructions as one taught, rejoicing in the privilege (vs.17).

 

 

Two Kinds of Vessels

 

2 Timothy 2v20-22

 

Honourable /

                 Noble Use

 

Positively:

Pursue / Chase / Desire

… Holiness / Purity

–       peace

–       faith

–       love

–       endurance

–       gentleness

–       hospitality

–       forgiveness

–       generosity ….. etc.

 

Dishonourable /

               Ignoble Use

 

Negatively:

Shun / Flee / Resist

…Youthful passions

–       illicit sexual desires

–       self- assertion

–       self-indulgence

–       self-ambition

–       arrogance

–       revenge

–       bitterness

–       gossip ….. etc.

·      Run after spiritual good

·      Put on what belong to the new life

·      Relentlessly pursue

 

·      Run away from spiritual danger

·      Put off what belongs to the old life

·      Ruthlessly reject

Follow Christ – Master / Lord / Teacher.

…no amount of talent or activity can replace humble godly character.

…God wants to use clean, honourable, noble vessels.

v

2 Timothy 2v20-22

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A CHRISTIAN WHO IS USEFUL TO GOD.

Introduction.
In every one of our homes we have a variety of utensils – pots / pans / bowls / dishes / cups / plates etc. Some are cheap and disposable while others are very valuable and are brought out on special occasions only with great care.

Two kinds of utensils.

Paul uses everyday household receptacles to describes two uses, special / menial, noble / ignoble.
2 Timothy 2:20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble.

To what is Paul referring in all this? It is true that in other places he uses this imagery – 2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (NIV)
In this verse he refers to himself and his fellow-workers as jars of clay – weak, physical, imperfect creatures carrying a message of infinite value – a treasure.
He is not suggesting that he is fit only for menial ignoble use BUT that he – as we – carry the treasure of the gospel just as a fragile clay oil lamp carries the light. Here referring to our imperfect, fragile mortality.

In this letter to Timothy Paul seems to be using the imagery in a different way. He is comparing two kinds of vessels – representing two kinds of teachers in the church – true and false teachers. In the previous few verses he talked about good and bad workers but here changes the metaphor to noble and ignoble vessels.
In the first he is emphasising their activities but in this his emphasis is on character.

In verse 21 Paul lays before Timothy the wonderful privilege of being useful to the master of the house – Jesus Christ. The conditions for usefulness are laid out in these verses.
He is talking primarily about those who teach the gospel – but the principles apply to all Christians. The thing he focuses on however is not their teaching ability or their knowledge but their character. 2 Timothy 2:21 21 .. a man cleanses / purifies himself …… an instrument for noble purposes, … holy, useful to the Master …. prepared to do any good work. (NIV)

The primary condition laid down by the Master of the House is that the vessel must be pure / clean. In the previous section about being a good worker the emphasis was on purity of belief / doctrine – viz. holding fast to the Word of Truth. In this section about the great household the emphasis is on purity of character.

This focus on purity of life is confirmed by the fact that this metaphor of household / vessels is sandwiched between two appeals to personal holiness.
2 Timothy 2:19 …, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
2 Timothy 2:22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, …

God, the master of the House wishes to uses clean vessels. It is true that God sometimes uses impure vessels to accomplish his purposes. On a number of occasions in the OT God used Pagan kings – Assyrians / Babylonians / Persians… BUT the overwhelming emphasis of the Bible is that God uses his people – those who are righteous before him Romans 6:13 13 … instruments of righteousness. – – to achieve his purposes.

In order for us to be useful to the master of the house we are to negatively avoid certain things and to positively pursue other things.

Negatively.
2 Timothy 2:22 Flee / Shun the evil desires of youth, ….
These youthful passions are not restricted to youthful lust – they include self-assertion / self-indulgence / selfish ambition / arrogance … all those things that often characterise youthful passions. Sadly some people never seem to grow up.

To flee / shun lit. means to “seek safety in flight” / to run away from danger to a safe place. It is used of Joseph and Mary when they took baby Jesus and fled from the murderous King Herod to Egypt. It is used here figuratively to flee from spiritual danger.

ALL Christians are commanded to flee from idolatry, from pride, from immorality, from the materialism and the love of money and here from youthful passions. All these areas of human life are temptation to us all. Or as John puts it in his letter – 1 John 2:16 16 For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world. (NIV)
1 John 2:16 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (KJV)

There are times when we are called upon to withstand the onslaught of the Evil One – to stand against evil / wrong and see it flee in the face of right and Truth.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (NIV)
BUT there are times when the best course of action is to run / to have nothing to do with something /someone. To get as far away as possible.

ILLUS.: The story of Joseph in the OT. He was a slave in the house of Potiphar the King’s / Pharaoh’s Chief of Staff, Mrs Potiphar had roving eyes and Joe was a handsome young man. Joseph was a god-fearing man and so when Mrs. Potiphar try to seduce him he left his coat in her hands and ran for his life. He was falsely accused and put in prison – but he kept his integrity before God. A vessel useful in the hands of his master.

As Christians there are certain things we simply cannot get involved in – things that are dishonest, immoral, corrupt … big things and little things. Sometimes the big things are easier to deal with. It is easier to resist blatant fraud on our tax returns than it is to resist the temptation to gossip about someone even when we know that what we are saying is at best ½ true! It may be easier to resist an adulterous affair than it is to resist dwelling on immoral thoughts yet Jesus said the one made us just as guilty as the other.

Positively.
If the word to flee is a strong word then the word to ‘pursue’ is equally strong but opposite. It means to run after / chase / hunt – of a hunter pursuing game, at a time when hunting for food was often the difference between life and death!

Paul uses this word metaphorically when talking about pursuing the will of God.
Philippians 3:12-14 12 … I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 … straining towards what is ahead, 14 I press on towards the goal ….

The same strong word is used here to urge Timothy to passionately pursue moral righteousness. In different texts different aspects are emphasised.
Hebrews 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no-one will see the Lord. (NIV)
1 Timothy 6:11 … pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. (NIV)
1 Corinthians 14:1 Follow the way of love….
Romans 12:13 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practise hospitality.
1 Thessalonians 5:15 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. [AND MANY OTHERS>>]
And here in this text …2 Timothy 2:22 … and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (NIV)

To have a character that is useful in the Master hands we need to cleanse / purify ourselves by fleeing from those things that are displeasing to God and by pursuing those things that are pleasing to God. Get rid of one and replace with the other.

We don’t want our lives to simply be a vacuum – getting rid of the bad only – in fact that is not really feasible. Something must fill the vacuum

ILLUS.: On Friday evening I was watching Ground Force. The programme where Alan Titchmarsh and his team go in and revamp someone’s garden as a surprise. In this particular programme one of the things they constructed was a bamboo waterway / mini-aquaduct. Now they explained that for it to work as designed it need to be kept clear, not bunged up with leaves and junk, so the water could be kept clean and flow freely. BUT if the water was turned off the bamboo would dry out and crack and be of no use to anyone.
Negatively it needed to be kept clear of junk BUT positively it need something good to flow through it.

I am sure you can see the connection. In our lives we need to be rid of the bad while holding on to the good.

We need to run away from spiritual danger but run after spiritual good.
To flee form the one in order to escape but pursue the other in order to attain it.

As Christians we are to have a double duty – to deny ourselves and to follow Christ. To put off what belongs to the old life and put on what belongs to the new life. To constantly put aside out fleshly desires [the lust of the flesh / the lust of the eyes / the pride of life] and to walk in the Spirit. It is a combination of the ruthless rejection of the one and the relentless pursuit of the other.

By nature we pander to ourselves / our wants / our desires / our agenda.. BUT if we are going to be fit for the Master’s use we need to be pure and holy

The best example we have of this deny self and pursuing God’s will is Jesus himself – although he was perfect and didn’t need purifying – he was still human and had all the temptation we have.

He is our Lord and Master
“You call me Lord [teacher] and Master…” John 13:13
Paul is giving instructions to Timothy as one who is a teacher and leader
But in a sense, “Every Christian must be a LEADER.” If we define LEADERSHIP as follows: A LEADER is a believer who takes initiative in the use of his/her personal gifts for personal growth, for the blessing of the Body and for the Glory of God. In this sense we are all leaders in some form or other.
Where have we developed in church-life this attitude of spectatorism, this terrible spiritual psychosis which is totally contrary to what the Scripture teaches and the Lord expects. We pay the Pastor to preach, we pay for others to sing, we pay for technicians to keep the ecclesiastical structure running smoothly and we remain comfortable in our pews, enjoying what others have done to keep us coming. Not only is this a travesty of the Biblical pattern of Every Member Ministry, but it shackles the individual from ever discovering the reason why he is failing to be a Change-Agent in a world of catastrophic need.

Bearing in mind that we are all leaders in some way – all called to follow Christ our teacher and master

1. LEADERSHIP is characterised by humility, eager to serve and not to be served, vss.4,5.
A leader never drives, he draws (John 12:32). He never yields to circumstances, he changes them (Romans 12:2). He never shrinks from menial, ignoble tasks, he uses them to fulfil his purpose (Matt.20;28).

2. LEADERSHIP is characterised by authority, (John13:12,13) teaching because he has been taught. And it is when a person exercises the initiative of teaching that he possesses what he has learned. A leader not only talks, he teaches, he rouses response (2 Tim.2:2). He seeks instruction from the Word of God, which fills him, enables him, equips him for service and not for sitting comfortably letting others do the job (Ephesians 5:25,26; 2 Timothy 3:16).

3. LEADERSHIP is characterised by dependability, (John 13:14,15) who can be consistently counted on because he is conscious of his mission. He wants to be an unashamed workman (2 Timothy 2:15). He has learned the value of instant obedience in studying and pondering the Word of God (1 Peter 1:22-25).

4. LEADERSHIP is characterised by predictability, (vss.16,17) consciously eager to give God his human best, filled with the Holy Spirit. He accepts his place as a servant (vs.16). He accepts his mission as one sent (vs.16, John 4:34; 17:18). He accepts his instructions as one taught, rejoicing in the privilege (vs.17).
TWO KINDS OF VESSELS

2 Timothy 2v20-22

Honourable /
Noble Use

POSITIVELY:
Pursue / Chase / Desire
… Holiness / Purity
– peace
– faith
– love
– endurance
– gentleness
– hospitality
– forgiveness
– generosity ….. etc. Dishonourable /
Ignoble Use

NEGATIVELY:
Shun / Flee / Resist
…Youthful passions
– illicit sexual desires
– self- assertion
– self-indulgence
– self-ambition
– arrogance
– revenge
– bitterness
– gossip ….. etc.
• Run after spiritual good

• Put on what belong to the new life
• Relentlessly pursue • Run away from spiritual danger
• Put off what belongs to the old life
• Ruthlessly reject
Follow Christ – Master / Lord / Teacher.
…no amount of talent or activity can replace humble godly character.
…God wants to use clean, honourable, noble vessels.

2 Timothy 2v20-22

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A CHRISTIAN WHO IS USEFUL TO GOD.

Introduction.
In every one of our homes we have a variety of utensils – pots / pans / bowls / dishes / cups / plates etc. Some are cheap and disposable while others are very valuable and are brought out on special occasions only with great care.

Two kinds of utensils.

Paul uses everyday household receptacles to describes two uses, special / menial, noble / ignoble.
2 Timothy 2:20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble.

To what is Paul referring in all this? It is true that in other places he uses this imagery – 2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (NIV)
In this verse he refers to himself and his fellow-workers as jars of clay – weak, physical, imperfect creatures carrying a message of infinite value – a treasure.
He is not suggesting that he is fit only for menial ignoble use BUT that he – as we – carry the treasure of the gospel just as a fragile clay oil lamp carries the light. Here referring to our imperfect, fragile mortality.

In this letter to Timothy Paul seems to be using the imagery in a different way. He is comparing two kinds of vessels – representing two kinds of teachers in the church – true and false teachers. In the previous few verses he talked about good and bad workers but here changes the metaphor to noble and ignoble vessels.
In the first he is emphasising their activities but in this his emphasis is on character.

In verse 21 Paul lays before Timothy the wonderful privilege of being useful to the master of the house – Jesus Christ. The conditions for usefulness are laid out in these verses.
He is talking primarily about those who teach the gospel – but the principles apply to all Christians. The thing he focuses on however is not their teaching ability or their knowledge but their character. 2 Timothy 2:21 21 .. a man cleanses / purifies himself …… an instrument for noble purposes, … holy, useful to the Master …. prepared to do any good work. (NIV)

The primary condition laid down by the Master of the House is that the vessel must be pure / clean. In the previous section about being a good worker the emphasis was on purity of belief / doctrine – viz. holding fast to the Word of Truth. In this section about the great household the emphasis is on purity of character.

This focus on purity of life is confirmed by the fact that this metaphor of household / vessels is sandwiched between two appeals to personal holiness.
2 Timothy 2:19 …, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
2 Timothy 2:22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, …

God, the master of the House wishes to uses clean vessels. It is true that God sometimes uses impure vessels to accomplish his purposes. On a number of occasions in the OT God used Pagan kings – Assyrians / Babylonians / Persians… BUT the overwhelming emphasis of the Bible is that God uses his people – those who are righteous before him Romans 6:13 13 … instruments of righteousness. – – to achieve his purposes.

In order for us to be useful to the master of the house we are to negatively avoid certain things and to positively pursue other things.

Negatively.
2 Timothy 2:22 Flee / Shun the evil desires of youth, ….
These youthful passions are not restricted to youthful lust – they include self-assertion / self-indulgence / selfish ambition / arrogance … all those things that often characterise youthful passions. Sadly some people never seem to grow up.

To flee / shun lit. means to “seek safety in flight” / to run away from danger to a safe place. It is used of Joseph and Mary when they took baby Jesus and fled from the murderous King Herod to Egypt. It is used here figuratively to flee from spiritual danger.

ALL Christians are commanded to flee from idolatry, from pride, from immorality, from the materialism and the love of money and here from youthful passions. All these areas of human life are temptation to us all. Or as John puts it in his letter – 1 John 2:16 16 For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world. (NIV)
1 John 2:16 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (KJV)

There are times when we are called upon to withstand the onslaught of the Evil One – to stand against evil / wrong and see it flee in the face of right and Truth.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (NIV)
BUT there are times when the best course of action is to run / to have nothing to do with something /someone. To get as far away as possible.

ILLUS.: The story of Joseph in the OT. He was a slave in the house of Potiphar the King’s / Pharaoh’s Chief of Staff, Mrs Potiphar had roving eyes and Joe was a handsome young man. Joseph was a god-fearing man and so when Mrs. Potiphar try to seduce him he left his coat in her hands and ran for his life. He was falsely accused and put in prison – but he kept his integrity before God. A vessel useful in the hands of his master.

As Christians there are certain things we simply cannot get involved in – things that are dishonest, immoral, corrupt … big things and little things. Sometimes the big things are easier to deal with. It is easier to resist blatant fraud on our tax returns than it is to resist the temptation to gossip about someone even when we know that what we are saying is at best ½ true! It may be easier to resist an adulterous affair than it is to resist dwelling on immoral thoughts yet Jesus said the one made us just as guilty as the other.

Positively.
If the word to flee is a strong word then the word to ‘pursue’ is equally strong but opposite. It means to run after / chase / hunt – of a hunter pursuing game, at a time when hunting for food was often the difference between life and death!

Paul uses this word metaphorically when talking about pursuing the will of God.
Philippians 3:12-14 12 … I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 … straining towards what is ahead, 14 I press on towards the goal ….

The same strong word is used here to urge Timothy to passionately pursue moral righteousness. In different texts different aspects are emphasised.
Hebrews 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no-one will see the Lord. (NIV)
1 Timothy 6:11 … pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. (NIV)
1 Corinthians 14:1 Follow the way of love….
Romans 12:13 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practise hospitality.
1 Thessalonians 5:15 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. [AND MANY OTHERS>>]
And here in this text …2 Timothy 2:22 … and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (NIV)

To have a character that is useful in the Master hands we need to cleanse / purify ourselves by fleeing from those things that are displeasing to God and by pursuing those things that are pleasing to God. Get rid of one and replace with the other.

We don’t want our lives to simply be a vacuum – getting rid of the bad only – in fact that is not really feasible. Something must fill the vacuum

ILLUS.: On Friday evening I was watching Ground Force. The programme where Alan Titchmarsh and his team go in and revamp someone’s garden as a surprise. In this particular programme one of the things they constructed was a bamboo waterway / mini-aquaduct. Now they explained that for it to work as designed it need to be kept clear, not bunged up with leaves and junk, so the water could be kept clean and flow freely. BUT if the water was turned off the bamboo would dry out and crack and be of no use to anyone.
Negatively it needed to be kept clear of junk BUT positively it need something good to flow through it.

I am sure you can see the connection. In our lives we need to be rid of the bad while holding on to the good.

We need to run away from spiritual danger but run after spiritual good.
To flee form the one in order to escape but pursue the other in order to attain it.

As Christians we are to have a double duty – to deny ourselves and to follow Christ. To put off what belongs to the old life and put on what belongs to the new life. To constantly put aside out fleshly desires [the lust of the flesh / the lust of the eyes / the pride of life] and to walk in the Spirit. It is a combination of the ruthless rejection of the one and the relentless pursuit of the other.

By nature we pander to ourselves / our wants / our desires / our agenda.. BUT if we are going to be fit for the Master’s use we need to be pure and holy

The best example we have of this deny self and pursuing God’s will is Jesus himself – although he was perfect and didn’t need purifying – he was still human and had all the temptation we have.

He is our Lord and Master
“You call me Lord [teacher] and Master…” John 13:13
Paul is giving instructions to Timothy as one who is a teacher and leader
But in a sense, “Every Christian must be a LEADER.” If we define LEADERSHIP as follows: A LEADER is a believer who takes initiative in the use of his/her personal gifts for personal growth, for the blessing of the Body and for the Glory of God. In this sense we are all leaders in some form or other.
Where have we developed in church-life this attitude of spectatorism, this terrible spiritual psychosis which is totally contrary to what the Scripture teaches and the Lord expects. We pay the Pastor to preach, we pay for others to sing, we pay for technicians to keep the ecclesiastical structure running smoothly and we remain comfortable in our pews, enjoying what others have done to keep us coming. Not only is this a travesty of the Biblical pattern of Every Member Ministry, but it shackles the individual from ever discovering the reason why he is failing to be a Change-Agent in a world of catastrophic need.

Bearing in mind that we are all leaders in some way – all called to follow Christ our teacher and master

1. LEADERSHIP is characterised by humility, eager to serve and not to be served, vss.4,5.
A leader never drives, he draws (John 12:32). He never yields to circumstances, he changes them (Romans 12:2). He never shrinks from menial, ignoble tasks, he uses them to fulfil his purpose (Matt.20;28).

2. LEADERSHIP is characterised by authority, (John13:12,13) teaching because he has been taught. And it is when a person exercises the initiative of teaching that he possesses what he has learned. A leader not only talks, he teaches, he rouses response (2 Tim.2:2). He seeks instruction from the Word of God, which fills him, enables him, equips him for service and not for sitting comfortably letting others do the job (Ephesians 5:25,26; 2 Timothy 3:16).

3. LEADERSHIP is characterised by dependability, (John 13:14,15) who can be consistently counted on because he is conscious of his mission. He wants to be an unashamed workman (2 Timothy 2:15). He has learned the value of instant obedience in studying and pondering the Word of God (1 Peter 1:22-25).

4. LEADERSHIP is characterised by predictability, (vss.16,17) consciously eager to give God his human best, filled with the Holy Spirit. He accepts his place as a servant (vs.16). He accepts his mission as one sent (vs.16, John 4:34; 17:18). He accepts his instructions as one taught, rejoicing in the privilege (vs.17).
TWO KINDS OF VESSELS

2 Timothy 2v20-22

Honourable /
Noble Use

POSITIVELY:
Pursue / Chase / Desire
… Holiness / Purity
– peace
– faith
– love
– endurance
– gentleness
– hospitality
– forgiveness
– generosity ….. etc. Dishonourable /
Ignoble Use

NEGATIVELY:
Shun / Flee / Resist
…Youthful passions
– illicit sexual desires
– self- assertion
– self-indulgence
– self-ambition
– arrogance
– revenge
– bitterness
– gossip ….. etc.
• Run after spiritual good

• Put on what belong to the new life
• Relentlessly pursue • Run away from spiritual danger
• Put off what belongs to the old life
• Ruthlessly reject
Follow Christ – Master / Lord / Teacher.
…no amount of talent or activity can replace humble godly character.
…God wants to use clean, honourable, noble vessels.

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