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                    "THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"

                    Useful For The Master (2:20-26)

INTRODUCTION

1. To motivate Timothy toward faithful service, Paul used an
   illustration involving 'vessels'...
   a. Of varying qualities and value - 2Ti 2:20
   b. How one could be a vessel for honor, prepared for every good work
      - 2Ti 2:21
   -- Thus becoming "Useful For The Master"

2. By considering the context (2Ti 2:20-26), we too can learn how to
   be...
   a. Vessels of gold or silver, not wood or clay
   b. Vessels for honor, not dishonor
   -- And thereby also becoming "Useful For The Master"

[It involves effort, but such is necessary if we are going to be
prepared for every good work.  First of all, to be useful for the
Master...]

I. WE MUST WORK ON OUR PERSONAL CONDUCT

   A. THINGS TO AVOID...
      1. Must cleanse oneself from "the latter" - 2Ti 2:21
         a. I.e., vessels of dishonor - 2Ti 2:20
         b. E.g., teachers of false doctrine like Hymenaeus and
            Philetus- cf. 2Ti 2:16-18
      2. Must flee youthful lusts - 2Ti 2:22
         a. The lust of the flesh, such as fornication - 1Co 6:18
         b. The lust of the eyes, such as materialism - cf. 1Ti 6:9-11
      -- We must avoid both wicked associations and wicked conduct

   B. THINGS TO DO...
      1. Must pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace - 2Ti 2:22
         a. Qualities without which no one will see the Lord - He 12:14
         b. Qualities well suited for the "man of God" - cf. 1Ti 6:11
      2. With those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart - 2Ti 2:22
         a. Together with those who sincerely love God
         b. I.e., not alone, nor in the company of  those 'vessels of
            dishonor'
      -- We must seek both holy conduct and holy associations

[Avoiding wicked associations does not mean we do not reach out to those
in error.  For the Lord desires all to be saved (cf. 1Ti 2:4; 2 Pe
3:9).  To be "Useful For The Master" in teaching them...]

II. WE MUST WORK ON INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS

   A. THINGS TO AVOID...
      1. Must avoid foolish and ignorant disputes - 2Ti 2:23
         a. That generate strife - 2Ti 2:23; cf. 1Ti 1:4; 6:4
         b. That bring ruin to the hearers - 2Ti 2:14; cf. Tit 3:9
         c. That increase to more ungodliness - 2Ti 2:16
      2. Must not quarrel - 2Ti 2:24
         a. That is, strive or fight over words - cf. 2Ti 2:23
         b. "engage in a war of words, to quarrel, wrangle, dispute"
            - Thayer
      -- We must avoid discussions that are little more than 'word
         battles'

   B. THINGS TO DO...
      1. Must be gentle to all - 2Ti 2:24
         a. "affable, that is, mild or kind" - Strong
         b. "not only to troubled minds, and wounded consciences, by
            supplying them with the precious promises and truths of the
            Gospel; and to backsliders, by restoring them in a spirit of
            meekness; but even to those who contradict the truth, and
            themselves, by mild and kind instructions." - Gill
      2. Must be able to teach - 2Ti 2:24
         a. "apt and skillful in teaching" - Thayer
         b. Thus able to both exhort and convict those who contradict
            - cf. Tit 1:9
      3. Must be patient - 2Ti 2:24
         a. "patient of ills and wrongs, forbearing" - Thayer
         b. "The Greek word here used does not elsewhere occur in the
            New Testament. It means, patient under evils and injuries"
            - Barnes
         c. A Christ-like quality much needed in 'word battles' - cf. Co
            3:13
      4. Must correct in humility - 2Ti 2:25
         a. That is, with "gentleness, mildness, meekness" - Thayer
         b. Even against those who:
            1) Who oppose the truth
            2) Who are ensnared by the devil
         c. For such qualities are weapons "mighty in God" - cf. 2 Co
            10:1-5
            1) Not carnal, such as wrath, anger, and strife
            2) But mighty for casting down arguments, bringing thoughts
               into captivity to Christ
      -- We must develop and demonstrate a Christ-like character toward
         the opposition

CONCLUSION

1. A servant of the Lord must therefore give careful attention...
   a. To his personal conduct and associations
   b. To his interpersonal relations with those in error

2.  A servant of the Lord who does so can then be...
   a. A vessel of honor
   b. Sanctified (set apart for a godly purpose)
   c. Useful to the Master!

What kind of 'vessels' are we becoming for the Lord...?
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