Monday, November 1, 2021

Fight The Fear #4: The Foundation Stands – 2 Timothy 2:14-26

 Fight The Fear #4: The Foundation Stands – 2 Timothy 2:14-26

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Introduction: Chapter 1 Fearlessness 2 Timothy 1:7  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Chapter 2 Faithfulness 2 Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Faithful In the Work - 2 Timothy 2:2-11
Vs 2 Faithful Like A Steward
Vs 3-4 Faithful Like A Soldier
Vs. 5 Faithful Like An Athlete
Vs 6 Faithful like A Farmer
Vs 8 - 11 Faithful Like a Preacher of the Gospel

Faithful Workman – 2 Timothy 2:14-18

Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

Faithful and Approved Workman

You already know that the word “study” used here means “to be diligent, be zealous.” A faithful, approved of God workman in the Lord service, needs to be diligent and zealous in their labors so that he will not be ashamed when their Master comes to inspect their work.

“Rightly dividing” literally means “cutting straight” and depending on the work being done can mean, plowing a straight furrow, cutting a straight board, or sewing a straight seam. It means using the tools and training of your calling to do a good and worthy job.

One of the best ways to overcome fear in any situation is to be prepared. If you are worried about a test in school you overprepare for the test, knowing that you’ll have whatever answers the test calls for and more. A craftsman confidence that he can do any job he might be confronted with because he has the tools and the training to do that job well. Soldier got to boot camp, scholars to college, pastors go to Bible school all in order to be prepared for the tasks ahead of them. If you hope to not be ashamed as you face the tests of this often difficult, sometimes impossible life, then diligently prepare by becoming a faithful, approved unto God workman who can do the job his master has called him to do.

We must diligently apply ourselves to God’s Word and handle it accurately with skill, experience and training. We must correctly interpret it and then faithfully apply it to ourselves and those we influence and teach. And no matter what title we bear in God’s service, pastor, missionary, teacher, parent, member, all of us have someone to that God has place in our lives that we are to teach and train.

Paul goes further and give more characteristics of an approved worker.

He says, they will shun “profane and vain babblings.” Refuse to participate in worthless, unprofitable word games and debate that will only leads to ungodliness. 

As much as we want people to identify with the Lord and share their life experiences as they walk with Him, we must be very careful that as a church, that I as a pastor, do not allow some sharings, feelings, dreams, or “voices” from the Lord to fall into that category of vain babbling. It must be God’s word and that means it must come from the one and only source for God’s word, and in this time of walking by faith and not by sight, that is Holy Scripture.

Unfaithful, Shameful Workmen

Paul now names two men who were shameful, unfaithful, workers, Hymenaeus and Philetus. Hymenaeus is named here and is the same person that Paul in 1 Timothy 1:20 says he “delivered to Satan that he might learn not to blaspheme.” They had begun to teach that the resurrection was had already occurred, this was like the lie about the second coming that Paul wrote to the Thessalonian to correct.

Paul says they their words were a canker, like gangrene that was corrupting the truth. By teaching these cancerous lies, denying the coming resurrection, they had overthrown the faith of some.

It is against these kinds of unfaithful workers that we the faithful fearless fighters for the faith must overcome by being prepared in rightly handling the Word of God.
Psalms 14:4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD.

By naming these two men, that Timothy had once know and worked with, Paul introduces a principle that Timothy must remember. If he is to fight the fear and stay faithful in the Lord’s service he must understand some truths about God’s great house.

Faithful In The Great House – 2 Timothy 2:19-26

 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

Great House's Foundation

After warning Timothy of what might be wrong in the church, Paul adds this reassurance, the foundation stands sure! It stands because God has placed his seal on those that are his.

“Having this seal” meant a mark of ownership and authentication. Years ago, a potter would often put his seal, or stamp, upon a completed vessel with the words “sine cere”. This meant that to his knowledge there was no flaw in that work. If a potter did crack a vessel, he would carefully patch that flawed vase or bowl by filling in the crack with wax. Then he would glaze it over. But it did not merit the stamp sine cere, "without wax," because it was not a flawless piece of pottery.

Paul tells Timothy God has placed a seal whereby you may know the “sincere” ones, the true ones. This is the seal “The Lord knoweth them that are His and let everyone who nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity”

Paul is telling Timothy a younger preacher who had and would endure difficulties in serving God, No matter what you go through, no matter how difficult it may seem. You can hold on because the foundation of God stands firm. There are those you can depend on, those who are real and true, and God has built on them and you can depend on them for they will not fail you.”

Then he adds, “You will know them, the true followers of Christ, the true disciples, those who “name the name” because they are the ones who will depart from iniquity.  They are the “sine cere” Christians, the genuine thing, not something covered over to hide the flaws. On them God has built a sure foundation and that foundation will stands sure.

Proof of the Church’s Sure Foundation

In this faithless, fearful, failing age we need to see that the foundation stands sure. That foundation stands by the seal of God’s knowledge of who is His and through the people of God themselves, those who name the name of Christ, those who will separate themselves from this world and its sin and will not let fear win the battles in their life, their church, their cities or their country.

Do you know why people give in to fear? Do you know why pastors give in to despair and heartbreak? It’s not because God has failed them. God has never failed any of his children. So why do so many lose their faith, hope, and vision? Why do they quit fighting the fear and let fear win? Often it’s because of sin and hypocrisy in God’s church and in God's children. They walk away because they lose sight of God’s promise, “the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.”

People leave the church, people stop fighting fear and flee because they forget that it is God’s foundation and God’s promise that stands sure, even when those under the roof of the great house can be a terrible disappointment. They see the insincere, the ingenuine, the hypocrites in God’s house and they forget to keep their eyes on the foundation of God’s house.

If you are to be faithful, then you must put your faith in the foundation of God that stands sure. Look past the hypocrites, look past the false and fake pretenders and instead put your faith in the foundation of God and those who are truly sealed by the seal of God!  In those who name His name. God will hold you up by His sure foundation and His true followers. He knows His own and his own will show themselves true.

Psalms 18:30-36 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places.
He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up,
and thy gentleness hath made me great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.

Elijah was told by God of 7000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal  

Elijah was ready to quit. Why? Had God failed him?  No! He had just been threatened with his life by Jezebel the queen of Israel and not a single person up there on Mt Carmel had offered to help him.

God tells Elijah you’re not the only one.  I will show you kings and prophets and people who are mine. There are 7000 who have shown themselves true to me by not bowing the knee to Baal.

Whenever I grow discouraged in the work and feel like it’s not worth it, that I’m all alone. God shows me His seal upon the church. He tells me I know those who are mine and they will show themselves true by their actions, by their lives, by their faithfulness and by their fearlessness.

I want to say thank all those I have known over the years and those in this church who “name the name.” It is you that have kept LeeOra and I in the ministry, you have been the blessings sent from God that offset the burdens sent by the world. You have kept us and so many others in God’s great house, by showing you are under God’s seal of ownership. You are His proof that the foundation of his work stands sure.

Transition: Paul has more to say in verse 20 about the church and those in it.

Great House's Vessels - 2 Timothy 2:20-21  

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.

Paul tells Timothy that in a Great house there are vessels of honor and dishonor in the same house. That great house is the church of God,

1 Timothy 3:15  But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

A great house, Paul says, is filled with many different kinds of vessels.

Vessels of gold and silver, vessels of wood and earth. These vessels are metaphors for the people within the church. People, who has different tasks, but all are necessary in the service of the great house, the Lord’s church. Just as Paul talked of honorable and dishonorable workmen, he now explains to Timothy, that he must understand there will always be both good and bad servants in the Lord’s church.

Paul says there are different kinds of vessels, different areas of service, but also there are different uses that the vessels can be used for, some honorable, noble and good but also some dishonorable selfish and sinful. (He may be talking about water pots and what my Grandparents used to call thunder pots or if you aren’t from the old south you’d call them chamber pots.) In God’s eyes and by Paul’s definition these vessels of dishonor are being used to spread excrement, or the polite term “night soil.”

Servants and Sinners in the Same Great House

What we need to realize now is that, Calvary Baptist of Athens Texas, is in God’s eyes a great House, His Great House. It should never be forgotten what an honor it is for each one of us, to be a vessel of service in this great house.

Psalms 84:9-10 Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed. 10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

And as a vessel in God’s great house we want to be vessels of honor, not of dishonor. It is not what the vessel looks but how that vessel is being used. As vessels in this great house, we must be pouring out the love of Christ and not pouring out anger and bitterness. We must be pouring out faithfulness and not fearfulness, pouring out forgiveness and not bitterness.

Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their hypocrisy, comparing them to vessels that were clean on the outside but filthy on the inside. Matthew 23:25-26 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

Quote: Unless the vessel is clean, what you pour into it turns sour. - Latin Proverb

Purge Himself - 2 Timothy 2:21

Paul says we must choose to be a vessel of honor and he tells us how we make that choice in verse 21. “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.”

A vessel of honor then must choose to be purged. Mark that Paul says a man must “purge himself.” This is a choice we must make as we serve the Lord in His great house. Purged means we must submit ourselves to the Master of the House and be cleansed. The vessel, that we are, must repent and turn to the Lord for cleansing. This is always the way for those who name the name, for those who God’s knows are His own. The Holy Spirit convicts, we repent, and the Lord forgives and cleanse us again.
1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

When we purge ourselves through repentance and confession, then we will be, Sanctified: set aside for a holy purpose. We must submit ourselves in order to be purged and cleansed, but it is God who chooses that holy purpose. It is God who sanctifies us and prepares us for His purpose.  

Now then we will be vessels that are “meet” (fit) for the Master’s use (the word master is the word we get despot from, it means the absolute owner.) When these action take place in our life, then we will be vessels of honor prepared for every good work.

Conclusion - The Question: Will We Be Unashamed Workmen and Vessels of Honor?

Will we be diligent in our preparation, fearless in our tasks, honorable in our service to our Savior? Will we be unashamed workmen and vessels of honor fit for the Master’s service in his great house?

Quote: Dwight L. Moody submission to service, "Use me, then, my Saviour, for whatever purpose and in whatever way Thou mayest require. Here is my poor heart, an empty vessel; fill it with Thy Grace."

The Chosen Vessel

The Master was searching for a vessel to use;
On the shelf there were many – which one would He choose?
Take me, cried the gold one, I’m shiny and bright,
I’m of great value and I do things just right.
My beauty and luster will outshine the rest
And for someone like You, Master, gold would be the best!

The Master passed on with no word at all;
He looked at a silver urn, narrow and tall;
I’ll serve You, dear Master, I’ll pour out Your wine
And I’ll be at Your table whenever You dine,
My lines are so graceful, my carvings so true,
And my silver will always compliment You.

Unheeding the Master passed on to the brass,
It was widemouthed and shallow, and polished like glass.
Here! Here! Cried the vessel, I know I will do,
Place me on Your table for all men to view.

Look at me, called the goblet of crystal so clear,
My transparency shows my contents so dear,
Though fragile am I, I will serve You with pride,
And I’m sure I’ll be happy in Your house to abide.

The Master came next to a vessel of wood,
Polished and carved, it solidly stood.
You may use me, dear Master, the wooden bowl said,
But I’d rather You used me for fruit, not for bread!

Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay.
Empty and broken it helplessly lay.
No hope had the vessel that the Master might choose,
To cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use.

Ah! This is the vessel I’ve been hoping to find,
I will mend and use it and make it all Mine.
I need not the vessel with pride of its self;
Nor the one who is narrow to sit on the shelf;
Nor the one who is bigmouthed and shallow and loud;
Nor one who displays his contents so proud;
Not the one who thinks he can do all things just right;
But this plain earthy vessel filled with My power and might.

Then gently He lifted the vessel of clay.
Mended and cleansed it and filled it that day.
Spoke to it kindly. There’s work you must do,
Just pour out to others as I pour into you. -  By Beulah V. Cornwall

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