2. Timothy 2:21 – Used of the Lord

“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.” (2 Timothy 2:21)

Do you want to be used of the Lord?
I want to. Many people – in fact, most churches – want  to. We want to bear fruit. We want to prepare the kingdom of God. Right? But why do we often feel so useless??

The answer can be found in this passage. To be useful to the Lord, and so, to bear fruit, we must clean ourselves and set ourselves apart as holy, completely dedicated to the Lord’s cause. I will quote Paul Washer again. We aren’t relevant because we conform ourselves to the world. We are relevant because we are set apart, living our life for the Glory of God.

You see, you can’t convert anyone. Nor can you withstand the temptations of sin. Why then would you want to live like the world to minister them? The only thing you will achieve is weaken yourself through sin! If you want to be used of the Lord, then live your life his way, and he will work through you! He will use you, and he will convert people through you if you set yourself apart. But you gotta do it his way. Your way isn’t an alternative to a holy, set-apart life – if your way isn’t God’s way, your way hinders God! Pastors, elders, parents, let me tell you this: If you want your church to be relevant, if you want the Lord to save people using you, then do not be conformed to this world!

In Hosea, Israel conformed itself to the world. It sinned against God in many ways. What is our Lord’s view on this?

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” (Hosea 4:6)

Israel didn’t turn to the Word for knowledge. Modern, popular “christian” churches are in imminent danger of this: They listen to pop culture, to psychology, to philosophy, and they try to be attractive to the world to save people. God doesn’t need you to be attractive. God is Sovereign! He can save people without you looking like them. In fact, that’s the way he wants to do it. Do NOT be conformed to this world!
That’s also the way Paul tells the gospel. Did you notice that he never alters the gospel to be politically correct? Never. He explains differently from culture to culture so that his audience may understand better, but he never leaves anything out. And he always makes people mad – because that’s the reaction you will get if you preach the gospel. Do you preach the gospel? Or do you teach your politically correct view of God, so the pagans will like what they hear? If so, good luck: “They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.” (Titus 1:16)
You probably know the gospel of Matthew. If you don’t bear fruit, be afraid!
“Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 3:10)

One final thought about sin and being conformed to the world; again, from Hosea:
“Strangers devour his strength, and he knows it not; gray hairs are sprinkled upon him, and he knows it not.  The pride of Israel testifies to his face; yet they do not return to the Lord their God, nor seek him, for all this.(Hosea 7:9-10)

Sin, if tolerated and pursued – as churches that want to be like the people they minister to in order to be relevant do – will weaken you to the point that you cannot serve the Lord.

If you want to be used of the Lord, set yourself apart in holiness!

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What now? – Steps to godly manhood

Here we go with the next part of the sermon!I’m going to look at what we can do to become godly men.

First of all, men must dominate themselves through scripture and the holy spirit.
We must avoid evil influences. Avoid the media and godless conversations like the plague. Like God told Cain, sin waits around the corner like a wild beast. You ought to fear. There is a certain thing about fear that’s very healthy: realising that you are not superman and that if you fall over, you leave a wife, and children, and a church.
If you are single and wanna live your life, go ahead. But if you are a man and have a woman, fear about the destruction of your soul, her soul, and the souls of your children.

Set yourself apart from the world!

Avoid evil influences. As Romans 12:2 says, we should not conform to this world. No unequal yokes. This doesn’t only apply to courting and marriage, but also to the way we spend our time, and who we spend it with. If you have ungodly friends, or spend time on television and multimedia, you will be influenced by that!

Flee lust.
2 Timothy 2:22
We need to reject the lust within, and actively! pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace.

We fight the devil, but we flee youthful lust. Something in our flesh is worse than the devil himself! Do not put yourself in a situation where you are to be tested.
Most teenagers have already had romantic sexual experiences.
Do not be alone with a person of the opposite sex that you are attracted to. And do not put your children into that situation. Where did you learn that it’s time to date with 16? From the world! If you put two people of the opposite sex together, they will fall. This is one of the reasons why I decided to follow the principles of courtship. You can find that post in November 2012.
“My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” The church is destroyed because we don’t turn to the scriptures for matters of family. We conform to the world in every possible way because we think that we need to be like them to be relevant, to “be a light” as they say. But this is completely unbiblical! You see:
“that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” (Philippians 2:15.16)
We are a light in the world when we are not conformed to it, but separated! Do you want to be preached the bible, or live a pagan life with a few christian elements?

Train your children so that the only suitor they will accept is a godly one.
Do not be involved with other men who do not care about the things of God – I don’t care how much you read the bible, you will be influenced. Protect the eyes!

Psalm 101:3 & Job 31:1

In our perverse culture, even the women are now attracted to the opposite sex through the eyes. Like the psalmist, we should protect our eyes, and therefore our minds! Our Prayer should be Psalm 19:14 – “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

Let us not stain ourselves with one drop of unclean things! This holds for any form of entertainment (movies etc.) and friendships!
If a movie has only one dirty scene, don’t watch it!

If we really want to be godly men, we should “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” (Romans 13:14) Do we really fight to achieve this?