2 Timothy 2:20-21 King James Version (KJV)
20 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.
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.
There is no denying that sin is in each one of us. We can do all the good deeds God assigns to us, we can give until there is nothing more to give and we can love with an unending devotion, but there will still be sin within us of some kind. For some it is more evident than others. Some may struggle with pornography, others with gossip, others with backbiting or complaining all the time. The way Paul says it here is enlightening to me. He calls this a great house. A great house is worthy of honor and is highly respected. It is seen as a place where good things dwell and where mercies are given out. It is a house that has a lot of honorable vessels in it. Vessels that can deliver good things to those who enter the house. But there are also vessels of dishonor, of wood and earth. These vessels will not survive the fiery trials that may come into the house. They may be useful for some purposes, but not an everlasting purpose.
I would imagine if Paul expanded on this a little bit, he would say that a house that is not so great would have more vessels of dishonor than the great house does. There will still be vessels of honor there, but not as many good deeds and not as much desire to fulfill God’s purpose. These houses are much more common than the great houses as we all know. There are also houses that have vastly more vessels of honor than dishonor. In other words, there are all kinds of houses in this world, some with more honor and some with less. Some with more dishonor and some with less.
Of course by now we all know that this analogy describes the human condition, not just a house. It brings out the fact that there is good and bad in all of us. None is perfect except Jesus himself. We all have good things inside us, vessels of honor that we can offer up to God at any time. But we also have bad things, vessels of dishonor, that must be purged from our life in order to bring God glory. The question is: What kind of vessels are you carrying around? Do you carry vessels of honor, like mercy, grace, kindness, patience, joy and other attributes that will assist those around you to know Christ. Or do you carry vessels of dishonor, like grumbling, moaning, complaining, backbiting, pride, gossip, irreverence, hypocrisy and other attributes that bring shame to Christ? Whatever vessels you carry will reflect on Jesus and His witness within you.
This is why we must purge the bad vessels out of our life and make room for the vessels of honor. If the church looks the same as the world, why would anyone want any part of it? This is exactly what is happening in many churches and denominations right now. The church is looking more and more like the world because it’s members are full of vessels of dishonor and the world doesn’t need more of that. They get enough of that from outside the church. God is looking for a people that will bring their vessels to be filled with His goodness, righteousness and all other Godly attributes. He wants us to bring our vessels just as the woman did with Elijah. Every vessel she could find was filled with oil to give her life again. Every vessel we can purge from the dishonorable things in life, and bring to Jesus, will be filled with honorable things.
I’m not sure about you but I know that God has more for me on this earth. He is not done with me yet! Moses started his ministry when he was 80 and I’m only 68. I have many years left that I can make an impact in this world and I intend to do just that. I have a great desire to touch others with the poetry and songs I hear on almost a daily basis. I have no doubt that you have the same desire deep within your heart. Ephesians 3:20 tells us that God can do exceedingly, abundantly more than we can think or imagine by the power that works within us. He has plans for us that we can’t possibly comprehend until we have purged out the dishonorable vessels and replaced them with honorable ones ready to be filled. Once these dishonorable things are gone, we become sanctified and ready for the master’s use. God cannot sanctify a filthy vessel. It must be purged of dishonor. The things of this earth must be put ion the back seat – better yet in the trunk. The word sanctify means to set apart. Why would God set aside a vessel that is not honorable? He would not. He would make sure the dishonorable things were gone from that vessel before he would set it apart for His use. Sometimes I think we forget this. I know I do. I keep asking God to do great things with me, yet I am unwilling to put aside the things in me that do not bring him honor,. He simply will not do that. If I really want God to bring greater things into my life, my desires must be put aside, my dishonorable vessels must be destroyed and purged out of my system, and I must come to a place where I bring Him honor in all I do. This is something very few are willing to do. It’s always one step away, one worldly desire away. When will I learn to just take that extra step and give Him all I have?
It is at that moment that we purge ourselves of these dishonorable vessels that we are prepared for every good work that he would have us do. There are so many things he would have us do and we are only holding ourselves back. The church today is shrinking back from the enemy, the culture is moving away from the church, and false religions are rising up around us. When will we wake up and see that God has so much more for us to do. When will we learn that it is us who God wants to use? When will I learn?