Vessels for Honor

2 Tim 2: 20 – 21 says, “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.”

In the above verse, a great house represents God’s house. In the house of God, there are four types of vessels: gold, silver, wood and clay. Gold vessels are valuable. They are often used as show pieces and they are very attractive. There are silver vessels that are next in line. They are valuable too. There are wooden vessels that are lower in value than gold or silver ones. Then there are vessels of clay that are insignificant and not of much value from the earthly perspective.

God looks at each one of His people like vessels. There are many kinds of vessels in the scripture. Moses was a faithful vessel. Moses, when he was placed in the river Nile by his mother, might have not looked like he had much significance. Anything could have happened to him. His life was in a danger. There would have been crocodiles in that river, but God protected him. He was brought up by the princess and despite growing up in the palace, he did not take pride in it. Moses knew his call. The Bible says in Hebrews 3: 1-3, ‘…just as Moses was faithful in all His house.’ What does that mean? Moses was faithful in God’s house. Hebrews 3: 5 says, “And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward.” Moses was a ‘faithful servant in God’s house’ and therefore God made him to be a great leader.

Look at the life of David in the Old Testament. David was the youngest son of Jesse. In those days, the younger the son is, the more insignificant he was considered in the family. He sinned against God at one time but he repented with his whole heart. In Psalm 51: 1, 2, 7, he asked God to blot him out of his transgressions. He asked God to wash him from his iniquity, cleanse him from his sin and finally to purge him with hyssop. Our God who asks us to forgive seven times seventy, will He not forgive us when we repent? He surely would forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness if we genuinely repent. David says in Psalm 23: 5 says, “my cup runs over.’ David knew that there was a vessel on the inside of him.

When describing about the great apostle Paul, God testifies in Acts 9: 15, that, “… he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.” Paul made many wrong choices before his conversion but God looked at His heart and saw the humility and made him a great apostle.

Whom does God choose? The Bible clearly states in 1 Corinthians 1: 26, “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” Just because you are not great or you are not talented or you do not have much does not mean that God would not call you to become a ‘vessel of honor.’

There are four key things mentioned in 2 Timothy 2: 20 – 21.

1. A Vessel that is cleansed: There are many things that defile us. Like how a vessel needs to be washed, our hearts need to be washed and filled up with godly things. God’s word says that out of the abundance of our hearts, our mouth speaks. The words that we speak either defile us or edifies us. Jesus said in Matthew15: 11, “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” Ephesians 4: 29 says, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” As we continue to talk words of grace, we will surely become vessels of mercy. Roman 9: 23, “and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory.” Therefore, it becomes essential for us to fill our hearts with good things and God’s word so that our words are good and are filled with grace.

How do we cleanse ourselves? By the blood of the Lamb, by the word of God, by prayers and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
*Hebrews 13: 12 says, “Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.”
*Jesus said in John 17: 17, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”
*1 Timothy 4: 5 says, “for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”
*Romans 15: 15 says, “that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”

2. A Vessel that is useful: Read 2 Timothy 2: 21. The vessel needs to be useful to the master no matter how the appearance is or what it is made up of. It is one thing to look good or sound good. It is another thing to be useful for a good work. What would you choose? I would choose to be a vessel that is useful to my Master. Judas started out as a useful vessel but he was overcome by ‘lust for money’ and became useless. The lust for money is the root of all evil. Some of God’s children start out useful but drift away into the world, get into a lukewarm mode and become useless to God and for His kingdom. For some, their earthly friends become more important than God. They do not think of ever offending their close friends but don’t think twice when offending God. God wants to use you for His glory no matter who we are and irrespective of our educational background or our social status. He is not a respecter of persons. Age is not a limitation for God to be a vessel that is useful. Look at Dorcas and Anna in the scripture! They were elderly women who were very useful to the Master. They used their time wisely. We could become a useful vessel if we would put our priorities right. God wants us to excel in good works.

3. Vessel that is prepared: Let us take an example of a ‘coffee maker.’ It is a useful vessel if the master is a coffee lover. But what good is the coffee maker if it is not prepared and ready for use. God’s word says in 2 Timothy 2: 21, “Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.” Jesus went about doing good, healed the sick and delivered the people when He walked the face of the earth. Acts 10: 38 says, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” We also need to be equipped to do the works of God with the infilling of the Holy Spirit and with God’s power every day of our lives. God expects us to be ready in season and out of season.

4. A Vessel for honor: God’s word says in 2 Timothy 2: 21, “Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor…” As believers, God’s objective is to make us vessels of honor. A vessel of honor is not so much a thing in itself. Our life should emulate Christ in our words and deeds. We need to look more like Jesus and less like us. God showed Jeremiah how the vessels in God’s hand was marred. It takes many trials, chastening and in some cases repeated tests to be made into a vessel of honor. God wants to do the same thing that a potter would do to the clay. It is not always a pleasant experience for the clay to be in the potter’s hands. God wants to mold us and to make us according to His plans. Just like how the sacrifice is tied to the horns of the altar waiting to be offered, we need to allow Him to mold us and make us after God’s will and cause us to be the vessel for honor for His glory.

In conclusion, the scripture says in 2 Corinthians 4: 7, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” We may be an earthen vessel but God wants to make you a vessel of honor. Be encouraged, Hallelujah.

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