Episode Transcription

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Joshua Steele: We wanted today to talk specifically about being men of honor: what that means, how important it is, and what the Bible has to say about it. Let’s start off with a passage that’s going to be the foundation for what we have to say today. It’s in Second Timothy, if you have your Bible there, Second Timothy, chapter 2, verses 20 and 21. It says, “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 honor, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” Let’s start with just taking the basics of this passage, breaking it down a little bit and asking ourselves, on a very literal level, what is this saying to us?

One thing that we can derive from this is that all believers are vessels in God’s house. For a lot of believers, I think that’s an important revelation. Sometimes we think that we’re the masters in our own house. But in fact, if you’re a believer, you are a vessel in God’s house. Whether you’re a new believer or whether you’ve been saved 50 years, you are there in his house, you’re a vessel, and you’re intended for his use. When I was young that was a revelation to me. A lot of people are wrapped up in their own lives, in their own programs, and the idea of submitting themselves, sacrificing themselves as a vessel for the Lord’s use, fully and completely, that’s a very important thing that we need to understand as believers.

Secondly, we see here that everyone, as vessels, we all fall into one of two categories. It’s not a spectrum, with really bad over here, really good over here, and the moderates in the middle. It’s just two categories, which is typical of God. As you read the Scriptures, all over the place you see God teaching and you see him dividing men into a left and a right, into a black and a white. Just two categories. The ones we see here are simple. We have honor and dishonor.

When I think about my house in Ukraine where I live, Kelsey and I have a small apartment on the tenth floor of a high-rise building—that’s where most people live in our city, those kinds of places—in my house I have a lot of vessels. I have a lot of dishes and instruments that I use. I have some that I love, that are honorable to me. For example, this fine Macbook Pro right here. This, folks, is a vessel unto honor. I like this a lot. It really helps me in my work. I’m quite proud of it.

If you want to go on the kitchen-vessel level, I have my favorite coffee cups that I keep in my kitchen. When I come into the kitchen in the morning and I want to get a cup of coffee, I don’t just grab anything off the floor that would hold liquid, do I? I go in, I get my favorite coffee cup, I pour my coffee into it. If my coffee cup is not available and it’s really early in the morning, I might not be in the best mood.

Those are vessels of honor. Then we have vessels of dishonor. For example, the mop bucket that we keep out on our balcony that we don’t look in the bottom of very much. It’s a needful thing. It serves a purpose. But you might say it’s not our favorite vessel. We’re not real proud of it. We don’t carry it around with us and talk to people: “Have you seen our mop bucket? It’s just the greatest mop bucket you ever saw!” It’s a mop bucket, all right? If it breaks, we’ll get another one. It’s not that big of a deal.

We see that everyone is in two categories. I would say to you here, ask yourself as we begin—not from your perspective, not from the perspective of just those that know you or think they know you, but from God’s perspective—if he were to stand right here next to me and we were to point people out from the audience . . . Here’s Fred. Here’s George and whoever. Would he classify you as a vessel of honor? Favorite coffee cup? Macbook Pro? Or would you be more on the mop bucket side? That’s another thing we can see from this verse, right off the bat.

Another here is that, as we know, salvation is universal. If you’re saved today, there are none of us here that are more saved than another. Nothing you do, your performance, nothing you’re going learn at this conference or anywhere else is going to make you any more saved than you already are, because your salvation is based on something outside of your experience. It’s based on what Christ did in your place.

Having established that, when we look at the passage, we do see, nonetheless, that our status as a vessel of honor or dishonor is directly influenced by the choices you make. If we follow the analogy through and build it up in all its parts, our status as a vessel at all, the fact that we are a vessel in the master’s house, that would be analogous to our salvation. If you weren’t saved, you’d be a vessel in somebody else’s house. The fact that you’re a vessel in the master’s house is indicative of salvation.

You know, my Macbook Pro doesn’t belong to me any more than my mop bucket does. They’re both my possessions. They’re in my house for my use. However, the verse does clearly say that you can purge yourself from these. We’re going to talk a little more about that. Based on decisions that you make, choices that you make throughout your life, to follow or not follow God, that has a direct influence on the type of vessel that you are in his house—whether you are a man of honor or not.

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