KINGDOM KEY #1: BE A VESSEL OF HONOR (Part 1)
“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 ESV)
Of all the verses that explain becoming honorable, this verse summarizes it best! Paul tells us that if we desire to serve God, our church and leaders exceptionally, we must cleanse ourselves from everything that is dishonorable in our lives. It is then and only then that we will be honorable vessels, set apart and holy, ready and useful to fulfill God's call on our lives. There are no shortcuts or exceptions to this principle.
HOLINESS STILL MATTERS!
I have seen too many people try to bypass this principle, and just start serving while neglecting this first principle of being a vessel of honor. It grieves my heart because many of them did not endure. When I was 18 years old, I joined a ministry internship. At the time, the internship was a part of the largest coalition of internships with over 5,000 interns nationwide. I was on a team of interns in Northern California for three years. Throughout that time, I served with 30-40 other interns in an intense program. We served and evangelized in churches, high school assemblies, and youth groups. We read through the Bible cover to cover, gathered for multiple weekly prayers sessions and participated in countless productions that illustrated the gospel. We attended three international mission trips to Peru, Africa, and the Philippines. We saw thousands of lost souls give their lives to Christ.
The heartbreaking reality is that today, half of those I served with are no longer in ministry.
Some got pregnant out of wedlock. Others got married to other interns, who have since divorced. Some don't go to church anymore. Some of them don't even believe in God anymore and are now professing Atheists. How does this happen? We were seeing multitudes of people getting saved everywhere we went! Our team was led by godly pastors. How did these ministry leaders, interns or staff members fall away from Jesus? This was not only a problem with our team, but a world-wide epidemic that spans all denominations, ministries, and ages. If you have done ministry for any length of time, you probably know people who are no longer serving the church and or have even forfeited their faith. Jesus actually prophesied this was going to happen to Christians in the Last Days. He said,
“Many will turn away from me… and the love of many will grow cold.
But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:10-13)
God does not want you to start the race to only get burnt out on ministry and ultimately lose your love for Him. It is God's desire that you endure to the end and finish the race He has set before you! This is why this is the first key to serving in ministry, and although the word holy is not a popular word in today’s culture, it is greatly admired and esteemed in the Kingdom. This is why now is the time you and I must bring holiness back in our church and on our ministry teams.
The word holy used in this verse means to be sanctified: to separate from profane things and dedicate to God.
Those that are holy are the ones that God uses for extraordinary purposes. They have been set apart from worldliness and sin, consecrated and dedicated for His holy works. When one is set apart, there is a visible difference obvious to those around them. They are not one that is influenced by culture, rather they influence culture - like a light in the darkness. It is His presence in their life that separates them. When God’s presence is on you, His extraordinary ability is functioning in you. This is why the enemy has done everything in his power to get the church away from holiness.
When the church is holy, it becomes a weapon to defeat the powers of darkness.
Jesus gave His life for this purpose of making you holy and He is returning for a church that is nothing less than that (Ephesians 5:25-26). This is why we are instructed to actively, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14 NKJV).
We are called to pursue holiness! The Greek word for pursuit is diōkō. It is a passionate seeking; it is aggressive, intentional and eager. Does this define your pursuit of holiness? I pray that as you read this you are desiring to live a life more pleasing to Him than ever before. It is important to note that the moment you got saved you were made holy! Here’s the good news! Holiness is not an action that you can achieve within your own power. It is God’s power at work for you! “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13).
Notice how this process is a partnership with God. Now I need to make this point clear, when you got saved you became holy in your spirit (Colossians 1:22). Your spirit was renewed, and you were made right with God. This is justification – this is God’s part. He made us right with God and set us free from the power of sin (Romans 6:22). However, we must pursue sanctification, this is holiness that is manifested from the inside out – this is our part and responsibility. This is where we cleanse ourselves.
“Everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1 John 3:3 NASB)
“Let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1 NASB)
“Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1 ESV)
Be on the look out for the next blog, I will share how to:
Guard your heart from worldliness
Walk in freedom from sin
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