Sulam Ya'aqov Messianic Fellowship (The Fellowship Of Jacob's Ladder) LARGE TITLE
Saturday, 19 September 2020

2 Timothy 2:16-23
Vessels to honour and vessels to dishonour

Key verses of study:-

16 – But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
17 – And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
18 – Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
19 – Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
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.
22 – Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
23 – But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strife’s. (KJV)

Verses 16 and 23 are like bookends:-

Verses 16 and 23 ‘bookend’ the passage – behaviours to ‘shun’ and ‘avoid’: ‘profane’ (irreverent, blasphemous), ‘vain’ (puffing oneself up), ‘foolish’ (dull in understanding), ‘unlearned’ (unlearned, showing a want of training). These specifically, and interpreted more widely, will make us ‘vessels to dishonour’

Verse 16: Increase unto more ungodliness – perpetuate a downward spiral of ever-increasing ungodliness

Verse 17: Canker – gangrenous (definition – localized death and decomposition)
Hymenaeus – see 1 Timothy 1:20 for being previously “delivered unto Satan” for learning

Verse 18: The error, and a summary of its results, of Hymenaeus and Philetus.
Overthrow the faith of some – subvert/overthrow/destroy the faith of some. Inflicting injurious influence on others. For those of us who are ‘others’, see exhortations to stand at 1 Corinthians 16:13, Galatians 5:1, Ephesians 6:11, 2 Thessalonians 2:15, 1 Timothy 1:19 et al

Verse 19: The Apostle provides reassurance that in spite of the subversion of the faith of some by others in the fellowship, the taught gospel stands sure.
Foundation – Imagery of a building (developed in verse 20); see 1 Corinthians 3:11 and Ephesians 2:20 for Christ the foundation and chief corner stone
Seal – seals represent security (see Matthew 27:66) and ownership (see Revelation 9:4)

The Lord knoweth them that are his – see Nahum 1:7. This is good news for them that are His, but not for those who would merely suppose or pretend to be so!
Let everyone – Fully inclusive, not optional for a believer!
Depart – take up a position away from, stand aloof from. See Numbers 16:26-31
Iniquity – sin pre-meditated, continuing without repentance (see Micah 2:1). Contrast trespass and transgression. See e.g. Matthew 18:15, Psalm 32:5

Verse 20: The Apostle develops the imagery of a building to explain that it is not unexpected to find dishonouring behaviour within a fellowship.
Great house – the visible, professing church (see 1 Timothy 3:15, Ephesians 2:21)
Vessel – An object with no merit until put to use
Vessels to honour (gold and silver) – vessels which are prized, valuable, the loss of which would be distressing; vessels beautiful and attractive, put on show to be seen – see the exhortation at Titus 2:10 to ‘adorn’ the doctrine of God
Vessels to dishonour (wood and earth) – inexpensive, easily-replaced, loss not mourned, used for ‘base’ purposes (e.g. carrying the rubbish out)

Note: However surprising may be the presence of vessels to dishonour in a fellowship, more surprising and amazing is the presence (by the grace and power of God) of any vessels to honour!

Verse 21: The presentation of the option for a believer.
If a man – it is our choice which type of vessel we will be, to honour or to dishonour
Purge – thoroughly cleanse
From these – The verses 16 and 23 behaviours generally, or Hymeneaus and Philetus specifically

Verse 22:
‘Flee’ and ‘follow’ – opposite behaviours presented
Flee – flee, escape. See e.g. Genesis 39:12. See also 1 Corinthians 6:18 flee from immorality, 1 Corinthians 10:14 flee from idolatry, 1 Timothy 6:11 flee from the love of money
Youthful lusts – most likely behaviours such as seeking pre-eminence, seeking applause and regard, engaging in contentions, reacting without due consideration and similar (Timothy was already trusted and appointed by Paul to his role, and therefore more obvious carnal interpretations of ‘youthful lusts’ is unlikely)
Follow – chase like a hunter, pursue (from which we get our word persecute. See also Romans 9:30-31). Note Paul persecuted the early church – 1 Corinthians 15:9.
Doug Holland.

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