Summary: The world is obsessed with cleanness. Everywhere you look you see people with different hand cleaners and antibacterial soaps and lotions. We must have an even greater desire for purity of heart. In 2 Timothy 2, we see some great keys to equip us.
The world is obsessed with cleanness. Everywhere you look you see people with different hand cleaners and antibacterial soaps and lotions. People want cleanness outwardly, but purity in heart? That is not the case. Everything that we see in this world is saturated with all kinds of impurity; TV, internet, books. Sin is viewed as the normal thing to do. Maintaining our purity with all that surrounds us can become a tough task. We face a daily war against the flesh.
So we need to arm ourselves for this great battle that we fight. In our text in 2 Timothy 2, we see some great keys to equip us and to encourage us.
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene . Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness. 20 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. 22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart."
I would like to take note of 4 lessons we can glean from this text to help us in our battle for purity and holiness. Four things we must get right. We must have the right standard, the right motives, the right pursuits, and the right company.
Let’s look at all of these one at a time:
1. THE RIGHT STANDARD!
Sometimes we feel comfortable with a lower standard or with the standard of the world. But we need to remember that just because we are accepted in a group does not mean that we are acceptable with God. We will not be judged on the standards of the world, but by what God says.
In verse 15, we see Paul tell Timothy to “be diligent to present himself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth;” the standard that we are given by God.
He goes on further to give Timothy an example of whom not to be like. He gives the names of 2 men that were not rightly handling the standard that God gave in his word. Hymenaeus and Philetus strayed from the truth, teaching things they shouldn't have been. Their message spread like a cancer and was wrecking the faith of some of the brethren.
The standard of those such as Hymenaeus and Philetus led to more and more ungodliness. But the standard of the Lord stands firm. No matter how much the world, or even you want to lower the standard, the word of God remains the same.
We need to remember the standard that the Lord gives us in His word. Men do not set the standard. We should never allow ourselves to accept a standard lower than the one that the Lord has given and we should never find ourselves trying to justify the standards of the world.
Matthew 5: Jesus in this chapter begins many statements telling the people listening that they "have heard that it was said, reminding them of the present accepted standard, then He continues by saying "But I say to you," showing them the accepted standard of God that far surpasses the standard given by the world.
When Jesus addresses adultery He says in verse 27:
Matthew 5:27-28 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Jesus said that the people have heard that the accepted standard was adultery, but that was not God's line. God set the standard at lust! When you lust in your heart you cross the line. The standard that the Lord gives to those listening to him here is far higher than what they had been taught in the past.
It is so easy when temptation comes to try to justify committing the sin that you are being tempted to commit. But we shouldn’t deceive ourselves into thinking that if we lower the standard to ease our conscience that God will lower the standard in which he will judge us. He calls us to be holy.