Pastors Must Be Pure (2 Timothy – 10)

PASTORS MUST BE PURE  (2 Timothy – 10)

READ: 2 Timothy 2:20-26

Paul uses many analogies to help us understand the Christian life and ministry.  In 2 Timothy he uses the example of a soldier (2:3-4), athlete (2:5), farmer (2:6), worker (2;15), vessel (2:20-21) and servant (2:24-26).  Elsewhere he equates living for Jesus to being a steward (1 Corinthians 4:1-2) or ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20).  Peter says we are living stones (1 Peter 2:5), priests (1 Peter 2:5, 9-10) and strangers (1 Peter 2:11).  Jesus Himself called us fishermen (Matthew 4:19), salt (Matthew 5:13), light (Matthew 5:14-16) and branches (John 15:5).

When Paul reminds Timothy of his sixth duty, being pure, he starts by comparing people to dishes and containers of wood or clay (2 timothy 2:20-21).  Some are clean and useful for many purposes; others have become polluted and unclean so are no longer useful.  The same is true of the Christians in Ephesus.  We must be ready and useful for service, having kept ourselves clean inside and out.  We must be available for whenever needed.

Then Paul gets specific about what can cause uncleanliness and what must be avoided.  He lists evil desires (verse 22), foolish and stupid talk (verse 23), quarreling (verse 24) and not being open to instruction (verses 25-26).

“Flee the evil desires of youth” (2 Timothy 2:22).  Those who are young are often more susceptible to sexual sins and other sins like arguing, pride, opposing the established ways and thinking they know best.  Instead, righteousness, faith, love and peace should be pursued.

“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments” (2 Timothy 2:23).  Avoid false teachings and false teachers.  Not only are they wrong, but they cause arguments among believers.  Those today who promote legalism (no grace, only works) or liberalism (no works, only grace) are to be corrected.

“The Lord’s servant must not quarrel” (2 Timothy 2:24).  Stay away from false teachings and you’ll stay away from a lot of arguing.  Instead, Paul says we are to be kind to everyone by showing grace and being gentle and loving.  We are to always be ready to communicate God’s truth to others (1 Peter 3:15) and we are to not be resentful.  We are to forgive those we have quarreled with.

“Opponents must be gently instructed” (2 Timothy 2:25-26) so they see the error of their wrong beliefs and turn to the truth.  Those deluded by false teachings are trapped by Satan and need to escape his influence.

As pastors today, these words of Paul to Timothy apply to us as well.  We need to be clean vessels so God can use us for whatever assignment or responsibility He wants to give us.  That means we must avoid false teaching and only follow His Word.  We must stop any lies from spreading in our church and reach out to those who are misled and lead them into the truth.  Wrong teachings includes teachings that claim God will give us everything we ask for, that we should never be sick or struggle with difficulties, that He will do whatever miracles we want to make our life easier and that tone down the seriousness of sin and disobedience.  Know His Word and seek His guidance in all things.

PAUL’S ADVICE:  Live a pure, holy life by turning from sin and opposing all false teaching.

Matthew 5:8  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Psalm 51:10  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Where is your greatest struggle with purity? 

What must you do to have victory?


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