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Grace Bible Church
Pastor Teacher
Robert R. McLaughlin
Tree of Life
Weekly Review
Whether you are a vessel of honor or dishonor depends on your free will decisions concerning who and what you choose to follow.

We have been noting some of the unique aspects of the Church-age which is the place that all of us can see the importance of the different aspects of the predesigned plan of God and the personal sense of destiny for each believer. They all are different descriptions of the “New Spiritual Life that we are all called to learn, live, and enjoy the privileges that our Lord left for all of us to remind ourselves the privileges and the honor that we have been called to.

  1. Such as the fact that we are known as the Last Adam and the New Creation; 2CO 5:17, GAL 6:15. The first Adam was crucified and nailed to the cross and when our Lord died and was crucified in our place and so did, we die of baptism and identification though our union and baptism with our Lord. Therefore, when He was crucified, we were crucified with Him.
  2. The Head and the Body is another description that is used to identify the closeness and the intimacy we can all have with our God if we desire to be close to Him.

The Head = The Lord Jesus Christ.

The Body = Every believer in the Church-age.

  1. The Shepherd and the Sheep. As our shepherd, He promises to take care of all of us in spite of our ignorance and rejection of Bible doctrine or the Word of God.
  2. The fourth decision that describes the believer is the Vine and the Branches with emphasis on the importance of the unity; JOH 15:1-8.
  3. The Cornerstone and the building is the fifth description of the Bride (Church) and the Bridegroom, our Lord Jesus Christ.
  4. The High Priest and the Royal Priesthood describes the privacy we also have with our Lord.
  5. The Groom and the Bride analogy describes our intimacy with the Lord.
  6. And the final description is the King of kings and the Royal Family of God; 1PE 2:5; 2:9; REV 1:6.

This expresses our royalty.

Now, in JOH 2:5-6, His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each.

The Greek noun hudria which is translated waterpots, vessels, according to the Greek Scholar Joseph Thayer. And so, the six waterpots represented six followers of our Lord, some from following John the Baptist along with some our Lord chose before He went to the wedding. No longer were the Jews to be cleansed by the ceremony of pouring clean water in the vessels or waterpots and wash them and then empty out all of the water and pour new water in the vessel. They were just to fill the vessel to the brim then pour the pure clean water into the waterpots or vessels but now they could be cleansed by believing upon the Lord and enjoy the life that He gave you.

So, He tells the servants to draw water and fill the jars or put clean water in the waterpots or the empty vessels for the Jewish custom of purification. Instead, our Lord told them to bring the water to the headwaiter and let him test it so He can taste it to see if it was good enough to drink, which he drank it and found it to be heavenly wine.

JOH 2:7-11, Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the headwaiter.” And they took it to him. And when the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when men have drunk freely, then that which is poorer; you have kept the good wine until now.” This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and (His disciples believed in Him.

Now, in spite of the fact that God begins the work and completes it, we do have a part in the work that He began. And that is why some believers will be winners and some will be losers and some will receive rewards, however, the majority will lose their rewards. And this is what Paul had in mind just before his death when he wrote Second Timothy.

2TI 2:20-22, 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. Therefore, if a man cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue the Word of God with experiential righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Go forward to 2TI 4:6-8, For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Then in 2TI 4:14-18, Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our doctrinal teaching. At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me, in order that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was delivered out of the lion's mouth. The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

The point is every believer is a vessel. In fact, the Bible describes the human body of the born-again believer in the Church-age as a vessel in 1TH 4:4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor. And so, this verse says there are some believers who are vessels unto honor and there are other believers who are vessels unto dishonor. Some believers are being prepared through progressive sanctification through the word and through the Spirit to have a great impact in history.

Progressive sanctification means that you are doing your best to know the PPOG, the problem-solving devices, your personal sense of destiny and why you were created.

Sanctification has three different meanings:
1. Positional Sanctification = received at salvation.
2. Experiential Sanctification = set apart in time.
3. Ultimate Sanctification = The final destiny for eternity.

So, some believers are being prepared through progressive sanctification or through the Spirit and the word and have a great impact in history. On the other hand, other believers through negative volition are becoming vessels unto dishonor. Whether you are a vessel of honor or a vessel of dishonor depends on one thing in your life = Your free will or volition concerning what you choose to follow. And so, our Lord is a perfect gentleman and never violates our choices or our free will. And these are even the believers who react against the word of God and adopt the cosmic agenda as their own personal self-agenda rather than the divine agenda.

So, Paul is saying very bluntly something that most believers don't understand the mystery of the fact that there are two types of believers. One that is being fitted out for honorable purposes called good work which in 2TI 2:21 means having a positive historical impact with divinely good production.

The other type of believers are loser believers, usually very moral and very self-righteous, works oriented, phony, but most of all double-faced. 2TI 2:20, Now in a great house [body of Christ] there are not only gold and silver vessels,

The gold and silver vessels represent believers in the pivot. Believers who called gold are those who have reached the place of having maximum glorification of God and are ready to suffer for blessing by being a vessel prepared to be a witness for the prosecution in the midst of the angelic conflict. Believers in the silver are those who have reached at least the second stage of spiritual adulthood which is spiritual autonomy or spiritual independence and they keep on plugging.

2TI 2:20, Now in a great house there are not only gold and silver vessels [believers with PVTD], but also vessels of wood and of earthenware,

The point is that every believer has the opportunity to be used by the Lord as gold or silver or precious stones which all glorify the Lord in some way.

Vessels of wood and earthenware are vessels of dishonor. Wood represents humanity or the flesh and those of wood and earthenware are born again believers either in carnality or reversionism. And one vessel is for an honorable purpose and one is for a dishonorable purpose. Many vessels of dishonor are moral people but they assume that morality is spirituality. And these are the biggest drag on our nation today.

Most believers enter into religious fanaticism, self-righteous arrogance, Christian activism, and some even assume that violence is a way to solve problems such as blowing up Abortion Clinics, hurting doctors who perform abortions and nurses and workers who help them.

This is the garbage that we are being fed every day from those especially who are suckers to believe Religion and the fourth estate of the nation which is rightly described as “Fake News.” And these are made up of the believers who are salt who have lost their savor. And when the savor is gone from the salt then the salt is worthless. In fact, it's not only worthless but it has a negative impact on the land and it is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men said the Lord Jesus Christ. This may be one of the reasons why our nation is having so many problems and things to be concerned about because we may be under divine discipline.

2TI 2:20-21, Now in a great house [the body of Christ] there are not only gold and silver vessels [believers with PVTD], but also vessels of wood and of earthenware [carnal and reversionistic believers], and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself away from these things [the characteristics of the dishonorable vessels, the reversionistic believers], he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified,

Now, the word sanctified refers again to progressive sanctification which is the will of God or the agenda of God for all of His children. And that means that believers are taking in the word of God. They are rebounding when necessary. They are making progress by means of the perception, metabolization, and application of the word of God, JOH 17:17. As our Lord said in JOH 17:17, “Sanctify them [progressively] by means of the truth; Your word or doctrine is truth.” = known as experiential sanctification. And that means the believer is beginning to enjoy freedom from the control of the soul by the sin nature. Freedom from the cosmic system controlling his mind. Freedom from diabolical influences from principalities and powers. He has freedom from false doctrine, whether it comes from human viewpoint called doctrines of men in EPH 4:14, or from satanic fronts called doctrines of demons, 1TI 4:1. He becomes free from the cosmic consensus or the opinion of people without Christ and Christians without doctrine; ROM 12:2.

And that's what it means in 2TI 2:21 when it says, if anyone cleanses himself away from these things. This is a passage that is directly related to our Lord’s first miracle.

2TI 2:21, Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself away from these things [the characteristics of the dishonorable vessels, the reversionistic believers], he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified [set apart], useful to the Master,

Now why is the word vessel used?

It is the noun skeuos and it means vessel because a vessel is something that is empty and all born again believers are empty when they first become saved and they need to be filled by the power of the Spirit and the intake of doctrine.

Therefore, if the believer makes decisions under perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine, he will add the mind of Christ to his empty vessel. Also notice the last phrase in 2TI 2:21, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master. And the word Master refers to the owner of the house or the vessel who for us is God. The born-again believers who go for progressive sanctification become a vessel for honor, sanctified [set apart] for a very profitable use by God.

Next, we have the phrase having been prepared [because the verb is in the perfect tense] for every good work. All vessels have been prepared for every good work according to EPH 1:3-5, 2:8-10.

EPH 2:8-10, For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

2TI 2:21, Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself away from these things [the characteristics of the dishonorable vessels, the reversionistic believers], he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, [set apart] for very profitable use to the Master, having been prepared for every good work.

In the Greek the phrase “good work” is “agathon ergon” which doesn't mean good works in the sense of moral deeds, it means having a positive impact and many profitable accomplishments through the production of divine good. It means personal impact defined as blessing by association with the mature believer who executes the PPOG through the function of the spiritual mechanics.

This results in PSA 23:5, Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.

It means historical impact defined as blessing by association to the Gentile client nation through the formation of the pivot of mature believers. This principle is mentioned in JOH 8:12, Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

It means international impact and fulfilling the great commission by obeying MAT 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

It also means angelic impact defined as the invisible hero becoming a witness for the Prosecution in the rebuttal phase of Satan's appeal trial during human history as illustrated by Job. It means heritage impact which is blessing by association with the invisible hero after his death. So progressive sanctification makes one an honorable vessel.

And the honorable vessel is simply the born-again believer who through PVTD and exploitation of divine grace becomes a vessel of honor.

2TI 2:22, Now flee from youthful lusts, The word youthful means juvenile lust. Juvenile lusts include approbation lust, the need for recognition and approval by your peers...something most pastors desire to have all the time. It includes power lust which is the worst of all, for almost all other lusts are related to this one, especially if you have any inferiority problems. It includes stimulation lust which has many parts, in which we cater to the nerve centers and functions of our body in the name of pleasure. This is sexual lust or lasciviousness. Drunkenness. Drug addiction. It includes anger lust or cruelty.

So, in 2TI 2:22, Now flee from juvenile lusts, and pursue righteousness [experiential righteousness, the divine agenda instead of your own agenda], faith [doctrine], virtue-love and prosperity, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. It means those who exalt rapport with God above rapport with people. So, Paul says do this with those who attach themselves to the Lord.

2TI 2:22, Now flee from juvenile lusts, and pursue righteousness [experiential righteousness, the divine agenda instead of your own agenda], faith [doctrine], virtue-love and prosperity, with those who attach themselves to the Lord from a pure heart.

The word pure is the adjective katharas which means a cleansed heart referring to rebound. The cleansed heart comes from rebound. And then the cleansing of the word going throughout the soul.

2TI 2:23, But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations,

The Greek word for speculations is the noun zeteseis which means doctrinal controversies for the purpose of debating and arguing, it also means argumentative debate and dialogues which are useless and of no instructional value.

2TI 2:23, But refuse foolish and ignorant arguments about doctrine, knowing that they produce quarrels.

And the word quarrels is the noun machas which means contentions, fights, quarrels, battles and conflicts.

Now the point is in spite of the fact that God begins the work and completes it, we do have a part in it if we desire! Ultimately, we are all going to be glorified by God the Father as a part of Him completing the absolute good work that He began in us. This is why we read in PHI 1:6,{For I am} confident of this very thing, that He [God the Father] who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

We are all going to be glorified by God the Father as a part of Him completing the absolute good work that He began in us. This is one of the many reasons that the apostle Paul said to the Corinthians 2CO 13:5, Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you‑‑ unless indeed you fail the test?

I can give you three basic tests that a believer can take to find out if God the Father has begun an absolute good work in them.

The first test is when our faith is operative or functioning as God desires us to follow His plan, PHI 2:6; JAM 2:14-19.

JAM 2:14-19, What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for {their} body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, {being} by itself. But someone may {well} say, “You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

A second test you can take to see if God has begun a good work in you is when your love is laborious, 1JO 3:14-18, We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world's goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

Our love is not to be in words only but in deeds and in truth.

A third test you can take is if your hope and confidence in the plan of God remains and you don't quit, HEB 6:17-19, In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, in order that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a {hope} both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil,

There will be many things that will come in to try and shatter your hope and confidence concerning the plan of God for your life. And that is one of the main doctrinal principles where they have to completely quit. I'm not saying they were never saved, I'm simply saying no one really knows except the Lord. No matter who it is, do not get shocked at those who are with you and those who are not.

1JO 2:19, They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.

These are some groups of people who have perseverance and self-determination with regard to their intake of doctrine. And, no matter how many setbacks, or problems or areas, of carnality or any other factor that might be a hindrance to the believer growing in God’s grace and truth, must be dealt with. These people inevitably push on through and reach all of the divine objectives designed by God, especially those who have P.V.T.D.

What do I mean when I say that these types of believers inevitably push on through and reach all of the divine objectives designed by God? I mean that in PHI 3:1, the apostle Paul says; Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you. Paul is saying, I never get tired of telling you these things and I do it to safeguard or to protect you and your faith.

And so, it was the serious students of the word of God who when they were pushed back by Satan and his kingdom, they simply came back stronger than ever and they did not get discouraged. And remember this principle, no matter how many times you have a setback, if you're still alive, God has one purpose for you and that's for you to advance in your spiritual life.

We need to remind ourselves constantly that He is the one Who created us brand new in 2CO 5:17, Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Therefore, His wisdom and power should afford us some ground of confidence. If He has created us brand new then in EPH 2:10, then we are His workmanship, in order that He may reveal the power of His grace in us and He will not permit His enemies to destroy His purposes in our life. God is able to finish what He started within us namely the absolute good work that you and I can produce by following Him and His Word.

He's the One who said in LUK 14:28-30, “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.”

Satan would be able to cast a lot of insults and accusations upon God and His people, if He failed in accomplishing our transformation as a great manifestation of man's salvation. God has entered into a covenant or a contract with us and He has confirmed that new covenant with an oath of promise. And God has promised that He has fulfilled His covenant within us already. Our Lord has made a covenant or a contract with us which is much better than any other covenant or contract that He has made to us which He will never change.

In HEB 7:22, our Lord Jesus Christ has now become the guarantee of a better covenant to all those who believe.

At the Last Supper, our Lord taught this principle to all of His disciples and for all those who would follow Him in the future, including you and me.

Look at MAT 26:26-28, And while they were eating, Jesus took {some} bread, and after a blessing, He broke {it} and gave {it} to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is OR REPRESENTS My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave {it} to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is [or this keeps on representing] My blood [His blood represents His work on the cross] of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. And while they were eating, Jesus took {some} bread, and after a blessing, He broke {it} and gave {it} to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave {it} to them, saying, Drink from it, all of you; for this is [or represents] My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”

The phrase “for many” is “peri polus” which in the original language means “for the many” which is refers to the entire human race. This is an eternal covenant or contract that the Lord wrote up for all of us who would believe Him and His word. For remember, the original Greek language makes a distinction between the believer and the unbeliever in passages like 1TI 4:10, For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

The apostle Paul also made a distinction to this covenant beginning in 2CO 3:2-6, You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. And such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as {coming} from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate {as} servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Notice the distinction between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The Old covenant is said to be the letter that kills because it was impossible for anyone to follow it or to fulfill it. Whereas the New Covenant gives us life and peace and prosperity and all of those principles that we noted last week called the fruit of the Spirit. GAL 5:22-23 is the shortest life of Christ ever written, for the fruit of the Spirit is the outliving of the in-living Christ. When a believer understands the difference between “Christian character” and human morality and live according to the “New Life” or the “New Covenant” then the manifestation of the nine graces in GAL 5:22-23, then they will live in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.

When the believer lives in the new life of the New Covenant, the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit presents a spiritual portrait of Christ. And this character is possible because of the believer's union with Christ and it is the fruit of the Spirit in those believers who have learned to rely on the indwelling power of God the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, (GAL 5:22-23).

The writer of the book of Hebrews has much to say to those who are now under a New Covenant. HEB 8:6-13, But now He [TLJC] has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. For if that first {covenant} had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. For finding fault with them, He says, “Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, When I will effect a new covenant With the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers On the day when I took them by the hand To lead them out of the land of Egypt; For they did not continue in My covenant, And I did not care for them, says the Lord. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel After those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds, And I will write them upon their hearts. And I will be their God, And they shall be My people. And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, And everyone his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' For all shall know Me, From the least to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And I will remember their sins no more.”  When He said, “A new {covenant},” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.”

This New Covenant is based upon the performance of the grace of God reminding all of us the following passages and principles. Not only do we HEB 8:12, For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more

HEB 10:17, And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.

MIC 7:18-19, who is a God like thee, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? Yes you will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

PSA 103:12, As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

ISA 38:17, …For You have cast all their sins behind their back.

JER 31:34, …For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more

PSA 103:10, He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

PSA 65:3, …As far our transgressions Thou dost forgive them.

COL 2:13, ...He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us ALL our transgressions,

ISA 43:25, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake [because of my honor and integrity]. Furthermore, I will not remember your sin.”

PSA 85:2, You did forgive the iniquity of Your people; you did cover “All” their sin.

Think of it, the Lord has not covered some of your sin, but ALL of your sin.

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