"I am the vine, you are the branches"
Vessels of Honor
2 Timothy 2:20-21 tells us, "In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work." We want to take a look at what it takes to be vessels of honor.
In the temple the priests used all sorts of vessels in their daily service to God.
Pots, shovels, sprinkling basins, and dishes were all made for the temple. Exodus 27:3 tells us, "You shall make pots for it to receive its ashes, and shovels and basins and forks and firepans. You shall make all its utensils of bronze." Exodus 40:10 says, "You shall also anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and consecrate the altar, so that the altar may become most holy." Other places also talk about the temple vessels: 1 Kings 7:45, 2 Chronicles 4:11, Jeremiah 52:18 to name a few. Because the temple was a holy place, everything in the temple had to be holy from the smallest vessel to the priestly garments to the priests themselves. Everything had to be washed and sprinkled with the blood of a sacrificed animal, which we see in Hebrews 9:19-22, "For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.' And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."
This scripture tells us why everything had to be sprinkled with blood, for forgiveness, to make everything clean and holy. So you say, "What does this have to do with me?" Let's continue to look a little closer.
The Making of a Holy Vessel
Romans 9:21 asks the question. "Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?" God is the Potter and we are the clay in God's hands to mold and fashion. We whom the potter molds into various vessels are also in His hands to use. Paul tells us in Romans 12:4, "We have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function." So does this mean that one person is greater than another? 1 Corinthians 12:14-27, "For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,' that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,' nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.' On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Messiah and individually members of it."
We see here that we are all important and we must give honor to all. So then what's with these vessels of honor if we are all to give each other honor? This is true, but in this case it is us who are giving honor to other people. We want to be vessels of honor to God, and to do this we must do a few things. So let's start by looking at the first thing we must to.
The Walk of Honor
Romans 12:1-2 tells us, "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." We must start by laying down our lives on the altar. Galatians 5:24 says, "Now those who belong to Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."
Yeshua Himself tells us in Luke 9:23, "Then He said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.'" We see that we must die to sin, to ourselves, to the world. We must be a willing sacrifice for God by putting aside our desires, our lives, and be an offering unto the Lord. Yeshua tells us in Matthew 10:39, 16:25, "For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake, you will find it."
So we see, if we say, "No, I want to live my own life," that we will actually lose eternal life. Mark 8:35 tells us this way: "For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for me and for the gospel, you will save it." James 4:4 tells us, "You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." James tells us that we are adulterous if we are friends of the world. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:16 says, "For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever."
So we as believers should be separated from the world. Yes, we live in the world but we can not be part of it, its worldview, its ways, its words. We must be holy because God is holy. We must be light, for He is light. 1 John 1:5-9 tells us, "This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
So if we want to be vessels of honor then we must put God first, but this means that we have a heart for God. The Jewish prayer called the Shema, which means "hear" in Hebrew (and not just hear like listen, which is part of it, but hear as in do what you hear), says this:
"Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord alone." [The first commandments says, "You shall not have any other gods before Me."]
"Blessed be He whose glorious kingdom is eternal." [In Luke 1:33, the angel tells Mary, "And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."]
"And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your life and with all your strength." [Deuteronomy 6:4, Mark 12:29-30, Yeshua tells the people that this is the greatest of all the commandments.]
"These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts." [This is a reference to the ten commandments given on Mount Sinai. The psalmist writes in Psalm 119:11, "Thy word I have hidden in my heart so I may not sin against thee."]
"Impress them on your children." [Proverbs 22:6 tells us to train up a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it. Genesis 18:19 speaks of Abraham, "For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him."]
"Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." [Psalm 19:14 tells us, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer." Colossian 3:17 says, "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father."]
"Tie them as reminders on your hand and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." [Proverbs 6:22 says, "I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken." Psalm 16:8, I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken."]
So we see that to be a vessels of honor, we must have not only a life for God, but that we must have a godly household, raising up our children to be godly by not only teaching but by being an example. Paul tells the Corinthians, "Follow my example as I follow Messiah."
One last thing in this walk, and it is probably the first and foremost, and that is to have a fear of the Lord. Proverbs 1:7 tells us, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, fools despise wisdom and instruction." Psalm 128:1-4 says, "How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways. When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine within your house, your children like olive plants around your table."
Let us draw close to God, giving ourselves over to Him, and let us determine in our hearts today that we want to be a vessel in the hand of God; and not just any vessel, but a vessel of honor by renewing our minds and becoming living sacrifices. 1 Peter 2:4-5 tells us, "And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,
you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." Colossians 2:6-7 says, "Therefore as you have received Messiah, so walk in him having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude."
Paul reminds the Corinthians that we are the temple of the Lord. If so, then we want to be a holy vessel of honor in the hand of our Great High Priest Yeshua.