A Prepared Vessel, 2 Tim 2:21

2 Tim 2:21 is about a prepared vessel which is prepared unto every good work.  To do any good work for the Lord, the vessel should be prepared before the work is undertaken.  

It’s not that the Lord can’t get something done in a vessel that’s not fully prepared. But, rather, the Lord can get everything he wants done in a prepared vessel that is prepared unto every good work.

In sermon preparation, I practice and teach this routine.  Ponder the message, prepare the messenger, prepare the message, and preach the message.  The messenger has to be a prepared vessel for God to get the message across.

So tonight we’re going to discuss how to be prepared unto every good work.  This sermon is about vessel preparation.  To be fully prepared a vessel must be:

Searched by the Lord – Ps 139:23-24.

Search me and know my heart.  Try me and know my thoughts.  This is not a quick, casual search.  This is a patient and thorough examination of the heart and thoughts of the vessel.  Be still.  Be quiet.  Be honest.  Let the still small voice of the Lord speak.  Let his words in the Bible tell you what’s really in your heart and mind.  

On one occasion, the Lord may show you something like, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin”.  Ecc 5:3 says, “A fool’s voice is known by multitude of words”.  Oh Lord, I talk too much.  And so you quit talking so much.  Then soon you meet with a person who just needs a good ear and shoulder to sort ‘it’ out.

But then, on a later occasion, he’ll show you something else.  He’s always preparing the vessel for the work he wants done.  When you get used to this process, it is amazing how the Lord addresses the very things in you that need to be properly prepared before the next sermon is preached or the next work is done.

Washed in the blood – 1 Jn 1:7-9.

When the Lord shows you something that he wants you to address, you need to repent of what you were thinking or what sin was in your heart.  When you confess it, the Lord forgives and cleanses it.  How much more shall the blood of Christ purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God, Heb 9:14.

When you realize the price Jesus had to pay to clean that sin, you are much more careful about committing it again in the future.  

Bathed in the word – Jn 15:3; Eph 5:26.

This is that slow thoughtful reading of the word.  Where you meditate on the words and ponder the thoughts the Lord is revealing to you through his words.  He really cleans you up with a thorough reading of his words.  It’s like when you wash in the word “Do you wash behind your spiritual ears and do you brush your spiritual teeth”? 

Filled with the Spirit – Eph 5:18.

When the vessel is purged and empty it is ready to be filled with something.  Be careful not to fill it with the world.  This is not the time to delve into social media, the news, your emails, your texts, your favorite program on television, or a movie.  This is the time to pray for the Spirit of God to fill you to the brim and to overflowing, Acts 4:31.

Conclusion: do these four things.  Be a prepared vessel searched by the Lord, washed in the blood, bathed in the word, and filled with the Spirit.  Get used to this process and be faithful to do these regularly, particularly before doing a good work for the Lord.