A Workman Approved (Part 5)
1. 2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
a. King James translation: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
b. We need to study the word of God so that we can understand what it means so that we can handle it correctly. Know the context also of scriptures, the story going on around the scriptures. Many times we think we are solid in our knowledge only to discover years later that we did not know all we needed to know. Concordance studies are a great way to study God's word & make us more knowledgeable.
2. 2 Timothy 2: 20-21 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
a. Paul is urging Timothy to be someone that could be used by God to do the noblest work. He did not want him to settle for less than the best. Paul says to cleanse ourselves of the latter, the ignoble. What does ignoble mean? It means as an adjective to be of lowly character. Noble as an adjective means to posses outstanding qualities. Paul is saying that the person of high character & outstanding qualities is useful to God and prepared to do any good work.
b. Shed the gunk that is displeasing to God and let him use you. If you are not sure what needs to be cleansed from your life then try to take God and Jesus around with you for a week of your life. Mentally picture them working, driving, sitting, eating, watching TV, surfing the net, and talking with you each moment of the day for a week. Ask yourself “Would I really be having this conversation if Jesus was physically standing here with me? Would I be watching this show if God was physically sitting down in my living room? Would I yell at my kids like that if Jesus was standing right beside me?” We would all be surprised at how much we need to cleanse if we could just imagine God and Jesus physically and visibly standing with us as we live instead of hiding their presence inside us and only pulling them out when we are cleaned up and ready. Cleansing is a process, it takes time. Some things take longer than others to cleanse, the point is to just not be frustrated with our progress and keep transforming into His image.
3. 2 Peter 1:5-8 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
a. The L.A.B. explains this beautifully: “Faith must be more than belief in certain facts; it must result in action, growth in Christian character, and the practice of moral discipline, or it will die away (James 2:14-17). Peter lists several of faith’s actions: learning to know God better, developing perseverance, doing God’s will, loving others. These actions do not come automatically; they require hard work. They are not optional; all of them must be a continual part of the Christian life. We don’t finish one and start on the next, but we work on them all together. God empowers and enables us, but he also gives us the responsibility to learn and grow. We should not be surprised at or resentful of the process.
4. Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your understanding in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
a. If I asked you to lean on me what would I be doing? I would be supporting you, if I dropped you then you would fall but if I stayed still and firm then you would be supported. Who would you rather lean on, yourself or God? Trust him fully and He will guide you and your paths, the decisions you must make, He will make them straight for you.
b. Acknowledge Him and look to God for guidance. He knows us better than we do and when God asks us to do something it does not always make sense to us and we question him. But God’s ways are not our ways and He has a purpose for what He asks you to do. Just trust in Him to lead the way. How many times in the past can you look back and say “Oh, that all makes sense now.”
5. 1 Corinthians 4:2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
a. Faith is an action, it is not passive. We must prove ourselves faithful (doers) of what God has entrusted us to do.
b. If God can’t count on us to be faithful (do) the small things He asks, how can we expect him to give us the big things?
c. Often God starts with small tasks for us. He will reveal more for you as you prove faithful (do) all that He asks of you. If we are waiting on some grand and wonderful ministry to be given to us because we just know that’s what we are called to do without being willing to be faithful to even the smallest beginnings then we need to do a reality check.
d. Be faithful to do what God asks you to do. We need to seek His will daily and be faithful to it.
6. Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
a. Paul is urging them, not asking or suggesting. This points to the importance of what he is saying.
b. Because we have been redeemed by the mercy of God by the blood of Jesus we should want to lay down our desires each day to live fully for Christ who lives in us.
c. How do we worship spiritually? By offering up our lives as living sacrifices is how we worship God in our spirit. This is pleasing to God.
When we do this we daily say “Lord, I am in your hands. Where are we going and what are we doing today?” You become a vessel that God can use and accomplish His work through. Daily you are tuning in and waiting for direction, for promptings from His Holy Spirit. You are studying God’s word and transforming into His likeness. That is how you worship in spirit. Take a moment and think about the part of this scripture that talks about what our spiritual act of worship is and consider how you are living your life right now and how it fits in to this scripture. If you are truly seeking God’s will for you and desire to live out His good and perfect plans then this is something that you are going to have to do. Daily offer Him a willing, obedient vessel and desire more of Him. It sounds scary but it is what God created you for, to worship Him, to love others and to spread the gospel.
d. We should be transforming our minds daily. We should seek to become more like Jesus and want less of the old sinful things. The Word will change you. A personal relationship with God will change you. Listening to the Holy Spirit inside you will change you.
e. This verse is your road map! If you are seeking His will and truly want to live the life that God has planned for you then these two verses are your road map. What does the last sentence say? Yes, that’s right it said if you offer up your life as a living sacrifice (willing to lay down your desires but to live for God’s plans instead) and you come not wanting to be conformed any longer to this world but instead to be transformed by the renewing of your mind and you actually do it (not just say you want to do it and then go back to the normal day to day life but actually do it) then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is for you.
f. Notice it says approve also, you will be able to test (meaning you get to do His will) and then approve of it. The approve part of this should help to calm any fears that we have about truly surrendering our lives to God. It’s not about us, but God does love us and He does want us to be joyful. If we are miserable while serving Him then what good can we do? If God wants to take you in a new direction then He will place that desire in your heart also. We may be asked sometimes to do things that make us uncomfortable to test us or to grow us but God does not want to make your life miserable. You will find that God’s will is good, pleasing and perfect.
Now you have your road map to discovering God’s will for your life. It is a choice where you go from here that you alone can make.
From the book Gracewalk- Steve McVey
“I give God permission to do anything He wishes to me, with me, in me, or through me that would glorify Him. I once claimed these rights as mine, but now they belong to God and are under His control. He can do with them anything He pleases.”
Consider praying this to your Father. If you truly mean it and desire this God will answer this prayer and your life will never be the same.
I would just like to add once again that these are my teacher notes for the study and of course during our physical meeting we have much more indepth conversations on the scriptures & bullet points. I know it is a lot of information, our class lasts about an hour and 15 minutes. Please can I enourage you to copy and paste the entire study to a Word document so that you can come back and look at it at your leisure? It will always be there for you. I would love for all six parts of this study to just permeate inside of all of us and hear back from you about all the wonderful things that God is doing in all of you!