—Treasure Beyond Measure

Noble Vessels

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. 21 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. (NIV84)

This is a very important passage for us to understand. What role you are to play is not predestined. It is not your "destiny" to be in the situation that you are in. If you cleanse yourself from the ignoble you will be an instrument useful to God for good purpose. To understand what I am saying we must first establish the unchangeablity of God's plan.

Isaiah 14:24-27

The LORD Almighty has sworn, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand. 25 I will crush the Assyrian in my land; on my mountains I will trample him down. His yoke will be taken from my people, and his burden removed from their shoulders." 26 This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations. 27 For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back? (NIV84)

God has laid out a plan for the bringing to life of the children of God. This plan was formed before the beginning of creation. Nothing can alter God's plan. Please understand what I am saying. There is nothing in the world today that God did not plan for; nothing. The evil that is here, God knew would come as a result of sin. The good that is here, God has given.

Matthew 24:35

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (NIV84)


Matthew 5:18

I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (NIV84)

You might think that because God did not tell us about airplanes and computers and atomic bombs and such, that they are not part of the plan, but you would be wrong. There is nothing in the world today that God did not plan for; nothing.

1 Corinthians 2:7

No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. (NIV84)


Ephesians 1:11-12

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. (NIV84)

God works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his plan; everything. This passage is frequently misinterpreted. People think that is says that their destiny is predestined, but it is the plan that is predestined. You, if you cleanse yourself from ignoble things, will be useful to the Master for good purposes.

Isaiah 46:10-11

I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. 11 From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do. (NIV84)

People think that they can make a change to the world, but they cannot, beyond what God has ordained. Some think that they can fix the world; it cannot be fixed. The world is headed toward the Day of God's Vengeance. The world will be laid waste. No one can change that fact. It is written; it will come to pass at the appointed time.

I listen to scientist's today talk about all of the things that they are doing and they are so filled with pride and arrogance. God is allowing them to build their tower that reaches so high as to reach into heaven, so that its collapse will be great. The pride and arrogance of man will be thrown down. Everything that opposes God will be dashed to pieces.

So we can think of the world, and the plan of God, as a play that is being played out. We are the prospective actors. God is the casting director as well as the producer and main director. What part we get to play is dependent upon us, but not in the way that you might imagine. We do not get the part that we necessarily want, but the part that we are suited to. What I mean is that we might want the role of holy apostle, or prophet of God, but unless your walk with God is consistent with that role you will not get what you want.

If you rid yourself of all unholiness, and unrighteousness, that is, make yourself suitable to the Master for every good purpose, then a good purpose you will get to play.

Some people live a life that cries out for destruction, but you must let another play the part of enforcer. What I am saying is this: if a person does an injustice to you or someone close to you, you must not seek to punish that person. Let someone else have that role. You should be preparing yourself for a better role.

Matthew 5:39-42

But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (NIV84)

Jesus was not kidding when he said the above passage. He, himself, did not strike back when he was struck. He played the ultimate role, and he told us what we should do to please God.

We will be tested, and if we are found to be like Christ, then God will allow us to play the roles that bring everlasting benefit. If we fail the tests, repeatedly, then we will get to play the role of murder victim or some such.

This is not a game, my friends. This is for keeps. Everything that goes on in the world is part of the plan, but what part we play is dependent upon us. God knows our hearts. He knows if we are trying, or if we are just going through the motions.

If you are willing and obedient God will raise you in the way of righteousness. If you are filled with pride and arrogance you will be knocked down in hope that you will come to your senses.

I have been using the analogy of a play and actors, but you must be very careful to be sincere in all that you do. You cannot act good and expect to get a good role. God will test you to see if you are acting or if you are truly obedient. Many people act good. They go to church two and three times a week. They give to the church. They are deacons and elders and pastors and such, but when they are tested they are found to be just ordinary people, not supernaturally good at all.

1 Corinthians 3:1-4

Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly -- mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? 4 For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men? (NIV84)

Are you, my friend, mature in Christ; knowledgeable about the subtleties of the Word, or are you pretty much just like those of the world when the testing comes? Are you living a life consistent with the role of apostle, or something less? My friend, if you are not aspiring to live up to the better roles, what hope is there of you attaining them?

1 Corinthians 12:27-31

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts. (NIV84)

What do you desire to be, my friend? Do you desire to be an apostle? or perhaps a prophet? Maybe you desire to be a Spirit led teacher of the Word? You should eagerly desire to be useful to the Master in some good capacity.

It is not an easy thing to be given a godly role. Those in the Bible that were given the opportunity to be Israel's savior were all tested before they got the role. You can read about Joseph in Genesis chapters thirty-seven through to the end of Genesis. Joseph received a couple of dreams from God that showed that he would be over his brothers and even his parents. These dreams caused his brothers to hate him and they conspired to kill him, but then decided to sell him as a slave. As a slave in Egypt Joseph did not lose faith, but persevered and became the best slave. Joseph was handsome and so he was tested in this too. His master's wife wanted to sleep with him, but Joseph fled from her. She then, enraged and humiliated, accused Joseph unfairly of attempted rape and had him cast into jail. Even then Joseph did not lose faith. He trusted in God. Joseph spent years in prison before God elevated him to second in all Egypt.

If you want a role like the role that Joseph had, you must prove your obedience as he did. You must bear up under unjust oppression. You must remain obedient and faithful to the Lord, no matter what.

Consider Jesus also. Jesus was one with God in Heaven, but he emptied himself and became a man. He was born to poor parents in a bankrupt country. He was the literal Son of God, and yet those that were unworthy of tying his sandals treated him like dirt, but he did not strike back.

Jesus was worthy of all honor and privilege, but he had to learn obedience, just like you and me.

Hebrews 2:10

In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. (NIV84)


Hebrews 5:8-10

Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. (NIV84)

If Jesus had to learn obedience and be made perfect through suffering, do you really think that it is not necessary for you?

The thing that I find most amazing about how Jesus endured his trials is that he had the power to stop them, but instead said,Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me? John 18:11 (NIV84)

My friend, if you are truly a Christian, then there is nothing that will come against you that the Father has not ordained. He is testing you. You must bear up and press on. Once you are perfected God will use you for his good purpose.

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (NIV84)

This is not true for those that do not belong to God. They are fodder in God's plan. They are those that take the fall from which there is no recovery.

Romans 9:14-18

What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16 It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. (NIV84)

There are many roles to play in this world. God may select you for a role of great prosperity and power. In the case of Pharaoh at the time of the exodus of Israel, God prospered the nation of Egypt and its ruler. Pharaoh is symbolic of Satan and his rule of the world. Egypt is symbolic of the world. The children of God were held as slaves in Satan's kingdom, but God came and destroyed the world and liberated his children. This is symbolic of the Second Coming of the Lord and the subsequent destruction of the world and the re-establishment of the nation of Israel.

At the time of Moses, God orchestrated events so that they would be teaching tools for the real thing, that is yet in our future. God prospered Egypt and Pharaoh so that he could demonstrate to his loved ones his saving power. Everything that God does is for the benefit of those that love him. Even the horrible testing that you may be undergoing is for your benefit. If you love God, you can be sure that he loves you and will do whatever is required to make you perfect.

Romans 9:19-21

One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" 20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?'" 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? (NIV84)

You might be tempted to think that if God has everything already worked out, and that no one can resist his will, that the responsibility of everything also rests on God. Do not think this way. You are responsible for obeying God and remaining in faith with him.

Romans 9:22-24

What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath -- prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory -- 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? (NIV84)

God did not cause Pharaoh to be bad. Pharaoh was unworthy of a good role in God's plan. And God bore with great patience his pride and arrogance; until his eventual destruction would illustrate God's saving power for those that love him. Pharaoh failed to make himself useful to the Master for every good purpose, and so he played the fall guy.

So, my brothers and sisters in Christ, we must patiently endure suffering in this world so that we may be purified and made ready for every good work, which God has prepared beforehand that we should do. We must not complain to God, who loves us, and teaches us to be like him. It is for our benefit that God does everything.

Hebrews 12:4-11

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (NIV84)

My friends, we must read the scriptures frequently and obey everything that the Lord makes known to us. Seeing our weaknesses and determining to stand with God against the pressures of the world, makes us truly able to understand and know God. You can really know God only as far as you live in obedience to him in the face of testing. You cannot read about God and know him; you must live the part, then through experience you come to understand.


This article can be found at