Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. (2 Ti 2:20–21).


Lesson 1: "Deep Cleaning"

By Charles B. Knight


To remedy a problem one must go straight to the heart of the issue.

When a tooth becomes abscessed it’s extremely painful! Simply brushing it with toothpaste will not help. Applying a pain numbing ointment may help a little. In order to alleviate the excruciating pain, swelling and discomfort, the tooth must be removed and the area around the tooth must be cleaned by a dentist. Why? If left unresolved it can become a dangerous infection known as “sepsis,” a blood infection that can spread through the blood stream shutting down vital organs of the body. One cannot afford to ignore such a problem. On the surface, there is only redness and swelling. But deep inside, a deadly disease is slowly spreading.

Marital problems can’t be solved by sweeping them under the rug. Gifts and money are not the answers to deep seeded issues between two spouses. A child is told to clean his room. So he begins tossing everything under the bed, into the closet and into his dresser drawers. What do all of these examples have in common? The problems are never really solved, only pushed back. When we fail to address our issues in life we are only storing up more problems! Problems and issues left unresolved tend to pour over into other parts of our lives—causing greater issues. The child who failed to clean his room properly is always late to school and church because he can never find anything. A husband and wife are constantly at each others throats because they’ve failed to resolve past problems. Bitterness has set in—so that even the most trivial discussions are not without confrontation. 

Some fail to progress forward in life because they are still affected by the past. Some never mature because they fail to take advantage of opportunities to do so. No matter where YOU go… there YOU are.

The greater danger in all of this is negative pattern. Such behavior becomes habit forming. Habits become comfortable. Comfortable habits become apart of our character. Character shapes who we are. Many have deceived themselves—thinking who they are...is just who they are. “That’s just the way I am.” As if who we are is shaped by some mystical involuntary force. Some believe this kind of thinking shifts away personal accountability. That their actions or inactions are excusable because, they can’t help it—it’s just the way they are. This kind of mentality and behavior pours over into our spiritual lives as well! We often fail to fully transform into God’s concept of Christian because we allow deep seeded issues and weaknesses to have footholds in our lives.

If we want to be stronger, more devoted, more knowledgeable, more useful for the Master—We must began by going straight to the heart of our unproductivity. This is what James speaks of … If we genuinely desire to have a greater spiritual success, 

“First clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also” (Matthew 23:26).


It’s imperative that we remove all obstacles to our success (James 1:21-27). One can never be truly and wholly devoted to the Master if he has yet to address unresolved issues in his life. The Pharisees tried this, but the Master saw clearly through their superficial holiness (Matthew 23:23-28). The Pharisees were very hypocritical. Yet, for us, sometimes it’s difficult to see our own superficial holiness because we have allowed poor judgment to become habit forming. The same is true in the home. One may have become calloused to being messy and filthy through lazy habits. But his guests are appalled and disgusted! They can clearly see there is a deeper problem going on. The problem isn’t just messiness. It’s the poor attitude that led to the filth and mess.

If we want to be truly useful to the Master, our attitudes towards life itself must change. This is the heart of all issues (Colossians 3:1-3; James 2:12). More specifically, our attitudes toward purity. We must remove all issues and hindrances to fully serve the Master.


What does each passage teach about the significance of removing obstacles?

1) Matthew 5:29-30.

2) 1 Corinthians 5:6-8.

3) Ephesians 4:21-22.

4) 1 Peter 2:1-2.


Think... What’s holding you back from becoming the kind of Christian God wants you to be?

WHAT'S HOLDING YOU BACK?

Pride.

Ignorance.

Low self-esteem.

Fear.

Love of the world.

A loved one.

Friends.

Laziness.

Sin.

Health.

Insecurity.

Substance-abuse.

Financial issues.

Work.

Family obligations.

Loss of Faith.

In need of a tutor.

Overwhelmed by issues.

Introverted.

Afraid of failing.

Lack of transportation.

Too forgetful.

Feel unworthy.

Educational disabilities.

Holding a grudge.

Disappointment.

Depression.

Still grieving.

In need of encouragement.

Still sorting out my faith.

Too busy.

Don’t know.

Whatever our circumstances, we cannot afford to allow anything to hold us back (Rom 8:35-39).

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, 


         “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; 

   we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 


37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 




Am I Truly In Fellowship With The Lord?

Fellowship with God demands purity

1) To have fellowship with God, I must... (Ps 24:3-4)

2) What does God desire/ require, and where? (Ps 51:6)

3) Who will see God? (Mat 5:8)

4) What do those who hope to see God, do? (1 John 3:1-3)


God’s People Must Live Pure Lives. How?

1) Leviticus 18:30.

2) Psalm 51:10.

3) Colossians 3:5.

4) James 4:8. 



Lesson 1 Questions

Answer the following questions below. Each coincides to the theme of our lesson, “Deep Cleaning.”


1) Abram was about to enter into a very important covenant relationship with God, whereby which, all of his descendants and future generations of Gentiles would be affected. But, before this could take place, what did God first tell Abram to do? (Genesis 17:1). 


2) Before the Lord would work with Gideon and save rebellious Israel, what did God require of Gideon to remove? (Read Judges 6:1-35).


3) How can we overcome the struggle between the spirit and the flesh? (Galatians 5:13-25).


4) Consider some spiritual dangers of holding on to these things, while still trying to live a godly Christian lifestyle:

 a) Immoral Lust (1 Thess 4:3-5).

 b) Worldliness (Matt 13:7, 22).




CHALLENGE YOURSELF!

Choose one or more of the following Challenges below. Share the results of your challenge with others and encourage them to challenge themselves.


1) Call a member of the church you’ve never called before, compliment and or encourage them. (No criticizing).


2) No television, social-media, movies, games, etc. for a full day! Instead, read and study your Bible. Find as many personal applications as you can.


3) Make a list of your weaknesses, faults and short-comings. Then ask two other people to identify any short-comings, weaknesses or faults they see in you. One must be someone your close to.The other must be someone you are not so close to. You cannot get upset, disagree, or argue with them. Just listen to them.


4) Pray as much as you can throughout the day. Try praying about new things.