By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012
Painting by Konstantin_Flavitsky - Christian Martyrs in the Coliseum
According to John Stott, the secret of holiness is in faithfully pursuing the "double duty of Christians" (refer to page 101). Discuss this double duty and share how it can show up in everyday life. Why is holiness needed to please God and to be useful to Him? Reflect on your current state with regard to this double duty and express your thoughts to God in prayer.
According to John Stott, the secret of holiness is in faithfully pursuing the "double duty of Christians" (refer to page 101). 
John Stott summarises what is required to grow into holiness - fleeing from sin and pursuing righteousness:
"This double duty of Christians - negative and positive - is the consistent, reiterated teaching of Scripture. Thus, we are to deny ourselves and follow Christ. We are to put to death our earthly members and to set our minds on heavenly things. We are to crucify the flesh and to walk in the Spirit. It is the ruthless rejection of the one in combination with the relentless pursuit of the other which Scripture enjoins (instruct or urge (someone) to do something) upon us as the secret of holiness. Only so can we hope to be fit for the Master's use. If the promise is to be inherited ('he will be a vessel for noble use'), the condition must be fulfilled ('if any one purifies himself from what is ignoble [not honourable in character or purpose]')." 
Posted in Dreams, Time, tenacity, Life on 26 march 2012
Discuss this double duty and share how it can show up in everyday life.
Double duty of Christians 
Timothy is urged by Paul to remain faithful and useful to the Lord. He has to have the right attitudes in the ministry to which he had been called. Like a devoted soldier, a disciplined athlete, and a diligent farmer, Timothy is to serve the Lord with all determination, faithfulness, and sincerity as he received God's grace.
PHOTO: Timothy is urged by Paul to remain faithful and useful to the Lord. He has to have the right attitudes in the ministry to which he had been called. Like a devoted soldier, a disciplined athlete, and a diligent farmer, Timothy is to serve the Lord with all determination, faithfulness, and sincerity as he received God's grace.
Picture posted by on 9 April 2013 (last modified) at 17:00
Because Timothy was a pastor, he had to teach well in the church and ensure that no false teaching crept into his congregation. He had to fight false doctrines because of the danger they posed to the people. They must be fought and overcome like doctors battling gangrene that is spreading across a limb. Also, as a pastor, Timothy was to be a model disciple of Jesus; he had to show what it meant to love Jesus, and follow Him in holiness and service.
Picture posted by Jerold Aust on 21 May 2001
In other words, Timothy had to watch both his doctrine and life (1 Timothy 4:16). Only with pure doctrine and life can he effectively minister to the lost, to bring the word of truth to them, and exhibit the power of the gospel in his life. What was true for Timothy is true for all of us as well. All Christians are called to serve the Lord as His servants and witnesses. This work cannot be done in the spirit of mercenaries. We are called to serve not only with our hands, but also with our hearts; not only with our lips, but also with our lives. Without our whole-hearted involvement as the Lord's witnesses, we cannot be effective in reaching out to the lost.
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Instruments for Noble Purposes 
Paul used the example of a typical house in which one finds different kinds of containers (2 Timothy 2:20-21). There will be vessels made of gold and silver as well as those made of wood and clay. This is similar to what Paul wrote to the Corinthians warning them to watch how they built their lives and ministry, whether they used costly materials such as gold and silver or whether cheap alternatives such as hay and straw were used. The quality of each man's work will be shown when tested with the fire of God's judgement (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).
Picture posted by Watchtower on 1 April 1996
Similarly, Paul used the metaphor of vessels in a house here. Vessels made of gold and silver would not be used for ignoble purposes but for noble ones. Few, if any, would think of using a costly jar as a container for rubbish. Paul used the metaphor of a variety of vessels to differentiate between true servants of God who taught and maintained the truth of the gospel of Christ, and false teachers who introduced spiritual poison through their teaching instead of feeding the flock. Church history shows that in the church, there have been both faithful and unfaithful people, as the Lord predicted in His parable of the wheat and the weeds (Matthew 13:24-30). The Master told his frustrated and puzzled servants who saw both wheat and weed growing in the field: "Let both grow together until the harvest", and "the harvest" refers to the judgement day when the weeds will be burned and the wheat will be 'barned' - that is, brought into the Master's barn.
The Master told his frustrated and puzzled servants who saw both wheat and weed growing in the field: "Let both grow together until the harvest", and "the harvest" refers to the judgement day when the weeds will be burned and the wheat will be 'barned' - that is, brought into the Master's barn.
Picture by artist Eugène Burnand (1850-1921)
In the early 4th century, intense persecution broke out against the Christians under the Roman emperor Diocletian. Many Christians remained faithful to Christ, willing to suffer pain and death for their Lord. Others compromised, handing over the Scriptures to the authorities to be burned, thus escaping further persecution. Some even gave lists of fellow Christians to the Roman authorities so that they could win favour while putting their Christians brothers and sisters in danger. Those who compromised in these ways were called traditores, which means "those who handed over holy things".
Posted by John M on Thursday, 23 April 2015 at 18:08
When Christianity become legal and made the official religion in the Roman Empire soon after this season of persecution, the church struggled with what to do with the traditores. Most chruches forgave, restored and accepted them into the church. But there was a group of churches in North Africa that was against that practice. They were known as the Donatists and rejected the traditores, and even considered baptisms performed by such people when they became pastors as invalid.
Picture from traditores.org
The Donatists were a force to be reckoned with during the time of Augustine of Hippo (in North Africa). Augustine argued against the Donatists and pointed to the Lord's parable of the wheat and the weeds. It is not possible to be rid of all "weeds" in the church; in any case, it is the Lord who will separate the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31-46). Augustine also argued for the doctrine of ex opera operato - that the validity of sacraments does not depend on the person performing the sacrament but the sacrament itself - as a counter to the Donatists. In time, the teachings of Augustine prevailed and the Donatists became a diminished movement. Many centuries later, Martin Luther used Augustine's arguments to counter the Anabaptists who called for a "pure church" of true believers only.
Painting by Charles-André van Loo (15 february 1705 – 15 july 1765)- St. Augustine arguing with donatists
In the church, there will always be those who are not born again, those who are deliberately living in sin, and those who are uncommitted or unfaithful to the Lord. We must seek to minister in such a way as to make everyone true to the Lord, but this is done not by removing people from the church but through teaching and pastoring. But here, Paul was dealing not with Christians who needed to be more committed to the Lord but false teachers who were teaching falsehood. What should Timothy do about them?
Should he drive them away from the church? If he focused his attention on getting rid of false teachers in the church, things may descend to the level of political actions and power play. To avoid going in that direction, we must remember that the proper response to false teaching is not aggressive political action but determined pastoral teaching.
The proper response to false teaching is not aggressive political action but determined pastoral teaching.
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Most importantly, Timothy must himself seek to be God's "instrument for noble purposes." He could do this by "cleansing himself" and being "made holy". The first phrase is active while the latter is passive. It is God in His grace who makes us holy, but He does this as we cooperate with Him by responding in faith and obeying the Lord.
Picture from youtube.com
Why is holiness needed to please God and to be useful to Him?
Remain Holy 
We are only useful to the Lord when we are holy. Our usefulness depends on what happens inside us. Notice that the phrase "useful to the Master" follows the phrase "made holy". When God works within us to make us holy, we are "prepared to do any good work" (2 Timothy 2:21). We become proper instruments of the Lord for the work He is doing in His church and the world. Timothy must do all he could to become and remain God's instrument for noble purposes. If a leader in the church is not a holy instrument, then his attempts to deal with opponents will have more to do with politics than ministry, more to do with self-preservation than the preservation of the gospel. In the midst of false teaching in the church, the pastor must first look inside himself to ensure that there is purity of life and doctrine.
Posted by Lyn McSweeney on 20 May 2007 at 4:23pm
Flee the Evil Desires of Youth 
Paul continues his point about purity of life and doctrine by exhorting Timothy: "Flee the evil desires of youth" (2 Timothy 2:22). The evil desires of youth are not confined to sexual lust, but also youthful unbridled (uncontrolled) ambition, hot-headed impulsiveness, provocative aggression and so on. As biblical scholar Robert Mounce observes, the "desires and craving of youth are those attitudes and actions that contrast with Christian maturity." [3a] Timothy must grow up from immaturity to the fullness of Christian maturity in Christ. The word "flee" (Greek pheugō) refers to the determined and urgent actions taken to escape from danger, just as we are to "flee from the coming wrath" (Matthew 3:7). Joseph fleeing from the seductive whispers of his master Potiphar's wife is an illustration of this (Genesis 39:12).
PHOTO: 'Flee the evil desires of youth' (2 Timothy 2:22)
The evil desires of youth are not confined to sexual lust, but also youthful unbridled (uncontrolled) ambition, hot-headed impulsiveness, provocative aggression and so on. The "desires and craving of youth are those attitudes and actions that contrast with Christian maturity."
Painting by Carlo Cignani (Italian, 1628–1719), Joseph and Potiphar's Wife
Posted by Christie
We are to resist the devil by standing our ground in spite of persecution (1 Peter 5:9). When we do so, he will flee from us (James 4:7). In the case of temptation, however, instead of resisting, the biblical advice is to flee. The person who foolishly tries to fight temptation is like the man who closes his door when temptation knocks but leaves the door unlocked. Hid dealing with temptation is not wholehearted and his actions hide an unconscious collusion with sin.
Picture posted by Chris Hall on 3 November 2013
Sin must be taken seriously, with no compromise and tolerance. There must be zero tolerance for sin if we are keen to become holy. Sin has a way of entering in cute baby versions, which then grows to become the ugly reality which it is. It must he nipped in the bud. This is why Paul urged Timothy not to give any place for sin - by fleeing from the smallest of temptations with all speed and strength, God will not use one who has a false life within as an instrument to fight false doctrines in the church. Only he who has a sound life and doctrine will be an effective instrument against unsound doctrines.
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Perhaps those who are older, and who are not so youths, may regard Paul's exhortation as irrelevant to them. But as they say, those who consider themselves to be "young at heart" even though they may be in their later decades, must also watch against "youthful desires". We see too many seniors these days regress into their character in their younger days, such as seeking to look young in appearance or singing the adolescent songs - they must heed Paul's advice, for it applies to them too. They must flee youthful desires and grow up to Christian maturity.
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Picture posted by Gregg Prescott, M.S.
Pursue Holiness 
Not only must Timothy flee from sin, he must also pursue holiness (2 Timothy 2:22). The Christian life is not only running away from evil but also the conscious and deliberate pursuits of God's righteousness. No one becomes holy simply by running away from temptation and sin. Holiness also involves the positive action of obeying God's commands - not only the commands not to commit sin, but also the commands to do what is good and right. This is the reason Jesus summarised the Law and the Prophets into the call to positive action: loving God wholeheartedly and loving our neighbours as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40).
The Christian life is not only running away from evil but also the conscious and deliberate pursuits of God's righteousness. No one becomes holy simply by running away from temptation and sin. Holiness also involves the positive action of obeying God's commands - not only the commands not to commit sin, but also the commands to do what is good and right.
Posted in Wonderful Words of Life on 12 October 2010
The Greek word diōkō (translated as "pursuit") is the opposite of pheugō (flee). The opposite of running away with all haste is chasing something with all determinatiion - like the resolute and relentless pursuits of an animal hunting its prey. Timothy is urged to "pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace" (2 Timothy 2:22). We are to "go in hot pursuit" [3b] of these things that characterise the godly life. Elsewhere Paul uses the same word diōkō in relation to the pursuit of love (1 Corinthians 14:1), peace (Romans 14:19), and righteousness and faith (1 Timothy 6:11). The list is not comprehensive, but we can summarise by saying that the pursuit of godliness is the pursuit of Christ. When we follow Christ we gain His likeness.
We are to "go in hot pursuit" [3b] of these things that characterise the godly life. The pursuit of godliness is the pursuit of Christ. When we follow Christ we gain His likeness.
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Reflect on your current state with regard to this double duty and express your thoughts to God in prayer.
Fleeing from sin
Still haven't reach Christian maturity. Tempted by many "youth desires" and unable to flee from all.
Pursuit of righteousness is gaining momentum but not yet resolute and relentless.
Jesus summarised the Law and the Prophets into the call to positive action: loving God wholeheartedly and loving our neighbours as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40).
Posted by Naoko Family
Dear Lord, We pray for being successful in performing the Double duty of Christians.
Fleeing from sin
Mentally fleeing: bouncing our thoughts away from lustful imaginations.
Visually fleeing: bouncing our eyes away from lustful images.
Physically fleeing: walking (or running) away from tempting situations.
Righteousness (real integrity, a passion for justice, and a life pleasing to God)
Faith (strong and welcome conviction and trust in God)
Love (benevolent affection toward God and others)
Peace (tranquility in the heart and harmony with God and others)
“. . . along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”
Posted by Gabrielle Bernstein on 2 December 2014
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012
 From "Faithful to the end" A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, Copyright © 2014 by Robert M. Solomon, ISBN 978-1-62707-241-0, PART TWO: USEFUL TO CHRIST, Chapter 7 "Ministering to the lost" (2 Timothy 2:20-26), Page 96-101.
 From "Faithful to the end" A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, Copyright © 2014 by Robert M. Solomon, ISBN 978-1-62707-241-0, PART TWO: USEFUL TO CHRIST, Chapter 7 "Ministering to the lost" (2 Timothy 2:20-26), Page 101-102.
 Ibid (Latin, short for ibidem, meaning in the same source (used to save space in textual references to a quoted work which has been mentioned in a previous reference, endnote or footnote)). Stott, The Message of 2 Timothy, 75.
[3a] Mounce, Pass It On, 1 and 2 Timothy, 131.
[3b] Stott, The Message of 2 Timothy, 75.
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1 Timothy 4:16 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Timothy+4%3A16&version=NIV
1 Timothy 6:11 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+++Timothy+6%3A11&version=NIV
2 Timothy 2:20-21 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Timothy+2%3A20-21&version=NIV
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Genesis 39:12 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+39%3A12&version=NIV
James 4:7 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James+4%3A7&version=NIV
Matthew 3:7 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+3%3A7&version=NIV
Matthew 13:24-30 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+13%3A24-30&version=NIV
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Matthew 25:31-46 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+25%3A31-46&version=NIV
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