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Public Prayer

Posted by: Jerry Lindsey on Fri, May 8, 2009

Public Worship

I Timothy 2 -
 
 Public Prayer
 
 
1. (1) Pray for all men. Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.
 
a. First of all: This does not refer to time; it refers to importance. What comes next is of first importance in the heart and mind of Paul. Paul’s broader context following is the public worship of Christians, so this begins a series of instructions for those meetings.
 
 “In the first place, let me remind you that the Church’s public prayers must be made expressly for all men, from the Emperor downwards.”
 
b. Supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks: These terms describe the wide categories of our communication with God.
 
i. Supplication is simply asking for something. Prayer should never be all asking, but it should ask in bold confidence from God’s Word.
 
ii. Prayers is a broad word, referring to all communication with the Lord.
 
iii. Intercessions refer to the requests we make on behalf of others. As we pray, there should be time when the needs of other find a place in our prayer before God’s throne.
 
iv. Giving of thanks is an essential part of our walk with God. Those who lack a basic sense of gratitude in their lives lack a basic Christian virtue.
 
c. All men: This tells us whom we are to pray for with these various means of prayer. The idea is that all men need prayer. You have never met someone that you cannot or should not pray for.
 
i. Most Christians find it easy to pray for their family, friends, and loved ones, but it should not end there. We should also pray for our enemies and for those with whom we have conflict. We should pray for those who annoy us, and for those who seem to be against us. Each of these fall into the category of all men.
 
ii. To pray for all men also means to pray evangelistically. We should pray for our friends who need to know Jesus, for our coworkers, and for others we have regular contact with.
 
iii. To pray for all men also means to pray for your pastors, to pray for your church, and to pray for other ministries you know and love.
 
d. Giving of thanks be made for all men: We can find something to thank God for regarding all men. Even those who persecute us and are against us have a place in the over-arching plan of God.
 
2. (2) Pray for those in authority. For kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
 
a. For kings and all who are in authority: Early Christians were often accused of undermining the state because they claimed a higher Lord other than Caesar. Yet they would point out that they supported the state by being good citizens and by praying for the emperor, not to him.
 
i. In the previous verse Paul said that we should give thanks for all men, and here he connects the thought with those who are in authority over us. We should give thanks for those who are in authority, because God has ordained government in society to keep order (Romans 13:1-7).
 
ii. The early church leader Tertullian explained: “We pray for all the emperors, that God may grant them long life, a secure government, a prosperous family, vigorous troops, a faithful senate, an obedient people; that the whole world may be in peace; and that God may grant, both to Caesar and to every man, the accomplishment of their just desires.” (Clarke)
 
b. That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence: We should pray for a government and rulers that would simply leave us alone and let us live as Christians.
 
i. Christians are to look for no special favors from the government. Our goal is a level playing field, unrestricted by state intervention.
 
ii. At the time Paul wrote this, Christianity was not an illegal religion yet in the Roman Empire and it was still considered a branch of Judaism. It was even more reasonable to believe that the Roman government might just leave Christians alone to live their faith.
 
3. (3-4) The Goal of prayer for all men: That they would be saved. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
 
a. Who desires all men to be saved: Prayer for those in authority should always have an evangelical purpose. Our real goal is that they would come under the authority of Jesus, and make decisions allowing the gospel to have free course and be glorified.
 
b. Who desires all men to be saved: On a human level, we can certainly say that God desires all men to be saved. There is no one in such high authority that they don’t need salvation in Jesus.
 
i. However, from a divine perspective, we understand there is a sense in which we can not say that God desires all men to be saved - otherwise, either all men would automatically be saved, or God would not have left an element of human response in the gospel.
 
ii. God’s desire for all men to be saved is conditioned by His desire to have a genuine response from human beings. He won’t fulfill His desire to save all men at the expense of making men robots that worship Him from simply being programmed to do so.
 
c. Who desires all men to be saved: Because this is true (as seen from a human perspective), therefore the gospel must be presented to all without reservation. Any idea of limiting evangelism to the elect is absurd.
 
d. All men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth: Salvation is clearly associated with coming to the knowledge of the truth. One cannot be saved apart from at least some understanding of who Jesus is and what He has done to save us.
 
4. (5-7) How all men must be saved. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle; I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying; a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
 
a. One God and one Mediator: Through one Mediator, and One alone: The Man Christ Jesus. There is no valid way to God that does not come through Jesus.
 
i. This statement of Paul simply echoes what Jesus said in John 14:6: Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
ii. It is also simply logical. If Jesus was at least a good and honest man, then He told the truth when He said that He was the only way to God. If He did not tell the truth at this important point, then it is difficult to regard His as even a good or honest man, much less a prophet from God. If He was wrong then He was either a liar or a lunatic.
iii. In the modern world most people think that any road leads to God, if followed sincerely or with a good heart. The Bible argues against this idea.
 
· The Pharisee and the tax collector each came to God sincerely, but one was accepted and one was not (Luke 18:9-14).
· The rich young ruler came to Jesus sincerely, but was rejected because he did not give up everything to follow Jesus (Luke 18:18-23).
· In Leviticus 10:1-3, the story of Nadab and Abihu - and God’s judgment upon them - makes it clear that we cannot come to God any way we please, and that sincerity is not enough.
· Proverbs 14:12 is instructive: There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
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iv. Many people think that God would be unfair or narrow minded to have only one way to salvation; but the thought needs to be turned over. To  say that God is unfair for this, one would have to look at Jesus dying on the cross – the spotless Son of God, came from heaven and lived humbly and died in horrific agony, both physical and spiritual – to look at Jesus on the cross and say, “Thanks God; I appreciate the gesture, but that isn’t enough. You’re going to have to do a little more than that, because that is only one way and if You are fair You will make several ways.”
 
b. The Man Christ Jesus: This reminds us that Jesus is still human, even as He is enthroned in heaven right now. His humanity was not merely a temporary phase. When the Eternal Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, added humanity to His deity, He added it forever - not only for 33 years.
i. Jesus is still fully God and fully man, but His humanity is glorified and resurrected. It is the pattern of the humanity that we will experience in heaven.
 
c. Who gave Himself: Jesus gave Himself. You can give your time without giving yourself. You can give your money without giving yourself. You can give your opinion without giving yourself. You can even give your life without giving yourself. Jesus wants us to give ourselves, just as He gave Himself.
 
d. Who gave Himself a ransom: Jesus gave Himself as a hostage, as a payment for our sins. He put Himself in our place and received the punishment and wrath from God the Father that we deserved. This is the basic message of the gospel.
 
i. A ransom for all: There is enough in the work of Jesus on the cross for everyone. No one will be turned away because Jesus ran out of love or forgiveness at the cross for them.
 
e. For which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle: This was the message Paul preached. The message was of salvation only through Jesus, and Jesus crucified (as in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2).
 
f. A teacher of the Gentiles: Paul began his ministry with an equal emphasis to both Jew and Gentile (Acts 13), but because of continued rejection by Jews, Paul began to emphasize his ministry to the Gentiles.
 
 
   Discussion: Public Prayer

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