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Timothy Series - Lesson Seven

 

1 Timothy Chapter 2 Verses 1 - 8

 

John Baugh
September, 2008

A Call to Prayer

1First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

 

5For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.

7For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 8Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.
(1 Timothy 2:1-8 NASB)

 First Things First

All of us know that 1Timothy was originally a letter, addressed to a disciple (Timothy) by the discipler (Paul) who chose to devote a significant part of his life to building up someone who would in turn commit themselves, in this case as minister to the church in Ephesus, to the same task of fulfilling the Great Commission through the people he (Timothy) would train up and prepare to carry on the work. We read Paul's first letter to Timothy as a wonderful accounting of support from an evangelist to a pastor; from a church planter to one who has the task of ministering to an established congregation. The chapter division, from chapter 1 to chapter 2, of Paul's letter to Timothy presented here as scriptural verse occurs at the point where Paul begins to address first things, "first of all".

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

 

Where does the life and work of a Pastor begin? Paul indicates it begins the same as with any life, given over to the Lord. It begins with prayer.

 

The intensity with which Paul begins this portion of his letter is interesting.

 

"First of all, then, I urge…"

 

Paul wants to cover important things right away and the importance is urgent. What is so important? Prayer is important and in this case Paul wants specific types of prayer be offered to the Lord; prayers that include:

 

Entreaties and prayers, which are defined as acts of prayerful beseeching (begging) and pressing prayerful solicitations.

 

Petitions and Thanksgivings, which indicate the spirit of prayer that Paul wants to be a part of Timothy's life. As we bring our requests in the form of petitions to God, we also need to bring our prayers of thanksgivings. Regardless of the urgency of need for help from God, we should never forget the many blessings he brings to us, even in the times of great need.

 

"on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority,"

 

Paul wants Timothy to pray for everyone, which includes the men, Hymenaeus and Alexander who only a few lines earlier, Paul had "handed over to Satan". In Paul's mind, even though they were beyond his help, these men were not without hope and the lesson for us is clear.

Regardless of the situation and how hopeless it may seem to be, no situation is so far removed from the power of urgent entreaty, prayer and petition to God that we should leave it out of our prayer life.

 

Paul also reminds Timothy here to remember those in authority. As we pray, we need to remember our leaders. It goes without saying that they need our prayers.

 

Why Do We Pray For All of These?

 

"so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity."

 

Remembering those who have authority over us and all others, both the good and the bad that we deal with each day, allows us freedom from the sins that tend to creep into our lives when we fail to show Christian concern for others. One of the most beautiful characteristics of Jesus the man was his never ending concern for others, regardless of who they were or what other people thought of them. Paul wanted Timothy to emulate that characteristic of Christ in his prayer life. This attitude of prayer leads to a life of godliness and dignity, where we have no pain of conscience toward our attitudes, as we express them in the prayer closet. This godliness and dignity will follow us out of the prayer closet into all of our life, leading to a life of tranquility and peace - quietness of conscience, godliness and dignity.

 

How Does God Look at This Attitude Toward Prayer?

 

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

 

God (our savior) sees this as "good and acceptable", because God wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

 

Paul indicates having this spirit in our prayer lives will impact all men. As goes our prayer life, so goes our life, witness and work, which all impact the will of God that everyone be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

 

What is the "Knowledge of the Truth"?

 

Briefly, The Truth includes the facts:

 

- That God loves us. (John 3:16)
- That God has plans for our good and not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11)
- That God desires to have a relationship with us. (Jeremiah 29:12)
- That God sent his son to us (John 1:14)
- That the next statement Paul makes is true

 

5For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.

 

The truth is that there is only one God and only one mediator between God and us. That mediator is Christ Jesus. There is no other way.

 

This statement sums up all everything that Paul knows and has experienced to this point in his life. It is the Truth that sustains him and keeps him focused on the work that must be done, both in his ministry and in the ministry of Timothy in Ephesus. To Paul, the truth is:

 

- There is (only) one God.

- There is also (only) one mediator (go between - intermediate - reconciler) between God and Man.

- The only mediator is the man Christ Jesus - Both man and messiah, sent to save his people.

- The achievement of the mediator Christ Jesus was a supreme gift of ransom from the consequence of sin which serves to separate us from God.
- That the ransom of Christ Jesus occurred at the proper time, when it needed to occur.

 

In his next statement, Paul offers how "the knowledge of the truth" has impacted his life.

For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

For these things, Paul was given a holy appointment, from Christ Jesus, to be a preacher, one who leads a life sharing the gospel and an apostle, one who Christ Jesus sent out to accomplish this work. In his mind, Paul knew who was to be the intended focus of his ministry. He was appointed to go to the Gentile world, in faith and truth. Going in faith required his acceptance of the task to which Christ Jesus had appointed him, relying on the power of the holy spirit, given to those who go forward in faith. Going in truth, also gave him great power, and the assurance that his work was within the will of God.

 

(I am telling the truth, I am not lying)

 

It is interesting that Paul takes time to point out to Timothy that he is telling the truth and not lying. In Paul's mind, he had been appointed to his ministry and apostleship directly by Christ Jesus. Throughout his ministry, he reminded those around him that his work was an appointment, that his ministry was ordained by Christ and that his calling was of the Lord. Here, he reminds Timothy that "For this" - the truth that "there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time." he was appointed a preacher and apostle.

 

And Paul ends this urging for prayer with the statement "Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.", by stating his desire that all men (in every place) lift up holy hands, without wrath (the emotion of anger) and dissension (discord or disagreement among those expected to agree).

 

Wrath and Dissension:

 

This statement may have meant much more to Timothy than it does to us. Perhaps it was used to point out one of the problems likely to be contaminating the church in Ephesus.  If the people of Timothy's congregation were praying (lifting up holy hands) with anger in their hearts and a spirit of discord and disagreement among themselves (who were expected to be in agreement), their prayers likely did little good. When we pray as a corporate body, our prayers need to be lifted up to God (as holy hands) with a spirit of oneness and unity, without anger towards each other, else they do little good. When we pray in solitude, we need to be free from anger toward our brothers and sisters in the Lord, and free from a spirit of discord.

 

Paul was concerned with the conditions in the church in Ephesus, and with the congregation of that church. As we read the things Paul wrote to Timothy, we may also want to examine our congregations and our lives.

 

- Do we pray in entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings?
-
Do we pray for all men?
- Are our prayers good and acceptable in the sight of God?
- Are we praying in a spirit of godliness and dignity?
- Do we lift up Holy hands to God or is there wrath and dissension in our prayer life?

 

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