Prayer and orderly worship…
“That which is not in the interests of the hive cannot be in the interests of the bee.” — Marcus Aurelius
Paul’s rules for public worship services emphasized the need to pray for everyone, especially leaders.
The goal was to focus on God and to have an environment in which people could come to know Christ the Savior.
Paul instructed believers about spiritual leadership and women about quiet submission.
God desires order, peace, and holiness in our lives, in our worship, and in our relationships within the church and our communities.
This reflects the order, constancy, and righteous character of God.
When we live this way, God is revealed, and people will embrace Him as Savior.
Read 1 Timothy 2
Call to Depend upon God (2:1-7)
The desire of God is that all people will be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. The starting point for us is not in strategies, but in prayer and full dependence upon God as we labor with Him in this great privilege.
By praying for others (2:1-4)
2:1 Although God is all-powerful and all-knowing, He has chosen to let us be involved through our prayers in how He is changing the world.
How this works is a mystery to us because of our limited understanding, but it is a reality.
While others angrily take sides on political issues, our first priority should be to pray for those in authority.
We should pray that they will govern justly and equitably and that they will trust in Christ.
Paul based his instruction about prayer for all people on his conviction that God’s invitation for salvation extends equally to all people, whether we agree with their politics or not.
The phrase all people captures the heart of the gospel.
The world that God loves includes every person, even cruel dictators and terrorists (John 3:16).
He loves us as individuals whom He knows intimately (Psalm 139:13-18).
Our earnest prayers for others—whoever they are—will have powerful results (James 5:16).
2:2 We should pray for those in authority around the world—that they will govern justly and that we will have the proper attitude toward them.
Paul’s command to pray for kings is remarkable considering that Nero, a notoriously cruel ruler, was emperor at this time (AD 54–68).
When Paul wrote this letter, persecution was a growing threat to believers.
Later, when Nero needed a scapegoat for the great fire that destroyed much of Rome in AD 64, he blamed the Roman Christians so as to take the focus off himself.
Then persecution erupted throughout the Roman Empire. Not only were Christians denied certain privileges in society, but some were even publicly butchered, burned, or fed to animals.
Both Peter and Paul said that God wants everyone to be saved (also see 2 Peter 3:9).
This does not mean that all will be saved, because the Bible makes it clear that many reject Christ (Matthew 25:31-46; John 12:44-50; Hebrews 10:26-29).
The Good News has a universal scope; it is not directed only to people of one race, one sex, or one national background.
God loves the whole world and sent His Son to save sinners (Galatians 3:26-28).
His mercy and promise of salvation reaches you, your loved ones, and those who are still far away from him (Acts 2:39).
2:5-6 Though some people think there are many ways to God, in practice, each person must choose a single way.
We can stand on one side of a gorge and discuss the possibility of many bridges across the abyss, but if we are determined to cross, we will have to realize that only one bridge is connected to the other side.
Those who insist that there are many bridges to God usually fit into one of the following categories:
(1) They have not personally committed to any “bridge.” They think their belief that there are multiple ways to God will exempt them from having to choose one.
(2) Their belief in many ways to God hides their true belief that finding God doesn’t really matter at all.
(3) They are convinced that arguing for many ways to God will insure that they won’t be wrong. If there is only one way, their generalized belief will presumably have included it.
(4) They have decided that believing in many ways to God requires less work than going to the trouble of actually considering the claims of various religious systems.
The facts remain: We human beings are separated from God by sin, and we need a savior—someone who will give us a way across the abyss of sin and back to God.
Only one person in the universe can serve as our mediator and stand between us and God, bringing us together again:
Jesus, who is both God and man.
Jesus’ sacrifice brings new life to ALL who believe and accept him (John 1:12).
Have you let Him bridge the gap between you and God?
Max Lucado’s Life Lessons…
1 Timothy 1:1—2:15
Paul laid down guidelines for proper worship. He emphasized the importance of prayer and orderly worship.
Prayer is an important part of public worship.
One of our Brazilian church leaders taught me something about earnest prayer.
He met Christ during a yearlong stay in a drug-rehab center.
His therapy included three one-hour sessions of prayer a day.
Patients weren’t required to pray, but they were required to attend the prayer meeting.
Dozens of recovering drug addicts spent sixty uninterrupted minutes on their knees.
I expressed amazement and confessed that my prayers were short and formal.
He invited (dared?) me to meet him for prayer.
I did the next day.
We knelt on the concrete floor of our small church auditorium and began to talk to God.
Change that. I talked; he cried, wailed, begged, cajoled, and pleaded.
He pounded his fists on the floor, shook a fist toward heaven, confessed, and reconfessed every sin.
He recited every promise in the Bible as if God needed a reminder.
He prayed like Moses. When God determined to destroy the Israelites for their golden calf stunt,
“Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said: ‘Lord, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, “He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth”? . . . Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self’” (Exodus 32:11–13).
Moses on Mount Sinai is not calm and quiet, with folded hands and a serene expression.
He’s on his face one minute, in God’s the next.
He’s on his knees, pointing his finger, lifting his hands. Shedding tears. Shredding his cloak.
Wrestling like Jacob at Jabbok for the lives of his people. And God heard him!
“So the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people” (v. 14).
Our passionate prayers move the heart of God.
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).
Prayer does not change God’s nature; who He is will never be altered.
Prayer does, however, impact the flow of history.
God has wired His world for power, but He calls on us to flip the switch. (From Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado)
Worship God today and join with other Christians this Sunday in public prayer, singing, and Bible teaching.
Let corporate worship become a first priority to you.
From Faith to Faith
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE YOUR PRAYERS
by Kenneth Copeland
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”
— 1 Timothy 2:1-2
That verse is clear, isn’t it? The instruction is plain. Yet even in these tumultuous days when our nation is so desperately in need of God’s guidance, most of God’s people don’t do what that verse commands.
I believe it’s because most of us are overwhelmed by the problems we see around us.
How could my prayers make a dent in the national debt? we think. How could my faith affect foreign policy?
In other words, we fail to pray because we fail to realize just how powerfully our prayers can affect this country.
It’s time we caught hold of that. It’s time we realized that if we’d just be obedient to 1 Timothy 2:1-2, there’s no council of any kind on earth, no king, no president, no congress, no anything that could overthrow God’s purpose for His people.
God has called us to intercede. He has commanded us to pray for those in authority.
He has given us His Word, His power, His Name, His authority and His faith.
We have all the tools necessary to pray effectively for our government and its leaders.
I urge you to intercede. It is your responsibility as a believer to get involved in the affairs of your country. God wants this great land of ours, and the only way He’s going to get it is through His ambassadors—you and me.
Pray for your nation. Every day. And never again underestimate the world-changing power of those prayers.
Come join the Adventure!