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Prayer for All People (1 Tim 2:1-8)

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Welcome and Announcements

Just as a reminder, Natalie and I are leaving after this service and won’t be back in-town until Saturday night, but again, let me remind you that we’re not going on vacation, we’re simply traveling for a conference. If you need us, don’t hesitate to reach out through text, call, or email. If there is an emergency, please contact Deane Herbst.
Special Business Meeting, Sunday after the AM Worship Service
Ladies’ Cookie Baking Extravaganza on December 17th at 11am
Let me remind you to continue worshiping the Lord through your giving. To help you give, we have three ways to do so, (1) cash and checks can be given at the offering box. Checks should be written to Grace & Peace; debit, credit, and ACH transfers can be done either by (2) texting 84321 with your $[amount] and following the text prompts or (3) by visiting us online at www.giving.gapb.church. Of course, everything you give goes to the building up of our local church and the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Prayer of Repentance and Adoration

Preaching of God’s Word (1 Tim 2:1-8)

Introduction

Paul continues in his letter to Timothy by shifting focuses slightly. Up to this point, he’s discussed the need to protect against false teaching within the church of Ephesus. We’re not entirely certain what the false teaching is, but Paul emphasizes the need for clarity when it comes to the Gospel itself, which he highlights by showing us how important understanding what sin is and how important it is for the Gospel to be proclaimed boldly.
I said that he’s shifting focuses, but note that I mentioned that he’s shifting focuses slightly. He’s not abandoning the confrontation against false teaching, but rather he’s emphasizing the need for proper worship within the church. This starts with prayer and the role of women in ministry, but then it continues with qualifications for pastors and deacons, the mystery of godliness, and an encouragement to be a good servant of Jesus Christ. Chs 5-6 really emphasize the need of proper relationships in church with again, a reminder to fight against false teaching before ending the book.
Technically this evening, we really ought to be working on vv. 1-15, because it is really one section, but because vv. 9-15 have multiple difficult statements that we need to spend longer amounts of time with, I think it would be best for us to work through vv. 1-8 this evening and vv. 9-15 next week.
Again, Paul is starting to give us some instructions concerning worship, but don’t think of this as a comprehensive theology for worship—Paul is simply confronting some issues within the worship of the church in Ephesus—starting with prayer.
Let’s look at 1 Timothy 2:1-8.
1 Timothy 2:1–8 ESV
1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;
As we study these verses, we’re going to look at it in two parts: (1) The Objects, Content, and Goal of Prayer (1-4) and (2) The Basis of Prayer (5-8). We’re going to look at different types of prayer, certain things that we ought to pray for, and really, the ultimate goal of prayer before seeing what the basis of that goal for prayer is. Tonight’s sermon will encourage you to pray all sorts of prayers, and it will teach you what to pray and how to pray with the ultimate goal in mind.
Prayer for Illumination

The Objects, Content, and Goal of Prayer (1-4)

Paul starts this section of the text by speaking of prayer in vv. 1-4. Of course, in eight short verses, Paul cannot possibly tell us everything there is to know about prayer, but he does give us some important details.
Including different types of prayer. He “[urges] that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all people.” He uses four different words to describe different types of prayer and note, because this isn’t a comprehensive study on prayer, these aren’t the only sorts of prayers, just some of them. He speaks of supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving—let’s take a few minutes to break down what exactly these are:
Supplications goes by a different word today—we call them requests. It’s translated from the Greek word δεησις, which means to ask or to beg or to make a request. This is the part of prayer in which we make petitions to the Lord, which I think we can all admit that much of our prayer life today is made up of requests.
More often than not, offering requests or supplications is really the only thing that people think of when they pray, but there’s far more to pray than making requests.
Prayers is the most general word for prayer in the New Testament—it’s almost like a catch-all term in which every other type of prayer not mentioned here is mentioned in the word prayer.
Thomas Lea and Hayne Griffin, [Prayer] is used of all types of prayers to God including general requests or specific petitions.” (Thomas Lea and Hayne Griffin, 1,2, Timothy, Titus, vol. 34 The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 34:87)
Intercessions is a more specific term for a request in which the requester recognizes that he is below the person in whom the request is made; or put differently, God is far greater than we are; intercessions take that realization that he’s greater than us and prays in light of this truth.
John Newton in his hymn “Come, My Soul, Thy Suit Prepare,” makes this statement “Thou art coming to a king, Large petitions with thee bring; For His grace and power are such, [that] none can ever ask too much.” (John Newton, “Come, My Soul, Thy Suit Prepare,” Olney Hymns (London: W. Oliver, 1779), 1:31)
Notice how Newton emphasizes that in prayer, you’re going to the King. That’s acknowledgement of knowing who you’re going to and still bringing petitions to him, which is what intercession is.
And then Paul mentions thanksgiving, which I think we’re all familiar with, even if most of us would admit we probably don’t give thanks as often as we ought to.
The reality is that every Christian struggles with giving thanks and the reasoning for that is simple—we all tend to live in our own flesh instead of living in the Spirit. Thus, it’s easier to not give thanks than it is to give thanks.
This is probably why Paul sees the need to write to the Thessalonians to “16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Regardless, giving thanks is a part of prayer.
And Paul’s encouragement or exhortation here is for all sorts of prayer to be made—he’s telling Timothy to offer requests, speak prayers, make petitions to the King, and give thanks. And he’s telling Timothy to do this for all people.
Or in other words Paul is saying that Timothy ought to be making requests, speaking prayers, making petitions, and giving thanks for all people—or said differently, on behalf of other people.
He’s telling Timothy to pray for other people, particularly (according to v. 2) “for kings and all who are in high positions.”
Now, you might hear that and wonder why exactly he’s singling out “kings and all who are in high places,” but he does explain why in v. 2 as well, “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
What exactly is Paul telling them to pray for? He’s telling them to make all sorts of different types of prayer for all people, particularly kings and those in high places, so that Christians can lead a peaceful and quiet life that’s godly and dignified in every way. Why are they to pray particularly for kings and people in high places?
Because kings and people in high places can influence whether Christians can live peaceful and quiet lives
Or in other words, pray for those that are in charge because they can change whether you can live lives of peace.
I think we often take it for granted in the United States because we live in a mostly peaceful place with very little upheaval, but for those that live in other countries where there is very little peace and mostly upheaval, the only way for people to experience peace and quiet in this world is if the government functions how God had created the government to function.
Donald Guthrie, “The purpose, rather than the content, of such prayer is now stated. That we may live peaceful and quiet lives presupposes that the government can achieve conditions of peace and security, enabling the Christian and his fellow-men to pursue their own lives. Under some governments this could not be guaranteed.” (Donald Guthrie, Pastoral Epistles An Introduction and Commentary, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1990), 14:84)
Pray for those that are in charge because they have influence in what goes on around you.
Even if you don’t really like them, even if you disagree with their political ideas, even if their decisions seem absolutely foolish.
Pray for them because their decisions can have a major effect on whether your life is peaceful and quiet as a Christian.
But ultimately, that isn’t Paul’s main reason for encouraging continued prayer for all people. In fact, he then continues in vv. 3-4 with, “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
He says that “this is good” and in this instance, he isn’t referring about how we ought to pray for the kings and those in high places.
We know this because of v. 4 when he speaks of God desiring all people to be saved—not just those who are kings or serve in high places.
The idea being that prayer for all people is a good thing and it is something that pleases God.
What in particular pleases God about praying for all people?
We see the answer to this question in v. 4, it is because God our Savior, “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Or in other words, what about prayer for all people pleases God?
If we’re praying for people, what ought to be our primary supplication, prayer, and intercession?
Should we pray for their health? Their sustenance? Their lives to generally go well? Possibly.
But if we genuinely believe that there’s a heaven and hell and that there’s an eternal destination for every person, shouldn’t our primary prayer be that they know Jesus?
If we’re praying for the king and those leading from higher places, what ought to be our primary supplication, prayer, and intercession?
Should we pray for them to be a good leader? Should we pray for them to stay safe as they travel? Or for their lives to generally go well? Possibly.
But if we genuinely believe that there’s a heaven and hell and that there’s an eternal destination for every person, shouldn’t our primary prayer be that they know Jesus?
Because God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, wouldn’t it be pleasing to God for His people to pray for all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth?
In fact, praying for someone’s physical health, their sustenance, for them to be good leaders, for safe travel, or a good life really doesn’t mean much if they never believe in Jesus and know the truth.
So yes, pray for all these things, but undergird that prayer with genuine concern and prayer for their souls.
What pleases God when His people pray for others? According to this passage, the implication seems to be that He’s pleased when His people pray for all people to know Him.
George Knight makes this argument in the New International Greek Testament Commentary, “The logic is that since God desires all to be saved, it must be good and acceptable to him that we pray for all, for we can surely use God as our model for concern in this area.” (George Knight, The Pastoral Epistles: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1992), 118)
He then explains that, “When Paul says “this is good,” he probably means that it is so not only “before God,” but also because of all that is involved in such prayer, such as concern for all people, and (as he implies in vv. 3ff.) for their salvation, as well as concern for civil government, tranquility, quiet, and a greater opportunity to live a life of Christian piety (George Knight, The Pastoral Epistles: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1992), 118)
Or in other words, God wants His people to pray for all people including those who lead governments and He wants His people to pray for certain things:
He wants them to pray for the government’s decision-making for the purpose of Christians being able to live quiet, peaceful, and godly lives.
And He wants them to pray for all people in general, not just for their general well-being, but also for their salvation—because if their general well-being in this world is great, but they don’t actually know Him, their general well-being in the next world won’t be so great.
The whole goal then, is for all people to know Him, which means every believer ought to be praying for people that they know in hopes that they will know Him and have knowledge of the truth.
Paul then continues in vv. 5-8 by speaking a bit more about the basis of this goal of prayer. Or in other words, what is the foundation for the whole argument that Paul’s making? God wants all people to know Him and have knowledge of the truth, how does he know? Look at vv. 5-8, again.

The Basis for Prayer (5-8)

1 Timothy 2:5–8 ESV
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;
How does he know that God wants all people to know Him and have knowledge of the truth? Because of what he says in vv. 5-6, “There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”
He knows that God wants all people to know Him and have knowledge of the truth because of Jesus.
The fact that God sent His Son to die on a cross for the sins of mankind, to be a ransom for all proves that God wants everyone to believe and have knowledge of the truth.
The fact that Jesus now acts as a mediator between God and man is proof that God wants all people to be saved and know the truth.
The fact that God foreordained the crucifixion of His Son as a substitutionary atonement for the sins of mankind proves that God wants His people to know Him.
If He didn’t want people to be saved and He didn’t want people to have knowledge of the truth, why would He send His Son to both die on a cross and to act as a mediator between God and man?
Why would the Holy Spirit direct John to write John 3:16-17 “16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”
What Paul affirms in vv. 5-6 is that:
There is one God—the same God who wanted His people to know Him in the Old Testament wants His people to know Him in the New Testament. This echoes the shema in Deuteronomy 6:4 “4 “Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God, Yahweh is one!” And it echoes Jesus when he responds to scribes who are asking Him what the most important commandment is and Mark 12:29-30 says this, “29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; 30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’”
There is one mediator, Jesus Christ—as the mediator, Jesus removes the separation between God and man caused by sin and He reconciles man with God. Jesus is uniquely qualified for this because He is fully God and fully man, which is why Paul emphasizes His human nature in v. 5. This also tells us that since Jesus is the one mediator, any false beliefs concerning angels, previous saints, popes, priests, or pastors being a mediator between you and God is just that—false. Jesus alone mediates for you and on behalf of you.
And Jesus is the ransom for our sins—now this idea of ransom has caused some confusion because many Christians even today assume that Jesus paid a ransom to Satan for our sins, but that’s not actually true. In other words, Jesus certainly paid for our sins, but He didn’t have to pay Satan, He actually paid this ransom to God. Think about it—our sin makes us guilty in front of God and it is God who punishes those that refuse to repent from sin and believe in Jesus after Jesus judges whether that individual truly believes. Satan isn’t the one who punishes sin, God is—thus, Satan doesn’t need to be paid by Jesus, God needs to be paid by Jesus; and Jesus does this by His own life, the shedding of His own blood. He paid the ransom for your sin through His sacrificial and substitutionary atonement on the cross. Without His death, you would still have to pay the ransom owed to God, which could only be satisfied by your death.
Paul says that this “is the testimony given at the proper time,” and though the phrase is a little vague when it comes to how it connects to the previous statement, the implication is this:
Jesus, by dying for all mankind, which was the divine plan since before the foundation of time, He has borne convincing witness to God’s desire for the salvation of all men.
Or in other words, what Jesus did by dying on the cross for sins is enough to prove that God wants everyone to know Him.
Now, just a brief side-note, please remember that God’s desire for all men to know Him does not equate a universalistic mindset. God wants everyone to know Him and love Him, but He doesn’t force people to know Him and love Him.
God’s choosing of the elect (Mark 13:20; John 6:44, 15:16; Rom 9; Eph 1:4-6) doesn’t negate the fact that the elect still need to choose to repent, believe, and follow God.
To us, it sounds and seems like a paradox, but remember, God’s ways are not like our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts—how exactly does election and free will work out? I’m not entirely sure and if anyone says that they are, they aren’t telling you the truth.
The reality simply is that the Bible teaches both that God chooses those who believe, but anyone can come to know Jesus if they choose to repent, believe, and follow Him.
Paul spoke of the testimony given at the proper time, referring to this statement that Jesus died as a ransom for all and then he speaks of himself in v. 7, “For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” before our last verse for the evening, “I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.”
Paul says that the whole reason that jesus appointed him to be an apostle, to preach was because of this testimony given at the proper time.
The fact that Jesus came to be a ransom for all, to be the mediator for those who repent, believe, and follow Him; that’s why Paul’s an apostle.
The fact that God wants all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth—that’s why Paul is an apostle who preaches and teaches the Gentiles in faith and in truth.
You’ll note that he does have a parenthetical statement mixed into v. 7, “I am telling the truth, I am not lying,” which may seem out of place, but remember the context—Paul has already confronted false teaching in the church at Ephesus.
What do false teachers do? They lie.
Paul wants Timothy and those that also read this letter to know that he isn’t a false teacher, he’s telling the truth.
Paul has received these roles within the church to proclaim the testimony about Jesus to the world.
Thus, he exhorts them again in v. 8, “I [meaning Paul] desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.”
Pray for all people, not just for their general well-being, but primarily for their salvation.
Do this without anger, do this without quarreling.
Do this while “lifting holy hands,” which isn’t a prescription for them to pray while raising their hands, but it’s prescriptive concerning the attitude that they ought to have while they pray. “Holy hands” describe those who are morally pure, those with a devout life-style that seeks to please God.
Thomas Lea and Hayne Griffin suggest that the emphasis of Paul against anger, against quarreling, and with holy hands was in contrast to false teachers, “Paul’s primary emphasis was the attitude that the men were to bring to prayer . . . the ‘anger’ Paul denounced is a settled attitude of indignation against another. The word ‘disputing’ refers to a spirit of controversy that was the special hallmark of the Ephesian false teachers (1 Tim 6:3-5). Controversy and contempt would vitiate the effectiveness of prayers. Men defiled by these attitudes were in Ephesus, and Paul knew that no good could come from their prayers. Paul’s description of the manner in which the men should pray has universal application although local circumstances had stimulated the earnestness of his appeal.” (Thomas D. Lea, Hayne P. Griffin, 1,2 Timothy, Titus, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 34:95)
Which brings us this evening to our application—and this evening’s application is rather simple because it is one overarching application that ties all eight verses into one. Let’s take the remaining few minutes to discuss this.

Application

In this text, we see Paul give a call to prayer—and in it he speaks of different types of prayer for all people, particularly those in human authority. There’s a sense in which we are to offer prayers for all people for their general well-being, but really what’s emphasized in 1 Timothy 2:1-8 are prayers for the salvation of these people. Or in other words, if their lives are generally good, but they never believe in Jesus and they don’t know Him, then their general earthly well-being really doesn’t do them any good. The same application that was given to the Ephesians is given to us as well.
You need to pray all sorts of prayer for all people, not just for their general well-being, but primarily for their salvation. I know that’s a lot, so let’s take a few minutes to break it down:
Paul starts by listing different sorts of prayer, which informs us that our prayer ought to have some variety to it as well.
Or put differently, if every time we pray, we’re only ever asking God for stuff or for health or for whatever else we want, then we aren’t praying all sorts of prayer.
In 1 Timothy, Paul lists supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings; but we also know that Scripture speaks of others:
James 5:15 speaks of the prayer of faith.
Acts 1:14 and 2:42 speak of what we typically would call corporate prayer, sometimes referred to as prayers of agreement.
Some would argue that there’s a separate type of prayer that’s really more like the prayer of worship based on Acts 13:2-3.
There are prayers of consecration in which we ask God to set us apart for His will.
And then there are prayers of imprecation used sparingly to invoke God’s judgment on the wicked and avenge the righteous.
Consider your own prayer life—do your prayers incorporate these various prayers or are you stuck on only supplications and intercessions?
Do you give thanks?
Do you participate in corporate prayer or do you just listen to whomever is praying audibly?
Do you worship God through your prayer?
Do you ask God to consecrate you?
All these different sorts of prayers are biblical, we find them throughout the Old and New Testaments and the implication is simple, we ought to practice these different types of prayer as well.
Now, this could be difficult at first, but it’s something that you need to work on—when you pray, don’t just ask God to give you stuff, or heal your friends, or do things for you.
Give thanks, worship Him, reflect on who He is, ask Him to help you mature in your faith.
This means, that when you pray, you need to be intentional with your prayer—learn to pray different types of prayer by practice.
In 1 Timothy, the emphasis is on praying for other people—not just yourself. And note that the emphasis isn’t just on people that you like, it’s for all people.
Or in other words, it’s rather easy to pray for those that you like—why? Because you like them, so, of course, you want their general well-being.
But Paul encourages prayer for all people including politicians and including people that you aren’t too fond of (politician or not).
This means that the politicians that you disagree with, you should still pray for; the co-worker that drives you absolutely up a wall, you should still pray for; the oddball in your family that you aren’t too fond of, you should still pray for.
The person at church, that sometimes rubs you the wrong way; you should still pray for.
Now, when you pray for these people, what exactly should you pray?
You should pray that their lives generally go well—you should ask for God’s blessing on them. You should pray that they don’t experience unnecessary suffering or pain. If you know that something terrible happened to them, you should pray that they experience relief that only God provides.
Even if you don’t particularly like them, even if you disagree with their politics, and even if it’s the oddball in your family that you aren’t fond of.
Concerning those that happen to be politicians—kings and those who serve in high places—pray that they make wise decisions, that they do what’s best for the most amount of people, and that they truthfully serve their constituents well.
But most importantly, you really ought to be praying for their eternal destination, their soul, God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Including the politicians that you disagree with, the people that you don’t like, and the oddball in your family.
Praying for them to experience a generally good life on this side of eternity really doesn’t do any good if on the next side of eternity, they don’t get to be in the presence of Jesus Christ.
Pray that their lives generally go well, but most importantly, pray that they believe in Jesus and they know the truth.
Put simply, what we learn from 1 Timothy 2:1-8 is that you need to pray for all poeple: (1) pray that they experience generally good lives, (2) pray for politicians to make good decisions, and (3) pray for their salvation, that they will come to the knowledge of the truth—that they will know Jesus.
Pastoral Prayer

Prayer Requests

This week’s prayer requests are:
Pray for the Arter Family (particular Pastor Daniel’s extended family in Ohio) — Daniel’s aunt passed unexpectedly yesterday. She went for a routine knee surgery and suffered with cardiac arrest and didn’t survive. She most likely was not a believer. Please pray for her family and the extended family as they grieve—pray that God uses this as a time to bring the family to Him.
Sean Herbst — Addiction
Pray for Alexus (Tom and Raenelle’s great niece) — struggling with seizures; pray for the doctors to have wisdom in how to best help her and pray for the family
Caleb Miller — Medical Issues
Larry Spikes (Pastor Daniel’s step-father) — is supposed to have heart surgery soon for a double-bypass procedure.
Alan Wisor — Medical Issues
Pray for the church’s building fund
Pray for Trenton Baptist Church in Trenton, KY, their pastor Greg Mathis and his family—TBC is an SBC church in rural KY, they are one of our prayer partners. They recently had what they called spiritual renewal services, which just means they were trying to motivate their people through special services to serve Jesus. Pray for fruit from those services.
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