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; 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve;
The key verse in 1 Timothy 2 is verses 3-4.
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.
We cannot escape the truth that the Apostle Paul’s whole life centered around the gospel. If one were to ask him why he did what he did, the answer would be to further the gospel. If one were to ask him why he said what he said, the answer would be to further the gospel. If one were to ask him why he was willing to suffer persecution, insult, church fights, fights outside the church, slander, backbiting, and all the other things, his answer would be to further the gospel.
A centered life is a focused life. Whatever the true focus of our life will be can be determined by the choices we make. If I say I love God more than I love my car, I won’t be driving my new, awesome, beautiful car out in the countryside while church is going on. Our focus is determined by the choices we make.
“Flotsam and jetsam are commonly used terms used to describe the wreckage and debris that floats in the water after a shipwreck. What isn't so well known is that there is a difference between flotsam" and jetsam. Flotsam is anything that ends up in the water resulting from the shipwreck, whether it's pieces of the boat or even some of the cargo. Nobody had any control over it; it's there as a result of the shipwreck. But jetsam is different altogether. Jetsam refers to the cargo and other items purposely jettisoned from the ship to help stabilise it and hopefully to save it from shipwreck. In other words, ejecting the jetsam can often save the possibility of a complete wreck and the resulting flotsam. Life is similar. We often have to make choices to eject things from our lives that we may prefer to hold onto in order to prevent a much worse disaster.”
This jetsam is what Paul speaks of in this passage.
Prejudice and Pride
Prejudice and Pride
First, we jetsam prejudice and pride and turn to prayer.
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.
In our highly charged political atmosphere, there are Christians who are so wound up that they find it difficult to pray for President Trump, Governor LaPage, Susan Collins, Agnus King, Chellie Pingree or Bruce Poliquin. We can be so engaged in the fierce battles going on the economic front, the Supreme Court nominations, the social agendas and the lack of character we perceive in some of our elected officials that we are unable to pray. I would ask any of you who have taken positions, how often do YOU make supplications, prayers and intercessions and thanksgivings for those who are in high places?
If I were to ask you to name one person that you would find it almost impossible to pray for, it might be a family member, a neighbor, or someone who is often before us in the media, why is that so?
I would answer, based on this passage, that the furtherance of the gospel is not number one on your list of things. I would say that instead of focusing on the gospel, you are focused on their sin. You are fixated on the problem, not the solution.
One reason that prayer is difficult is that we are not focusing on the gospel.
Who is Paul speaking of when he mentions those who are kings or are in high places?
Caligula and Nero were two of the main leaders of the Roman Empire.
Wikipedia says, “There are few surviving sources about the reign of Caligula, although he is described as a noble and moderate emperor during the first six months of his rule. After this, the sources focus upon his cruelty, sadism, extravagance, and sexual perversion, presenting him as an insane tyrant.” He was assassinated in 41AD. Next was Claudius. He walked with a limp and was hard of hearing. Other than killing a few senators, he was one of the better Caesars. Following his death, and some say at the hand of his own wife, Nero was Emperor. His countrymen thought he was compulsive and corrupt. His mother tried to rule Rome though him, and later he had her killed. During his reign, a major fire broke out. Rumors had it that he started it as a diversionary effort to take pressure off his policies. He raised taxes a lot to support his building programs. He ended up as the only Roman Emperor to die of suicide after he learned that he was going to be killed.
If you have lived in those days, it would have taken an act of God to get you to pray for these ungodly rulers!
Yet, Paul tells Timothy to pray. What was the prayer?
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.
That almost sounds like, pray for the leaders so that their evil will not affect our ability to live differently than they do. Pray for the leaders so that they will not hinder our ability to live as Christians. Pray for the leaders so that we can enjoy the fruits of the gospel.
Paul ties in the gospel to this prayer. He says,
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.
In other words, Paul doesn’t pray that the government will lower his taxes. He doesn’t pray for zero unemployment or the abolition of slavery. He doesn’t pray that he will be able to enjoy retirement. He wants people to pray for everyone so that they will come to know the one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ. He gave himself as a ransom for all. He wants prayer for everyone, not just those he agreed with.
This message about Jesus was Paul’s job. He was appointed a preacher and an apostle, a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
That is why he wrote,
8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;
The Greek word for “men” here is not human beings. The word that is used is specifically referring to male people. God wants men to pray.
Don’t add what is not there. He is not saying that women shouldn’t pray. He is saying that men should.
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul identifies something that seems real, but I don’t understand it. Many men are reluctant to pray. Ask them to stack wood, work on a computer, dig a ditch, cheer on a football game, and they will do it. Ask them to pray and all of a sudden there is silence.
This is an issue of pride. We won’t pray for those with whom we disagree, that is prejudice. We won’t pray. That is an issue of pride.
How should men behave in church? They should pray. If you are concerned about the gospel, then your concern about living in an environment that will let you live for Jesus would overcome your reluctance to talk to God.
The term “every place” seems to refer to both public and private places. “Without anger or quarreling…” stand as an antidote to their attitudes toward outside governments and thinks other Christians say or do that bothers them.
Every time you see a man praying in this church, you are looking at an obedient Christian.
If we are willing to jettison pride and prejudice for the sake of the gospel, we should also be willing to jettison personal rights.
In America, we have the right to say what we want to say, wear what we want to wear, go where we want to go and do what we want to do within certain boundaries.
Paul calls the women in Ephesus to modesty for the sake of the gospel.
9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.
We live in a world where people demand that others respect them no matter what they do. Self-expression is highlighted. The affect that self-expression may have on others is not important.
Let me tell you about God. God created a woman to be attractive to a man. The more of a woman that a man sees, the more he will be attracted to her.
Many women don’t care. They think that there is something wrong with a man who is attracted to them when they are wearing next to nothing. They should be able to be free and the men have a problem.
I blame God. He created women to be attractive to men and men to be attractive to women.
No matter what a woman wears, there is no excuse for men to cross the line and touch or make lewd remarks or assume the woman wants more just because of what they are wearing. The “#metoo” movement is correct in that many women in America are mistreated by men.
The Christian comes at this, however, with a much different mindset. The Christian asks the question, “Are people going to respond to me based on what I say or what they see?” If I want a person to know Jesus, will my wardrobe detract from my message?
The passage gives two extremes. On one side is modesty. On the other side is the person who spend enormous amounts of money to look beautiful. The braided hair, gold and pearls were symbols of elitism and wealth. They projected an attitude.
How did this attitude affect the church? These women were part of the “haves” and their insensitivity made the “have nots” uncomfortable and affected their testimony.
You ask, “Ed, where is the line drawn…?” My answer is that I am not going to go there. I would ask you this question. Why do you dress the way you do? Is your audience God or is your audience yourself or is your audience other people? What affect does what you wear have on your ability to share the gospel and live a Christian life?
I have heard of people who won’t come to church because they don’t have the right makeup. What do you think Jesus thinks about that?
That is what was always on Paul’s mind. He would ask himself how did what he ate, what he wore, what he said, where he went, and how he prayed affect his ability to tell people that there was one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.
If the focus is on individual rights instead of the gospel, if the focus is on how we look on the outside rather than the gospel, what would the change look like?
10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.
Good works focuses not on our rights, on what we wear, but on what helps other people.
We don’t understand that the presentation of the gospel is strengthened by the awareness of people that Christians love one another.
Our Deacon’s ministry of helping those in need has been a positive bridge to the time the gospel is shared. The Exchange and the Senior Dinner have encouraged non-Christians to come and hear the gospel. When people visit other people who are widowed, sick, or in need with a loving heart, that makes a real impact.
When we focus on the gospel rather than ourselves, we are in the best position to serve the Lord and help others.
This is true also with self-control.
It’s something that many young people don’t understand. They beg their parents for the freedom to wear what they want, do what they want and to be treated as an adult. In other words, they ask for the right of self-expression.
What happens when they don’t get it? They scream at their parents, cry, slam doors, sulk, and lack any kind of self-control.
The lack of self-control sends the signal to the parent that this person is not ready for self-expression. Self-expression without self-control will lead to real problems.
If a young person was living for Jesus and wanted to help their parents draw closer to Jesus, the lack of self-control would not help them in their efforts to live out the gospel.
What do we learn about our behavior in church? The church should always be centered around God. The church should always be centered around Jesus.
My personal preferences should be set aside. I should decide to pray when I am fearful about prayer. I should dress and act in a way that will keep the focus on Jesus.
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.
The model is Jesus. Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners. In order to save sinners, he gave himself.
What did this giving look like?
On the cross he was in prayer.
Modesty was not an option.
On the cross he exercised great self-control.
He did that to become a ransom for us all, to save us from our sins, to bring us back to God. I am thankful that Jesus jettisoned pride, prejudice and personal rights in order to save us from our sin.