1 Timothy 4
1 Timothy 2:1-8.
- Paul writing to Timothy with instructions on the way church in Ephesus should be run - 1st half for men, 2nd for women - on prayer, women are to pray too but the men needed this exhortation.
Read 2:1-8 [count “all”] - one statement, see the overall thrust by omitting verses [read v.1,4,8] - Prayer specifically in relation to salvation.
The priority of prayer:
- “first of all”- not in time but in importance. This is the role of the church (My house will be a house of prayer for all people).
- It is God’s will (v.3) - do you want to please God?
- Women predominate at prayer meetings, men out doing more important things - there is no more important thing!- doing can prevent us praying.
- More older than younger - when young out to save the world, with age wisdom, look back and see how futile your own efforts and utter dependance upon God - that is what prayer indicates - looks to God as the only one who can do it!
- “God does everything by prayer and nothing without it” (John Wesley)
- Salvation belongs to God - therefore entreaty must be made to Him in order for a soul to be saved - it is His work alone - the part we play is to beseech Him on others’ behalf [Revelation 7:10 “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; ]. We pray to the Father that He will draw men to Himself.
- Neil/Haydn can’t save anyone (John 15:5) - that is why prayer is essential. Prayer is to be made continually.
- Prayer is of foremost importance - Amen? Then why only 5 at prayer meeting, 12 at Don Millar video?
Different kinds of prayer:
- Paul passes this exhortation on to Timothy that he in turn might encourage the church to pray.
There are different ways of prayer, ways of praying, the burden comes upon us in different ways.δεήσεις Want, need - supplication or prayer for particular benefits, petition for oneself.προσευχὰς prayer - general term for prayer to God from a root meaning to wish - it embraces all that is included in the idea of prayer i.e. thanks, requesting special things. ἐντεύξεις term for a petition to a superior, writing addressed to the king. We come before the King of kings and place our petitions before Him, requesting mercy and grace for the souls of men (cf. Heb 4:16). The idea is of fellowship, spending time together with God, not with a specific request but spending time together coming to know His will then pleading in accordance with it - closeness, intimacy and communion with God and expressing His heart cry. Thanksgiving is also to be an integral part of our prayer - not just making requests. It is the grateful acknowledgment of past mercies, answers received.
- All kinds of prayer are to be employed on behalf of everyone in order that they may come to salvation [Ephesians 6:19-20 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.]
Who are we to pray for?
- Prayer is to be made especially and specifically for those in authority - rulers, leaders, government, heads of state, bosses at work, people in high position with responsibility - because their actions affect society. They determine the kind of life we live because they determine the way people are treated, make laws determining what is permitted, make decisions that control the conditions we face. Their decisions and actions determine whether we can live a quiet and tranquil life or face conflict and disruption - whether we can pursue our faith in Christ or be persecuted for it. The purpose of prayer for those in authority is that we might live a peaceful and quiet life - that society would be stable so that we can live undisturbed in godliness and seriousness.
- We are to pray for govt - someone said we have the govt we deserve! I’m guilty of grizzling about the govt & criticizing the decisions of my boss - whose fault? Do I pray for them?
- We are to pray for all men - God’s will and desire is that all men be saved and come to know the truth i.e. be in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Not all men will be saved but that is God’s desire for them - he doesn’t want them to suffer wrath [Ezekiel 18:23 Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord God, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live? 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.] - in the cross Christ has made provision for the salvation of all men, but not all avail themselves of the provision.
Prayer plays an important part in the dynamic of God bringing a soul to salvation. It is all of God, a work of His grace - but we are involved. He responds to the prayers of His children on behalf of the lost, is moved with compassion for them and draws them to Himself. Without God’s initiative none would be saved but that initiative is released in response to prayer - in some way the prayers of the saints are an essential part to God’s work of salvation. What a privilege and responsibility is prayer [Matthew 9:37,38 Then He *said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”]
Prayer is evidence of our utter reliance on God to do the work.
What are we to pray for?
- The first duty of the Christian Church is prayer. It is in answer to prayer that God gives conditions in which Christians can lead peaceable lives and put all their energy into making his good news known to the whole world.
- We take a well ordered society for granted - God has placed civil government in the hands of men (Rom 13:1). He desires that such rule be righteous, equitable and benevolent - providing stability, peace and security for its citizens which enables the work of the Gospel to proceed. Man misused stable and benevolent society - becomes self-sufficient, thinks it’s his own doing.
- But more important that a secure and stable society is the salvation of men’s souls - this is of primary importance. [OHP]
- The main emphasis is on prayer for salvation, for men to come to the knowledge of the truth.
- Knowing the truth leads to eternal life - Knowledge of God, of the truth, of Jesus Christ is salvation Knowledge of God, of the truth, of Jesus Christ is salvation [John 17:3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.]
- Prayer is essential for salvation, the natural man cannot understand spiritual things it takes God to reveal the truth of the Gospel.
- Why are not more saved? We do not pray enough!
What is this truth? [OHP] - read v.5,6.
- Christ is the truth. This "truth" that is essential is: "There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus."
- What truth is packed in this statement! There is only one God - the shema, the fundamental tenet of the Jewish faith [Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!]
-This God is holy, awesome, removed from man - man cannot approach such a One! We need a "go between" - Mediator cf. Industrial dispute & Tom on reconciliation (John’s advocate) [cf. Job 9:32-35 “For He is not a man as I am that I may answer Him, That we may go to court together. “There is no umpire between us, Who may lay his hand upon us both. “Let Him remove His rod from me, And let not dread of Him terrify me.“Then I would speak and not fear Him; Job 33:23,24 “If there is an angel as mediator for him, One out of a thousand, To remind a man what is right for him, Then let him be gracious to him, and say, ‘Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom’]
- So God Himself provided a Mediator - one who could go between man and God - reveal the unknowable God to man, and plead the case of man before an unapproachable God. This is the High Priest - Jesus Christ Himself become a man, so that He can understand, empathize and identify with man. Yet He is God, so that He has access to the holy throne on high. There is none like Him! No one else can fulfill this role! All praise, thanks, honour and glory be to Jesus Christ our great High Priest! ̓́Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.9:15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.12:24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.] - Jesus is the only way to the Father, the one and only Mediator.
- The great goal of Christ’s mediation is that sinners might be saved.
- The truth that saves is Jesus, the Gospel - But there is more involved than God becoming like us so that, being on our level, He can make the Father knowable to us (John 1:18) - there is a great gulf between God and man - we cannot approach a holy, righteous, perfectly pure and undefiled God of absolute justice because we are inherently riddles with sin - it is our nature and God cannot abide sin. We are slaves to sin, so a ransom to release us from that slavery is required. [cf. Ransom demanded for hostages] - idea of paying in return for someone’s release - The concept of ransom and redemption are closely linked.
- This is the Gospel - Jesus paid the price Himself, the cost of His life, His soul, His blood poured out - our Passover Lamb slain to liberate us from the oppressive slavery to the world and as a sin offering (2 Cor 5:21; 1 Cor 5:7 For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.).
Jesus gave Himself for us (cf. Matt 20:28; Gal 1:4 who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father; 2:20; 1 Pet 1:18,19). Jesus redeemed us, the ransom price was His blood.
- The ransom brought about redemption - the price had been paid in full! Hallelujah! (John 19:30). Love is expressed by giving - it is costly - the more it costs the more we love. The sign of God’s love is the giving of His Son (John 3:16), the expression of Jesus’ love was the giving of His life. No one took it from Him, He gave it of His own free will (John 15:13; Rom 5:8; 1 John 4:9,10; John 10:17,18).
- Jesus’ death was for all, God desires all men to be saved (cf. v.4; John 1:29,34,36).
- Not all men avail themselves of this gift - their eyes are blinded (2 Cor 4:3,4 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.) that is why we must intercede on their behalf - they cannot see the truth though it is for them - we pray in order that the eyes of their spiritual understanding may be opened (Eph 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.), that God would reveal the truth to them, that they would see the truth that can set them free if they accept the Ransom paid for them.
- The right time - historically: Alexander the Great, Greek universal language, Roman roads, borderless empire, Septuagint, diaspora, synagogues throughout the world.
- Spiritually: failure of the law, bankruptcy of pagan religions & Judaism, Israel reestablished the nation and cleansed the temple but what was done in human strength had failed and been utterly corrupted, prophetic pathway prepared culminating in John the Baptist.
- Man’s need plainly revealed, now the solution had come: [Mark 1:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman; Titus 1:3 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested, even His word, Romans 5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly Romans 16:25,26 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith]
- The testimony is the testimony of Jesus Christ to the world that He is the Son of God, the Messiah who delivered Himself up for our transgressions, died and rose again and returned to the Father. This is the Gospel (Mediator & Ransom) now revealed - this is Paul’s reason for being - Paul had the call of God on his life - this truth is so stupendous he had to proclaim it - in fact he was appointed by God as a preacher and emissary (apostle) to proclaim this message so all men, Gentiles as well as Jews, would hear the Good News (cf. Judaizers) all men - available to all!
This was no human mission, Paul deciding to tell others what was so wonderful to him - no, he was appointed by God Himself to this task. He testifies to the truth of this (as if taking an oath to the truth of this). When there were lying teachers around (cf. 1:3,4) who were questioning his authority, it was important to establish his authority, genuineness and credibility as a true teacher - not of genealogies, myths and strange doctrines, but of faith and truth. Our faith is well founded because it is in the truth, not in some human devised doctrine, fable or tradition.
The way prayer is to be made:
- Males (contrast “men” v.1,4,5) are to lead in this matter of prayer - primarily referring to in the church - Men and women have different functions in the church of God, different responsibilities. Man’s responsibility is to lead, and of all the areas which men are called upon to lead, the greatest is in the realm of prayer. “Every place” - husband in the marriage, father in the family, men in the church.
- Every place - everywhere Christ is worshiped prayer is to be made for the salvation of all men, it should be an integral part of our services.
- Holy hands - standard posture in the early church when praying, looking on high for the answer - holy, purity, separation from the world. If we are involved in the world we cannot save people out of it (lifeboat).
- Relationships right harmony between brothers [Matthew 5:23,24 Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.]
- Acceptable and effective prayer is characterized by 1/ holiness toward God. 2/ harmony among men (Act 24:16). Effective prayer presupposes that we are open to God in all areas of our lives - thus we can lift up holy hands - conscience clear. (̓́Psalm 66:18 If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear] -relationship with God; if relationship not right with wife prayers will be hindered (1 Peter 3:7) ̓́ James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.]