Intro: Go back to where we were this morning. – 1 Timothy 2.
1 Tim 2:1-7 – Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, 7 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle — I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying — a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
I am giving you instructions on how to get something done, and I say, “First of all”… What does that mean?
It might mean that the instructions are going to include several things to do, and this is the first one in sequence… Do this first.
Or it might mean that of all the instructions I am about to give, this one is most important – Do this above all. Both if these views fit Paul use of the words here. Paul’s urging for pray is first and foremost.
But I want us to notice what Paul is encouraging here. Prayer for whom; Prayer for what purpose, to what end?
I. A Variety of Expressions… the apostle provides a comprehensive description of what praying involves in his list of 2:1: supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks…
A. Supplications–speak to the deepest and most specific needs of the heart. It is a pleading or begging associated with weeping. Israel was described as coming to God with “weeping and supplications” (Jer. 3:21); Daniel said that he came before the Lord, “confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God” (Dan. 9:20).
B. Prayers – this is the general word for requests (prayers). God’s people have always been praying people – Job, David, Nehemiah, Daniel, Paul, etc.
C. Intercessions (petitions)– This word literally means to fall in with someone, or get involved with them. Here it refers to a pleading to God in behalf of another. Abraham made intercession for Sodom (Gen. 18), Moses interceded for Israel (Exod. 32), and the root word is used to describe Jesus work as our High Priest – He ever lives to make intercession with his blood for all believers (Heb. 7:25).
D. Giving of Thanks – This is the prayer of gratitude that responds to the mercy and provision of God. in everything give thanks. (1 Thess. 5:18)
II. A Comprehensive Prayer List… Pray for all men… As we noticed this morning the word “men” here is anthropos, which means human beings. It includes everyone. Who do we need to pray for? Everyone. That can be challenging.
A. I am naturally inclined to pray for my family, my fellow Christians, and those who are active in my personal life. In fact, we often fail to go outside that group with our petition. It seems certain that Paul is not commanding me include every person in my prayers. That would be a logistic impossibility. I do not know everyone. But what Paul is saying is that no one is to be excluded from our list because we have no interest is praying for them. Prayer is not to be selfishly administered, as though god is only interested in helping certain people.
1. Do we pray that God will do what He wants, or what we want? We will come back to that later.
B. v. 2 – for kings and all who are in authority – In his exhortation to not leave anyone off the list, Paul specifically mentions praying for kings and all who are in authority. If there were any that might be excluded it would be the rulers. Christians of Paul’s day were the political targets of the rulers of their day. The emperor Nero was actively persecuting the Lord’s people. They were anti-Christ in every way. Why should the Christians petition God in their behalf? Why should we pray for those in authority over us – for our president, congressman and congresswomen, governor, judges, .,.. all the way down the list? The text helps us answer this question for them, and for ourselves.
III. A Noble Goal – v. 2 – that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. We should pray for those in authority because it is through them that we may secure quiet and peaceful lives. (we might be tempted reply that these folks are the reason we do not have quiet and peaceful lives!)
A. The Greek word that is used here for quiet is eremos, which “indicates tranquility arising from without” (Vine 242). In today’s vernacular, we would call it “outward peace.” We often pray that we will not be molested from outside sources. Charlie prayed this morning that we would be secure and no one would come in from the outside and attempt to disrupt our worship
B. The Greek word that Paul uses for tranquil is hesztchios, (hay-soo’ khee-os), which is similar to eremos, but it “indicates tranquility arising from within, causing no disturbance to others” (Vine 242). It literally means to keep your seat – to be undisturbed in your mind. Today we would call it “inward peace.” This life is desired by us all and is exactly what the first man and woman enjoyed in Paradise.
C. God has ordained the governments of the world for the purpose of peace and quiet.
- Human governments are designed by God to restrain evil in society – Rom 13:1-7 – Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. We notice here that our part in securing a peaceful and quiet life is submission, not rebellion.
2. When the Lord Jesus was asked about paying taxes imposed by an ungodly government, Jesus said, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” (Matt. 22:21). Paul told Titus, “Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work” (Tit. 3:1). And Peter says, “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake” (1 Pet. 2:13). Our part in the pursuit of peace and tranquil lives includes submission to authority.
D. The Christian should aspire to live a quiet life. The gospel is not advanced through chaos or disorder. (young man who was arrested for preaching outside a school – disturbing the peace. 1 Thess 4:11-12 – that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing. And to those who were walking disorderly he said, “Work in quietness” (2 Thess. 3:12).
E. In addition to the goal of a peaceful and tranquil life, we are to pray for all men so that we can live our lives in godliness and reverence. (v. 2)
1. The Greek word that Paul uses for “godliness” is eusebeia, which means “to be devout… denotes that piety which, characterized by a Godward attitude, does that which is well pleasing to Him” (162).
2. The Greek word Paul uses for “reverence” is semnotes, which Vine defines as “venerableness, dignity” – It could be translated “moral earnestness.”
a. If there is a connection in these words, godliness may refer to a proper attitude; dignity to proper behavior. Christians should aspire to living with a commitment to morality that translates into full obedience to his will. Both of these contribute to the tranquility and quietness of our lives. We recognize, however, that obeying God and living godly will not always bring peace. Paul writes in 2 Tim 3:12, “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Paul is telling us that we should seek to be quiet and peaceful in society, and if we suffer it should be because of our godliness, not because we are a disruptive force in society.
3. Paul reinforces this lifestyle of quietness by affirming in the next verse… 1 Tim 2:3 – For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, But is this all that is involved in the exhortation to pray for the king? This is a noble goal – what we all desire – to live quiet and tranquil lives. But let me ask again. Do we pray for what we want God to do, or what God wants to do?
IV. A Spiritual Goal. 1 Tim 2:4 – …who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. In v. 3 Paul tells us that praying for all men, including rulers, and seeking the goal of peaceful lives is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Savior. But do we see that he also tells us why this pleases God.
A. God desires that all men be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. This is what God wants. This is what God wants to accomplish. Peace and tranquility in society are simply ingredients toward that goal. This is the part that challenges me. Not IF I will pray for peace and tranquility, but WHY does God want me to pray for it. He wants me to use my quiet and peaceful life to teach others the truth.
B. So I should pray for all men because God wants to save all men. And how is that possible. Paul reaffirms the urgency and direction of the spiritual task at hand… 1 Tim 2:5-6 – For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,
C. Not all men know this. So I need to pray that God will create the most advantageous environment in which they can come to a knowledge of this truth and be saved. This is not for me, but for THEM! Knowing that will I be inclined to pray more or less?
Conclusion: We have been blessed beyond our recognition or merit with a peaceful and quiet society in which to live godly and reverent lives. It may be that this will come to an end, maybe even in our lifetime. We do not want that to happen. But there is something we can do about it. We can pray for all men. We can aspire to peace and quiet and encourage others to seek peace. But maybe most of all we can get busy doing God’s work for God’s purposes, and He will provide the peaceful environment that will give the gospel free course.