Waging the Worthy War #2: For All Men
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Text: 1 Timothy 2
Key Verse: 1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
A shepherd was tending his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new Porsche Cayenne appeared out of a dust cloud, advanced toward him and stopped.
The driver, a 24 -year-old man wearing a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and a YSL tie, leaned out of the window and asked our shepherd, "If I can tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?"
The shepherd looked at the young guy, then at his peacefully grazing flock, and calmly answered, "Sure."
The young man parked his car, whipped out his notebook computer, connected it to a cellphone, surfed to a NASA page on the Internet where he called up a GPS satellite navigation system, scanned the area, then opened up a database and some Excel spreadsheets with complex formulas.
He finally printed out a 150-page report on his hi-tech miniaturized printer, turned around to the shepherd, and said, "You have here exactly 1,586 sheep!"
"Amazing! That's correct! Like I agreed, you can take one of my sheep," said the shepherd.
He watched the young guy make a selection and bundle it into his Cherokee.
When he was finished the sheepherder said, "If I can tell you exactly what your political persuasion is, where you're from, and who you work for, will you give me my sheep back?
"Okay, why not?" answered the young man.
"You're a Democrat from Washington DC and you're working for Nancy Pelosi," said the shepherd.
"That's correct," said the young man. "How did you guess that?"
"Easy," answered the shepherd. "Nobody called you, but you showed up here anyway.
You want to be paid for an answer to a question I already knew, and you really don't know anything about my business because you just loaded my dog in your SUV.
This morning I have a different proposition for you. If I can tell you God’s will for your life as a Christian soldier and child of God, will you do it? And if I can tell you God’s will, I promise not to take your dog.
Last Sunday we read as Paul wrote Timothy and charged him to be Faithful. Faithful in the truth, faithful in the ministry and faithful in the spiritual warfare. In this chapter Paul begins to tell his son in the faith, how that faithfulness is express in actions.
God's Work – 1 Timothy 2:1-2
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.
God’s Work Is Pray For All
After Paul tells Timothy in Chapter 1 to be faithful, he then says the first priority for the soldier of the Lord is to pray. Paul writes, 2:1 “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made” and that elevates prayer to the most important duty of a Christian soldier. Before all the other things you do as you try and keep God’s will, pray.
To emphasize how important prayer is Paul, doesn’t just say pray he lists several different words for prayer. In the Koine Greek language that Paul was writing in to to the half Greek / half Hebrew Timothy, there are at seven different Greek nouns for “prayer.” Paul uses four of them here.
Supplications are a seeking of God, an asking from God for a specific need.
Prayer is communing with God, it is a sacred gift to the child of God as well as a sacred duty. Prayer is an act of worship, even more than expression of our wants and needs.
Intercessions has the same meaning as “petitions.” The basic meaning is “to draw near to a person and converse confidently with him.” It suggests that we enjoy fellowship with God so that we have confidence as we pray.
Giving of thanks is no surprise thanksgiving, We are to give thanks for the past and yet future answers to prayer, but we also give thanks for who God is to us as our Faither and for all that He has blessed us with now and throughout eternity. Our prayers must be encapsulated in and surrounded by thanksgiving even when the words that we are praying are not specifically about thanks.
Paul uses these same descriptions of prayer when he wrote to the church at Phillipi, in Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
The Scope of Prayer - Paul tells Timothy and Timothy was to tell the church he pastored your first job is to prayer, then he goes on and points out the scope, the object of those prayers: Pray for all men, kings, and all in authority. “All men” makes it clear that no person on earth is outside the influence of believing prayer. No king, no president, no speaker of the house, no senate majority leader, no governor, no mayor, no city councilmember. The church was to pray for the pagans, the Jews, the Christians, the lost, the saved, for those in our community, for those on the other side of the world, for those that hate us, and for those who love us. Pray for all mankind.
Then Paul gives the Purpose of Prayer: vss 2-3 “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour”
God’s Work Must Be Our Work
As the pastor of this church and as a recipient of this letter from Paul via Timothy, I have to ask each of us as a church and ask myself as the leader of the church, “Is prayer our priority?” In this time of restricted church assembly and reduced outreach opportunities I am constantly trying to think of how we as a church continue to serve the Lord as we should. Then this week I was reading from this text as I prepared for the sermon and it is there right in front of me. Prayer is the first priority and nothing in this world and time can restrict our prayers. Bible study and regular worship may be more of a challenge than ever before, but prayer is immune to any pandemic, lockdown or even a lock up if it comes to that.
Recently we had an election and in case any of you missed it, a bunch of people who don’t believe in God, don’t trust the Bible and don’t want churches to grow were elected. All the rallies, all the social media posts, all the political debates didn’t stop them. They are now in power and you know what you are supposed to be doing about it? We are supposed be praying. Specifically praying for them. “For Kings, (presidents) for all in authority (congress to city council). The Bible way is not protest but prayer, not bitter recrimination but deep supplication.
We better be praying so that we can “lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”
From the Old Testament to the New Testament God is seeking among his people for those who will pray, Ezekiel 22:30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
Illustration: Ben Franklin
I believe that one of the reasons our country has been so open to God since its founding is the power of prayer.
From May 25 to September 17, 1787, in the old Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall) in Philadelphia our nation was struggling to write the constitution and utterly failing. The republic was on the verge of failure. Finally Benjamin Franklin, spoke up, "I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: "that God governs in the affairs of man." And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?
We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that
except the Lord build
the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in the political building no better than the builders of Babel; we shall be divided by our little, partial local interests; our projects will be confounded; and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a byword down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing government by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war or conquest.
I therefore beg leave to move that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessing on our deliberation be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business."
After this speech the convention was then adjourned for three days of prayer, Bible reading and special church meetings, following which the Constitution was discussed and adopted.
Ben Franklin may not have been the most pious man at that convention but he was in the end the wisest because he did what Paul had told Timothy to do. Pray to God for all men that we might live in peace.
Paul said our first priority is to pray, pray for all men and pray for all men that the church may have peace. Next in vs. 3 Paul tells Timothy why this is important and it has to do with God’s Will.
God's Will – 1 Timothy 2:3-4
For this (prayer for all men) is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
Gods Will For All
Paul continues his thought, pray for all, so that the church might have peace to preach the gospel because God our Savior would have all those, we have prayed for to be saved.
Now this being the will of God is not the same as it be the decree of God. Not all men will be saved, there is not universal salvation and Paul states part of that in this verse. God will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. There can be no salvation unless there is is knowledge of t he truth, knowledge of the law and knowledge of grace, knowledge of repentance and knowledge of faith.
We pray for those all men, we pray for those in authority that we might have peace to live openly and present the Gospel for this is God’s will, His desire is to reclaim that which was lost by man’s disobedience when sin entered the Garden. God wants mankind to be his through the gift of grace, so pray for God’s will to be accomplished.
You know what can also be seen from these two verses? The truth about election, foreknowledge, predestination, Calvinism and Armenism. It’s settled with right here, no muss, no fuss. Paul could never have written that God will have all men to be saved if He was only allowing a certain ones to be saved. Either God’s will for all or it is only for some and if it only for some, then Paul writing here under the inspiration of God, was wrong. And if wrong here then wrong everywhere. No let the Bible say what it plainly says, We pray for all men because God desire all men to be saved, there is no restriction, there is no qualification now or in eternity past.
Jesus himself, said it in John 12:31-33 Now is the judgment
of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I
be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 -- This he said,
signifying what death he should die.
God’s Will For You
It is not difficult to understand God’s will for you and for me. It is written in letters large and plain throughout His word. God’s will first of all is for you to be saved.
Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
God’s will is for the lost, all the lost to be saved. And once you are saved then God’s will for you is to tell others how to be saved themselves.
Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
There is it God’s revealed will, be saved and then be involved in telling others. It not hard, it not difficult. Our problem is not that we can’t know God’s will, , but that we aren’t doing God’s will.
Are you willing to do God’s will?
Then do all you can to get all mankind saved and to the knowledge of truth.
Do you want to fulfill God’s will? Then do all that you can, with all that God has given you to see all men saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. This is God’s will.
Illustration: William Borden of Yale
William Whiting Borden was born in 1887 in Chicago to the very wealthy Borden family. The same family that owned the still in operation, Borden Dairy Co., with Elsie the Cow their mascot.
When he graduated at the age of sixteen, his parents gave him a gift: a trip around the world. He traveled with a missionary, Walter Erdman. As they traveled around the globe, William felt the calling of the Lord, to be a missionary.
When he returned to the United States in 1905, he went to Yale University. There, he excelled at academics and in all sorts of athletics. He was on the boxing team, he was involved in yachting, and he was engaged in track and field. He started a students prayer group and the entire college was influenced by their impact and many were saved. Borden just stood out in everything he did, with his family connections, he could have done anything with his life, but he remained committed to his calling to be a missionary.
When he graduated from Yale, he enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary, back then still a conservative seminary. When he graduated in 1912, he was ordained and then spent a few months in New York City working with missionaries as and intern. About this time that he became aware of a people group in China of ten million Muslims without a gospel witness.
He decided that he would go to Cairo to learn Arabic so that he could reach these lost Muslims in China. He left America in December 1912. On March 21, he was fell deadly ill with spinal meningitis; nineteen days later, he died. April 9, 1913. He never made it to China.
After his death, his will was read. In it he left his entire fortune, over one million dollars, to Christian causes. Today that would be over $25 million dollars. The money was to go to missionaries and teachers who are sound in the faith, believing in such fundamentals as the doctrine of the divine inspiration and authority of Scripture, the doctrine of the Trinity, including the deity of Christ, and the doctrine of the atonement through the substitutionary death of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When he died, his Bible was returned to his parents. When they opened it, they saw on the flyleaf these words, written by William Borden on the date he was saved: “No reserves.” Later there was another date, and he wrote these words, “No retreat.” Finally, illness after March 21 and shortly before his death on April 9, he wrote these words: “No regrets.” No reserves. No retreat. No regrets. If you think that the life of William Borden and all his money was wasted then you don’t know the will of God nor the reward of God. William Borden knew both. No reserves, No retreat, No regrets.
One final thing that Paul tells Timothy is the will of God and it is in vss. 5 and 6. God’s work is to pray for all, God’s will is salvation for all and God’s Way is Jesus for all.
God's Way – 1 Timothy 2:5-6
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.
God’s Way Is One Mediator For All
To Timothy Paul writes that God’s desire is for all to be saved but all who would be saved must come through one mediator, one go between, the man Christ Jesus.
Paul says emphatically, There is only one God and there is only one mediator, the man Christ Jesus, who paid the one price that could ransom us from sin and justify us before a Holy and righteous God.
No other person meets the qualification to be the mediator. Only Jesus led a perfect sinless life and then gave that perfect life as a substitute for our sinful life. Only Jesus, the son of God, very God of God, God in the flesh, met the just demands of God’s law. He became the “ransom for all.” He paid the price that freed us from being slaves to sin. His death paid that price but it can only be applied to those who believe and accept him as savior, trusting in His sacrifice to be the payment for their sin debt.
Is God’s Way Your Way?
There is a lot of ideas, philosophies, religions and disciplines that will try and form you, shape you and even claim to save you, but God has decreed in his Sovereignty and Omnipotence that there is only One way and that way is Jesus.
When life ends and eternity begins then you and I must be very sure that the way we chose was the way God chose. All roads at one time may have led to Rome, but there has only ever been one road that led to salvation and forgiveness and that road was marked as a blood red, scarlet trail that ran from Genesis to Revelation, from the Garden of Eden to the Golden Throne, from the serpent in the wilderness to the savior on the cross. That way led from the sealed tomb to the Mount of Olives. That way was the way God decreed, the way Jesus walked, and it must be the way we would follow Him.
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Conclusion: Due Time
Paul says Jesus gave himself as a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
You know when is the due time? For the people of 60 AD, it was their due time when Paul, Luke, Timothy, and Titus came into their town, marketplaces and synagogues and told them the Gospel
If you are hearing this today and haven’t accepted Christ as you savior, your ransom for sin, your one and only way to salvation then this is your due time.
And if you are saved, child of God, a soldier of the cross, then it is due time for us to make prayer our first priority. Praying for those in authority, praying for peace and openness that the church of God may fulfil the will of God which is to have all men be saved and come to know the truth.