Passage: 1 Timothy 2:1-7
Speaker: Steve Hands
Series: Truth Over Spin
Sometimes we become so heavenly minded that we are of little earthly good. This was the problem in Ephesus as people were devoted to myths and endless genealogies (1 Tim 1:4). How do we break out of such a myopic focus? In 1 Tim 2:1–7, Paul calls the church to pray for all people because God desires all to be saved through Christ Jesus and my testimony.
First we pray for all people (1 Tim 2:1–2). We must pray, and we must pray through our problems. When we pray through, we begin with supplications for specific requests which become prayers for God’s purposes that grow into intercessions in God’s presence before I burst out in thanksgivings for what God will do (2:1). As we pray we are moved to pray not only for our own needs but for all people, not just those we know or the problems we see, but especially for kings and all who are in high positions (1:2). What is the purpose of such prayer? That we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way (2:2). It is much easier to complain about our leaders than to pray for them! But if we desire to live peaceful and quiet lives then we should pray for our leaders. Why?
We pray for all people because God desires all to be saved (1 Tim 1:3–4). We pray for peace and quiet is not for our personal enjoyment but because it is good to pray and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (2:3–4). We pray for peace so that the saving power of God might be made known to all people. We must never lose this global scope in our prayer for it reflects God’s heart who desires all people to be saved. But how will they be saved?
We pray for all people because God desires all to be saved through Christ Jesus (1 Tim 2:5–6a). Paul probably builds on a well-known hymn here, that there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (2:5). There are not many ways to be saved; there is only way to be saved, and His name is Jesus. There is only one mediator between God and men: Jesus Christ. He is the one who gave himself as a ransom for all. This is work that he has accomplished. So what?
We pray for all people because God desires all to be saved through Christ Jesus and my testimony (1 Tim 2:6b–7). This powerful work of Christ must be shared; it is the testimony given at the proper time (2:6b). And it is shared by Paul who says, for this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (2:7). The finished work of Jesus Christ as a mediator to God must be shared by a person. Paul feels a personal obligation for that. Though we may not have the office of an apostle today, we should also feel a similar calling to proclaim the good news of Christ to those around us. We must share our testimony.
So what? We pray bigger prayers — for all people — so that we might share bolder testimony to a person. The bigger pray the deeper we care for individuals. Paul’s passionate witness grows out of the scope of his global prayer for all peoples. May we do the same.