The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
October 09, 2022
1 Timothy 2:1-8
Spend Some Quiet Time with Jesus!
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles. I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing. (NIV1984)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
One of the things I have grown to appreciate— and sometimes even treasure— is peace and quiet. No matter what stage of life we are in it seems that there is always something that negatively impacts our peace and quiet. Whether it’s children or work, doctor appointments or home maintenance sooner or later we all get to a point where we either say or think, “I need some peace and quiet!”
How we strive to achieve that peace and quiet can vary greatly from one individual to the next. What we do with that peace and quiet can also vary greatly from one person to the next. How long that peace and quiet will last we often do not know.
As we continue studying Paul’s letter to young Pastor Timothy we come to some advice that we would all do well to take to heart. Today let’s see how Paul encourages Timothy and how Paul encourages us to: Spend Some Quiet Time with Jesus!
How do we spend some quiet time with Jesus? The answer that Paul highlights here in our text is— prayer! Prayer is an extremely important aspect of our relationship with our Lord. Prayer is an extremely effective way to find peace and quiet in our lives. There are, of course, a number of different ways for us to spend some quiet time with Jesus as we pray. There are certain prayers that we speak from memory, such as our table prayers and our nighttime prayers and, of course, the Lord’s Prayer. Our text for today, however, gives us some very specific content to include as we spend some quiet time with Jesus in prayer. Paul writes, “I urge you, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
Paul begins by using four different words that describe the wonderful communication that we as Christians enjoy with God. The word that is translated as “requests” emphasizes praying for a particular benefit. The word that is translated as “prayers” emphasizes prayer in general, but in Scripture it is restricted to sacred use. The word that is translated as “intercession” emphasizes a free and heart-felt prayer in which a person boldly draws near to God on behalf of someone else. (See Genesis 18:23ff; Ephesians 3:12) And the word that is translated as “thanksgiving” means exactly that— thanking God for all of the grace and all of the mercy with which He so freely blesses us.
The fact that we have a variety in the types of prayers that we can use as we spend some quiet time with Jesus is very helpful when we look at whom Paul wants us to pray for! First, Paul encourages us to pray for “everyone”! This “world-wide” scope to our prayers reminds us that we will never run out of people who need our prayers! Even a quick glance at the evening news reminds us to pray for the people who are enduring the aftermath of a natural disaster such as Hurricane Ian as well as the people who are trapped in the many wars that are taking place in various parts of this world. So as you are spending some quiet time with Jesus in prayer, my friends, consciously remember to pray for “everyone”— even if it is just in general terms.
Paul then gets more specific when he encourages us to pray for “kings and all those in authority.” What if we don’t like the people who are in authority over us? What if the people who are in authority over us are doing things or trying to do things that are contrary to what God says in His holy Word? There are two points to remember here. First, remember that when Paul wrote these words— under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit— the people who read them were living under the authority of the Roman Empire— which especially in Paul’s day and age was not known for having a friendly and supportive attitude toward Christianity. Second, remember that if the people who are in authority over us are antagonistic toward God and antagonistic toward God’s truth— that gives us some very relevant content to include in our prayers, doesn’t it! So as you are spending some quiet time with Jesus in prayer be sure to pray for those who are in authority over you.
Why do we want to make sure that we pray for those who are in authority over us? Our goal is so “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” As Christians we realize that while we are “in the world” we are not “of the world.” (See John 17:13ff) There is always going to be some degree of conflict and some level of tension between what we believe, teach and confess and what the world accepts, condones and promotes. But since God works through the government to maintain law and order in society our quiet time with Jesus can easily include asking the Lord to lead the government to fulfill its God-given role so that we can live “peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
That thought ties in very well with what Paul says next in our text, “This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” We could see these words as the “heart and core” of each and every one of our prayers. The reason we want to live “peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” is so that we can fulfill our God-given role: freely and faithfully proclaim God’s “will” for all the people of this world! God’s “will” is to “save” all people! God’s “will” is to rescue all people from the clutches of sin, death and the devil. God’s desire to save embraces everyone and excludes no one. This is the agape love of John 3:16. This is the love and the concern that the apostle Peter expressed when he wrote, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). As we are spending some quiet time with Jesus in prayer we would do well to thank and praise our God for all the love and all the concern that He has for all the people of this world!
Notice how Paul connects God’s desire that “all men be saved” with God’s desire that “all men…come to a knowledge of the truth.” What is “the truth”? Paul gives us the only correct answer to that question when he writes, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men— the testimony given in its proper time.”
“The truth” is that there is only one living God— the Triune God. Every other so-called god is a lie! The desperate hope that there is no God is a deception!
“The truth” is that there is “only one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Sin created a huge canyon between the holy, just and perfect God and us mortal sinful human beings. We could not and cannot bridge that canyon on our own. We needed someone who had the right, the authority, and the ability to serve as a “go-between,” a “mediator” between us and God. The only One who has that right, the only One who has that authority, the only One who has that ability is the One who is both the true Son of God and the true Son of Man, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
“The truth” is that Jesus bridged the gulf between us and God by freely giving Himself as a “ransom for all men”— right there on the cross of Calvary’s hill. (Pointing to the cross) Only Jesus could take away the sin that separated us from God and give us the faith that enables us to approach God’s eternal throne of grace with freedom and with confidence.
“The truth” is that God Himself gave us this “testimony” in its “proper time.” This is what Paul was talking about when he wrote to the Galatians, “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons” (Galatians 4:4-5). This is also the glorious “testimony” that God Himself has given to us to freely share with others!
As you spend some quiet time with Jesus in prayer ponder the fact that God’s will is that all people are saved. Ponder the fact that God wants all people to come to a ”knowledge of the truth.” Ponder the “truth” as Paul proclaims it here in his letter to Timothy. And then ponder how you can help bring God’s will to completion! Paul emphasizes how he worked to bring God’s will to completion when he writes in our text, “And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle— I am telling the truth, I am not lying— and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.”
While we have not been called to be an “apostle” of Jesus Christ (an “apostle” is someone who has been called directly by Christ to go out in His name) we have all been called to be an “ambassador” for Christ. (See 2 Corinthians 5:16-21) We have the privilege of taking what Jesus has revealed to us in His Word and sharing it with others. We have also been called to be “witnesses” for Jesus. (See Acts 1:6-8) We freely share with others what Jesus means to us. We freely share with others what Jesus has done for us.
As you are spending some quiet time with Jesus in prayer, ask Him to open up opportunities for you to share with others who He is and what He has done for them. (Pointing to the cross) Ask Him to give you an even greater commitment and an even deeper trust to do everything you can to help other people come to a “knowledge of the truth.” Ask Him to help you see that there is always something you can do for Him and for His Kingdom work here on this earth. As my Grandma used to tell me, “The good Lord doesn’t leave us here on this earth to twiddle our thumbs.” Every day we wake up and see that we are still here and not Home in heaven is a testimony to the fact that there is still something we can do— someone we can talk to, someone we can pray for, some mission or ministry we can support. So in your quiet time with Jesus ask Him to open your eyes so you can see what He wants you to do for Him!
Quiet time. While each of us may have our own reasons as to why we need a little peace and quiet, all of us have the same reason to spend some quiet time with Jesus. We need to spend some quiet time with Jesus in prayer so that we can bring before Him our “requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving” on behalf of everyone. We need to spend some quiet time with Jesus so that we can pray for those who are in authority over us. We need to spend some quiet time with Jesus so that we can not only thank Him for everything that He has so freely done to save us from our sins (Pointing to the cross) but so that we can ask Him to help us do everything we can to make sure that the message of His cross is proclaimed to others!
To God be the glory!