How one ought to behave in the household of God, part 1

1 Timothy 2:1-10

How one ought to behave in the household of God…a pillar and buttress of the truth

 

Paul starts off his next instructions to Timothy with the words “first of all…”. This is strange considering he has written some fairly hefty instructions already. One would think Paul would say “first of all” at the beginning of verse 3 of chapter 1, “first of all…charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine.” But Paul does not do that.

 

Paul has had some more pressing matters to deal with before he begins to get to “how one ought to behave in the household of God…(3:15)”. We have dealt with those pressing matters already.

 

But now Paul launches into the instructions on what to teach and work toward. Paul begins with prayer.

 

First, the issue is not that they should begin praying. Praying is assumed. Jesus said, “when you pray.” Even people of other religions and cults “pray”. The assumption was that theses folks are praying. Note that Paul does not tell them to begin praying but to expand who they are praying for.

 

The problem was their scope and their sin issues that was hindering their praying.

 

These introductory verses to chapter 2 help us to see that, perhaps due to the false teaching, they had narrowed their prayers down to themselves, missing the world and they were definitely having some sin issues that he will address in verses 8-10.

 

The church at Ephesus was praying, but they were praying too narrow and has some sin issues that were hampering.

 

Second, these Ephesians had, perhaps, gone internal and forgotten that God desires all nations not so much their bloated and error filled additional bible studies full of myths and endless genealogies.

 

Third, these Ephesians needed to remember who their first love was (Revelation 2:4), the one mediator who ransomed them, and crave again his desires.

 

Fourth, these Ephesians needed to remember the mission.

 

Finally, these Ephesians needed to repent and walk in holiness.

 

These facts would then empower their prayer life as individuals and their prayer life together.

 

What doe we gather from Paul’s instructions on how we ought to behave in the household of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth?

 

 

1. It is vital that we pray for and give thanks for those who oppose our message and mission v. 1-2a

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions…”

 

There is not a significant difference in the various words used for prayer (supplications – request for benefits for, intercessions – meeting with on behalf).

 

The key in verses 1-2a is that these prayers are to be made for all people, (specifically) kings, all in high positions as well as thanksgivings be made for these people.

 

Already application of that command may cause some of us consternation. Perhaps we get so testy about our national politics because we forget we are not natives here but aliens and strangers. Perhaps we forget that some of our national challenges are not reasons to get testy but rather to offer supplication and intercession and prayers to Father.

 

Even deeper; Paul urges that thanksgiving be made for these people.

 

Why? Romans 13:1-2

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”

 

Its important to note that its likely these in high positions are not all friendly, therefore, the need to pray specifically for what Paul tells them to pray for in verse 2b.

 

Do you see the instruction on how one ought to behave themselves in the household of God, the church, a pillar and buttress of the truth?

 

1. Pray for benefits for and meet with the Lord on behalf of those who may be

your enemy

2. Give thanks to Father for placing those who may be your enemy over you

 

This is not just feel good we ought to be praying business. Praying is assumed. The question is what is being prayed for.

 

It is likely the Ephesians have narrowed the scope of their praying from the mission centric focus Paul is displaying in verse 7 down to themselves and their private matters and lost focus on the mission of Jesus glory in Ephesus and the globe and begun to be more concerned with their internal workings.
Paul reminds them they are to widen their praying to include those who Father has placed over them and to give thanks.

 

1. Pray for workers to be mobilized by Chief Shepherd Jesus for the harvest

2. Pray for our President and our Congress

3. Pray for our local officials

 

2. We are to pray for peace to propagate the gospel in and for our holiness and growth in the gospel v. 2b

“…that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”

 

Verse 2b is either a purpose clause or an additional item to pray for.

 

If it is the purpose clause, then the reason we pray for all people and specifically those who are in high positions, including the king, is so that we can have peace and quiet from persecution.

 

If this is another item, then Paul is urging that the people also pray that regardless of the people in positions of authority and their response that the people of God would be at peace and rest and be godly and dignified in their handling of the situation.

 

I believe it is both. The Greek text actually carries the purpose clause here. The “that” in verse 1, “I urge that supplications…” is supplied in English to make sense of the sentence. The “that” here in verse 2b is actually in the text as the purpose clause (“ina”). Therefore, the peace and quiet are to be sought in prayer for a purpose and these are accompanied by the request that they live godly and dignified in every way.

 

Peace and quiet provided avenues for the believers at Ephesus to practice the faith in public showing love toward others in service and in an active demonstration of godliness and dignity, some of humanity’s best qualities.

 

Peace and quiet are good and right. After the fall peace and quiet were assaulted with war and chaos. To seek out the good of peace and quiet is preferable and right.

 

However, often those who may be our enemies seek war and chaos. And even if peace and quiet are not given the opportunity to seek out godliness and dignity are not taken away. Rather the need for godliness and dignity would increase.

 

So, I believe the purpose clause allows us the room to ask for peace. Peace is far better. However, it also allows us the room to pray for godliness and dignity to handle chaos should chaos be deemed as better.

 

As the core here is an faithful trust that Father is in charge of the authorities and that whatever he decides is for our good and his glory in the advance of the gospel.

 

1. We pray for peace and quiet to propagate the gospel in

2. We pray for godliness and dignity to put on display whether in peace or in

persecution

 

3. It is good to seek the salvation of all people because that is God’s desire v. 3-4

“This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our savior, who desires all people to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

 

Paul reminds the Ephesians that it is good to seek the salvation of all people.

 

Don’t mistake this passage or suppose this passage, as some do, as an argument for universalism (that all people will be included in God’s kingdom regardless of their response to him).

 

The church as been sidetracked by some false teachers and their teaching. They have lost sight of the mission. Paul reminds them of God’s desires.

 

“It could be argued that what God wants must surely come to pass. But it is important to remember that both the OT and the NT speak of God’s ‘desire’ or his ‘will’ in quite varied ways, determined by the context. Sometimes God’s ‘will’ cannot be distinguished from his decree: what he wills to happen, happens. At other times God’s ‘will’ is his command (e.g. 1 Thes. 4:3). At still others, it refers to his stance. The God who cries, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of anyone … Repent and live!’ (Ezk. 18:32) is also the one of whom it is said that he wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

It is of course possible to array these statements in some sort of contradictory pattern. In fact, they are part of a consistent biblical picture in which God is presented as simultaneously utterly sovereign and distinctly personal. To set his sovereignty over against his personal interaction with us his image-bearers is to destroy the biblical portrayal of God. In the context of 1 Tim. 2, Paul is anxious to stress divine compassion towards all people irrespective of race, status or condition. Probably he is combatting a tendency towards elitism that tries to limit God’s compassion inappropriately. Whatever Paul and other NT writers say about election, certainly it is integral to early Christian preaching that God desires all to come to a knowledge of the truth.”[1]

 

Paul is seeking to refocus the Ephesians on the mission. He wants them to keep the salvation of Ephesus and the nations front and center.

 

1. We must not be sidetracked by false teaching and inferior ministerial goals.

 

4. We pray for those who don’t believe because God is their only hope to overcome their unbelief v. 5-6

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”

 

Why pray for all these people? We pray because their only hope is God.

 

1. There is only one God (the God of the bible)

2. There is only one way to the God, Jesus (Jesus, the mediator who goes to and makes a way to reconcile man to God)

3. Jesus ransomed man from his state of bondage to Satan

4. Jesus’ work is the testimony of whom God is and how he has sought to save

man

 

Why pray? We pray because their only hope is Father must over come their unbelief.

1. Prayer presupposes that man is in a state of incapability. (otherwise why ask

God, just spend time convincing)

2. Prayer for all people presupposes that only God can overcome their unbelief.

3. Prayer presupposes that God can overcome their unbelief.

4. So we ask!

 

5. Our prayers primary focus is on the mission and the work given to do the mission v. 7

“For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”

 

Paul’s statement here causes us to see that he is super aware of his mission.

 

The intent is that the church would regain its focus and begin preaching the gospel in Ephesus and the greater outreach to the world.

 

Paul wants the church at Ephesus to stay on task.

 

We loose sight of the purpose and effectiveness of prayer when we turn prayer into an internal comfort tool rather than the wartime weapon it is.

 

1. Prayer is a wartime walkie-talkie not a domestic intercom. – Piper

 

6. We are to pray with God as our object not us v. 8-10

“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness – with good works.”

 

It is apparent that due to the false teachings and distractions of those who needed correction the men have defaulted to their fallen tendencies and the women have done likewise.

 

The men are just arguing and one-upping each other.

 

The women are trying to gain their self-worth from her external looks and acceptance from others rather than her internal worth before God as a precious image bearer.

 

As a result, prayer had either become non-existent or powerless due to these distractions of the world system.

 

Paul calls them both back to the point…seek the Lord.

 

1. Prayer and quarreling can’t exist together

2. True prayer can’t exist with unrighteous anger

(the lifting of the hands is an outward expression that together they were seeking he Lord)

3. Our attitude with others affects our approach or lack thereof to Father

4. External distractions prevent the internal preparation for meeting with Father

 

7. Concluding applications:

1. Whenever you gather, pray

2. When you pray, obey Jesus’ instruction

3. Make sure public prayer is NOT the only prayer you are participating in

4. Pray without ceasing 1 Thessalonians 5:17

5. Make sure you are praying for kingdom / mission specific things as much as for

personal matters. Prayer is a mission tool not an income generator.

6. Check your attitude and agenda at the closet door. Take people and situations

to the Father and let him be sovereign over people (this brings peace)

7. Do not draw attention to yourself in praying. Beware. You will have received

your reward. Make sure your worship in deed goes before your prayers in public.

8. Before you accuse someone or pick a fight with someone, pray for them. Jesus

may correct you.

9. Spend as much time listening as you do asking / communicating

1. Remember that prayer is communication with Father, but it’s not

intelligence sharing. Matthew 6:32 (Jesus knows what you need before

you ask)

2. Remember prayer is two way. We must listen and know his voice

distinct from our own thinking.

3. Remember Psalm 84:11 when we get a “no”

10. Pray in faith, remembering, you may be the answer to the prayer.

1. If you ask for laborers, he may send you.

 

 


[1] D. A. Carson et al., eds., New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 1297.

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