What does the Christian life look like as it is lived out in a world filled with unbelief and even antagonism against its core teachings and principles? As the Apostle Paul instructs young Timothy on proper conduct in the household of God (1 Timothy 3:15), he begins with warning him to put a stop to false teachers and to hold fast to the Gospel and to promote its proper end, “love from a pure heart, a good conscience and sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5)
He warns that those who lose sight of this are destined to prove that their faith is not saving faith and that they are in the Church to promote their own goals rather than to promote God’s. After giving this warning at the end of the first chapter, Paul goes on to give some positive instruction as to what those who have truly believed the Gospel will do.
1 Timothy 1:18-2:2 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. 2:1 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.
If we have truly understood and believed the Gospel, God has taken away all of our guilt as He took away our sin through Christ on the Cross. We are now, in light of the Gospel, to be committed to the relationship that He has reestablished with us. We cannot look our Sovereign in the face and refuse to submit to His loving care for us nor to our service to Him. The one who does, as the Apostle tells Timothy, is the one who will make shipwreck of his faith. If we should be the ones who do not shipwreck our faith, Paul instructs us, “Therefore I exhort first of all…” That is, in light of the above danger of false faith, the first thing to consider as we examine ourselves is… “that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority,” Are people of prayer?
In looking at the grouping of terms that Paul gives us we see two things, FIRST: SUPPLICATION means that we acknowledge our insufficiency and God’s provision, i.e. that we are needy people. PRAYER indicates that we are devoted to God. INTERCESSIONS, that we are aware of the needs of those around us and seek their good as we bring them before God’s Sovereign Majesty. And finally, GIVING OF THANKS, that we glorify God as He answers and provides for us and those for whom we pray. This attitude of dependence, devotion, concern for others and gratitude marks the true believer. SECOND: that the grouping is a way of emphasizing that we are to be active in all aspects of prayer and not just those specifically mentioned.
Not only are we to pray for the average Joe, but also for our political leaders. I believe that the singling out of this class of people is for emphasis. It is designed to provoke us to pray even for those who are our enemies, as were the political leaders of the Roman Empire in the time of the Apostles. Therefore, there is not class, race or religious persuasion of men that we, as Christians, are not to pray for; to pray for their salvation. In addition to this, Paul says that as we pray and the leaders do their job, it provides us with an environment that is suitable for us to live in. He says, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. “ Here, we are now instructed that in addition to being people of prayer, we are also to be people of propriety. We are to live godly and reverent lives. The word translated here in the New King James as “reverent” and in the Old King James as “honest,” carries the idea of honorable. We are to conduct our business in the world as such and it is not a negotiable in the Christian Faith.
The reason is that it is God’s will and a part of His plan to spread the Gospel to the community that He has placed us in.
1 Timothy 2:3 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.
Our lives are a part of what God intends to be a witness to the world. As our prayers are important, so it the way we live our lives. If we refuse to live our lives in dependence and gratitude, with no regard for the needs of others or the dissemination of the Gospel, can we really say that we have taken God at His Word? Can we really say that we are people of true faith? If we take our own agenda and mask the Gospel from the people whom God has given us to share it with, what will we say on the day of judgment?
Matthew 7:16-23 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
I encourage you to listen to the audio of this lesson and to consider the reality of your profession. Are you demonstrating the fruit of faith, or are you presuming upon God’s mercy as you life for yourself?
People of Prayer and Propriety – AUDIO