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Serving the Lord Acceptably

(1 Timothy 2)

Lesson 2 -- third quarter 2010
June 13, 2010

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2010

Introductory questions to chew

Am I in line with the "first of all" in verse 1?

What kind of limits do I practice in my praying?

Quiet, peaceable, godly, honest -- does that describe the life I've chosen for myself?

For what purposes do I want such a life?

"Who will have all men to be saved..." (4) -- have I ever met the exception?

What does a woman (or man) adorned "with good works" (10) look like?

Have I ever met the exception to verse 11?

If I as a man and husband and father accept 1 Timothy 2:11-14, what responsibilities am I acknowledging?

Well Dressed

"In like manner also...adorn themselves...with good works" (1 Timothy 2:8,9).

When I think of adornment, I think of a something intended to enhance eye appeal. So I think of decals on a vehicle or on a notebook. I might also think of suits, ties, sidewalk lights, jewelry, sunglasses, and belts.

(Disclaimer: I don't believe all these things are automatically wrong or always for adornment.)

So the idea that good works should be an adornment for Christians is interesting to me. Good works enhance the believer's appeal to the onlooker. Which raises two related questions:

However, thinking of good works merely as an adornment makes them sound optional and even unnecessary. Like decals. Or white letters on a tire.

Out of curiosity, I checked my Spanish Bible to see how it presents this concept. Instead of adorn it uses clothe. Hmm. When it comes to good works, Christianity is not a "clothing optional" spirituality!

Which raises a third question:

My prayers

Nobody should be beyond our prayers.

I struggle with this: "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions...be made for all men" (1 Timothy 2:1). With more than six billion people on the planet, how do I respond to this exhortation?! Even if I cut the numbers back to my church family alone (and I don't think God wants me to limit my praying that way), I don't see how I can pray for everyone.

That's why I say, "Nobody should be beyond our prayers." When I become aware of my need to pray for a particular individual, I should pray. No matter who he is. No matter what she's said about me. No matter the state of our relationship. I must pray for that person. Period.

Nobody should be beyond our thanksgiving.

Here is the missing piece from the above verse: "and giving of thanks." Oh my! Give thanks for everyone and anyone?! That strikes me as even more impossible than praying for everyone! But that is what the Bible says, so what's in this clause for me?

No matter who, no matter what -- purposefully find something for which to give thanks. Is this a call to feel thankful? No, it seems to be more of a call to give thanks, without regard to my feelings. I do believe, though, that giving thanks can eventually lead to feeling thankfulness.

Regarding some people, this takes more than a little bit of thought and effort. But I believe it can be done. I must decide today whether to practice that or not. I was at a bruising meeting last night and came home feeling brittle and betrayed. And I'm supposed to give thanks for that person? Somehow, yes.

God's heart should motivate us to pray.

God wants "all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4). That is God's vision. That is His mission. That is the yearning of His heart.

So He calls on us to supplicate, pray, intercede, and give thanks for all men and for all in authority. Knowing God's vision, mission, and yearning should motivate us to action. If we don't know His heart, well, therein lies a clear way in which we ought to be praying for ourselves.

Interpersonal relationships affect our prayers.

"I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting" (1 Timothy 2:8). My Spanish Bible adds a different dimension to this by using contention where the King James Version uses doubting.

How clean are the hands I offer God? Do I dare come before Him, raising hands dripping with remains of the mud and manure I have flung at someone? Dare I lift up to Him hands drenched with the blood and gore of angry words and contentious attitudes?

This concludes my comments based on the alternate lesson developed by Christian Light Publications. To read my comments on the passage for the International Bible Study, click here: Pleasing to God.

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