Tuesday

14 February 2012

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

Background

Timothy was highly thought of by Paul, accompanying him on several of his missionary journeys. When Paul sent him to the Corinthian Church he described Timothy as "my beloved and faithful child in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 4:17), and here again we have instruction from Paul to "Timothy, my child" (verse 18) concerning pastoral matters and conduct in worship.

Timothy is told to hold fast to the faith he has received, as there are some within the church who are spreading a false doctrine which might lead others astray.

Rather than be diverted by internal opposition and false teaching, Paul encourages his friend to show real leadership in the way in which worship is conducted. It would be through the fellowship living out their faith in worship and their daily lives that others would be drawn to a God who wants all people to be saved. Keep calm and carry on is the message.

We are drawn to Paul's belief in the universality of the gospel. The message of the Methodist Church has been summarised beautifully as:
"All need to be saved.
All may be saved.
All may know themselves saved.
All may be saved to the uttermost."

The priority in Paul's mind was the focus of prayer within the life of the Church (verse 1). Prayer should not simply be a shopping list of requests, but encompass a sharing of deeper needs as well as including a time of thanksgiving for all the blessings that God has provided.

Timothy is encouraged to pray for leaders and those in authority (both Christian and non-Christian), for peace and a change of heart that might bring a real sense of reverence towards God. That, of course, might include praying for those who were hostile to the Church, but such prayer was pleasing to God who wants all to turn to God.

To Ponder

How vibrant is the worship and prayer life of your church? Could it be improved and if so, how?

Do you find it easy to 'hold fast to the faith' (see Acts 14:22) when faced with doubts and opposition? If not, do you have someone with whom you can share and pray over these situations?

If a stranger wandered into a service at your church, what do you hope would be their first impressions of your worship?

Bible notes author: John Birch

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