Sunday, December 12, 2010
I Timothy Chapter 2
- Pray for others. Ask God to help them. Intercede on their behalf. Give thanks for them.
- Prayer is important. It builds relationship with God. It is our communication with Him.
- Philippians 4:6-9
- Prayer for others builds community. When we are concerned with the welfare of others, and less concerned with our own worries and wants, our relationship with them is made stronger.
- When we pray, our prayers should not be a grocery list to God. God doesn't want us to sit down to pray and end up complaining the whole time. He wants to hear about the things we're concerned with and the things that are on our mind...
- Matthew 6:5-15
- James 5:13-20
- Praying is kind of like giving gifts. If you buy stuff for yourself all the time, you start to become very selfish with your money. And I don't mean like food and that sort of thing. I mean like buying new jewelry or a new computer, or a new massively huge TV, or refurnishing your house... for no other reason than you had the money, could do it, and it makes a good impression with the neighbors.
- I know there comes a time when new things are needed. That's not the issue. The issue is that we are thinking firstly of ourselves.
- There will come a time when we can't pray for ourselves. We all get to those places when we feel far away from God, or times when we physically can't pray for ourselves—accidents that leave people in comas or in a vegetable like state...
- In those times, we definitely need someone else to pray in our place on our behalf.
- Paul talks about intercession. Interceding for someone means that you are put in the place of like a lawyer. You are there to plead their case before God. You are the middle man. Sometimes it might be fighting their battle for them because they're too weak to fight off the enemy's attacks on their own.
- Intercession is an important aspect of a community of believers. In an army, there is always someone on guard duty. Those soldiers in the infirmary or who are sleeping, they need someone watching out for them while they are healing, or resting. Intercession is that watchman's duty.
- There have been a few times that God has brought somebody to mind while I was praying and in the middle of praying for them for what little I knew was going on... God brought specific things to mind to pray for that I didn't have a clue about. And there have been times that I have prayed without knowing for what. Someone is brought to mind and I know I need to pray for them... but I don't know for what... so I just start praying for everything I can think of... and eventually, it's like something clicks. Something matches the need and pleadings just start pouring out of me.
- Intercession does not always mean that we are praying for a present need. God knows our futures. He sees what lies down the road. Sometimes, He asks us to pray for an impending need. A battle that is coming that He knows will require much from our brother/sister. He knows that they'll need strength and wisdom beyond what they will have in and of themselves. It's like knowing that there's going to be a drought and storing up food ahead of time so that you'll have nourishment during that time of drought.
- In the Old Testament, Joseph was sent ahead of time to Egypt so he could store food so that the family of Israel would survive the 7 year drought.
- Genesis 37, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45
- Moses interceded for the people of Israel on more than one occasion so that God would not completely destroy them in their rebellion.
- Abraham bargained with God about Sodom and Gomorrah. He kept asking God to save the cities if there were this number of believers. And God kept agreeing to lower the number of believers.
- God listens to our prayers. It may not completely change the outcome, but He may at least change the time line. Hezekiah prayed when God told him he was going to die, and God extended his life another 15 years.
- Mark 11:22-26
- II Chronicals 32:24-33
- Paul goes on to talk about praying for those in authority. Kings, presidents, mayors, governors, bosses, pastors...
- Those in authority need much wisdom to do their jobs. If they are not saved, then the main thing is to pray for their salvation. Then, to pray for them for wisdom and leading in their leadership.
- footnote- “We should pray for those in authority around the world so that their societies will be conducive to the spreading of the Good News. Paul's command to pray for kings is remarkable considering that Nero, a notoriously cruel ruler, was emperor at this time (AD 54-68). When Paul wrote this letter, persecution was a growing threat to believers. Later, when Nero needed a scapegoat for the great fire that destroyed much of Rome in AD 64, he blamed the Roman Christians to take the focus off himself. Then persecution erupted throughout the Roman Empire. Not only were Christians denied certain privileges in society, some were even publicly butchered, burned or fed to animals.”
- Romans 13:1-7
- If we do nothing but sit and complain about how horrible the world is without trying to do anything about it, it does no good for us or anybody else. Prayer is a powerful weapon, and with it, we can do much. A prayer for the change of a heart has to come near the ear of God.
- Paul says to pray for ALL people. Because it pleases God who wants everyone to be saved and come to an understanding of the truth. Even our leaders.
- A Godly leadership changes so much about the dynamic of the place in which we live. A leadership that would promote Godly things and would have the personality and demeanor of a Godly person.
- I know working in the school system, who the principal is changes EVERYTHING about the school. A principal who is a disciplinarian who truly cares about the kids is a gem. It lowers the discipline numbers, the kids are so much more respectful, and the general environment is more conducive to learning and teaching.
- A principal who doesn't want to cause any problems with the parents and therefore hedges or slacks on discipline... wow... such a difference. The kids are disrespectful, there is very little control, and the whole working dynamic changes. Everybody's so stressed out that they take it out on each other rather than trying to work together.
- If we as a Christian body start praying for our world leadership, even in other countries, how different would the world's perception of Christianity be? How different would their acceptance of Christ be?
- Psalm 34, 17, 86, 20
- John 17:1-26
- Colossians 4:2-6
- Proverbs 15:8
- There is only one God and only one Mediator Who can reconcile us to God.
- Romans 3:9-31, 4:1-25, 5:1-11
- Hebrews 7:1-28, 8:1-13
- I know we're coming up on Christmas, and this morning our Pastor was talking about refocusing how we look at this season.
- You know... had Christ not humbled Himself to the extreme... there would have been no reconciliation. We would still be eternally separated from God with no hope for our souls.
- okay, so think about this with me for a minute or two...
- Mary was a virgin. Her family was disgraced by a pregnancy out of wedlock. Joseph was looked down on because he was assumed to have been the father. So here are two people who were apparently very upright and lawful people since God chose them for this... now being looked at as having committed one of the sins that at this time was looked at as one of the biggest (a sin punishable by death).
- They left to go to Bethlehem... There was no room in the inn. Okay, so the parents God has chosen to raise His son are not rich in any way. They are simple people. There's no rich palace. No ease of lifestyle.
- So in addition to being poor, they are now in the barn with the animals. Have you ever been in a barn? No matter how clean you keep them, they still reek of animal dung and sweat and all the smells that come with soured milk from cows and goats... It's not the nicest of places.
- Straw or hay is itchy. Seeds get everywhere... and it's scratchy. Yeah, if you cover it with something, it can be kinda comfy, but it still sticks everywhere to everything... I grew up on a farm, working in the hay field... and I gotta tell you... by the end of a day of working in the hayfield and throwing hay around in the barn, it looked like we'd rolled through a brier patch and we were dying for a shower to get all the itchy stuff off of us... it was horrible... lol
- This was the way Christ entered the world. In the lowest of manners, in the lowest of places....
- Poor, without comforts, smelly space, with smelly first visitors.
- Luke 1, 2
- And yet this is how He chose to come... And then to endure further suffering and persecution throughout His life from family and friends and the religious right... to finally culminate in crucifixion... the most horrible, tortuous, humiliating death...
- But He did it all, just so He could stand and intercede on our behalf before the Father. Just so we could have a way out of our sins.
- “He gave His life to purchase freedom for everyone.”
- Wow. He didn't just give His life... He gave it GREATLY. The cost was high... And He paid it all.
- This was all done in His time. There is no rushing God. There's nothing we can say or do that will make Him do something before all the pieces are in place.
- Paul said he was chosen to teach this message just at this time. You know in Esther, Mordecai tells Esther that maybe she was placed in this position for such a time as this.
- I think we are all placed here for such a time as this. I think we have all been equipped for where we live, who we are, who our families are, and if we allow Him, I think God can use our life experiences... just when He needs them to be used.
- If God could move nations to get Joseph and Mary right where He needed them to be by the time Jesus was due to be born... surely He can move people into our lives for us to witness to.
- Paul starts talking about worship and teaching in the church. This is kind of a touchy topic with some, and I have my opinions... but I haven't really studied it a whole lot by itself, so I'm going to use a lot of my footnotes out the “Life Application” just because I think it's a more... scholarly source.
- Men are to pray with holy hands lifted to God, free from anger and controversy. Okay, Jesus talked about prayer in Matthew... if you got down to pray and remembered that your brother had anything against you, you were to go and make things right.
- So Paul is talking about being able to come before the throne of God, with no anger or controversy in your life. Lifting holy hands in total surrender and ultimate praise.
- Our walk is a relationship not only with God, but also with our fellow believers. We need to be sure to maintain a solid relationship with God AND with our fellow man.
- Paul then goes on to talk about Christian behavior in church services as well as in public.
- Women are to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves.
- I Peter 3:3-6
- footnote- “It is not unscriptural for a woman to want to be attractive. Today, however, to what degree should women take this advice about fixing their hair or wearing gold, pearls, or expensive clothes? Paul was not prohibiting these things; he was simply saying that women should not be drawing attention to themselves through these things. Modesty and decency are the key words. All women would do well to remember that beauty begins on the inside. A gentle, modest, loving character gives a light to the face that cannot be duplicated by even the best cosmetics. A carefully groomed and well-decorated exterior is artificial and cold unless inner beauty is present. The general rule for both women and men emphasizes that both behavior and dress must express submission to and respect for Jesus Christ.”
- Here's my thought on all this. We are to represent Christ. Imitate Him. If we are imitating, we are not going to be seductive in any way. I see a lot of teenage fashion coming out in the last few years that is leaning in that direction... if not completely blatantly there... (some clothes look like something you might have seen on a prostitute on a street corner).
- Modesty. COVER UP! Lol Decency. Watch what you wear and how you wear it. If it's sending a worldly message... then you probably shouldn't wear it and try to go witness...
- Another thing that my pastor used to say was that if you were wearing something that could cause your brother to stumble, or that could cause your brother to be tempted... then you shouldn't wear it.
- We have not only a responsibility to ourselves and our own witness, but we also have the responsibility to our fellow believers to build them up and encourage them... and tempting them, even without knowing it... isn't beneficial.
- I grew up in an apostolic church, and if you know nothing about that denomination, they are generally very strict on dress code. Women wear long dresses, men wear long sleeves for church... Sometimes the women wear the hair net things. (Our church did not strictly follow these rules because our Pastor said he could only find that women should dress modestly and not try to dress up like a man).
- And growing up in this, if nothing else, did teach me to be modest; however, there are extremes in that realm as well. The religious right of Jesus' time had a problem with putting their righteousness before their relationship with God. They were depending on their righteousness to make them right before God... and it doesn't work that way... at all...
- There is something to be said for hygiene and cleanliness... There is also something to be said about not looking like a slob...
- However, it doesn't mean we have to look like we stepped out of a magazine...
- Modesty is one thing. Begging for attention is quite another.
- If we are Christians, the focus is not to be on us. It is to be on Christ. Our lives are to be all about Him. If we are constantly trying to draw attention to ourselves... then we are not reflecting Christ. We are reflecting our selfish human nature.
- Our devotion to God should be our attraction for other people. It should be the thing that draws them to us... like moths to flame... Irresistible attraction to pure and unquestioning love.
- Paul is giving instructions on the actions of women in church...
- footnote- “To understand these verses, we must understand the situation in which Paul and Timothy worked. In first-century Jewish culture, women were not allowed to study. When Paul said that women should “learn quietly and submissively,” he was offering them an amazing new opportunity to learn God's Word. That they were to listen and learn quietly and submissively referred to an attitude of quietness and composure (not total silence). In addition, Paul himself acknowledges that women publicly prayed and prophesied (I Corinthians 11:5). Apparently however, the women in the Ephesian church were abusing their newly acquired Christian freedom. Because these women were new converts, they did not yet have the necessary experience, knowledge, or Christian maturity to teach those who already had extensive scriptural education.”
- I know there are denominations who think that women shouldn't be preachers or lay speakers etc etc. And to some extent, for me personally, I like the idea a little simply because it reinforces in young girls that they are to be submissive to the male head figure of a husband... and boys to learn that they are to take responsibility... in that respect, I think a strong male leadership in a church is a good thing.
- However, I also have heard women preachers who blew my mind... I think God can call whoever He wants. If God can use a donkey to talk to Balaam, he can sure use a woman to speak to me.
- footnote- “Some interpret this passage to mean that women should never teach in the assembled church; however, commentators point out that Paul did not forbid women from ever teaching. Paul's commended co-worker, Priscilla, taught Apollos, the great preacher (Acts 18:24-26). Paul frequently mentioned other women who held positions of responsibility in the church. Phoebe worked in the church (Romans 16:1). Mary, Tryphena, Tryphosa, and Persis were the Lord's workers (Romans 16:6, 12), as were Euodia and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2). Paul was very likely prohibiting the Ephesian women, not all women, from teaching.
Paul did not want the Ephesian women to teach because they didn't yet have enough knowledge or experience. The Ephesian church had a particular problem with false teachers. Evidently the women were especially susceptible to the false teachings (II Timothy 3:1-9) because they did not yet have enough biblical knowledge to discern the truth. Remember in this culture, men studied scriptures extensively so they had a biblical background. In addition, some of the women were apparently flaunting their newfound Christian freedom by wearing inappropriate clothing (2:9). Paul was telling Timothy not to put anyone (in this case, women) into a position of leadership who was not yet mature in the faith (see 3:6; 5:22). The same principle applies to churches today.”
- I Corinthians 14:26-40
- Paul starts talking about Adam and Eve. God created Adam first, then Eve. Eve was first deceived in the garden by Satan... then she herself deceived Adam.
- footnote- “In previous letters Paul had discussed male/female roles in marriage (Ephesians 5:21-33, Colossians 3:18-19). Here he talks about male/female roles within the church. Some scholars see these verses about Adam and Eve as an illustration of what was happening in the Ephesian church. Just as Eve had been deceived in the Garden of Eden, so the women in the church were being deceived by false teachers. And just as Adam was the first human created by God, so the men in the church in Ephesus should be the first to speak and teach, because they had more training. This view, then, stresses that Paul's teaching here is not universal but applies to churches with similar problems. Other scholars, however, contend that the roles Paul points out are God's design for His created order—God established these roles to maintain harmony in both the family and the church.”
- footnote- “Paul is not excusing Adam for his part in the fall (Genesis 3:6, 7, 17-19). On the contrary, in his letter to the Romans Paul places the primary blame for humanity's sinful nature on Adam (Romans 5:12-21).”
- The last verse says that “women will be saved through childbearing, assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty.”
- Okay... if my salvation depends on how many kids I have before I die... I'm a goner... LOL I think this next footnote is a pretty good explanation of this... although it does sound a little funny out of context.. : )
- footnote- “The phrase “saved through childbearing” can be understood several ways:
1. man sinned, so men were condemned to painful labor. Woman sinned, so women were condemned to pain in childbearing. Both men and women, however, can be saved through trusting Christ and obeying Him.
2. Women who fulfill their God-given roles are demonstrating true commitment and obedience to Christ. One of the most important roles for a wife and mother is to care for her family.
3. The childbearing mentioned here refers to the birth of Jesus Christ. Women (and men) are saved spiritually because of the most important birth, that of Christ Himself.
4. From the lessons learned through the trials of childbearing, women can develop qualities that teach them about love, trust, submission, and service.”
- I think that pretty much covers everything possible... lol
- I think the main thing to remember in all of that section is Who we are imitating. Who we are striving to become like. His character attributes and personality should be reflected in our own lives... if our lives don't line up with the character of God... then we need to pray for Him to fix things in us to make us more like Him.
- All attention from those around us, should be directed to God... not us...
- And our attitudes should be ones that are submissive to God and those in charge over us.
- Ephesians 5