Devotional # 199. 1 Timothy 2:6-15

Devotional # 199. 7/25/16. 1 Timothy 2:6-15.

 

Intro. Last week we talked about the reason Christians have hope and how Jesus was the one and only Mediator between our sin and God (Devotional # 198). This week we’re going to talk about men and women’s roles in church services.

v. 6-7. We’re talking about “the Man Christ Jesus” (v. 5) and that He gave Himself as a “ransom.” Basically Jesus traded His freedom for our freedom. The best part is that it was “for all.” Jesus was impartial when He died on the cross “for all” people, “for all” time.

Paul tells us he was appointed as “a preacher and an apostle” and “a teacher of the Gentiles.” We know the fuller story from Acts 13:2, 42-52. Paul reassures us that this is true, promising by the highest authority and greatest testimony – Jesus Christ!

Verses 8-15. Men and Women’s Conduct in the Church
The next section is on men and women’s responsibilities within the Church. As with anything in the Bible we must understand this in the context of the time period and the church this was written to. When Paul uses words like “every” and “all” it applies to all churches but if he becomes more detailed he is usually referring to a specific problem.

v. 8. Men Leading Prayer

When Paul says for men to pray “everywhere” he means in “every” church. Not that they should have their hands raised wherever they go. Regarding their hands being lifted – this was a common custom of that culture and time while praying (1 Kings 8:22; Psalm 28:2, 63:4, 134:2). There is nothing magical about it but it does give the reminder of humility for the person praying.

vv. 9-10. Ladies of the Congregation’s Modesty

Guzik gives us a great first impression of these verses: “Women should emphasize spiritual preparation and beauty more than physical preparation and beauty” (Source 1). Many people like the idea of taking the focus off of physical appearance but many Americans don’t want anyone to tell them how to dress or act. In the church we need to get rid of our pride and cultural rights if they conflict with God’s commands. Here Paul says that Christian ladies should dress in “modest apparel“, which is explained as “modesty and self-control” (ESV). Much like the mature believer who recognizes that although they have freedom in Christ, they shouldn’t always use it if it stumbles other believers or confuses non-Christians (Romans 14).

The next part needs to be understood in cultural context: “not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing.” It’s very clear what Paul means: at the time of writing this, all of these things (braided hair, gold, etc.) were viewed as ungodly and incorrect action. This was because rich women’s would use these things to draw attention to themselves and their wealth and status. Church is supposed to welcome everyone not be just another reminder of how rich or poor a person is.  “How you dress reflects your heart…The most important adornment is good works. If a woman is dressed in propriety and moderation, with good works, she is perfectly dressed. Good works make a woman more beautiful than good jewelry” (Source 1).

vv. 11-15. Ladies Role in the Church Service

Paul talks about ladies being quiet and not being in authority over men. Paul first directs our attention to Adam and Eve. God’s original creation was to have husband and wife submit to Him and to hold the man responsible and to have the wife help the man (Genesis 2:18, 1 Corinthians 11:8, 9). Secondly, the Fall and the curse that came from Eve’s disobedience were used by God. When Eve left Adam’s leadership and protection, she sinned. Likewise, Adam “violated his leadership role” when he followed Eve, so women’s curse is to want to usurp man’s authority (Genesis 3:16) (Source 2). As we’ve talked about in the past, God hold’s men responsible for what happens in their households, not women (Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22). Here God holds men responsible for teaching in the church. Let’s look at teaching a little more.

In the cultures of the Bible women were always looked at as inferior to men. In every command and situation in the Bible God consistently gives women more rights and fair dealings then the surrounding cultures. This case is no different. Notice that the Church is told to “let a woman learn” (v. 11) which was completely unheard of in this day and time. Paul was saying women had just as much right to an education in the Scriptures as any man did. If we couple this with the context of the Ephesian church that Paul is instructing Timothy for, it is possible that some of the ladies were taking advantage of this freedom and trying to gain teaching roles within the church. This doesn’t mean women can’t be leaders and don’t have much to offer. I think of the story of Lydia in Acts 16:14-15 and also in our own church where many women have important insight that men sometimes miss. Just as in marriage, men and women should work together in a church to keep it working for God’s glory. So here, Paul was making sure the divine structure remained intact. Remember men are held responsible for the spiritual health of the church.

Lastly, what does Paul mean by “nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control”? It is clear in the Hebrew this is talking about the women that come after Eve. The word “saved” here doesn’t mean “salvation” instead it means to remove the stigma of being the same gender known for bringing sin into the world. What can ladies do to remove the stigma? They can train up godly kids. Because mothers by nature are more nurturing and generally spend more time with kids then father’s do, they are able to train up their kids in the Lord. How will they be equipped to train up these kids? They must “continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.” This is a great way for Paul to book-end his point on modesty and self-control.

Conclusion. The first part of our Devotional today focused on how Jesus died to save “all” people and that is especially meaningful to us in a study that could have initially seemed condescending towards women. God chose a women to carry the baby Savior, Jesus chose the woman at the well to explain He was God and He chose women to be the first witnesses of His resurrection. God has set up the institutions of marriage and family and the church in a specific way. He holds us accountable for what He has said and what we know. I encourage you to put aside your cultural norms and instead meditate on God’s knowledge and goodness. If you follow His commands your life and church will be blessed!

 

References.

Source 1: David Guzik: https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide_1Ti/1Ti_2.cfm?a=1121001

Source 2: John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, p. 1864.

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Devotional # 198. 1 Timothy 2:3-5

Devotional # 198. 7/17/16. 1 Timothy 2:3-5.

Intro. My wife and I just got back from a missions trip in Hungary (I had this Devotional set up to post last week but something went wrong – sorry). The trip was for us to lead a camp teaching English using Bible studies and real world conversation methods. It was in a small village called Nagydobos, and was a huge success! I’ll talk more about it in a future blog.

Today’s reading will help us understand the reason for our hope in God, tell us that there is only one way to be reconciled to God and contrast the evil of Satan with the truth and goodness of God.

vv. 3-4. Paul starts off with “for this is good and acceptable.” What is the “this” that he is referring to? Two things: 1. The four different types of prayers in verse 1, and 2. that Christians

lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” in verse 2 (for more see Devotional # 197. But the main point of both of those things was the focus on others. Remember Paul said “all” people and also talked about “all authorities”?

With that context in mind it makes sense that the focus is on God desiring all people to be saved (v. 4). God is not mean, He is loving, but He is also just. In 2 Peter 3:9 we’re told God wishes that none would perish but that everyone would come to repentance. Notice it doesn’t say ‘that none would perish but that everyone would go to heaven’, instead that everyone would repent. Because if they repent then they can go to heaven. So if this really is “good and acceptable is the sight of God our Savior” why does anyone have to go to hell? We’ll get the #1 reason in verse 5 but before that let’s look at it rationally.

If there is a Being who is perfect and infinitely good then He cannot allow evil to go unanswered forever, otherwise He would not be infinitely good. When God created people He gave them a choice: play by the rules and live in harmony with Him, or break the rules and suffer the consequences. Remember the evil I just mentioned that God can’t allow forever? Well, when Adam and Eve rebelled against God they stood in opposition to God and that was evil (Genesis 3). The Bible says that each human being is held accountable for that same decision. Either they stand in opposition to God (which is “evil”) or they accept whatever solution He has given (which is “good”). Now let’s read verse 5…

v. 5. Verse 5 says, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” This is very clear. There is only one way to be back in the presence of God. God has made a way that both His goodness and His justice are satisfied, but it requires us to be humble and acknowledge that we’ve sinned and that Jesus is the ONE and ONLY way. That is the one and only Truth. It is “the knowledge of the truth” from verse 4. And anyone who has heard or read or had it impressed on their heart by the Holy Spirit is accountable to make a decision. But if this is “the truth”, what does “the lie” look like?

Satan is continually lying to everyone. He portrays evil as truth and as fun and as better than the status quo. In John 8:44 we see that Satan is the “father of lies.” Eventually Satan will outwardly command demons of destruction (Revelation 9:1-11). But even then people will be so deceived they won’t turn from that false hope, that evil.

But God is consistently honest with everyone. He portrays real goodness as truth. He shows that although it may be harder, in reality the Christian life is a life of truth and love. Eventually God will outwardly live among Christians and shepherd and lead and wipe away every tear  (Revelation 7:15-17). Christians will be justified in their faith of a Creator and Mediator that they couldn’t see but who gave them real hope and love.
Conclusion. Don’t be afraid to share this message. Don’t be confused when people bring up their reasons for not believing in God or when they chastise the Bible for being “narrow minded.” Remember they are currently believing the lie. All we can do is 1. Pray for them (verse 1), 2. Lead a peaceful life (verse 2) and love them enough to share God’s love (“desires all people to be saved”) and truth (“one Mediator…the Man Christ Jesus”) with them!

Devotional # 197. 1 Timothy 2:1-2

Devotional # 197. 7/5/16. 1 Timothy 2:1-2.

Intro. Last week’s Devotional was really moving for me…and I wrote it! The desire for the church, which is bleeding out, to be cured was just as relevant for Paul 2,000 years ago as it is for us today. Last week we talked about real solutions for the modern church: unity on essential beliefs (1:19) and healing in discipleship and shepherding (1:20).

In a few days my wife and I are leaving for a one week mission trip to Hungary. We’re going over to teach kids English while using the Bible. This type of camp was the whole reason this Devotional started: to share Jesus with others. Interestingly, today’s Scripture encourages us to pray in a variety of ways. Will you pray for our trip? That the kids will start a relationship with Jesus that will have a ripple effect on their families and friends.

v. 1.We know when Paul says “therefore” we’re supposed to think back to what was just said. Paul exhorted (encouraged) Timothy to kick out anyone who rejected “having faith and a good conscience” with the hope that they would repent and come back to Jesus and His church. With that in mind Paul says that he “exhorts” everyone to supplicate, pray, intercede and give thanks for all men (and women!) and also everyone in authority.

Let’s go through what these four phrases mean but first we need to know why so it all makes sense. Remember we just learned about “Hymenaeus and Alexander” in 1 Timothy 1:19-20, Devotional # 196? They were influential in the church in Ephesus but they weren’t the only ones. “The Judaistic false teachers in Ephesus, by a perverted gospel and the teaching that salvation was only for Jews and Gentiles proselytes to Judaism, would have certainly restricted evangelistic praying” (Source 1). For that reason Paul is telling them to pray for all people. As Titus 2:11 says, “the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people” (NIV). Now that we understand this, what are the four ministries the Ephesians (and us) were to do?

supplications” – In the Greek this word means “‘to be without.’ Thus this kind of prayer occurs because of a need” (Source 1). Non-Christians are lost and need to be prayed for since they are ‘without’ Jesus.

prayers” – this is a general term referring to all types of talking with the Lord. Remember Paul is encouraging Christians to pray for others. We can be so caught up in ourselves that we forget to pray for others. And although you should pray for people to get jobs and to get well and to get the house they want, really, way more importantly, you should be praying for people’s salvation.

intercessions” – This word in Greek means ‘to lean in and speak personally with someone.’ The root word for this is used for Jesus standing in for us (Romans 8:26, Hebrews 7:25). So we can understand that we should have empathy for the lost and ‘stand in’ for them (Source 1). We can’t save them. Jesus already interceded for every person’s sins; but we can ask the Holy Spirit to prick their hearts, in that way we can intercede.

giving of thanks” – Paul never forgets this one. He’s consistently reminding us to be thankful for everything God has given (for example think about Colossians 3:14-15, Devotional # 161).As we pray for others we’ll be reminded how good God has been to us.

Now that we know the ways we are to pray, who are we to pray for? Let’s read on…

v. 2. The people we are to be praying for are “all men, for kings and all who are in authority.” The word “all” is used twice here: first, with the general description of “all men (and women)” (v. 1) and second, with “all who are in authority.” Sandwiched in the middle are “kings.”

I have a friend who has always had a problem with authority. In high school his big mouth got him beat up by a rent-a-cop and later in life he wound up in prison. His biggest problem was that if he didn’t respect someone or their office he didn’t have the self-control to keep his thoughts to himself. I think we all understand where he is coming from even if we don’t verbalize it. But the point here in verses 1-2 is that we are to be praying for all people and positions of authority.

In Romans 13:1 Paul tells us, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” This means that God has placed every politician, police officer and professor in their place. We are to trust and respect God and know that His will is best. We talked about this in Acts 26:1-11, Devotional # 69 if you’re interested.
Interestingly, in contrast with the story of my anti-authority friend, Paul tells us that praying for authority will help us “lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” It would seem that Paul is saying “a quiet and peaceable life” is our goal. Adventure junkies (missionaries?) and extroverts (street witnesses?) need not worry or rebel against this! The context here is in contrast to authorities so this must mean not being in trouble with the law and not being at war with your neighbors. When we pray for the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and a quiet and calmness in our lives, this is God’s answer to that prayer.

Conclusion. Today we learned about several different ways to pray: each time with the focus on others. We also learned that anyone in authority has been put there by God, so it is our duty to pray for them. This will lead us to have peace with others so that we can continue to share Jesus with them!

 

References.

Source 1: John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, p. 1862.

 

Independence Day 2016!

4th of July 2016 Devotional

flag handsHappy Independence Day! The United States fought hard for their independence. We have a rich, however short, heritage. We have hope in unity as a melting pot for dreams.

But some feel that the United States is no longer independent. Some lie or have been dissuaded from thinking that our heritage is what it was. Some feel there is no hope for unity as we fragment further into racial profiling.

I’ve been thinking about the Civil War this week and what it must’ve been like to have brother fight against brother. To believe that God was on your side and that what you were doing was right.

Many nations, including the United States, have made poor decisions, but have been able to turnaround, admit those mistakes and progress for a better tomorrow. Here is a little blurb about the time surrounding the American Civil War:

“Deprivations and disorders were everywhere. God’s new American people were confronting chaos much as ancient Israel had known (and helped create). But Americans knew better than to fail, and so they sought more authenticity. Reform movements emerged at an incredible pace and included Sunday schools, prison ministries, hospitals and clinics, and eleemosynary institutions, as well as attempts to ameliorate labor conditions, cleanse politics of corruption, provide special care for females, encourage temperance, and peacefully resolve conflicts” (Source 1).
What the United States needs today is Jesus. Christians need an authentic faith, not because of what others think or how believers are portrayed in the media. The authenticity of our faith is first based on a God who keeps promises (Deuteronomy 7:9) and second, upon the willingness for His people to put themselves aside to serve others. Continue the time honored tradition of believers leading reform. Be the first on the battle lines of injustice, not with picket signs are guns but in prison ministries, welcoming refugees into your home and supporting anti-sex trafficking initiatives.

I will not too closely intertwine U.S. politics with the spiritual life but I encourage you to love the country you live in and the people housed there, enough to share Jesus Christ. I encourage you to celebrate your freedom in Christ (2 Corinthians 3:17) and tell others how they can have that freedom also.

 

Resources

Source 1: Edited by Randall M. Miller, Harry S. Stout, Charles Reagan Wilson, Religion and the American Civil War, Oxford University, 1998, p. 369.