prayers be made for all people

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,” 1 Timothy 2:1 (ESV)

Reading Paul’s letters it’s abundantly clear that prayer is a priority.

But what’s astonishing here is that it’s not some selfish, self-serving, self-seeking petition for his perceived wants and needs.

Instead, his concern is “first” and foremost for others.

And not just his family and friends. But for all people.

What a challenge!

To not think of ourselves before others: friend and enemy alike.

To care about their salvation, their very real need for “the knowledge of the truth”. (1 Timothy 2:4)

Kim+

prayer : that all people may be challenged by the Holy Spirit to seek the one true God, repent of their sins and believe, so they may be saved

action : pray for others more regularly

Christ Jesus Came into the World to Save Sinners

1Ti 1:12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

1 Timothy 1:12-17 (ESV)

Reading the sermon by John Piper, “Christ Jesus Came into the World to Save Sinners“, I’m struck by the wonderful gift of life.

I think we all too often take for granted our health and the gracious gift of physical life God has given us.

Forgetting to thank Him who created us.

Yet we should be even more thankful for the gift of spiritual life that He offers us.

And all that comes with it.

Especially as it came at such a “price”. (1 Corinthians 6:20)

For our “ransom” (Mark 10:45) was paid for by “the blood of Christ Jesus”. (Romans 5:9)

Now, to be “born again” in Christ (John 3:3 and 1 Peter 1:23) is to enjoy all the “riches” that He has to offer. (Ephesians 1:18)

And before anyone can say that they’re beyond change, beyond saving, beyond redemption, they need only to look at the person of Paul who was “foremost amongst sinners”.

Yet he, even he, was not beyond salvation.

Wow!

Gods grace knows no bounds.

Kim+

prayer : thank you God for the gift of new life that can only come from you

action : pray that I will be given the opportunity to share this knowledge, this hope, my faith with another person today

a good conscience

“…that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience.” 1 Timothy 1:18b, 19a (ESV)

What does Paul mean by a good conscience?

I suppose, in the context of what has been entrusted to Timothy, it would involve him “holding faith”.

Not departing from the original doctrine taught to him by Paul.

And having that assurance deep inside that he had “kept the faith”. (2 Timothy 4:7)

It’s obviously important as Paul used the same phrase, “a good conscience“, earlier in verse 5.

But holding firm is not an easy thing to do when we’re constantly assailed by forces trying to distract us, sway us, even break us.

But with God’s help, with God’s grace, we can remain steadfast and true.

Kim+

prayer : help me Lord to be honest with myself and with you, confessing my sins with a truly repentant heart

action : seek to understand God’s will and purpose for my life

wage the good warfare

“This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,” 1 Timothy 1:18 (ESV)

Even though Paul is addressing Timothy directly, and referring to matters clearly in a specific context, I see no reason why this call to action should not apply to all Christians.

We all need to wage the good warfare because it’s a spiritual battle we’re in.

Not “against flesh and blood” but “against the spiritual forces of evil”, says Paul. (Ephesians 6:12)

And, as I understand it, all believers are called to “put on” and “take up the whole armour of God”. (Ephesians 6:11, 13)

Thankfully, God is our mighty defender: “our rock and our fortress”. (Psalm 144:1-2)

On Him and Him alone we can rely.

Kim+

prayer : thank you God that you provide us with the armour to “fight the good fight” (1 Timothy 6:11)

action : help me to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11)

the only God

“To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:17 (ESV)

In a world where many people preach so-called tolerance, it’s quite a claim to say there is only one God.

They don’t like it. This notion that the God of the Old and New Testaments is not only above all else but He is the only god worthy of “honour and glory”.

That the other gods do not in fact exist.

By saying this they think that Christians are vain and conceited and selfish and uncaring.

And I can understand that. But what if they’re wrong? What if there is “only one God“?

Is it not uncaring to keep this to ourselves?

And what if that God had an only son?

One who “though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:6-7)

And what if, “being found in human form, He humbled Himself to the point of death, even death on a cross”? (Philippians 2:8)

These are not easy concepts to understand.

After all, why would the creator of the universe, the one who is the “King of ages” and “immortal”, deign to become a man and then permit Himself to die a gruesome death upon a cross, in our place?

Go figure!

No wonder it’s referred to as a “mystery”. (Colossians 1:26)

However, our response should not be to question why.

Instead, we ought to acknowledge His lordship by falling on our knees, crying:

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)

Kim+

prayer : with the Psalmist “we give thanks to the LORD due to his righteousness, singing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.” (Psalms 7:17)

action : honour and glorify God through word and deed

to save sinners

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” 1 Timothy 1:15 (ESV)

Sinners? Who, me?

Yes, you and me both.

I prefer not to think of sin as merely doing the wrong thing. Breaking the law as it were.

Whilst this is true, it doesn’t fully encompass what it means to sin.

Instead, I understand it to be the rejection of Jesus Christ as God’s only son.

Effectively turning our back on God and choosing to live our lives our own way. (Romans 3:10-18)

It’s sad but true.

We might like to think of ourselves as good. But we can never be good enough.

And that’s why Jesus came into the world. To save us sinners.

To accept the punishment that we deserve. And die for us, in our place, “once for all”. (Romans 6:10)

Kim+

prayer : thank you God that you loved us so much you sacrificed your one and only son

action : show my gratitude by living a life of “sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1)

but I received mercy

“But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief,” 1 Timothy 1:13b (ESV)

“But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” 1 Timothy 1:16 (ESV)

How great is God’s mercy?

We certainly don’t deserve it.

Like Paul, we turn our back on God. Choosing to ignore Him, reject Him, perhaps even blaspheme and actively oppose Him.

Yet God still loves us.

We’re His creation. And He wants nothing more than to be in a relationship with us.

Patiently waiting for us to return. His arms outstretched wide.

All too often we think of God as a harsh taskmaster. A ruthless judge dishing out punishment for all of our indiscretions.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

He is the God “who shows compassion to those who fear Him.” (Psalm 103:13)

Kim+

prayer : thank you God that in your great mercy I can call you “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15)

action : be an example to others through love and mercy