One of my favorite athletes is Bob Mathias. He was a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon. He won his first Olympic gold medal at the age of 17 in 1948. He repeated his feat four years later. At one point during the two-day event he began to notice the other athletes were watching him and doing what he was doing. So he started doing things like taking a drink of water every 10 minutes and watch as others would follow and do the same. They wanted to be like Bob.
Whether or not we notice them, there are people watching us. As professing Christians others want to know if we are for real, or do we simply pay “lip service” to following Jesus as our Lord.
1. What distinguishes a Christian from an unbeliever in the world?
· A faith mind-set: Christians see the world through a spiritual prism that colors our thoughts and influences our ways.
· Behaviors: Believers engage in a curious and peculiar mix of spiritual and religious rites. They go to church, worship, pray, tithe, and fast (at times for specific reasons).
· Outward appearance: Our choices, for example, in clothing or entertainment often signify that we’re different.
Not only are our actions being watched but so are our attitudes and motives. People want to know if our Christian lives are real, so they watch.
2. In what ways are Christians watched or judged differently than non-Christians? (There are no expectations from the life of a non-Christian—there is no claim of faith or difference in their lives. Christians profess a faith in God and there are expectations of an upright, moral lifestyle from a Christian!)
In 1 Timothy 2 Paul gives instructions regarding how Christians are to represent God in this world!
Read 1 Timothy 1:18-20. Here now in chapter 2 is how you are to begin to engage in battle!
Through Prayer! Read 1 Timothy 2:1-7
1. What do we learn about the content of prayer from these verses?
· Petitions: Prayers of supplication, as they asked God to act.
· Prayers: All types of requests being made to God.
· Intercessions: A word that suggests coming before an authority on behalf of someone else.
· Thanksgiving: Offer thanks not merely for God’s blessings, but for God’s involvement with the people for whom they are praying.
2. How are these various aspects of prayer related to each other?
3. What do these verses reveal about the role of Jesus in our prayer lives? (He is the Mediator between us and the Father. He represents us before the throne of God!)
Jesus as mediator is providing a connection between the perfect God and flawed man, whereas a legal mediator works to resolve a connection between two flawed and sinful humans. Generally between two flawed and sinful humans they reach a compromise. There is no compromise between us and God, we yield to His sovereignty.
4. Why did Paul instruct them to pray for those in authority over them when much of their persecution came from those very leaders? (God can and does change hearts. We are commanded to pray for our enemies—Matt. 5:44!)
5. How does praying for our leaders change our view of them? (By praying specifically for people in positions of authority, we release God’s power to influence the influencers and usher in peace and stability for all. Praying for those in leadership deepens our appreciation for the responsibilities they carry; we better empathize with those we attempt to understand.)
By calling on the authority of the Lord with humility, we wield real, personal influence over those in positions of power.
6. Why is praying for others so strategic for God’s kingdom? (Just as God breathed life into humans and then planned a way to salvage those broken lives, breathing prayers for others offers them a lifeline to salvation.)
Led By Godly Men! Read 1 Timothy 2:8
In this verse, the word used for “men” refers specifically to males.
One of our writers for our commentary this week wrote: Our passion for Christ can be gauged by our commitment to His mission. Our commitment to His mission can be measured by our faithfulness in prayer.
1. Do you agree with this statement or not? Why?
2. How can anger influence a person’s prayer requests?
3. How does anger get in the way of prayer?
The phrase “lifting up holy hands” referred more to purity of the heart than to posture of the body.
4. What signifies a pure heart? (A heart whose prayer is to be clean before God, new and fresh daily by cleansing through confession and repentance.)
5. What qualities of leadership does God expect faithful men to model? (God needs male prayer warriors, but initiative in prayer means more than being ready and willing to offer up eloquent words. God wants all men who confess faith in Jesus to display a godly temperament of love and unity.)
Supported By Godly Women! Read 1 Timothy 2:9-15
Note Concerning verse 15: “This verse appears to suggest that salvation for women comes through childbearing. Keeping in mind that all Scriptures are consistent, this interpretation would be in conflict with countless passages dealing with salvation through Christ alone.”—Leader’s Guide. We may not know exactly what Paul had in mind but we do know there is only one way to salvation, that is through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
One scholar states: “Regardless of the intricacies of various views, the thrust of the apostle’s argument is perfectly clear. Yes, woman was deeply involved in the apostasy of the human family, by yielding to Satan’s temptations and falling into deception.
Further, one aspect of her penalty is that certain leadership roles under the Christian regime are denied her. Be that as it may, she is not to despair. God still has many noble and valuable uses for his daughters-the most fulfilling of which is represented in the domestic talents with which she has been blessed so richly and beautifully.”
1. What directions did Paul give to women in these verses? (Dress modestly; not with elaborate hairstyles, gold, pearls, or expensive apparel. Their beauty is to come from good works as is proper for Christian women. Learn in submission from the leadership God has placed in the church. A woman is not to exercise authority over a man by teaching for God placed men in these roles within the church.)
Before God, men and women are equal however each has a different role within the church. Jesus is equal to the Father as part of the triune Godhead, but His role is in submission as the Son to the Father!
2. What did Paul seem most concerned with?
3. How does the historical background of Ephesus impact your understanding of these directions? (The culture was very pagan and immoral.)
4. In your own words, what does God’s call for women to represent Him in the world look like? (By nature of their God-given sex and gender, women who follow God have unique responsibilities for dress and demeanor as well as distinctive powerful privileges, such as childbearing and influencing other women and children.)
Although men and women are created equally in the image of God, they have been assigned to different roles. Paul identified male leadership as important to the church, but women, maintain vital roles in reaching people for the gospel as well. Understanding one’s respective roles by trusting God’s directives means we represent God well to a culture that needs clarity about who God is and how He loves them.
Summarize and Challenge!
We discussed: (PSG pg. 27)
· Believers are to pray with a focus on the lost.
· Godly men are to set the example when it comes to praying for others.
· Godly women are mindful of how their dress and actions impact the witness of the church.
Each one of these statements pertains to a missional mind-set.
1. Have Paul’s words challenged you to think more about living on mission?
2. How can we be more intentional in praying for the salvation of others?
3. In what ways can we consistently pray for the lost in our community? (Focus on people you know or are at least acquainted with on your block, at work or those you run in to occasionally.)
4. How might adopting a missionary mind-set enhance your ability to represent Christ? (Missionaries live with intentionality. They maintain an acute awareness that they represent Christ to a culture that may not yet know Him but still pays attention.)
Taking to heart God’s call to pray for others offers them God’s care and love.
Grade yourself on your ability to represent Christ.
· Are you praying for others as your should?
· Have you accepted the role God assigned to you for representing God and leading others to Jesus?
· To what degree are you a reflection of Christ?
Whether you need to make major or minor adjustments, start with daily prayer. Start with yourself and then, just as Paul directed, pray for others in small and big requests with thanksgiving, including asking for wisdom, direction, and protection for those in authority.