Month: May 2022

Loving our Neighbour as Ourselves (Second Commandment) (Matthew 22:34-40) (Part 1)

The Text

Matthew 22:34-40 (NIV) “Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the Law, tested Him (Jesus) with this question: Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and the greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Mark 12:28-31):

Love Neighbour

The Second Commandment is from an obscure Commandment in Leviticus 19:18b (NIV) “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39):

  • The Hebrew word translated “love” in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 describes an act of will characterised by dedication, commitment, and choice.
  • The Greek term used for “love” in Matthew 22:37-39 is the verb of intelligent, purposeful, committed love.
  • Putting both the Hebrews and the Greek terms together – Love is a Choice, commitment, dedication, intelligent, and purposeful.

Thus, “love God, love neighbour” is never a “half-hearted” commitment. It is a choice, commitment, dedication, intelligent and purposeful:

  • Jesus goes further and reinforces that “love for God” cannot be divorced from our “love for our neighbour,” by quoting Leviticus 19:18b, He places it alongside the First Commandment of “Love God.”
  • This is evidenced by the pairing of the Second Commandment (“love neighbour”) alongside the First Commandment in Mark’s account – “There is no commandment greater than these (Mark 12:31b, NIV).
  • Jesus gives the Second Commandment – “Love your neighbour as yourself,” even though the Lawyer did not ask for it. The reason is that the First Commandment: “Love God” cannot be seen or understood without the demonstration – our love for our neighbour. Love is an active experience, not inactive and dormant.
  • In “loving our neighbours as ourselves” the best of us come forth in the very act of loving.
  • The New Commandment to “love one another” (John 13:34-35) helps us handle human relationships and treat people the way God treats us.

Both the Hebrew and the Greek make it clear that loving God and neighbour is a choice. This is evident by the fact that loving God and loving neighbours is used as an imperative (or command) in Matthew 22:37-39. To love God is not only to “have good feelings about Him,” but genuine love is a choice, involving the will as well as the heart, whether we feel good or not is secondary.

To love our neighbours as much as we love ourselves is a challenge – because people are flawed, imperfect, needy beings. Loving people is hard when they cannot (or worse, they refused) to return our love. It is even harder when they hurt us. But we must remember this: Loving people is a choice to be made and a command to be obeyed before it becomes a feeling to be felt. The feeling comes or it might never come. But we must still act in love.

A loving relationship involves: (1) Commitment and loyalty; (2) Trust and respect; (3) Knowing and sharing. This also permeates the New Testament – 1John 4:20-21 (NIV) “If anyone says, I love God, yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

Love of Self

Leviticus 19:18b (NIV) “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39). There is a clear relationship between “loving one’s neighbour” and “self-love” (acceptance of oneself). The Godly loves of self-come from knowing three things:

  • That we are God’s Creation – “Made in His image and likeness” (Genesis 1:26a).
  • That we are the “children of God” and the objects of His love – Romans 8:16 (NIV) “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirits that we are God’s children.”
  • That “love of self” stirs a strong self-image, confidence, and assurance; this is pleasing unto the Lord

The measure of our “love of self” = “acceptance of ourselves” (Matthew 22:39) and not “lover of ourselves” (2Timothy 3:1-4) will be the measure we are able to love our neighbours.

To be continued….. Stay tuned…..

The Sabbath (7th Day Rest) & the Lord’s Day (Genesis 2:1-3; Revelation 1:10) (Part 2)

1.2 The Summary – The Day of Reflection

The 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) offers time for us to reflect on our lives, and to make necessary changes where we should. The 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) is necessary for us to order the private world of our inner lives in relationship to God; without that, our lives are shaped by outer demands that are constantly pressing upon us, draining our energy, blunting our sensitivities, and blurring our perspectives. So vital is the 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) that R. Paul Stevens reckons, “A weekly experience of Rest is fundamental to our regaining perspective and entering that Rest that is essential to personal, social and creational survival” (R. Paul Stevens, “Sabbath,” “The Complete Book of Everyday Christianity, eds.” Robert Banks and R. Paul Stevens, 853).             

1.3 The Lord’s Day (Sunday) – Morrow after the Sabbath

Both “the Feast of the Waving of the Sheaf of the Firstfruits” (Christ’s Resurrection – Matthew 28:1-10) and “the Feast of Pentecost” (Outpouring of the Holy Spirit & Birth of the Church – Acts 2:1-4) are to be celebrated on “the Morrow after the Sabbath,” thus, “A New Beginning” and “A New Day”The Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10) – bypassing the Weekly Sabbath. Under the Law Covenant, the Feast of the Waving of the Sheaf of the Firstfruits and the Feast of Pentecost shadowed forth the two Foundational Events of the New Testament Church:  

  • The Feast of the Sheaf of the Firstfruits (Leviticus 23:9-14) is waved on “the Morrow after the Sabbath” which is the First Day of the Week (Sunday), the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10) – the Day of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:1-10; 1Corinthians 15:20). The New Testament Believers worship the Lord Jesus Christ on the First Day of the Week (Sunday), the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10).
  • The Feast of Pentecost took place on “the Morrow after the Sabbath,” (Leviticus 23:15) on the First Day of the Week (Sunday), The Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10).  The Day of the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the Birth of the Church (Acts 2:1-4). 

Jesus & Holy Spirit – Thus, two Persons in the Eternal Godhead, the Son of God (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit – by passed the Old Covenant Sabbath Day and acted on the First Day of the Week (Sunday) or “Morrow after the Sabbath,” – the two Foundation Events (Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ {Matthew 28:1-10; 1Corinthians 15:20}; and the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the Birth of the Church {Acts 2:1-4}), both took place on the First Day of the Week, the Lord’s Day (Sunday). It is for this reason (Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ {Matthew 28:1-10; 1Corinthians 15:20}; and the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the Birth of the Church {Acts 2:1-4}) that the Believer-in-Christ keeps the Lord’s Day (Sunday) and not the O.T. Sabbath.   

1.4 End of Sabbath Keeping

The very fact that “the Feast of the Waving of the Sheaf of the Firstfruits” (Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ {Matthew 28:1-10; 1Corinthians 15:20}), and “the Feast of Pentecost” (Outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the Birth of the Church {Acts 2:1-4}) were kept “the Morrow after the Sabbath” pointed to the end of Sabbath Keeping of the Mosaic Law (Exodus 20:11). This is in fulfilment of the Prophecy in Hosea 2:11 – The LORD said that He would “cause all her mirth to cease, her Feast Days, her new moons, and her Sabbaths, and all her solemn Feasts.”

Although Sabbath Keeping of the Old Testament ceased (Hosea 2:11), after the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:1-10) and the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), nevertheless, the benefits of the “the Creative-Principles in the Sabbath” continued:

  1. “Cease from Work.”
  2. “Rest-Day.”
  3. “Day of Grace.”
  4. “Day of Setting-apart.”
  5. “Day of Blessing.”
  6. “Day of Celebration.”
  7. “Day of God and man/woman in Partnership.;”
  8. “Day of Being and not Doing.”
  9. “Day of Refreshing”
  10. “Day of Weekly Cycle.”

These 10 Creative-Principles in the Sabbath (Genesis 2:2-3) have not been done away with, but applicable and continued in the “Christian’s Sabbath – The Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10).

Apostle Paul shows that the Sabbath in the Creation (Genesis 2:2-3) finds the fulfilment in the Lord Jesus Christ, and then spiritually fulfilled in the Church, in the Day of Pentecost, the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the Birth of the Church {Acts 2:1-4}:

  • Galatians 4:9-10 “But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years.”
  • Colossians 2:14 “Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He (Jesus) had taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

Thus, the N.T true Sabbath Rest is in Christ’s Finished Work (“It is Finished” – John 19:30) and in the Holy Spirit (Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 4:1-11). The Sabbath was the Sign and Seal of the Mosaic Covenant (Exodus 20:11). The New Testament Sign and Seal is the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14; Ephesians 4:30; 2Corinthians 1:22):

  • The Lord’s Day (Sunday) is the Day of Rest.
  • The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Rest (Acts 2:1-4).

Thus, for the Church and the Individual to return to the O.T. Sabbath (Exodus 20:11) is to come under the Old Covenantal Seal (Exodus 20:11). God does not take the Old Covenant Seal (Sabbath – Exodus 20:11) and put it on the New Covenant. The New Covenant Seal is the Holy Spirit:

  • Ephesians 1:13-14 “In Him (Jesus) you also trusted, after you heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise.”
  • Ephesians 4:30 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the Day of Redemption.”
  • 2Corinthians 1:22 “Who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” 

Once, we, the New Testament Believers know which Covenant we are under then all confusion ceases in the Keeping of the Day? – New Covenant Believers keep The Lord’s Day (Sunday – Matthew 28:1-10; Revelation 1:10) and not the Mosaic Sabbath Day (Friday 6pm to Saturday 6pm).

1.5 The Lord’s Day

(Revelation 1:10; Matthew 28:1-10) – Sunday Day, “The Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10) is the time we spend with God, in Worship, not as a legalistic burden, but of the joy of encountering with the Lord Jesus Christ, by not making the rules of “The Lord’s Day” (Christian’s Sabbath) more important than the “Rest & Worship” that Christian’s Sabbath (“The Lord’s Day – Sunday” – Matthew 28:1-10; 1Corinthians 15:20), offers! We must ensure that “The Lord’s Day” (Christian’s Sabbath) serves God’s People rather than God’s People served the Christian Sabbath (“The Lord’s Day’), without undue concern for other Church’s business that might rob us of our communion with the Lord Jesus Christ, as commonly, Worship Services are peppered with the sound of cellular phones; also, numerous activities are crammed into “The Lord’s Day” (Christian’s Sabbath – Sunday), leaving little room for waiting upon/communing with the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Worship, at times, require us that we set aside time to wait and listen for God’s Voice – Psalm 46:10a “Be still and know that I am God” – and to respond to Him, appropriately. Spontaneous moments are common in Prophetic Worship. The art of waiting on The LORD seems to be lost, today, in many Churches, because the prepared programs, though important, have consumed all the moments, in the Worship Services. Silence is more the result of our Awe and Wonder we experience in God’s Presence rather than being an expression of Worship by itself. Not all waiting upon The LORD to be in silence – sometimes we wait upon The LORD with the musical instruments play quietly, while we wait to hear Him (God) speaks. Revelational knowledge of God is discovered in our stillness, before Him – Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the Nations. I will be exalted in the earth!” – discovering the delights and the joy of His (God’s) Presence!

The Sabbath (7th Day Rest) & the Lord’s Day (Genesis 2:1-3; Revelation 1:10) (Part 1)

1.0 The Statement

Genesis Chapter 2 introduces a series of “firsts” that are important to us if we want to build our lives on the basics God has put into His Creation:

  1. 7th Day Rest (Sabbath)Genesis 2:2 (NKJV) “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” God Himself does not need the “7th Day Rest” but He instituted it for His Creation (Mankind). Also, the “7th Day Rest” (Sabbath) is one of the three Institutions that were established by God for all Humanity.
  2. Work – God instituted Work – Genesis 2:15 (NKJV) “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it.”
  3. Marriage – God instituted and conducted the first marriage in the Garden of Eden – Genesis 2:22-23a (NKJV) “Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”

These three Institutions (7th Day Rest; Work; and Marriage) were instituted before the entrance of Sin (Genesis Chapter 3), and therefore, are part of God’s Design for all people.

1.1 The Creation Principles

The 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) is an institution established by God at Creation or “a Creation Ordinance”Genesis 2:2-3 (NKJV) “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified (set-apart; made holy) it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”

  1. Sabbath (7th Day Rest) – The word “Sabbath” comes from the Hebrew word “Shabbat” which means “to cease working, to rest” and is related to the Hebrew word for “seven;” the “seventh-day” is mentioned three times in Genesis 2:2-3.    
  2. Rest-Day – The 7th day was God’s instituted “Rest-Day” (Sabbath) – Genesis 2:2-3” And He rested on the seventh day…….He rested from all His works.” This is the first Sabbath (7th Day Rest); God does not need rest – Isaiah 40:28b (NKJV) “The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.” Therefore, Sabbath (7th Day Rest) was created for us – Mark 2:27 (NKJV) “And He (Jesus) said to them, ‘the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.” The Principle is that God not only ordained work (Genesis 2:15) but also rest (Genesis 2:2-3).
  3. Day of Grace – The 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) is in “the period of grace” that is, 2,500 years before the institution of the Mosaic Law (Ten Commandments).
  4. Day of Setting-Apart – The 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) is a special day because God sanctified (“set-apart; makes Holy”). God sanctified (set-apart) the 7th Day (Sabbath) for special purpose. God marked out the Seven-day Week and set aside one day for Himself, not that He needed rest but for Humanity.
  5. Day of Blessing“The Rest” instituted by God in the Creative Week is a fundamental need of Humanity – Genesis 2:3a (NKJV) “Then God blessed the seventh day;” that God blesses the Sabbath (7th Day Rest) – Genesis 2:3a (NKJV) “Then God blessed the seventh day.” The very act of God blessing the 7th Day of Creation signifies “a particularly mysterious gracious turning towards His Creation” (Gerhard Von Rad, “Old Testament Theology,” Vol.1. 147). God’s blessings included economic prosperity, strength, a fruitful yield and tranquility and safety in our family and Nation, as shown in God’s Promise to the Nation of Israel based on the Sabbatical Law (Leviticus 25:18-22).
  6. Day of Celebration –The 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) is the climax of the Creative Week, and God takes great delight in His Work with the commendation “it was good” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25), for the other aspects of Creation and  “it was very good” (Genesis 1:31), in the culmination of His Creation – The word “good” (Heb: “tob”) means “it is a joy and a delight.”  The Universe as God’s Handiwork is a joy and delight as borne out in the experience of the “Person’s Wisdom,” personified in Proverbs 8:22-31, as the Craftsman in the Creation of the Universe – The joy of creating and the joy of existence – “God, the Maker and man, the Creator’s delight” –  “Then I was beside Him as the Master Craftsman; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in His inhabited world, and my delight was with the sons of men” (Proverbs 8:30-31, NKJV).
  7. God & Man in Partnership – Not only does God enjoy His Creation (Genesis 2:2-3), He pronounces a day on which man may also join Him in finding joy and delight in His Works, as shown Psalm 92, which is a devotion to 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) Celebration – Title: “A Psalm or Song for the Sabbath Day,” expresses rapturous praise to God for “the works” of God’s Hands (Psalm 92:4), which refers to the Creation.
  8. Important of Being – Adam and his wife were created on the 6th Day of Creation – Genesis 1:27-31 (NKJV) “So God created man in His own image; in the Image of God, He created him; male and female He created them…….Then God saw everything that He had made and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”
    • Adam and his wife experienced REST on the first day of their existence as God rested on the Seventh Day of the Creative-Week – Genesis1:31b & Genesis 2:2-3 (NKJV) “Then God saw everything that He had made and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified (set-apart; made holy) it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” God the Creator shares His rest, freedom and joy with Adam and his wife on the 7th Rest Day (Sabbath).   
    • In this respect, God communicates to Humanity that “being” is more important than “doing” (work), even though work is important, because work comes later in Genesis 2:15 “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it” (NKJV).  
    • Abraham Joshua Heschel, a Jewish Theologian states, “that man is not created as a beast of burden who is merely encouraged to rest in order to enhance the efficiency of his work” (Abraham Joshua Heschel, “The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man,” pg.14). God’s Act in Genesis 2:2-3 implies that the Person should be free from striving for happiness through performance and achievement (work & prosperity) as an end in them!
    • The culture of today encourages “doing & achieving” over “being” because the culture measures the Person’s worth by his achievement and rise in Corporate Ladder, whereas God values and celebrates over the Person and Life, instituting “REST” in His Creative Week (Genesis 2:2-3).
    • God, in instituting the 7th Day Rest (Sabbath), in a real sense, the Person’s enjoyment of God is far more important than his accomplishment for God, as work for Adam was introduced later in Genesis 2:15, seen in respect of the 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) in God’s Creative Week (Genesis 2:2-3).
    •  David is called “a man after God’s heart” (1Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22b) expresses this intimacy of the 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) with God in Psalm 27:4(NKJV) “One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in His temple;” & Psalm 84:2(NKJV) “My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” David’s relationship with God is never in the utilitarian (functional) mode but in intimacy, the intention of the 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) of Genesis 2:2-3(NKJV) “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified (= set-apart; made holy) it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”
  9. Refreshed – In Exodus 31:17, God explains the reason for His own Rest at Creation, not that God needed Rest, but it is revealed for our sake – “On the Seventh Day He (God) rested, and was refreshed (Exodus 31:17, KJV).
    • The word “refreshed” (Heb: “napas”) means “to breathe freely” and according to Abraham Joshua Heschel, the Jewish Theologian, the word “refreshed” means “a soul:” the implication is that without rest, man works like “a soulless” machine and even a machine does break down.
    • Rejuvenating – The word “refreshed” also means “rejuvenated”Cessation from regular work once a week has an all-important function of rejuvenating the Person, bringing restoration of life and health. There is a need for us to take a break once a week in order to be refreshed and to gain new perspectives.
    • The 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) is a day of “detaching” from things and the practical affairs of life, and an “attaching” to our Creator, God. 
  10. Weekly Cycle – The Weekly Cycle of 6 days of work followed by a day of rest was set in place by God Himself – Genesis 2:2-3 (NKJV) “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified (= set-apart; made holy) it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” This “Seven-day-Cycle” in God’s Creative Principle is the Universal Reality in the Calendars world-wide. God blesses and set-apart (“sanctified”) the 7th Day Rest (Genesis 2:2-3), and He (God) intended the 7th Day to be set apart in special way as the Day of Rest for all people. And since we are made in God’s Image (Genesis 2:27), it is reasonable that all People should emulate God by working six days and rested on the 7th Day. Thus, the “Sabbath-observance” (7th Day Rest) is based on Divine Principle of Genesis 2:2-3.

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..

Prayer for those in Authority (1 Timothy 2:1-8) (Part 5)

1.8 Christ the Ransom

1Timothy 2:6-7 “Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Five truths about Christ‘s Redemptive Price can be gleaned from 1Timothy 2:6:

First, Christ’s Ransom is a Gift. The verb “gave” (ho dous) looks back to the Death of Christ on the Cross. God the Father gave His Son out of Love (John 3:16), and so does the Son. His death was His (Christ’s) Free-Will.

Second, Christ gave “Himself” (heauton). He is both the Giver and the Gift. At the Cross, Christ was both the Priest and the Sacrifice. In the construction of the Church, Christ as the Builder laid Himself as the Foundation Stone. He (Christ) “loved the church and gave Himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25).

Third, Christ is the “Ransom” (antilutron). The Doctrine of Biblical Redemption draws much of its language from term used in the Ancient Slave Markets. Sinners thus are Slaves to their Sin (John 8:34):

  • Christ bought (agorazó) Sinners and paid the Purchase Price with His (Christ’s) Blood for the Sinful Humanity – Ephesians 1:7 “In Him (Jesus) we have redemption through His Blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Colossians 1:14; 1Corinthians 6:20; 2Peter 2:1; Revelation 5:9).
  • Christ also bought us out of (exagorazó) their spiritual bondage (Galatians 3:13; 4:5).
  • Redemption – We have been Redeemed from both the Law and the Curse. He (Christ) then set us free (lutroó; Titus 2:14; 1Peter 1:18).
  • Ransom – The term “Ransom” is a compound word, built upon this concept (lutron) and the preposition “in the place of” (anti). Although this is the only verse where the noun occurs in the New Testament, the combination does appear elsewhere. Christ declares that He came to give His Life “a ransom for man” (lutron anti pollón; Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45).

Fourth, Christ is the Substitute “for all” (huper pantón). The two Greek prepositions (anti and huper) show that Christ died on behalf of all and in the place of all. The universal scope of the statement is supported by the term “all,” which is used throughout this passage to refer to all people (1Timothy 2:1,4,6). There is a difference, however, between the provision of Universal Redemption and the Individual appropriation of it by faith.

Fifth, Christ’s Death fulfilled the Prophetic Purpose of Redemption – “To be testified in due time.” In the Garden of Eden, God announced that the Seed of the Woman would bruise the head of Satan (Genesis 3:15). The Line of the Promised Redeemer thus extended from Adam to Abraham to David to Christ (Luke 3:23-38). In the Fullness of Time, God then “sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law. To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4-5). 

1.9 Paul’s Authority

1Timothy 2:7(KJV) “For this I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” As a final proof that the Church must Pray for all men and for those in Authority, Paul appeals to his own appointment by God (1Timothy 1:1) to be a “herald” (NIV) and an Apostle whose distinctive Commission made him a Teacher of the Gentiles (Acts 22:21; Ephesians 3:1ff).  Between God’s Will and the Faith of men stands the necessary witness of a Christian. Paul knew this truth, and thus burdened with an Evangelistic concern, he “strive to preach the Gospel not where Christ was Named” (Romans 15:20). God had ordained both the means and end of the Gospel. In this verse, Paul described his Ministry in 3 Ways:

1.9.1 As a Preacher

As a “Preacher” (kérux), Paul preached God’s Word (2Timothy 4:2). He understands the logic of Evangelism: “For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they had not heard? And how shall they hear without a Preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” (Romans 10:13-15).

Wuest states, “The Imperial Herald would enter a town on behalf of the Emperor and make a public proclamation of the message which his Sovereign ordered him to give, doing so with such formality, gravity, and authority as must be needed.” Throughout his three Missionary journeys, Apostle Paul did just that.

1.9.2 As an Apostle

Paul knew that he was called to be an Apostle (apostolos), one who had seen the Resurrected Christ and who had been Commissioned by Him (Jesus) to Preach and Lay the Foundation of the Church Age (1Corinthians 9:1-2; Ephesians 2:20).  

Timothy also knows that Paul was an Apostle. Thus, the emphatic affirmation was expressed for the benefit of the Ephesians Church and the Adversaries (“I speak the truth in Christ and lie not”). Constrained by the Holy Spirit, He (Christ) often had to appeal to God for His Confirmation of the Apostolic Witness (Romans 9:1; 2Corinthians 11:31; Galatians 1:20).

1.9.3 As a Teacher

Paul Catechised after he Evangelised (Matthew 28:18-20). The process of Discipleship involves constant instruction. The object of Paul’s Teaching was to the Gentiles (ethnón) although Paul ministered in Synagogues to numerous Jewish Audiences, his main effort was with the Gentile World (Acts 13:46-48; Luke 14:27). He started that he was “the Minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the Gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:16). Other Apostles recognised Paul’s Unique Ministry to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:7-9).

The sphere of Paul’s Teaching was “in faith and verity” (en pistei kai alétheia). He wanted people both to believe and to understand what he (Paul) proclaimed. The word “verity” is actually translated as “truth” (1Timothy 2:4). It is the “belief of the truth” that saves the Sinner (2Thessalonians 2:13). Faith is the means, and truth is the content. The Legalists, unfortunately, were proclaiming a Religion of Works.

1.10 The Attitude in Prayer

1Timothy 2:8 (KJV) “I will, therefore, that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

At all Time – The verb, Pray (prosuchesthai) stresses constant Prayer. D Edmond Hiebert argument “The men only are to lead in public prayer.” That strict interpretation is difficult to maintain dogmatically. All Christians, including women, must grow in the spiritual life. Women as well as men need to “Pray without ceasing” (1Thessalonians 5:17).  

In all Places – The Adverbial Phrase “everywhere” literally reads “in every place” (en panti topói). The general view of the meaning to include both Public Prayer and Private Prayer in all Geographical Locations (1Corinthians 1:2; 1Thessalonians 1:8). Three Essentials of Effective Prayer:

1.10.1 Holy Hands

It is not enough to Pray; it must be done in the right way. Prayer must issue from the humble heart of the Christian in Fellowship with God and with one another. The phrase “lifting up holy hands” could indicate a physical posture or an inner attitude. Prayer Postures could be: 

  • Outstretched Arms – David and Solomon (1Kings.8:22; Psalm 28:2; Psalm 63:4; Psalm 134:2).
  • On our Knees – Daniel was on his knees facing toward Jerusalem (Daniel 6:10).
  • Sitting – David sat before the LORD (2Samuel 7:18).
  • Bowing – Eliezer bowed his head in Worship (Genesis 24:26).
  • Fall on our face – Abraham fell on his face on the ground (Genesis 17:3).
  • Eyes Downcast – The Repentant Publican stood with his eyes downcast (Luke 18:13).
  • Lifted eyes – Our Lord Jesus Christ lifted His eyes toward Heaven in His Intercession (John 17:1).

The use of the figure “lifting up holy hands” is dramatic and instructive. This is the only place in the New Testament where this figure is employed of Prayer. Prayer Postures should not be ritualistic but rather spontaneous manifestation of our Prayerful Attitude.

The adjective “holy” (hosious) denotes a spiritual quality and hands (cherias) are “symbolic of daily life.”  Holy hands could also indicate an unpolluted spiritual life. David equates his righteousness with the cleanness of his hands – 2Samuel 22:21 “The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath He recompensed me.” 

David later asked this rhetorical question: “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart, who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully” (Psalm 24:3-4).  Only Christians whose lives manifest practical righteousness and holiness should be allowed to lead in Public Prayers. Christians living openly in sin have no place to lead in public prayers, as David confirms “If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). 

The “without wrath and doubting” partly explains what is involved in having “holy hands.” The words show that a Christian must be right in his relationships both to man and to God.

1.10.2 Without Wrath

The term “wrath” (orgés), focuses on emotional anger vented on men, both Christians and non-Christians. It is the second essential, and it requires that we be on good terms with one another Even though the petitioner has been wronged by others, he must put off that natural sinful response of anger before he goes into the presence of God (Colossians 3:8). Jesus warns that such inner fury must be replaced by the spirit of reconciliation (Matthew 5:21-26). A Christian must be “slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20):

  • Jerry Taylor remarks: “Anger is a perfect alienation of the mind from prayer.”
  • Bernard: “In our prayers we leave our differences behind us.”

1.10.3 Without Doubting

The term “doubting” = “disputing” (dialogismou), is the opposite of inner confidence. Instead of having faith, a Christian doubt when he has sceptical criticism of God’s control over his life. He carries on a mental dialogue about the outcome of his prayer. It is possible that the disputation may extend to argument with fellow Christians about the programs within the local church. In that sense, doubting disrupts the spiritual unity and the effectiveness of the Body of Christ. Paul cautioned, “Do all things without murmuring and disputing” (Philippians 2:14; same word as “doubting”).  Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches the same truth in Mark 11:24-26. If we spent more time preparing to pray and getting our hearts right before God, our prayers would be more effective.

Prayer for those in Authority (1 Timothy 2:1-8) (Part 4)

1.6 The Goals of the Prayer Ministry

1Timothy 2:4 “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” The first goal is the “saving purpose” for mankind. Apostle Paul says that “God our Saviour……will have all men to be saved.” Prayer for the “Lost-Souls” is based on Christ’s Redemptive Work. The mention of the Divine Title “Saviour” causes Paul to introduce a relative clause that began with the pronoun “Who” (hos). This feature forms the transition from the First Section (1Timothy 2:1-3) of this passage to the next (1Timothy2:4-7). The Second Half of the Passage reveals a genuine concern for the “lost-souls” by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit through Paul.

God’s Will be both simple and complex. He works “all things after the counsel (boulên) of His Own will” (thelêmatos – Ephesians 1:11). All things, including Creation, Redemption, and Judgement, are encompassed by the Divine Decree. For purpose of understanding, however, God’s Will can be classified in three ways:

  • His Decretive Will – Expresses God’s Unconditional Purpose, it gives Him pleasure and it is always carried out because it is dependent only upon Him for its fulfilment (Isaiah 14:24,27).
  • His Perceptive Will – States His Conditional Purpose. The performance of His Moral Will is dependent upon the obedience of man for its fulfilment. The Ten Commandments and the desire to save reveal God’s Moral, Perceptive Will. Man willed to do what God has Willed. Unfortunately, both Believers and Unbelievers have willed not to obey God.
  • His Permissive Will – Allows sin and evil to occur. God is not morally responsible for the sinful actions of men and the consequences of those acts. Such rebellion gives God no pleasure (Psalms 81:12; Acts 14:16; Romans 1:24).

God’s Will in 1Timothy 2:4 points to His Moral, Perceptive Will. The verb Will (thelei) indicates a “desire springing out of the emotions or inclinations, rather than out of deliberation (boulomai).” It reveals God’s intense concern for the Salvation of the Lost Souls. God’s Perceptive, Redemptive will has 2 Purposes:

1.6.1 Salvation

1Timothy 2:4a “All men to be saved,” the verb literally reads, “who wills all men to be saved” Paul writes that God’s Will is to save all man, but also man must will to experience Salvation. God does not impose His Redemptive Plan upon Unwilling Persons. To obey the appeal to believe, man must actively exercise his will (Acts 16:31). The group “all men” includes the entire World of Lost Humanity (1Timothy 2:1). Christians can pray for all men to be saved because Divine Provision has been made for all to experience Salvation (John 3:16; 12:32; 1John 2:2).

1.6.2 Truth

1Timothy 2:4b “All men come unto the knowledge of the truth.” God works in and through man’s will to gain the assent of man’s will without violating its moral accountability.

  • The goal is the “knowledge of the truth.” The noun “knowledge” (epignósin) denotes a thorough understanding. It is used not the simple word for knowledge but the compound form which seems to mean growing knowledge or perception. William’s rendering: “to come to an increasing knowledge of the truth.” (Charles B. Williams, “The New Testament, A Private Translation in the Language of the People,” Moody Press, 1949).
  • Unbelievers do not become Believers through ignorance. They must have basic knowledge of God’s Redemptive Facts. These facts are contained in the “truth” (elétheia), which is outlined in the 1Timothy 2:5-7:
  • The Oneness of God, the necessity of the Divine-Human Mediator, the Death, Burial and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the appropriation of Salvation by Faith. The word “truth” occurs 14 times in the Pastoral Epistles (1Timothy 3:15; 4:3; 6:5; 2Timothy 2:15,18; 3:8; 4:4; Titus 1:14).

Redemptive Truth centres in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He declared: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). Knowledge of such truth sets men free from their bondage of sin (John 8:32; 2Thessalonians 2:13-14). The possession of Eternal Life is synonymous with knowing God and Christ through the Redemptive Experience (John 17:3). Paul was willing to repudiate his proud, self-righteous life for “the Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:8).

Thus, prayer is part of God’s Plan for reaching the Lost World. Christians have the responsibility of Praying for the Lost Souls (Romans 10:1) and making ourselves available to share the Gospel with others.

1.7 Christ the Mediator

1Timothy 2:5“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the Man, Christ Jesus.” The conjunction “for” (gar) introduces the explanation of Redemptive Truth. The emphasis also switches from the Father to the Son. Christ, as the Mediator, the attention is on the Son’s Person, whereas as the Ransom, the focus is on Christ’s Work, as the Mediator – Three Concepts are enumerated:

First, there is only “One God” with three Persons in the Godhead (Father, Son {Jesus} and the Holy Spirit – God alone has the Sovereign Prerogative to determine the Proper Access into His (God’s) Presence (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

Second, Christ, is the “One Mediator between God and men.” A Mediator is an Umpire. Wuest observes that a Mediator is “One who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or to form a compact or ratify a covenant.”  The necessity of the Mediator can be seen in the gulf between the Holy God and the Sinful Humanity. When God created Adam and Eve, there were Fellowship; however, in their (Adam’s & Eve’s) disobedience, they fled from God’s Presence (Genesis 3:7-8). Man, not God, needs Reconciliation (Romans 5:10; 2Cor.5:19). 

Third, the One Mediator is the “Man Christ Jesus.” The absence of the definite article “the” before the noun “Man” stresses that Christ is the Perfect God-Man. Christ has the same human nature as all others (Hebrews 2:14,16), except Christ is without Sin (2Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1Peter 2:22; 1John 3:5) – Christ, the God-Man is very Man of very man. Men needed the God-Man, Christ Jesus to represent us. The phrase affirms that the Mediator had to be both Divine and Human in order to represent the interests of the two Parties. Then only person who could bring both man and God together He (Christ) had to be both God-Man.

In his concern Job confessed: “For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgement. Neither is there any daysman (mediator) between us, that might lay his hand upon us both” (Job 9:32-33). The word “Daysman” connotes a “Mediator” and is so translated in the Septuagint by the same word Paul uses in 1Timothy 2:5. Job longs for Someone who understands both God and man and who will draw them together. Ultimately this is what our Lord Jesus Christ does. But Job desires some man in his own time who has “eyes of flesh” and who can sympathise with his human weakness. This longing increases as the Book of Job progresses (Job 9:32-33; 10:4-5, 8-10; 13:21-22; 16:21; 23:3).  Job’s desire of “Daysman” was Christ who placed His hands on both God and man. Christ thus becomes the Mediator (mesités) of the New Covenant ratified by His Shed Blood (Hebrews 8:6; 9:15; 12:24).

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…

Prayer for those in Authority (1 Timothy 2:1-8) (Part 3)

1.4 The Results of the Prayer Ministry

1Timothy 2:2b (KJV) “That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” In fact, it is for our own good that we Pray for “all men and for Kings and those in Authority,” so that we can “lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” The Early Church was subjected to opposition and persecution, so it was wise to Pray for those in Authority.

The Purpose rather than the content is emphasised – “That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life” means that the Nation will achieve the Condition of Peace and Security that enables the Christians to share the Gospel without hindrance. Van Oosterzee notes: “The Apostle Paul does not mean that the church should be influenced, through such petitions, to lead a quiet and peaceable life under authority; but he supposes that God, who guides the hearts of kings as the water brooks (Proverbs 21:1), will, in answer to the prayer of the church, move the hearts of kings, and of all in authority, to leave Christians at rest.” (Van Oosterzee, pg.28).

Apostle Paul believed that the Prayer of the Church makes a definite difference in National Affairs because he believes that Prayer changes things. The two Purposes (“a quiet and peaceable life”) describes the kind of life that will be possible because of Prayer. In this passage are indicated by the conjunction “that” (hina) and “for” (gar). The verb “may lead” (diagómen) refers to the daily lifestyle:

1.4.1 Quiet

Quiet refers to circumstances around us, free from outward disturbance. The adjective “quiet” (êremon), found only here, denote the outward political and social situation. The word connotes the absence of internal or international war, the cessation of internal anarchy, and freedom from persecution.

1.4.2 Peaceable

Peaceable refers to “tranquillity arising from within.” This is especially significant since that was the time of terrible persecution by the Roman Emperor such as Nero. The term “peaceable” (hêsuchion) emphasises that Christians will not need to protest verbally any mistreatment. The same word is used of:

  • Godly women who are to learn in “silence” within the church.
  • Women who have a “quiet” spirit in the home (1Timothy 2:11,12; 1Peter 3:4). 
  • Christians should work at their secular jobs with such “quietness” (2Thessalonians 3:12).
  • The aroused Jewish multitude kept “silence” (Acts 22:2; same word) when the accused Paul began to speak in Hebrew.

This “peaceable” reduces outward pressures and prevent internal distress, which often issues in outbursts of complaint and protest. This type of social environment is conducive to the development of National and Spiritual life. Both “quiet and peaceable” thus describe conditions free from outward harassment and inner fears. “Godliness and Honesty” are the two attributes that denote the character that can best be developed in an atmosphere of external (“quiet”) and internal (“peaceable”) calm:

  • Godliness (eusebeiai) refers to the Godward Character of Reverent and Respectful, dominated by “the Fear of the LORD.” There is no difference between the Sacred and the Secular for the committed Christian. He seeks to glorify God in all aspects of life (1Corinthians 10:31).
  • Honesty (semnotêti) describes the Person Relationship to men, which is honourable, serious, and grave. The word indicates grace and dignity, it denotes an attitude of moral earnestness which is reflected in a dignified and worthy conduct toward men to command their respect.

The concept goes beyond mere honesty, the integrity of person’s actions, to the general character of the person himself. It has special relevance to interpersonal relationships as seen in:

  • Deacons (1Timothy 3:8).
  • Wives of Deacons (1Timothy 3:11).
  • Aged men (Titus 2:2).
  • The Elder (1Timothy 3:4) must manifest such spiritual gravity and decorum.

It is the Latin “gravitas,” and in the 17th century “honesty” meant something like this. It was “seemliness” or “decorum” in behaviour. A Christian bearing and conduct are contained in this word. A person who is “semnos” (and this is the Greek adjective) manifest a proper reserve on all occasions but a reserve which contains the elements of strength and decision. He enjoys good fellowship without playing the fool. He shuns extremes, extravagance, insincerity in manners and conversation.

The benefit of Prayer is a key to such behaviour of “the Fear of the LORD” and honest relationship with fellowmen. The Christian who obeys sincerely the behest to Pray for “those in positions of authority,” will exercise his vote with reason and regard to all, without the loud words and brash utterance which form the climate of violence, and with sympathy for harassed public men. The word “all” is best constructed with both nouns and indicates that both features (“Godliness and Honesty”) are to be fully demonstrated in the Believer. If Believers were always exemplifying such character, the Salvation of Souls would be greatly furthered.

1.5 The Basis of the Prayer Ministry

1Timothy 2:3(KJV) “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Saviour.”

In 1Timothy 2:3-4, Apostle Paul indicates why each Local Church should pray “for all men and for kings and for all those in authority.”  The demonstrative pronoun “this” (touto) points back to the command and the content of the preceding two verses. Such Prayer has two Divinely Approved Qualities:

1.5.1 For this is Good

Taken alone, these words mark the intrinsic excellence of such Praying The word “good” (kalon) is defined as: “It is excellent in its nature and characteristics and is well adapted to its ends” (D. Edmon Hiebert – First Timothy).

  • Van Oosterzee comments: “Every such prayer is good in and for itself; it shows the true Christian spirit which marks the professor of the gospel; it yields us the enjoyment of that privilege named in verse 2” (Van Oosterzee, pg.24).
  • The Berkeley Version suggestively renders this passage: “Such praying is wholesome.” (Gerrit Verkuyla, ed., “The Modern Language Bible, The New Berkeley Version,” Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1946, 4:217).

Prayer of itself is a goodly practice and brings with it many good benefits. The adjective is a key word in the Epistle and is used 18 times (1Timothy 1:8,18; 2:3; 3:1,2,7,13; 4:4,6{twice}; 5:4,10,25; 6:12{twice},13,18,19).

1.5.2 Acceptable in the sight of God

The teaching here reaches much higher than the merely pragmatic. Such Praying is acceptable (epodekton), a word used only twice in the New Testament (1Timothy 2:3; 5:4), before God because it is in accord with His Will for all Mankind. This alone should be sufficient for the Church to be engaged in the four types of Prayer Ministry.

  • Prayer is also pleasing to the Lord Jesus. It pleases the Father when His children Pray as He has commanded them.
  • The Prayer of the Pharisees seeks the praises by men (Matthew 6:5) or to impress other Worshippers (Luke 18:9-14).
  • Christians Pray to please God. This suggests that we must Pray according to God’s Will, because it certainly does not, please the Father when we Pray selfishly (James 4:1-10; 1John 5:14-15).
  • It is often said that the Purpose of Prayer is not to get man’s will done in Heaven, but to get God’s Will done on earth. 

The adjective is based upon the verb (epodechomai) that stresses the idea of warm, joyful reception (Luke 8:40; Acts 2:41; 15:4; 18:27; 24:3; 28:30). Prayer thus is acceptable to God and will be answered by Him. Calvin remarks: “The only genuine rule for right and proper action is to look to God’s good pleasure and to undertake only what He approves.”  Prayer for all men and the Leaderships (Spiritual and Secular) is Good and Acceptable “in the sight of God our Saviour” (enópion tou sótéros hémon theou). There is only one God, and only He can save. Later Paul used this same descriptive phrase in promoting the financial support of widows by Members of her family (1Timothy 5:4). 

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..