1 Timothy 2:1-4 I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
I will tell a story and use it to illustrate one of the great themes of the New Testament. Then I’ll talk about our response to this Truth.
Now listen to these verses, and see how it's really true that we are really and freely justified in God's sight.
Romans 5: 1 therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 3: 24 being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus
Romans 3: 26 …that He (God) might be just, and the justifier of him who believes in Jesus.
Romans 4: 5 … the one who does not work (for it), but believes in God who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted to him as righteousness. The word for justify and the word for righteousness has the same Greek root.
But what about the law of the land?
Romans 3:20 therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Acts 13:39 and by him (Jesus) everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses
Galatians 3:24 the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to God, that we might be justified by faith.
So, our man Bert, realised that the law demanded more of him than he could give, and it led him to take hold of the offer of the pardon.
Galatians 3:11-13 but that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God it is evident, for the just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith but the man who does them will live in them. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us...
1 Corinthians 6:11 but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God.
Again our man had to mention the son’s name in order to be justified.
Bert. How is he going to live in this place? What will happen if his old friends come back and say let's go and steal some more money? What about if his old boss comes back and says you still owe me money? If he's got any sense he will live in appreciation of what the son has done for him, and refer the accuser on to Him!!
Ladies’ group picture of a little girl who had been chosen to be a bridesmaid for an important wedding. We don't defeat temptation by focusing on it and trying to resist it, we defeat it by looking to Jesus. Like walking in a straight line.
So what then is our response to this message of justification through what Jesus Christ has accomplished at the cross?
Well of course the first thing is to receive it as Bert did! Next it would be to take the message to people who don't know it. Everyone needs a choice! Let’s imagine Bert going to Fred to tell him about his experience.
1 Timothy 2: 4 God wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
And that right there is why I am using this story to talk on prayer. The reason why we are still on the earth and Jesus has not come back yet to take us into heaven, is that he wants all men to be saved.
Romans 10: 14 how will people hear if nobody tells them? So how do we pray for people who don't know this amazing message of God’s grace and love for the world? For me there are three ways we can be involved in someone else’s salvation:
- We live the Christian life in such a way that people are attracted to Christ Jesus living in us.
- we share the message with those who are interested, and if possible, with those who are not!
- we ask the Holy Spirit to confirm the message supernaturally.
And with my son in law this is exactly what happened. He came from a Buddhist background and met some Christians. He was impressed with their lifestyle and asked them what was different about them. They told him the message that God loved him and Jesus had died for him. He then had a dream about Jesus which convinced him to believe; and he is still a strong believer today and spreading the message in his own nation.
We already know that God wants all men to be saved, 1 Timothy 2: 4, and 1 John 5:14 tells us that if we ask anything that the Father wants he will hear us, so we are on safe ground praying for people to be saved!
- Pray for your own lifestyle to reflect the light of Jesus. The best way I know is to ask daily for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit, His fruit and gifts:
Galatians 5:22-23 The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace. longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
1 Corinthians 12:8-11. To one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
As we read these, you’ll see that they portray the character and ministry of Jesus. In Luke 11:13 Jesus talks about how willing the Father is to give the Holy Spirit to those who ASK!!
- Regarding sharing the message:
Matthew 9:38 Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out the labourers around the world. As Asia said a few weeks ago, this could be you going to your neighbour or helping with church outreach.
- Pray for boldness and open doors. Use Colossians 4:2-6 like this….
- Pray for the longsuffering we need to preach the message at every opportunity.
2 Timothy 4:2. Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Longsuffering is a fruit of the Spirit of course!
- The disciples needed the supernatural, and so do we.
Acts 1:8 says that we receive power to be Jesus’s witnesses when we receive the Holy Spirit, so keep being filled (Ephesians 5:18)
Acts 4:29-31 the disciples ask that the Lord will give them boldness to speak His word by stretching out his hand and performing miracles and healings in the name of Jesus
- And they got it!
Mark 16:20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the Word with the accompanying signs.
We have an amazing message to receive for ourselves, and to take to those close to us and further afield. Prayer is the key. Prayer is always the key!!