Summary: When a church is struggling with false teaching, chaos, and wrath, what’s a leader to do? Get them on their knees together in prayer!
Prayer Life Challenges
1 Timothy 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,
2 for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time.
7 And for this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.
Whenever Christians are in the midst of confusion and quarreling, mark my words: the first thing to go is praying together. Christians in conflict cease to pray together. Try this and see if it isn’t true. The next time you are as mad as a hornet in an argument with someone, see if you can stop in your tracks, bow your head and pray with that person. No, praying is not something we are able to do well together when we are fighting with each other. The first part of the first chapter in first Timothy we looked at revealed a major problem that the church faced, and that was false teachers. The symptoms of the false teaching were pride, fruitless discussion and quarreling. And you can be sure that prayer was on the back burner in this church. Oh, they probably went through the motions when they assembled together. Anyone can do that. I am reminded of the church pictured in Mark Twain’s story of Huckelberry Fin. There was a feud going on between two families, but on Sunday’s both families were there. One family sat on one side of the church and the other family sat on the other side. Prayers were said and pious platitudes were preached, but after church let out, no love was lost between them. And you can guarantee they didn’t get together to pray. So it is here in Ephesus. Paul tells his testimony to Timothy to point out that God can change and save a violent sinner. Paul says, my life is exhibit A for Christ’s patience and saving power for sinners. So there is hope for these quarreling Christians.
In the first part we learned the three goals of good gospel instruction God’s way. All start with Love: coming from pure hearts with good consciences and sincere faith. God’s way is the good way that brings life and peace, love and joy. When the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are missing… if that’s not what the teaching at church is producing, you may just be eating from the wrong tree. The gospel of Jesus Christ produces good fruit. Good lives. Orderly, respectable, beautiful, loving, servant hearted lives. The good news of heaven has power to change us and save us. That’s the key point from what God has shown us thus far in this book.