Summary: It is human nature for us to become closed, introverted, and selfish — even in our prayer lives. God demands that our prayers extend way beyond ourselves to incorporate all sorts of people.
Unlimited Prayer Based Upon Unlimited Atonement
1. One fellow defended himself form criticism, “Some people say I am a snob, but this is not true. Although my butler can be a snob at times.”
2. Does being rich automatically make one a snob? Certainly not. Does being poor mean one is humble? Certainly not. What hurts others so much is the idea of being excluded.
3. According to Forbes.com, “If you thought cliques were a thing of your past—something from your high school years—you thought wrong. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, 43% of workers say their office is populated by cliques—which are tightly knit groups of co-workers who socialize in and outside the office, and often exclude others.”
4. The Bible does teach that there are spiritual dividing lines; leaders have to meet certain criteria, followers of Jesus have to believe certain things, for example.
5. But the Bible teaches we are to love all kinds of people because God loves all kinds of people. This takes effort and we must remind ourselves; it is counter-intuitive.
Main Idea: It is human nature for us to become closed, introverted, and selfish — even in our prayer lives. God demands that our prayers extend way beyond ourselves to incorporate all sorts of people, including enemies, those in distant lands, and political leaders that rub us the wrong way.
I. We Are Encouraged to PRAY for All Sorts of People (1-2)
A. We should participate in the FULL spectrum of prayer (1a)
1. Supplications emphasize prayers for my needs
2. Prayers — general prayer, Lord’s Prayer, psalms, Scripture, being still
3. Intercession means coming before the king on behalf of others
4. Thanksgiving is an important part of prayer Paul emphasizes
B. We should pray for ALL kinds of people (1b)
C We should pray for all types of LEADERS, for example (2a)
1. The time I opened the Indiana Senate in prayer (senators holding their breath) I not only prayed for God’s wisdom, I prayed for their families, their health, their relationships…not just functionaries, but people
2. Probably a midrash on Jeremiah 29:7, “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Pilgrims/strangers/not at home
3. Two implications: we participate in our communities, we respect the office, even if we don’t respect the person in office; Jews sacrificed for emperor
D. We should pray for our STANDING in society (2b)
Christianity was formed with a world hostile to it; Americans/Europeans became acclimated to a culture favoring Christianity; now returning to how things were
1. Peaceful; some people try to tell us to live life disturbed…
4. Dignified: not held in contempt
II. We Pray for All Because God Desires ALL to Be Saved (3-7)
A. We PLEASE God when we pray for folks to come to faith and truth (3-4)
1. Pleasing to God like an acceptable SACRIFICE
2. God desires — but does not DECREE — all people to be saved
B. The truth is that Jesus has provided SALVATION for them (5-7)
Perhaps a midrash on Isaiah 59:16-17 where we see the divinity of the Messiah and his incarnation (putting on armor): “He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him.
“He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.”
1. He is the ONE mediator — no others, not Mary nor Mohammed
2. He gave himself a RANSOM for ALL, not some
2 Peter 2:1, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”
I John 2;2, “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Remember how we discussed that God is not thrifty when it comes to grace?
3. Like Paul, our MISSION was to communicate this universal offer of salvation
4. To some, this seemed so FANTASTIC that Paul had to reassert its truth
C. Have YOU responded to this offer of forgiveness and salvation?
It is human nature for us to become closed, introverted, and selfish — even in our prayer lives. God demands that our prayers extend way beyond ourselves to incorporate all sorts of people, including enemies, those in distant lands, and political leaders that rub us the wrong way.