I Timothy 2 is a preachers land mine!
Remind me to thank the apostle Paul someday.
God uses Paul to press into the church at Ephesus what their stance or conduct should be in the areas of politics, church function and gender-roles. The principles that are laid out in these touchy passages still hold true for the church today that wants to behave as the household of the living God, as a true part of the pillar and buttress of the truth of God (key verse). They become the regulatory principles for the biblical church.
The principles must continue to be true in our churches even if we might not need to make application in exactly the same way Paul does for the church in Ephesus. Caution though– often times we lean hard into application, so much so that we actually soften, change or throw out entirely the biblical principle. Paul’s very instruction to the proper conduct for the church is found in the principles- which cannot be changed without stepping outside of God’s regulatory principles for life as a Biblical church.
In dealing with the principles for godly men in the church Paul, here, gives us a succinct and clear picture. “I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarrelling.” I won’t attempt to capture everything that this means for the men of the local church (that sermon is here) but it is noteworthy to mention:
~ the principle for men in the church is a life marked by a posture of active holy prayer. This captures both the stance of the heart (holy) and the actions of the hands (actively motivated as a response of worship)
~ the ‘check your mirrors’ application for guys it is often with what we spend our time and energy doing that mirrors the condition of our heart. Holy hearts given to seeking God result in holy hands active in worship.
Hearts bent on ego, opinion, self-rightness, a need to be applauded, worshipped or in flexing our status muscles- mirrors itself in the reactions of a heart bent on anger and quarrelling.
We spent quite a bit of time making application for men in the church, the push is that it is in prayer that this battle is fought. It is in prayer that this fight can be won against our own selfishness. It is in a humble posture of acceptance and calling out to God for the work of His Son to transform our hearts, from the need to be right to allowing him to have the rights over our lives, that we find renewed authority. Authority that is an application of Christ’s authority in all the corners of our lives. This is the godly authority that lives out Ephesians 5:25-33 kind of love, as a godly man. This is an authority that can only be applied as we preach a clear gospel to our hearts- in prayer.
Questions and comments
This gets us to the questions and comments that were shared on Sunday after the sermon:
1) What is the reference for “the fight is not against flesh and blood?”
An interesting thought as we navigate these verses- the book of Ephesians was written to the same congregation that Timothy pastored. It is with the book of Ephesians that provides some of the backdrop application for the charge that Paul gave Timothy to act out in the church. Ephesians 6:12 is the direct quote for this passage of realizing that our fight is not primarily against the struggles we often make it. Not against a bad government, or a dysfunctional church, or a person in our lives. The real fight is a spiritual fight- a fight behind the fight. A fight that can only be fought in seeking, asking, knocking, calling, submitting to the spiritual work of God in our lives. A fight that is best fought in a place of prayer. It’s the same language that Paul uses in I Timothy 1:18 as he encourages Timothy to take up the charge of fighting the spiritual fight for the church.
2)What does a woman do when she wants to submit to the authority that is in her life (husband or father), but he is being selfish and not fulfilling his role?
Great question and comment. The reality is there are many men who live selfish and are demonstrating they are not living out a godly expression of spiritual authority. When men refuse to live out of a true spiritual authority exercised in prayer first and gospel love second all those who are under the influence of this authority suffer, in various degrees.
There is no one simple answer to this question. This link might help with some of the hard work of building a more stable relationship with the hope that a gospel-centered approach will break through and bring repentance where needed, and redemption where possible. Stuck in a Relationship
Hoping for this, but there are times when we need some very direct outside help. If you are someone who is getting hit, abused or being manipulated in ways that are causing deep harm – this is something you cannot overcome by yourself. We do church in community so that you’ll have a place to get help. Elders are to be godly men who are able to speak into the authority of others in the church. You need to talk to your Pastor- today! He may need to call in other authorities to help bring to bear the weight of repentance and help that an abusing man needs to get in his life in order to stop hurting others to this degree. Call your pastor today! Press him to get help lined up for your situation right away. [If its hard for you to talk to or open up to your pastor- tell someone you feel will listen and who can go with you or on your behalf to the pastor/elder].
If he doesn’t seem to be moving on this- you need to call your mental health crisis help line. We have dealt with ours in Halifax, N.S. They are courteous and able to get you the kind of contacts/help you might need. Halifax Crisis help line
“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarrelling.” – MEN- LET’S PRAY FOR OUR CHURCHES!