First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone,for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human,who gave himself a ransom for all —this was attested at the right time.For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. [NRSV]
Paul gives a rather curious footnote in his letter. “I am telling the truth, I am not lying“. It is usually in our experience that if we think someone needs to hear us say these words that there is some question about our vercity, our truthfulness or trustworthiness.
There are two pieces of instruction to which this appears to be reffering:
First, Paul’s instruction to pray for everyone, including kings and high officials.
Secondly, Paul’s ministry of being a messenger and apostle as a teacher of the Gentiles.
Objectively and with humility, it is a simple command to pray for everyone including those who have authority over you and over us all. On the other hand, it is also difficult to carry out with sincerity, to supplicate, intercede and giving thanksgiving for everyone, including those who lead or would choose to lead us.
(1) One Paul is not giving the community of faith the excuse, a pass, to ignore those who oppress, make difficult or misuse their authority, rather it is the community of faith’s role to keep the conversation in the context of God’s grace and God’s working of bringing peace through all people, to all people.
(2) Paul is neither saying the everyone, including those in high offices, are not in need of prayerful help from God and God’s people. Therefore, pray with, pray for and pray into the thanksgiving to which we are called to become.
I challenge to pray for God to be known to our leaders, for our leaders and through our leaders so that God might be known, praised and thanks given to God.
B. Ministry Authority:
Paul appointed: hearld, apostle and teacher.
(In readying how Paul was persicuted, jailed, shipwrecked, run out of town, dismissed by others in the Way, in the church: for his earlier persicustion of Jesus, Paul is claiming athority by appointment from God.)
As Wesleyan Methodist we see God’s preventative, justifying and sanctifying graces at work. As well as an affirmation that some authority is revealed directly in our experience of the Holy Spirit.
God using someone that was the least likely person to reach the Jewish community and certainly not the Gentile community.
I believe this is the connection Paul wants to affirm to Timothy because he is conferring this authority Timothy, to the rest of the church and to you and me gathered here today.
Paul’s reminder to Timothy is also a reminder to each of us and to those who believe and trust some other gods, doctrines or principles.
The truthful and trustworthiness of our authority is under attack:
Externally, When we listen to the civil view of the church’s role it has become one of many voices.
Internally, When we pray only for whom and what we want, rather than for God’s will and work.
Communally & Personally, When we listen to fears and hate rather than prayer we attack truth and trust
The instruction is to remember that you and I are appointed to the same work:
Herald: The messengers, witnesses, and advocates for Christ’s presence in the world.
Apostle: Leader, delegator, and one who shares Christ’s living present in the world.
Teacher: Instructor, one who models the heart of Christ internally and externally, to church and world. for everyone, including the king and other leaders.
Live as people of the Truth of Christ. (Not fighting over what is the principles of truth, rather trusting the truth of Christ to be lived out in how we interact, prayer, prepare and instruct each other.
The challenge to Timothy and to us is one of action. This is where Paul is not lying, not teasing, not suggesting, not holding back!
You and I are the Heralds, Leaders, and Teacher that are called model a life of prayer for this world: teaching, revealing and modeling the grace and power of Christ to save, save us all. Amen.
I know I could lie, but I won’t lie to you
Wherever I go, you’re the ghost in the room
I don’t even try looking for something new
Cause wherever I go, I’ll be looking for you
Some people try but they can’t find the magic
Others get down on their knees and they pray
I come alive when I’m close to the madness
No easy love could ever make me feel the same
Make me feel the same