Skip to comments."Pray for Those in Authority: This Is Good and Pleasing" (Sermon on 1 Timothy 2:1-7)
Posted on 09/19/2012 4:09:40 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson
Pray for Those in Authority: This Is Good and Pleasing (1 Timothy 2:1-7)
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the reading today from 1 Timothy 2, St. Paul urges us to pray for kings and those who are in authority. He says this is good and is pleasing to God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. But what is the connection between the two, between praying for governmental authorities and this being pleasing to God, who wants all people to be saved? At first glance, there may not seem to be a connection. But there is.
You know, at the time Paul was writing this, the Roman Empire was the great power in the world. The Caesars--Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero--they were ruling the world, and they were ruling it with an iron fist. Caesar was no friend of Christianity. Indeed, Paul himself would be beheaded by Nero just a couple years after he writes this letter. Nero would even use Christians as human torches to light his garden. And yet Paul says to pray for men like Nero, for kings and all who are in high positions. And that this pleases God.
Whats the point? Well, for one thing, we pray for these civil rulers that they would not persecute the church. That would be a good thing. That would be pleasing to God. Oh, we endure persecution if we must--and persecution will happen--but we pray that it would not. It is a good thing when the government does not persecute the church, and when the government does its job and stops those who would persecute Christians.
You see, the reason God has instituted government in the world, civil authority, is to keep order in the world. As Paul writes in Romans 13, the governing official is Gods servant--whether he realizes it or not. He is Gods servant to maintain order and justice for the people God has entrusted to his care. The government official is not there to spread the gospel--thats what the church and her ministers and her people are to do. But the government ought to ensure the conditions so that people can live peaceably and go about their business and fulfill their various vocations in life.
And that is how good government can assist in the spread of the gospel: not directly, but in guaranteeing the peace and the freedom and the safety we need, for us Christians to be about the preaching and teaching of the saving gospel of Christ. This is why Paul can say of our praying for those in authority: This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Now what is that saving truth? Paul cant help but go on to tell us: For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. There it is! This is the gospel! This is the one and only message that saves! It is the good news of Christ Jesus, the one mediator, the one go-between, who establishes peace between God and man.
You see, we were on the outs with God. Our sins had separated us from our Creator. Every one of us--you and I and all the people who have ever lived--each of us has broken Gods law and come under his righteous judgment. On our own, we all would come under condemnation and the sentence of death.
But then Christ came. God is merciful. Christ came, the very Son of God, come in the flesh, true God and true man, sent to reconcile us back to God, to remove the barrier of our sin and to atone for it. This Christ did by his death on the cross. Think of Christ hanging there on that cross, suspended between heaven and earth, dying there in your place, for your sins. He is the mediator, the man in the middle, the one who makes peace in his body on the cross. Now risen and ascended into heaven, this same God-man Savior, Jesus Christ, now ever lives to intercede on our behalf. His holy blood pleads for us before the throne of grace.
Isnt this wonderful good news? It sure is! And God wants everyone to hear it. Thats why this radio station is here, The Messenger of Good News. Thats why the church and her ministers and missionaries are here, to proclaim the good news to one and all, both far and near. Thats why you are here, too, dear Christian, to testify to Christ your Savior as you have opportunity.
And so that is why we pray for kings and those who are in authority. Their job is to help us do our job. They provide peace and order in the world, so that we can carry out the mission of the church, namely, to spread the saving gospel of Christ. This is good and pleasing, so let us do just that, both the praying and the preaching.
And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep you hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Let us pray, therefore, for those in authority: Eternal Lord, ruler of all, graciously regard those who have been set in positions of authority among us that, guided by Your Spirit, they may be high in purpose, wise in counsel, firm in good resolution, and unwavering in duty, that under them we may be governed quietly and peaceably; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
This was the scripture that overcame a decade of restraint from sermons on Romans 13 given by the Quakers to continue urging the Colonists to bow and supplicate to the Crown of England.
After which when this scripture was applied to the station the Colonists found themselves, the rallying cry for Independence was 'No king but Jesus!" and the fires of liberty and independence rose to the point of resistance to tyranny to the dismay of Parliament and the Crown - who ultimately sought to force the Colonies back into the Church of England and those stamp out the entire notion of independence and liberty from the Crown.
During a contentious election year we would do well to turn at least a tithe of our rhetoric heavenward.
Far too many Christians, possibly including you, in these United States use the admonition “pray for those in authority” to pray for ENEMIES of our land who have intentionally acquired forms of power, instead of actually following the Bible and praying for those legitimately in authority.
Let’s review Clint Eastwood’s recent comment as a simple means of making it clear who are the authorities who should be prayed for:
Regarding government employees and politicians: “These people are EMPLOYEES of ours...”
So I am going to paste your suggested prayer below, and it is a nice one if prayed for a true authority, so I will pray it for WE THE PEOPLE. But I will not be praying it for those you intended it for. I only pray for government employees like Mr. Obama in the same way that I would for any EMPLOYEE, and NOT for them as authorities, because they are NOT authorities. They are NOT authorities: they are only EMPLOYEES limited in so many ways by WE THE PEOPLE, and Christians have GOT to start realizing that, and fighting like “the strong man” whose house has been invaded! Your post does not help matters at all and will cause some Christians who should be leading to sin with passivity.
The fact is, that powers derives from US. WE THE PEOPLE are the board of directors, and it is OUR responsibility to run this Free Republic.
So pray for WE THE PEOPLE, and do NOT blindly follow those employees (like Mr. Obama) who (unfortunately with malicious intent) illegally and unconstitutionally and immorally behave as though they have authority, when they do not — and they defile our land and our exceptional Free Republic, which was a gift from God.
I “butt heads” with fellow Christians on this issue all the time trying to make them realize that THEY are being SINFUL MASTERS, and are making “little ones” they are teaching FAIL if they abdicate their own directive to be members of the board of directors of this land.
It is sinful for leaders to advocate “submitting” to false authority as a means of avoiding their own responsibilities. Sometimes leaders are REQUIRED to FIGHT for their sheep, and the fight may be against criminal employees!
So I will pray your prayer, but the object of my prayer may not be who you think — it is WE THE PEOPLE:
“Let us pray, therefore, for those in authority [us!]:
‘Eternal Lord, ruler of all, graciously regard those who have been set in positions of authority among us [us!] that, guided by Your Spirit, they [ we!] may be high in purpose, wise in counsel, firm in good resolution, and unwavering in duty, that under them [ us!] we may be governed [govern ourselves!] quietly and peaceably; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.’
So if you want to pray for employees like Mr. Obama, feel free to do so, but don’t mislead us about his authority.
See above. This is a rare (from me) ping only in case you want to propagate it.
So many Christians are too passive, and will put up with practically anything that happens in government (and even pray for it!) by not properly applying scripture. Many fail to recognize that they themselves are the authority and they need to be praying for themselves!
It can be a big issue because we need everyone on our Board of Directors of these United States working to make things right, even those Christians who were passive in permitting the hiring of despotic employees, who they then pray for. I would like some to take a different attitude.
I was gonna say that the Lord knows the truth about me and how hard it is for to do much of any praying for Obama. I do pray for him to be saved; but not that he will continue in that office. The Lord knows the truth about Obama, too. I’m praying according to a passage in the Psalms that asks for his days in office to be few and that another take his office. - Back then, Kings were in authority, and they were to pray for them TO BE SAVED. Of course, not all kings were good kings either . . . Thanks for your insights and thoughts on this.
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