Paul, writing to his apprentice, Timothy, is helping Timothy on his focus of being a pastor. And part of Timothy's training is about thanks and prayer. In 1st Timothy 2:1-2:
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.
Thanks and Prayer:
Paul starts Timothy by telling him to give thanks for all people. This includes all who may be hostile to the Church and the message of Jesus. For through prayer and conversation, those who are hostile to Jesus may become believers in Jesus. You never know what God will do through our faith, prayer, and witness.
Paul is also instructing Timothy to pray and gives thanks for the leaders of empires, countries, communities, and the like. Paul instructs Timothy to give thanks for and pray for those who may be "hostile" to God and the Church that Timothy is leading.
The World Back Then:
In their time, the world, the people, and the government were hostile to the Church. Believers were being tortured and killed because they believed in Jesus, by whose life, death, resurrection, and ascension they were saved. In some places and some times, believers in Jesus were vilified because others didn't believe and come to know the truth of Jesus.
And why is Paul concerned about those who are hostile to the way of the Church? So that the Church may live in peace and joy.
Our World Today:
So not only is Paul teaching Timothy, as a pastor in training, to pray and give thanks for those who are openly against him, Paul is saying the same thing to us.
So we, as believers who live in an environment of distrust of our message, or conflict with our message, or even open hostility to our message of life with Jesus, pray for those who are against us. We pray for all people so that they will be open to our life of grace with Jesus.
Yes, it is "natural" for us to experience fear, anger, and even hostility to those who are hostile to us. We hate that our message of salvation is being twisted. We hate that people's minds and hearts are so closed off to the simplicity of faith. We want all people, even those who are against us, to come to the knowledge of the truth of Jesus and His life for us.
Pray and Give Thanks:
So we pray for them. We give thanks for those in authority. Because I cannot stay afraid and angry and hostile while I'm praying and thanking. It doesn't happen. And I venture a guess it is the same way with you when you pray and give thanks.
Dear God and Father, I give thanks to You for all the blessings that you give. You gave life to people so that they will come to know You as the source of life and hope. I pray for them that You, even through me, bring Your saving grace from Jesus to them. I pray and gives thanks to those in authority. I pray and give thanks for the President, Vice President and his cabinet and advisors. I pray that they are open to Your directing and leading. I pray for the House of Representatives and the Senate. I pray and give thanks for them and their service to our country. I pray that they work together for peace and quiet life in godliness and dignity. I pray and give thanks for our Governor, Representatives and Senators here in Texas as well as every state in our Union. Bless them and guide them. I pray for our County Commissioners that their work is for the betterment of the people of Walker County. I pray for our Mayor, City Manager, Council members, and all of Huntsvilles employees in leading Huntsville in being a great place to live and express our faith in Jesus. We pray all of this in His, name, Amen
An Unassuming Throne:
Have you ever watched, "The King's Speech?" It is a great movie about Queen Elizabeth II's father. When Bertie, as his family called him, when about to be crowned King of the British empire at Westminster Abbey, he sat in a rather unassuming chair. Yet that was the throne on which he was to be crowned. The man who was to be King, praised and glorified by the people, sat in "a chair."
It didn't look like much. Yet, as Bertie described it, the chair had a ton of history of kings crowned while sitting on it.
So what's the point?
Another Unassuming Throne:
The point is, to be King, you don't need an opulent throne with gold and silver and velvet.
That wasn't Jesus' throne. Jesus' throne was a cross. Here's the story of a great King and His throne.
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at Him, [Jesus] saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you fear God, sin you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." And he said, "Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." And He said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:39-43)
The Throne of Cursing:
Jesus' only throne on earth was a "throne of cursing." For God's Word says that anyone who dies on a tree is cursed. And Jesus took upon Himself the curse of sin. Jesus took the curse of our sin upon Himself. Jesus died to give us life.
The Throne of Grace:
And God the Father turned it into the Throne of Grace. It is the place where Jesus pronounced forgiveness to the thief. And from it Jesus pronounces forgiveness of our sins as well.
From the Throne of Grace we receive God's love and mercy. We, who should be cursed, not Jesus, destined to eternity with Satan because we sin by our own most grievous fault, received the same pardon that the thief did. We hear the same words of grace and love, "today you will be will me in paradise."
And We Are in Paradise:
We are "in paradise" now because of Jesus' great love for us. We have been given a brand new life freed from sin, death, and the influence of Satan. We are free to life for Him, because of Jesus and His throne. We bend the knee of our will and are subject to His will of grace for us.
And one day, we will be with Jesus as He sits upon the throne of the King of kings and Lord of lords in heaven. We will bow the knee and show Him all the glory that He is due.
So Now What?
Now we live for the King. He sat on His throne of Cursing and Grace here on earth. He sits on His Throne of the King in heaven.
Let us live for the King.
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Are You Tired of it All?
Are you tired of all the bickering, divisiveness, and arguing that is going on? Are you asking the question, "Why can't we all just get along?" I am.
I am tired of it all. This person hates that person. And with Social Media fueling the fire and TV news networks going on and on about events and opinions of events and people, it is getting ridiculous.
Then there is the question above all questions, especially in the minds of many Christians.
Is this the end?
Before we even try to answer that question, let's hear from Jesus on the subject of the end from Luke 21.
Then He [Jesus] said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all this they [the leaders of the nation of Israel and the world] will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up the the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness." (verses 10-13)
Jesus spoke these words to His disciples nearly 2000 years ago. And guess what? Nothing has changed.
The World is in Turmoil:
We see by means of many outlets the worst of the worst. We see disasters happening that kill hundreds if not thousands. We see decisions made by people that affect thousands of lives, some for the good, some for the bad. We are seeing, and hearing, angry people feeling that they are not being treated fairly. They are looking for equality on BOTH sides of the issues. And the interesting thing about what we see is, we see it instantaneously.
That leads us back to one of the original questions today. Why can't we just get along? I can tell you why in one word.
Sin manifests itself in many ways. Mostly, I see it manifesting in the age old issue. "I want what I want and I don't care about any one or any thing else." The human race, because we are conceived into sin does not know how to live out "Love you neighbor as yourself."
This is why the world NEEDS Jesus. They need Jesus and His perfect life in obedience to the will of God the Father. Jesus, God the Son, was the obedience that we cannot do. Jesus, both God and man at the same time in the same person, walked right to a cross to be cursed by the Father because of Jesus carried OUR SINS to that cross. Jesus' sacrifice of His body broken and blood shed washed us all our sins away. Then, because Jesus rose from death, we have the promise of a new life free from sin and self.
We are now free to bear witness, or to testify, to the reality of Jesus and what He did for all of us.
We have the opportunity to bring the reality of Jesus to the world. Will it be easy? No. Will it be worth it? Absolutely. WE, the Church, cannot stand on the sidelines and watch the world fall apart. God is giving to us means and opportunity to live and share His life for all people.
Do you have a question or two? Please respond and let's get a dialogue going.
Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.