01/30/2011 First of ALL!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Tuesday, February 1, 2011 Under: Sermon

Text: 1 Timothy 2:1-8 (HCSB) 1 First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2 for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, a man, Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself—a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a herald, an apostle (I am telling the truth; I am not lying), and a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument.

“Pray without ceasing" 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Intro: The first duty of the church is basic: it is the duty of prayer. This is the Guideline, standard operating procedure.

“First of all" indicates that prayer is most important in the public worship of the church. It is sad to see how prayer has lost importance in many churches. "If I announce a banquet," a pastor said, "people will come out of the woodwork to attend. But if I announce a prayer meeting, I'm lucky if the ushers show up!" Not only have the special meetings for prayer lost stature in most local churches, but even prayer in the public services is greatly minimized. Many pastors spend more time on the announcements than they do in prayer! And we wonder why there are problems!

I want to be problem free!

Prayer: Greek – Proseuchē

First of All we must Pray:

1. Pray for all men: v.1 “First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone.”

"First of all" stresses just how important prayer is. "First of all"—above all else, of supreme importance—put prayer first. "First of all"—before all else—pray for all men.

Let’s keep it simple pray for everyone!

There are 4 elements of powerful prayer:

Element #1 Supplications—asking for one’s own needs This word means asking God for something for yourself. Although this is often the sum total of our prayers, it should be only a part. There is nothing wrong with asking God for particular needs. There are at least two supplications for personal needs in the Lord's Prayer. Jesus said we should pray for daily bread and for deliverance from evil. The Bible commands us to Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6 (KJV)

Asking God to meet our needs is an important element of powerful prayer. However, we must be careful not to confuse needs with greeds, or the selfish with the spiritual.

“You ask and don’t receive because you ask wrongly, so that you may spend it on your desires for pleasure.” James 4:3 (HCSB)

Element #2 Prayers—worship and adoration This refers to the special times of prayer that we set aside for devotion and worship. We are to have set times for prayer, times that we set aside to worship God and when we pray for all men.

Element # 3 Intercessions—asking for another’s needs This refers to bold praying; to standing before God in behalf of another person. Christ is our Intercessor, the One who stands between God and us in our behalf. But we are to intercede for men, to carry their names and lives before God and to boldly pray for them, expecting God to hear and answer—all in the name of Christ. We are to intercede for all men—to stand in the gap between them and God, boldly praying and asking God to be merciful and gracious in salvation and in deliverance.

Element #4 Thanksgiving—appreciation for past grace and faith for future grace. This means that we thank God for hearing and answering—thank Him for what He has done and is going to do for all men.

"Much prayer, much power! No prayer, no power!"

Next we must Pray:

2. Pray for Civil Authorities
: v.2 “for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”

Pray for civil authorities, for kings and for all who are in authority. No matter how good or how bad they are, pray for them. No matter how moral or immoral they are, pray for them. No matter how just or unjust they are, pray for them.

Next we must Pray:

3. Pray for all men to be Saved: v.3-7 “This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, a man, Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself—a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a herald, an apostle (I am telling the truth; I am not lying), and a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”

3 M’s: This is the Mission
, God wants everyone to be saved! Jesus Christ is the Mediator and we are to be the Messenger!

There are four basic principles that must be followed in any powerful prayer. These foundational truths go against the grain of not only Paul's polytheistic culture, but ours as well.

Principle #1: There is one God

Principle #2: There is one mediator between God and us. This means there is only one way to pray to the one God and have our prayers answered—through Jesus Christ.

Principle #3: Our sin debt has been paid. Jesus gave himself a ransom for all. The word ransom refers to the price paid to free a slave. Jesus paid the price not only to free us from our sin, but also for our right to approach a holy God in prayer.

Principle #4: Don't get "hung up" on posture in prayer. To put power into your prayers, you must include the elements of prayer, be inclusive in our prayers, and follow the principles of prayer. Which of these have been most neglected in your prayer life, and what will you do today to improve?

Finally we must Pray:

4. Pray Everywhere and pray in the right spirit
: v.8 Why should we pray? “So that we can live in Peace and quietness!”

There is a lot of disagreement about posture in prayer. One day three pastors—a Methodist, a Baptist, and an Assembly of God—were discussing this issue. The Methodist said, "I think the only correct posture is with hands folded beneath your chin." The Baptist said, "I disagree. I think the best posture is on your knees." The Assembly of God pastor said, "I think the best posture is with your hands outstretched toward heaven." A telephone repairman who was working in the building overheard the debate and said, "The most effective posture for me is dangling upside down from the top of a telephone pole." Paul assumes his readers will pray with uplifted hands because that was typical in his day. However, his concern is not posture but the attitude of the heart, which means praying without wrath and doubting. The word doubting comes from a Greek word for "disputing." There can be no hostility, resentment, or bitterness in our hearts. Therefore, when we pray we need to remember what David tells Solomon.

“As for you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands the intention of every thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.” 1 Chronicles 28:9 (HCSB)

Pray everywhere and pray in the right spirit. A person should never stop praying. He should be praying all day long as he walks throughout the day. He should develop an unbroken communion and fellowship with the Lord, praying for all men—for both the ruler and the citizen, the high and the low, the lost and the saved—all over the world.

Pray without doubting. There is no need to pray if we do not think God is going to hear us. If we ask Him doubting, we are not trusting His presence and power to meet our need. We are actually denying God's care and power.

EVIL ISN'T GOD'S FAULT

A certain preacher and an atheistic barber were walking through city slums.
The barber said, "This is why I can't believe in your God of love. If he was as kind as you say, he wouldn't permit all this poverty, disease, and squalor. He wouldn't allow these poor street people to get addicted. No, I cannot believe in a God who permits these things."
The minister was silent until they met a man who was especially unkempt. His hair was hanging down his neck, and he had a half-inch of stubble on his face.
The preacher said to his friend: "You can't be a good barber, or you wouldn't permit a man like this to continue living here without a haircut and a shave."
Indignant, the barber answered: "Why blame me for that man's condition? He has never come in my shop. If he had, I could've fixed him up and made him look like a gentleman!"
The preacher said, "Then don't blame God for allowing people to continue in their evil ways. He invites them to come and be saved."

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