International Sunday School Lesson
For Week Ending March 6, 2011
Purpose: To explore how true worship of God invites us into the great mystery of faith, revealing both the truth about god and the truth about ourselves
Scripture Text: I Timothy 2:1-6; I Timothy 3:14-16 (NRSV)
I Timothy 2:1-6
(1)First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, (2)for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. (3)This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, (4) who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (5)For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human,(6)who gave himself a ransom for all—this was attested at the right time.
I Timothy 3:14-16
(14) hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, (15)if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. (16)Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great: He was revealed in flesh, vindicated in spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
For the past 13 weeks we have been studying Hope. For the next 13 weeks we will be looking at Worship. The text we will be using for the next several weeks comes from a portion of Paul's Pastoral Epistles. The Pastoral Epistles is a name given to three of Paul's epistles, First and Second Timothy and Titus. The simple explanation for the title is; they were all written to pastor's appointed by Paul to work in the churches he had established while on his missionary journeys.
It was Paul's intention that he would visit these congregations in person, but we can be thankful that was not the case, and instead, he wrote letters of instruction to the assigned pastors, thereby leaving us a transcript, rather, than just hearsay.
Paul's instructions to Timothy contain some important instruction for us to follow today in our congregations. First and foremost was prayer. A funny thing about prayer, while we may think we are sometimes influencing God into changing His mind, more often than not it is our minds and attitudes that are changed by our prayers. If we consistently pray for the leaders of our nation and our church, are we still so prone to constantly criticize?
As you look at verse 4, note that it is God's, “desire for everyone to be saved,” not His edict or command. While by His grace, He has made salvation available to all men, He has not made it universal, in that all men are automatically redeemed, nor are they forced against their will to accept the salvation offered. Paul also gives us an important theological statement, “there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all.” for the last part of this statement, – “this was attested at the right time.” I like the Amplified version of this verse which says, “(6) who gave Himself as a ransom for all [people, a fact that was] attested to at the right and proper time.
Paul continues his instructions to Timothy on how one ought to behave, while a member of God's universal church. Again Paul gives us some theology about the mystery of our faith. I am paraphrasing, but to me he tells Timothy that Jesus was revealed to us in the flesh, and he was proven by the spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed by the world, and was taken up to glory before our eyes. For Paul and hopefully for us, that is all the proof needed.
So how should we prepare ourselves for worship?
(1) We need to come prayed up, and willing to pray for all manner of things, general request, interceding for others, giving thanks.
(2) We need to come to worship at peace with our friends and family, filled with godliness and dignity.
(3) Come expecting results, because, if we have prayed, and if we know it is God's will for everyone be saved, we have every right to expect answers to our prayers, because we are praying for God's will to be done.
If you are not talking to God, how can you know what he wants or what he expects of you? All Relationships, whether with God, a spouse, our children, or our coworkers, require that we communicate to each other.