This message was presented on January 19, 2014 as part of the series on 1 Timothy.
In 1988, I planted a church in Minneapolis, Minnesota called Heritage Bible Church. Our average age was 35. After 15 months, there was an opportunity to merge with an older congregation, whose average age was 65. My young church didn’t like the idea at first. The older church was afraid the young people would take over their church building. I was the mediator. How could I help the young people see the benefit of this merger and the older people see that they would continue to have a strong say. The younger people needed to see the blessing of having older people in the church. The older people needed to see the blessing of younger people and that they themselves were dying as a church. As mediator, I had to die to myself to bring these groups of misfits together of whom I was the chief misfit. How do you mediate? Have you ever tried to bring two people together? Have you ever tried to restore a relationship? We left off teaching through 1 Timothy before our Advent series in December.
1) Jesus wants all men to be one 2:3-4
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. (1 Tim. 2:1-2)
What is the natural or literal reading of the phrases “all”? Is it referring to your friends? Or referring to Christians? Paul then proceeds,
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior (1 Tim. 2:3)
There are two words for “good” in the original language. This one means “good of intrinsic value.” In other words, it is good, because of the kind of prayer it is – it leads to “quiet and peace to worship the Lord.” Do you know there are prayers that are not good? David wrote in Psalm 66:18,
18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear. (Ps. 66:18 NKJ)
We create problems, because we are people, who have sin natures. We too often clash with others. If I have some deep seated anger and resentment toward a person and I pray, “Lord, get this person out of my life!” God will not hear.
The good prayer is acceptable to God, or literally “before God.” We pray for others to bring them before God our Savior, who is Jesus. This is very significant, because Caesar had been given the title soter, which means “savior” or “deliverer.” He had delivered peace to Rome. He provided those under Roman power peace and order, prosperity and protection.
In contrast to unacceptable prayer, God desires good and acceptable prayer, which is according to His will
14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. (1 Jn. 5:14-15 NKJ)
What is God’s will? Notice what Paul wrote in verse four.
4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 2:4)
Jesus desires all to be saved. What does that mean? What did the “all men” mean in verse one? Just Christians? What did “all who are in authority” mean in verse two? Let’s note 1 Tim. 4:10,
10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. (1 Tim. 4:10 NKJ)
Man is a free moral agent. God doesn’t force his will. It is clear from this passage, Jesus is the Savior of all men, that is He died on the cross for their sins. Those who believe experience that relationship of Jesus as Savior. Those who do not believe, will not experience Jesus as Savior, but He is still the Savior of all men. The Scriptures declare it. But does that mean God doesn’t get what He desires? Turn to Luke 13,
34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! 35 “See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, `Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!'” (Luke 13:34-35 NKJ)
Jesus wanted them to come, but they, by their own free will, refused. God is still sovereign. It shows that He allows people to reject His blessing and presence, just like He continues to allow me to live each day when I sin against Him. God does not desire that any should perish (2 Pet. 3:9), but He allows it because He has a higher purpose in His plan that is addressed in Spiritual Warfare. Will you choose to accept Him as your Savior?
Paul wrote to Timothy, who was probably dealing with a church that was narrow-minded, hard-hearted and self-focused in many ways. One of our church fathers, Chrysostom wrote, “Since He desires that all should be saved, do you desire it? And if you desire it, pray for it. For prayer is the instrument of effecting such things.” [International Critical Commentary]
NOTE this: Paul didn’t say, “He wishes to save all,” which would be in the active voice, for then he would have saved all. Instead, the text says, “…who desires all men to be saved,” and the verb “saved” is in the passive voice, which means man could receive salvation, if he believes. Paul, and Jesus, leave the responsibility on man’s volition to choose God’s gift of salvation.
Finally, Paul noted, “AND to come [which is active voice] to the knowledge [epignosis] of the truth. They will come and Jesus will ensure that happens, because every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord! Why doesn’t salvation happen? Salvation does not come to all men, because they are not willing. Yet, they will come to the full knowledge of the truth. Jesus allows people to choose against His will. So what should you do?
2) Lead people to Jesus for oneness 2:5-6
5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5)
Let’s notice three things. First, God is one. Moses declared to Isreal,
4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! (Deut. 6:4 NKJ)
We only have to know one God, not like the 300 million gods in India! I love what Isaiah said,
18 For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the LORD, and there is no other. (Is. 45:18 NKJ)
22 “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. (Is. 45:22 NKJ)
9 Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, (Is. 46:9 NKJ)
There is an enemy Satan, but he is limited to what God allows,
12 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:12 NKJ)
Secondly, Paul then describes “the Man Christ Jesus.” The name Christ means He is anointed by God and commissioned from heaven. He was anointed to deliver us from ourselves, from sin.
Thirdly, He is Mediator between God and man. A mediator acts as an umpire. He occupies the middle place. He establishes a relationship between two entities antagonistic to each other. That’s what Jesus did,
11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. (Heb 9:11-15 NKJ)
Jesus was Mediator for redemption! In Acts, Peter said,
12 “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NKJ)
And Jesus said,
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6 NKJ)
There is only one way to heaven and Jesus is that one way! Paul added what Jesus did for us as a model of what we should do for others,
6who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time (1 Tim. 2:6)
Jesus gave Himself a “ransom,” which is something given in exchange for another, the price of redemption. Jesus volunteered as the sacrifice. I love what Peter said,
18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1 Pet. 1:18-19 NKJ)
There is a three-letter preposition “for” that is absolutely significant! It is the word “huper,” which is translated, “for” or “on behalf of” or “in substitution for.” Jesus went to the cross in your place. He took your place on the cross. You couldn’t go for yourself, because you have sin in your life, so He went in your place! [cf. 1 Tim. 2:1,2; 2 Cor. 5:14,15]
And He will be testified, or declared in proper, due time. Did you know that on the day Jesus died, it wasn’t well known? But the disciples turned the world upside down. Not all believed, but many did. Many rejected the message of hope, even as they do today. Why doesn’t God do more? He does, He sent you! One person said, “God may wait, but He’s never late.”
God did the work through Jesus, who directs us to pray that God will do His work of convicting in men as we declare His convicting work to men!
3) Speak the truth in Jesus for oneness 2:7
7 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle– I am speaking the truth in Christand not lying– a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. (1 Tim. 2:1-7 NKJ)
Paul knew his purpose, because God literally, “ put him into place.” [tithemi] He also knew he was a preacher or “herald,” which is the purpose of the message. He also knew he was an Apostle, which means he had authority from God . And finally Paul saw himself as a “teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” And we applaud Paul for understanding that!
But do we recognize that all of those are our appointments? John wrote,
20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. (1 John 2:20 NKJ)
You are anointed and you know all that you need to know to herald the saving message of Jesus! In fact, you are a teacher of the Gentiles, which means all the nations, as Jesus commanded,
19 “Go thereforeand make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matt. 28:19-20 NKJ)
That is your calling as much as Paul’s. In fact at this time of the year, we take the roses from the previous year and place them at the foot of the cross. Each of those roses is a symbol of God using someone in our church to lead someone to a saving knowledge of Jesus. That leaves the vase open to be filled in this next year. Friends, Jesus wants all men to be one,
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 2:3-4)
Are you helping the process?
Jesus wants you to mediate all men to Him! 2 Cor. 5:18-20
18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. (2 Cor. 5:18-20 NKJ)
- It is incomprehensible what God did to Jesus for you and me! Live the gospel to both unbelievers and believers. It sets both free from themselves.
- Die to your desires that you might bring others to God, for it provides a bridge for people to reach God.
- Your heart in God’s hands will determine how you mediate between God and people. Do you have a global picture to reach local people? Do you empathize with where people are in life? In brokenness and humility before our God and Savior, who will you tell about Jesus, that they might have the opportunity to have the blessing you have? God has more than enough blessing for us to share with others!
Message Based Discussion Questions
1) Have you ever had to act as a go-between with two people you know? What was it like?
2) Is it possible to pray in a way that wouldn’t please God (cf. Jam. 4:1-10; 1 John 5:14-15)? _____________ How should you pray in order to please God?
3) Jesus is the Mediator between God and man. How would you explain that concept to a new Christian? Why is the concept of “mediator” important?
4) Paul had a ministry to the Gentiles. Did he not minister to Jews (Rom. 1:16)? _______________ What were the various expressions he used of himself and how can we better understand his perspective about himself (Rom. 11:13; 15:16; Eph. 3:1; 1 Tim. 2:7)
Making application of the message to life:
5) How can you develop a “heart of God” to pray for the salvation of people around you?
6) What is God’s part and our part in the salvation and sanctification process?
7) What would God desire that you do in order to see His work more evident?
Read Is. 50:4 for your encouragement.
Doctrine of the Hypostatic Union
1) Definition- At the Virgin Birth of Christ, deity and humanity were inseparably united without mixture or loss of identity, without loss or transfer of properties or attributes- the union being personal and eternal. Jesus Christ is the unique person of the universe. He is fully God and true humanity in one person forever.
2) Nomenclature: hupostasis meaning stand under, take a thing upon oneself, Heb. 1:3 cf. Jn. 1:1-14; Rom. 1:2-5; 9:5; Phil. 2:5-11; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 2:14.
3) The true doctrine of Kenosis (emptying): Christ voluntarily restricted the independent use of divine attributes Phil. 2:5-8.
4) The false doctrine of Kenosis states that Christ laid aside His divine attributes of deity and was merely man.
5) Results of the Hypostatic Union.
- There is no loss of each nature. He continues to be the same essence as the Father. There was no loss of any attribute of deity.
- The essence of humanity is added without change Heb. 13:8.
- The joining is not a mixing. He is not a deified man nor a humanized God. He is the God- man.
- He was able to die an efficacious death (equal with both parties) Phil. 2:8.
- He was able to redeem man Gal. 3:13; 4:4,5.
6) Jesus Christ exercised divine attributes only under the ministry of God the Holy Spirit Matt. 4:1; Rom. 1:4; 1 Tim. 3:16; Luke 4:1,14, 18; 5:17, 6:19; 8:46; Acts 10:38; Heb. 9:14.
7) The importance of humanity:
- He had to be equal with man Heb. 2:17-18; 4:14-16.
- It was necessary for His substitution for man 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Cor. 5:21.
- To be the Savior Phil. 2:7-8; Heb. 2:14-15.
- To be the Mediator 1 Tim. 2:5-6.
- To be the High priest, who represents man before God Heb. 7:26-27; 10:10-14.
- To be the Son of David 2 Sam. 7:8-16; Ps. 89:28-37.
8) Proof of his humanity.
- He was born of a woman Gal. 4:4.
- He had normal human development Luke 2:52.
- He died and was buried Jn. 19:30; 1 Cor. 15:3,4.
9) His humanity was sinless 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 2:22; 1 Jn. 3:5.