Combating With a Christian Lifestyle
1 Tim 2:1-20
By Paul Robison

There's a hymn written about 100 years ago that begins in this way: "Living for Jesus a life that is true, striving to please Him in all that I do, yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free, This is the pathway of blessing for me" (Chisholm).  Living for Jesus a life that is true.  Being a Christian involves a lifestyle doesn't it?  The Christian race is not a 100 yard dash; no, it's a marathon that challenges us each day during our whole lives!
We've been looking at the letter called 1 Timothy.  The apostle Paul had predicted that some elders at Ephesus would leave the faith and start trying to draw followers after them with a perverted gospel.  Timothy is working with the church in Ephesus during a time when Paul's predication had come true.  Church leaders like Hymenaeus and Alexander had shipwrecked their faith, and they were twisting Old Testament texts to lead others astray.  Yes, the church at Ephesus was in chaos, and Timothy had a difficult situation.  We've seen how Paul skips his usual prayer and gets right down to business ordering Timothy to tell members not to teach another gospel and not to get caught up in the heretics' falsehoods and idle talk (1:3-11).  Then we saw how Paul uses himself as Exhibit A to say that if Jesus could save him, He could save everybody else.  The heretic's are claiming that they really have the 'inside story', and it involves a special knowledge that only a few can possess (6:20-21).  We saw last week what it was going to take for Timothy to wage the good warfare as he lived up to his appointed task to be the evangelist and to avoid the heretics (two of them had already been excommunicated by Paul).  Now we’ve seen what Paul had told Timothy, but what would Paul tell the members at Ephesus?  That's what chapter 2 is about.  Remember, the letter may be addressed to Timothy, but certainly the congregation would be hearing and learning its contents as well.  Paul wants the Christians to combat the heretics with their Christian lifestyle. What kind of a lifestyle is it to be?  There are three types of lifestyle mentioned in our text.
These Christians at Ephesus are to demonstrate a peaceful lifestyle.  Let's look now at 2:1-2: "Therefore, I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence."  See what the word "therefore" is there for.  A commentator makes this good observation: "But since the new section begins with the conjunction 'therefore' (or 'then'), implying a result from what has preceded, it [is] likely that all this material is a direct consequence of what was said in chapter 1.  That means that these instructions are best understood as responses to the presence of the wayward elders, who were disrupting the church by their errors and controversies" (Fee).  The peaceful lifestyle is in direct contrast to the havoc that the wayward elders were causing.  "I exhort first of all": Here was what the inspired Paul thought would be most important for this congregation to do.  When a congregation is in chaos, Paul says that they need to pray.  But what is interesting is that Paul does not say: "Pray for yourselves, but pray for all people, and especially for kings and rulers."  Now why did Paul want them to pray for these people? Notice the purpose: "in order that we [Christians] may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence."  Doesn't that sound like a peaceful lifestyle?  The opposite lifestyle of being boisterous and rebellious had already been experienced by Paul in Ephesus.  Remember when Demetrius and the silversmiths got all worked up about losing money in their souvenir business in Acts 19?  Those hotheads got the whole city worked up and caused great confusion until the town official came and quieted the mob.  One commentator rightly observed: "An evaluation of Paul's own life leads one to realize that his 'quiet' does not mean a sheltered life but rather freedom from the turmoil [without] that threatened to thwart his ministry" (Knight).  The Ephesians Christians' lives had been chaotic enough already with the heretics trying to lead them astray.  They were to pray for a tranquil situation from without so that they could continue to grow spiritually in godliness and reverence. Even in the midst of chaos, they were to be very prayerful for others and to keep their relationship with God strong as they imitated Him and respected Him.  How much noise does salt, light, and leaven make?  That's right not much.  But how much difference can salt, light, and leaven make?  That's right, a great deal.  Jesus compared Christians to salt, light, and leaven in their cultures.  We don't make a lot of noisy fanfare, but we can make a big difference.  A peaceful lifestyle can be a powerful lifestyle.  Look now at Acts 9:39: "Then Peter arose and went with them.  When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcus had made while she was with them."  Dorcus was a seamstress.  Now a needle and thread don't make much noise.  But Dorcus had made a big difference in the lives of those around her, especially those women who were widows!  Dorcus had a peaceable lifestyle, but it was a powerful lifestyle at the same time.  Someone notes: "The indisputable fact is, the best argument for or against Christianity is Christianity – or more precisely, how Christians practice their Christianity!  Christianity lived out can make inroads where few other things can" (Hughes).  This is not the first time that Paul emphasized leading a peaceful lifestyle.  Notice what he wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12: "But we urge you, brethren, that you increase [in love] more and more; that you aspire to lead a quiet life [and this is the exact same word that we find in our text], to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you lack nothing." How well are we demonstrating a peaceable lifestyle?  Are our lives filled with prayers for others?  Are we praying especially for our government officials?  Are we praying that there will be no barriers to the spread of the Gospel?  A we trying to be a quiet influence for good like Dorcus?  Are we imitating and respecting God daily?  Another verse in the hymn mentioned earlier is this: "Living for Jesus, wherever I am, doing each duty in His holy Name; willing to suffer affliction and loss, deeming each trial a part of my cross" (Chisholm).  Even in chaotic situations, there can be peace.  Let's demonstrate a peaceful lifestyle!
Next, let's demonstrate an evangelistic lifestyle.  Let's read verses 3-7: "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for whom I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles [or nations] in faith and truth."  Before looking at some specifics, let's note the main point: God wants all people to be saved.  In the previous verse, Paul says to pray for ALL people.  Now he states outright that God desires ALL people to be saved.  He calls Jesus a ransom for ALL.  And lastly, he underscores that he is trying to reach the Gentiles or nations.  In others words, he's trying to share the Gospel with ALL people who aren't Jews! Now why all this emphasis on converting all peoples?  Remember the heretics?  What are they teaching?  According to the last verses of the book, they are teaching that salvation is only for those who are 'in the know'.  Paul is showing that narrowing salvation to just the few who have some kind of special inside track has never been God's intention (Fee). The Gospel is universal in scope by God's wish and design (Witherington). One commentator puts it this way: "What is especially interesting about these verses is that [Paul] is relating the oneness of God to the idea of salvation for all, not just for one people or ethnic group.  Not only is there only one God for all peoples, but also that one God desires the salvation of all peoples and people groups and has sent one mediator to bring about that reality. ... We have a 'one for all and all for one' [perspective here]" (Ibid.).  Jesus' salvation is for all is the bedrock truth of an evangelistic lifestyle.  The gospel is not limited to any particular group.  There are heretics today among our protestant friends who teach that certain people have been elected by God for salvation while certain others have been selected by God for condemnation.  They also claim that Jesus' death was limited for just those who have been elected.  Do you see why this teaching is a heresy, a falsehood?  How could those ideas be true in light of what Paul writes in this passage?  As someone has rightly noted, "Nowhere in the New Testament is such an inclusive hope for humanity comparable expressed" (Johnson).  God wants all people to be saved, and it is our challenge and responsibility to share the good news of God's truth with them!  Just as Paul admonishes the Ephesian Christians, we also must demonstrate an evangelistic lifestyle.  Let's look at some specifics here in this passage. "God our Savior [the author of salvation] desires all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth."  Jesus said in John 8:31-32: "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."  Freedom from sin can only come about when people know the truth.  And how can all people know that truth?  "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).  People learn the truth when they hear God's Word.  And how will they hear God's Word?  That's where you, fellow Christian, enter into the picture.  By means of Christians who open up God's Word, others learn the truth that can set them free and save them!  Do you have a plan for opening up God's Word to others?  A plan will help you to overcome your fears.  If you'll come talk with me, we can probably come up with a plan to help you share the truth with the lost.  "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus."  The God of the Bible is the one true living God, and the only mediator, the only go-between, is the human being who was called Jesus the Messiah of Nazareth.  There are some religious organizations that teach that other human beings can serve as mediators between God and man; they say that one can pray to God through Mary, or the apostles, or others that they call saints.  Now who are we going to believe—a religious organization based on human traditions or the inspired apostle Paul?  Are there many mediators or just one Mediator?  Why is there just one Mediator?  Because Jesus, the only Perfect Sacrifice, was the ransom price—"Who gave Himself a ransom for all".  One commentator notes that Christ is viewed here as an 'exchange price' on behalf of and in the place of all, and on this ground, freedom from sin's slavery may be granted.  The apostle is implying here that since the ransom is adequate for all, God must desire the salvation of all (Guthrie).  Jesus took the punishment for sin that we should have been given, and He paid the price for our liberty with His own blood! Only Jesus' blood can wash away sin and free a person from Satan's slavery!  At one time, Paul said he was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a bully (1:13), but Jesus has saved him and appointed him to become a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of all people who are not Jews!  Now notice how Paul stresses something very strongly here when he says--"I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying".  Why would Paul state that? Didn't Timothy know these roles that Paul now had?  Well, who else is listening in on this letter?  Yes, it's the church members at Ephesus.  And what have the heretics been telling those church members about Paul? We can easily imagine: "You can't trust Paul!  He's not a real apostle.  He doesn't have the inside story.  He's a Jewish rabbi and should have just stayed in Palestine."  Timothy and the members needed Paul's strong assertion that he had been appointed by God to combat those who were denying his apostleship.  Paul was reaching out to all people, and we should imitate him in that action as well.  We too have been appointed by Jesus through His Great Commission to make disciples of people in all nations: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 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" (Matthew 28:19-20). Teach to make disciples and teach to enrich their lives!  Another verse in that hymn goes like this: "Living for Jesus, who died in my place, bearing on Calvary my sin and disgrace.  Such love constrains me to answer His call, follow His leading, and give Him my all" (Chisholm).  Let's demonstrate an evangelistic lifestyle!
Next, let's demonstrate a spiritual lifestyle.  Look at verses 8-10: "I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works."  Paul has already stated that he wants prayers to be said for all people, but now Paul gets a little more specific.  He wants the male members to pray, and they do so with an attitude of dependence and peace.  The word "everywhere" "probably signifies [in all] the public gatherings of the church" (Spain).  One brother made this good comment: "Paul here restricted the offering of public prayers in Christian assemblies to men, as distinguished from women, and this is fully in keeping with the teachings of the New Testament elsewhere, and with the general practice of the church throughout many ages" (Coffman).  We see that Paul wants men "to plead, beg, and entreat.  The hands lifted toward God suggests the hands of a dependent child lifted toward a father who has the power to grant what the child needs and desires" (Spain).  And these hands are to be holy, not sensual or fleshly; they are to be devoted and pleasing to God.  The phrase "without wrath and doubting" would be better if translated "without wrath and quarreling".  The same word is translated "disputes" in Romans 14:1.  You see, Paul doesn't want the male members at Ephesus to get involved with the heretics.  Getting into a debate with those who have shipwrecked their faith will cause these brothers to become angered and argumentative.  So Paul is implying: "Stay away from the fallen elders so that you can pray with the right attitude."  Demonstrate a spiritual lifestyle.  Then Paul states his desires for the female members.  He wants them to be attired with good works, which is the proper dress for women who are professing godliness.  "Paul is not categorically forbidding women to style their hair or wear jewelry or nice clothing" (Hughes).  But he is forbidding the extravagant hairstyles, the expensive trappings, and licentious dress that was so often modeled in the Roman court.  Good sisters today should not dress like some promiscuous pop singers or ungodly actresses because they are models of excess in sensuality.  Sisters who profess godliness should show modesty, that which is proper, and that which is not expensive.  Another preacher puts it this way: "Paul's over-ridding concern was that the way Christians deported themselves would not detract from but enhance their gospel mission, so that they adorn their message with good deeds ... Everything in life is meant to enhance our carrying out God's desire for 'all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth'--down to the attitudes with which we pray and the way we dress" (Ibid).  "Living for Jesus thru earth's little while.  My dearest treasure the light of His smile.  Seeking the lost ones He died to redeem, bringing the weary to find rest in Him" (Chisholm). Let's demonstrate a spiritual lifestyle.
Yes, Christians don't wage their warfare in a logical way by human standards.  The refrain for "Living For Jesus" presents this challenge: "O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee, For Thou in Thy atonement did give Thyself for me.  I owe no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne.  My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ for Thee alone!"  Have you given yourself to Jesus?  Is He your Master?  Does He live on the throne of your heart?  Have you given your life to live totally and completely for Him?  Your have heard the Gospel this morning!  Believe that Jesus the only Mediator who can reconcile God and man.  Give up the sensual and fleshly!  Confess that His name is above all names.  Be immersed in that name to have your sins washed away!  Then live a peaceful, evangelistic, and spiritual lifestyle devoted to Christ alone!