Friday, January 23, 2009

Our Greatest Responsibility to our Leaders

As we conclude our Hail to the Chief message series this Sunday we move to one of the most important passages of Scripture you will fine regarding how we as followers of Christ our to respond to our new President and our governmental leaders. In 1 Timothy 2:1-7, our response is to deal especially with prayer. Paul begins with the words “first of all” demonstrating that prayer should be a priority. Using the word “urge” instead of the word “command” shows that this topic is a passion of the Apostle Paul’s heart. These involve entreaties, prayers and petitions, which are used synonymously with very little distinctions being seen in the meanings of the words, as well as thanksgiving.

But who are we to pray for? Generally, we are to pray for all men. Specifically, we are to pray for our governmental leaders. Like the command to submit to authorities that we saw in Romans 13, this is to be done in spite of who the leader is or what they are like. Remember that for the Christians Paul wrote to, their leader was Nero.

What will praying for our governmental leaders produce? According to verse 2, it will bring peace. The result of praying for our leaders is an inner peace rather than fear and bitterness that could have easily resulted in the period of upheaval and persecution that his readers lived under. It is very difficult to be bitter and hateful towards someone we are praying for regularly. This peace allows us to live in a godly and dignified way in spite of our circumstances. But praying for our governmental leaders also brings pleasure. Praying for our government authorities brings pleasure to God. This is seen by the fact that such prayers are described as “acceptable before God.”

But why is it so important to pray for our governing authorities? First, because it is the will of God. God desires all men to be saved (2 Peter 3:9 teaches that is not God’s perfect will that anyone perish). This obviously means that when we pray for governmental authorities, we are to pray for their salvation (1 John 5:14). The number one prayer that we should pray regarding all of our governmental leaders is that they would come to have a personal relationship with Christ if they don’t already.

Why else should we pray for the salvation of our authorities? Because it accomplishes the work of Christ. In verses 5-6, we see four facts. Fact #1 is that there is one God. This was the central truth of the Old Testament. If there is only one God then He is God of all men. Fact #2 is that there is one mediator between man and God and that is Jesus. Fact #3 is that Jesus is our way to God because of the ransom he paid through His death on the cross on behalf of all. And fact #4 is that this is the clear testimony of God so it is obvious that we should pray for the salvation of our governmental leaders.

Imagine what would happen if every follower of Christ prayed every day in 2009 for all of our governmental leaders. Imagine what would happen if every day in 2009 Christian students prayed for all of their teachers. Imagine what would happen if every day in 2009 every Christian worker prayed for their boss or supervisor. JUST IMAGINE!

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