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11132016postelectionpeacedonruhl


 

Post Election Peace 

Let us shift from political war to spiritual peace

First Timothy 2.1–7

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • November 13, In the year of our Lord, 2016

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Jerry Thomas

Prelude

  1. Political partisanship shall always be with us, but 
    1. sometimes it intensifies.
      1. In fact, it seems worse after the election
      2. than before the election.
        1. I was hoping that with the election
        2. all this division, name calling, false accusations, riots, etc., would stop.
    2. Americans have been at war with one another.
      1. What shall we do as Christians?
      2. Are we here to curse or to bless our nation?
    3. Remember what Paul told Timothy,

      4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier (2Ti 2.4).

      1. Matters of government have their place in our lives, but
      2. we cannot become entangled in those affairs,
        1. lest we fail to please our God.
        2. Matters of God and His kingdom must dominant over all things.
    4. Again, what shall we do as Christians?
  2. God tells us to do something that has unimaginable power. 
    1. Solomon, a national/political leader, made this statement,

      1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord,
      Like the rivers of water;
      He turns it wherever He wishes.
      (Pro 21.1)
    2. Centuries later Daniel the prophet spoke to a national leader,

      23b …God holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways… (Dan 5.23b).
  3. Consider what those two passages said, and 
    1. now consider two additional passages,
    2. that you might see the awesome power that we,
      1. who are unelected citizens,
      2. have in directing the affairs of state.
  4. Both passages address the issue of peace in our society, whereas 
    1. politics have a way of dividing a people,
    2. whether Americans or any other people,
      1. you and I have something
      2. that surpasses anything the world has to bring peace.
  5. Are you ready 
    1. to discover this unspeakable power, and
    2. to wield this common practice of Christians to bring peace?

Persuasion

  1. Great Political Upheaval for Jews – Jeremiah 29.4

    4 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon…” (Jer 29.4).

    1. Why were the Jews in Babylon?
    2. What kind of upheaval did those people experience?
    3. Does our current situation rival what they experienced?
  2. Great Living for Jews – Jeremiah 29.5, 6

    5 “Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. 6 Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished” (Jer 29.5, 6).

    1. In the midst of change like we have never seen,
      1. the Lord told them to go on living, because
      2. things were going to last that way for a while.
    2. Rather than being discouraged,
      1. they needed to concentrate upon growing in numbers,
      2. otherwise, they would diminish.
  3. Great Peace for Jews – Jeremiah 29.7

    7 “And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace” (Jer 29.7).

    1. Things changed for them politically in a dramatic way,
    2. nevertheless, they were to seek the peace of the city of their enemies!
      1. How could the Lord ask them to do such a thing?
      2. He explained that in the peace
        1. that the city enjoyed,
        2. so the Jews would enjoy peace.
    3. Whatever the Jews could do to promote peace
      1. in their new city,
      2. in their new government,
        1. God wanted them to do it, for
        2. it would be better for them.
    4. The main thing He wanted them to do was pray for the city.
      1. Remember Proverbs 21.1.
      2. Remember Daniel 5.23.
  4. Great Peace for Christians – First Timothy 2.1–2a

    1 “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…” (1Ti 2.1–2a).

    1. To have a quiet and peaceable life,
    2. Paul told us to offer four kinds of prayer
      1. for all men,
      2. for kings, and
      3. for all who are in authority.
    3. We should make supplications for them by pleading with God for them.
    4. We should pray for them.
    5. We should intercede for them to prevent God’s wrath.
    6. We should give thanks for them.
    7. Why should we speak to the Father for all men, kings, and all in authority?

      22b …the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.
      (Pro 13.22)

      26 God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God (Ecc 2.26).

      1. God uses all men to bless us.
      2. Therefore, if all men, our leaders, and all authorities have peace,
        1. we shall have peace!
        2. God uses them to bless us, and
        3. God uses us to bless them.
  5. Great Living for Christians – First Timothy 2.2b

    2 “…that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1Ti 2.2).

    1. We do not pray for peace in our land,
      1. especially political peace, to live selfishly, but
      2. to live in all godliness and reverence.
    2. However, as we continue in the text,
      1. we discover that we are truly not seeking peace
      2. for our own benefit,
        1. rather it is for the world.
        2. The Roman world would soon persecute Christians, and
          1. peace would vanish for the church, and
          2. the church would experience great upheaval politically.
        3. Listen as Paul continues his thought.
  6. Great Political Upheaval for Christians – First Timothy 2.3–7

    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. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, 7 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth” (1Ti 2.3–7).

    1. It is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, and
      1. you shall see why Paul referred to God as our Savior,
      2. that we pray for all people,
        1. especially government and political people,
      3. that we seek peace and unity,
      4. that we live in all godliness and reverence, because
        1. those things help create conditions
        2. for what Paul mentioned in verses 4–7.
    2. God is our Savior because He desires all men
      1. to be saved and
      2. to come to the knowledge of the truth,
        1. which they can do easier
        2. when they are not at war with one another, because
          1. politics fires people up, and makes them
            1. unreasonable,
            2. intolerant,
            3. arrogant, and
            4. mean-spirited.
          2. That is not a good environment for teaching.
    3. When politics erupts into heated partisanship,
      1. they believe the government has all the answers, but
      2. Paul said God, or more specifically Jesus, has all the answers, because
        1. there is only one Mediator between God and men,
        2. there is only one who can bring lasting peace.
    4. Jesus gave Himself as a ransom for all people,
      1. including those in politics, and
      2. this message has to get out,
        1. for which reason the Lord appointed Paul a preacher, and
        2. numberless preachers have followed him to announce the good news.
    5. Therefore, pray for peace and
      1. God shall hear you, and
      2. He may operate as you have spoken, but
        1. only if you keep in mind
        2. His goal that I have shown you here.

Exhortation

  1. Therefore, please pray for our nation and for our government 
    1. that we have peace, and
    2. God will hear our prayers.
      1. In Nehemiah 1 the Bible shows a Jewish cupbearer for a Persian king
      2. learning of a disastrous situation in Jerusalem.
        1. The cupbearer prayed that he might be able to do something
        2. to restore the city of Jerusalem, but
          1. since he worked for the Persian government,
          2. he could not go.
    3. He prayed, and he waited and waited, and
      1. finally one day he found an opportunity and
      2. he prayed about it one more time, and
        1. the Lord worked behind the scenes,
        2. bringing a favorable answer to Nehemiah’s prayer,
          1. allowing him to go to Jerusalem
          2. to do the very thing that he wanted to do.
  2. Beware 
    1. of letting politics control your life, or
    2. of how you view life, or
      1. believing that politics has to be favorable toward us
      2. for the church to prosper.
    3. Do not let bitterness grow in your soul.
  3. The church in the 1st–4th centuries grew in spite of a hostile government, but 
    1. the government eventually came to favor the church, whereas
    2. in America the government first favored the church, and
      1. now the government is turning against the church.
      2. We have to learn to think as our first century brethren.
  4. Let us assume that politically everything happens as you desire. 
    1. Let us say that everything in life favors you.
    2. Let us imagine that you have everything you need and want.
    3. Let us say that you have gained everything in the world.
      1. Is that all there is to life?
        1. How long do we live here, 70, 80, 90 or more years?
        2. How long is eternity?
      2. Now think on this,

        26 “…what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt 16.26).
  5. Think about your soul. 
    1. Let us shift from political war to spiritual peace.
    2. Listen to what Jesus said in the two previous verses,

      24 “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt 16.24, 25).

      1. This means that following Jesus tops every political concern.
      2. Furthermore, the kingdoms of this world can be and will be shaken, but
        1. the church is the kingdom of Christ,
        2. which shall never be shaken,

          25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” 27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.

          28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire (Heb 12.25–29).

  6. If those things are true, and they are, 
    1. each of us needs to seek a peace that far exceeds political peace, and
    2. we need to know that we have peace with our Maker, and
      1. we can have peace with Him
      2. through a particular channel,

        1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ… (Rom 5.1).
  7. Political parties can be at war with one another, and 
    1. a nation can be at war with itself, but
    2. that is nothing compared to warfare with the Judge of all the Earth.
      1. Make peace with Him right now while you still have the opportunity.
      2. He wants peace with you, and
        1. He even made a major sacrifice to make peace with you,
        2. the giving up of His Son to suffer on your behalf,
          1. so that we do not have to suffer, but
          2. we can have eternal fellowship with God through Jesus Christ.
  8. What sacrifice are you willing to make 
    1. to have peace with God, and
    2. what does He require?
      1. He wants us to sacrifice ourselves
      2. even as Jesus sacrificed Himself for us.