All right, hey guys, at all of our campuses, one of the most exciting things we ever get to do is commission people to go to the nations. Will y'all help me welcome Madison here today across all of our locations. Madison, we're so pumped to have you.
I know this weekend you're heading out and we're excited for that. We've seen you come all the way through our student ministry. Tell us a little bit about your journey of discipleship at Mercy Hill. Yeah, so my discipleship journey started in Mercy Hill students.
It was through a student leader who wasn't just like their serving. She was their serving, but she went beyond that to just get to know me and wanted to do life with me. So I did life with her. She modeled what walking with Jesus looked like and showed me what being a disciple maker was. Well, we praise God for that.
Praise God for that story. Obviously you're going to the nations. You're going to be going to the high jungle of Peru.
We already have a family there. What did God do to actually call? I mean, what's it been like for him to lay the nations on your heart?
Is something you want to do? Yeah, so it is by the Lord's grace and his faithfulness that he has called me to the missions field, but it's through people. It was through Mercy Hill students that there were people who called me up and just told me to be active in my faith, to make my faith my own. And through that challenge, I was able to plug into serving. I was able to dive into community and I was able to dig into God's word. And I remember flipping over my Bible one morning and opening to Isaiah 42, where it was just Isaiah talking to God, or not Isaiah, opposite way. God talking to Isaiah being like, you will be a fire and a light and a torch to the nations. So that was just like the initial burden. And then through community, they just reaffirmed that calling on my life.
Man, that's incredible. Will, we're excited to send you. I'd love for you to give, I know you're not there yet, so you don't know exactly, but I'd love for you to give everybody a little bit of, Morgan and Caleb are already there.
And so you have some idea. What's ministry gonna look like once you get there? Yeah, so ministry for me is primarily gonna be youth focused.
So that's elementary school aged kids all the way up through high school. And we have the opportunity to be working with a people group in the high jungle of Peru, going into the schools and being able to share the gospel with them in the schools, being able to participate in soccer ministries, and really just intentionally sharing the gospel and connecting with kids and students to be able to pray and hope they connect them into churches so they can be the next generation of disciple makers. Well, we have such a heart for that here.
You're obviously a product of the student ministry here. We're so pumped for that, that you're gonna be able to extend that there. How can we be praying for you specifically? I mean, I know it's a big transition, so. The three main ways y'all could be praying for me, praying for me to transition well.
I'm gonna be experiencing a lot of change, new culture, new country, a lot of news. So praying that transition would go well. Be praying for the team that I'm joining.
It's new for them, because they're getting a new team member and me transitioning into being on their team. And also just be praying for the people, praying for the Lord to be working on their hearts. And be praying big prayers that the Lord would just open the eyes of the youth so they could be the next generation of disciple makers so they can continue making disciples and sharing the good news of Jesus for generations to come. Well, we're gonna be praying for you. We're gonna be standing behind you. Hey, let's just in all of our campuses, let's go ahead and pray for Madison now as she gets ready to head out this weekend. Father, we come before you, Lord, and we just pray. God, for these things that she's asked for. Lord, we pray that you'll put your hand on this transition. God, we pray that you'll make Madison effective as she goes. Lord, we pray that you will continue to be her treasure. And Lord, we thank you so much for her family who has poured in so much to her.
God and disciple her to this point. We thank you so much for the other people that have been able to come along and play a role in this story. So God, we're grateful to you.
It's for your fame, it's for your renown, it's for your glory. God, and we are just thankful to send her out. Lord, we pray that you'll put your hand on this entire process of traveling and landing. And God, we can't wait to hear the good reports of things that you do through Madison on the field.
In Christ's name we pray, amen. Thank you so much. Can you guys thank Madison one more time? Thank you, Madison.
Thank you, guys. Hey, well, that is not a bolt-on to the sermon. That was our sermon introduction, and it was the greatest one ever, okay?
It's awesome. No, seriously, if you have a copy of scripture, turn with me to James chapter two, because what we do today is we talk about praying for the nations. And that's what James chapter two is all about.
And James, I'm sorry, I keep saying James. 1 Timothy, sorry, 1 Timothy chapter two. In 1 Timothy chapter two, what we end up seeing is this idea that healthy churches are going to be churches who are found praying for the nations, just like we had an opportunity to do here for Madison, and just like we have an opportunity to do week in and week out. Many times in our community groups, we have an opportunity to pray that God will send workers to the field and that his gospel will go forth to all of the nations and all the peoples of the earth. All types of prayer for all types of people.
Now, that's all that we're getting into today. So 1 Timothy chapter two, not James, okay? 1 Timothy chapter two, here's the big idea. Healthy churches pray for the gospel's advancement, all right? Healthy churches are found praying for the gospel's advancement. If the proof is gonna be in the pudding, if the divine, if something about the creator is gonna be evident in the church, it is gonna be that we are found praying for the gospel to go forth in all the earth. And that's one of the things that we get a privilege to do. We do it today. Guys, I wanna push this deep into the heart of our church. If you have been around Mercy Hill for any length of time, you know this about us, all right?
Success is measured here by sending capacity, not just seeding capacity, all right? It is about getting to the nations because there are thousands, some over 7,000 people groups that have yet to hear the gospel that are unreached. And man, we cannot do nothing in light of that reality. The number one priority is that we would be praying for them, all right?
And listen, I can be one that jumps to strategy. I wanna get on a whiteboard faster than I wanna pray many times, and I need to be called back from that. And our church might need to be called back from that. We need to dive into prayer for the unreached people groups and for the nations, and that's what this pushes us to. Now, 1 Timothy 2 is not known for that.
It's known for a bunch of the other little stuff in it that's kinda controversial, but we have got to keep the main thing the main thing and see it, and you're gonna see it here, you ready? All right, verse one, here we go. First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and for all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
Now, listen, this is the heart of it, you ready? This is good and is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and there is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. The point is, in this passage, prayer for all people pleases God because he desires that all people would be saved.
That's what it's about. This passage is about prayer, in particular about praying for the nations. I know that it's about prayer, and we might all of a sudden start thinking it's about praying for Little Johnny's baseball career or for Aunt Sally's toenail ingrown or whatever. And it's like, I mean, I'm not saying that God is not into the small things in our lives, he absolutely is, but that is not what is in focus here. What is in focus in this passage is that we would pray that the gospel would go forth all the way to the ends of the earth.
That is pleasing to God who desires all people to be saved and we are called to pray in line with his desires. And look, he didn't have to do it this way. God could set it up any kind of way he wants to. He's God, he could do anything he wants to, right? But the way he has set it up and the clear testimony of the Bible is that God has set up this whole system to interact with us that when he has a desire to be fulfilled in the world, he sends a prayer warrior to ask.
He sends somebody to ask. Some people have said there is nothing God does in the world but answer prayer. And what they mean by that is that God sends someone to be interacting and interceding on behalf of the world. Our prayers unleash the power of God. Our prayers unleash his power. When he wants to do something, he sends a prayer warrior to stand in the gap. You think about this just scripturally.
I was thinking about different examples. Joshua chapter 10, the son stands still. Why? Because Joshua asked, okay? You see 1 Kings chapter 18, the fire falls from heaven.
Why? Because Elijah asked. When you see in Acts chapter 10, Cornelius gets saved.
What are you seeing? You see Peter that is already on the rooftops praying. He's probably not praying for Cornelius. He doesn't know Cornelius, but he's praying probably in line with the mission of God.
Boom, Cornelius is saved. When you think about Paul and Barnabas, Saul and Barnabas being sent out to go reach the Gentiles, what is it in response to in Acts chapter 13? The church of God is on its face, worshiping, fasting, praying, boom. God ends up sending these brothers to go out and the gospel goes forth into the nations. The idea is that we pray in line with God's desires.
You could say it like this. His desires should be our prayers. And we learn his desires, not by just kind of sitting and hoping to hear, you know, and wondering if that was God or if that was something I ate the night before. You know, I mean, God can speak and when he speaks it's clear.
I'm not saying he doesn't, but what I am saying is when we're looking for his desires, we don't have to go look for them as if they're lost. They're playing his day right in the scripture. We know the word, we see his desires and we pray. That's why many Christians just pray the scriptures. Man, they actually use the words of the Psalms and use the words of scripture to pray over and over and over.
It's plain as day. God's desires that the gospel go forth into all the earth and so he has called his church to pray for it. And that's what it said in verse one. Look, first of all then, I urge that supplications, prayers and intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all people.
Here's a real pithy way to say this. All types of prayers for all types of people. But I do wanna make sure, and this is why I kind of did an overview first, that what's coming in this passage is God is pleased because the prayers are about the desire of God's heart which is to see the gospel go forth. He desires to see all people saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. These are all types of prayers for all types of people but they are focused on the gospel going forth into all the earth.
So this is what I mean by that. All types of prayers, all types of people. You do understand, it's a different stronghold that we're praying about. The Islam in Indonesia is a different stronghold than the materialism of England. It's a different prayer, you understand? The animism of the high jungle of Peru where we're sending Madison is different than the agnosticism in America.
But they're strongholds nonetheless. It's all types of prayer for all types of people but it is focused on us seeing the gospel go forth. This is the idea, we're praying for the world.
You know, there's a, I've seen this. It's hard, you say, well how do we pray for every single person in the world? I don't know that that's really the point of it is that you pray by name for every six billion people. And I don't think that's, I think what it's getting at is if I was to boil this down, I think it's saying, hey, every Christian needs to be a globally focused Christian We're not, there's no such thing as a local only Christian.
And I've seen some of this, man. I've seen some of this coming out at conferences and people that I've been around in a church leadership world right now that's like, man, you know, own your city and it's about your region and your focus. I mean, I'm all about evangelism in our city. We wanna make so many disciples here but there is no such thing as a local only focused Christian. Christianity by definition is this idea of God holds the world in his hand and he has asked that his name go forth into all the earth. And we have the opportunity to help get it there when thousands of people, thousands of people groups have never heard the gospel. So he says in verse one in chapter two, first of all then I urge that prayers be made for all types of people. You know, one of the things I think that comes out in this that we've gotta make sure we understand is that praying for the nations is of first importance, okay? He doesn't use this word but a word that comes to my mind is priority.
There's a book, a leadership book called Essentialism that's just self-help leadership stuff if you're into that. But the book talks about, the author of the book talks about how he had such a hard time in his life coming up with, prioritizing his life. And so he gives a couple of examples of that. But he starts to dive into this idea of prioritization and here's what he found out. The word priority shows up in the English language in the 1400s, okay?
Now listen, this is just like us, just like our modern culture, okay? For 500 years, the word priority was only ever singular. You know why? Because it means first. It means whatever is first. Now leave it up to us in the last 100 years as a modern society to start saying nonsensical things like I'm listing my priorities. That makes no sense. We say, well, that's a priority of our company or whatever. No, that makes no sense. You can't say, you can't have a priority. You can't have a list of priorities.
Like the actual definition of the word is what is first. Well, for Paul here, what he's saying is when it comes to the mission of God, what is the priority, what is first, is praying that the gospel would go forth and to all the earth. And I understand why, you know, I had an opportunity, we had some missionaries come back from the field a few years ago, actually. They just ended up moving into our area and they weren't here very long. They plugged into our church for a while.
They ended up moving on to a different state. While they were here, it was awesome though to get a chance to talk to them about some of the things that they had seen. They had been in a very, very difficult kind of closed type of environment when it comes to the gospel going forth. But this is what Brad told us when he was here. He said, man, one of the things we learned is that the areas where we could focus prayer from the West or from the States or from our partners, and the areas that we got focused prayer, we never didn't see the gospel end up penetrating. It was the places that we didn't have prayer standing in the gap, people standing up and praying. When we didn't have that, we didn't see movement. But when we had that, we never didn't see movement.
You know, we always saw movement. And I think about that and I think, well, Paul probably has it right. The priority is prayer. And look what he says here. For kings and for all who are in high positions that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. Wait a minute. He's just switched to talking about kings. We're praying for people.
Now we're talking about kings. One of the things you gotta understand in 1 Timothy chapter two is this. There are a few different places where we might be tempted to get off of the pray for the nations bus and think this is about something else.
Don't, because it's not. What this is about is praying for the nations. It's about praying in line with God's desires as he has declared my desires that all people would be saved. So when we read this, for kings and for all who are in high positions, we've gotta make sure this is not disconnected from what's already being talked about here. In chapter one, it was all about this. Fight for the gospel, guard the gospel, celebrate the gospel.
Now we're turning towards its advance. The healthy church is thinking about that. And the first thing is that we would pray, but he says here, pray for kings and those that are in high positions. I see this verse thrown around a lot. I know you guys have, anytime there's an election, people are just talking about these verses. And maybe some of you guys have wondered, like, what does this mean?
Okay, and we apply this to politicians a lot. What am I supposed to pray? Do I pray that they're healthy?
Do I pray that they're successful? Like, man, what am I supposed to pray? Some of you guys are like, man, I pray every day for their removal, okay, or I don't know.
Maybe you're praying for them to stay in, or whatever, I don't know, okay? You're praying, what are we supposed to pray? We're supposed to pray that they would lead in a godly way so that they create an environment underneath them where the gospel can flourish. That's the prayer. We should be praying in line with, hey, we should be praying, God, allow our leaders to make good decisions so that there is freedom to talk about the gospel, so that there is justice, so that there is equal law, so that there is an opportunity that we have to practice our faith and see the gospel go forth into all the earth. That's what the prayer is supposed to be, not just for their health or whatever. It's that they would lead in a way that creates an environment for the gospel to advance, and that's what we're trying to see today.
That's kind of the big idea of the message even here today, that a healthy church will pray for the gospel's advance in our world, and so we need to be praying for that. You know, I was thinking about Adoniram Judson. When Adoniram Judson got to Rangoon in Burma a couple hundred years ago, when he got there, actually, Felix Carey, the son of William Carey, the famous missionary, was actually in the place where he landed, okay? And right when they sort of overlapped, it's an interesting kind of thing in history, but what ends up happening is Felix Carey decides to take a job with the Burmese government, highly oppressive regime, okay?
I mean, highly hostile, if you know the story, to the gospel and the gospel's advance. And Adoniram Judson, he had this interesting thing that he said to Felix Carey, where he actually said, hey, I think you should take that position. He said this, you may be able to do more for this place in the government service than you can in missionary service. Now, what did he mean by that? I'll tell you what he didn't mean.
He did not mean we're talking about, man, social justice and dig wells, and that's not what he was getting at. What he was getting at was, from that position, you may have an opportunity to help create an environment where missionary work can flourish and the gospel can go forward. And one more thing I would say about that, hey, we have a church that is filled with leaders.
We have a church that has, man, a bunch of leadership culture in this church. I praise God for that. But I would say this, this idea of praying for those that are in the highest positions because of the environment that they can create, some of us need to let go of our fear and go ahead and step into what God is putting out there for us and take that next step up so that you can be one who shapes an environment.
Amen. And maybe that's in politics. And maybe it's in education.
Or maybe it's in the free market. And maybe there's a couple of rungs up on the ladder that you feel like you're just a little bit like, oh, time, talent, treasure, I don't really know. I don't know if I want the pressure to step in. What if God's calling you into that so that you can create an environment where the gospel flourishes underneath you? We're praying for those that are in positions of authority.
Now, here's what it says. This is good and it's pleasing in the sight of God, our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and there is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. Y'all, we pray for the gospel to advance. We pray for the environment of the gospel to flourish because it is God's heart, because this is what he desires. And as his children, we fall in line with what he desires and his desires become our desires. And we begin to realize as his children that white-hot worship is not something that exists everywhere.
That's the fuel of missions. The fuel of seeing us sin is because we understand there are places where the sun rises and sets and no one there knows who to give the credit to. And God is worthy of praise in a thousand languages. And so this starts to get into our heart and stir our emotions. Why, because it's God's heart. God desires all people to be saved through his son, Jesus Christ. This is what he desires. Now, I know some of you are gonna start going down this road of, wait a minute, how can God have a desire that doesn't get fulfilled? Or does this mean in universalism and it is gonna be fulfilled? And people start wanting to go down this rabbit trail of God's sovereignty and Calvinism and Arminianism and all this stuff. Here's what I would tell you.
I would just kind of say, hold on for one second, okay? And I would say, Deuteronomy 29, 29 tells us the secret things belong to the Lord. There are things that we're not gonna quite have the answers like we like in this life. And do you know why? Let me give you an example of why, okay? Or maybe give you a little bit of illustration here.
I was trying to explain to my kids what a mutual fund is the other day. Can you imagine that? I'm 38, okay, 38, and there's a big gap between 38 and eight, right?
Pretty big gap. And I'm trying to explain it to them. And I'm like, man, this is, you know, they're speaking it back to me. I'm like, I don't even know if I understand it anymore, okay?
I'm like, I'm trying to explain to them. And it's just like, man, the 38 to eight is a huge gap. If that's a gap, then what is the gap between us and God? It's a chasm.
It is a carnivorous, I mean, it is a cavern, right? And I just think about how this gaping kind of hole between us and Him, this cavernous kind of space. And it's like, man, we cannot, we absolutely cannot think that we would know what is in the mind of God. Think about this. I don't know if you guys have seen the stuff coming out of the James Webb telescope.
Have you guys seen these pictures that are coming across? I mean, you think about something like this, that's coming out from all the billions and trillions of light years and all that kind of stuff. I mean, you just think about this and it's like, man, God holds the world in His hands.
And I can't even remember my Netflix code or whatever. You know what I'm talking about? I'm in a sermon and just said carnivorous even though I meant, right? You see what I mean? It's like, that was planned.
Okay, no, it wasn't planned, it wasn't planned. But you think about it, you're like, man, the gap, the gap between us, so here's what I wanna call you to do. I wanna call you to think about this passage for a minute from the heart. Maybe just think about it from the heart, that God desires all people to be saved. The point here is this, God's heart for the world is that they would know Him and we have the opportunity to move the needle through our prayer lives.
Are we taking that opportunity? Man, are we moving God's hand? In prayer, we move the hand that moves the world. There is one mediator between God and man and it is the man Christ Jesus. You know, you think about this in John 14, six, where Jesus tells us very plainly, I am the way, the truth, and the life.
In Acts chapter four, He says there is, you know, the Bible says there is no name under heaven by which men can be saved other than Christ Jesus. We have that truth, we have laborers being raised up. We can pray that God would call them and send them. We can pray for the soil to be prepared in places that are very dark, that God would send dreams and visions and prepare the hearts of those that would meet laborers that we are sending. We could pray for all of that.
Are we taking the opportunity to pray for all of that? Man, think about our own salvation. Jesus Christ came to this earth and He mediated our relationship with God. Man, Jesus Christ came to this earth and He took what we deserve and gave us what He deserved. He went to the cross and gives us life. His resurrection, He has given us life eternal and we have this truth.
Are we praying that it would go out to the ends of the earth? You know what, there's one mediator. In a church like Mercy Hill, you don't call me Father. Okay, you don't call me priest even, right? Well, I'm not mediating something in that way.
I mean, we're a kingdom of priests, that's a different sermon, but in that way, I'm not mediating something between you and God. Jesus has already done that. He gave Himself, what does it say? A ransom for all, ransom, what does that mean? It means redemption, it means deliverance, it means release. This is what He has done for you. If you're a believer and you've put your faith in Him, then you've experienced that redemption and deliverance and relief and release. You've experienced this in your life, that if you're not a believer yet, you have the opportunity to come to Him. This is the beauty of it. The gospel being preached right here, right now, you can come and we're praying that God would send laborers all the way to the nations and create other brothers and sisters in Christ.
A ransom for all, I thought about this the other day. You know, a couple of weeks ago, we baptized like 15 people on the weekend of Mercy Hill. It was an incredible weekend. I think 11 of them were kids. I got to thinking about this and I thought, you know who else has seen a lot of baptisms in the last year or so?
Our teams that are in India. Man, they've seen a lot of baptisms. And then I got to thinking about it and I thought, man, what in the world, the baptism of waters, what in the world does a 10-year-old, middle-class American kid have in common with a grown adult indigenous Indian farmer? They were both ransomed.
That's what they have in common. Man, we pray that God would move here, but we pray that he would send us there and awaken people that are there. This is his desire. Now listen, this next part, okay, this next part is where we're only gonna go through verse 10 today. But this next part is all about hindrances to that because here's the deal.
Many of us are not, and even myself, I've been awakened this week of ways that we need to be doing better as a family in this regard. But if we're not praying that the gospel would go forth to the nations, then why is it? And Paul gives us a couple of different answers here in terms of hindrances.
Now here we go. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle, telling the truth I'm not lying, a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling. Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness with good works. This isn't gonna be controversial at all, okay?
All right, no. Actually, compared to the sermon in two weeks when we get into eldership and complementarianism and all that, it really isn't gonna be all that controversial. But you know, it is. Guys, this is getting into the part of 1 Timothy chapter two that everybody thinks of. They haven't done all the work that we've done the last 30 minutes though to realize it's all about praying for the nations. And so we jump directly to these things and we get some things probably misaligned and all that.
And I wanna just hit it head on. Listen, if you're newer to Mercy Hill, if you're at one of our campuses, you're brand new, if you're here today, you're brand new to Mercy Hill, I want you to hear something very clearly, okay? When we come up to passages like this in the Bible, man, we don't dodge, we don't mealy mouth around, we don't dance, and here's why. We don't feel like we need to. The reason we don't feel like we need to is because there is something very refreshing about a book that don't change. Isn't that true? In a world right now that, I mean, in an Instagram fantasy land, fake news on every angle, every side that we're looking around, how refreshing is it to have a book that don't change? Man, I don't need to apologize for it.
I don't need to dance around. What I need to realize is this. If we come up against something that is controversial, I mean, how crazy is this?
Even using the categories. I mean, what he's getting into is, hey, guys, generally the men might struggle over here, and generally the women might struggle over here. We've come to a place in culture where even using those categories is now controversial. All right, so if we come to that place, and we're there, all right, then I've got one question for you.
Is the Bible out of date, or is our culture out of line? And what we've gotta ask and see is like, wait a minute, if you're brand new, and you're like, man, I don't, well, lean in, and let's see, because if it really is true, which I think just about everybody, they're not gonna say it, but probably understands, just about everybody would understand, man, it really is too true, that generally speaking, men might struggle in a way, and women might struggle in a way. All right, if that's true, then it would be to our detriment not to think about bringing things up that are in the scripture about which might be what, right?
And that's what he's saying here. All he said in verse eight was this. Men pray instead of argue.
All right, so guys, fellas, I'm talking to y'all, all right? Pray instead of argue. This does not mean that women can't struggle with quarreling and arguing. That is not what it means. It just means that men do struggle with this. Okay, you understand, you see how that works?
It's not saying they don't, but it is saying that you do. Okay, so what we need to do is just take that for a minute and realize, now what's the whole connecting thread? I remember, don't get off the bus of praying for the nations because this whole passage is about that. All right, so it's not going into something different. This is saying that posturing over your brothers will steal your passion for the nations.
If we decide that coming to church and to getting in the assembly and to go into group, if we decide it's not about loving God, it's not about loving each other, it's not about learning God's desire so that we know how to pray, it's not about seeing the gospel go forward to the nations, when we decide that it's actually about being right and arguing and trying to usurp authority over one another by the fact that I'm smarter than you and I know something that you don't know, when we posture up and we get this competitive thing and we begin to argue, our passion for the nations will be stolen. And that's what this is getting at. Guys, listen, men fight, okay? This is what they, they're drawn to it. Who watches UFC, who watches boxing?
60% of the lawyers in this country are men. They wanna argue. There's a bit, there's a bit of a hard thing here that you could be pulled in this way. My question is just, are you being pulled that way? Like when you come into the assembly and you see a brother, man, is there things that are going on there where you're like, no, I'd rather be right than reconciled to you.
I would rather be right. Let me read one passage of scripture from Ephesians. Ephesians 521, well, I'm just gonna kind of quote it here. Submitting, Ephesians 521 says this, submit to each other out of reverence for Christ. That's way before we get into marriage stuff, okay?
This is just general, generally for the church, like man, be a submissive type of culture. And my question is this. Are we usurping one another in argument or are we submitting to one another in love?
Because if we are constantly in this competitive mode of I'm first, I'm first, because I'm right, because I'm right about this theological position or I'm right about this or I'm right. You understand what it's getting at? And here's what it says. That men, and I'm not gonna go back and read it, but what does it say? They raise holy hands in worship and they raise holy hands in prayer.
Here's what's so ironic. Some men will raise holy hands in argument and not raise holy hands in prayer. It's like, where's our passion? Is our passion in being competitive with one another and arguing with one another or is our passion in worship? You know, Psalm 34, one pastor said it like this. Psalm 34 five says this. Those who look to him, talking about, those who look to him, a believer, they see radiance in their spirit and Psalm 34 five says, those faces are never covered with shame. And here's what I wonder.
When we come into the assembly, guys, man, let me talk to you. When we come into the assembly and we have an opportunity to pray and we have an opportunity to worship, the scripture is telling us to raise holy hands, to have an outward expression of what God is doing in my heart. One pastor said it like this. I'm not questioning if you love Jesus. I'm not questioning if you're excited about Jesus.
Somebody just needs to tell your face, okay? Because it's kind of, you know what I mean? Because it's kind of like, man, it can just be, man, we can get more passionate about what God is telling us not to. Man, the anger of man doesn't lead to the righteousness of God. It's not, so that's one pitfall, but look what it says in verse nine. Likewise, also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness with good works. You gotta understand, the first word in verse nine is likewise. Now, let me ask you, what is likewise about a bunch of guys passionate about arguing over theology to see who's first and posturing, right? What is likewise about that with women who might dress in an unself-controlled, immodest manner?
What is likewise about it? It's not a new idea. He's not getting off of the prayer for the nation's bust. What he's saying is, women, just like the guys might struggle in this area, you might struggle in this area, but the heart of it might be the same, a competition. The heart of it might be, I'm going to be first. I'm going to usurp something over you instead of submit to you, my other sisters in Christ. Now, let me try to tone down the temperature for just a second with this, okay? Because, a little hot in here, okay, because the reality is, I don't know, and I've studied this backwards and forwards, and I honestly believe that what Paul was facing in the Ephesian church, what Timothy was facing, what Paul's talking about in the Ephesian church in the first century is a little hard to go apples to apples right now.
The reason I say is this. When you go back and you look at what braided hair and pearls and all that kind of stuff was, what we're talking about here is not, you know, I braided my little girl's hair, or we try to wear something nice to church or whatever. Man, there are great traditions in the Christian faith that I think they're not doing something wrong by dressing up to go to church, respectable. It's actually said, wear respectable apparel.
I don't know, I think it's getting at something a little deeper than that, and you go back and you study some of the artwork and some of the statues of this time. Man, when you're talking about a braided hair and pearls and costly attire, you're talking about having three or four servants work on you for five hours before you go to church. It's like, no, this isn't like, oh, I wore something, it's like, no, you got ready to go to the prom or be a bridesmaid or be on the red carpet of the Emmys. And now you got like this whole section of people who have the means to have somebody work on them to do costly attire and braids and all that kind of stuff crazy in order to come in and create a great division between them and everybody else who doesn't have the means to be able to do that. I think that's probably what actually was going on, but y'all, the heart of that resurfaces here. The heart of that resurfaces 2,000 years later where what we might do is use what we wear, use our clothing, use our wealth, use our beauty in the same way to posture and to try to get over someone else. And I would just say, like I said to the brothers, ladies, posturing over your sisters will steal your passion for the nations. If we come to the assembly to be first, then we will not come for the right reasons and we would end up having, listen, is there a line, I wanna say this, okay, is there a line at which somebody probably is actually diving in and they have crossed the line in 1 Timothy 2 and it is kind of an apples to apples things? Absolutely. And have I seen that as a pastor over the last 10 or 15 years?
I've seen it at times, okay. But I think generally speaking, the better question for us today, if we're like, wait a minute, should I braid or should I wear this or should I wear that? Maybe a better question is not what to wear but why are we wearing it?
Like what is the heart behind it? And I don't, what I wanna stick with is the theology part of this. We're gonna get back into talking about missions but I'm gonna tell you something real quick, just a quick side note on this, okay. We got a blog coming out on Monday that I want, man, if you're interested in this at all, if you're a woman in our church, if you're a dude that's trying to understand some of this, if you've got young kids that you're raising, I would really encourage you.
We have three women, two of them are wives of elders, one younger single lady, highly respectable women in our church, highly involved. And they came in and just had a very frank, very straightforward 25 conversation with me, 25 minute conversation with me and we taped it. And I want you to watch it.
Okay, it's gonna come out tomorrow, it's gonna come out on Monday. So you guys, man, you guys check that out if you wanna hear more about this. I think we need to do that because I can't imagine the pressures that an Instagram-infused world puts on our women and girls. I mean, just imagine, I mean, many of us probably saw a documentary, Social Dilemma or whatever, you know, I think about that and I'm like, man, I don't know that it really said anything we shouldn't already kind of already know.
That man, that we're playing for a culture of likes and dislikes. And this is hard growing up under this stuff. And this is the culture that we live in and we need godly wisdom from godly women to speak into this and we're gonna have that on the blog. I think about this, I saw this, my wife showed me this, one of our local high schools, the dress code that they've adopted for this year, okay? When she read it to me, I was like, that's wrong, somebody made that up and that's going around the Christian circles and they're all getting whipped up about it.
That can't be actually right. So I went and found the handbook on Guilford County's website and went and just read through it. 2022, 2023, the dress code for the handbook, for all the high school kids is this, I know you're gonna think I'm crazy, but this is what it says, all right? It says, you can wear nothing that is see-through and nothing that shows underwear or private parts at the end. That's it.
You know, nothing with offensive language on it as well. All right? And I look at it and listen, I'm not, man, I don't know, I'm not in the school system. But when I look at that, I'm like, man, yeah, that sounds like you're trying to create a lot of freedom, but it feels to me like you're creating mountains of pressure on a bunch of kids that are trying to grow up. This is the world that our young ladies are growing up in. And so church, I would just say, man, we've gotta say, I think the point of this is the nations, but man, there's gonna be some more godly wisdom coming out this week and I hope you guys will see it.
All right, last thing I wanna say, this is the conclusion, okay? Application for this weekend, pray for the nations without hindrance, all right? Pray for the nations. If you're like, man, I have fallen in and I'm worried and I'm falling in, man, I'm arguing and it's stealing my praise and my prayer for the nations. I'm posturing up, I'm worried about what I'm gonna wear and it's stealing my prayer for the nations. Well, then you gotta go back to the gospel and you gotta realize, man, that God has given you in Jesus what you were looking for in the approval of others.
You are looking for something and them thinking that you're smart or them thinking that you're beautiful or them thinking that you're right or them thinking that you're wealthy. You're looking for that in other people and not realizing that in the gospel, what you have is the approval of the creator of the universe. Man, he has called you son or daughter.
He has said, hey, you come to me, man, I couldn't love you more than I do. I couldn't be more proud of you than I am in my son. And so I would just call us to fall into the arms of Jesus today and allow those things, those hindrances to go away. One of our elders' wives, man, she didn't grow up in a Christian home. She struggled with materialism, struggled with what she was gonna wear, struggled about how she was gonna look, getting saved, still battled that, becomes a pastor's wife, still battles that.
And this is a crazy example what God can do in your life, okay? I mean, to the point of even as a pastor's wife had hours on the weekend wondering, man, what am I gonna wear? How is that gonna look? What are people gonna think? Is it too much?
Is it not enough? I mean, all these things that I can't even imagine that women can go through with this stuff, right? And you know what she did?
Wasn't thinking about it. God started serving kids. Guess what they do when you go to kids?
They make you wear the same T-shirt every single week. And it was like God broke something over her freedom, flooded into her life. And it was like, you know what, it's like God was saying, hey, this is how I see you anyway. Adorn yourself with works. Adorn yourself with the goodness of God and the goodness of works, of good, godly works. And that's how I see you anyway. You're my precious child. You're wrapped in the robes of Jesus Christ. You're perfect. Couldn't see you any other way.
You don't need to posture up for everybody else. Man, what a beautiful example. You need to fall in the arms of Jesus today. And you can do that, all right? Hey, but if you're a believer and you want three quick things, I'm gonna give you three quick things, man, to think about just in terms of an application of this. It's like, okay, man, I'm getting away from the hindrances of prayer and I'm getting after it and praying for the nations. This is it, praying in line with God's desires that the world would come to know him, all right? The gospel's only good news if it gets there in time, okay?
And we're gonna start motivate, man, I'm gonna be motivated to pray. I'm gonna give you three things to do. Number one, download the Joshua Project app, okay? You say, well, what is that?
Well, go download it, okay? This is one of those things, man, I was convicted this very week. Our summer rhythms got off, you know, as many people do kinda this summer.
Kids are back in school. And I texted Anna this week and I said, "'Babe, it's been a while since we've pulled up "'an unreached people group on our Joshua Project app "'with the kids.'" All right, so we need to get back into that rhythm and I'm gonna call you to get back into that rhythm. Secondly, pray seriously in your groups.
I gotta make sure the culture goes out. We do regroup, regroup, regroup. We're calling the whole church, you need to be in a group.
If you just come on the weekend, you're missing half of what we do. A huge part of that is we got about 1,000 to 1,200 adult prayer meeting happening every single week all over the triad. It's called your community group. I've had people ask me like, man, why don't we get together to pray?
I'm like, what are you talking about? We get together to pray like every week, thousands, okay? Like at least 1,000, 1,200 people, adults across the triad, not to mention our kids and students and all of that. Like that, so let's refocus just about every week. There'll be something from the church that comes out in your guide and your leader has that. A lot of times, they're about our missionaries or somebody being commissioned and all of that.
Let's take that seriously and pray for that. And the last thing I would say is hey, attend a vision night that is coming up. Every single campus has a vision night in the month of September. What are those vision nights are about?
Those vision nights are about praying heaven down. God, let us make so many disciples in the triad that it spills over into a disciple-making movement all the way to the ends of the earth. Make sure you're there. Let's pray. Father, we come before you this weekend, Lord, and we are just, I'm convicted. God, I don't know where everybody else's heart is, but Lord, we say we believe, be it the Creator God, that you deserve all the fame and all the glory.
Do our prayer lives reflect our desire to see your fame in all the earth? God, I pray you find a praying church here. God, make us that, put us on our knees. God, allow us to call out to you. In Christ's name we pray, amen, amen.
Hey, at all of our campuses, I'm gonna invite you guys to go ahead and stand. We're gonna do one last song here together this weekend. Hey, but as we do that, I wanna make sure that you guys understand, when we go into a last song like this, we have the opportunity to respond, okay? And we can respond in one of three ways. We bring, we sing, and we pray, okay?
Number one is bring. Guys, God has been first to us. He has given us his son. We bring him our first and our best. This is our tithes and offerings.
You can do this in the ways that you see on the screen. And then the second is that we sing. I pray that we'll respond with joy. The third thing is, man, even during this song, why not let's begin to pray that God would continue the movement here all the way to the ends of the earth.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-24 12:08:02 / 2023-02-24 12:29:59 / 22