Not too long ago my mother-in-law introduced me to the musical group The Piano Guys. You can find a lot of their music on YouTube. They are known for playing in amazing locations. One of their videos shows them playing on the Salt Flats in Utah, another on the top of a mountain, and in another, they are playing in a frozen ice castle. Truly breathtaking places! If you haven’t seen any of their videos, you should head on over to YouTube and check them out.
Watching and listening to them play, there is no doubt they are talented. But their talent alone is not what makes their music so amazing. There are a lot of folks out there who are just as talented but aren’t as good. What sets The Piano Guys apart is the time spent practicing. Since they spend a lot of time in practice before the big shoot they are freed to play their instruments in the way they have been designed to be played when it comes time to roll the cameras. The result is an audience left in awe at such beautiful music.
In a similar way, the church must be freed to operate in the way God has called and designed us to operate if we are going to be people who bring glory to God. But that freedom doesn’t come naturally. Something has to take place. What is it?
What frees the church to operate as God has called and designed for us to operate?
In the beginning of verse 8, we come across the word “then” or “therefore”. Depending on which translation you are reading the text says,
“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;” (1 Ti 2:8)
That little word — “therefore” or “then” — is important because it points us back to the idea that came before. The textual idea before verse 8 has to do with prayer, specifically prayer for “all peoples“, including the governing authorities.
A Restored Relationship
According to Paul, we are to pray for God to work good in the lives of those who lead us and for God to bring them to salvation so that we can live in a persecution free society where the gospel can flourish. The reason we want the gospel or the good news about Jesus to flourish is because it’s what provides salvation. There aren’t multiple paths to God. All religions aren’t the same. They don’t all lead to the same place. Christianity is the only religion that leads to eternal life.
Christianity can claim it is the only way to God because at its center is Jesus, who is the perfect God-man who offered the perfect sacrifice on our behalf. Instead of us facing God’s wrath, Jesus faced it for us. All those who believe that Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient to repair our relationship with the Father experience just that — a restored relationship with the Father and eternal life.
A Changed Heart
Along with a restored relationship with the Father and eternal life, believers also experience a changed heart. One that’s free from the power of sin. And one that’s free to live as God has designed and called us to live.
So the church is freed to operate as the God has called and designed because we have experienced a fundamental change in our relationship with God, as well as our heart has been changed from one that is bent on serving self to serving God.
Question for Reflection
- Has your heart been changed so that you desire to serve God instead of self?
Post adapted from my sermon What Frees the Church to Operate as God has Called and Designed for Us to Operate?