How to Live A Quiet and Peaceable Life
By Bernard Timmerman
speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity." These were Paul's words to Timothy but they are also to us. Let's pray that as the Lord Jesus opened the understanding of the Apostles on the afternoon or evening of the resurrection that he will also do the same for us with these words.
Our Father we come to thee through Christ Jesus. We come asking in his name for the Holy Spirit to lead us, to think on these words, to hear these words, to rightly believe them and to act on them, to be hearers and doers of the word. We pray that Father for all of the church first of all that we might be revived by thy word, that we might become a salt that hath not lost its savor and is good for nothing but in each nation once again that the church might be a witness, a light. We pray Father that we might do as commanded here to make supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks that it might be done for all men, that we might love our enemies as well as those that we call our friends, that we
might think of the world as well as the church and that we might think of our homes as well as our
individual lives. That we might see the need for all and when we read for all men; that includes ourself. We pray Father, for thy teaching, thy leading through Christ. We pray also for the secular needs that there are, the temporal needs for those in sickness, the homeless, t he hungry, the war torn lands, those
in older age and sorrow for troubled homes that they might be healed, the children in those homes, we
pray that thou wilt teach the church that it will teach rightly concerning all these things that thou wilt also bring our schools back to a fear of thee and recognize thee as our creator, our sustainer, our law giver and above all our redeemer through Christ in whose name we pray and give thanks. Amen.
As we think of these words, "I exhort therefore first of all". Paul is exhorting us - we can have hearing, we can have reading, we can have preaching, we can have teaching, we can have evangelism but here the word "exhort" is used. In a way it could be translated, I desire, but also another way it could be that I am speaking strongly to you, I exhort you, pay attention, and we certainly need to. We need to give heed to the Word of God. We need it in our nation and we need it in every other nation. We need it in the first nation that was given the word as Paul said what advantage hath the Jew, what profit is there in circumcision much in every way, to them were given the oracles of God. And many of them have not believed the message of Christ that he has come. We need to pray that the spirit will be given to them also and all nations, all people, yes our own nation and ourselves. We can look at this objectively and think of supplications and prayers and intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men and we could think of it as other men, kings and all that are in authority, that we might lead a
quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. There is certainly a need of that. We can be thankful as I speak from our country, the United States of America, that we have this freedom that we can speak as I can do today without fear, without there being any thought of persecution. We have a freedom that I'm afraid we don't use as much as we should and we don't redeem the time as we could but there are nations today that cannot live a quiet and peaceable life because of the persecution. I received a magazine today. In that magazine I read of one town in a certain country where two Christians were brought to public trial. The judging panel instructed them that they would go free only if they admitted that there was no God. One quickly denied his God before the crowd and was freed to return home. The other refused to betray the Savior. The brave Christian was sent to a labor camp. Then going farther in that article. “There are more Christians imprisoned in that nation for religious activity than in any other nation.” The sad thing is that this persecution is taking place and it is a terrible thing. It is said here, "several cases of Christian women being hung by their thumbs from wire and beaten with heavy rods, denied food and water, shocked with electric probes". Others write that the government of that nation authorizes agents to raid homes, confiscate property and indiscriminately beat those believers unable to escape. This is taking place. This is what is written and I fear it is sadly true. And so we need to pray for such a nation that they may also lead quiet and peaceable lives in godliness and honesty which is not being done.
How thankful we can be that we are in a nation where this can be done and where we can preach the gospel and thankfully reach into some nations where the gospel is forbidden. But, we also need to think when we are commanded to do this, we are to pray for them. For kings, for all that are in authority but what about ourselves? The church? Our homes? Our individual lives? What if we are like Christ said, when we should be praying, and doing other things as well, Christ said, in what is called the sermon on the mount, recorded beginning in Matthew chapter 5 verse 13. "Ye are the salt of the earth but if the salt hath lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted. It is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and be trodden under foot of men." Christ said to the believers, "you are the salt of the earth", but if we have lost the savour, if we have lost the true faith, if we are not as Jude said later, “contending for the faith once delivered to the saints”, if we have lost it either in knowledge or if we have lost it in practice (sometimes we can continue in the knowledge and have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof) Then, how can we pray for others? How, if the church is not right itself? If we think both of the present and we think especially of the past how the church has not been peaceable amongst themselves, has it ever been repented of? Has it ever been acknowledged? We speak of church fathers and we give reverence to them but do we know their sins? Daniel said, we and our fathers have sinned! Can we say that today? And we may have to say that before we can rightly utter a prayer for kings and for all that are in authority. Yes, there is much concern in our nation. What will our future government be. Will we have peace? Will we have a continuing government as we have now? But what does the government think of the church? What do they hear from us? What do they see in us? What do they know about us?
I've mentioned some of the things last week, where some who are very influential in our government today, speak of what they call the Christian Right being dead and a thing of the past. As I ended the message last week we spoke of this, but what is it? Where is it? And, if it is wrong, is it being replaced by something better or worse? Must we return to it and see it revived? Must we see the church repent? Must we see it like the church at Corinth? There it had not died, but it had not yet grown. They were babes but they repented. They had a godly sorrow. Yes, the Lord Jesus also said, not only speaking of the salt but speaking to all of us as believers he said, we may have to take the beam out our own eye first to see clearly to take the splinter out of another's eye. Who would believe that the church would have a beam,
and the government would have a splinter? How does God measure? For one thing he says, "to whom much has been given, much will be required”. The church has been given much more than any government. The government can only receive what it has in knowledge and understanding through the church. Each individual governmental leader should have a church, should hear from a preacher, from a teacher, should read from God's word. We talk about the wall of separation but it doesn't have
to be. Not at all. Every government leader not only has the privilege to hear the word of God in our nation but to believe the word of God and to practice the word of God. As a government leader he cannot tell people what to do in regard to spiritual things. Government has not that place and that is part of both our freedom and the way our government is set up. But the freedom is there to confess Christ. I can remember a judge once stating from his bench, "I too confess Christ". He could not order the people in his courtroom to believe in Christ but he could say, "I confess Christ", freely, rightly, wonderfully and would to God that there were more that did in every court room in every room of Congress, in every state and in our federal government, in our White House, in our Supreme Court. The freedom is there and we need to pray that this will take place! Pray for kings and for all that are in authority. That means every one! The church is to pray! Yes, Paul was speaking here to Timothy but Timothy in turn was to instruct others and this word continues to instruct us.
What about our homes? We read here "that we might lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all godliness and honesty". I've often heard that people want this man or that man for congressman or representative and that all may be well but in those men taking office, does that change your and my home? Are they responsible for that? They may be responsible for the freedom, they may be responsible for laws made and sadly we have too many laws that give too much freedom and leeway for divorce - easy divorce.
All through the courts so quickly, so easily - no fault divorce. I believe it's wrong but they are not
forcing the divorce, they are allowing it when they shouldn't. But who is forcing it? Husbands and wives and sadly sometimes the church! And I've heard it from two preachers, one saying, “I'm counseling my parishioner to get a divorce”. Another said, “they are finally taking my advice”. Sad! Wrong! When Christ says, what God has joined together let not man put asunder! Woe unto the church that urges that wrong thing! And no matter what kind of a government we will have, if our homes and our churches don't change our ways, don't look for a quiet and peaceable land. Yes, they may allow us to go more and more like Sodom, but that's not quiet and peaceable and we are pitching our tents toward Sodom! Will our end be like them? Gone in a day? It could happen again. Christ said, “Just
as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man.” Luke 17:26, 28, 29. He will come on the clouds of glory, what will he find? As he said, will he find faith on the earth? Will he find faith amongst those who are exhorted, "that supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks for all men and for kings and all that are in authority that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty".
Even amongst Christians I hear more of working toward doing political things than prayer being offered, intercessions and giving of thanks. Not one word from God about politics. Not one word about giving money to support this candidate and that one. It's all prayer! Yes, it's also sadly true that money buys this one that one and another one. Do you know that God can still overrule it? That God can give us over to a reprobate mind? God can give us over to a reprobate people. God can also change government, churches, homes and individuals. God can do it! He has done it in the past. He did it in the great awakening with Jonathan Edwards. Simply preaching against sin, preaching deliverance by faith in Christ, speaking about the safety, fullness and sweet refreshment in Christ. That's where there is peace. That's where there is quietness, godliness and honesty. Where is honesty today? Again we really don't have to look to government but do we have to look to the church? Is the church honest with the Word of the living God regarding salvation, regarding repentance, regarding faith, regarding Christ's word, except you be converted and become as little children you cannot enter
the kingdom of heaven. Is it even honest in regard to such things which may be secondary but still important, baptism? Other areas in regards to what God said about the Jewish nation, sad division in the church, sad anti-Semitism altogether too much, it has been there, and still is there. I've heard it, heard it from the lips of preachers. Yes, when we pray for kings plural, it means kings of other nations as well as our own. That means kings of nations that we may count enemies and say, "well we don't really have anything to do with them". We need to! Because, we are to preach the gospel to all nations. Call all nations to repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. All of that
is to be done for all of the world; to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Yes, many different areas in the church, in the home, our own families. Paul, not in this particular scripture, but when writing to the church at Rome, said how he had sorrow for his kinsmen according to the flesh. Do each one of us
pray for our families? Do we want them to be saved as Paul did? He said, I have sorrow and heaviness
for my brethren and my kinsmen according to the flesh My prayer for them is that they might be saved. That has to be part of the blessing. We can't have a nation full of unsaved people and expect to have kings that are a blessing to us. People that are not submissive to God, won't themselves be submissive to government in a right way, won't be submissive to one another, and again will not make up good and right homes. Our churches are sadly in neglect not only in joining with the ease of divorce but not establishing homes rightly, not in carefulness and many other areas that we need to think of that the church needs to pray for. Pray, pray much more than we do!
Yes, pray for God's blessing like Elijah prayed his face between his knees until his servant saw that small cloud and then he knew the showers of blessing were coming. He looked he prayed, he looked he prayed, he prayed he looked and then he saw a small cloud. Oh do we see a cloud today of God's
blessing? I see the promise in God's Word. "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers,
intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth". Yes, that is God's will for us and the basis of it is in verse 5 for there is one God and one mediator between God and man, between all men in all nations, all kings. One God over them all! One mediator between God and all those men in all nations, high places and low. The man Christ Jesus! Do you know him? Have you received him? If you are an individual in your home or in your church, do you want to receive him so you will be an influence in your nation, so you can pray in the name of the Lord Jesus to the Father for others, for kings and those in authority? That's the only way we have the promise to be heard of God. The God who answers prayer! The God whose, "t he king's heart are in his hand". Oh pray for them and ourselves through Christ!
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