FRAGRANCE OF THE ASSEMBLY

  1. Focus of the Assembly
  2. Foundation of the Assembly
  3. Figures of the Assembly
  4. Fragrance of the Assembly
  5. Fruitfulness of the Assembly
  6. Function of the Assembly
  7. Fellowship of the Assembly

1Ti 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men;
1Ti 2:2 For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
1Ti 2:3 For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
1Ti 2:5 For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
1Ti 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
1Ti 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, [and] lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
1Ti 2:8 I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
1Ti 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
1Ti 2:10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
1Ti 2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
1Ti 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
1Ti 2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
1Ti 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
1Ti 2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

The subject of the chapter above is the Assembly Prayer Meeting.
May God add to the blessings of the public reading of His Word.

This is not about praying is general. This chapter addresses the Assembly Prayer Meeting.
Three things will help to establish that.
Remember Paul is writing with instructions for the Church of God.
And what should happen in the local testimony.

Secondly verse 8 speaks of men everywhere and in every place.
This expression ‘in every place’ occurs 4 times.
It refers to local assemblies.
Remember how Paul begins 1 Corinthians chapter 1?
1Co 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
1Co 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

Reason number one – Paul is writing to local churches everywhere about church order.
Reason number two – Paul speaks of everyplace and every local assembly.
Reason number three – Paul refers to sisters being in silence.
This is not speaking of life in general – that women should not speak – while it might have some advantages … but then the earth would move off its axis should this be the case.

So the first thing we establish is that we are looking at the local assembly.
Last night we mentioned the ‘House of God’ conditions.
And when the Lord Jesus went to the Temple He said “Take these things from hence …”
He said My Father’s House shall be called a House of Prayer for all nations.

So in this chapter Paul is telling us of things we have to remove.
And he is also telling us that this house will be marked by prayer for all.
Linked to this chapter is also the reference to the Tabernacle.
Recall as you approached the Tabernacle there was a gate.
This gate was wide – it was for all to enter.
And so Paul says to pray for ALL men.

As you pass through the gate you come to the brazen altar.
It reminds us that Christ gave Himself as a ransom for all.

Then you come to the Holy Place and the Altar of Incense.
This speaks of prayer.

Finally you come to the Most Holy Place where God is revealed.
Here God lays His heart bare and we see what He desires.
These pictures give us the background for the chapter that is before us in our study.

Look now what the Spirit of God mandates – What He commands.
1Ti 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
This is listed FIRST among the many instructions for the local assembly.
So we are reminded of the priority that God places on the assembly prayer meeting.
We tend to give different importance to different meetings.
We might think that the Breaking of Bread is the most important meeting or that the teaching of the word comes next in importance or may be even the gospel meeting …
But the Spirit of God says the importance I WANT to impress upon you is the importance of the assembly prayer meeting. So we are reminded of the importance of the assembly prayer meeting.
But notice now it is not just the priority of the prayer meeting but the variety of prayer described.

Paul uses 4 different expressions:
1Ti 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

  • When I think of Supplications – I am coming to a God who is Sufficient.
  • Why would one want to come to God and request for something if He cannot give it?
  • When I think of Prayer – I am coming to a God who is Sacred and I come in reverence.
  • When I think of Intercession – I am coming to a God to speak to Him of someone who has a need and I recognize I am speaking to a Sovereign God who can do what I cannot do.
  • When I think of Thankfulness – I am speaking to a God who satisfies.

So when I come with my Supplications, I come conscious that He is a God of Grace.
When I come, thinking of the Greatness of God in prayer, I think of His Glory.
When I come with requests for someone else -I am reminded of His Greatness.
And when I give Thanks – I am reminded of His Goodness.
So that as I pray I am revealing to God and to you what I think of Him.
The more I know of what God is like, the better will I pray.
The smaller my concept of God, the more poverty stricken will my prayer be.
We need to pray intelligently.

When you read about Abraham in Genesis 18, you see here of a man who knew God.
He says –“Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
Abraham had learnt that God was not only a God of Holiness but that He was also a God of Justice.
He had also learnt that God was a God of Compassion and as a result Abraham learnt how to intercede intelligently.
So the reason I need to read the Bible and learn the Word of God is so that I can pray better.

Now God hears the prayers of the simplest saints.
But I should strive to get to know God better.
So Paul reminds us here of our priority of prayer and the liberty we have in prayer:
That we can pray for all men … for kings and those in authority … for our neighbors and our families.
We never ever have to wonder if it is the will of God to save people.

In :4 we find God’s great desire.
1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
So the Spirit of God mandates and commands that pray be made for all men.
Now we have the heart of God motivating us to pray:
Having knowledge of God helps me pray better.
Having knowledge of what is in the heart of God, I learn to pray for what God desires.

This chapter tells us of the unquestioned desires of God.
If it were possible for us to ascend into heaven and peer into the heart of God, we would find that at this very moment we would find the heart of God wanting to bless people with Salvation.

How unlike the heathen deities that people once worshipped.
We are reminded of what it was like in Ephesus when Paul went there in Acts 19.
The crowd rioted because their god Artemis was being dishonored.
These men would spend money on these gods to understand what these gods wanted.
To these men Paul reveals by the Spirit of God not just what our God desires but also His unique Will.

The Heathen were used to many gods and each of these gods had different desires.
One wanted to send rain, another wanted to send destruction.
One was a god of peace; another was a god of war.
Life was all about playing one god against the other god.
Paul says away with all that – because there is only ONE God, He has only ONE desire, so we can know exactly what He desires.
Paul here links the unique Desire of God and the unique Will of God with the Unlimited Work of Christ – That He gave Himself a ransom for all.
Christ could have given no more at Calvary than He already did by the giving of Himself.
And so Paul says in the light of the Unique Will of God and the Unlimited Work of Christ that you can pray for all men.
So here we have the heart of God motivating us in our pray life.

Now we come to :8
1Ti 2:8 I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
This verse does not negate closet prayer. Closet pray is important.
If you do not know how to pray at home, you will not know how to pray in the assembly.

In Matthew chapter 6 the Lord Jesus teaches us of secret prayer – go into your closet and shut the door and speak to your Father in secret.
And so there is private prayer and public prayer.
In fact there are 3 types of prayer that comes to mind.

  1. Matthew 6 – Closet prayer
  2. 1 Tim 2:8 – Collective prayer
  3. Crisis prayer of Nehemiah – when something happens and you lift up your heart to God for help and deliverance.

Nehemiah had prayed for 3 months in private, and in the crisis when he prayed God answered his prayer.

But what we have here is the Collective Prayer of the assembly.
Now notice the 2 things that change in verse 8.
When looking at the Will of God, the word in verse 4 – is God’s Desire.
When it comes to verse 8, the word for will is not Desire – but what I Intend to Happen.
This carries the character of a command.
So God says an assembly is to be marked by Collective prayer.

The second thing that changes is the word for men.
Earlier in the chapter, Paul speaks of humanity in general – men and women.
Here in verse 8 the word is for MALES.
So the public expressions of prayer in an assembly are the responsibility of men.

God wants the men to pray – not some men.
The assembly pray meeting should not be left to one or two men.
It should be the exercise of all brothers when they come together

There are two things that will destroy an assembly’s pray meeting – long prayers and long pauses.
Some pray for 15 minutes and then there is a silence of 10 minutes.
Some men pray so long that eyes have to be kept open just to pay attention.
A new believer wanted to pray and was nervous as to what to pray about, and as he was pondering …
Another brother stood up to pray. His prayer coved the whole globe that left little else to pray about.
And so the new believer rose up and prayed “God we do not know what else to pray about as Jim has prayed it all. Amen”

It is good to come to a prayer meeting with one or two real burdens in your heart.
No need to pray for all every time you rise to your feet.
Look at what we pray about here:
We pray for people to be saved
We pray for the prosperity of the gospel.

Now think of the normal assembly prayer meeting.
Then compare our prayer to that of Paul’s prayers in Ephesians …Philippians … Colossians and you will notice:
We pray for our health, for our jobs, for our material needs.
Paul hardly prayed for material needs.
Paul majored on praying for the spiritual welfare and growth of the assembly … that their eyes would be opened to appreciate all that they had in Christ … he prayed for fruitfulness and for perseverance …

It is not wrong to pray for the sick or the need of a job when there in need for one, but I am suggesting that our concers need to be focused on the spiritual welfare of the assembly.

So believers should be praying for the guides of the assembly – the over seers.
It is very easy to criticize leaders, but far more important is to pray for them.
We should pray for gospel blessings … for the growth of the assembly from within and for God to add to the assembly without.
There is so much need to pray for the local assembly. Pray for the unity of the assembly.
Pray for the harmony of the assembly, and that God would preserve the purity of the assembly.
In all the above we have the truth of God measuring us.
We have the character of men and the conduct of the sisters.

What Paul is referring to from verse 8 downwards are not just rules and regulations.
Men are to life up holy hands without wrath and without doubting.
We are praying to a God who is holy so we need to lift up holy hands, hands that are free of defilement and sin.
Notice Paul spoke of without wrath and without doubting. So what are we praying for?
We are praying that we may lead quiet and peaceful lives.
We are praying for peace without – so we cannot have war within.
We cannot be having problems and strife within and expect to have answers to prayer for peace without.
What Paul is saying is that my life within the assembly must be consistent with what I am asking God for.
If I am angry and at war with my brother and with believers how can I expect God to answer my prayers for peace with the unsaved?
If we want a quiet and peaceful life without, we have to provide a quiet and peaceful life within the assembly.
So God is saying I want men to lift up holy hands because they are coming before a God who is holy.

How can I pray for men to realize how awful sin is, if I think that sin is not important?
If I can approach God with my hands defiled by sin how can I ask God to forgive men who are sinners that they need forgiveness from God?

So what I learn as I look at God’s requirements for the men who pray is that character is MORE important than vocabulary.
I can stand up and have very nice words to say but if my life is not consistent with my prayer then that prayer means NOTHING.
So virtue in life is more important than being eloquent in speech.
Remember James? Elijah prayed effectual and fervent prayer.
It was the prayer of a righteous man and it availed much.
It is far better to have one righteous man pray for you than 10 carnal Christians.

Now what about the value of the sisters in the assembly prayer meeting?
Sisters may think that they don’t have to come for the assembly prayer meeting as they have to remain silent.
What is the value of the sisters sitting silently through the prayer meeting?
Paul gives instructions to the sisters who sit silently.
He begins to address them … IN LIKE MANNER …
So Paul is linking the sisters to the prayers of the brothers as they stand up to pray.
There is something about the sisters that is going to add tremendous value to the prayers of the assembly.
Never forget that when a man rises to speak to God, he is rising up on behalf of the entire company.
He represents the assembly before God. He represents brothers and sisters.
Therefore we all say AMEN at the end of his prayer.

So now commenting on sisters on how their conduct will give weight to the prayers of the brothers:
What is the connection between verse 9, 10 and 11 and the intercession for all men?
1Ti 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
1Ti 2:10 But which becometh women professing godliness with good works.
1Ti 2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

  • We are praying that men will realize the value of the ETERNAL.
  • We are praying that others may submit to the TRUTH OF GOD.
  • We are praying that others will realize that the SPIRITUAL is MORE IMPORTANT than the EXTERNAL.

So bringing this back to the sisters:
Do you yourself dress up as if the EXTERNAL is MORE IMPORTANT than the INTERNAL?
And so Paul speaks of braided hair and costly array … and all that goes with it.
And so if you are dressing up as if the EXTERNAL is MORE IMPORTANT how can you possibly expect unsaved people to possibly think that the INTERNAL is MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE EXTERNAL?
If you are all taken up with the material and the physical how can you expect others to thinks that it is the SPIRITUAL that really matters?

note: The CD stops abruptly here.

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