Come to the Knowledge of the Truth

Come to the Knowledge of the Truth

Come to the Knowledge of the Truth is a sermon teaching us that God wants everyone to know the truth and the truth is that there is one God and one way to God through Christ Jesus, and we are to share this truth with others.

Key Verses:

I Timothy 2:1: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;”

I Timothy 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.”

I Timothy 2:3: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;”

I Timothy 2:4: “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

I Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”

I Timothy 2:6: “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

I Timothy 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.”

I Timothy 2:8: “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

Paul writes to Timothy and we learn through his writing about how to come to the knowledge of the truth. We live in a day that is strange in many ways. There are many things in this world that are still uncertain. There is a lot of uncertainty in our world and in society. Many times, our individual hearts and minds have a lot of uncertainty and things we are unsure about. I wish I could stand here today and take all the uncertainty out of your life, but I do not have that ability.

But I can tell you this. There are things that are very certain. There are things that are unchangeable. There are many things in life that change all the time, but there are some things that are unchangeable. God says, “I am the Lord, I change not.” You’ll find that in the book of Malachi. Paul has also written, “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever. That is wonderful and that is a truth you can trust.

Paul’s Protégé

Paul writes these things to encourage us because there are some things that are very certain and very dependable. How certain are they? Well, they are as certain as the moon tonight and the sun tomorrow. They are that certain. Paul writes a letter to Timothy. Timothy was a young man that Paul did not lead to the Lord. He came to know the Lord because of the teaching of his mother and his grandmother.

Paul took Timothy in as a protégé. He refers to Timothy once as his son, not his physical son, but as his son in the ministry. It is possible to feel that way about someone who is not your physical child, but you love them as though they were your child, and that is not unusual at all.

Paul writes this letter to Timothy who was a young pastor at the time. He writes the letter as a letter of instruction. He is teaching him some things as a young pastor that a young pastor needs to know, some things about doctrine and procedure within the church. But he is also writing a letter of encouragement. Paul is writing to instruct, encourage, and help Timothy.

Timothy needs encouragement. Maybe we need encouragement. We are going to read from Paul’s letter for some instruction and some encouragement. There is always going to be some uncertainty in our lives, always. But more important than that, there are things that we may know that are very certain, we can be encouraged by, we can be strengthened by, because they are founded on the solid rock.

Paul Exhorts

In this passage, I Timothy 2, verses 1-8, Paul writes, “I exhort.” To exhort means, “I call you alongside,” like a son or a daughter whose father would put his around their shoulders to impart some wisdom to them, to encourage them, and to act like a child of God, to act like someone who is saved.

When Paul says, “I exhort you,” he is instructing and encouraging us. What is he exhorting us to do? To pray. At the beginning of this 8-verse passage, he exhorts us to pray and at the end of this passage, he exhorts us to pray. So, if you are thinking that prayer must be key to understand this passage, you are correct, that is exactly what is being said.

I Timothy 2:1: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;”

Pray for Needs

Paul then says, “first of all.” He is saying to make this a priority. According to verse one, we are supposed to pray for everybody. The Lord even listens to the prayers of children. Jesus said that if you offend one of these little ones that believe in Him, that it is better if a millstone were hung around your neck and be cast in the sea. Jesus takes it seriously.

We are to pray for people you know and people you do not know. Do you need help and encouragement? People around you need the same thing. Are you ill or have health issues? Other people have the same thing. Have you suffered loss or struggling with something? Others too. We need to pray for each other. It is not only important but also essential that we pray for each other.

But notice how to pray, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications.” The word “supplications” means needs. We are to pray for the needs of people. If you do not know what somebody needs, you can pray for them anyway. God knows what they need. But if you pray for specific needs, you are going to know when those prayers are answered. Pray specifically and you will know that your prayer got answered. They may be answered anyway if you do not pray specifically, but when you do pray specifically, you’ll know when your prayer got answered.

Communing with God

Paul writes, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers.” In this case, “prayers” means communing with God. Each of us needs to commune with God. God wants to talk to us, and we need to talk with Him. The number one cause of relationship failure is a lack of communication. You can take this cause and apply it to any kind of relationship – marriage, friendship, business relationship, organizational relationship, any kind of relationship.

The number three cause for marriage failure in America is infidelity. Bigger than infidelity is the number two cause, financial stress, having financial problems. But the number one reason for marriage failure and failure in any kind of relationship is the failure to communicate. Absolutely must have communication.

Battles have been lost because of poor communication. Companies have been destroyed because of poor communication. Countries have fallen because of poor communication, and families fail because of poor communication. God wants to communicate with you, and He is perfectly willing to. So, the shortcoming is not His it is ours. When it talks about prayers here, it is about you and I communing with God.

Interceding for Others

The next word is “intercessions.” This means you are praying on behalf of somebody else. Maybe that person is not praying because maybe that person doesn’t even know the Lord. But you are going to intercede for them, you are going to pray for them and ask God to work in their life.

Giving of Thanks

The next term we learn about is “giving of thanks.” We need to be thankful and grateful. People like to hear that they are thanked. Some of us need to work on saying “thank you,” especially for a specific situation. Give thanks to God for what He has done.

Paul exhorts us to offer supplications, praying for needs, communing with God, praying on behalf of somebody else, giving of thanks, and doing that for all men.

Of Kings and Authorities

And then Paul gets specific:

I Timothy 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.”

Around the same time, within a year or two, when Paul writes this to Timothy, Peter is writing. Peter writes and says, “Fear God, love the brotherhood, honor the king.” What does “fear God” mean? To fear God is to have reverential awe for God, to understand the holiness, the majesty, and the authority of God. It does not mean to have a spiritual paranoia lifestyle like God is out to get you because that is not true. God is not out to get you. But it is recognizing the holiness, the majesty, and authority of God in your life. That is what the fear of God is. To love the brotherhood simply means to love your brothers.

But then Peter writes to honor the king. Stop and think who the king was when Peter wrote that. It was Caesar, and that particular Caesar when Peter writes to honor the king, was no friend to Christians. He was a persecutor of Christians. He was responsible for the death of a multitude of Christians. How do you honor such a king? The principle is simply put there. Let’s go back to what Paul said, “Pray for kings.” and not only that but to pray for kings and “all in authority.”

But what if the kings or those in authority were not kind to Christians? They were not in Paul’s day. Again, Paul writes nearly the same time Peter wrote his. Peter says, “honor the king” and Paul says “pray for the king.” The king they are honoring and praying for is not a godly man. Does he ever become a godly man? No, he did not. Did he ever start treating Christians better? No, he did not.

How can you pray for such a king? Pray for people who are not saved and do not know the Lord and pray for them to be saved. Imagine what a wonderful testimony it would be that man who was one of the most anti-Christian, one of the most vocal and public anti-Christian men on the planet, had gotten saved? You may say that it never happens.

But let’s look back a moment. Paul, who wrote this letter to Timothy, was one of the most verbal, most public, and openly anti-Christian people on the planet and he got saved. He became probably the most influential Christian on the planet. So, it is not unheard of by any means.

First of all, we need to pray for the salvation of those people. Pray for their soul, pray for them to be saved. So we are to pray for kings and all in authority. Why? So “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” Who is going to lead the quiet and peaceful life in godliness and all honesty? You and I, so we can lead the right kind of life, a godly life, a peaceable life. Pray for those who are in authority. Pray #1 for their salvation. Pray #2 for them to have wisdom. Pray #3 for them to do what is right.

Even bad people occasionally do something right. Pray for them to do what is right. “Why should I pray for these people that I don’t like, and they don’t like me, and they are not good to me? Why should I do that?” #1 reason is that God told us to. God works in the hearts and minds of people and because you want to lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty.

We learned about Paul, but here is another, King Nebuchadnezzar. He was an extremely cruel man and an extremely prideful man. He thought that he did not have to answer to any god because he was just as powerful as any god there was. King Nebuchadnezzar sent his armies from Babylon, we would say Iraq today, down to Israel and Jerusalem to destroy the city and the temple and took the people of Judah captive for 70 years. If you spoke wrong in his presence, that was it for you, you were gone. But God did a work in Nebuchadnezzar’s heart and God changed him, and he gave his heart to the Lord. He became a changed man.

If God could save wicked King Nebuchadnezzar, and God could save Saul of Tarsus, who was persecuting Christians, hauling them off to jail, and many times, they were killed because of his accusations. If God saved these men, don’t you think He could save other people? Don’t you think he could save those people you don’t like? If God can save you, He can save anybody.

Do Our Part

So, pray. As we pray for these people and these things, we are doing it so we can lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty. That is a very important thing that Paul is teaching us here. You and I need to live godly and honestly. The whole world is going to Hell. The question is what are you going to do about it? What you are NOT going to do about it is to say that you give up and not even try. No, you go on trying, you go on doing what you are supposed to be doing.

You and I are supposed to continue to do it whether anybody else does it or not. Someone once said, “You do it right even if nobody else does it right. And you don’t do wrong even though everybody else is doing wrong.”

You just do what is right, you will be better for it. Even the people around you will be better for it also. We have a field of influence that is probably broader than we think it is. You probably influence more people than you have any idea about. We have got to be giving them an example of honesty and an influence of godliness. How are we going to do that?

I Timothy 2:3: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;”

First, we are praying for kings, for authorities, for others, for ourselves. This is good and acceptable in God’s sight for you to pray, for you to pray for all men, pray for kings and all authority, and for you to pray for others and pray for yourself. Praying is good and acceptable in the sight of God.

The book of Revelation chapter five tells us our prayers go up before the throne of God as sweet-smelling savors. And He treasures our prayers. If you get that picture in your mind, I think that will encourage you. Although there are so many people praying, God will hear your prayer. He hears your prayers, and He answers your prayers. Prayer is good and acceptable in the sight of God.

But notice what else it says, “in the sight of God our Saviour.” That tells you that our Savior is God. So, who is the Savior? Jesus. This says that Jesus is God. There are those who say Jesus never claimed to be God. Those people probably never read the New Testament. So, it is “good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour” that we pray for people. Why?

Save All Men

I Timothy 2:4: “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

The pronoun “Who” goes back to God our Savior. So, God our Savior would have all men to be saved. God wants to save all men. Did God want Saul, the persecutor of men, to be saved? Yes, He did, didn’t He? Did He want to save King Nebuchadnezzar? Yes, He did. Does God want to save sinners? Absolutely, no doubt about it. God says He wants all men to be saved.

John 1:11: “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”

John 1:12: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”

Salvation is provided for everybody, but not everybody is saved. Who is saved? Those who receive and believe. Those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and receive Him.

I Timothy 2:4: “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

If there is anything needed in this world today, it is for people to come to the knowledge of the truth. We live in a day when Isaiah says, “truth is fallen in the streets.” Truth is disregarded. People say ridiculous things like, “there’s your truth and there’s my truth.” Truth is true whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not. Truth is still the truth. If you don’t believe it doesn’t change the fact that it is true.

One God

So, God our Savior will have all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. What truth? Particularly this truth:

I Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”

There is one God.

Isaiah 43:11: “I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.”

“LORD” in all capital letters means Jehovah God and beside Him, there is no savior. Nobody else. There is nobody else to turn to. God said, “Thou shall have no other gods before me.” There is “one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” That is a wonderful truth also because people say there are many different ways to get to God. If there is one God, and He says there is one way to come to Him, that is it. That should settle it. Jesus said this, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes unto the Father but by me.” That is pretty clear, there is no other way. No other way to come, no other way to get there, that is it. So, take these verses together:

I Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”

Isaiah 43:11: “I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.”

John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Take these verses together and you are going to get that there is one way to get to God and that is to come to the knowledge of the truth. The truth is there is one God, one mediator between God and man, and the rest continues in verse 6:

I Timothy 2:6: “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

I John 2:2: “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Not only were our sins paid but the sins of the whole world. When Jesus died on the cross, was it a limited atonement? Did He die for certain people? No, He died for the sins of the whole world.

Preach the Gospel

Then why isn’t everybody saved? There are two things to consider: #1 People don’t believe. #2 Why don’t people believe? There is more than one answer to that question. One of the answers to that question is that there are people that have not heard or have not been told. Or there are people who heard and do not understand. Tell them again until they understand. Some of us are slow learners. We catch on eventually.

So, here is what he is saying:

I Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”

I Timothy 2:6: “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

Mark 16:15: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Who needs the Gospel? Everybody. You might say that people have their own way, their own religion. Yes, that is the problem. You could have the best of intentions in the world, you can be sincere in your heart and get on the wrong way and it is still going to be bad. It is not about being sincere, it is not about intentions, it is about coming to the knowledge of the truth.

I Timothy 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.”

What does Paul mean when he says, “Whereunto”? It means “because of the truth.” “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle,” there is a difference between a preacher and an apostle. You don’t have to be an apostle to share the Gospel. “Apostle” is a very unique title given to a very limited amount of people. But “preacher” is a different thing. Anybody can be a preacher.

Dr. Monroe Parker, one of the greatest preachers I ever heard. He told me, “We cannot all be great preachers, but we can all preach a great Gospel.” And that is what Paul is saying here, “I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle.”

Notice the parenthetical statement “(I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;).” Be that person in Christ and never lie. How are you going to do that? Paul says he is, “a teacher of the Gentiles.” That is more significant than you realize. Paul is Jewish. Jewish people in that day didn’t have much to do with Gentiles if they could help it. But Paul says he is “a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity,” meaning truth.

I Timothy 2:8: “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

Paul starts this passage with prayer and ends in prayer. Paul says, “I will therefore.” Paul talked about God’s will earlier and now talks about his will. These are Paul’s final words. Everybody, everybody needs to pray. This passage begins and ends with an exhortation to pray: pray for all men, pray for kings and those in authority. Pray that we might lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty because God is pleased when we do this.

But everyone needs to come to the knowledge of the truth. What is the truth? That there is one God and one way to God, that the Savior gave Himself for us and He commissioned us to be His witnesses to be testified in due time.

And then we are to pray without doubting and without wrath. What does that mean? That person you are angry with, pray for him. It is hard to stay angry with a person when you are praying for them. You want to not be angry with somebody? Pray for them. Genuinely pray for them. Whether it changes them or not, it changes you. God’s will is for all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. But they need you and me to give them the truth.

Get in-depth knowledge by viewing or listening to the sermon: Come to the Knowledge of the Truth

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Dr. Michael L. McClure, our lead pastor, is known for his in-depth knowledge and effective teaching style of biblical truths applicable to every day living.

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