Today we are talking about how to fight the “Good Fight”. In 1 Timothy, Paul is talking to Timothy about what kind of a Pastor he is supposed to be. Paul is attempting to train Timothy to fill in when he leaves and to continue the work in Ephesus that Paul started.
In 1 Timothy 1:18 Paul says that by the things he says to follow Timothy can “wage the good warfare”.
18 This [a]charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.1 Timothy 1:18-20 New King James Version (NKJV)
Warfare can only be good if you win right? When you ask a general how the battle went, you don’t hear him say, “GREATE!!” when they lose. It is only a GOOD fight if you win the fight.
Paul here is giving us the key to win the fight of faith.
1 – Faith & Good Conscience
The first requirement to fighting the good fight is to have faith and a good conscience. These two things go together. A GOOD conscience is one connected to God. It is a spirit who has had a new birth.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?Jeremiah 17:9 ESV
For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,Mark 7:21 ESV
A heart which has not received the new birth is wicked and immoral. It is not a safe guide and will lead you down the wrong path, but what happens when our hearts become new?
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.Ezekiel 36:26-27 King James Version (KJV)
Before the new birth, you don’t have a good conscience; you have a wicked spirit who follows after its father – the Devil. BUT when we turn from our wicked ways and confess the Lord as our Saviour, old things pass away and all things are made new in Jesus.
He takes out the old bad conscience and puts in a brand new one.
Without this new heart, it is impossible to fight the good fight.
2 – Make Supplications, Prayers, Intercessions, and Thanks
In 1 Timothy 2:1, Paul says that the first thing we as christians need to do to wage this good warfare is to make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks for all men.
2 Therefore I [a]exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,1 Timothy 2:1 New King James Version (NKJV)
Pray without ceasing
I realize many times that prayer is not the most glamorous thing available. Many times we want to go preach or lay hands on people or cast demons out or whatever [insert “your ministry” idea here].
The truth is that there’s a lot wrong with the “my ministry” thought process. At the basis the fact remains that without prayer you cannot have any ministry. Paul who undeniably changed the face of the earth when he said yes to the call of God on his life put it this way.
15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:Ephesians 1:15-16 New King James Version (NKJV)
18 I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all;1 Corinthians 14:18 New King James Version (NKJV)
Paul here is talking about two different types of prayers he prays in these instances, but the quantity of prayer does not change.
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 English Standard Version (ESV)
Make Supplications (Deesis)
The word supplications in the greek is the word deesis (Strong’s Concordance 1162). This word means to petition or to seek God’s help in a matter of personal need. It specifically refers to the needs of a person.
The first thing we are supposed to pray for is our needs.
Which makes sense right? Without having our needs met how can we move to do what God has called us to do? Jesus in his sermon on the mount tells us that we need to seek God first.
32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.Matthew 6:32-34 New King James Version (NKJV)
The next one is “proseuche” or “an exchange of wishes”. This word’s origin originates from a word meaning to worship. This is an exchange of desires – a conversation between God and you about something.
This is the same word that James 5:17 uses
17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.James 5:17 New King James Version (NKJV)
This is making your requests known unto God. The Bible says you have not because you ask not.
This word was used to describe a petition to “fall in line with” God’s will. It is a request to act as God would in a situation.
This is the type of prayer we pray when praying for food (1 Tim. 4:5).
Giving of Thanks (Eucharistia )
This is thankfulness for God’s grace and also worship to him. This is what happens after we have prayed the other types of prayers. When we are waiting for the response to be seen with our natural eye, yet we know it has already happened with God.
Thanksgiving is worship for what God has given us.
For all Men
These 4 types of prayers look slightly different depending on the type of person you are praying for. Paul later goes on to talk about two of these types: leaders and unbelievers.
2 for kings and all who are in [a]authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and [b]reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,1 Timothy 2:2-5 New King James Version (NKJV)
Pray continually for your leaders, for those who have to make hard decisions. Also pray for those in need of a Savior. Pray for the lost and the hurting. Pray without ceasing.
If we want to fight the GOOD fight the key is the fervent prayer of righteous men.
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.James 5:16 King James Version (KJV)
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