Second Reformed Church

Monday, November 30, 2015

Review: "A Lost God in a Lost World"

How can God be lost?

Melvin Tinker, in his book, A Lost God in a Lost World, directs the reader's attention to Isaiah 44:9-23, where he begins a discussion around the word "idol" -- which means in its root word, "empty" or "weightless"  -- as opposed to the word which is used to describe the True God -- "glory" -- which means "immensely weighty" or "overwhelmingly full" (28-29).

Tinker is addressing the problem of idolatry and goes to show its vanity, followed by an apt presentation of the True God:  "The folly in thinking that is is possible to make from things which are less than human something which is more than human in order to give humans the power they need to make it through life without God" (40).

The problem of idolatry is at its root a problem of pride (49ff).

The answer we need is an understanding of the grandeur of God -- to which he turns to Isaiah 40:1-31.

If we understand our pride and God's grandeur, the answer of the Crucified God provided in Philippians 2:5-11 makes sense (83ff).

And if one believes the Holy Spirit indwells a person and works in him -- a la John 14:1-31 (103ff).  At this point the author explains the interrelatedness of the Three Persons of the Godhead and rightly stresses a oft-neglected truth -- that the Holy Spirit is a Person, not a force.

From here, he looks at the necessity of Gospel preaching (121ff).  In this section he looks at the concept of faith and argues against those who see faith as an irrational belief in wishful thinking, rather arguing that faith deals with facts, assent to those facts, and trust in those facts -- a heart-belief (129-131).  Faith to be faith must be grounded and certain.

He ends this section arguing that the call of the Church is to preach the Gospel -- all other things that it may do, others can do better, but only the church can be the church and proclaim the Gospel she is entrusted (133-134).

Then he explains that the divine call to the salvation of the elect does not negate our responsibility to proclaim the Gospel, as God has chosen to save by hearing (137ff).

He looks at 2 Peter 3 to argue the necessity of Christ's return to free us fro all possibility of sin, and how God is now outside of time, as we shall be (155ff).

Finally, he returns to Isaiah 65:17-25  as he consider the restored Creation to come -- the Kingdom of God in which we shall live. Specifically, he looks at issues of sin and mourning for it and those who are damned, as well as the question of whether the Kingdom will be boring (174ff).

Tinker's book is timely, well written and argued.  He clearly shows that all people worship a god and any God but the True God is a weightless god.  The God Who is "lost" to them is the True God -- the Only God Who provides and secures salvation for all those who will believe.

Tinker's book is encouraging for interacting with others, proclaiming the Gospel to the whole Creation, and looking forward to the hope to the resurrection and the life to come.

I warmly recommend this book.


[I received this book free from the publish in exchange for an honest review.  This review appears on my blog and on]

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thursday Night Study

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday being at our neck, there will be no study this evening.  Please enjoy time with your family and friends in safety.  We will resume, D.V., next Thursday.

Review: "Rediscovering Discipleship"

Robby Gallaty's Rediscovering Discipleship:  Making Jesus' Final Words Our First Work was an interesting read.

Gallaty argues that discipleship is central to the work of the church and is missional, accountable, reproducible, communal, and scriptural (18).

He opens his book arguing that it is not possible to disciple a non-believer and that the believer needs to spend time getting to know Christ as He is presented in the Scripture -- and not just as a collection of facts, but as Someone in which one has a heart-belief (27ff).

The scriptural process of discipleship is one of Jesus exampling, assisting Jesus, Jesus assisting, and, finally, the disciples going out on their own (36).

Gallaty present the first disciples and argues they were generally blue collar, uneducated, and young (74).  This is a good place, he says, to look for modern disciples.

Gallaty looks to church history to show this was the practice until recent church history (87ff).

In looking at Ephesians 4:11-13, he shows "it is the job of pastors and leaders to equip believers to carry out their God-given ministry (121, emphasis his).

Turning to methodology proper, he argues that disciples ship is a slow process and ought to happen in small groups (under six) (135ff).

He gives this definition:  "Discipleship is intentionally equipping believers with the Word of God through accountable relationships empowered by the Holy Spirit in order to replicate faithful followers of Christ" (155, emphasis his).

In chapter 13, he explains the "MARCS" earlier enumerated:

Missional -- building intentional friendships and engaged in lifestyle evangelism (188).
Accountable --  group members know and hold each other to the group's standards and questions (194).
Reproducible -- each mentee eventually becomes a mentor (197).
Communal -- a biblical love amongst the members (200).
Scriptural -- the Bible is central to all that is done (201).

Gallaty brings up many good practices and explains them well, though he writes by giving many stories, which I found wearying -- though I know others would appreciate that.

My reservations concern some remarks he makes, such as that Whitefield was a failure regarding discipleship because he didn't have a method like Wesley (116).  And the defense of not discipling unbelievers being the same as why you don't baptize infants -- not profession of faith as a foundation (!) (168).

I was also concerned, despite the caution to move slowly -- to have the main goal to move the mentees on to being mentors -- sounded too much like what he says it is not -- I tell two friends, and they each tell two friends, and so on, and so on.

There is good here, and there is a lack of discipleship, but I would encourage more work on this book before another edition.


[I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This review appears on my blog and]

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"Ruler of Kings" Sermon: Revelation 1:4-8

“Ruler of Kings”
[Revelation 1:4-8]
November 22, 2015 Second Reformed Church
            On this Christ the King Sunday, as we look at a bit of the book of Revelation, we need to remind ourselves that the popular understanding of the book of Revelation – a very new understanding of the book of Revelation – which has only been around for the past hundred years or so with any popularity – this view of the book being that of a horror story – we do not believe is correct – the Church historically has not held to this view.
            The churches I was raised up in led me to understand – more from the youth leaders than the pastors – that the world was going to get worse and worse until one day we get zapped up into the sky for seven years while all hell breaks loose – literally – giving the unbelievers one last time to repent – and then we will come back to earth with Jesus and chop everyone into tiny little pieces who doesn’t believe and reign with Jesus for a thousand years on earth, after which, well, we’ll be too old to care what happens after that.
            This is the view of the “left behind” people – and it does not make sense.
            The book of Revelation was written to Christians suffering under the persecution of Nero, and it was written to encourage and comfort the Christians as then endured suffering for the sake of the Gospel.  And, it was written in symbols that first century believers would have understood.  So, as we read the book, we need to interpret it by understandimg what they would have understood in the first century – who and what these symbols would have clearly indicated to believers in the first century.
            This morning, we are looking at John’s greeting.  And we see, first, this book is for the Church:
            “John to the seven churches that are in Asia:”
John is the John who is the author of the Gospel of John and the three letters of John.  He wrote down “the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:1a, ESV) in his old age while in exile on the Isle of Patmos.
The seven churches in Asia – what we now call Turkey – were well-known and are identified in the text that follows:  the church in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.
While these seven churches are specifically addressed in the first three chapters, we must keep in mind that numbers had a symbolic significance, and the number seven was understood to stand to “completeness” or “fullness,” which makes sense as we read from chapter four on and see that the message is directed to the entire – the complete – the full – Christian Church.
Although there are specific greetings to the seven churches in Asia, this letter is for all believers – the whole Christian Church – and that includes you and me.
Second, the Triune God gives us grace and peace through tribulation.
            “Grace to you and peace”
            John begins his greeting with these words of comfort and assurance – that God will give His grace and peace to the Church – to all we who believe – as we suffer for the sake of the Gospel – which is the Tribulation.
            What does that mean?
            We receive grace from God – that is, we receive everything we need to be God’s people – in a number of ways, but especially as we hear the Word of God read and preached and as we receive the Sacraments.  God enables us for whatever we would go through for His sake as we meet with Him and commune with Him in these ways.  And we receive His peace – we are settled and joyful because we know that God is Sovereign over all things, and as Paul tells us, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, ESV).
            So, whether we lead a quiet and “unremarkable” life – so to speak, or whether we are captured by ISIS and blown up or tortured or beheaded for the sake of the Gospel – for our belief in Who Jesus is and what He has done – as Paul said, “I can do all thing through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, ESV) – I can live a life filled with the grace of God, being at peace with whatever may come to pass, whether plenty or need – because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and certain and unchangeable.  If we live, we live to serve Christ and spread the Gospel; if we die, we go to be with Christ in person and be in everlasting joy in worship before Him.
            This grace and peace comes from God – the Triune God – the One God Who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
“from him who is and who was and who is to come,”
From God the Father, Who is not merely eternal – as are humans – but He is timeless.  He is before anything was.  He is now.  He is forever and ever and ever.  Nothing exists that He did not create and all things are under His control.
“and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,”
Remember, we said that the number seven is symbolic of completeness or wholeness.  The phrase, “the seven spirits,” is symbolic of God the Holy Spirit.  He is the One Who applies the work of Jesus to us to complete us and make us whole before the Father.
“and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of kings on the earth.”
And, God the Son, Jesus Christ, the Incarnate God, Whom is given three titles here:
“The faithful witness”
This expression comes from a Psalm where we find God’s promise about the child of David:
“His offspring shall endure forever, his throne as long as the sun before me.  Like the moon it shall be established forever, a faithful witness in the skies” (Psalm 89:36-37, ESV).
The Son of David is the Eternal Son, Who is the Faithful Witness – to God, to His Holiness, to the One Way of Salvation that God has made through Him – Jesus Christ.  A witness is one who recounts the truth of something; Jesus recounts the Truth of God and is the Truth of Salvation.
“the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of kings on the earth.”
The second and third title, “firstborn from the dead” and “the rulers of kings” come from the same Psalm: 
“And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth” (Psalm 89:27, ESV).
The Jehovah’s witnesses and other like groups who see Jesus referred to as the “firstborn” argue that Jesus must be less than God.  But they are mistaken in thinking that “firstborn” refers to time; “firstborn” can also – and does here – refer to authority – Jesus is the “firstborn” in the sense that He is the highest authority, because He is God.
Paul explains, “And he is the head of the body, the church.  He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent” (Colossians 1:18, ESV).
Likewise, He is “the ruler of kings” – Jesus is the King of kings – all other rulers and leaders throughout time and space are subject to Jesus.  All of them must bow before Him and submit to Him – either in worship, or by force.
And so John tells the Church of the first century – and us – that we receive all we need to be God’s people as proclaimers of the Gospel, not shaken as we go through the Tribulation, but proceed in faith and hope – not matter what may come – knowing that our God and Savior is the Timeless, Sovereign, Saving, Completing, Self-Witnessing, Highest Authority in All of Creation, and Universal King Who gives us the assurance that through Him all things will work out for our good and to the Glory of God.
Third, Jesus loves us.
            “To him who loves us”
            Take note – this is the one and only verse in the Bible that says, “Jesus loves us” – that is, all we who believe.
            John 3:16 tells us the God the Father loves all we who believe and sent His Son to make and secure salvation for us; Revelation 1:5 tells us that God the  Son loves all we who believe.  And He shows us His love in these ways:
            “and has freed us from our sin by his blood”
            In Jesus’ life and death, He became our Substitute – first standing before God under the Law and keeping it perfectly, and then standing before God as the One Who willingly bore all of the sins of everyone who would ever believe, receiving the full force of God’s Wrath upon Him, and then, because He is God, He physically rose from the dead and grants us the salvation that He earned on our behalf.  Jesus loves us and He lived and died – shedding His blood in a most horrible way that we would be freed from sin – we are no longer under the control of sin or under the condemnation for our sin – we have been freed and forgiven.
            Peter wrote, “know[] that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a precious lamb without blemish or spot” (I Peter 1:18-19, ESV).
“and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father,”
Through the work of Jesus that He did in love for us, we are now a kingdom – the Kingdom of God – the Church.  And we are priests to God – we are those God has called to proclaim His Word – His Gospel – to the whole Creation.  We are His people forever, and He has given us all work to do – to let others know the Gospel and to call them to belief and repentance.
Again, Peter wrote, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (I Peter 2:9-10, ESV).
And Jesus did this out of love – while we were still enemies with Him – and not for anything we had or would do, but out of love.
Is it any wonder that John breaks into praise?
“to him be glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen.”
Can we do any less, when Jesus has loved us so much to take our place in life and death and secure for us the status of sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters with Jesus – part of the everlasting and glorious Kingdom of God – those God sends to tell the whole Creation that Jesus is the Only Savior? 
“to him be glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen.”
Fourth, Jesus is coming back.
“Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all the tribes of the earth will wail on account of him.  Even so.  Amen.”
Forty days after the Resurrection, Jesus ascended back to the Father, where He sits enthroned on His Right Hand.
Jesus said, “Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30, ESV).
And Luke records:
“And when [Jesus] had said these things, as [the disciples] were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.  And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold two men stood by them in while robes, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?  This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11, ESV),
When Jesus returns to judge the world and restore the Creation, every human being who has ever lived will see Him at the same time, and all those who “pierced him” – not just those who actually crucified Him, but all those who never believed in Jesus savingly will “mourn” or “wail” – it’s the same word in both translations – and it means to “beat one's breast as a strong expression of grief or remorse” (Bible Windows), but not sorrow for disbelief, but for Jesus being the Truth.
The sorrow that unbelievers experience is not a sorrow of repentance, but a sorrow of being caught.  It is not a sorrowful cry for forgiveness for sin, but a cry of hatred that Christ is Victorious. 
And this cry of agony from the lost will come from “all the tribes of the earth.”  Just as there will people saved of every type of person on earth, so there will be people damned from every type of person on earth.
Those who had taken their anger and wrath against God and His Savior and meted it on we who believe will be justly judged at the end of the age, even as they continue to deny our God and Savior.
Our sure hope is that no matter what the Anti-Christ and his followers – and all those who deny Jesus – do to we who believe, God has promised to give us His Grace that we would be able to do and be all He calls us to do and be, and He gives us His Peace that we can rest in Him and the assurance of salvation we have in Jesus.
God the Father loves us and Jesus loves us and They have sent God the Holy Spirit – Who love us – to be with us – to lead us in being witnesses to Jesus Christ and His Salvation – the Jesus Who bled and died for our salvation as our Substitute, Jesus Who is preeminent in authority – even over all the kings of earth.
Jesus is the Sovereign God Who has made us a kingdom and priests for Him and to His Glory, and when He returns to earth on the clouds, we will rejoice and cry out, “Hallelujah!  Here comes the King!”
And so John ends his introduction by writing down God’s self-identification:
            “’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’”
            Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet.  The meaning is that there is nothing outside of God’s power and authority – from the beginning to the end – all is God’s and under God’s control.
            And, as John opened his greeting, again, we hear that God is timeless – before time, in time, and the end of time, and beyond, God is the Sovereign God over everything – there is nothing beyond His reach and knowledge and power.  He is the Almighty – He is the Source of all power and authority and He holds all power and authority and is the Sovereign King over all power and authority.
            And so, to the seven churches of Asia, to the Church Universal, to everyone who ever believes throughout time and space, be comforted and at peace:
            God will give us everything we need to be His people.  God is in control of everything, everywhere, and throughout eternity.  Jesus loves us and has made us right with God, and He has secured our salvation and brought us into His Kingdom.
            And we can answer the world, like Jesus, in sure confidence and hope, “You would have no power over me at all unless it had been given you from above” (Matthew 19:11b, ESV).
            Let us pray:
            Almighty God, be glorified in us, and may we be a strong witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as we stand before the world as Your Kingdom.  Keep us from fear and assure us and comfort us as we remember our salvation has been secured by the work of Jesus Christ.  Help us to always trust You for our daily needs.  For You are the Almighty, and it is in King Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen and Amen.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Review: "Gospel Conversations: How to Care Like Christ"

Robert W. Kellerman's book, Gospel Conversations:  How to Care Like Christ" is the companion volume to his Gospel-Centered Counseling:  How Christ Changes Lives" (which I have not read, but have now bought having read and found the second volume of value).

My experience of "Christian Counseling" has largely been that of "secular counseling" done with Christians and, to a smaller degree, finding out what the counselee's sin and condemning them for it -- telling them it is their only problem -- that there is no biochemical illness.

This book is something else -- something very helpful.

Kellerman writes, "Gospel conversations promote personal change centered on the person and work of Christ through the personal ministry of the Word" (16).  In other words, we help our fellow Christians to make positive changes by walking with them in the Word and following after with them in living out a life of faith and obedience in line with Who Jesus is and what Jesus has done to accomplish and secure our salvation.

Kellerman uses examples and Scripture to show how we can have up-building and Christ-glorifying conversations that are found in the realm of discipleship.

Throughout the chapters, Kellerman locks out sections to encourage maturity as a biblical counselor.  He sets forth study questions for each counselor to answer and reflect on to see where we need to grow both in our Christ-likeness as well as our counselees.  Then he sets forth questions for small groups to work through together, because counselors need wise counsel.  Then, there is a section of how to, then, counsel others in each area covered in the book.

This is a very useful and Christ-centered workbook for counselors to learn to help others who agree that Christ and His Gospel is the center of our life and faith.  I will spend more time with this book to become better, more biblical, and more Gospel-centered as I work with others to be the men and women Christ calls us to be.

This review appears on my blog and on


[I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.]

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Study CANCELLED Tonight

For a variety of reasons, our study is cancelled this evening.  Please join us after Thanksgiving as we continue to study the book of Colossians.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

"Pray" Sermon: I Timothy 2:1-7

[I Timothy 2:1-7]
November 15, 2015 Second Reformed Church
            I would like each of us to think of the politician we most dislike.  Think of all the reasons we dislike that politician.  Think of all the reasons we wish he or she had never been elected or never will be elected.  And now, I put the question to each of us:  do you and I pray for that politician?
            Paul, writing to a young minister named Timothy, tells us that God says it is of utmost importance that we pray for all peoples and, when we pray for all peoples it is pleasing in God’s sight.
            Paul was writing to his young co-worker, Timothy, who was ministering at the church in Ephesus.  Ephesus was a Greek coastal city on the western coast of Asia – what we would now call Turkey.
            Paul warned Timothy in the section preceding this morning’s reading that there are people who will come into the church who will push themselves into positions of leadership and then seek to mislead the church – and when these people are found out, they will renounce the faith and leave.  Paul gives sad examples of real persons that Timothy knew who had come into the Church and seemed to be great and gifted leaders in the Church, but were wolves in sheep’s clothing – they proved themselves to be false teachers, even renouncing Christianity and leaving the Church.
            There are modern examples:  some of us are familiar with the name, Brian McLaren.  He was considered one of the foremost leaders in the emergent or emerging movement in Christianity in recent years – some Christian bookstores continue to carry his books, even though he has renounced Christ and left the ministry.
            So, Paul lays out for Timothy what the work of Christ is that all Christians must believe pn and what the qualifications are for being in church leadership.
            Certain people are gifted to be in church leadership, some people are not – that is not to say one person is better than another – remember, we just talked about how we are given different gifts suited for use in the church and for the carrying out of the work of a specific church.  The problem is when people who are not gifted for leadership – for ministry – try to force themselves into those positions – sadly, there are many, many of them in our seminaries – even non-Christians who want to hold positions in the church.  As Paul explains, we need to know what Christians believe and the qualifications of the church leadership, not to put people down, but to make sure the Church is being built up.
            Because of the confusion and depression and division these leaders were causing in renouncing Christ and leaving the church, Paul told Timothy to hold fast to the faith and to fight the good fight.
            “Therefore,” “then,” “for this reason” – since there are people pushing their way into church leadership who have no business being there, since there are people in church leadership who are renouncing Christ and walking away from the church, Paul tells Timothy:
            First, it is a matter of utmost importance that we pray for all people, especially our leaders.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
Paul urges Timothy – and us – to be in prayer to God for all people, and especially our leaders – in four types of prayer:
Supplications – we are to be in prayer to God for all people and especially our leaders that they would meet the needs that they promised and are enabled to meet.
For example, we are to pray that our President will keep all the promises that he swore to – to the best of his ability, that his word would be true in all negotiations and speeches that he makes, that he would be an example of honesty and respectfulness to all the people in his care.
Prayer – we are to be in prayer to God for all people and especially our leaders that they would do what is pleasing to God and good for others in specific instances and situations.
For example, we are to pray that our President would prayerfully consider the murders that were just committed by terrorists in Paris and take the best and most God-pleasing action in response to this situation on behalf of the American people in love for the people of France.
Intercessions – we are to be in prayer to God for all people and especially our leaders that they would do what is pleasing to God and good for others with regards to specific people.
Again, we are to pray that our President would lead us in a right response towards the families and friends of those just murdered in Paris by terrorists.
Thanksgivings – we are to be in prayer to God for all people and especially our leaders, thanking God for them and all that they do that is pleasing to God and good for we the people.
No matter what party we claim, no matter what our overall feeling about the performance of any given president, we are to look to the good that God has done with and through our President and give thanks to God for him and what he has done.
There is a time to be critical and even rebuke others – including our leaders – but Paul was urging Timothy here to pray for the leadership – and all people – because there was great distress in the Church over people who claimed to be gifted by God to be leaders in the Church and then they renounced Christ, leaving the people in confusion.  We need to support all people – and especially our leaders – in prayer that God would help them keep their promises, lead well in each situation and with regards to each person, and we are to give God the thanks He deserves for the good that we receive from all people – and especially our leaders.
Paul gives Timothy – and us – two reasons why we should be in prayer for all people and especially our leaders:
First, we will live a peaceful and quiet life if we do so.
If we are in prayer for all people and especially our leaders, we won’t be fretting about them and what they might do or have done, because we will have raised up our concerns to God and asked Him to intercede and grant His grace to them.  If, after that, we are still disturbed, might it not be because we do not trust God?  And that is another issue, right?
Second, we will be dignified and godly in every way if we do so.
If we are in prayer for all people and especially our leaders, we won’t engage in the petty mud-slinging that is so common in public debate.  Rather, we will sincerely pray to God for others, as the people of God who believe that God is Sovereign over all people, including our leaders.
One question before we move on:  when Paul says to pray for all people, does he mean every single person?
In this context, we must answer “no.” 
Certainly we are to pray for all humans – that each would hear the Gospel and repent and believe, but we cannot pray for all seven billion or so people who currently inhabit this planet with the specificity and as meaningfully as Paul commends in this text.  So, let us read “all people” – in this text – as “all types of people” – friends, family, our leaders, etc.  Even that is a lot of people to pray for in this way.
Second, Paul tells Timothy – and us – that praying for all people and especially our leaders in this way is good and pleasing in the sight of God.
“This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Praying for all types of people in this meaningful and specific way is good and pleasing in the sight of God – and as people who desire to do what is good and pleasing in the sight of God, it is right that we do so.
Now, again, we need to understand who Paul is talking about when he writes that “God our Savior…desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.”
If we say that it means that God desires to save every single person that ever lives, then we must say that God has failed to achieve what He set out to do.
Some may counter, “God desires that everyone be saved, but He leaves it up to us to make the decision.”  There are numerous problems with saying that, one of which being – again – that God would have failed to achieve what He set out to do.
Another problem, just as we considered the text in its context – is that “all people” must mean the same thing in this sentence as it did in the previous sentence – and there we said it could not possibly mean every single person, but all types of people.
The idea that Paul meant “all types of people” rather than “every single person” is supported by his making the distinction between Jews and Gentiles at the end of this text – where he argues that the Gospel of Salvation is not just for the Jews, but for all types people – including Gentiles.
Paul is saying that this type of praying is good and pleasing in the sight of God because God wants all types of people to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth – Jews, Gentiles, commoners, leaders, slaves, freemen, men, and women – all types of people.  A major issue at the time Paul was writing was that of believing that the Gospel was also for the non-Jews – the Gentiles – so Paul’s emphasis makes the most sense, overall, as all types of people.
As Paul wrote to the Corinthians: 
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.  For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of the one Spirit” (I Corinthians 12:12-13, ESV).
And to the Romans:
“For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.  Or is God the God of the Jews only?  Is he not the God of the Gentiles also?  Yes, of the Gentiles also, since God is one – who will justify the circumcised and the uncircumcised through faith” (Romans 3:28-30, ESV).
As Paul explains here:
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”
God is the God of salvation for every type of person – Jew and Gentile – and every other category of people – including our leaders and we who follow them – because there is only One God – and there is only one Mediator between God and Man – there is only One Person Who can stand between God, and be both our Attorney and our Payment – Jesus Christ – the Incarnate Son of God Who is the ransom for every type of person who believes.
There is not a different Savior or way of salvation for Jews and Gentiles, for Kings and servants, for men and women – no, all types of people are presented with one Gospel, One Savior, One Way to be right with God.  And Jesus ransoms all those the Father gives Him from the Father for the Father.  The Justice of God is fulfilled in Jesus’ life and death, and the Mercy of God is given in Jesus giving His salvation to us through the Holy Spirit.
And because there were false teachers confusing the Church – saying that Paul was not appointed a preacher and an apostle by the risen Christ, he takes an oath:
“For this I was appointed preacher and apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”
Paul swears that he was appointed by the risen Christ to be the apostle to the Gentiles – to present to humanity that there is One Way to be right with God through the One Savior and Mediator, Jesus Christ, and it doesn’t matter what your gender is or what position you hold in the world or where you come from – Jesus is the One Savior for all who will believe.  No type of person is excluded from the call to belief and repentance, and persons from every type of person have and will come to faith in Jesus Alone for salvation.
So let us pray – let us pray for men and women, for black and white and brown and yellow and red from every nationality, for poor and rich, for homeless and those with homes, for Democrats and Republicans, for leaders and followers, for owners and employees – for every type of person.
And let us pray that God would send and uphold fit, Christian leaders in the church and give us all the wisdom to see those who are and those who are not.
And let us pray for our leaders – for those that God has given to lead and protect us, in the church and in the world, that they would keep the vows they made in taking office, that they would follow God’s leading in dealing with individual situations and specific individuals themselves, and let us give thanks for everything about our leaders and all they have done that has been good and pleasing in the sight of God and for our good.
Let us believe that God answers prayer and will do all those things we ask which are according to His Will.
Let us pray:
Almighty God, forgive us for not praying for the leaders You have given us.  Remind us that You are Sovereign and no one holds authority except for those You place in authority.  Help us to pray that those You have chosen will be faithful to their call and have wisdom to do what is right in each situation and each person they are called to deal with, and may each one seek Your pleasure as they serve as leaders.  For it is in Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.