What God Wants from His Church

January 17, 2023

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. 1 Timothy 2:3-6 NIV

The book in the Bible we call First Timothy is actually a letter from the apostle Paul, a skilled and successful church planter and pastor to his son in the Lord and mentee Timothy. Timothy was a young pastor. Paul kept in regular contact with him as he prayed for him and taught him about leading the people he pastored to please God with their lives.

You could summarize most of what Paul said to him with this: Do all you can to bring the kingdom of Jesus and His Good News to all the people around you through your lives and your actions. In this section of the letter, he urges them to “pray for all people, asking God to help them, intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them” (v. 1). All people? What Paul suggested is the way we usually pray for friends and family. Other people don’t factor into our prayers nearly enough.

This must have been a bit of a shock or at least a new thought to many of these people who were new followers of Jesus. “All people” included the Roman soldiers, their sometimes-cruel masters, the people who routinely made their lives difficult. And then Paul gets more specific and challenging. “Pray for the kings and all who are in authority.” Are you kidding? “Yeah, I’ll pray for them. You bet I’ll pray for them.” If they responded in the way many twenty-first century Christians respond to the thought of prayer for those in authority, they would be calling down fire from heaven, seeking for them to be removed from authority, praying for policy changes, and all manner of superficial, personal desires and opinions.

That’s why it’s so easy to be a “Christian.” You can wear the cultural title “Christian” if you simply believe a list of proper beliefs and identify with the right group. But being a Jesus follower is completely different. It’s much more challenging. You must actually FOLLOW Jesus. It requires movement and change and action to follow. It’s follow the leader. You do what the leader does.

That’s what God wants from His church. The thing that pleases God is that we desire what He desires—that we actively want all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth of Jesus. He wants them to know and become part of the kingdom that was purchased by the sacrificial ransom of Jesus Christ for them, just like it was for us. We, through our prayers and loving actions as we follow our Leader, are the way they come into the kingdom.

And that is how we please God. It’s what He wants from His church.

  • Who is God bringing to your mind in your “all people” who rarely makes your prayer list?