Let Us All Lift Hands Together In Holy Worship
3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.
8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. 9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
Paul points out God’s desire to see everyone come to a saving knowledge of His Son, Jesus Christ. Peter confirms this as well:
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
This is the intent of His heart; it doesn’t mean that everyone will:
1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
Jesus later goes on to explain that the soil is the condition of the hearts of people, and the seed is the word of God. Jesus does say elsewhere that He will draw all people to Himself:
And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.
The call to salvation is for everyone. Any and all may come who hear its call and obey its message. Let no one say that there is anything too difficult for God to forgive; He has already dealt with that two thousand years ago on the cross at Calvary.
Paul goes on to remind us that there is only One God and One mediator: His Most Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. There is complete unity in the Trinity, and we are reminded that our focus and attention should be upon the one and only God. When we do this, we are setting aside our personal differences, and joining together in a pursuit that ensures that we are unifying under One God and One mediator:
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
In this simple call, Jesus urges all to unify under Him, for He is THE only way to the Father. And, because He has triumphed successfully over death and hell through His perfect life and death, He holds the keys to the death and hell. And He has been crowned King of kings and Lord of lords. Let us bow down in worship to the only one who is worthy – The Lord God Almighty.
Paul now goes on to address men and women to urge them in unified worship. Each are given instructions on how to put aside their individual tendencies towards division and come together in unified holy worship.
Paul first addresses men. They are to lift holy hands without disputing or anger. Men have a tendency to establish a pecking order of importance among themselves. They tend to have their own personal goals and desire power in leadership and ranking. Paul provides simple correction in this area, telling men to fight these urges and to come together with hands lifted high without anger or argument. When men can set aside these things, they can powerfully join together in unity and accomplish great things. Working together as a team rather than having contests establishing who is most important brings God the greatest glory.
Paul then goes on to address the women. It is no surprise that women have a tendency to establish their own pecking order by vying to be the most beautiful woman in the room. Women dress up for women more so than men. Paul urges women to adorn themselves with good deeds and appropriate attire. This changes the way they view themselves and other women, and encourages them to focus on worship rather than on their own external appearance.
It is interesting to note that this was going on two thousand years ago in Middle Eastern culture – it is not a recent phenomenon nor does it have its origins in the modern Western culture of decadence. And it still goes on today. The entertainment industry and gossip magazines tout who wears what clothing and ranks people according to their appearance. God does not judge by appearance, but rather by the heart:
1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”
2 But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”
The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”
4 Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”
5 Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Am I seeking unity with others?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You have sacrificed Your One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, so that we could be reunited with You. Give me the strength and desire to put aside any and all personal desire to be recognized so that I may, in unity, worship You with my whole heart. Grant me the strength to put down my sinful desires and to desire that which Your heart longs. Keep me from pride, and help me to be humble and yielded to You. Father, give Your people a desire to be unified in worship, in each other, and in You. Help us to overcome our natural desires so that we can be the people You desire us to be. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.