The Influence of Christian Hope


Message Title: The Influence of Christian Hope
Theme: Paul’s Influence
Season: Ordinary Time
Main Text: 1 Timothy 2:1-7;
Scripture Reading: Luke 16:1-13
RCL Scripture: Jeremiah 8:18-9:1; Psalm 79:1-9; Amos 8:4-7; Psalm 113; 1 Timothy 2:1-7; Luke 16:1-13
Focus: Paul instructs Timothy on how to engage with the culture at Ephesus and remain in the Gospel.
To shift our focus and loyalty from the world to the hope of Christ.
Other Notes:

HOMECOMING QUIZ: Welcome to Liberty’s homecoming. We have been a congregation since 1854, that’s 168 years!! The last 2 years we’ve had fun quizzes to test your knowledge of history. In 2020, focused on Liberty’s history. In 2021, we focused on US history the year Liberty was founded. This year we’re going to look at some local facts!


SCRIPTURE READING: Luke 16:1-13 Jesus also said to the disciples, “A certain rich man heard that his household manager was wasting his estate. He called the manager in and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give me a report of your administration because you can no longer serve as my manager.’ “The household manager said to himself, What will I do now that my master is firing me as his manager? I’m not strong enough to dig and too proud to beg. I know what I’ll do so that, when I am removed from my management position, people will welcome me into their houses. “One by one, the manager sent for each person who owed his master money. He said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil.’[a] The manager said to him, ‘Take your contract, sit down quickly, and write four hundred fifty gallons.’ Then the manager said to another, ‘How much do you owe?’ He said, ‘One thousand bushels of wheat.’[b] He said, ‘Take your contract and write eight hundred.’ “The master commended the dishonest manager because he acted cleverly. People who belong to this world are more clever in dealing with their peers than are people who belong to the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to make friends for yourselves so that when it’s gone, you will be welcomed into the eternal homes. 10 “Whoever is faithful with little is also faithful with much, and the one who is dishonest with little is also dishonest with much. 11 If you haven’t been faithful with worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 If you haven’t been faithful with someone else’s property, who will give you your own? 13 No household servant can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be loyal to the one and have contempt for the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”


  1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: Thinking back to your school days, can you picture the “popular” kids?
    1. What made them popular/cool?
      1. Were they one of the best academically?
      1. Were they one of the best athletically?
      1. Were they wealthy/had cool things?
    1. I find it fascinating that popularity was not a correlation for success or happiness.
  2. The older I get, the more I value quality friendships over quantity… but perhaps that is also evidence that I never was one of the popular kids.
    1. Joke about Jesus having 12 friends in his 30’s.

TRANSITION: Popularity doesn’t always indicate the best leaders. Nor do our leaders frequently deserve the fan-fare of a “popular” kid. In our text for today, Paul is instructing Timothy on how to interact with the leaders and authority figures, the “popular” folks, if you will. How do they impact the Gospel?

MAIN TEXT:  1 Timothy 2:1-7 First of all, then, I ask that requests, prayers, petitions, and thanksgiving be made for all people. Pray for kings and everyone who is in authority so that we can live a quiet and peaceful life in complete godliness and dignity. This is right and it pleases God our savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. There is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, the human Christ Jesuswho gave himself as a payment to set all people free. This was a testimony that was given at the right time. I was appointed to be a preacher and apostle of this testimony—I’m telling the truth and I’m not lying! I’m a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

EXPLAINATION & INTERPRETATION: Paul instructs Timothy on how to engage with the culture at Ephesus and remain in the Gospel.

  1. Last week- we saw Paul frame his letter to Timothy around the reminder that EVEN the most stubborn of people are redeemable through the example of his own conversion.  
    1. More scenarios of stubborn people needing redemption
    1. (This reminded us to stop EVANGELIZING the Gospel and start LIVING the Gospel. It’s time we act like Christ rather than speak with condemnation. )
  2. Today, we hear Paul give instructions on how to engage with the culture in Ephesus while remaining faithful to the Gospel.
    1. Context: Wealthy and powerful people were making a mess of the church.
      1. Women were using the worship service as a fashion show.
      1. Popular men were placed in leadership that used their power to stir up misinformation
  3. Gospel Passage: Paul’s words remind us of Jesus’ Parable of the Shrewd Manager
    1. In the end, Jesus makes it clear that we can’t have split loyalties by saying “You cannot serve both God and wealth.”
      1. This works with just about anything “You cannot serve both God and ______”
      1. We won’t listen to the “popular kids” but the message of Jesus

INTERPRETATION: Ironically enough, this passage is frequently taken in the opposite direction of the context of the letter.

  1. Paul’s Instruction: pray for those in leadership/authority
    1. Misconception 1: we are supposed to whole heartedly support and endorse kings & leaders
      1. Paul does not say that our Leaders are infallible and every word/action is endorsed by God.
      1. Stubborn people influenced by power and wealth. Worldly leaders will fail us (yes even pastors)
  2. Paul’s Results: live a quite & peaceful life in godliness and dignity
    1. Misconception 2: “quite and peaceful life” means maintain the status quo and don’t stir up conflict
    1. To live a Godly life is to live like Jesus. To live with dignity is to treat creation with dignity.
      1. Jesus healed the sick.
      1. Jesus hung out with the “rejects” and called out the popular kids
      1. Jesus forgave the remorseful.
      1. Jesus restored broken communities.
      1. We use our earthly blessimngs to bless others (Luke 16:9 & 11)
    1. The Gospel means working towards healing, restoration, redemption, and transformation.
      1. We do not accept the status quo.
      1. We do not leave vulnerable people at risk.
      1. We challenge people and systems that hurt creation

APPLCATION: To shift our focus and loyalty from the world to the hope of Christ.

  1. Let’s not be confused about the Gospel. The Gospel is not a list of “saved & the damned.” The Gospel isn’t a “popular kids” club. The Gospel isn’t endorsing politicians or public leaders.
    1. The Gospel isn’t about following the next big leader in our Christian Bubble. The Gospel is 100% focused on Jesus.
  2. Here’s what the Gospel is all about:
    1. We read in the Bible who Jesus is (we also learn about Jesus through the faith of others):
      1. The Son of God who showed us love by redirecting our focus to Loving God and Loving others. He was executed for his radical teachings & ministry. Three days later he resurrected. His acts reunited the divide between heaven and earth. We do not have to fear death because Jesus conquered death.
    1. Knowing Jesus leads us to develop a desire to love like him.
    1. We commit to learning to be more like Jesus.
    1. Our commitment isn’t just about thought or words but changing our actions: Love God, love others.
      1. We show love to others by caring about what they care about.
      1. God cares about creation, so we’re called to care about creation.
    1. Eternal life (heaven) is a bonus for following Jesus. We don’t follow Jesus to avoid hell. We follow Jesus because we see the results of transformation through his word. We see that his way is the best way to heal our relationship with God and with others.
  3. Not a Genie: Committing to follow Jesus is not like a Genie- you don’t pray a prayer and get a ticket to heaven.
    1. Salvation is a free gift to all who believe.
    1. Typically, belief in Jesus is punctuated by an “altar call” or an invitation to pray a prayer of dedication to Jesus. But that isn’t the only way to “become a Christian.” A conversation with a spiritual mentor or a public declaration to your church through testimony or baptism

CONCLUSION: The Gospel reminds us to live by Jesus’ standards and not any earthly leader or “popular kid.” Whether you were cool in school or more of a wallflower, you are loved by God. You are called to know more about Jesus and let your life be transformed by his word.

This may be Liberty’s homecoming but Jesus is calling us to an even greater homecoming. We’re all called to reunite with the family of God.

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