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He Said What?


"Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension."
Good Morning my beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
Welcome to all of our beloved brothers and sisters, from all around the world, who have been prompted to join us today. We are glad to have you here!
It wasn't so long ago, people had to go to church to be considered holy. People wore their "Sunday Best," men were clean-cut, wore a suit and tie. Women, had their hair up, wore dresses, which, by the way, were at least below their knees! Children were dressed appropriately, acted respectfully and called their elders "Sir," and "Ma'am." The choir wore robes, sang traditional hymns, like "old Rugged Cross," and "Amazing Grace." Several generations attended church, families walked into church, sat together, prayed together and had family dinners.

Today, things are very much different. People wear designer jeans, much lower than I believe is appropriate,  hip t-shirts, ball caps and flip-flops, to church. Not to mention showing more and more "skin." Teenagers spend more time texting, with ear buds, listening to, I assume music. It does lend the impression, they no longer have a reverence for God, care about their appearance, and leave a lot to be desired concerning church attire. If I were to  summarize all of these insights, it would be to make sure your clothing doesn’t distract the people of God from focusing upon God. The Body of Christ should be the one group of people, where we gather together in love and fellowship with one another, worshiping the God Who saved us. Not a place where we have to prove ourselves, the size of our bank accounts, our fashion sense, or lack there of, or our muscular gym toned bodies. However, I believe the far greater issue, is the matter of the heart.
Let us bow our heads in prayer. 

Heavenly Father,

Father, thank You for this Word. Thank You for this straight forward and clear truth, so that we would know exactly what You want from us.
Lord, You have chosen us to be part of Your family, and we want to honor You and live for Your glory. We want to live by the standards, in accord to our faith. We want to adorn the doctrine, silence the ignorance of foolish men, to disprove the claims of the critics, by conforming to Your standards of love, as demonstrated to us by Christ Himself.
We come with a great deal of conviction in our hearts to You, because we know that such a high calling demands a worthy, daily walk. Help us Lord, to walk worthy and in walking, transcend this world.
In Jesus' name we pray

Today's Message: He Said What?
I believe that males, as a whole, are receiving bad press in this present culture. Social engineers, many thoroughly indoctrinated in feminist philosophies, appear determined to ensure that little boys will be feminized while little girls are trained to believe that they can act like men. Gender role reversal is being fostered in today's culture, father's are no longer always the traditional married breadwinner and disciplinarian. Mothers are no longer the homemaker, seeing to the domestic needs of the family. To ensure that boys are docile and compliant to the demands of primarily female educators, psychologists, and therapists, diagnose them as suffering from a host of strange new alphabetical acronyms, everything from A.D.H.D., A.D.D and D.C.D., all of which are N.U.T.S.
Having saddled our boys with a chronic condition identified by a scary sounding name, an affliction that has only recently been invented, so we medicate our sons into insouciance Then, we sharpen our tongues, because as a result of their being in a drug-induced stupor, being unable to think as clearly or as quickly as the unmedicated girls we compel them to compete against. Then, after the boys grow to be young adults, the young women mourn, there are no men able to match their abilities. All the while, politicians create new ministries to promote women, while doing all within their power to ensure that men continue to be complacent and compliant. 
The opposite is true in other countries around the world. Females being denied and equal education, the right to vote, drive, the list goes on and on. And, if that isn’t confusing enough, now little boys think they are little girls, and little girls that wish they were little boys, are enabled through politics to be whatever they decide they are. We see news reports on an increasingly regular basis informing us that six year-old girls identify as boys, receiving government mandated support to use boys’ wash rooms; and fourteen-year-old boys identify as girls, demanding and receiving governmental support to play on female sports teams. Somehow, I don’t believe that this was what Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan had in mind in the early days of feminism. 
So, are you confused yet? Not to worry, many find it difficult to keep up in the upside down world!
Contemporary church goers have embraced a lifestyle that assigns greatness to power and transforms positions of service into platforms for personal advancement as power brokers. Thus, women’s demand for a place at the table has taken on a strange, new meaning within the evangelical churches. Today, women demand increasingly prominent roles in directing the affairs of the churches. What should be especially disturbing about this transition is that as women assert themselves as leaders in the roles assigned by the Master among the churches, men retreat from participation in the services of the assemblies. As has been said on several prior occasions, as many women strive usurp authority among the churches, men attend the services disguised as empty pews.
Men are to be leaders, both in their families and within the congregations of our Lord. The leadership men are to exercise within the churches is not as some might imagine; men are not to control matters as though they had power, men are to provide spiritual leadership through leading in prayer. If prayer is lacking among the people of God, no leadership can be exercised. Everything else being equal, the power of a congregation will be determined by the vitality of the prayer life of the assembly; and the vigor of the prayer life of the assembly will be determined by the involvement of the men in this essential activity. Women can pray, women can proclaim the Word but not in the duly constituted assembly of the church in its official worship.
Open with me your Bibles to the second chapter of I Timothy, to we will be taking a look at this one verse today verse 8. A verse I believe, that is easily overlooked in the rush to address the more extended statement concerning the role of women among the churches. However, I m convinced, that we greatly dishonor God and the Word that He has given us, if we fail to consider what He has said concerning the ministry of men within the assembly. In our text, the Apostle Paul answers the question that is seldom asked, "He said what?"
Verse eight begins with, "Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension."

I'd first like you to notice that Paul says it his desire that "men" pray. Is this to be taken that women are not to pray? Is Paul playing down the role of praying women? No, certainly not! Actually, I believe it to be quite the opposite. The fact is that women are more naturally inclined to pray than men. Perhaps Paul’s point here, is that it is the men who have to be told to pray. His main point however is not about the posture of prayer, but rather the attitude of prayer. I can assure you, that approaching God with ungracious attitudes is not the way to be sure your prayers are answered.

Here, the Apostle Paul expresses his personal desire, a universal expectation, however, the word chosen speaks more strongly than merely expressing a desire. Paul chooses a word that expresses an authoritative apostolic command based upon a strong theological basis; he is pointing back to what has already been written previously. Unfortunately, because preachers can only deal with a small portion of what is said at any given time, and because we tend to forget what has gone before, it is common that the messages can appear disjointed, unconnected and at times, even incohesive.
I believe that in order to better understand the urgency imposed by Paul’s imperative, recall that in the previous messages in this series we saw that the "supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings" that are to be offered up for all people were in the context of evangelism. Christ Jesus presented His life as a sacrifice because of mankind’s desperate need to be redeemed. He "gave His life as a ransom for all;" and Paul was "appointed a preacher and an apostle" and also "a teacher of the Gentiles." 
The post positive conjunction that is translated in our text by "then," indicates that the Apostle is continuing with the argument commenced earlier. Here is the principle, I believe that must be emphasized: Every member of the congregation is to be engaged in the evangelism process. The resultant is that men are to take the lead in Evangelistic prayer.

As a matter of review, allow me to quickly reiterate what has gone before in our previous messages. Congregations are commanded to be marked by prayer offered for all people, especially for those who govern in the nation, in the states and in our local communities. The reason for such prayer is because we want all people to be saved. Therefore, our seeking peaceful conditions in our land that permit us to evangelize.

Each time I see study statistics generated about evangelism by churches across North America, I grow more deeply concerned. When it now takes forty-nine professing Christians to see one person saved, I believe there is something dreadfully wrong with that! Individuals who are saved are commanded to be baptized after coming to faith in Jesus. Therefore, if we allow that each baptism among churches represent one person saved, we can estimate how effective the churches are in fulfilling the Great Commission. 
Nearly all denominations in North America are registering declining memberships. Church membership is down to its lowest point since 1987! Worse still, is the fact that even though membership is declining, baptisms are declining  at an even faster rate.  What this indicates to me is that many Christians are becoming practical atheists—who neither believe the Word when it tells us that Jesus is God, nor are  pastors training our people either to pray for the lost or to witness of Christ’s great salvation. Statistics for other groups may be more dismal than these, with some indicating that it requires more than one hundred professing Christians to see one addition to a congregation! 
Clearly, the Apostle Paul expected that wherever saints are gathered, they will call upon the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Combine that thought with the knowledge that wherever we who believe are found, we will spread the knowledge of His salvation. Christians will either draw others to Christ or repel them against Him. As Christians do impact those to whom we witness, whether we realize it or not, either by proclaiming Him or by our actions!
II Corinthians 2:15-16 says it this way; "For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;  to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?
Now, just look at I Thessalonians 1:8, "For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything."
According to Isaiah chapter 53, verse 12, "Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors."
Jesus "makes intercession for the transgressors." Beloved, surely you and I are included in these prayers. If we are redeemed, then we know the efficacy of His prayers. Armed with this example of evangelistic prayer, each Christian should be identified as a pray-er, one who pleads for the lost,and not neglecting those who are considered great. As Christians, if we follow Christ's example, we will pray for the lost.  
Henry Martyn, the Anglican chaplain in India and missionary to Muslims, once said as he rushed out of a pagan temple and pleaded with God, 'I cannot endure existence if Jesus is to be so dishonored!" Before this, he had knelt on India’s coral beaches and cried out, "Here let me burn out for God." 
Martin Luther, on the night before the Diet of Worms, pleaded before the Living God, "Do Thou, my God, do Thou, God, stand by me against all the world’s wisdom and reason. Oh, do it! Thou must do it. Stand by me, Thou true, eternal God!" And, we know that God did stand by him, employing him to confound the learned papists and delivering Europe from the dark night of the soul imposed by the idolatry of the Vatican.
What power might there be in such prayers were prayed in this day! I know that the churches of this day recite prayers, but I wonder whether the churches of this day pray. I know that many of you pray, and believe me, I rejoice in that knowledge. However, I am deeply concerned that I witness such poor attendance in prayer groups among the saints in this day and age.
I have literally witnessed hundreds of people gathered for worship services on any given Sunday, yet open the doors on Wednesday for group prayer meeting, and less than forty people will show up! Can we not claim to be any better than that?
I believe that the Apostle Paul, himself was never quite able to escape the prayers of a godly man. The first martyr Stephen. in the Book of Acts, we know that Stephen had faced a gruesome, brutal death with equanimity, courage and grace. Yet, he prayed for those who were determined to take his life, and, the Lord God graciously answered the prayer of that dying man to convict Saul, bringing him to repentance and faith. In his defense before Agrippa, the Apostle Paul testified of his former life before Christ’s grace was extended to him, "I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them."
It is my prayer, that every one of us would take this lesson home, applying it in each life: What is taught in this portion of the letter is universal. Paul was teaching the Ephesians, and all Christians who read what was written, in I Timothy 3:15,  to learn "how one ought to behave in the household of God." 
Each of us is responsible to evangelize, beginning with our own families and circle of friends. All Christians are to engage in evangelistic prayer; and men are to provide the leadership in such praying!
Beloved, Christian doctrine is increasingly being censured and is even being criminalized, calling it "hate speech," in this brave new world created by governmental dictum.

During the past several decades, governments have increasingly asserted the right to usurp the place of God in the life of citizens. Increasingly, display of religious thought must meet governmental approval, religious sermons must not make anyone uncomfortable, religious leaders must retreat from the public view, while government control over churches is exalted. 

As a result, churches in our nation have become libertarian in their interactions with the culture, though culture does not agree to the same libertarian rule when pressing the churches. As morality and ethics are assuredly being redefined in the waning days of the Age of Grace, in such an environment, Christians tend to gravitate to one of two extremes;  either become silent in the face of radical redefinition of morality or they grow increasingly angry, attempting to stifle their rage as they mutter under their breath. The looming question becomes, what should we as Christians do as the world assails against all godliness to embrace unrighteousness and exalt godless immorality and corruption? How are we to respond to a world turned upside down?

There is a considerable confusion which reigns concerning the respective roles for men and for women among the churches, it is necessary to note that when Paul states that the males are to provide leadership in evangelistic prayer, I would like to point out, he is not excluding women from praying in the congregation. Certainly, women can and should pray privately. However, even within the congregation, women are encouraged to pray. Such prayer should be offered up in a decorous manner; but nowhere are women proscribed from prayer within the assembly of the righteous.

I Corinthians 11:4-6 says "Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head."

Women are not interdicted from praying publicly in a congregation service; however, they are instructed to avoid dishonoring their husbands through assuming leadership over them. Publicly, wives are to show respect for their husbands; and one would hope that such respect is also demonstrated in private, as well. In the particular context of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, wives were not to appear in the fashion adopted by those women who had taken a vow to serve as sacred prostitutes in the Temple of Artemis; Christian women were to wear their hair long rather than cutting it short, revealing a modest demeanor.

Later, in the same chapter, verses 13-16, he says "Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering. But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God."

I find it to be rather interesting, that in the face of a rapidly changing ethics and declining morality, Paul instructs men to pray? We might have imagined that he would have instructed men to use their natural aggression or their strength to promote the work of God and to advance the Faith. However, God calls on men to bring their lives into conformity to His will, through spending time in prayer. He calls on men to exercise self-control to lead others in looking to God.

In speaking of lifting the hands, Paul is not giving a command of the posture required for prayer, but focusing on something much more basic. The usual posture in prayer in the early church was standing. This was adopted from the Jewish custom, but it was not a universal demand imposed on those who would pray. Indeed, in the Old Testament we read of some who stood with outstretched hands, such as Solomon at the dedication of the Temple in I Kings 8:22. "Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven."

In reading Daniel 6:10, we know that others knelt in prayer, as was true of Daniel. "When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously"

Though many contemporary Christians today, sit when praying, there is only one instance of someone sitting in prayer to be found in the entirety of the Bible. In I Chronicles 17:16, "Then David the king went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house that You have brought me this far?"

In Closing.... 

I believe it is vital, that we mustn't fall into the trap of prescribing a particular posture without looking on the condition of our heart. This emphasis is easily missed in our focus on secondary less important matters.  As humans, none of us can be holy as Christ; some must not be thrust into that situation if they are living sinful lives. We are responsible to present prayer in holiness to the Lord. I believe that to attempt to pray with unclean hands is to ensure that our cries will go unheard! It our evil deeds that insure that our prayer becomes a mere ritual without meaning. As men, we who lead in prayer, must ensure that we have addressed our proclivities toward sin. We must confess our wickedness and seek God’s cleansing.I believe that approaching God in holiness and living holy lives, is a concept that is woefully absent from much of contemporary Christian life today. The call for holiness, is a call to maturity in the faith.

Further, I believe that we must rid ourselves of anger and a quarrelsome attitudes, if we will truly pray with power. We must not, as is so common among many of the professed Christians, allow ourselves to begin to think ill of our brothers and sisters in Christ, condemning them in our heart and thinking poorly of them. Assuredly, those to whom we look to provide leadership in prayer must be marked by holy lives. Anger and quarreling are inconsistent with a holy life that God requires of those who pray publicly. These qualities are counter to effective praying. Remembering the words of our Lord, in Matthew 6:14-15, "For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions."

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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