5. bold and brave image-bearers

Men are designed to be IMAGE-BEARERS.

The final aspect of masculinity is seen in the fact that men are the glory of God.  “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Gen. 1:26)  Here we come full circle.  To be made in God’s image is to be a dominioneer or lord like him over the earth.

As an image-bearer we are representative of God, responsible to God, and reflect God to the world around us, namely our closes relationships.  “For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man.” (1 Cor. 11:7; cf. v.3; Eph. 5:23-24)

What is the significance of a man leaving his head uncovered before God represent?  Just as the woman covers her head to respect man, the man uncovers his head to show there is nothing between him and God.  Man uncovered respects God position and authority.  An uncovered head is a symbolic gesture that takes the hat or crown from man’s head and honoring the hat or crown upon the King of kings.

It is the image of God that man bears and no other.

Us men are prone to bear many images.  We sport jersey with our favorite team, we wear polo’s with our company name, we represent our roles as parents or grandparents with special t-shirts.  Yet the most important image we bear is God’s.  It’s an image you can’t wear.  It’s what you are.  You are a walking, talking billboard of God’s glory.

Putting this all together, we should have a good idea of where we are going or where we are to go.  Throughout the remainder of Genesis we see Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph struggling to adhere and apply these aspects.  Men are lords—lovingly conquering and subduing, husbandmen—patient and hardworking, saviors—hating and fighting evil, sages—learning from the wise, and image-bearers—worship with our heads uncovered.  Together those aspects show us what biblical masculinity looks like.  I want to look like that.  You too must want to look like that.  With God’s power we can.

DISCUSS:

  • How does man reflect the image of God and woman the image of man? 
  • What does it mean for a man to worship God with his head uncovered, but for a woman to worship God with her head covered? 

REVIEW: 5 Aspects of Biblical Masculinity

  1. lords of the earth
  2. tillers tending the earth
  3. saviors delivering from evil
  4. sages seeking wisdom
  5. bold and brave image-bearers
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4. sages seeking wisdom

Men are expected to grow in wisdom, becoming SAGES.

Wisdom is something men and women want from day one.  We just go to find her in the wrong place or we listen to the wrong voice,  “But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate” (Gen. 3:4-6)

Chad has a respect for elders, authority, and wisdom passed down from men.  This is something absent from Western society.  In fact, authority and trusting the previous generation is forsaken. When making decisions in Chadian culture or whenever I enter a new town I will consult with the sage.  He is usually the oldest, wisest, and must trusted person in the village.  This man typically has white whiskers, sits on a mat most of the day, and is resolves disputes or gives out advice to a myriad of situations.

Wisdom in Scripture is personified as a Lady.  Boys and men are called to listen to her.  As you read Proverbs, particularly the first nine chapters you see that wisdom is a woman who disciplines boys.  When a man has grown up under Lady Wisdom and trusts her words he becomes a sage.

Proverbs is written for men and boys.  There are two things King Solomon emphasizes over and over to his son that are often struggles and for men.  First, be teachable (Prov. 1:7-8; 2:1; 3:1-2, 20; 4:1-3, 10, 20; 5:1; 6:20-21; 7:1-3).  Men are called to be students of many things: students of their wives (1 Pt. 3:7); students of their children (Eph. 6:4); students of God (1 Peter 4:1-5; 2 Tim 3:16-17; Psalm 119:9ff).  Second, be a good listener (13:1; 19:27).  Selective hearing starts as a boy, but men grow into it too.  Third, be thoughtful (e.g. instruction on women, folly, discipline, work, companionship, etc.).

A Christian man thinks.  He seeks lady wisdom.  He is to be a sage that other come from a far to hear.

DISCUSS:

  • What does wisdom look like? 
  • Why is wisdom an aspiration seldom achieved? 
  • At what age do men often become unteachable?  
  • In what domains to men need to be better learners, listeners and thinkers? 
  • What can you do to grow in those areas?

REVIEW: 5 Aspects of Biblical Masculinity

  1. lords of the earth
  2. tillers tending the earth
  3. saviors delivering from evil
  4. sages seeking wisdom
  5. bold and brave image-bearers

3. saviors delivering from evil

Men are equipped to be SAVIORS, delivering from evil.

Men have a deep desire to deliver and save.  Men have a deep desire to defend something; to represent someone in battle.  That is why we are drawn to the examples of William Wallace and Maximus.

Jesus is the great example of a Savior.  His deliverance was promised from the beginning of creation, “The Lord God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he (Jesus) shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:14-15)

The serpent—dragon—was the tempter and deceiver that tricked Adam and Eve to sin.  God promised here a curse on the serpent, and in that curse we see the salvation of the world.

Men who follow Jesus follow the dragon slayer.  Jesus has promised to you he is defeated and he has promised you all the weapons you need to defend the serpent until Jesus delivers his final blow.

The Christians man is not a pacifist.  The battle is not over.  There is a Chadian proverb that says, “The camel is running and you bring luggage?” Which means, do not speak about reconstruction if the war is not over.  The Christian man is an activist for the kingdom of Christ to reign in this world, in his life, marriage, and family.  The Chadian also say, “You cannot collect fruit, sitting in a shade.” Meaning: You need to suffer in order to enjoy the fruit of your work or fight. In other words, “No pain no gain”. The peace that our Prince promises was fought for by his blood.  Jesus sacrificed himself in the war.  He laid down his life as an example for you to continue in his armor.

I have seen this battle through new eyes living in Chad.  The challenges and transitions of living in a new place were like adding miracle grow on my sin.  I didn’t realize how angry, impatient, and self-serving I was.  Same struggles in new skin.  I was on enemy turf and the dragon doesn’t go down easily.

In the Scripture, God calls us to fight evil on two fronts.  First, God charges us to fight tolerated sin or open sin.  It is the sin which we know we often do but confess we don’t want to do.  Second, God charges us to fight secret sin.  Why fight secret sin?  Because God is omniscient and omnipresent and holy.  Secret sin is built on a false theology of God.  He sees all and knows all (Num. 32:23; Heb. 4:13; Lk. 12:1-3).  God is invasive and he hates sin.  Secret sin is only temporary secret sin. Tolerating a little secret sin is like being a little bit pregnant (2 Sam. 11:3-4, 14-15).  You can’t tolerate too much before it is seen.  Sin breeds sin.  Hidden sin breeds more hidden sins.  Until it becomes too big to handle or manage.  Hidden sin grows and as it grows it becomes a form less pleasant than the sin originally was.  In other words, the initial sin commits other sins it didn’t intend to commit.  If not stopped it will destroy.

Proverbs 28:13 “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”  The principle is this: What I cover, God uncovers, but what I uncover, God covers with his mercy.

I have learned a lot about saviors and warriors living among the northern Chadians.  I have heard many stories about bravery in battle.  The people are a warrior people group.  They pride themselves on their toughness.  They train their children to defend themselves from a young age.  They enjoy find strength through testing, challenges and competitions of strength and endurance.   The way to their heart is stories about courage, victory and doing what is needed.

What is needed for Christian men is to band together with other men.  The I-can-do-this-on-my-own mentality is a quick way to die.  That is to drink diesel fuel.  Men need other men.  Jesus is the only hero who can do it alone.  He made us to need community.  When sin is wounding you fight with you Band of Brothers,

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)

“Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:12-13)

DISCUSS:

  • What are the characteristics of a savior? (strong, sacrificial, courageous, good) 
  • What do you learn about being a savior from Jesus? 
  • Why must men never keep their guard down from sin? 
  • How is having a wartime mentality necessary for men? 
  • What are common tolerated sins for men? 
  • Why is their healing in confessing your sins to God AND other men?

REVIEW: 5 Aspects of Biblical Masculinity

  1. lords of the earth
  2. tillers tending the earth
  3. saviors delivering from evil
  4. sages seeking wisdom
  5. bold and brave image-bearers

2. tillers tending to the earth

Men are fitted as HUSBANDMEN, tilling the earth.

Where does the term husbandmen come from?  It is a farming term.  It is one who tills the land.  A husbandman gets his hands dirty and works the earth to make something of it. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15)

Man was created, not only to conquer new worlds, but to make those worlds grow and flourish.  If being a man stopped at being lords and dominioneers we would simply be pirates or marauders.  But God called us also to settle the earth—to settle gardens, families, and towns—to tend and keep it.

One of my favorite things to do is to putter in the yard.  It’s almost therapeutic.  I love to make my yard look beautiful.  I like to make my plants grow strong and healthy.  I haven’t been so successful yet in the southern Sahara desert, but give me a few years and I will.

Some of the best gardeners are men.  It’s in a mans blood to till and cultivate; to work hard.

Cain is identified as the first farmer (Genesis 4:2). A tiller or farmers is closely associated with God in Scripture, since it is God who works closely with him in producing the crops.  So it is with domain God gives you.

Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” (Mk. 4:26-29) And, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”  (Mt. 9:37-38)

Jesus teaches us that God produces the success. Us men are simply called to work the field–to keep it and to tend it.

DISCUSS:

  • How is a farmer or tiller a fitting example of biblical masculinity?  
  • What are characteristics of a good husbandman, farmer or gardener? (patient, careful, hard-working; trust God for results) 
  • What terrains or domains does God place men to till? 
  • What does that tilling look like from day to day or season to season?

REVIEW: 5 Aspects of Biblical Masculinity

  1. lords of the earth
  2. tillers tending the earth
  3. saviors delivering from evil
  4. sages seeking wisdom
  5. bold and brave image-bearers

 

1. lords of the earth

Before taking a road trip it is a good idea to know where you are going.  Have you ever just got in a car and thought, “I don’t need to plan, I think I know the way”?  That is not a good idea in Chad.

I have a friend who drove a bus or semi through the Sahara desert from Sudan to Libya.  He worked with a team of chauffeurs who knew the sand covered road well.  They’d pack double the amount of food, fuel, and spare parts they thought they’d need.  They knew the route well.  They even buried barrels of water every 50 kilometers along the route in case of future emergencies.  One trip he saw an abandoned bus that had broken down.  It wasn’t broken down long, but in the desert you may not see another vehicle on the road for weeks.  What he saw shocked him.  There were 80 people dead.  The little food they had was scattered about, but they got so thirsty they drank the diesel fuel.  They were desperate.  What they thought would prolong their life only shortened it.

I have been lost in the bush once at night.  It was one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my life.  My trust was in a bush taxi driver and his knowledge of the bush roads, which are almost like reading a Choose Your Own Adventure novel.  Thankfully I am here to tell you about the adventure!

Sometimes life as a man can feel a lot like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel.  Yet it is a good idea to know where we are going.  It’s not wise to think,  “I don’t need a plan. I think I know the way.”   What men end up doing is drinking the diesel fuel of their cultures definition of a man and dying a quick death.  God doesn’t want you to be dead, but alive.  Let’s be sure we know God’s idea of manhood and masculinity.

We will look at Five Aspects of Biblical Masculinity from the beginning chapters of Genesis.  While this isn’t an exhaustive list it is a basis for understanding God’s idea where a man should be going.  When these are neglected or resisted the consequences for you, your marriage, and you family are very harmful. Today we will explore the one aspect and the next 2-weeks we’ll discover the other four.

Men are created to exercise LORDSHIP over the earth.

Man was created to exercise dominion in the earth (Gen. 1:26-28).

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth

These verses describe WHO created us, WHY we were created, HOW we were created, and WHAT we were created for.  God created the world but He mandated that men be the dominioneers over the world that God created.  That doesn’t mean we are the lords and everyone or everything else is the serf or peasant.  That is domineering, God’s idea is dominioneering.

Did you have a fort or tree fort as a boy?  My first fort was in a willow tree.  It was low to the ground but well hidden.  There is something within every boy and man to want to conquer and subdue.  As a boy the terrain might begin in the backyard, but as a man that terrain expands to endless places.

In Genesis, the domain starts in the garden with man.  Adam is set there to take care of the garden, name the animals and walk with God.  The domains gradually expand to a woman, children, family, field (work), nation, and heart. The amount of domains to care for can be complicated for most men. For many Western men the Lazy-Boy and office are their easiest domains, while they struggle to have lordship over the other domains.

I see the abuse and neglect of the lordship mandate at its extremes everyday in Africa.  Many African men can be passive, distant, self-righteous, abusers, and womanizers.  Women in Africa have a very hard life.  They carry the wood, cut the wood, carry the water miles from the well to their home, till the hard earth, care for their children while their husbands are gone for weeks and months at a time.  All the while the majority of the men do as little work as possible.  The same man will complain to me that their life is very hard and they have no money.

Men were made for more than this.  God-hardwired within men is a desire to conquer and subdue.  Yet countless men abuse it or neglect that desire.  Some will say that man’s responsibility to exercise dominion ended with the Fall, but that is not true since God repeats the mandate again after the flood (Gen. 9:1-3).  While sin seriously affects our ability to fulfill this command, it doesn’t remove the responsibility placed on you by the command.

Jesus repeats the mandate himself when he said in Matthew 28:18-20, “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth (his domains) has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations (your domain), baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Men, your mandate is to conquer and subdue the world, the office, the home, your marriage for Jesus name.  You are lords of the earth following the Lord of the earth.  As you let him be Lord of your life, you will be a better lord over your domains.

DISCUSS:

  • How do see men abusing or neglecting the mandate to be lords over the earth? 
  • Where are the most difficult terrains for men to gain lordship and why? 
  • What do you learn from God about the right way to exercise lordship or dominion?  
  • How is a Christian man even more responsible to be a lord of the earth? 
  • What would you share with the African man I meet?

for men, fathers, and future fathers

Us men always need words to build up and cheer us on towards godliness and manliness. Here are a list of articles and books I’ve enjoyed reading or studying:

No more ties, please!

For dads and granddads.

A brief guide to biblical manhood.

5 dangers for young men.

Where have all the good men gone?

Walter on being a dad & how men look.

Real men don’t complain. They fix.

4 phases of raising boys.

Dads 1:7 – Defusing Anger.

A Civil War soldiers letter to his wife.

6 ways fathers pursue Christ in their fatherhood.

FREE BOOKS FOR DUDES!!

a brief guide to biblical manhood

Happy Father’s Day! Today’s message is a manly message. It’s for fathers, future fathers, and for men of all ages. Women, don’t tune out or take this Sunday off, this message is for you too. It’s for women [daughters, wife’s, future wives, singles, etc.] who love to support the men in their life. God takes pleasure in talking to men in the Bible. First He created Adam to be the leader and lover of his wife. When Eve took the temptation, God came to Adam. Later God established patriarchs to lead their homes, teach their children, and be responsible for peoples and nations. Also God’s Spirit spoke through inspired men who penned our Scripture. It is not that God has a low view of women or is sexist-ogre as some would like to believe. He desires men to be godly-leaders.

Two years ago my gramps passed away from cancer. Before he passed he said to me, “Justin, I am looking forward to being with my Savior!” then gave me two imperatives, “Take care of your beautiful wife. Keep following your God.” Those are two things I will never forget. Last words are important. Today we will look as some last word in the first letter to the church at Corinth.

Let’s do a short Corinthians Quiz: First, who wrote 1 Corinthians? Paul wrote with his own hand [16:21]. Second, what do you know about the church at Corinth? Most would say it was divided, had disunities, and was quite dysfunctional. All true. What church isn’t? Third, why did Paul write this church? Paul, like a father bending his boy over his knee sought to correct the congregation. The first 14 chapters of Paul’s letter to Corinth were a rebuke towards errant behaviors—even beloved chapter 13 was a rebuke towards lovelessness—and chapter 15 was a rebuke towards errant theology. Paul [a man] rebukes out of deep love for this church; just like Jesus’ [the God-Man] love for His church [cf. Hebrews 12:6].

Paul ends his letter with a list of five short, succinct, to-the-point imperatives. They are not simple suggestions; rather it’s as if he’s saying, “Do this, enough said!” Each imperative is a review of Paul’s entire letter to the Corinthians. As a pastor, like Paul, I will prod the men of our church to own these five imperatives of biblical manhood. My outline should be easy for the men in our audience, since each point is plagiarized from the two verses we will pick apart today, [start: 16:10] “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” [1 Corinthians 16:13-14]

If you haven’t noticed Paul likes to talk in military terms. It helps his men-hearers understand. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 is a charge to the troops! Like 1 Kings 1:2-3, “Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the LORD your God.” [cf. Joshua 1:6-7] Women, I know us pastors give a lot of male illustrations from sports, hunting, or warfare. It’s because we are men. We do not intend to leave out the ladies, but we have a hard time relating to tea parties, dolling-up, or other things ladies like. It’s good to embrace and encourage the ruggedness of your men and their love for guns or getting dirty [that’s the reason why my wife loves my big beard!]. Okay, here are five imperatives you are best to encourage in your men…

1. “Be on the alert.”

Like a commander calling to his men he says, “Attention! Stay alert. Eyes open. Watch out. Keep awake.” You get the picture of a castle tower guard scanning the scene for enemies anticipating an ambush or attack. The Corinthian’s needed an awakening. They were Christians in a moral and spiritual stupor. They had fallen asleep on duty. They substituted God’s Word with their wisdom [1:18-2:16], they were divisive [1:10-17; 3:9], they were immoral [5:1-13], they confused and perverted marriage, divorce, and singleness [7], they were self-serving [10], they misused their spiritual gifts [12-14], and they were unloving [13]. They were not alert at all. Instead they were off duty and were teaming up with the enemy.

I am a man who loves sports. On Tuesday’s some of the men of our church play slow pitch softball. It’s a fun sport. This week I played centerfield. Usually it’s a position with a lot of running, however that night nothing was even hit near my domain. I said to some of the guys, “It sure is a lazy day in the outfield.” Sure enough with a 7-run lead I let my guard down and became the lazy outfielder smelling the clovers and swatting mosquitoes. When the final inning came around it was our game to lose. Would you know it, the other team started cranking balls my way. It wasn’t pretty, but we did pull away with a W!

The phrase “be alert” or “be watchful” appears 22 times in the NT. Jesus uses the phrase when to remind His followers to be on alert for His Second Coming, since He could come back any moment.[1] However, there are four more ways the phrase is used in the NT. What are we to watch out for?

First, be alert against Satan. “Be sober-minded, be on the alert, your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith.” [1 Peter 5:8-9] Satan is not all knowing, like God, he only knows your weakness by watching you. Like a sneaky lion he waits to pounce on an unsuspecting foe. His plan is to exploit and devour you, period [cf. 1 John 2:16]. See his fiery arrows coming before they see you!

Second, be alert against temptation. Jesus said, “Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation.” [Mark 14:38]  Have you noticed the temptations ramp up when you are tired, exhausted, or coming off a rough week? When our spiritual eyes are sleepy or shut, it is easy to fall into temptation. You know where you are most vulnerable. It could be your pride, your purity, or your priorities. When you are tired it is easy to put down the guard, when you are traveling it is easy to justify giving in since you are outside your realm of accountability, and when you are under trial the pull is to find an easy way out.

I have 5 moral fences I put up to guard my heart: 1) never drive alone with another woman other than my wife, 2) never counsel a women alone or in a closed office, 3) when I travel I try to bring my wife or a friend with me, 4) I speak openly, often and affectionately of my wife, and 5) when with other women I seek to compliment their character not their appearance. I also seek to keep evenings open for my family and take my wife out for a date once a month. When single I committed not to be alone with a woman unless someone knew. What kind of moral fences have you built to protect your heart from falling into sin?

Third, be alert against apathy. To be apathetic means you chose to ignore what once fired you up. Jesus says to the church at Sardis, “Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which are about to die…therefore, what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. If therefore you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.” [Revelation 3:2-3] An attitude of repentance and brokenness is the antidote for apathy.

Fourth, be alert against false teachers. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” [2 Timothy 4:3-5; cf. 2 Peter 2:1]

Men, be alert. Be aware of the condition of your heart, your life, your family, and your church. Everyday you are being hunted by your adversary and your temptations are nagging for absolute attention and affection. Men, be alert.

2. “Stand firm in the faith.”

When I hear this phrase I think of the movie, Braveheart or The Patriot. Men are holding the frontline and their leader yells out, “Hold! Don’t waver! Never retreat!” To be firm means you stand with confidence, heads up, fists ready, and body anticipating the blows. Paul is calling men to plant their feet firm in the faith.

Be firm in your spiritual and moral convictions. Be firm in what is true and theological [cf. 15:1 “Now I would remind you, brother, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand”].[2] No one can take your saving faith away from you, but they can trounce on the contents of your faith [1:18-21; 3:18-19; cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:15]. You can be influenced to believe that human wisdom and reasoning are more reasonable than the Word of God. Christians today are too easily swayed by the opinions of others rather than standing firm in their faith. Too many men wilt under pressure.

Before you got married you might had the conviction, “I’m going to be sexually pure, I’m going to wait until the day I get married, I will to treat my woman with dignity and respect, and I’m going keep my hands to myself. I will stand firm.” Then the world says, “Come on? Why wait? It’s okay trying things out to see if you compatible.” Foolish! Relationships are not like going to the used car lot. Honor Christ, get married, love that woman with your whole life and be faithful to her, serve her, and be like Jesus to her. People will make fun of you for that because faithfulness is not popular. What if I am not marriage yet? Finish your degree, pursue your career, pay your bills and taxes, love the Word of God, and be committed to His church. If you meet a nice gal who loves Jesus, go after her. Some of you guys are like, “I don’t know if she knows I exist or will like a guy like me.” There is only one way to find out!? Make the first move.

Many Christians have a hard time standing firm because they are weak in the Word, they are not secure in their understanding of the Word, and they ignore what training or studying they have done. God wrote a book, read it. Use the Word of God as your grid for truth and understanding. If you know the Bible, and you know what is true, and you know what is good, and you know what is right, and you know what the Father in Heaven expects of his sons, “stand firm in the faith.”

3. “Act like men.”

This is the phrase that smacks men right in the keester. It’s a bar mitzvah, coming-of-age statement. It’s like saying, “Grow up. Be mature. Take responsibility. Don’t be like a kid or coward. Stop the silliness.” Paul is not saying “Man up!” like our culture would say [Insert grunt noises here]. Nor is he saying, “You da’ man!” He is saying, “If you’re a Christian man, then act like it!”

Paul says, “When I was a child, I thought like a child, I act like a child, I spoke like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” [cf. 14:20; 3:1-2] Maybe today is it good day for you to go from childhood to adulthood. How does a man grow strong spiritual bones and muscles? He daily eating God’s Word, chews it, digesting it, and exercises it [1 Peter 2:2-3; 2 Timothy 3:16-17]. How do you exercise the Word? Live it! Speaks it! Own it!

Men we are called to act like men. Sure you might be a boy at heart, but sooner or later you got to grow up and be a man. I know some men who are 40-50-60 years old—even in the faith—who still act like spiritually immature boys. We need older men, like Paul, who will have the boyhood to manhood talk with younger men [likewise older women with younger women]. Paul encouraged Titus to cultivate this in his church, “Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness…urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” [Titus 2:2-8]

I remember being asked to lunch by an older man who was very godly. I was in my early 20’s. He looked me in the eyes and said, “Justin, you have incredible potential for God. Yet you act like young man. You waste a lot of time playing games, chasing girls, and joking around. It is time you grow up and begin acting like a man. The time is now to follow Christ.” I never forgot that conversation. He still pours wisdom into my life. Like Paul training young Timothy we need men training men.

Fathers and future fathers, get your children ready to engage the forces of evil, temptations, and sinful struggles of adulthood before they thrown out to learn on their own without any theological framework to guide their practice. Give your children opportunities to fail under your roof so that they are ready to fight for truth under their own roof. Teach your boys about sexual temptations at a young age, and encourage your girls to be modest for the right motivations. Talk about what God is doing in your life. That’s what it means to “raise up your children in discipline and instruction of the LORD.” [cf. Ephesians 6:1-4]. Life is like the Roman Coliseum and it chews up Christians for breakfast. Men, act like men. Women, empower your men to be men.

4. “Be strong.”

We live in a culture that denigrates men and weakens masculinity. Watch a prime-time sitcom. The average sitcom husband is an idiot. He messes everything up. He’s the butt of every joke. He’s the big, fat, lazy idiot that everybody laughs at. You watch the average kid’s cartoon. The cartoon kid is a genius, his crazy-little-monkey-alien-friend can reason and teach the kid, but his dad is pictured as an incompetent imbecile. Our society sees men as everything but strong.

The verb strong (Grk. krataioo) means to “be strengthened.” Strength is not inherent to humans. The point is: strength only comes from God, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” [Isaiah 40:28-31]. When I read that my response is, “I need God because He is my strength.”[3]

From a young age men want to be strong. That’s why boys love superheroes, stuntmen, and sports stars. However, the strongest guys are often pictured as bullies, thugs, and jerks. And to that we say, “I don’t want to be strong. Those guys are mean.” Truth is we need men to be stronger than those dudes. Somebody’s got to stand up to them. You’ve got to be strong enough when you see a guy—even in this church—if he’s not being nice to his wife or his kids; he’s not working hard; he’s not being honorable; you need to have courage, you need to have strength, you need to have boldness. You need to be able to put your finger in that guy’s chest and say, “Listen. You’re a Christian. You go to Battle Ground Bible Church. You’re a man. You don’t treat your wife like that. You don’t treat your kids like that. You don’t work your job like that. That’s not how we do things. That’s not how God’s men are.”

At our church we believe that God made male and female, very good, equal in the image of God, distinct in roles, for the glory of God. We believe that both men and women are to be respected, and instructed, and exhorted toward holiness. I know some men did not grow up knowing Jesus. Some of you did not have a dad. Some have a dad that was not a godly or good man or a man you wouldn’t want to be like. In 1 Corinthians 11:7, Paul says something very important. He says men are the glory of what? God. Men are image and glory of God. Let’s lift up our men. Empower our men with God’s strength [i.e. Stephanas, 16:12-18]. God encourages godly leadership.

5. “Let all you do be done in love.”

You can do all the above without love [watch, firm, act, strong], but without love it is meaningless [cf. 16:22-24; love chapter 13; 1:9-10]. The absence of love would mean that these are just duties without delight. Love is not just the attitude of a follower of Christ it is the atmosphere of a followers life. The most attractive and effective element of your manliness is your love.

Men are to be gentlemen, not angry men; not violent men; not rude men; not crusty men; but bold men; courageous men; loving men like Jesus. Jesus—the conquering King—had a humble, gentle, loving strength that wove through the fabric of everything He did and said [John 13:34-35; Ephesians 5:1].

My daughter is only 7-months old. I love that little girl. But I tell you what, parenting is so sanctifying. I cannot imagine what it will be like 13 or 16 years from now!? Pray for me, all right. Children teach parents a lot about God. I remember holding my newborn girl who was crying unstoppably in the middle of the night. As frustrated as I was it reminded me of how utterly dependent she is on us, and how utterly dependent I am on God. Today my love for her and her mama is soaring.

In conclusion, in this brief guide to biblical manhood, I have a few applications for everyone to take home. First, to fathers when you struggle to live these five imperatives, look to Jesus because each are seen in His life and ministry, even on the cross. Second, to single men, God’s strategy is for men is to act rather than react. Plan now to put into practice these imperative before you have a woman or kiddos. This is part of biblical leadership. Third, to women married or single, encourage and empower your men to adhere to these imperatives. Pray for them, respect them; treat them as the glory of God. Fourth, to our church, what our church is looking for is a few good men who will walk with Christ, stand with Christ, and lead like Christ!

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” [1 Corinthians 16:13-14]

Father God, we thank you for being our Father. Lord Jesus, we thank you for being our Savior. Holy Spirit, we thank you for indwelling us, instructing us, convicting us, leading us, guiding us, empowering us and transforming us. I thank you for inspiring Paul’s last words about loving like Jesus. I pray that you would convict men to follow Jesus and lead others toward Him. I pray that our men would be like Jesus committing to His church, reading the Bible about Jesus, confessing sins to Jesus, imitating Jesus, worshiping Jesus until one day, we get to see you Lord Jesus!


[1] Cf. Matthew 24:42ff; 25:13; Mark 13:34ff; 2 Peter 3:10-12

[2] Cf. Jude 3; 1 Timothy 6:12; Philippians 1:27; Colossians 4:12

[3] cf. 2:3-5; 3:6-7, 18; 4:10; 10:12; 2 Corinthians 12:4, 7, 9; Ephesians 3:16; 6:10; Philippians 4:13; 1 Timothy 1:12; Psalm 27:14

free books for dudes [dads]

We all love free books. Happy fathers day, dudes! Enjoy these free books compliments of some great ministries. Just click on the pictures to download your free books:

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