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061022 002 The Search for Real Men

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The Search for “Real Men”

Rev. Paul Nelson

introduction

What is a “real man”?

The traditional American view of a real man is one who is broad-shouldered, self-confident, tough, unemotional and successful.  The Marlboro Man, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood types.

But for the past ten years there has been a call for men to be more sensitive, to be vulnerable, to share their feelings, to cry more. John Wayne and Clint Eastwood have been replaced by Billy Crystal and Woody Allen.

What constitutes a real man?

In the Christian world, we’ve been trying to come up with the answer. We have Family Life Seminars, Promise Keepers conventions, hundreds of self-help books on how to be a good father, how to be a good husband.  The list of self-help books is endless.

I think that phrase “self-help” is significant. I don’t mean to discredit any of those things I just mentioned, because they all have their place. In fact, many of them were started because people felt like churches weren’t dealing with the issues. But our tendency, when we realize there is a problem, is to go find a book written by some expert with the answers or go to a “professional counselor” or go to some conference to learn some steps to follow or principles to apply, to get motivated to work hard, and then we go home and try really hard to follow those steps. We do them for the next few weeks or months. But eventually, we slip back into our old habits and wait for the next conference. Perhaps that is why the Promise Keepers have to come back each year. We don’t keep our promises. The problem is that we are doing all these things out of our own energy, not God’s energy.

In our day, too many men are seeking more diligently for their manhood, than for God. However, if you read the biographies of the great Christians of the past, like Dwight L. Moody, Hudson Taylor, etc., it becomes obvious that they sought God first. They spent hours in the Word and in prayer. They were very godly men. And look what God did through them. They are remembered as great men. The only way to be manly is to be godly.  (Crabb, p. 32)

What does it mean to be godly?  It means that we are actively reflecting the image of God.  To be godly means that in the core of our being as men we are changing and becoming more and more like Jesus Who is God so that we live and lead more and more like Him.  In order to become men we must know God and what He is like.

Last week we studied the first marriage, the marriage of Adam and Eve that was perfect in every way until the Silence of Adam.  In the crisis of Eve’s temptation, Adam failed to reflect God.  Please turn with me to Genesis 1:1-3.

 

 

God spoke and Created order and life out of chaos

(Genesis 1:1-3 ESV) 1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.  3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Genesis 1:2 says that the earth was formless and void and darkness was over the surface of the deep. In other words, everything was chaos. Then, while everything was darkness and chaos, God spoke into the darkness and He created life and beauty.

Genesis 1:2 is as much a theological statement as it is an historical one. It is not just giving us a chronological order of events.

What it is saying about God is that God moves in darkness and chaos and creates order and life. The statement is there so that man, who is created to walk in God’s image will know what that involves. It involves moving into the chaos and creating order and life.

That brings us to the next point.

Man’s Responsibility is To Walk in God’s Image

Genesis 1:26 says that man was created in God’s image and one purpose was to rule over the rest of creation.

(Genesis 1:26 ESV) 26Then 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.”

Man was to help keep the order. One of the first things Adam did was to name the animals. That did three things:

•          First, it demonstrated his superiority over them and it fulfilled the command to rule over creation.

•          Second, it helped fulfill his role of being in God’s image and taking part in creating order out of chaos.

If animals didn’t have names, you would find yourself saying things like... I saw one of those yellow, furry animals down by the creek today. The other person would say, “The one with the long neck?” Then you would say, “No, it had a short neck.” Then the other person would say, “The one with stripes?” “No, the one with spots...” And on and on it would go. That definitely would be a chaotic situation.

•          Third, Adam was also “like” God because naming the animals involved speaking into the disorder.

In Genesis 1:3 God spoke and then in Gen. 2:19-20 man spoke.

(Genesis 2:19-20 ESV) 19So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.

There is a logical connection between the two. Man was reflecting the image of God by speaking into the chaos and creating order.

Here is a critical point:  God spoke into chaos and created life and order. Man is created in God’s image and part of man’s responsibility is to speak into chaos and create life and order.

How does that apply to us today? We don’t need to name the animals.

For me, that means that when life is chaotic or when something threatens chaos and destruction on those I love and lead, I need to speak. I need to say something and I need to do something. I need to get involved. I should not remain silent. If I remain silent, I am like Adam in the garden. I am sinning.

But man’s natural tendency is to remain silent. That takes us to the next topic.

Man’s Natural Tendency is To Be Silent

In addition to Adam, there are several examples in the Bible of men who were silent. Let’s look at them and see where it got them.

The Example of Adam

We’ve already looked at this one.  Let me ask you, what were the consequences of Adam’s silence? The result was that billions of people have lived miserable lives and then died and most have gone to hell.

The Example of Abraham

God made a promise to Abraham that he would have a son through Sarah and be the father of a multitude, through whom God would bless the world. After ten years, and no children, Sarah came to Abraham

(Genesis 16:2 ESV) 2And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.

What did Abraham say?  As you can see, Abraham was silent and listened to the voice of Sarah.

Then later after Hagar had Ishmael, Sarah became jealous and Abraham told she could do whatever she wanted to do with Hagar.  So Abraham allowed Sarah to treat Hagar harshly.  So, Abraham was silent and did what Sarah said. What was the result? The Arab/Israeli conflict that still rages today.

The Example of Lot

We know from 2 Peter 2:7f that Lot was a righteous man living in Sodom:

(2 Peter 2:7-8 ESV) 7and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8(for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);

Reading the Genesis account Lot’s righteousness is more difficult to see.  He stayed in Sodom and was silent about the evil around him. When he offered his two daughters to a crowd of men to protect God’s messengers, that was not the action of a strong man. At the end of that account Lot and his family fled from the city, but Lot’s wife looked back at Sodom and turned into a pillar of salt.  It becomes obvious who it was that wanted to live in Sodom and who was really running the family. If Lot was tormented in his soul by the evil around him, then why didn’t he leave? Because his wife didn’t want to.  Lot remained silent and passive.

Some time later Lot’s daughters commit incest with Lot while he is drunk and they get pregnant.  The offspring of Lot’s daughters, Moab and Ben-ammi become the fathers of two nations that would war against the Israelites, the descendants of Abraham – the Moabites and the Ammonites.  So, we see further damage result from Lot’s silent passive life.

My Wife’s Husband

Perhaps you’ll recognize this scenario:  at the end of a long work day, Mr. B walks through the front door and is greeted by Mrs. B.  Mrs. B begins to ask Mr. B some questions, “How was your day?”  “What did you do?”  “How do you feel?”  Mr. B. grunts a few times.  Says “fine”, “not much, same old same old” and falls silent.  Mrs. B. presses for more response, and Mr. B. finally gets angry, snaps at her and leaves the room.  Both end up hurt, confused and angry.

Conclusion

Here we have several examples of men who were silent. In each situation the result was much harm to others. We might say the result was chaos.

When God spoke, He made order out of chaos. When men fail to act in God’s image, and speak, the result is more chaos. And very important to recognize: our silence injures relationship. And that is what male leadership is all about - relationships. How is my silence going to affect my relationship with others? The Bible shows that it will definitely destroy them.

•          Adam’s silence destroyed his relationship with God and his wife.

•          Abraham’s silence resulted in the Arab/Israeli conflict.

•          Lot’s silence resulted in the destruction of his wife and the creation of Israel’s enemies.

Notice also that in each of these situations, when the man was silent, the women stepped in and took control. God said that was going to be the woman’s natural tendency in Gen. 3:16, and we can see it happening over and over again.  This is not meant to vilify women in any way.  It is meant to wake men up to our responsibility to reflect God’s image and speak into chaos in order to bring life and order.

So, man’s natural tendency is to be silent. But what we’ve seen so far ought to do away with the description of a man as “The Strong Silent Type.” When you understand these principles, it makes you want to change it to “The Weak Silent Type.”

Summary

•          What we’ve seen is that God speaks into disorder and creates order and life.

•          Man is created in God’s image and should also speak into disorder and create order and life.

•          But man’s natural tendency is to avoid the chaos and to be silent.

•          When he does that he creates even more chaos and destroys relationships.

Homework

Keep in mind, the application of this study is not that a man should now go home and verbally bash his wife and children and demand his way.  That kind of speaking destroys relationship.  The kind of speaking to which God calls a man engages him in relationship with his wife and children through which he is a blessing to his family.

What I want you to do for homework this week is to be aware of your actions and inactions. When life presents you with some confusing or chaotic situation, what do you do? Do you shut down emotionally? Do you withdraw and go do something else? Do you get overbearing and try to control the situation? Think about how you react to disorder in your life, and then next week when we discuss the reasons for silence, it will hit a lot closer to home.


| IN SEARCH OF REAL MEN |


What is a “real man”?

The traditional American view of a real man is...

In our day, too many men are seeking more diligently for their manhood, than for God. However, if you read the biographies of the great Christians of the past, like Dwight L. Moody, Hudson Taylor, etc., it becomes obvious that they sought God first. They spent hours in the Word and in prayer. They were very godly men. And look what God did through them. They are remembered as great men. The only way to be _________ is to be godly.

God spoke and Created __________ and _________ out of chaos

(Genesis 1:1-3 ESV) 1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.  3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

What it is saying about God is that God moves in darkness and chaos and creates order and life. The statement is there so that man, who is created to walk in God’s image will know what that involves. It involves moving into the chaos and creating order and life.

Man’s Responsibility is To Walk in God’s __________

 (Genesis 1:26 ESV) 26Then 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.”

Man was to help keep the order. One of the first things Adam did was to name the animals. That did three things:

•           

•           

•           

Here is a critical point:  God spoke into chaos and created life and order. Man is created in God’s image and part of man’s responsibility is to speak into chaos and create life and order.


! Man’s Natural Tendency is To Be __________

The Example of Adam

The Example of Abraham

(Genesis 16:2 ESV) 2And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.

The Example of Lot

(2 Peter 2:7-8 ESV) 7and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8(for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);

My Wife’s Husband

Conclusion

When God spoke, He made order out of chaos. When men fail to act in God’s image, and speak, the result is more chaos. A man’s silence injures relationship. And that is what male leadership is all about - relationships. The Bible shows that man’s silence destroys relationships:

•          Adam’s silence destroyed his relationship with God and his wife.

•          Abraham’s silence resulted in the Arab/Israeli conflict.

•          Lot’s silence resulted in the destruction of his wife and the creation of Israel’s enemies.

Summary

•          What we’ve seen is that God speaks into disorder and creates order and life.

•          Man is created in God’s image and should also speak into disorder and create order and life.

•          But man’s natural tendency is to avoid the chaos and to be silent.

•          When he does that he creates even more chaos and destroys relationships.

Homework

Keep in mind, the application of this study is not that a man should now go home and verbally bash his wife and children and demand his way.  That kind of speaking destroys relationship.  The kind of speaking to which God calls a man engages him in relationship with his wife and children through which he is a blessing to his family.

What I want you to do for homework this week is to be aware of your actions and inactions. When life presents you with some confusing or chaotic situation, what do you do? Do you shut down emotionally? Do you withdraw and go do something else? Do you get overbearing and try to control the situation? Think about how you react to disorder in your life, and then next week when we discuss the reasons for silence, it will hit a lot closer to home.

Invitation

Every man, woman and child’s greatest need is to be reconciled to God.  Our sins (lying, stealing, gossip etc.) separate us from God and earn for us God’s righteous condemnation that will put us in Hell after we die physically.  Though we deserve Hell, God loves us and wants us to live with Him now and forever.  Jesus took God’s punishment on Himself when He died on the cross.  He was buried and on the third day Jesus rose from the dead.  God offers you complete forgiveness of your sins if you want it.  You must confess to God that you are a sinner and you must trust in the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus to make you right with God.  It is a gift you must receive by faith.  To find out more about this gift and how you can receive it, ask Pastor Paul or the person you came with today. 

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