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GENESIS 1:26-28 - It's Good To Be A Man

It's Good To Be A Man  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  36:29
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Since God created men to rule, the only choice is between a faithful patriarchy or a destructive one

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Introduction

We have officially entered the world that the 19th Century British author and apologist G. K. Chesterton once predicted:
We shall soon be in a world in which a man may be howled down for saying that two and two make four, in which furious party cries will be raised against anybody who says that cows have horns, in which people will persecute the heresy of calling a triangle a three-sided figure, and hang a man for maddening mob with the news that grass is green.
(That was in 1926!)
I read that quote as we begin this morning to brace you for something that I am about to say that is being howled down today, something that is raising furious cries of opposition, something that is persecuted as a heresy and even now brings on the online lynch-mobs:
IT IS GOOD TO BE A MAN.
Sure enough, we live in a world gone mad—to the point that even in this room when I said that, you flinched a little bit, didn’t you? We live in the midst of a people and a nation gone mad, a people that cannot bear to say anything positive about masculinity, a world where even the concept of male and female is under assault.
But, mad as it may be, our world needs to hear this message—men need to hear this message, because men in our culture are being decimated. As one author puts it:
Technological and environmental shifts have resulted in men having such low testosterone levels that their grip strength is weaker than that of women from a generation ago. The ubiquity of porn has led to erectile dysfunction in men not even out of their twenties… Masculinity is shamed. Strong men are vilified as “toxic”... Fathers are portrayed in mass media as unnecessary buffoons--little better than one of the kids. Anyone esteeming motherhood as foundational to femininity is cancelled. Domestic violence is regarded as an exclusively male sin. No-fault divorce, welfare, and wickedly prejudicial custody laws incentivize women to leave their husbands and take everything they have--and they do, initiating nearly 80 percent of all divorces. Male suicide rates are heading for the skies. No one cares. (Foster, M., & Tennant, D. B. (2022). It’s Good to Be a Man: A Handbook for Godly Masculinity. Canon Press. pp. 11-12)
And so we will spend the next several weeks together saying what God’s Word says about masculinity: it is good to be a man. Men need to hear this message, to know what God says about manhood. But this is not just a “men’s” sermon series. Men need to know what Biblical masculinity is—but so do women. If you are an unmarried woman who expects to be married someday, you need to understand what is happening to the men of your generation and how to recognize the kind of godly masculinity that your Father in Heaven commands you to seek. If you are a mother, you want to be able to raise your sons to be what the Scripture says a man should be, and you want to train your daughters to look for and prepare themselves to marry this kind of man. If you are a grandmother, you want to know how to pray for your grandsons as they navigate this world gone mad in its hatred for them as men.
The Church needs to declare this message of Biblical masculinity—that it is good to be a man because men know that they are in trouble, and they are looking anywhere they can for help. And there are a lot of voices out there like Absalom’s. Absalom usurped his father’s kingdom by listening to the people’s complaints, offering a sympathetic ear, taking their problems seriously, offering himself as their solution. And there are many “Absaloms” in our culture today who do the same thing—secular men’s rights advocates, YouTube personalities, podcasters and speakers who are massively popular because they listen to men, they understand men, they speak up for them and defend them—and they all lead men away from God.
We cannot be silent, we who have the authoritative Word of God with its message of the goodness and holiness and glory of masculinity rightly ordered in obedience to its Creator. And so this morning we will see what God’s Word declares about the goodness of being a man.
And this morning I want us to look at the Scriptures to see what God says about manhood—and the starting place for us in the first book of the Bible tells us that it is good to be a man because
God MADE men to be RULING FATHERS
Once again, all the tripwires subtly installed in your head by this fallen world start to go off when you hear that men were made to rule, to take ownership, to subdue and then reign over their realm. The common word used to describe what I’m getting at is the much-hated, continuously maligned word “patriarchy”—
PATRIARCHY: From the Greek words patros (FATHER) and archos (RULE)
According to our day and age, “patriarchy” is the most vile monster of our time—the patriarchy is evil, the patriarchy is unjust, the patriarchy is the root of all of the violence and injustice and bigotry and ruination of the world.
But the problem for all those enemies of patriarchy out there is that

I. Patriarchy is INEVITABLE (Genesis 1:26-28)

Look at Genesis 1—verses 26-28. It’s a familiar story, and one that we have been dwelling on for quite some time in our Sunday School curriculum—because Genesis 1 explains how the world works. Genesis describes for us what our world is like and why our world is the way it is. And so listen to what God says about why He created man:
Genesis 1:26–28 (ESV)
26 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.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 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.”
You see it here clearly stated:
Men were CREATED to exercise DOMINION (Genesis 1:26-28; 9:1, 7)
Men were created to exercise dominion because they were created in the image of God. God is the ruler of all creation; He has the ultimate dominion and authority and rulership of all things. And the fact that you bear His image, brother, means that you are meant to rule as well. Look around the world we live in and you will see even today that men overwhelmingly occupy positions of authority and rulership and government. This is not a bug, it’s a feature. This is the way God (in Whose image men are created) made the world to work. Water runs downhill because God made it that way; Cows have horns because God made them that way. The sun rises in the east because God created it to do so. And men will inevitably rule because God made them to rule.
Adam was placed into the Garden and told that his job was to transform the entire planet Earth into that same kind of garden—he was to exercise dominion by making the whole world into one gigantic garden, subdued and transformed and ruled over by him and his wife. (Of course dominion involves men and women both—Lord willing we will unpack this command to exercise dominion further in coming weeks and how God calls both men and women to exercise it, but for now it is enough for us to see that the responsibility for exercising dominion was given to men.)
But as we continue the story of Creation in Genesis we see that Adam’s ability to exercise godly dominion was destroyed by his sin. Because Adam did not exercise his rulership when Eve disobeyed God, and instead allowed her to exercise dominion over him by joining her in her disobedience, the earth would no longer cooperate with his attempts to subdue it:
Genesis 3:17 (ESV)
17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
But it is vital for us to note that, though Adam’s ability to subdue the earth was lost, his nature as a ruler was not. Ever since Adam, men have always sought to subdue and rule and hold dominion. We cannot do otherwise—but we have lost the relationship with God that makes our dominion good. Because of Adam’s fall and the sin that he brought into the world,
A man’s DOMINION will either BLESS or CURSE
Patriarchy is inevitable—it is not a matter of whether men will dominate. Every man dominates. The only question is whether they will dominate in a constructive way or a destructive way. Just because patriarchy is inevitable does not mean that dominion is inevitably good. A man may exercise righteous dominion in his household, blessing his wife and children and protecting them with sacrificial strength and joyful manhood, or he may nuke his dominion and curse his family by his sin or abdication or violence or depravity—but either way, he rules that household. He rules by his presence, he rules by his absence. He rules by his responsibility, he rules by his dissipation. He rules by his kindness, he rules by his cruelty. A man will always exercise dominion—and that dominion will either bless or curse.
Patriarchy—father rule—is inevitable. It may be a righteous patriarchy or a wicked patriarchy, but it will be a “father rule”, because God made men to rule. It may have been inevitable that the Pharaohs of Egypt were men, but it was not inevitable that they were good men. The Pharaoh who blessed Joseph and his family at the end of Genesis was not the same kind of man as the Pharaoh who we find at the beginning of the Book of Exodus:
Exodus 1:8–10 (ESV)
8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9 And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. 10 Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.”
This is the next thing that we learn from God’s Word about manhood—since God made men to be ruling fathers, wicked rulers will always see men as a threat to their rule! And so we see in the Scriptures that

II. Wicked patriarchs WAGE WAR on men (Exodus 1:8-11)

Pharoah knew that if the Hebrews were allowed to continue growing and multiplying that they would eventually become an unstoppable threat to his rule. And so who did he target? The boys:
Exodus 1:15–16 (ESV)
15 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16 “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.”
Young men are a threat to wicked patriarchies—and so wicked patriarchies will always target them. Pharaoh’s first solution in Exodus was to
HARNESS them (cp. Daniel 1)
Wicked rulers attempt to get control of young men’s strength and ability and capacity for rulership and make it serve their own purpose—think the Hitler Youth program in the 30’s, the radicalization of young Muslim men in our day. In the beginning of the book of Daniel we see Nebuchadnezzar harnessing Daniel and his friends, co-opting their ability to rule and lead and conquer into the service of the Babylonian Empire (give them different names, change their diets and habits.) Pharaoh tried to harness the young men of the Hebrew nation in Exodus because he was afraid of what would happen if they decided to turn their strength and dominion in his direction
Another way that wicked rulers wage war on men is to
PACIFY them (Judges 16:5)
If harnessing the strength of men doesn’t work, then a wicked patriarch will attempt to sap that strength away from them so that they have no desire to rebel. One of the most potent ways to pacify men is through sex—look at the way that the Philistines were able to pacify and capture Samson—through Delilah:
Judges 16:5 (ESV)
5 And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.”
In our day, young men are absolutely deluged with pornography—because they are being targeted. There was a time when if a young man wanted sex, he had to get a job, get a haircut, go out and be a productive member of society so that a father would decide he was a good match for his daughter. But the wickedness that is in the ascendency in our day is terrified of productive, responsible young men, and so it pacifies them with nearly inescapable levels of pornography to sap away their strength (and the same screen that serves them their sex can also serve them any kind of virtual conquest or dominion they want through video games.) The problem with our society isn’t so much “fake news” as it is “fake dominion” and “fake fruitfulness” that is draining away the lives of millions of young men
Wicked patriarchies war against men—if they can’t harness them or pacify them, then they will
DESTROY them (Matt. 2)
Young men who can’t be harnessed or pacified must be crushed—they are too dangerous to be allowed to live (ibid., p. 8). Pharaoh had to kill all of the male babies among the Hebrews in order to preserve his rule; centuries later Herod did the same thing to prevent a young man from overthrowing his kingdom:
Matthew 2:16 (ESV)
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.
Wicked patriarchies want to destroy young men—in the past five years, suicide rates for young men aged 15-19 has jumped to 17.9 for every 100,000. (Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/science/la-sci-suicide-rates-rising-teens-young-adults-20190618-story.html, accessed 8/26/2022)
This is not a coincidence. There is a war on against young men. Enslaved and pacified by porn and video games that sap their natural vigor and desire for dominion, vilified and condemned as toxic, dangerous and useless, they are desperate for someone to see them, to hear them, to fight for them. And the Absaloms of the world—the Joe Rogans, the Jordan Petersons, the Rollo Tomassis—are all ready with a sympathetic ear and ready advice. The incels and the MGTOWS (involuntary celibates and Men Going Their Own Way) draw more and more of these disaffected, kicked-around young men to their ranks, where they will be drawn away into bitterness, apathy and despair.
Wicked patriarchs hate and fear young men—so much so that even what I have said about how young men are being destroyed in this country will itself be labeled “toxic” and “dangerous”, and that by reading clearly God’s Word and clearly reading the world around us we are attempting to “radicalize” young men. But we must stand on what God’s Word says—it is good to be a man. God created men to be ruling fathers. Patriarchy is inevitable—but good patriarchies are not. Wicked patriarchs will try to destroy men any way they can, but

III. Godly patriarchs ROUSE and EQUIP men (Neh. 2:11-20, 4:1-23)

Patriarchy is inevitable—men will always rule, either constructively or destructively. And one of the most powerful examples we have in the Scriptures of a godly ruler is Nehemiah. Seventy years after the sack of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, Nehemiah returns to the city with the blessing of the Persian emperor Artaxerxes. In Nehemiah 2:11-20 we read about his survey of the gates and walls of the city. He summons the officials of the city, and says to them:
Nehemiah 2:17 (ESV)
17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.”
In their book “It’s Good To Be A Man: A Handbook for Godly Masculinity”, authors Michael Foster and Dominic Tennant draw the parallel between Nehemiah’s evaluation of the plight of Jerusalem without walls or gates with the plight of young men in our society. Proverbs 25:28 says:
Proverbs 25:28 (ESV)
28 A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
Our young men (and older men) are plagued by that lack of self-control that has been crushed by the pacifying effects of fake dominion and fake fruitfulness of our society. And like Nehemiah, the Church needs to be the voice that calls those men to rebuild those walls and set those gates to repair the ruins of masculinity in our day.
As Nehemiah called the men of his day to rebuild and repair the walls and gates of Jerusalem, so the mission of the church today is to call men back to that purpose for which their Creator made them—back to that godly rulership and dominion. Like Nehemiah, we are called to
Lead men into a PROSPEROUS PURPOSE (Neh. 2:20; cp. Prov. 23:24)
As Nehemiah called the people to go to work to repair the ruins of Jerusalem, he was immediately attacked and accused of rebelling against Artaxerxes (much the same way that anyone who calls for men to be lifted up and encouraged and strengthened is being accused of “domestic terrorism!”)
Nehemiah 2:19–20 (ESV)
19 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” 20 Then I replied to them, “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem.”
In other words, church, we are called to look to God in obedience to His call to exercise that dominion—the God of Heaven will make us prosper”—we work to rebuild the ruins of masculinity in our culture in obedience to God. We submit to God and obey His call to rebuild what has been lost, to restore the foundational glory of men as rulers and stewards and dominion-takers, to move from men left desolate and undefended against the wickedness of this world into men who are equipped and ready to take up the rulership that God created them for:
Proverbs 23:24 (ESV)
24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.
The church must, like Nehemiah, lead men into a prosperous purpose of rebuilding the broken walls and gates of Biblical masculinity, and we must
Call men to COURAGEOUS SACRIFICE (Neh. 4:14; cp. Matthew 20:18)
As the work on the walls continued, the enemies of Jerusalem became more desperate to stop the rebuilding:
Nehemiah 4:7–8 (ESV)
7 But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were very angry. 8 And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it.
And so Nehemiah stood before his men and called them to do something that every man has a deep and unquenchable desire to do—to lay down his life for something greater than himself:
Nehemiah 4:14 (ESV)
14 And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”
Nehemiah put steel in the spines of his men by reminding them that they stood between their homes and their families and the dark wickedness that sought to destroy them.
Brothers, this is what God’s Word calls you to do this morning: Remember the LORD, great and awesome, and fight! Fight to take back the good gift of masculinity that God created you for, fight for the home God has given you, fight for your wife, fight for your children, fight for your future!
But mark it well, brothers—it is easy to listen to a sermon like this, a sermon that shows from God’s Word how evil patriarchies will always seek to destroy men, a sermon that identifies what the Scriptures say are the weapons that have been deployed against you—it is easy to listen to all this and think to yourself: “Well, then this is all somebody else’s fault! It’s the “Evil Patriarchy’s” fault that I’m addicted to porn and video games, it’s the evil patriarchy’s fault that I have abdicated my role as a leader of my home and my family; it’s someone else’s fault that my life is an impotent mess!”
Brother, if that’s the way you’re taking this sermon this morning, then you have a long way to go to understand the first thing about being a man. Fighting to restore that dissipated rulership you were created for does not mean blame-shifting. A man never blame-shifts. A man doesn’t do what Adam did when God called him out for his disobedience in the Garden: “The woman whom You gave to be with me, SHE gave it to me, and I ate...” (Gen. 3:12). The first words out of our father's mouth after he fell into sin was “But it wasn’t my fault!” And every time you echo those words of his, you sound just as pathetic as he did when he said it.
Do you want to know how to start repairing those broken walls and fallen gates of your lack of self-control and abdication of your rulership? It’s not by blaming someone or something else—it is by owning your behavior, and it is by calling it what it is: sin against God. You were made to rule, but you have chosen to drain away that rule with PornHub and Call of Duty. You were made to be a wise and godly patriarch, but instead you have devastated your household and nuked your dominion and broken the spirits of your family because of your foolishness and self-absorption and destructive sins. You were made to lay down your life for your home, but instead you have decided to make everyone else in your home lay down their lives so that you can have your preferences and your comfort and your desires met.
Brothers, the only way to start repairing those ruins is to repent. The only way to restore the manhood you were created for is to turn to the God-Man Himself, Jesus Christ. He is the One who stood between you and the black destruction of the wrath of God, the only Man since Adam, the only Man in all of existence, who could have rightly said “It’s not my fault!”, but instead He took your hit for you.
You need to come to this Man, to Jesus Christ, the true Man, the One Who placed Himself between you and the wrath of God you richly deserve for your abdication and disobedience and rejection of His Law. He fought and bled and died—and rose again—to save you from your enslavement to sin, to atone for your destruction of your dominion, to redeem your life from the consequences of men who have failed you. God has made you to rule, brother, and your first step in restoring that rule is to come in repentance for your sin and call on the Name of the Man Who rules over every evil patriarchy, the one Who died in your place so that you may live and rule and reign with Him someday—your Patriarch, your Savior—Jesus Christ!
BENEDICTION:
Hebrews 13:20–21 (ESV)
20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:

Why is the statement “It’s good to be a man” so controversial in our society? What are some of the accusations against men and masculinity that are commonly stated in public today?
What is the definition of “patriarchy”? Read Genesis 1:26-28; Genesis 9:1-7; Exodus 3:6; Romans 15:8. Why do we say from these (and other) verses that “patriarchy is inevitable”?
What are some of the ways wicked patriarchs wage war on men? Which of these attacks has been most prevalent in your life? How do these things sideline men from the purpose God made them for?
Spend time in prayer this week for the men in your life—your father, your brothers, your husband, your sons—that they would “arise and build” godly masculinity in obedience to Christ.
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