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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
June 16, 2013
Resolutions for Godly Men
Happy Father’s Day to you. For those of you whose father is alive, I hope you have a chance to fulfill the Lord’s command to honor him. That is an easy commandment to fulfill for some of us. I was very glad to be able to visit with my father at the family reunion in Mississippi last week. He is 90 years old, so I am quite blessed that I can still spend some time with him though those opportunities are few and far between. I am quite aware that for some of you it is difficult to honor your father because he was not an honorable man. Yet, it is God’s command to do so even if all you can do is be thankful that he was God’s instrument in giving you life.
This morning I want to address the topic of being a godly man. This is especially important for those of you who are fathers or will be in the future because of the legacy you leave in your children. Will your children honor you out of joy or out of duty? But it goes beyond just your children, for your influence extends farther than that, or at least it should. As a man you should be a positive influence on others, their children and in society.
This sermon is also important for you ladies here. If you are married, then these are qualities you need to encourage in your husband. If you are not married but may consider it in the future, these are qualities you should look for in a potential husband. It is also important for those of you who are not married and will not be getting married in the future because these are still qualities that you need to encourage in the men with whom you interact whether they are young or old. These are the qualities that every man should be developing in their lives and the encouragement of the women around them is very helpful in the pursuit of that endeavor.
Let me begin with a definition of a man that Stephen and Alex Kendrick give in their book, The Resolution for Men. They state, “A man is an adult male who accepts his masculinity, speaks and acts with maturity, embraces responsibility, functions independently, can lead a family faithfully, and recognizes his accountability as an image bearer of God.” I like the fact they state that it takes much more to be a man than just being an adult male. Our society is now filled with many adult males that are not men. The negative effects of feminism in our society have emasculated many men to the point they are afraid to be men. This is a partial reason for the increase in homosexuality. There is also the problem that immaturity among adult males has become such a problem that several secular books over the last decade have pointed out the plight of women looking for someone worth marrying and how so many women that have married anyway have found themselves to be more of a mother to their husband than a wife. Being responsible enough to stand alone if needed is a key quality needed to lead a family and influence society.
For the rest of this morning we are going to briefly examine eleven resolution statements that some of the men in our church will be publically committing themselves to pursue. These men have either attended the Bible study we held earlier this year or have read the book, The Resolution for Men, so they do understand the commitment they are making. I want you to also understand it as well so that you can encourage them in their pursuit of being a godly man.
1) I resolve to take full responsibility for myself and all that God entrusts to me
This first resolution is a general statement covering the underlying quality that is necessary to be a man. A man is responsible. Immature adult males try to make others responsible. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. It is childish to run away from the things for which you are responsible whether positive or negative. When I was about 7or 8 years old I was playing with some friends at their home and I accidentally broke one of their windows during a game. I became scared and ran home and hid under my bed. My father found me there and asked if I had broken the window. I lied and said I had not. He then asked me why I was hiding. I then admitted what I had done and he simply took me with him to repair the window. I learned then from my father that men take responsibility for what they do. They repair what they break.
Paul states he set aside childish things. Real men do that, but that does not mean it is easy. Before he died, King David wisely addressed this issue with his son Solomon. In 1 Kings 2:1-2 David charged Solomon his son, saying, “I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man. Solomon would face great challenges in fulfilling his responsibilities as king and David charged him to do it and show himself a man.
But you do not have to be a king to be fearful of the responsibilities God places upon you. Paul encouraged the Corinthians in a similar way concerning living the Christian life telling them, Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong (1 Corinthians16:13). It would be intimidating to be a man if you had to do everything, but a man only needs to be responsible for what the Lord entrusts to him. As in the parable of the slaves and talents in Matthew 25, the Lord entrusts to each of us what He knows we can handle, and that will vary from person to person. And we are actually only the instruments through whom the Lord reaps and gathers. That is also encouraging because it would be fearful to be a man if you had to do it in your own power, but the Lord is always with the believer (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5) and the Spirit empowers us to fulfill His will (Acts 1:8; Ephesians 3:16; 2 Timothy 1:7). The greater our understanding of and trust in the Lord, the less intimidating and fearful it is to be a man.
Many scriptures make it clear that eventually every man will stand before God and give an account of his life. Christians will have their works judged at the Bema seat (2 Corinthians 5:10) and the deeds of non-Christians at the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15). Ultimately, God will hold you responsible for what He entrusts to you, so show yourself to be a man and take it on now.
2) I resolve to honor the Lord by becoming spiritually mature through seeking God’s will, being obedient to His word and Spirit, and being faithful to His church
This resolution lays the foundation of what it means to be a godly man with four cornerstones. The first is seeking to honor God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 gives a good summary statement of this. Paul was addressing how Christians should treat one another in areas of what are sometime called “debatable issues” and then condensed his instructions down to this simple command, “Whether then you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Paul makes a similar summary statement in Colossians 3:17, And whatever you do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” The godly man understands that his purpose of existence is to bring glory
to His creator. Life is not about your pleasure, fame, or fortune. Life is about God, so everything you do is to be done with His honor in mind. That is the meaning of doing everything in the name of Jesus.
Related to seeking God’s glory is striving to do God’s will. They go hand in hand for one will always lead to the other. A good summary passage for this cornerstone of godliness is Romans 12:1-2, “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, [which is] your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” The first eleven chapters of Romans are all about God’s righteousness displayed in the salvation of man through Jesus and the consequences of that salvation. Starting in chapter 12 Paul instructs Christians on how they should live because of God’s mercies extended to them. Notice that it all boils down to living for Him instead of yourself and by that demonstrating God’s will in your life.
How do you know God’s will? That is the third pillar. Striving to obey the Scriptures. As Paul succinctly states the origin and purpose of the Bible in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” The purpose of the Bible is to lead you into knowing God and living according to His will for His glory. Prayer and being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit are also important in seeking God’s will, but both of those are also dependent on the Scriptures for you can have no confidence in them unless they are in agreement with the principles and precepts of God’s written revelation. Too many people falsely attribute to the Holy Spirit their own selfishness and evil because they do not check their claim to His leading against the Scriptures. They are following their own will, not God’s will.
The fourth pillar is being faithful to God’s church. A person who is seeking to honor God and do His will according to the Bible will become part of Jesus’ church and function within it. Paul’s analogy in 1 Corinthians 12 of the church as the body of Christ is a very good description of how every Christian is to fit within and function in the church. Every member is needed for the church to be healthy and fulfill its purpose in bringing glory to God and helping one another do His will.
3) I resolve to be a humble man of integrity who quickly learns from his failures, repents of his sins and walks as a man answerable to God
This resolution brings out the foundational character qualities of a godly man. He is humble and walks in integrity. Those qualities are what enable him to quickly get right with God when he does wrong and learn from those errors and mistakes.
Humility is an indispensable Christian character for God resists the proud and gives His grace only to the Humble (1 Peter 5:5). Only the humble will truly confess and repent of their sins as is required to be forgiven. In 2 Corinthians 7:8-11, Paul explains the difference between the worldly sorrow of the proud which results in regret and the Godly sorrow of the righteous for sin which results in repentance. The regret of the proud is related to the effect of their sin upon themselves. The repentance of the humble is related to the effect of their sin on God and others. The godly man wants to be right with God and others and so seeks the restoration of those relationships and then seeks to make changes to prevent making the same mistake and committing the same sin again. These are characteristics of the moral uprightness of the man of integrity. Psalm 15 is one of the best descriptions of such a man. He works righteousness and speaks truth from his heart and so is qualified to dwell with the Lord.
4) I resolve to work diligently to provide for my physical needs, those entrusted to my care, and those in need.
One of the responsibilities that God has entrusted to you is providing for the physical needs of yourself and others. Please note, this is for needs, not wants and there is a big difference between the two even to the extreme that what is wanted can be the opposite of what is needed. The godly man does not allow himself to get caught up in the pursuit of riches which, according to 1 Timothy 6:9-10, is a pursuit that has resulted in the ruin and destruction of many.
It is not easy to provide since Adam’s sin has left us and the earth cursed as explained in Genesis 3. Though we must eat by the “sweat of our face,” real men are not afraid of the hard work necessary to provide what is physically needed. They are not lazy. They understand the truth of Proverbs 10:4, Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.
This requirement to provide goes beyond just yourself and your immediate family of a wife and children if you have them. It may also encompass extended family such as parents, siblings and close relatives as needs arise and you have means to meet those needs. Ephesians 4:28 goes beyond family and tells us that we are to work in order to have something to share with those in need. That is the means by which collections can be made to provide relief to the poor (See: Acts 11:28-30; Romans 15:26). Paul makes it clear in 1 Timothy 5:8 that a man who fails to provide for his household denies the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. How is that a denial of the faith? Because the godly man provides by his trust in and obedience to the Lord. Jesus made it clear in Matthew 6:25-34 that He would provide for our needs if we seek first His kingdom and righteousness.
5) I resolve to confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy
This resolution is based on Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?”
The godly man is to be as a protector of others. One of the reasons for God’s judgment of ancient Israel was their failure to do this resulting in the oppression of widows, orphans, aliens and the poor.
The first aspect of protection is confrontation of evil. It is easy to talk about what should be done, but unless those who do evil are confronted, they will continue to oppress others. Too many adult males prove themselves to be less than men because they boast without taking action. James 4:17 states, “Therefore, to one who knows [the] right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.” Real men step up, speak up and take action. We are not to be busybodies getting involved in things we should not, but we are to intervene to prevent evil. We are to look out for the affairs of others (Philippians 2:3-4). Would you intervene to try and break up a fight, stop a mugging, or in light of our current world, put your life at risk to stop a terrorist? Real men will.
The second phase of confronting evil is the pursuit of justice in the effort to put a permanent stop to those doing evil and try to restore those who were damaged by it. This can be time consuming and even expensive, yet it must be done for the good of others. One of the problems that has become prevalent in our society is doing what is expedient instead of what is right. Justice is not pursued because it can be expensive, risky or take too long. For example, insurance companies regularly settle unjust and fraudulent claims because it is less expensive in the short term than pursing justice and risking fickle juries. The costs are passed on as higher premiums for everyone.
The second aspect of protection is showing mercy and kindness to others. Victims of evil need our
kindness to help heal and restore them. Those who get in trouble through their own ignorance need our mercy to show them the right way and overcome the problems they have created.
The godly man confronts evil, pursues justice and loves mercy.
6) I resolve to forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged
This can be a difficult resolution to fulfill because it goes against our natural desire for revenge, but as Romans 12:19-21 explains, revenge belongs to God, not us. We are to overcome evil with good. In Matthew 18:15-35 Jesus explains how we are to deal with those who sin against us and the nature and extent to which we are to forgive them. According to Ephesians 4:32, we are to forgive others in the same manner as God has forgiven us in Christ Jesus, and since He has forgiven us our overwhelming debt of sin, we should forgive others for their sins against us which are insignificant by comparison.
In Matthew 5:23-26 Jesus points out that we are also to be quick to seek the forgiveness of those we have wronged. You cannot even worship properly until you do. You are to be at peace with everyone so far as it depends on you. That is not possible with some people, but you are to make every effort to be reconciled with everyone and have a clean conscience before God and men (Acts 24:16). Those that do not do this are subject to becoming bitter (Hebrews 12:15).
7) I resolve to pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect and compassion
For the godly man, kindness, respect and compassion all begin with prayer for it is in communicating with God that he can properly understand and practice them. What the world considers to be kind, respectful and compassionate is often done apart from godly motives and can be so far from truth that it is actually harmful, disrespectful and cruel. Frankly, much of liberal social activism is that way. They proclaim themselves to be compassionate, but they disdain the abilities of those they are trying to help and end up making them dependent on their aide. That in turn removes their dignity and shackles multiple generations into poverty.
This resolution is founded in what Jesus referred to as the second great commandment which is to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40). There are many verses in the New Testament that are similar to Colossians 3:12 which commands Christians to express that love through a “heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Prayer aligns us with God and His will so that we can express heartfelt tenderness toward those in need and take practical action that will preserve dignity and equip people to become productive and provide help to others instead of being dependent.
8) I resolve to be a man under God’s authority, who by His word and with His presence will fulfill the “one another” commands and faithfully use my God given talents and spiritual gifts.
This resolution is an expansion of the earlier resolution to honor God, seek His will and be faithful to God’s church. To be under God’s authority not only means to be in submission to God’s will, but it also means having God’s authority to carry out His will. What God commands, God enables to happen. Moses had God’s authority, Word, and presence to lead God’s people. He could not have done it with them. In a similar way, every Christian also has God’s authority, word and presence to use what ever gifts God has given him and to carry out what ever particular ministry God has entrusted to him according to the particular power with which God has equipped him. The many “one another” commands give us specific instruction on how the individual members in body of Christ are to be used by God in building up the whole body into maturity (Ephesians 4:11-16; Romans 12:4-8, etc.). The godly man will be faithful to serve God with his God given gifts in the ministries God entrusts to him according to God’s empowerment.
Failure in this area is usually due to not trusting the Lord and therefore not completely submitting to God’s authority. Moses was successful because he was meek. He was not weak, for he boldly confronted the most powerful man in that region of the world. He was meek because his power was in complete submission to God. The godly man will do the same in facing his fears and to step out in faith to obey God and leave the results in the hands of the Lord.
9 ) If I am married, I resolve to be faithful to my wife, love her sacrificially, cherish her, provide for and protect her physically, emotionally and spiritually.
The godly man approaches marriage in a very different manner than an adult male. For the Christian, marriage is “holy matrimony” and not just the legal establishment of a new family. The farce of so called “homosexual marriage” reduces this further to just a legal partnership of two adults which seeks to give societal sanction to what God declares is an abomination and under His condemnation.
For worldly people, marriage is about what you can get, and they will pursue the marriage as long as they are getting what they want or think they can get what they want. When that changes, they will start distancing themselves emotionally and then physically whether they stay married or not.
The godly man pursues marriage in order to glorify His Lord since Ephesians 5:32 is clear that marriage is to be a picture of Christ and the church. The Christian man is to seek to sacrificially give of himself because that is the nature of true love. He is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. He is to cherish his wife as he cherishes his own body. He is to pursue what is in the best interest of his wife instead of selfishly pursing his own interests. He is faithful to her physically, emotionally and mentally.
10) If I have children, I resolve to fulfill my role as a godly father in blessing them, teaching them to love God and obey His commandments, and training them to be respectful and responsible
This resolution is directly from the commands in Deuteronomy 6:4-7. The godly man is to have a different approach to rearing his children than those who are not Christians. Teaching them to know, love and honor God is central to Christian parenting. The desire of every godly parent is that every one of their children becomes a Christian, but salvation is of the Lord, not the will of man (John 1:13). The parent can only lay the foundation, and that foundation begins with the fear of the Lord which is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). Without that fear, the foolishness naturally bound up in the heart of a child just becomes solidified. Intelligence and education cannot change this reality, only the manner in which the foolishness is expressed. A child who properly fears the Lord is on the path to loving Him and becoming someone who will be a blessing to all.
Secondary to teaching children to love God is teaching them to have a respectable and responsible character whether they become Christians themselves or not so that they are blessing to others instead of a curse. We are to train our children to properly honor everyone in authority over them and be respectful to everyone else. All of this begins with teaching your children to obey you (Ephesians 6:1-3). A child that will not obey his parents will also refuse to submit to God and will be disrespectful of others. It is hard work and takes diligence to train a child, but the discipline necessary to accomplish it arises out of love and is a reflection of God’s love for us as explained in Hebrews 12:4-11. It is hatred to fail to discipline and train your children (Proverbs 13:24).
11) I resolve to courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill these resolutions for the rest of my life for the glory of Jesus Christ, my Lord.
This final resolution is simply a commitment to strive with all d
ue diligence to fulfill the previous ten resolutions. This is not a passive “let go and let God” resolution, but a very active commitment to strive and push forward while trusting God for the results. We know that God will do His part since He always keeps His promises, that is an encouragement for us to do our part. However, it does take courage to do this because what God asks of us is so often contrary to our natural bent and beyond what we are capable of on our own. Yet, that is the very thing that demonstrates that it is God working through us and not us doing these things alone.
This final resolution is really the same that Joshua made in his challenge to the Israelites. Regardless of what they did, Joshua resolved, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). Are you ready to make the same resolution for you and your household?
Several men have carefully thought through these resolutions and are ready to publically commit themselves to them. By doing this in a public ceremony they are declaring they want your help and encouragement in fulfilling them. If you would like to join them, but were not prepared for it this morning by reading through the required book, then just let me know after the service and we can include you in a future ceremony.
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help.
Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Write down all the verses mentioned in the sermon and look them up later. 2) Count how many times the word “man” is used. Talk with your parents about what it means to be a man.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What does it mean to be a man? In what ways do you see our society filled with adult males that are not men? What are your thoughts about the Kendricks definition of a man given above? What childishness do you still need to put away now that you are an adult? How is the presence of the Lord a help to accomplishing that? What is the purpose of life? How can you know and carry out God’s will? Why is humility so central to the Christian life? Psalm 15 is a good description of the man of integrity – read it and note the areas in which you need to improve. Why is materialism so dangerous? What is the relationship between laziness and spiritual maturity? What are your responsibilities to provide for yourself, your family, your extended family, to those in need? How have you confronted evil in the past? How can you prepare yourself to confront it in the future? What negative effects can you identify in our society from the failure to pursue justice? Why do victims need kindness? Why do the ignorant need mercy? What is the extent that Christians are required to forgive others? Is there anyone you hold a grudge against? How has the compassion of political liberals resulted in greater harm to the poor? What are the “one another” commands and why are they so important? What is the major reason people fail to carry them out or use their spiritual gifts? How is a Christian marriage different from a secular marriage? What should be the major desire of every Christian parent? What should be the major goal of every Christian parent? Why does parenting require diligence? What is demonstrated when a parent will not discipline their child? Joshua committed himself and his family to serve the Lord – what is your commitment?
Sermon Notes – 6/16/2013
Resolutions for Godly Men – Selected Scriptures
“A man is an adult male who accepts his masculinity, speaks and acts with maturity, embraces responsibility, functions independently, can lead a family faithfully, and recognizes his accountability as an image bearer of God.” – Stephen & Alex Kendrick in The Resolution for Men
American society is filled with many adult males that are not men
A man only needs to be responsible for what the Lord entrusts to him (Matthew 25)
2. I resolve to honor the Lord by becoming spiritually mature through seeking God’s will, being obedient to His word and Spirit, and faithful to His church
1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17 – All is to be done for the glory of God
Romans 12:1-2 – We are to be transformed and live for God in a way that demonstrates His will
2 Timothy 3:16-17 – We know God’s will through His word
1 Corinthians 12 – In this age, God places His people in the church, the body of Christ
3. I resolve to be a humble man of integrity who quickly learns from his failures, repents from his sin and walks as a man answerable to God
Humility is an indispensable Christian character – 1 Peter 5:5
2 Corinthians 7:8-11 – worldly sorrow produces regret, godly sorrow produces repentance
The man of integrity is described in Psalm 15
4. I resolve to work diligently to provide for my physical needs, those entrusted to my care, and those in need
What is needed is very different from what is wanted – the godly man does not love money (1 Tim 6:9-10)
God provides for us as we seek His kingdom and righteousness – Matthew 6:25-34
Justice must be pursued even when the costs are high or evil continues – and expands
Mercy and kindness help victims and shows the ignorant the proper way
6. I resolve to forgive those who have wronged me and strive to reconcile with those I have wronged.
Revenge belongs to God, not man – Romans 12:19-21
We are to forgive others as God has forgiven us in Christ – Eph. 4:32; Matt. 18:15-35
We are to be quick to seek forgiveness for those we have wronged – Matt. 5:23-26
7. I resolve to pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect and compassion.
Worldly ideas about kindness, respect and compassion can be harmful, disrespectful and cruel
Prayer aligns us with God’s will so that we can properly carry out kindness, respect & compassion
8. I resolve to be a man under God’s authority, who by His word and with His presence will fulfill the “one another” commands and faithfully use my God given talents and spiritual gifts.
To be under God’s authority is to be in submission to it and have it carry out His will
The “one another” commands give specific instru
ction on how to function so that everyone matures
Failure in this area is usually due to not trusting the Lord and so not completely submitting to His authority
9. If I am married, I resolve to be faithful to my wife, love her sacrificially, cherish her, provide for and protect her physically, emotionally and spiritually.
For the Christian, marriage is “holy matrimony” and not just a legal relationship
For worldly people, marriage is about what you can get
The godly man pursues marriage in order to glory the Lord and so it is about sacrificial love – Eph. 5
10. If I have children, I resolve to fulfill my role as a godly father in blessing them, teaching them to love God and obey His commandments, and training them to be respectful and responsible
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 – Teaching them to know, love and honor God is central to Christian parenting.
The parent lays the foundation for salvation and a successful life by teaching children the fear of the Lord
The goal of Christian parents is training their children to have a respectable and responsible character
Diligence and discipline in training children is a reflection of God’s love – Hebrews 12:4-11
11. I resolve to courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill these resolutions for the rest of my life for the glory of Jesus Christ, my Lord.
This is a very active commitment to strive and push forward while trusting God for the results
This is the commitment Joshua made – As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord – Joshua 24:15
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