01 Apr Eternity Beckons
Men die. Life is a vapor. Death is imminent and eternity beckons. Every second you are moving closer to the reality that you are going to die. When you look back over the course of your life will what you have invested in really count? What will be your legacy? In light of eternity you must wrestle with these questions so that you don’t waste your life.
Real manhood is dead or at least it’s in a crisis. The lack of models is obvious. When we look into our culture today we see a distorted view of manhood. Men are caught up somewhere between the feminization of manhood on the one hand and the opposite extreme of embracing machismo on the other. Added to this complexity are father wounds that have inflicted us and now come out in a variety of unhealthy ways. As men we need our twisted vision readjusted. To correct and clear up any misconceptions we have been looking to the scriptures to capture a picture of what real authentic manhood looks like.
The world and manhood specifically are not the way they are supposed to be. Brokenness abounds, death, distortion, dysfunctional relationships, confusion, chaos and pain are universal realities now. We see the origin of this in the book of Genesis. God created everything and made it good (Gen. 1:1, 31). He created man in his image, told him to multiply, gave him dominion and a job to do (Gen. 1:26-28, 2:15). “God’s design for manhood is unique leadership being expressed for social and spiritual flourishing.” Tragically, Adam disobeyed and passively sat back as the serpent deceived Eve and then willingly rejected God’s authority as he ate from the tree (Gen. 3:1-7). The downward spiral of manhood has been evident ever since.
As men we don’t have to look far if we are honest. Inside our own hearts, minds, and lives this brokenness is evident. By grace, God pursues us and refuses to leave us in this state. In Genesis 3:15 we see a promise that a seed will come and crush the serpent’s head and reverse the curse of the fall. Behold, Jesus the perfect and true man who came to restore all things including manhood. In this series we have been looking at how Jesus restores manhood.
We have examined four pillars to pursue in the pursuit of authentic manhood since we “don’t stumble into it, but step into it.”
The first pillar in this quest is to reject passivity. We looked at the chaos in David’s life when he refused to reject passivity in the midst of temptation and sin. The tragic results were: adultery, getting another man’s wife pregnant, setting up a murder to cover it up, the rape of his daughter by her half brother and the death of his son (2 Samuel 11, 13). Men are called to reject passivity. We must take the initiative to “stand up and step up, not sit back and be passive.”
The second pillar is to accept responsibility. Instead of accepting responsibility, grown men would rather behave like boys. Extended adolescence is an epidemic today. Men distort and deny reality seeking to escape into a fantasy world or recreate Eden. This leads men to waste their time with porn, video games, and other pursuits of pleasure and ease. The Bible exhorts us to give up childish ways, face reality and accept responsibility as a man (1 Corinthians 13:11). We are called to flee from things that cause us to sin and pursue righteousness (1 Timothy 6:11-16). We don’t run aimlessly. We run to Jesus for our righteousness and help. We run to Jesus who faced every temptation that we face as men and overcame (Hebrews 4:14-16). To accept responsibility as men we must examine where we are being irresponsible and rejecting responsibility in our lives and put it to death.
The third pillar is to lead courageously. The call on men is to be humble servant-leaders who take heart and lead courageously. We saw that this was God’s call to Joshua (Josh. 1:1-9). When fear is allowed to creep into a man’s life there are damaging effects. There’s the idle man, who is everyone’s critic, but his own life sucks and he does nothing himself. The other side is the insecure man who seeks to control everything, avoid risk and cover up who he really is. Alternatively, God calls us to lead courageously. God cultivates this in us by reminding us of his faithfulness, his power and presence. He gives us clarity in our calling. This enables us to follow God’s people and plans, with our life centered on his word, so that we can grow, live and thrive.
The fourth pillar is to invest eternally. “You invest eternally by leveraging you’re here and now in light of then and there.” We took an extended look at Hebrews 10:35-12:2. We gazed at a portrait of those who lived by faith. Men who live lives of faith cast aside weights of sin and fix their eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). Men, invest your time, talents and treasure for the glory of God and the good of others.
All men, we will all leave a legacy, will yours be one worth following? Do you really want to be known as the man who had all the sex he wanted, had money to blow so he made it rain, had power and respect but lay on his deathbed all alone, a man who left nothing in his wake except shattered lives and broken hearts? Or do you really want be known as a good man who wasted his time and life and invested only in self? At the end of the sermon every man was given a card with a call to action. “By faith I will…I will cast aside…” What will you do? As a man you were made for more, thirst for more.
The brevity of life and the idea of leaving a legacy hit home to me recently as I sat in the hospital in the ICU watching as my dad was dying.
I was there next to his bed as he breathed his final breathe. During his time in the hospital, afterwards and at the funeral, I had the opportunity to hear what others had to say about his life and legacy. This is something that we won’t be able to experience once we are dead. Our legacy will be finished and incapable of being altered. What steps as a man can you take now to ensure that your legacy will be worthy of imitation?
By the grace of God in the gospel my father’s legacy was one that demonstrated faith. I saw the way that he loved me, my sister and my mom. He worked hard his whole life and sacrificed his own comforts and wants. He demonstrated his faithfulness to my mom for 36 years and loved and cherished her. He did his best to make sure that we knew the word of God, to put us in position to hear it and to pour into us whenever he could. He was a man that lived out his faith in public and private. For this I am eternally grateful. His life exhibited authentic worship of Jesus, the one who filled his heart, mind and mouth with joy and praise. He was never ashamed of Jesus and was not worried about what others thought. He daily looked to Christ for strength and rest. Though his bodily was wasting away, he was daily nourished and renewed by Christ.
During the last few years we grew closer and were able to spend a lot of time together. I’m thankful for his demonstration of being a Godly man to me. It was hard for me to see his health decline and him in such excruciating pain. He had great faith in the sovereignty of God over all the circumstances in his life and kept his faith. He was comforted by the truth that Jesus is still on his throne building his Church. Though he wanted to be here with us, he is now with his savior whom he loved and treasured.
I had the privilege of hearing stories from his pastor, church family, co-workers, friends and family about his love for the Lord. They shared the impact that his faith had on them and how his joyful praise and worship of Jesus inspired them. He wasn’t perfect but he clung to and pointed us to the one who is – Christ. Dad I love you and pray that by God’s grace my life as a man will be a demonstration of faith in Jesus, just like you.
As men we have all failed to live according to God’s purpose and design. When God exposes our brokenness it’s not to shame or to wound us. He does so to point us to the only one, who can heal, transform and restore us, Jesus. Jesus is the perfect, sinless, man who died in our place, bearing on sin and shame. He rose victoriously from the grave, ascended to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to empower his people. We are daily renewed and transformed into the image of Christ. Thus, the motivation and power to pursue biblical manhood comes from the gospel. God’s grace in the gospel compels us to seek to live obediently to his word. Therefore, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love (1 Cor. 16:13-14).”
Written by Samuel Sawyer