Summary: From a conference for college-age men on what it means to be a man, God’s man and God’s leader.
Godliness, Manhood and Leadership
As men, we’re in crisis. The crisis we experience is deeper and more pervasive than probably any of us realize.
It’s a crisis which impacts us first as males -- then it shifts – and it twists and troubles relationships with others, especially with women. This crisis will impact our marriages, if we have them, it will affect our children and it will influence our children’s children. Of course, the crisis pervades and perverts our culture.
Tony Evans terms it a “crisis of manhood” and he nails it when he calls it is a theological crisis. That simply means we have abandoned what God says on the topic of gender, and
in particular, on the meaning of maleness. Because of that abandonment, we’re paying a
huge price and we will continue to do so -- unless God’s men fulfill their calling.
The crisis of manhood began long before we were born and it influences every issue we’d name if we were to describe what it means to be a man -- what it means to be a man of God -- certainly what it means to be God’s man in relationships, marriage, and in culture.
We’re going to hit three areas today. This morning, we’ll talk about this crisis -- this predicament in which we find ourselves. I want to close our session this morning by giving some attention to what I will call “the prospect.“ Then later today, I want to hold out for you a powerful possibility -- the possibility that under Jesus Christ, we can be everything God meant for us to be as men -- His men, His leaders and His warriors in the cosmic battle that’s been raging since our first humans walked in the garden.
First, let’s think through the crisis we experience and how we got there -- this is
To get some background, we need to go back to the headwaters of creation.
Look at Genesis 1-3. In Genesis we discover 1. We have an inheritance which betrays us.
Of course, I’m talking about our first parents -- especially our first father, Adam.
Genesis chapter 1: The first chapter of Genesis sketches a broad overview of God’s creation -- the heavens -- the earth -- everything on the earth. We don’t have time to look at the broader creation; let me make two observations.
First, for the world and everything that came from it, God simply spoke and it was created.
Light, the material world, the seas, the land masses, then fish, animals, botanical life forms
-- all of that, God simply willed, and He spoke and commanded it to happen, and -- because
God is God -- it happened. The creation of man is quite different.
Another observation: Everything in God’s original creation was good. More than once in the narrative, God takes time to observe His creative works and pronounce them good. At the
conclusion of the world’s creation, God declares all of it good. Before the Fall, creation powerfully reflected the nature of God’s own goodness.
Some dramatic changes happen at verse 26. Then God said, “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Here, again, there is an overview in Genesis 1 -- the perspective there is that mankind is created including both man and woman.
God commands them to rule creation and to reproduce. In verse 29 he gifts them with every good thing, all the plants that produced seed -- all the trees giving fruit -- all good things they can eat and enjoy. Verse 31 is the capstone of God’s much more personal and precise creation of man. God saw all that He had made, and behold it was very good.
Chapter 2. This is the detailed view of the creation of man, then woman, where chapter 1’s view is of God creating mankind. These are the details. Verse 8. After God carefully formed man, something He did nowhere else in the creation, He breathed into Adam the breath of life and Adam became a living soul. From the beginning we realize that this creature is remarkably different than all others. God planted a garden and places Adam there.
Again, God provides everything for him, all of it great to look at and good to eat.
This was a garden and orchard fully enjoyable to the eyes and to the taste buds. Everything was there to choose and enjoy. But, verse 9. The tree of life was also in the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.