Summary: Many wrongly conclude that church is for women and children. They conclude that it’s not manly to be religious. That idea is as false as anything can be. But that doesn’t keep many from believing it. I want to set the record straight by highlighting t
Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister
First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO
Family Classics Series
Rise Up, O Men of God
Today, we salute our Fathers. In the process, we want to honor all of our guys. This is a much needed emphasis in our day. Many wrongly conclude that church is for women and children. They conclude that it’s not manly to be religious. That idea is as false as anything can be. But that doesn’t keep many from believing it. I want to set the record straight by highlighting the manly side of the Christian faith.
First, on the lighter side—the top ten reasons it’s great to be a guy: #10. Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat. #9. You can "do" your nails with a pocketknife. #8. You can leave the motel bed unmade without feeling guilty. #7. You can buy underwear for $10 for a three-pack. #6. Three pairs of shoes are more than enough. #5. You don’t feel a need to mooch off other’s desserts. #4. You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes. #3. One wallet and one pair of shoes, one color, all seasons—enough said!. #2. You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives, on December 24th, in 45 minutes. And the #1 reason: You can go to the bathroom without a support group.
We salute our dads because this is Father’s Day. Since Mother’s Day, we have been looking at various aspects of family life. Today offers the logical time to turn to the role of fathers in the Christian scheme of things.
Our text offers a series of imperatives or commands. The words come in the concluding chapter of a letter addressed to a church wrestling with a ton of problems. Now is not the time to dig into all of the issues of 1 Corinthians. Suffice it say, the congregation struggled with doctrinal confusion and moral uncertainty, all compounded by a bunch of people who couldn’t get along with one another. Arguments and quarrels paralyzed the church. Instead of dealing with the problems, they wasted effort and energy fighting with one another. What always happens when such distractions take over was happening in Corinth. Evil triumphed. The lost remained in darkness. And maybe worst of all, the church’s own young continued down the wrong path.
The two verses of our text provide a fitting summary to the entire letter. They are a call to arms, a challenge for the church to stand up and deal with the issues they faced. The language came from a world familiar to men. Many of the words are military terms. Everyone knew what they meant. Most men understood them in their bones. I think that’s still true. That’s why these words provide a fitting spotlight for Father’s Day.
The lines contain five commands. They tell us what we should do, especially men. Today I want to turn the grammar ever so slightly. I want to use these words to describe not so much what should be, but what is. I want us to recognize the important role that men of God are doing in the family and in the church. Men, we honor you for your service and example to our church and especially to our young.
These first four terms come right out of a military manual of conduct. Each spotlights a part of what godly men do in their families and in the church. First, they stand guard. Picture a military sentry posted at the outskirts of the camp. You remember the old western movies. After the good guys make camp for the night, the first thing they do is decide who is going to stand guard. They take turns watching so the others can sleep in safety.
Men of courage stand guard over their families. There’s not a father here who wouldn’t do whatever he could to protect and provide for his family. I think God wired it into a man’s DNA to be a guardian of his family. Men of courage will sacrifice most anything for their young.
Harmon Killebrew, the great baseball player of yesteryear, tells in his autobiography about growing up in a home with four boys. He says that on one occasion his father was out in the front yard playing baseball with the boys and a neighbor walked by and said, "Mr. Killebrew, if you keep on playing baseball out on your front lawn, you won’t have any grass left in your yard." Mr. Killebrew said, "Sir, I’m not raising grass, I’m raising kids."
Our men stand guard for the church family as well. They watch out for dangers. They endeavor to spot problems. They look for solutions. I have been in scores of meetings with the men of this church over the last five years. I have seen our elders, deacons, Sunday School teachers, and youth workers agonize, worry, and pray over the church. They take their responsibilities seriously. They stand guard. Men, we honor you!