Summary: Based on the excellent book by the same name by Stu Weber, this sermon challenges men to take up the roles of king, warrior, mentor, and friend and lead their families and churches in the power of Christ.

The Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart

Pastor Jeff Williams


In 1555, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley walked out of prison for the last time. They both were condemned to be burned at the stake for refusing to recant their personal faith in Jesus Christ. As they approached the stake, Latimer uttered these unforgettable words to his good friend:

“Be of good cheer, Ridley. Play the man! We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace…as I trust shall never be put out.”

Where did Hugh Latimer learn such a phrase as “play the man?” He learned it from the lips of an ancient king named David. David was approaching death and wanted to speak to his son Solomon. Let’s listen in:

“When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. "I am about to go the way of all the earth," he said. "So be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go…” (I Kings 2:1-3)

I first heard these words as a new Christian nearly fifteen years ago. Can I be totally honest with you? I had no idea what they meant! What did it mean to “play the man” as a red-blooded American male? Whatever the requirements, I never felt like I measured up. I wasn’t strong enough, or brave enough, or tall enough, or rich enough to “play the man.” But all that changed about ten years ago.

In the mid-nineties, I discovered a group of authors who were writing about how to be a Godly man. The ideas you will hear this morning are from one of those Christian writers, Stu Weber. His book “The Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart” changed my entire perspective on what God has called men to be in this culture. The pillars have nothing to do with how handy, tall, or “pumped up” you are.

I realize that this morning is Father’s day. I also want to acknowledge that this day may be hard for some of you. Maybe your father has passed away or perhaps you are estranged from him. Some fathers have lost children and other men do not have the children they have earnestly prayed for. Some men hate Father’s Day because it reminds them how much they miss their children. This message is for all of the above. It is for us men. Ladies, you can eavesdrop if you’d like – and you have my permission to elbow the man in your life.

Are you ready to learn how to “play the man?” Turn with me to the book of Genesis.

The Four Roles of Manhood

In the beginning, God created. That is the nature of our God. His creativity is astounding: galaxies and giraffes, atoms and aardvarks, mountains and molecules all show the genius of our creator God.

Turn in your copies of God’s Word to Genesis 2. We read of God creating something completely different and new:

…the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Gen 2:7)

God created a man, in His own image and he became a living being. Masculinity is not a culturally defined term. God created men for a purpose. What are these purposes? What are the specific reasons and roles God created the man?

Skip down to verse 15:

“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Gen 2:15)

The man was created to “take dominion” as chapter 1 verse 28 reads in the New King James version. Adam was to be the administrator of the Garden. The same is true today. Inside every man beats the heart of a leader.

“And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…” (Genesis 2:16-17)

The man was not only called to steward the land’s resources but also to steward information. Remember, Eve had not been formed yet. It is as if God were telling Adam, “I’m going to tell you this and I want you to pass it on, to teach it to others.” Inside of every man beats the heart of a mentor.

Verse 17 concludes with this ominous warning:

“…or when you eat of it you will surely die." (Gen 2:17b)

Adam was clearly warned of potential danger. It was his role to be alert, to be on guard, to stand watch over himself and his family. Inside every man beats the heart of a warrior.

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