As we turn our attention to our subject for this evening we want to ask and answer a very fundamental question here in our first session. What is manhood? If there has ever been a time in our nation’s history we have lacked clarity about that question that we’ve groped in the darkness to find an answer it’s now. Paul commanded the Corinthian church, 1 Corinthians 16:13, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”
That command, “act like men,” is one word in the Greek language, andrizomai, emphasizing maleness. Manliness, qualities that are specific to the male gender. For every new generation of Christian young men, that text is becoming increasingly foreign and remote. Just to illustrate that, I recently read an article that appeared in the New York Times last month. You can imagine what I found. The article, it was titled, “27 Ways to Be a Modern Man.”
I thought I’d try I thought I’d try some of these out with you. “27 Ways to Be a Modern Man,” the Author’s name is Brian Lombardi. He tries to help men navigate the modern age with this list of tips and as I read the first one I wonder how helpful he’ll be for us. See what you think. Quote, “When the modern man buys shoes for his spouse he doesn’t have to ask her sister for the size and he knows which brands run big or small.” Dunno about you but that doesn’t help me at all.
I don’t even know my own shoe size. Number seventeen, tip number seventeen says this, “Does the modern man have a melon baller? What do you think? How else would the cantaloupe, watermelon and honey dew he serves be so uniformly shaped?” So far we get the modern man focused on shopping and carving out uniformly shaped melon balls. Modern man is sounding quite domesticated. Here’s one you’ll like, number twenty five, tip number twenty five, “The modern man has no use for a gun, he doesn’t even own one and he never will.” You guys okay with that? There’s a good Second Amendment response.
So not only, not only is he domesticated, he’s disarmed, defanged, he’s unable to protect. Next, number twenty six, “The modern man cries, he cries often.” Well that’s true, I shed a tear every time I see a punishing tackle. Nothing quite like the beauty of a skillful, well executed, well timed hit. Just brings a tear to the eye doesn’t it? Final way to be a modern man, tip number twenty seven, “People aren’t sure if the modern man is a good dancer or not, that is until the DJ plays his jam and he goes out there and puts on a clinic.”
Okay, it’s not just my Baptist roots, but it is my Baptist roots, but it’s also the fact that I’m big and clumsy, never be a good dancer. Probably a number of us who don’t have what it takes to be a modern man, we’re just not going to make the cut. But in all seriousness, today’s gender bending has left the modern man absolutely confused about genuine manhood. I don’t know Brian Lombardi, but you can hear it in that article. That kind of confusion, the modern man is flailing at best and he’s making stuff up. He’s trying to redefine masculinity. He’s trying to find some anchor on which to have a sound foundation from which to build and grow his life.
But it turns out he’s informed by the culture around him, he seems to be trying to be more like a woman than a man. Lest that be misunderstood, it’s not that there’s anything wrong with buying wrong with buying shoes for your wife, it’s not that there’s anything wrong with using a melon baller. But the question is, what is true manhood all about? I mean apart from the gender assigned to us by our Creator at conception, what is it that makes a man manly?
As a culture we’ve been descending down the Romans 1 path of depravity and deep degradation for the last century. Every, every step downward is just another painful reminder that our nation is indeed under divine judgment. Look at Romans 1:18 and following. Suppressing the truth? Check. Ignoring the obvious conclusion of general revelation about the nature and character of God? Check, that’s ignored. Embracing evolutionary myths, check. Exchanging the glory of God for the glory of man, check, that’s been apparent since the Scopes trial in 1925. A century and more of marching away from God.
And so, Romans 1:24, God gave us over to sexual immorality. Giving them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves. The American penchant for all things sexually immoral is known worldwide, it’s been exported by Hollywood. As sexual sin has become more widespread, serial fornication and adultery, pornography, the embrace of every kind of deviancy, divorce has not only destroyed marriages and homes, it’s absolutely ruined children. Kids don’t know what men and women are supposed to look like in the home. Young boys look up to Fathers, who are either silent and passive, or else loud and tyrannical. Total confusion has taken over.
Which has been reflected in the portrayal of manhood even on something as common as television. Worldly versions of manliness are everywhere, but biblical manhood has always been hard to find. It doesn’t matter what generation you live in. Post war portrayals of manhood has provided two basic options. On the one hand there was the silent but push me too far and I’ll shoot you version of manhood that’s always been portrayed by John Wayne or Clint Eastwood, characters like that.
On the other hand you see loud abrasive foolish fathers like characters like Ralph Cramdon from the Honeymooners, or Archie Bunker or even Al Bundy. Those kinds of men up to and including the World War II generation, they provided for their families and they were tough, they protected them from harm. But they didn’t do so well at teaching. They, what they lived out they lived out inconsistently at best. They were happy to tell their children the what, pass on an inherited morality, a list of ethics and rules, but they failed to teach the why behind the what. Add to that either the passivity or the volatility. Add to that either the lack of leadership or complete tyrannical leadership. And then add to that the instances of moral hypocrisy that children were raised seeing in the home. It’s no wonder children of the 60s and 70s indulged in the sins of their fathers, but in public.
What had been hidden in back rooms in the 30s, 40s, 50s, the hippy generation flaunted in the streets. Now we’re living with the consequences of all that, which is Romans 1:26-28. God giving them over to homosexuality and a debased mind, final stages of divine judgment. We are absolutely drowning in sin in this country. So many competing versions of manhood today and each one is just a different degree of totally lost.
Boys growing up today have no idea what manhood is all about. No idea what to look for in a father. And when they get their own sons, their own daughters, no idea what they’re doing. And as I said that’s reflected in popular media particularly, particularly in the sitcoms, situation comedies. Allie, Alexis Madrigal writing in The Atlantic explains his dismay in an article entitled “Dads on Sitcoms.”
And he writes this, “As a new dad I’ve often been struck with horror at the dads I see on TV. On the small screen dads are dolts, dads are idiots. And while it may seem harmless to get a few cheap laughs at dad’s expense, these characters and their hilarious incompetence form the cultural backdrop for our society’s large discussion about the rolls father’s play in families. The path from Homer Simpson wringing Bart Simpson’s neck, his main parental action, to our country’s miserable paternity leave rules might be more direct than we think.”
And he quotes somebody, he says on TV, or Hanna Rosin he’s quoting, “ ‘[On TV] if there’s a dad in the home he’s an idiot. It must have, must’ve reflected on our own discomfort with dads being competent.’ Said Hannah Rosen on a panel on the future of fatherhood at the Aspen Ideas Festival.” Probably not a lot of good ideas coming out of that festival but, she says “you put a dad in front of his kid and the dad gives the worst advise. You put a dad in front of a toaster and he burns the house down.” She’s talking about what’s on TV.
While Mr. Madrigal rightly identifies the disrespectful cultural portrayals of dads, he then goes from there to immediately veer off course yet again. He believes that the solution is to provide paternity leave policies so fathers can have more time with their kids. He wants sitcoms and movies to provide better messaging to change the cultural perception of fatherhood.
Now no doubt about it, media is a powerful medium but that’s no solution. That’s no way forward, that’s just another turn downward. We’re not going to find any answers about genuine manhood from Mr. Madrigal, Brian Lombardi or anyone else in this culture. It’s time for us to go back to the designer. And to ask him what he had in mind when he created men to be men.
Open your bible to Genesis chapter 1. It should be easy to find, it’s right there in the front. But we need to go back to the beginning and get a good look at God’s original design. If you will, the blueprint of manhood. We’re going to find out what God intended men to be and to do. If anyone, if anyone in the universe can show us what makes man manly it is the architect of manhood, right?
There’s another Lombardi, probably no relation to the author of that New York Times article but this guy is old school. He’s famous for articulating a pretty hopeful approach for coaching, it’s called go back to the basics, master the fundamentals. When Vince Lombardi became the head coach of the abysmal Greenbay Packers Football team, they had in the 1958 Season one win, ten losses.
He walked in to the room, first day preseason 1959 holding a football in his hand and he looked across the room of really shame faced football players. All of them talented, all of them gifted, but all of them lost. They knew they had failed, they knew they had no clue how to put together a winning season. And as Lombardi looked around, let several moments of silence pass, he held the pigskin out in front and he spoke that iconic sentence, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”
With those five words he drove home his point and turned that team around. His message was simple, get back to the basics, focus on the fundamentals, master the fundamentals. That’s the mentality that took that team to three NFL Championships and two Superbowls. And we now hand out the Vince Lombardi trophy for the winner of the Superbowl.
In the words of Coach Lombardi, gentlemen, this is biblical manhood. Let’s stop looking around us, we’re not going to find the answers out there. Let’s get back to God’s word, back to the basics of biblical manhood and master those fundamentals. Here in Genesis 1, take a look at verses 26-27. I’ve got an outline for this evening, very simple outline if you’re taking notes.
Here’s the first point we’re going to look at just briefly, it’s this point, number one, God made men and women to be equal. God made men and women to be equal. We start with the understanding that God made mankind and he made them male and female. Look at Genesis 1:26 & 27, “God said let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the livestock, and over all of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.”
That gender binary represents the only two options that are available, male and female, nothing in between. No transgenders here. Hardwired into our genetic design, the XY chromosomes make a male human, the XX chromosome makes a female human. Seems ridiculous, I know that I have to say that publically, but we live in ridiculous times don’t we. Moving on. Notice in verse 26 God said, “Let us make man in our image and let them rule.” Man, singular, is made in the image of God. But then God uses the plural when he speaks of co-regency, co-dominion, ruling together over the created world.
This verse presents that first couple as co-equals and in verse 27 we see God distinguish them. God created man, singular, in his own image, in the image of God he created him, singular. Male and female he created them, plural, both persons are image bearers of God. Each one is capable of representing God’s communicable attributes, that is his righteousness, patience, love, etc. They were created to reflect his glory in that way, and not only that but each one had the rational ability to know and understand and learn and apprehend God’s incommunicable attributes as well.
They could understand his self existence, they could understand his immutability, his infinity, his eternity, his omniscience, all the omnis, omnipresence, omnipotence. As image bearers they possess rationality, they possess an ability to learn, ability to understand, apprehend truth, comprehend concepts, and they were able to communicate it to others. Baring God’s communicable attributes, apprehending the greatness of his incommunicable attributes, men and women together share the intellectual and emotional capacity to worship God in all of his glory and all of his splendor. They’re co-equal as image bearers of God.
And together God assigned them a task. Look at verse 28, God blessed them, he said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over fish, birds, every living thing that moves on the earth.” Okay? Men and women not only equal by virtue of being image bearers, they are also equal in their God given task. To exercise joint dominion over the whole earth. They’re to rule together as co-regents over all creation. They’re to rule together exercising a delegated authority that comes from God almighty.
Obviously, cooperation is here implied along with mutual respect, mutual appreciation. Men and women here are co-equals in every way. But, they are also different. God made them male and female and that signals an initial clue which signals a difference in role, a difference in function. He didn’t want them to be exactly the same. Living as image bearers of God would not look the same. Ruling as co-regents would not be conducted in exactly the same way. And that’s what we see when we turn the page to Genesis 2:4.
Genesis 2:4, go in there, brings us to a second point in our outline. God made men and women to be equal but also, number two, God made men to lead. God made men to lead. That opening chapter in Genesis summarized the first week of existence. The first week of creation. Comprehended the entirety of God’s creative activity.
Then we get to Genesis 2:3, says God rested from all the work that he had done. Doesn’t mean that he was tired, it just means, rested means a cessation of all his creative activity. As we move through the rest of chapter 2 we dial in on the sixth day of creation and that focus is on the special creation of mankind. Let’s look at Genesis 2 starting in verse 5.
“When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land and there was no man to work the ground. And a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground. Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. And the man became a living creature.” Stop there.
That is the very picture of intimacy, isn’t it? God commanded everything else into existence. The light, the heavens, the dry land, plants, heavenly bodies, the fish, the birds, land animals. Let it be, there was. When he created man he used previously created material. Common dust from the ground. And he shaped it into a man and then he breathed his own breath into him. Man is a wonderfully, mysterious combination of common dust and divine breath.
More importantly, this pictures God using his hands to form the man. His lips to breathe the breath of life into his nostrils. Now whether this is anthropomorphic language, assigning human attributes to God so we can kind of picture this, or whether this is a theophany. This shows direct hands on involvement. This shows God’s intimacy with the only creature that he fashioned in his own image. Mankind, he used his hands, he used his lips.
It’s important to notice that God started making a special creation he started with the XY chromosome human. The man. The male. He made man first, bringing him into existence before the woman. He could have brought them into existence together, at the same time, but he didn’t. He chose to create them one at a time, and he chose Adam to be first and then Eve. Why? Listen, there’s a reason. It’s not a coincidence, it’s not arbitrary at all, this is by design.
You say, “prove it.” Okay, you don’t need to turn there but in 1 Timothy chapter, 2 Paul considers this order, man first and then woman, he considers this order of special creation significant when it comes to male leadership in the church. He tells Timothy when it comes to the church, 1 Timothy 2:12 & 13, “I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man. Rather she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first then Eve.”
Notice, he’s gone all the way back to the beginning. That’s his reason. This isn’t Paul speaking from the perspective of a patriarchal male dominated culture. He has transcended all cultures, all times, all generations, going all the way back to a time before any culture existed at all when there was only one man on the earth. By God’s design, a woman is not to teach or exercise authority over a man, why? Because, she was second on the scene, not first.
For that reason, she can’t teach or exercise authority over men in the church. That’s Paul’s argument. As we go back to the text in Genesis chapter 2 we find out why. Doesn’t have to do with male superiority, female inferiority. Doesn’t have to do with any of that kind of nonsense that I’ve heard before. We already said men and women are co-equals in the most fundamental way. As fellow image bearers of God himself. It doesn’t have anything to do with female gullibility and male logic.
Of all the heretics listed in the bible you’re going to find it hard to find a woman named among all the male heretics. Listen, this has nothing to do with that. It has to do, everything to do with God’s design. A God ordained distinction in role, in responsibility. These co-regents they work together as a team. One leads, one follows.
As we keep reading notice how many firsts are here, how many firsts Adam experienced before God created Eve. All of them equipping him to lead his wife well. Look at verses 8-14, “The Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and then he put the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that’s pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good. [Bdellum,] bdellium and onyx stone are [also] there. The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush [modern day Ethiopia, that area]. And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.”
So right after God created Adam he took the newly formed man on a tour of the created world. Adam was the first to get a lay of the land. The first to walk through his environment. Adam saw trees that were pleasing to look at, good for food, tree of life was in that category. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was not. Adam saw the irrigation system for the garden of Eden, figured out how things work. Adam was the first to explore, follow the rivers from their headwaters in the garden to their end.
He was the earth’s first cartographer, naming the rivers, mapping out natural boundaries. Along the way Adam discovered natural resources, which made him the world’s first, maybe you could call him an engineer, mining engineer. He identified minerals that could be mined from the earth and put to practical use. All of this, before Eve existed.
Let’s keep moving, verse 15, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” Here Adam is the first to get his work assignment directly from God. According to Genesis 1:28 both of them were fulfill, to fill the earth to subdue it. But it was, God was specific with Adam before the woman arrived. There’s more to see, verses 16 & 17, and this is where we see a distinctive of Adam’s leadership role and the responsibility that comes into sharper focus.
It says there in verse 16, “The LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’” Adam’s like, “Wait a second, what was that? Die?” Things just got gravely serious for him.
Adam just heard a very alien concept from God. Something utterly foreign in this good garden, in this living paradise. Words like “evil” words like “death.” Once again though, it’s Adam who received permission about all that’s good, about all that God has provided for food apart from the presence of the woman. It’s to Adam God identified the forbidden tree. It’s to Adam, who heard the warning not to eat from that tree.
The woman has not yet been created. It’s Adam who learns about the consequence of eating from the forbidden tree. He would surely die. Again all this before Eve is created, she wasn’t around to hear one word. Let’s cut to the chase, get to the bottom line significance of all this.
Any confusion about God’s intent for Adam is removed by verses 16 & 17. God designed Adam to show love and affection for his wife by leading her and by teaching her. Biblical manhood is all about being a leader and a teacher. Let me show you that. As we’ve seen, God created Adam first, and then he immediately took him on the creation tour. Okay?
God introduced Adam to the environment, he showed him around the garden, situated him geographically, he oriented the garden that he was in to the surrounding country. God gave Adam his work assignment by the way notice that work was created before the Fall not after. Toil, sweat of your brow kind of work, that’s a result of sin. But work is God-given and work therefore is very good.
Just as God did for Adam, showing him all those things, leading him through all that territory. Guiding him, teaching him, instructing him, showing him, revealing, God expected Adam to do the same for his wife. God designed, even trained him for that. Hard wired Adam to think like that. Adam was to be Eve’s tour guide. And that would create the very special bond of intimacy between these two.
But let’s suppose for a moment, Adam didn’t catch the significance of all that. Just by going on the tour, we might be able to forgive Adam for missing the point. After all, first few hours on earth, just learned it all, kind of head might be swimming. We could understand if he tried to let her discover things on her own, develop as her own person, be the modern woman. Dependent on no man. You know, wear pants, suit, and all that kind of stuff. But God didn’t allow that, did he? Not for a moment.
What he revealed to Adam in verses 16 & 17 upped the ante. Now it’s serious, those verses contain important information about danger. A mortal threat in the midst of an otherwise safe and peaceful paradise. For Adam to fail to pass on that bit of vital information, not only would it be unloving, it would be an unthinkable, unforgivable dereliction of duty.
Adam held the key of life and death, of course he’d want to pass that on to his wife, he’d be of no other mind about it. Likely have been the first thing he told her, forget about Eve becoming an independent, free thinking, self made woman. All that is nonsense. Without that key bit of information, Eve would be in mortal danger. See what God has done here?
Even before creating Eve God has given Adam a bit of a shove, a nudge, pushing him into the role for which he was designed. Giving him the impetus to do what God intended him to do. Namely, to teach his wife, to lead her, to guide her, to make sure she has the proper exposure, proper instruction, all the information.
Again there’s almost nothing as intimate as the relationship between teacher and student. Almost nothing that compares to imparting knowledge, communicating ideas within the worldview of truth. Almost nothing that compares to that, informing and forging a bond of love and appreciation, develop mutual respect and gratitude, and that’s what God intended, to bring this first couple together in an intimate relationship.
Especially when life and death was on the line. For those of you who served in the military you understand this. You go into hostile Indian country, when death is on the line, and those people who teach you, those people who show you how to survive, you’re all ears and you appreciate them so much when the bullets start flying.
Now it’s after all that, Adam rises from the, with the dust, or from the dust, he’s got the breath of God in his lungs. He takes the creation tour, receives his work assignments, he receives vital information, he gets this life and death warning, it’s at this point we come to the creation of the woman, and only at this point, verse 18.
“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone.” This is the first “not good” thing in God’s perfect world, no woman. Can I get an amen on that? Can you imagine what this world would be like without the women? For one thing it would be empty. But, continuing verse 18, God had it all worked out, he says, “I will make him a helper fit for him.”
God created and designed Eve to be Adam’s helper, his helpmeet, that’s her role. That’s her design. She’s hard wired to submit to him. He’s, she’s hard wired to be his helpmeet. In as much as God designed Adam to be the leader, made him perfectly for that task, he designed Eve to be the helpmeet. Woman is not to be the leader that’s not her role.
The woman is to be in the position of a follower, the one who practices biblical submission, which is an active submission, a wise submission, useful to the leader. You see submission all through society, many of you men submit, and many of you men are in positions where you need others to submit. And when you have people who submit to you well you know how much can be accomplished.
When you submit well to your leadership you understand how useful that is to your leader. Same thing here. Submission biblically, it’s not “walk on me I’m a doormat.” That’s not submission, that’s a perversion. Submission here is to be helpful, and it’s so helpful especially in the realm of counsel. In informing wise leadership.
Foolish is the man who never seeks, or ignores, or stifles, his wife’s input and counsel. That means her submission to her husband is to be useful, it’s to be wise, it’s to be well thought through, it’s to be thoughtful, insightful. Where is she going to get the information she needs to be wise, thoughtful, useful to her husband? That’s right, she after all has been joined to a teacher, you.
She’s one with a leader, one with her guide, her instructor. That man is there to love her, to equip her, to be a useful helpmeet. So that she’ll provide wise submission that informs his leadership, that makes it effective and useful. This is to be a reciprocating relationship, providing mutual benefit. Resulting in the two of them growing so close together as wise co-regents over the whole created world. It’s a relationship bound together by love, by mutual appreciation, by mutual respect.
Now, just before God rectified this massive deficiency, this massive problem of no woman on the earth, God gave Adam one more job to do. Look at verse 19, “Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called [or whatever the man called] every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field.”
Naming was an act of authority and God gets Adam involved right away in exercising his authority for the purpose of caring for creation, for caring for its creatures, and so Adam exercises authority and he gives names to all the animals. And no doubt, as he got acquainted with the animal kingdom, he made a very simple but very important observation. Mr. Elephant, and Mrs. Elephant. Mr. Lion, Mrs. Lion. Mr. Mouse, Mrs. Mouse.
End of verse 20, “For Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.” God didn’t want Adam just to start exercising dominion in naming the animals, that was part of it. God wanted Adam to recognize his need. God wanted Adam to come to the conclusion that he lacked. To come to the conclusion that he was incomplete, and he wanted him to come to that conclusion all on his own.
God could have simply told him, “Adam, you need a woman.” He didn’t do that though. He discipled him through this. He, he brought him as it were into his thinking, through the process of discovery. And by experience, through doing what God designed him to do Adam came to know and understand God’s will. It’s a pretty useful lesson for men who would lead and teach their wives right? Discipleship.
Let’s take at verse 21 just quickly, God designs Adam’s perfect helpmeet. “Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on the man, while he slept took one of his ribs, closed up [the flesh, it’s flesh, or uh,] it’s place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.” God formed man from the dust, but he fashioned Eve from the rib of the man.
Eve is the crowning jewel of mankind. The pinnacle of beauty and refinement. Again, an amen? Right? Are our wives not our betters? Our better half? Amazingly, removing a rib is nothing more than an outpatient surgery, that’s how God does it right? When Adam wakes up he recognizes immediately what God has done. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
After looking at animals all day, boy is Adam ready to meet this girl. He is really excited, as you might imagine, and he gets right to work in naming her too. Again, he indicates his authority over his wife. His authority over the woman. It shows the appropriate exercise of his headship over his wife.
It’s not a tyrannical, dictatorial, ham fisted exercise of authority. In this he’s rejoicing over her. Adam is so appreciative of his wife. He’s so sincerely respectful, and he is quick to acknowledge here the close correspondence between the two of them. He’s, he’s seen the complimentary nature of this relationship. It’s an intimate communion here between the two of them. And so he imbeds a reminder of their intimacy in her very name. “She shall be called Woman, for she was taken out of a Man.”
And that’s why, incidentally, verses 24 to 25, “a man shall leave his father and his mother, hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. [They came from one flesh, they should become one flesh.] The man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” When God finally brought Eve on the scene, and remember this is all happening within the space of that sixth day. Very busy day.
But when Eve arrives, Adam’s role is already clearly defined and established. His position firmly established. Just to review, God designed Adam with the ability to lead his wife. Adam had no innate lack of ability. God put Adam in the position of leadership. He not only made him with the ability, but he put him in the position. Creating him first, putting him there before Eve. Exposing him to the world, giving him a head start on learning.
God gave Adam the impetus to lead, the motivation. He had some vital information that he would have felt compelled to communicate to his wife. He was motivated to teach and to leave, uh, to lead out of love for his wife. God then trained Adam to lead, getting him started in the right use of his authority and his leadership. He discipled him in that way and Adam would then take that pattern to his wife.
So when Eve opened her eyes for the first time she immediately looked to Adam as her leader. Looked to him as her guide, her teacher, her authority. There’s no insecurity on her part. There’s no laziness on his part. Just naturally fall into their God given roles, no conflicts, perfect harmony.
As Eve asked questions about the world that she’s entered into, Adam is there to provide all the answers for her. He knows the lay of the land, he’ll show her around, he’ll teach her about her purpose, her work. He’ll warn her about the danger of the tree over there, in the knowledge of good and evil. He’ll teach her all the names of all the animals. He’ll expose her to everything.
Adam is Eve’s leader, he’s her head, he’s her authority. Just as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:3, “I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” These role distinctions in marriage reflect the role distinctions in the triune God himself. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Equality of essence, complementarity in the distinction of their roles.
Adam needed to love his wife by embracing his role. Performing his God given responsibility to her with diligence and excellence. He was designed to love his wife by teaching her, by leading her, guiding her, caring for her. In the words of the apostle Paul, Adam was designed to love his wife as his own body. By loving his wife he loved himself.
Well we know where we’ve come from now, going back to Genesis chapter 2. We’ve already taken stock of where we are now in our time. Each of us is at varying degrees of faithfulness or unfaithfulness in fulfilling our God given, God ordained, roles of biblical man. Here’s where all this gets challenging isn’t it?
It’s one thing to look at the blueprints. It’s quite another to know how to build a life of biblical manhood. What we need to know is how to move forward. How do we go from where we are right now to take that first step, and then the second. That’s point three for this evening. God has called us to embrace our calling.
Number three, God has called us to embrace our calling. Again this isn’t so much about what you do as what you believe. This is about what you understand, what you embrace. We all know what happened next after Genesis chapter 2, that Adam and Eve fell. God had set Adam up for success. He gave him everything and then Adam turned around and fell flat on his face.
He’s running with the ball to the goal line, and at the five yard line, boop, there goes the ball. Adam failed. And what’s so interesting about this is that the tempter tempted Eve, he deceived Eve. We read earlier from 1 Timothy 2:12 & 13, now I’m going to include verse 14, I’m going to read that passage again.
Paul says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” You see, when Satan attacked this happy couple he was wily, he was crafty, very shrewd. He chose the more vulnerable of the two. He chose the more susceptible to temptation.
Satan chose the one who was created second, not first. Because he knew she was one step further removed from those original commands. Therefore, be a little bit easier to deceive her about what really happened between Adam and God, before she was ever on the scene.
Of the two, the devil had a much better chance of convincing Eve that God didn’t have her best interests in mind. But Adam, he wasn’t deceived, was he? Gave into his wife? Yeah, he did, she’s very persuasive as our wives can tend to be. He wasn’t deceived though. He just walked head long into sin. He knew what God had called him to do, what God designed him to do, what God trained him to do, but he didn’t do it. He just went along with it, chose the easy route.
He followed his wife’s lead rather than confron, confronting the conflict that faced him. He chose to go along with this conspiracy that had formed between Satan and his wife. He just went along for the ride. Listen up gents, when we’re silent, when we’re lazy, when we fail to lead, when we refuse to communicate or when we communicate sinfully, impatiently or critically, with our wives and families. When we sit back, let others do while we watch. Or even worse when we criticize and quarterback from the armchair, good at that.
When we invest our time and our energy and our attention in self centered pursuits rather than giving of ourselves sacrificially, generously to the home and to the church. When we elevate our responsibility to provide and protect our families over our responsibility to love and to teach them and to guide them, lead them, then we’re guilty of those sins or other forms of dereliction of our duty, we are following our father Adam. Men, that is sinful.
That is failure. Even if you’re putting a roof over the head and food on the table that’s failure. Even if you never yell and you never raise the hand in anger, that’s failure. God has called us to loving leadership. To live according to our original design. Leadership is a function of credibility, and our credibility as leaders depends on our continuing growth and skillful exercise of two things. Character and competency.
Growth in godly character, growth in biblical competency. God has given you all the resources you need to grow in both character and competency. If you’re a Christian, then you have within you a new nature. You’ve got a heart to receive his word, you have access to his word.
God has also given sound biblical churches, led and instructed by godly leadership, Ephesians 4:11, who equip you, verse 12, to do the work of the ministry. We’ve got two faithful men who will be doing more of that equipping work tomorrow. Teaching us, instructing us. So informed by the church’s teaching ministry, you have a bible written in your own language, there for you. So read it, study it, obey it. Pray and ask God to help you.
I realize we have, all of us have, myself included, we have been severely diminished by the Fall. Adam was created in the image of God but that image, though not entirely lost, it was irretrievably, irreparably, damaged in mankind. And so when Adam fathered children, Genesis 5:3, they came out looking like him, looking like dad. When Adam had lived a hundred and thirty years he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his own image, he named him Seth.
All those in Adam are doomed to follow Adam. To fail in the exact same ways, and that is what we’re seeing displayed all around us, it’s what we’ve seen displayed ever since Genesis 3. Same thing. But I’m here to tell you some really, really good news. If you’re a Christian you’re no longer in Adam, you’re in Christ.
Paul says, 1 Corinthians 14(15):45 and following, “it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’ the last Adam became a life giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” Who’s that? Jesus Christ right?
If you’re in Christ you bear his image, you possess a new nature. Which has been restored for to its original capacity for glorifying God. Ephesians 4:24 says, the new nature is “created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Men, that’s us. Better than that, in Christ there is total and complete fulfillment of God’s design for manhood.
Was there any better leader than Jesus Christ? Any better teacher than our Lord? Listen, Christ accomplished all that Adam failed to do. He fulfilled everything. So don’t go out from here and read a bunch of leadership books or try to speed walk your way into faithful leadership.
If you want to grow in character and competency, if you want to grow into your God ordained role as a leader, here’s what you do. Study Jesus Christ. Worship him and God will conform you to his image. There’s no short cutting the time it takes to mature as a leader.
Effective leadership, teaching, the essence of biblical manhood, it requires time and experience to grow in that character and competency, so don’t hurry it. Just put one foot in front of the other. Study, admire, worship Jesus Christ, obey his commands, and God by the Spirit, he will conform you to his perfect image. It will happen, trust him. I want to close with this passage in 2 Timothy chapter 1(2). You can look over there if you’d like to, 2 Timothy 1(2).
Something that Paul, the elder, taught the young and growing leader Timothy in his pastoral leadership. He wrote this in 2 Timothy 1(2), “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier [of Jesus] of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It’s the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.”
Listen faithful men, here they’re pictured as soldiers, athletes, farmers. What do all those men have in common? They are only worthy of admiration, they’re only worthy of emulation, following their example, if they’re diligent and focused on their tasks like good soldiers. If they compete according to God’s rules like a victorious athlete. If they’re, if they’re working hard at their tasks, staying at it every single day like a hard working farmer.
We don’t need to go out and study soldiers, athletes and farmers and find out all their techniques. Those are just illustrations, the point is there in verse 7. “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David as preached in my gospel.” Gentlemen, this is biblical manhood. Study Jesus Christ, you will become the man God designed you to be from the very beginning. Let’s pray.
Father we find ourselves, um, humbled by your word. Convicted, um, actually in some cases we feel flayed open with the spotlight of your word shining on our hearts and revealing our inadequacies and yet would be completely discouraged and undone if it weren’t for the fact that you have saved us by the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s because of him that all our sins are forgiven, completely paid for, atoned for, on the cross. It’s because of Jesus Christ fulfilling all your law, doing what Adam failed to do, shortcutted by his sin, failure. It’s because of his fulfilling the law that we stand perfect in your righteousness, fully accepted by you. So we pray as you reorient us this weekend toward biblical manhood that we would embrace the challenge once again.
And that you would encourage our hearts in the Lord Jesus Christ to be the men that you designed us to be. Help us Lord not to look around at one another, not to look around at human examples. But look at the Lord Jesus Christ. We can follow human examples as long as they follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Help us to be discerning men, judicial in what we follow, what we don’t follow. Help us to be discerning, help us to be wise. And help us to be diligent. We have such a desire to sit back and relax after a hard day’s work. After twelve, fourteen, sixteen hour days, we just don’t want to lift a finger anymore. But help us Lord to, strengthen the weak knees and the feeble hands. Help us to throw ourselves into the work and to be the men that you’ve called us to be.