Being a Man in Christ’s Church

Intro:  The book of I Corinthians, written by Paul and inspired by the Holy Spirit, was written to one of the most worldly churches of its day.  It is said that this was a “church under the influence of the [pagan] city.”  Paul’s purpose in writing to this church was to bring it back in line with the Word of God.  Though this church’s problems included divisions, immorality, and questionable practices of many kinds, the real problem was that the men were not living up to their position and responsibilities before Christ.  Therefore, Paul in closing his letter, addresses the men of the church with these words:

1.“Watch ye (“give strict attention to”)
    a. Watch for Christ, as one who must give an account
    b. Watch yourself
    c. Watch others (good and bad)

2. Stand fast (“firm; persevere, persist”) in the faith (“conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it “)
    a. Christ set His face like a flint (Isa. 50:7)
3.
Quit you like men (“show yourself to be a man”)
4.
Be strong (increase in strength”)
5.
Let all your things (“everything you do”) be done with charity (“sacrificial love”).”  Love is not a feeling, it is a fact! 
    a. Therefore, let everything be accomplished under the banner of sacrificial love
(I Cor. 16:13-14)

The “centerpiece” of this passage is the phrase, “quit you like men”, or “show yourself to be a man.”   We live in a world that has been and is continuing to be feminized.  As men refuse to assume their God-given roles in the home, the work place, the church, the military, and the government, women are stepping up to fill the void.  I believe they are doing it in order to protect their security, which is the man’s responsibility to provide. 

J. Richard Fugate in his book, “What the Bible Says About Being a Man.” says about modern males:

“Rather than aspire to Biblical Manhood, most men today are content to be “ emasculated (having lost the characteristics of a man): effeminate (taking on the characteristics of a woman); or macho (employing crude, animal-like characteristics without consideration for the feelings or rights of others, especially women).”

The problem with women assuming man’s role, besides being unbiblical, is that women focus on feelings, while men are supposed to focus on facts.  Satan’s purpose is to substitute his order for God’s order, with the woman being installed (or usurping [“take for oneself”] man’s authority) as the head of the family, church, business-place, military and government.  This is because it is very easy to manipulate feelings, but very hard to change facts.  It is interesting that in Revelation 17 the head of the one-world church is a whore on a scarlet beast.  In chapter 18, commercial Babylon is also identified as a female.  So it is obvious that Satan’s plan is working and will work—until the coming of Jesus Christ (19)! 
But his plan ought not to work in an independent Baptist church!  The reason is, that though we have feelings, and even express feelings, we are to focus on the facts of the Word of God!  It is the Baptist’s only rule of faith and practice.  First the facts, then the feelings!  But with that said, if the men will not fulfill their leadership role, women will step forward to fill the void in order to protect their sense of security. 
So the Corinthian church, and Grace Baptist church both need the same thing—men to assume their rightful role in the life of the church.  Now we could spend our time going over the individual duties of a man in an independent Baptist church.  But I would like to outline man’s duties under three headings, any of which we can discuss.

So what does Being a Man in Christ’s Church include?:

I. He Honors His Saviour (Col. 1:18)
Col 1:18 
“And He is the head of the body, the church: Who is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the pre-eminence.”
         1. Christ is the head (“supreme, prominent One”) of the body (the church)
         2. Christ is the beginning (“origin, or first cause of all things, or principality”)
         3. Christ is the Firstborn from the dead  (“Gill: the first that rose from the dead by His own power,  and to an immortal life; for,  though others were raised before Him,  and by Him,  yet not to a state of immortality”)
         4. For the express purpose that He might have the preeminence (“first and chief over all things, especially to the church”)

     A. By Being A Follower
          1. 18 times in the Gospels, Jesus says, “Follow Me” for various callings
              a. To be a fisher of men (Matt. 4:19)
              b. To put Him before family relationships (Matt. 8:22; Lk. 9:59)
              c. To be His disciple (Matt. 9:9; Mk. 2:14; Lk. 5:27)
              d. To deny self, and take up your cross (Matt. 16:24; Mk. 8:34; Lk. 9:23)
              e. To forsake wealth and possessions (Matt. 19:29; Mk. 10:21; Lk. 18:22)
              f.  To bring others to Christ (Jn. 1:43)
              g. To have spiritual discernment (Jn. 10:27)
              h. To serve Christ (Jn. 12:26)
               i. To lay down your life for Christ (Jn. 13:36), if necessary
               j. To follow Christ despite what others might or might not do (Jn. 21:19)
              k. To follow/trust the Light despite the darkness (Acts 12:8ff)

B. By Not Making Excuses (Lk. 9:57-62)
          1. “I will” (selfish determination without spiritual direction or authority) (v57, 61)
          2. “But” (selfish excuses in contrast to Christ’s command) (v59, 61)
          3. “Me first” (selfish elevation of your personal status) (v59, 61)

II. Accepts His Position (1 Cor. 11:3)
 
“But I would have you know, that the head of every man (#3) is Christ (#2); and the head of the woman (#4) is the man (#3); and the head of Christ (#2) is God (#1).”

     A. A Leader  (These are principles lifted from these verses containing the word lead +.  Direct sources for individual traits of leaders are in the pastoral epistles of Paul. )
          1. “Leader” = one who shows the way; guides; directs; persuades; precedes  (*Isa. 55:1-4)
          a. One who leads folks to the narrow gate, which leads to life (Matt. 7:14)
          b. One who leads folks to a higher plane by showing them Christ (Mk. 9:2)
          c. One who speaks the words that the Spirit provides in every situation (Mk. 13:11)
          d. One who does not impose the Law on folks without grace and mercy (Lk. 13:15)
          e. One who leads folks to green pasture and cool water (John 10:3)
          f. One who walks through God’s open doors without hesitation (Acts 12:10)
          g. One who admits that he needs the guidance of others more spiritual (Acts 13:11)
          h. One who is not ashamed to repent as God reveals the need (Rms. 2:4)
          i. One who leads the females under his jurisdiction (1 Cor. 9:5)
          j. One who prays for those in authority, and leads a quiet, peaceable life (1 Tim. 2:2)
         k. One who shares with others the future blessings of the Kingdom of God and the second coming of Christ (Rev. 7:17)
          l. One who exhibits patience and faith in God in every circumstance of life (Rev. 13:10)

Roberson:  “Everything rises or falls on leadership.”  Being a man in Christ’s church requires: 1) Leadership (1 Cor. 11:1; 2) Vision (Prov. 29:18); 3) Determination (Phil. 3:13).

III. Follows His Example
      A. A Servant
1Pe 2:21 
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps:”
            1. A servant (“bond-slave”) exists to do his Master’s will
John 13:13-17 
“Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.  If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”
                 a. Christ is Master and Lord
                 b. Christ is your example of humility (“strength in lowliness of mind”)
                 c. The Lord is greater than the servant
                 d. The Sender is greater than the sent
                 e. Knowledge alone, of these things, does not bring happiness
                 f. Happiness (“blessedness”) only comes if you do these things
              2. To the servant, No job too insignificant, no person too insignificant, no position too insignificant

Note: In the N.T. the term servant is used by those who voluntarily submit themselves to God’s authority as bond slaves (1 Cor. 7:22).  In relationship, we are sons of God.  In position, we are saints of God.  But by voluntary submission we become servants of God. Those called “a servant” include: Jesus, Paul, Phebe, Epaphras, James, Peter, Jude, John, and multitudes of unnamed saints down through the centuries.

      B. An Example
I Tim. 4:12-16  
“Let no man despise (“think little of”) thy youth; but be thou an example [to be imitated] of the believers, in word, in conversation , in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.   Till I come, give attendance (“to attend to; to apply to self”) to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.   Neglect (“be careless of”) not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.   Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting (“progress”) may appear to all.   Take heed  unto (“attend to”) thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
            1. Though young of years, be mature in spirituality
            2. Be an example in:
                a. Word (“speech”)
                b. Conversation (“manner of life; lifestyle”)
                c. Charity (“sacrificial love”)
                d. Spirit (“disposition; that which governs the soul”)
                e. Faith (“belief and faithfulness”)
                f. Purity (“no admixture”)
             3. Give attendance to:
                 a. Reading (“knowing”)
                 b. Exhortation (“supplication, consolation, instruction, admonition by persuasive speech”)
                 c. Doctrine (“teaching”)
             4. Neglect not your gift
             5. Take heed to yourself and the doctrine
                 a. Meditate (“think & ponder”)
                 b. Give yourself fully
                 c. Continue in them
              6. Prove your salvation
              7. Provide for the salvation of others

Concl:  Between the preeminence of Christ in Col. 1:18 (“And He is the head of the body, the church: Who is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the pre-eminence.”) and God’s ultimate purpose for you in Rom. 8:29 (“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate (“decided beforehand”) to be conformed (“to fit with”) to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”) lies your role as a man in Christ’s church.  It is not optional, but required that you take your place as a follower of Christ, a leader among men, and a servant of all.  The starting place for this new phase of your spiritual journey is found in Rom 1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

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