Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christ came to re-create true manhood

Colossians 3:9-10 "Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him".

Jesus Christ came not only to provide redemption and forgiveness of sins to all who believe but also to provide the restoration of what was lost in Adam. Recently the phrase I have heard being tossed around by men's ministry leaders is the idea that we are the by-products of "broken male culture". Today's study will seek to equip Christian men on the foundation and focal-areas for the re-created manhood that is only found in Jesus Christ. The principles laid out below can be applied to men specifically or anyone in general.
Foundations for Christ's re-creation of true manhood
As men of God, we're not called to be "recreational" in our manhood, but re-creations who have a totally transformed manhood. Colossians 3:1-17 describes the foundation of re-created humanity (and for that matter manhood). We can understand this foundation by noting what I term "three certificates" issued by Christ to the Christian.

Re-created manhood's power to prioritize things around God .  Colossians 3:1-2, 10-12
As a man born-again by the Spirit of God through faith in Jesus Christ, I am issued a birth certificate. (John 3:3-6; 1 Peter 1:23) Becoming a Christian is not merely turning over a new leaf, but becoming a whole new tree altogether. (Psalm 1) Thus as a re-created man, this first foundation tells me I have new priorities (3:1-2) and the power of a newly-formed nature in union with Christ to live out His priorities (3:10-12). 

2. Re-created manhood can put the past behind. Colossians 3:3-9
Colossians 3:3 states - "For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." At the cross of salvation the sinner by God's graceful gifting through faith believes and dies to who they were in Adam. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Old convictions (described in Colossians 3:5) and old habits issuing forth from those convictions (Colossians 3:6-9) are written on my spiritual death certificate by the Heavenly Coroner, the Holy Spirit, at my salvation. As a man of God in Christ I have the power to put the past behind.  This is to be a daily resolve and not just merely a once and a while "re-commitment".  The cross that saved me is now the cross that is going to be changing me in my mind, emotions and will. Everyday I must in my mind, emotions and will go to the cross by way of taking in the scriptures and breathing out prayers to God.  Christianity is not a recreational activity, but a re-creational reality.  Old convictions and habits may attempt to rear their ugly head, and will at times.  However when a man has the newly created nature deep inside the core of their being, that means that by dying to self, the power to change convictions and habits is well within reach.  

3. Re-created manhood is united to the One who enables persistent change. 3:10-17
Do you remember what it was like when you went from the single life to married life? What changed? Your union with your spouse undoubtedly affected everything about you: finances, relationships, eating, sleeping, thinking - everything! As Christians we are united to Christ at salvation. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). Though that union is instant, the remainder of the Christian life is figuring out what happened!  

The foundation to Christ's re-creation of a man's manhood involves the certificate of a new-birth (power for living) as well as a death certificate (putting the past behind). However unless we as men are united to Christ at salvation, and understand in a growing way who we are in union with Him, we will never be convinced that change has happened, is occurring or must take place. Colossians 3:10 states - "and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him". What does this all mean? Through our union with Christ (like in a marriage), everything is made new: from attitudes (Colossians 3:12), to actions (3:13-15) to how I regard the scriptures (3:16-17). 

As we saw already, the birth-certificate granted at salvation means new priorities and power for living. Furthermore, the death certificate means I can forsake the "old me" and live out who I really am in Christ as a re-created man. Those three certificates in Colossians 3:1-17 describe the foundation for re-created manhood in Christ. But now lets look briefly at the four focal-areas for re-created Godly manhood.

Focal areas of re-created manhood in Christ. Colossians 3:18-25
As we noted at the beginning of this lesson, alarms are sounding all around us about the "broken-male culture". The only solution is by recognizing the foundation of re-created manhood that comes by grace through faith in union with Christ. Practically speaking what focal areas does such an identity have the power to affect? Consider briefly the following focal areas mapped out in Colossians 3:18-25
1. Marriages.  Colossians 3:18-19

2. Family. Colossians 3:20-21

3. Workplace. Colossians 3:22-24

4. Accountability. Colossians 3:25

Just as Colossians 3 begins with urging us as men of God to prioritize and draw from the power available to us as re-created men in Christ, those priorities are spelled out above. Notice how for re-created manhood, others are first and the self is last. In the cultural understanding of manhood, self is first with others maybe or maybe not getting what is needed. In Christ the whole-man is rebuilt from the ground up. There is nothing recreational about the Christian life. Christ is not interested in renovating some rooms in the house of your life, but rather rebuilding you as a man of God. Imagine how a manhood re-created in Christ can affect our marriages, families and workplaces. Men of God, this is who we are called to be. Jesus Christ came to re-create true manhood. Our identity and our destiny as men can only be found in Him. Our marriages, families and workplaces will only be affected when we as men of God come to terms with who we are and whose we are.  

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