Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The power to "be the man" God wants you to be!

Philippians 2:3-4 "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others."

Philippians 2:12 "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling."

Philippians 2:14-15 "Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent,children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear aslights in the world."

The past three posts have been aimed at understanding the biblical paradigm for what it means to be a godly man. In the first post we considered how God wants Godly men in our homes, churches and communities. Having considered God's call for Godly men, we then looked at particular foundations of godly manhood in Jesus Christ. Jesus came to achieve not only salvation, but among His specific achievements He came to redeem true manhood. Colossians 3:10 reminds us: "and have put on the new self who is beingrenewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him". So in having viewed the call and foundations for biblical manhood, we saw yesterday the biblical exhortation and command to be men of God. In yesterday's post we learned particular focal areas that are crucial for being consistent men of God: families, marriage, workplace and accountability. 

Thus far the above mentioned posts have aimed to lay out the biblical vision for godly manhood and the necessary exhortations to go and do it. Such truths are vital, however without the power to fulfill what God's Word tells us to do, casting the vision for Biblical manhood will be another failed attempt in laying on guilt trips and result in frustratation. As a man myself, I need to know: is the power to do what I know to do available? The answer is a resounding yes. Philippians 2:1-16 gives us three powersources that all derive from God and include God Himself within and through the resources. Today's post is a quick tour to alert readers, especially men, that the man of God has available the power to "be the man" God wants him to be! Lets look at each of these power sources:

1. Jesus Christ's incarnated life as a man empowers the man of God. Philippians 2:1-11
Recently our men's group at church has been doing a study entitled "33 The Series - A Man and His Design", by Dr. Robert Lewis. This study is powerful due to the fact it connects the vision to biblical manhood to what Jesus achieved in His incarnation as a man. Jesus lived on this earth for 33 years (hence the title "33 series). Even after Jesus died, raised from the dead and ascended into heaven, He ever remained a man, while of course ever being full God. 

I mention this study to bolster the point being made in this post - namely that apart from Jesus' Christ's incarnation, the vision for biblical manhood would be nothing more than an ideal. The Person of the Son chose to take upon Himself a second way of expressing His life - a human expression or nature, and purposefully injected Himself into the bloodstream of fallen humanity. When you look at Philippians 2:1-4, particularly 2:4, the command is issued to essentially put others above ourselves. For men, this is especially undesirable, since as men, we like to fulfill our wants and desires rather than put others first. Such a command, by itself, is nothing more than guilt laden moralism. However under Divine inspiration, the Apostle Paul takes the syringe of life-giving doctrine and injects into the command the full 33 years of incarnate life that Jesus lived while here on earth. Moreover, the injection includes the continuing, ongoing post-resurrected humanity Jesus to which we're connected to by the Holy Spirit at salvation (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). 

The reader needs to read Philippians 2:5-11 to see how they have the power to carry out Philippians 2:1-4. As Robert Lewis points out in his study, Adam and his fallen posterity (us men) have failed in three areas: responsibility to willingly obey, responsibility to work God work and the responsibility to our wives. Ouch! Yet there is hope! how? As Lewis points out, Jesus accepted responsibility for a will to obey (John 4:34); Jesus accepted responsibility for work to do (John 17:4) and Jesus accepted responsibility for a woman to love (Ephesians 5:25). So Jesus' Christ's incarnation is the first power course for biblical manhood, however there is a second, namely....

2. God's indwelling enables the man of God. Philippians 2:12-13
Philippians 2:12 "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Here again we see another command that apart from God is impossible, especially for men to fulfill. As men, we are naturally passive and to put it bluntly - lazy when it comes to what is truly important, whether spiritual or family responsibilities. In the fall of Genesis 3, Adam let his wife deal with the serpent, when in reality it was his job! 

So then, as men of God, we know we are to work out our salvation. But how can we do it? The answer is found in Philippians 2:13 - "for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." God in the Person of the Holy Spirit ministers in and through Christ followers the Person of the Son, Who in turn reveals in us and to us the Person of the Father. 

Dr. John MacArthur notes regarding the identity of God in Philippians 2:13  "You say, “Well, now is Christ in me or is God in me?” And the answer is yes. The Spirit of Christ is God. “Well, isn’t the Holy Spirit in me?” The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. The Spirit of Christ is the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of God who is God. It’s the same. It’s God in the form of His Spirit dwelling in you. And always present, always supporting, always sustaining, always upholding, always supplying, always strengthening, always shielding, never out of His care, always producing, sanctifying effects in your life. That’s why He gets all the credit, because He’s doing all the work."

The reason for laboring this detail is to simply say that apart from the Holy Spirit's indwelling ministry, the man of God could not be a man of God. (Romans 8:14-16; Galatians 4:6; Colossians 1:27) The Holy Spirit is the One Who connects us directly to Christ's life changing perfect humanity and the Father's purposes in our lives. The Triune God is ever at work in the life of the Christian and for our purposes in this post, the man of God. So the man of God has the power of Jesus' incarnation and God's indwelling but now notice the third power source:

3. The Scriptures illuminate the man of God. Philippians 2:14-16
Philippians 2:14-15 once more gives God's people (and we will focus again on men in particular) commands to not grumble, complain and mutter under the breath. Men love to complain and make excuses. It seems as if Paul is delivering one set of commands after another. I do hope though the reader has realized by now that the power the man of God has to carry out the commands exceed the weight of the commands themselves. Notice the power of God's Word in Philippians 2:16  "holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain."

Without the Word of God, the man of God is just a man. The Holy Spirit uses and directs men who give themselves to the scriptures, since the scriptures are the means by which He feeds, empowers and illuminates the man of God to His true identity. Moreover, the scriptures are where we meet with Jesus and He with us. (Luke 24:44) Without the scriptures, the heart cannot be discerned nor have life. (Hebrews 4:12) By the scriptures is the man of God able to live for God and hate sin. (Psalm 119:9-11)

Closing thoughts:
Today's post has aimed to close out this string of posts that have dealt with the subject of what it means to be a man of God. Today we dealt with "The power to be the man God wants you to be." We considered three power sources from whence we can derive the power to take the biblical vision of godly manhood and turn it into reality:
1. Jesus Christ's incarnation
2. The God's indwelling
3. The scripture's illuminating work

1 comment:

  1. There's nothing better than assimilating to God. In God there's power and we are the power with God.