HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 “For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: 2 But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. 3 For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: 4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. 5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: 6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: 8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. 9 For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. 10 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: 11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, 12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
Who are some well-known guys in our culture who express well what it means to be a real man? In my days we had many men we emulate in our community and I am not talking about my father who was the number one man in my life. I want to include hard-working and very discipline men like Enville Clark, Carlise Wallace and Claude Hazell. Or is it someone like Frank Bynoe who steered the course for his family like my father?
Who are the men in your personal network of relationships who demonstrate well what it means to be a man before God and others? Think for a moment . . . What makes them good examples of manhood?
We are going to see a great example of what true masculinity is from the Scripture passage.
One of the most profound portraits of a godly man is found right in 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12. It is a picture of the Apostle Paul.
1. A godly man demonstrates courageous initiative in his life (verses 1 and 2)
In Acts 16:22-24, we read that Paul and Silas were stripped and severely flogged in the Philippian jail and their feet were put in stocks. As if this wasn’t enough of a lesson for them: They came to Thessalonica and we see that they encountered opposition here as well. But they didn’t let this opposition deter them from what God had called them to do.
A real man will do the right thing even when it’s not the most convenient or easy thing to do. For God’s purposes to be advanced best in a family, a church, or society, there need to be men who are willing to exercise courageous and sacrificial leadership.
Someone has said that you can divide the world into three groups of people:
- Those who make things happen,
- Those who watch what’s happening, and,
- Those who don’t know what’s happening.
A man faithful to God will fall into that first category, even when he’s criticized. A godly man will seek to provide godly leadership in his spheres of influence. (In saying this, I am not saying that women cannot ever take initiative.)
2. A godly man demonstrates integrity in his life (verses 3 – 6a)
The spiritual power of a godly man resides right here. The greatest need of our culture is men with a pure heart, who have a single eye to please the Lord. Nothing would change our families and culture faster and more powerfully than men who would love God with all their souls, all their heart, all their mind and all their strength – even with their bodies.
“The highest masculine impulse is that which ‘wills My will’ for some creative purpose, and holds firmly to that purpose until it is accomplished . . . Nor will the woman disciple lack a share in these masculine impulses of the soul. She, too, will develop the will to create, to conquer, to overcome, for the redeemed soul must be integrated, ‘one’ into that Christ nature in Whom there is ultimately neither male nor female, but one man in Christ.”
A double-minded man, who is divided in his loyalty to God, is not in complete touch with his God-given masculinity.
The double-minded person is torn by conflicting desires which make it impossible for him to step confidently and powerfully into his world to make a difference for God. He becomes less than what God created him to be.
The power to honour the truth – to speak it and be it – is at the heart of masculinity.” Only the man with a pure heart has the power to consistently honour the truth in his life. He is the one with a single eye to please the Lord Jesus, Who is the Truth.
In our portrait of a godly man, we see that a real man demonstrates courageous initiative and integrity in his life.
3. A godly man imparts his life for the good of others. (Verses 6 – 9)
Let’s read verses 6 to 9. I believe if a man is true to his God-given manhood, he will express mother-like nurturing to those around him. God has made a man with masculine and feminine aspects. Obviously, it goes beyond the question that the masculine aspects should be more dominant in a man.
He has strength but also a softer side that can nurture those around him. In general, men need to work a little harder on developing this aspect of their manhood. Trust me, out of the personal experience, ’tis the hardest but most-worth endeavour.
Paul didn’t just preach the gospel and then leave. He nurtured the flock that came into being through his preaching the gospel. He poured his very self into the Thessalonica believers. Paul was willing to give not only the Gospel but his own life as well.
Our calling as men is GREATER than our lives – PERIOD !!
4. A godly man integrates love and discipline in his nurture of others. verses 10 – 12)
I know a man whose greatest challenge as a pastor and as a father is to strike a redemptive balance between exhorting those under his care to live a life worthy of God and encouraging and comforting those same people.
I think we (at our different phases in life) all have that challenge as “mothers” and fathers. On the one hand, we don’t want to be authoritarian. But on the other hand, we don’t want to be doting “mothers” and pampering fathers.
I have come to realize that I can approach this redemptive balance only as I live with a pure heart and as I am willing to pour my life into others. It’s not an easy task, but then again all that’s good has its fair share of trials to make it worth a journey.
HERE IS MY CONCLUSION:
I want to close with a challenge, especially to the men(and that includes myself):
- Are you striving to be a godly man?
- Are you demonstrating courageous initiative to advance God’s purposes in your and others’ lives?
- Do you demonstrate integrity in your life?
- Do you nurture the life of God in those closest to you?
- Do you interact redemptively with those closest to you by balancing exhortation and encouragement?
If someone asked you the question: “What is a real man?”, how would you answer? What is true masculinity? Many people in our society would find this a hard question to answer.