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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Andy Stanley » Andy Stanley - Lion and Lamb

Andy Stanley - Lion and Lamb

Andy Stanley - Lion and Lamb
TOPICS: Modern Men and Our Ancient Transcripts

So today's message is actually just for men. Fathers, for sure, but not just fathers, just all the men in general. So ladies, just feel free to, don't talk amongst yourselves. Maybe just text amongst yourselves, okay? Because this is for the guys, except I think you'll find this to be pretty interesting. So here's the deal, men, all of us men, this is not a religious thing, it's not a Christian thing, it's just a male thing. All of us, every one of us men, we have all made a decision, and we're pretty confident that we've made the right decision. But I wanna make sure we've made the right decision, so this week and next time we're together, I wanna poke around on the decision that we've made to make sure we have it right, because it's important for all of us in terms of the decision we've made as men.

But it's especially important for those of us who are fathers because we are going to impose our decision on our sons, and we're going to create expectations for our daughters. And the decision that I'm referring to, that you've already made, even though you don't know that you've made it, because we don't make it consciously, but we've all made it, that's why we're surfacing it. The decision that I'm talking about is how we decide what it means to be, or how we define, or how we measure, or how we pursue, or how we demonstrate masculinity. And specifically to kind of bring it down a level, what it means to be a man. Our picture, again, our expectation. Our expectation for ourselves, what we're shooting for, what we're aiming for, 'cause we like to shoot things and we liked it to aim things, right? Our North Star.

And to get us started with this, I'm gonna give you basically a general definition of masculinity, and it has a lot of wiggle room because we don't all see this the same way, and that's kind of the point of what we're gonna talk about today and next time we're together. So here's kind of a general definition to kinda get us all started. Masculinity is, I didn't make this up, this is from somewhere, a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles, attributes, behaviors, and roles, a lot of wiggle room, generally, a lot of wiggle room, generally associated with men and with boys. So masculinity is a set of attributes. They're all, you know, we probably put different things on that list. Behaviors and roles generally associated with men and boys.

And here's the thing about it, you're pretty sure you know what those attributes, behaviors, and roles are, and I'm pretty sure I know what they are as well. If I were to ask you, you know, what does it mean to be a man? What are the attributes of a real man, behaviors and roles? You would have an answer to that question. I would have an answer to that question, even though maybe you've never thought about it before, because we assume that it's just kind of intuitive. It's just kind of self-evident. I mean, duh. I mean, you just know or you think you do. But do we? And the reason I'm not so sure that we necessarily do is because, and this is why we're talking about this, and don't leave early, to some degree, to some degree, to some degree, somebody who's not you defined masculinity for you, and somebody who's not me defined masculinity for me.

And I'm gonna tell you a little bit more about that in just a minute. But somebody who's not you actually defined this for you. That you were born into a family that gave you a definition of masculinity or model something. You were born, we were all born into a culture that says this is what it means to be a man. We were all born in a country that tells us this is what it means to be a man. We were all born into a section or a part of the country that tells us this is what it means to be a man. Some of us have a long, you know, history of, you know, your great grandfather, and then your grandfather and your father. Now it's your turn.

So there's all these things that just define for us or give us a script of what it means to be a man, or what it means to be masculine, that these things were handed to us. Actually, it feels more like they were draped over us, right? Because it feels like an expectation. Son, this is what a man does. This is how a man behaves. This is how a man responds. So there was some sense of expectation, and it was handed to you, and it was handed to me, and consequently, it feels intuitive. It feels like, oh, everybody just knows this. Don't we all see it the same way? But it's not as intuitive as we think, because somebody gave you a script, just like somebody gave me a script, and it feels like a weight, again, an expectation.

In other words, son, this is what it means to be a man. And maybe it was your father, or your grandfather, or an uncle, or whoever raised you. It might have been your mom if you were raised by a single mom who said, you know, son, this is what it looks like to be a man. This is what a man does. This is how a man behaves. But that this, and this is what we're gonna talk about today, that this may or may not have fit your temperament. It may not have fit your disposition. It may or may not have matched your physicality or your interest. If it did, you know, you just went with it. You just put that thing over your shoulders and you just went with it. You just lived it out because it fit you perfectly.

I mean, the definition of masculinity and what it means to be a man that my dad draped over my shoulders, it just fits, so I just went with it. I never had any conflict, right? I'm gonna tell you more about that in just a minute. But perhaps this that you inherited, it fit you well, but maybe it didn't fit your brother and he struggled. In fact, he struggled to be more like you. He struggled to be more like your father. And what did he do? Well, he did his best to drape that thing on and to live that out, and he never felt like he measured up and never felt like he matched, and you sensed, created insecurity, and you saw that, and there was this, again, there was this unspoken pressure.

Come on, you gotta man up. You gotta step up, right? And he did his best for a while. Or maybe you're that brother, and your older brother, or your younger brother wore it well, wore it well, just your dad or grandfather, you know, they draped that thing over all of you and your brother did fine, but you struggled, and the family script didn't work for you. You tried. Or maybe the different option was maybe this was so loosely defined that you just never felt that pressure. You were just free to be you.

Now, here's something that escapes us, and this is the part I really don't want you to tune me out, okay? Because if you think, oh, I know what this is all about. Just hang with me, okay? To a large degree, not exclusively, but to a large degree, in fact, larger, to a larger degree that many of us that want to concede, masculinity really is a social and cultural construct as is femininity. Here's what I mean by that. Every generation and every culture within every generation has its own version of, or redefines or kind of tweaks the definition of what it means to be a man, or what masculinity looks like or acts like, or feels like, or responds like. I'm gonna give you one example, and granted, this is kind of extreme, but it makes the point, and I'm gonna let some of you guess in just a minute who I'm talking about.

So don't say it out loud. One of history's most successful military leaders, I mean literally within the context of his culture, a military and political genius, even though they didn't think in political terms back then. We would think in political terms. Military and political genius who led the largest, the largest continental empire in medieval or modern history. In other words, the empire that had the largest landmass, okay? This particular individual, because of how he viewed what it meant to be a man, and the expectations of his culture to be a man, and what it meant to be masculine as a military leader, he viewed his responsibility as a leader and as a man to sire as many children as possible by as many women as possible.

Anybody want to take a guess at who I'm talking about? Anybody? Yes, Genghis Khan. Heard it right over here. Founder of the Mongol Empire. Had hundreds and hundreds of children by hundreds of women, some say over 1000 children. And here's what's so fascinating, geneticists studying Y chromosome data found that nearly, you can check this out, that nearly 8% of men that live in the region of the former Mongol Empire, 8% carry Y chromosomes that are virtually identical, which translates, this is amazing, into half of 1% of the male population in the world. Some of you've had those dreams at night that you're this fierce warrior. You may be related to Genghis Khan. I'm not, I'm serious, okay?

16, and this is an estimation, about 16 million men in the world today are, the theory is that all of this, according to geneticists, that this probably originated with Genghis Khan, because he had up to 1000 children in a time when the world's population was much, much smaller than it is today. And his behavior was not considered abnormal. His behavior wasn't considered immoral. This is just what it meant to be a king. This is what it meant to be a ruler. This was what it meant to show your power and your ability to be the person that your culture expected you to be. Now, to put this in context, this is in like the 13th century.

So just to put this in historical context, this is about the same time that the University of Paris was founded over in the West. This is about the same time that the Magna Carta was signed and instituted. And the point being this, in other parts of the world and more of the Western world, that kind of behavior, even during that period of history was considered horrible. I mean, barbaric. I mean, somebody that would do that was considered a monster, right? And by our standards, we would consider somebody who that was their goal to be a monster too. And my point, actually, I don't have a point, I just thought that was so fascinating, and I thought that some of you would be interested in that. Actually imagine just sort of, kind of, you know, get off the sermon for, imagine. This is what I thought this morning when I was preparing. Imagine Father's Day for Genghis Khan.

So many ties, so many grills, so many, "Oh, that's great. I can charge my iPhone while I'm traveling. I got a little battery". I mean, imagine. Anyway, okay, it's just interesting. Now, hopefully, hopefully, okay, I don't know you personally, but hopefully the notion of siring as many children as possible by as many women as possible, that doesn't strike you as masculine, that strikes you as irresponsible. But why? Well, I know it's an extreme example, because somebody gave you a script and gave me a script, fortunately, that says, "That's not what it means to be a man. That's horrible".

My point is this, that our assumptions, and this is hard for some of us, I get it, especially with things going on in our culture today, our assumptions regarding masculinity, they are not 100% intuitive. They are cultural, they are learned, and then they're reinforced. So we have to be careful who we're listening to, and we have to be careful who we're looking to, to define for us what it means to be a man. So let me ask you, what was the script? You don't answer this out loud and you've not given this any thought, I get it. What was the script you were handed by your father, or your uncle, or your mom, or the group of people you were raised by, or the culture you were raised in? What was that script? And I'll go first, as I thought about this with my dad, here's what I boiled it down to.

Now, my dad was a pastor, so there was a spiritual glaze that got, you know, put over all of this. But if I just boil it down, humanly speaking, it came down to three things. Number one, respect women, period. Number two, do your best. Number three, look your best. This is what it meant to be a man. There was more to it than that, but in terms of what came back to over and over and over, you respect women always, and you look your best and you do your best. My grades were, "Hey, did you do your best"? He was satisfied with it. That over and over and over, respect women, do your best and look your best. He grew up very poor, grew up with a single mom. His father died when he was about 10 months old, so he never knew his father, and his mom and dad had only had been married less than two years when his father passed away, so of course, this shaped his value system.

Of course, it shaped what he saw, really, the filter for everything in life, but especially what it meant to be a man, because he saw his mom mistreated by men. So consequently, this was a really big deal. So when I was raised, "Hey, you know, you can do a lot of things wrong, but you never showed disrespect to your mom, and you never disrespect your sister". That was a big, big deal, and I wore that and I liked that. And then lo and behold, I thought it was just intuitive. When I began to raise my sons to respect their mom and respect their sister, I thought, well, this was just what men do. And then I realized, I'm so glad my dad laid that on me. That's a good thing. But I didn't make that up. And I meet men all the time who that just seems to be the furthest thing from their minds.

And this is why when you hear Sandra and I talk about parenting, we say, in our family, we only had two overarching rules, and rule number one was honor your mother. You didn't have to honor me, but you honor your mother if you wanted to, you know, live in our home. It was a big deal. Well, I just thought, isn't that great that I have all this? No, no, that's what was modeled for me. This was for me, this was part of what it meant to be a man. Now, my dad and I, we did all the normal stuff, we hiked and we fished and we camped. In fact, I brought a picture. I love this picture. This is us at the Grand Canyon. We were not prepared. We decided at the last minute we were gonna hike down at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and spend the night, and we thought there was somebody waiting down there for us and there were not.

So this is me on the left, by the way. So for those of you who grew up listening and watching to Dr. Charles Stanley, or your parents did, or your grandparents made you listen on the radio, this is the dad version of that guy. And he was an amazing father. He was so present. Sports were not a big deal. I tried and he came and watched me ride the bench. You know, I did my best, but I better respect my mom and I better respect my sister. And if he ever saw me being insecure around other women, or potentially, I mean, that was a constant conversation. So guys, what about you? What was the script? And isn't it true, it was family, it came from your family, and came from culture, and it just feels so normal and so natural.

Whether it fit you or it didn't, it just feels like this must be what it means to be a man because this is what was expected of me. And it wasn't defined. Nobody wrote it down. You just, it was just placed on your shoulders. And for you, was it primarily externals? Was it, you know, the normal stuff, sports and grades, and scholarships, and "Son, you gotta get a good education, so you can make a lot of money and support your family". Was it those kinds of things? I mean, those are all good. Or was it more about character, who you were gonna become, what was going on on the inside? Or hopefully it was kind of a blend of both. But either way, isn't it true, it set an expectation and if the script fit, you wore it.

And if the script didn't fit, you struggled, you doubted yourself. It might have created some internal insecurity. You attempted to prove yourself. Or maybe you just gave up, to use a super male analogy, you threw in the towel. I mean, there's a script, the boxer covered in his own blood and his own sweat, you know, given it his all, because real men are fighters, and maybe you're a fighter, or maybe you dislike men who are fighters. It makes you feel something on the inside that you don't like and you resist those kind of men. Or maybe you secretly look down on men who aren't fighters. You look down on men who aren't masculine the way that you've defined masculinity, because of a script that was handed to you. Or maybe you have a son who doesn't fit your script, or maybe you fear having a son that won't fit your script.

And then you come to church and you hear me say week after week, "Gentlemen, follow Jesus". And there's one group of you, I'm gonna give you permission to think this and feel this. I get this. I'm not as far removed from this as you would assume and as you imagine. There's one group of you, whenever I say this, you're like, "Sweet, passive Jesus, I cannot go there. My wife loves all that stuff, but I cannot go and follow sweet passive Jesus," okay? And I mean, I like you and you're fine, but you know, this is why a lot of men just don't like church, and I understand that. I am a man. I get that. I was a man before I was a pastor. Very difficult for you to imagine, but it's absolutely true, right? I mean, you saw that cool picture of me with my hat, right? Hiking the Grand Canyon, right?

So one group's like, I just can't go there. My wife can, but not me. And I understand the frustration. And one of the reasons you don't love church is like, well, my wife wants me to be more like Jesus, which is confusing to many of you men because, and let me just say what you thought, just to let you know it's okay to think, just because here's what you thought, you thought, you know, Andy, if I'm honest, when I was dating my wife, I did not act much like Jesus, and it didn't seem to bother her that much. And then we got married and the rules changed, and I'm so confused, and that's why I don't love churches because I feel like there's a new standard that wasn't there before. And now I'm kind of stuck, and I'm not anti-Jesus, but sweet, passive Jesus.

Hey Andy, if I could, you know, change the script a little bit, I wanna be like King David. I like that guy. Like he killed animals with his bare hands. I don't want to go that far, but I'd like to at least think that's what I'm shooting for. Like when he was a little boy, he killed a giant with a slingshot. Are you kidding me? And then he beheaded the giant with the giant's own sword. I wanna be that guy. Or I'll give you another option, okay? You probably don't even know about this one. You would like Revelation Jesus. Do you know about Revelation Jesus? Revelation Jesus is very different than Matthew, Mark, Luke and John Jesus. In fact, some of you're gonna start reading the Book of Revelation, it's very confusing, but you'll find Him in there somewhere.

In the Book of Revelation, Jesus shows up. He is not meek and mild Jesus. He is riding a white horse. He is covered in the blood, not his blood, the blood of his enemies, and there is a sword coming out of his mouth. Bring it. That's, I mean, come on, okay. My wife didn't tell me about that Jesus. Now we're talking about somebody I can follow. And here's how it ends in the Book of Revelation, okay? "The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse". That's Jesus. "And all the birds gorge themselves on their flesh".

And in the Book of Revelation, this is called the Supper of God, a battlefield covered with the dead enemies of Jesus. And the birds descend and they start with this, I won't go there. It's so awful and so gross. You could almost smell it when you read it, and you read and you watch that and you think, I would watch that movie. In fact, now what? That's in the Bible? Yes, this is Revelation Jesus. You're like, where's that guy been, right? Okay, if I could just take this a step further, and this is verging on being maybe too irreverent. But if we, and I include myself, if we had written the crucifixion account, the crucifixion of Jesus account, maybe it would've sounded more like this. "The people stood watching, and the rulers," Jesus has been crucified. "The rulers sneered at Him and they said, 'He saved others. Let Him save Himself. If He's God's king, if He's God's messiah, the chosen one, then come down from the cross.' The soldiers, also the Roman soldiers also came up and they mocked Him".

They made fun of Him. They called Him names, they jeered, and said, "'Hey, if you're the king of the Jews, save yourself.' And with that, Jesus looked toward heaven and said, 'Father, forgive me for what I am about to do.'" And then He slowly closed His palms over the nails that held Him to the cross and ripped them free. And see, you'd come to church if we told stories like this, it's like, okay, now you got my undivided attention. And your wives are like, "Oh, goodness, we should have stayed home, like you wanted to stay home," okay? And on that, okay, and stepping down, he smote the Roman guard with the very nails that once held Him, and on that day there was a great slaughter of the enemies of God. The Maccabees are back, if you know the story of the Maccabees.

Now that's a king worth following, right? I mean, that's like a man's man. But there are many Christians, many Christian men, I've become one over the years who actually identify with turn the other cheek, love one another, stop on your way, wherever you're going to help somebody who needs help. Stop for women and children Jesus, who refused to torch His enemies on His way to Jerusalem, we've talked about this before, they're just supposed to stay in. They're going through Samaria, you know. They're not supposed to be in Samaria. And they send, you know, a couple of disciples ahead to find out, "Hey, can we spend the night in your village? We're on our way to Jerusalem". And the Samaritans say, "No, we don't want you in our village 'cause you're going to Jerusalem and we're not like you".

And the two of the disciples say to Jesus, "Can we just torch the whole village"? They ask Him that. "Can we torch the town"? Jesus is like, "No, we can't torch the town". So this is the dilemma. This is where we live. This is why we're talking about it. How do we reconcile all of this as Christian men, as men who want to follow Jesus? Whatever version of Jesus we find. Is it Jesus of the gospels? Is it Jesus in the Book of Revelation? Is it the script that my dad put on my shoulders, and that your uncle and your grandfather and your father maybe put around? Is that the version of the scripts that are prescribed to us by culture? How do we decide how to define what it means to be a man?

And here's why this is so important, and what should we point our sons and our daughters toward? Do Christian men need to man up? There's a movement right now among churches, Christian men need to man up, and where I get it is that pastors need to step up. And when I read this, this literature and I watch these messages, it's like basically they want us to man up based on an ancient testosterone induced version of masculinity that honestly would scare you, okay? But somehow there's this movement that we need to man up, we need to step up. Is that the case? How do we know? How do we define it? And the truth is, we're not all the same.

And some of us are, you know, aggressive, and some of us are passive aggressive, and some of us are, you know, like we just can't do enough and get enough done. And there's a wake of relational, you know, stuff behind us that we can't fix because we're so progress oriented. There are others of us that are so dialed into the relationships of people around us, is one right and one's wrong? How do we know how to define masculinity? And what does it mean to be a man if you're gonna follow Jesus? And I'm convinced, that's why I wanted to talk about it for two weeks, 'cause there's just too much to cover in one. I'm absolutely convinced, more convinced than ever that the answer to that question is actually found in Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus not as presented in the Book of Revelation. Jesus of Nazareth as known by the men and women who knew Him, walked with Him, listened to Him, taught with Him, and then took His message all over the world. Men like Matthew, who documented the life of Jesus. Men like John who documented the life of Jesus, they were there the whole time. Men like Peter who were there from day one. Peter who calloused hands, sunburn. I mean just physical manual labor Peter who had to learn so many things when it came to following Jesus, and then became the leader of the entire group later on. Somehow he figured out how to bring the world of his manliness together with the teaching of Jesus. And I'm absolutely convinced, regardless of what kind of man you are, and what you've experienced in life and the way that you're wired, that in Jesus we find the ultimate picture of a man, of masculinity.

And it doesn't make us all the same. It makes us all better. Jesus who was, in fact, it's so interesting, a descendant of David, the giant killer, David the warrior who emerged from battle covered in the blood of his enemies, literally, versus Jesus who emerges from his final battle covered in his own blood. Jesus, the ultimate man. I mean, to put it in terms that some of us can identify with, he literally was tougher than Roman nails. He was harder and unyielding as Roman steel. He was by one descriptor, the Lion of Judah, who in the end, and I know I come back to this narrative over and over, and it's because I didn't, when I was raised in the church, I never heard this until I began to study for myself the significance of this.

Who in the end, the Lion of Judah who in the end fearlessly, voluntarily marched into the lion's den of Jerusalem, knowing what was gonna happen to Him, but not as the lion, but as the lamb of God, whose final act, who final act defined what it means to be, I mean, whose final act defined and illustrated what it means to be a man as God created men to be. His final act dismantles and undermines all of our flawed, imbalanced cultural family scripts. His final moments are the way forward I'm convinced for all men. The alphas and the artists, you know, the collectors and the coders, 'cause we're all so different. Here's how the story really went, you know this, and here we are, this is what we're drawn through.

In fact, it's so interesting. Jesus at one point said, if I'm lifted up, talking about His crucifixion, if I am lifted up and if people see this for what it really is, and on the day that everyone actually sees it for what it really is, He says, I will draw all men to me, all kinds of men to me, because in me, they will see the ultimate creation, the ultimate intent, the ultimate purpose of what it means to be a man made in the image of our heavenly Father. There was nothing meek nor mild about your king or about your savior. And yet He was the one who stopped on His way to His most important appointment to heal a blind man. You remember this, the people stood watching, waiting for Him to die, and the rulers even sneered at Him. They sneer at, what kind of man mocks a dying man hanging from a cross? Not the winners, those are the losers. They sneered at Him and they said, "He saved others. Let Him save Himself".

Come on, if you're really a king, hey, we know what we would do if we were in your situation. And the soldiers who also came up, they mocked Him and they said, and this is tame, we don't know the words they use. These were gritty soldiers. The most, I mean, it's unimaginable what the insults they hurled at Jesus as He died. Things that wouldn't be scripted, things that wouldn't be written, things that would be, you know, things you couldn't share. You just wouldn't document them. You can imagine. And they said, "If you're the king of the Jews, save yourself". In other words, hey, a real king, a real man, he's not gonna allow Himself to be defeated in public if He doesn't have to be defeated in public. Real men don't allow themselves to be defeated at all. And if you're supposedly a king, you're not acting like a king.

If you were really a king, you would not allow yourself to be taken. You would not have allowed yourself to be surprised. There would be an army of followers. But where's your army? You're no king. They assumed He could, this is important, they assumed He could not save Himself. But the truth was, the superman, the ultimate man refused to save Himself because if He had saved Himself, he would have forfeited His opportunity to save you, and to save His accusers, and to save the world. By refusing to do for Himself what every one of His accusers would've done for themselves, he defined what it means to be a man. And in that moment, in that moment, He won a fight his accusers weren't even aware was being fought. At the intersection, and this is what we're gonna kind of tease out next time, at the intersection of lion and lamb, we find perfect masculinity on display.

At the cross, we are all confronted with a battle, at the cross, we're all confronted with a battle that every single man wrestles with. That every single man is invited to fight, to join every single day, regardless of temperament, regardless of personal interest, regardless of physicality, regardless of personality. It's the battle we're invited to wage at home. It's the battle that I'm invited to wage at the office. It's the battle that you're invited to wage in the hotel room, and it requires the courage of a lion, and it requires the humility of the lamb. It's the battle to say no to me, so I can say yes to the people around me. It's the battle to deny myself and to control myself so I can give more of myself away. So if you're a Jesus follower, men, if you're a Jesus follower or you're attempting to be a Jesus follower, or you're considering being a Jesus follower, this is the script. This is the script. That's the script we're to pass on to our sons.

I feel like in so many ways, it's certainly part of, even though we didn't use this language, this is part of the script that my dad handed off to me and draped around my shoulders as it relates to honoring and respecting women, that translates ultimately to honor and respecting other people. This is the script, men, that we are to model for our daughters. And Paul said it this way, he said, Jesus, this is so amazing, and Paul wrote it this way. Again, this is after the resurrection, years after the resurrection. Paul who wrote this, remember, I know we talk about this all the time, Paul was a violent man. Paul was absolutely insistent that he was gonna put the church out of business, and he leveraged all of his skills and all of his activist intuition and to get it done.

And then he meets Jesus, and he goes on to impact the world. But he writes these words about Jesus again, looking back after the resurrection, that Jesus who was in very nature God, He was God in a body, never leveraged His position with God to His own advantage. He never played the God card one single time. His strength was in His self-control. His power was in His others firstness. He had so reigned in and harnessed Himself that he was able to give Himself away. And then he writes this, talking about Jesus and being found.

Look at what he says, and being found in appearance as one of you and one of me, "And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself". He reigned Himself in on your behalf. He was lion, He was lamb. And men, He invites all of us to follow Him, to adopt His tone, His posture of humility, his approach to life, His script. And if we do, we will not all be the same. That's not the goal. But we will all be better men, and better friends, and better fathers, and better husbands, because we will be like our savior, the super man, the perfect man. And if you listen to all this and you think, "Okay, Andy, it's hard to argue with that, but you gotta be more specific. Andy, could you be more specific"? Yes, I can next week in part two of Modern Men and Our Ancient Scripts, don't miss it.
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