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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Andy Stanley » Andy Stanley - The Man From God

Andy Stanley - The Man From God

Andy Stanley - The Man From God
TOPICS: Modern Men and Our Ancient Transcripts

Today is actually part two of a miniseries because it's only two parts, and it's specifically for men, modern men, and our ancient scripts. And if you missed part one last week, I hope you'll go back men and listen or watch or save it for your son someday, or maybe sit down and maybe talk about it with your sons or your grandsons. But essentially, just to kind of catch you up, if you missed part one, last time we talked about the fact that every man, every man listening, every man in the world, this isn't a Christian thing or a religious thing. This is just kind of a thing, thing, every man, all of us have made a decision. And we discussed this decision last time.

The decision is what does it mean to be a man? I mean, I've decided for me, every man's decided for himself. What does it mean to be a man? Or they've come up, we've all come up with our own definition of masculinity. If I were to say to you, hey, define masculinity, or what does it mean to be a man? I don't think I'd get many, I have no idea, Andy. I have absolutely no idea what it means to be a man, right? I mean, you have a definition, you have some idea. And so do I, because, and each of us, every man is subconsciously or maybe intentionally, depending on how this works out for you subconsciously or intentionally trying to live out what it means to be a man, to live up to our responsibility and the roles or however you view masculinity.

And some of us, and I'll admit this is me, okay? I don't know if I should admit this to you or not, but some of us secretly judge other men who aren't getting it right as we define right. Right? Don't we men? It's like, he needs to step it up. And we don't say that, we say to somebody else, like, he needs to step it up. Or hey, this guy needs to man up, or, you know, he just needs to grow up. Or my dad used to say it was so funny. He would say, he needs to get with the plan, needs to get with the plan. I was always like, am I with the plan? I don't even know what the plan is. But that was kind of his way. You know, we kind of have all our, our little, you know, internal, you know, phrases or things we picked up. Like this guy needs to step it up.

So here's a general definition of masculinity or what it means to be a man. And it has some wiggle room because we're sorting this out together. And we talked about this last time, I didn't make this up. I adapted it from something else. Masculinity is basically a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with men and boys. That's kind of the general definition. And all, every guy in here and every man listening, we all have some idea of what those attributes are, those behaviors are. And those roles are in terms of our view of what it means to live out being a man. But as we discovered last time, masculinity is not as self-evident as we assume.

Again, we think, well, everybody should kind of play by the same rules. But we discovered last week, not only does not everybody play by the same rules generationally, and historically, men have played by a whole lot of different rules. So your definition, your assumptions essentially were in large part, this is kind of the case I made last time. Your definition and assumptions about those roles and everything else associated with 'em. They were actually in large part, and this is hard for us to admit, some of us guys, because some of us are very stubborn. A lot of that was scripted for us. That you were raised on or you inherited a cultural or family script.

A script that essentially says, this is what it means to be a man, your dad or your grandfather, an uncle or culture or the city or the town or the country or the section of the country that you were raised in, handed you or modeled a script. This is what it means to be a man. Real men always, real men never. And that script, and it's true of all of us. And you know, to admit this is gonna allow you to move forward. That the script created an expectation. An expectation for us to shoot for, to aim for 'cause we like to shoot name things right? To shoot for and aim for a sort of a north star. Something for us to strive for, something for our sisters to look for. Or if it was a toxic definition of masculinity, it was something for our sisters to be on the look out for.

And some of us easily put that mantle on our shoulders that our dads or culture gave us. And it was easy for us because that script matched our temperament, our interest, our physicality, you know? But for others it didn't work, it just didn't fit. In fact, maybe you watched your older brother or a younger brother struggle, you wore it well, you know what masculinity was supposed to be based on your family script and your cultural script or the part of the country you were raised in, or what country you were raised in. But you watched your younger or older brother struggle with that. And he tried to kinda live up to the script, but it just didn't fit. Or maybe you were the brother and it just didn't really fit, for you, wasn't easy for you.

Which brings us to what I think is a really uncomfortable for some of us, but important observation to a large degree. Don't leave early, don't tune out early to a large degree, to a larger degree than I think we want to admit sometimes that masculinity is really a social and cultural construct, as is femininity. So I know this is a message for men, but let me just say something to the ladies, okay? I hope isn't offensive. You know, you talk about these things these days, it's like, there are so many landmines.

So anyway, I'll just try. Anyway, so ladies, isn't it true, art? Think about art. Art that portrays female beauty and female sophistication through the ages. Like, think about medieval art, women. This is what the sophisticated woman looks like. If you think about art through the ages, isn't it true at times, women, you look at those pictures and you're thinking, that's not really what I'm going for. That's not really the look, that is not really the thing. Why? Well, femininity has changed through the ages as reflected in art. And the same is true for masculinity. It is very much culturally defined, and that's just a reality. But it's an important reality for us to recognize as fathers, as we raise sons.

And it's important differentiate to recognize when we think about our own masculinity and trying to figure out what in the world does it mean to be a man? Because every generation, every culture within every generation has its own construct, its own definition of what it means to live out being a man. And then this is where we left off last time. Then you come to church and you hear me or somebody like me say, men, men, I want you to be like Jesus. And okay, I can take this. And you look at the person saying that in this case me, or do you think about the church you grew up in or the priest you grew up with, or the denomination, whatever it was, you look at the guy up there saying that, and you think, if you're what we're shooting for, I'm not shooting for you.

Okay, if you're telling me I need to be like Jesus, and somehow you think you're looking like, or acting like or behave, you know, that I, you know, I think I'll pass. Or maybe when preacher gets up and says, you need to be like Jesus, you think of this guy, this is not Jesus. Okay, I know that you know that. But for some of us, because the pictures hanging in our churches and the hallways and you know, your grandmother gave you this thing, you know, and I mean this is so sacrilegious except it's not Jesus. I think it's like a Jedi mind trick here. And then I don't know what this hand's doing, but anyway, his hands are so extraordinarily clean and you're thinking, okay, no offense Andy, this guy could, this guy, he couldn't change his own oil if his life depended on it.

So if this is what we're shooting for, that's not what I'm shooting for, right? And as we said last time, when you think about biblical characters, honestly there are a lot better biblical characters that some of us men want to be like other than this guy. I mean, how about this guy? This is David. I mean, this is kind of more of what some of us want to think about when it comes to being a man, you know, leading warriors into battle. The Warrior King or maybe, and this is kind of me to be honest, or maybe when you think about Jesus, you don't think about medieval art, you don't think about David the Warrior King. You think more about the winsome, love other people, go the extra mile, Jesus the people we're attracted to. And seriously, if I could have that hair, I would so want to be this Jesus. That is an amazing picture. I mean, you just like this guy, right?

Okay, anyway, but point is this. You need, probably need to take that down. I think the women are very distracted by Jesus at this point. It's like, whoa, I love Jesus. Yes, I do, love to meet him. He can come into my heart. I'd love to get into his. Anyway, so the question is, which is it? You know, is it all or some of each? And what does it mean when I say, you know, men, we need to to follow Jesus, right? Well, as we said last time, Jesus actually provides us with Jesus of Nazareth actually provides us with and models for us the script that all of us men need to subscribe to if we're gonna be Jesus followers.

And let me just say this, if you're not a Christian, or you used to be, or you've been outta church for a long time and you're coming back for the first time, or somebody's making you watch this 'cause you had breakfast in their home, they're like, we always watch the preacher. So whatever. Here's the thing, I want you to listen because the invitation of Jesus to follow, lemme just narrow it down. Just talk it to men for a minute. The invitation that Jesus extends to men to follow is life changing. And if you follow Jesus, I promise you, you will become a better man. And you do not need to fear, oh, I'm gonna lose my masculinity, or I'm gonna have to be soft or gentle, or I'm gonna have to be harsher than I want. I mean, what? You do not need to fear that because he was the God man, as we're gonna see in just a minute.

And he models for us guys the perfect script. It's the script that supersedes family scripts, cultural scripts, generational scripts. So you need not fear this. You need to be, I would suggest to be open to this. And even if you're not really a religious person or a Christian, and when I talk about Jesus, I wanna be specific. I'm talking about Jesus as described by the men. And Jesus as experienced by the women who knew him personally. For example, John who wrote Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, the gospel of John. John grew up as a fisherman, okay? Calloused hands, early he spent his years, he spent his years, he didn't have much education. We find out later, he spent years hauling nets, cleaning fish. He was rope burn, sunburn. But he knew Jesus personally. And after Jesus' resurrection, and John had traveled around telling the news, he decided he needed to get his story out.

So he dictates his experience with Jesus. Matthew, Martin, Luke, John, this is where we find the gospel of John. And as I read these words to you, I just, I say this all the time, and sometimes people misunderstand it, but I'm gonna keep saying it. I don't want you to hear me reading the Bible. I want you to hear me reading the words of a man who spent three years with Jesus, then spent the next 20 or 30 years talking about Jesus. Now he's at the end of his life and he's as convinced as ever of who Jesus is. That Jesus is God in a body who came to earth. This isn't the Bible, when John wrote these words, there was nobody had a concept that was ever gonna be a Bible. He's just documenting his story.

And when he sits down, this is so amazing to me. I get emotional, when he sits down to dictate his story of, here was my experience with Jesus. I think he struggled with, how do I start this? It's not once upon a time, for sure. How do I even start? How do I encapsulate this experience in words? And he does the most fascinating thing. And when you read your English Bible, you miss it. And it's not anybody's fault, it's just the nature of Greek to English. And so I'm gonna put a Greek word in the text because this is so powerful. He's making a point that is lost on us.

Here's how he opens his description of Jesus in his life with Jesus, not once upon a time, but he goes way back almost to the end and the beginning, all at the same time. I love this, he says this, this is the New Testament creation story. John says, in the beginning was the logos. And our English text says the word, which is confusing, and the logos was with God. It's like the word was with God, what? And the logos was God. Now this was a showstopper. And here's why. Ancient Greek philosophers, now I'm gonna take you way back like, you know, three to 400 years before Jesus, okay?

Back when the Greeks kind of ruled the world and the Persian wars and all that stuff. And they had this pantheon of gods, the smart Greek philosophers, you know, the Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and beyond that they recognized, they recognized, well, first of all, they were fed up with the gods because they were smart. And they recognized there's more to creation and there's more to life than these fickle gods. And they suspected there was something outside the gods or behind the gods. And here's why they thought that. Because they recognize there's such thing as virtue, and there's such a thing as wisdom, and there's such a thing as justice. And then they stumbled upon the fact that there's some, there's are true things.

There's truth, none of which reflected the character or the behavior of their gods. In fact, the gods reflected the very worst of human nature. Why? Because they were created by humans. So the gods were lustful and the gods were malicious, and the gods were power hungry, and the gods were devious, and the gods were unpredictable. And one day they were this way, and one day they were that, and they were at war with each other. And the smart philosophers were like, okay, we don't know if we don't know what's going on in the world of the gods, but we know there's something beyond all of that. The existence of virtue, the existence of wisdom and justice. It was undeniable. It was undeniable that these things existed. But what do you call 'em?

What do you call this? It's not a god. It's an inanimate, but catalytic, powerful, good, that stands from the gods. So you know what they referred to it as? Logos, logos, word. In fact, it's bigger than word. It's more like information. They didn't know what else to call it, word. It's an impersonal, it's intangible, but undeniable reality that intersected and benefited humanity. And then they stopped, that's as far as they got. Now think about this, John, this is amazing. That's why you should read the Bible. John sits down to start the story of Jesus. And he's like, where do I begin? I mean, I was like toe to toe, hand to hand, eye to eye, face to face with this human being that was God in a body.

So he opens his gospel by declaring that logos was not an it after all. And logos was not a god. This is why this statement is so powerful. Logos was God. And he had shown up as a man, a man who embodied wisdom and embodied justice and embodied truth, an embodied virtue. And he says, all at best, I don't know any other way to explain it. And this logos he wrote goes on, he says, and the logos became a man, became a person, became flesh. And he made his dwelling among us. He camped out with us. This isn't ethereal, this isn't religious, this isn't spiritual experience. He's like, no, no, no, I'm talking about he was a person. Like we hugged each other like we held hands. Like we did life together.

And we have seen his glory again, not in a dream and not in a vision. He's, oh, no, no, no, I mean, I physically, we physically saw his glory, the glory of the one and only best way to describe him, son, who came from the father absolutely full of grace and truth. He was not a balance of grace and truth. He was full on grace. He was full on truth all the time. And it was amazing. He's saying, look, I camped with him. I gathered firewood with him, I fished with him, I hauled nets with him, I mourned with him. I cleaned fish with him, and it was amazing. And he was like no other. And he was fearless. John would say we feared the priest. They controlled our destiny, our standing in society. He was fearless with the priest. John will say, I was there when we went to the temple.

Next thing I know, he's putting together braiding something. I'm thinking for maybe a woman's hair. No, he makes a whip and he kicks over tables and creates glorious chaos in the temple. And he was not afraid. And he faced down these powerful money changers. Then he immediately switches gears, turns around and begins healing people and touching the untouchables. And people could not get enough of him. He was nothing like us, and people liked him. We were nothing like him. And people weren't sure if they liked us, but they sure liked Jesus. They flocked to him. There was something dynamic and powerful and catalytic and gentle and strong and fearless and kind. He's like, it was nothing, which I don't know what to say John would say.

Back to his introduction, and man, this is, this is for us. Isn't that exciting? I just get so excited about that. Then he says this to men. He says men and Jesus in the logos was life. And that life that way of life was the light. Here it is of men. That his way, his life, what he modeled, lit the path, lit the way for men. Let me change gears, ask you this. Don't raise your hand or answer out loud. Have you ever seen a man get lost? I don't mean in the grocery store that, I mean, that happens all the time. Sandra would tell you, it's like she sends me to the grocery store. She knows 10 minutes, 20 minutes later, she's gonna get a text. What? Where? You know, I'm lost.

Okay, sorry. I don't mean on his way to the beach. Have you ever seen a man or know a man who got lost in life? Maybe your dad. He just somehow, you don't know any other way to describe it. It's like somewhere along the way, he just got lost. I mean, we knew where he was physically, but he maybe a friend. Maybe you had a season in your life when, when you would say, you know, I don't mean lost spiritually, like lost away from God. I mean, like, you just kinda, you just, life just wasn't making, working out for you. You just felt lost. Maybe you're there now. And it's understandable. And ladies, I know you can appreciate it, but guys, we assume if we were raised to assume that we're enough, I got this. I mean, that's the script.

You got this until you don't, and there's something going on on the inside and you dare not talk about it because we're men, we can't talk about this kind of stuff, but you just, I mean, everything's kind of moving. You just kind of feel lost. There's an old song. Some of you remember a Don Henley song, New York Minute, I don't know if you remember the song in New York Minute. It's on a playlist for me constantly because of this line. He says, talking about this theoretical guy who got lost in the song, he said he had a home, love of a girl. I mean, everything's great.

Remember this lyric, but men get lost sometimes. There's years unfurl, things just don't work out. Then the guy realized, I'm running outta time. Then he does something stupid to kind of make up for time. Then he is even more lost and he is more, you know, distanced from the people who loved him and he loved. And it's just, or things worked out. Things worked out great for the guy, but he still got lost because even with all that worked out, there was still this nagging sense of not enoughness and what's nextness or who's nextness. And the who that showed up after the original who wasn't, didn't work out any better than the original who. And now he's just lost. And everybody looks at him from the outside and says, whoa, I'd love to be him.

And on the inside he's thinking, yeah, you don't wanna be me. Then Don writes these lyrics. He says, one day cross some line, and he was too much in this world, but I guess it doesn't matter anymore. He lost his way, lost the plot, lost sight of what really mattered. And here's what John is saying to me. Here's what John is saying to you. Here's what John is saying to men everywhere, regardless of the culture, nationality, belief system. Religious, not religious. He's saying, look, he's saying, look, look up here. He would say, this is what I'm trying to get at.

This is what I'm talking about. Logos, God in a body addressed all of that. He showed us a way around that. He showed us a way past that, he showed us a way through. That in him, in him was life. And that life specifically that way of life, was the light of men. He taught us a different way of living, a different way of thinking, a different way of loving. He taught us a different way of perceiving the world around us. He lit up everything and he lit up everybody with that light, including God the Father. We were so confused about what God was like, and he kept saying to us, you wanna know what God is like, watch me. Look at me. If you've seen me, if you've camped with me, if you've woken up in the morning around a campfire with me, if you've eaten with me, if you've watched me with other people, you have seen the Father in action.

He lit up everything, including the Father. And then he says this, and the light who's Jesus, the logos, the light shines in the darkness. And he would say, and it was so bright at times, it exposed so much. We felt so stupid, we gave all the wrong answers. And yet he continued to love us. And sometimes that light was so bright, it was threatening, it was disorienting. The first shall be last. It's like, wait, wait, wait, wait. The first shall be last. Nobody wants to be last. He's like, well then you'll never be first. And we just, then he walks off. We're like, what? Right?

And then at the end, they would tell us that Jesus, the light of the world, the light of your life, the light of men marched his light into the darkness of Jerusalem, knowing it wouldn't work out, the darkness of Jerusalem where holy men were plotting to kill him. And John would tell you, hey, we're following at a distance and we knew things would not end well. And they didn't. And then they did, and everything changed. And the darkness has not overcome it. Did not overpower it, did not snuff it out. The logos the way of the king prevailed and the darkness lost.

Peter, John, the guys, the women that experienced Jesus, they would tell you, they would tell me, they've tried to tell us through their lives, their testimonies, their writings that survived the centuries because of how precious they were to the people who knew Jesus. They would assure us, we were never more alive. We were never more fully alive than when we were with our king and walked in the way of logos. And I think they would say, and we would do it all over again. So kind of brings us once again to where we left off last time, and I wanna be super specific. So what does this look like? What does this act like? What does this feel like? What does this react like and respond like?

And the answer is, I say all the time is you simply follow Jesus through the gospels to discover that. But today I'm gonna get you started. I'm gonna give you some snapshots that are drawn directly from the gospels to get us started. If you're willing to adopt the script of Jesus, for you as a man, a man who chooses the Jesus script is a man who forgives regardless, without being asked. It's a man who refuses to return evil for evil, but looks for an opportunity to return good for evil, because that's what strength of character actually does. And that's what your Heavenly Father did for you. A person who embraces the Jesus script is a man who understands that lust commoditizes a woman, that mental lust reduces a woman to a thing to be used and discarded in his mind and is thus dishonoring to a person who is precious to his king.

A man who embraces the Jesus script is a man who leaves revenge in God's capable hands. Not because he's weak and afraid, but because he realizes that revenge is for the weak. A man who embraces the script for manhood from Jesus is a man who publicly celebrates the success of other men because he's not controlled by jealousy or envy. It's a man who is not owned by his possessions, but sees his possessions as tools and a trust and an opportunity to express his faithfulness to the kingdom of God who recognizes that everything that's ever placed in our hands is the result of God's grace to us.

And it may come to me, but it's not all for me. And they don't give the, this is the man who doesn't give in to the assumption, the consumption assumption that if it comes to me, it's to be consumed by me. It's a man who equates greatness with elevating others rather than himself. It's a man who stands at the funeral of a friend and weeps openly. It's a man who stops to help someone who can't return and maybe wouldn't even return the favor. It's a man who's more concerned with controlling himself than controlling the people around him. It's a man who knows when it's time to turn over tables and when it's time to turn the other cheek and is not confused about the difference or the people impacted.

It's a man who's more inclined to defend the rights of others than his own. It's a man who will speak the truth regardless of the consequences. It's a man who is angered by the mistreatment of others. And yet it's a man who's not overly troubled by trouble. It's a man who ends every single day with a clear conscience between him and God and him and the people around him. And this is, man, this is what I would just, is I don't know how to extend a stronger invitation than to say, if you forget the rest, if you would engage with this, when you take on the Jesus script for you as a man, you become a man who is willing to bring the fight to his two primary enemies every single day. His appetites and his insecurities. It's a man who equates success with doing the will of his Father in heaven.

So I create these and create these slides, and I read these things over and over and over in preparation. And it is so convicting to me because I wanna be that kind of man. And in my own strength, I cannot, as we've talked about recently, I keep bumping into my own limitation. Mine runs out, my patience runs out, my self-control runs out, my kindness runs out, my gentleness runs out, my generosity and compassion, they run out. And it's in those moments, men, if we will acknowledge our need, if we will acknowledge, hey, turns out I'm not enough. I don't have it together. I can't pull this off without the help of my God.

And this is where John and Peter and the rest of them would say, this is what was so amazing that he invited us to expose our weakness to each other and to him. And then we found the strength to be more like him. Because on our own we were nothing like him, but we sure liked him. And we wanted to be more like him. And I wanna be that kind of man because Sandra, my kids and my grandkids deserve that kind. And you know what, your wife and your children and your future wife and your future children deserve that kind of man as well, because that's who you were created to be. And that's what was modeled by the God man.

So in the meantime, you know, fish and hunt and decorate and paint and hike and code and shoot and design. Drive a raptor or drive a Mini Cooper. You know, collect things, build things, create things, throw things, hit things, grow things. You know, all those things are just part of how you're designed and how you're created in your interest and your temperament and your personality and your physicality. We're not all the same. But in the midst of that, remember there is a script that transcends interest, personality, and temperament. It's the script modeled by our savior. And that's what you're invited into. And that's what I would encourage you, even if you don't consider yourself a religious person, to consider the script modeled by our Savior.

So back to our original question, what does it mean to be a man? How do we define masculinity? I'm convinced that John, I'm convinced, and I think John was convinced, Peter was convinced, the women who experienced Jesus were convinced that the answer really literally is found in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the Lion of Judah, the Lamb of God, the Light of Men. And if we follow men, men if we follow, we will not all be the same. That is not in the plan. We will not all be the same, but we will all be better men and the world will be a better, safer place for everybody. Last thing, if you're not a Jesus follower, perhaps you should consider it. And here's what I'll promise you. You have everything and nothing to lose, and you have everything to gain if you follow Him.
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