Jentezen Franklin - Wake Up The Mighty Men
If you have your Bibles, I want you to open them with me to the book of Joel. And I'm going to go to Joel 3:9, "Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, Let all of the men of war draw near, Let them come up". I love that one line, "wake up the mighty men". Wake 'em up. Ninety percent of the men in the United States say that they believe in God, 90%. Five out of six refer to themselves as Christians. But actually, only 35% of the men in the United States go to church on a regular basis with their wives. That means that only one out of five women has their husband with them in church on an average Sunday in America.
There's a disconnect between men and church. And what's amazing is this is not true in other religions. Men outnumber women in the Buddhist religion. Men outnumber women in the Hindu religion. Men greatly outnumber women in the Islamic faith. Only in the Christian faith do women outnumber men in the church. What's going on? There is an absence of men in the church, real men. Somehow there's a disconnect between men and wanting to be in church. Why is that? What's going on? Is that how it was in Jesus' day, in the first century church? Something is happening with the men. I want to talk about it.
Where are the risk takers? Where are the men? And I'm not talking about some narrow view of masculinity and, you know, that you've got to be rough and tough to be a man. I was thinking about Jacob and Esau. They were twins. The Bible said that Jacob was, he was a cook, he was a cooker. He liked to cook in the kitchen. And his brother Esau was a hunter. His brother Esau was hairy and the Bible says of Jacob, "he was smooth skinned". And God used 'em both greatly. I'm not talking about a style. One would have been on Outdoor magazine. Esau was a kind of a redneck hunter, all of that. The other would have been on GQ magazine. And it's alright.
God made us all different. We don't all like the same stuff. Not every man likes sports. Not every man likes this or likes that. Not every man's into the arts. God's a big God. But all men should be connected to the church. Most men in the Bible wouldn't fit in the church today. Moses and Elijah, think about it, if you're going to be pastor of a church, we want to interview you. Tell us about your past. "I killed a man and buried him in the sand and his toes stuck out and I got in trouble and had to run and I became a farmer for 40 years in the wilderness. And then I became a pastor". It's a man.
What about Elijah? Have you ever read about Elijah? He wasn't sitting in a corner wondering why his mother didn't breastfeed him. He wasn't that kind of a man. You messed with Elijah, he called down fire from heaven and you were burned up. What about the mighty men of David? The Bible said he had 300 mighty men and three of the mightiest out of the 300; they were so mean one of them killed 1.000 men by himself. When they would spit, the grass would die. These were men's men, mighty men. What about Peter? Peter was packing a blade. And when they came to arrest Jesus, he pulled out his blade and cut the guy. Pulled a Mike Tyson. Cut the guy's ear off. And Jesus turned to him and said, "Why did you do that? Why"? "'Cause You're my dog and that's how I roll. You don't mess with my friends".
These are the kind of guys that were in the Bible. But you look at the pictures of the apostles and little bony David and little, looking a little sideways, apostle Paul and Jesus. What about Jesus? Some of the paintings of Jesus? Little, meek and mild Jesus. Oh, no. I don't know about that. Jesus wants you to be a man. Thank God for men. It's okay to be... The first century church was a magnet to men. Jesus' ministry was a magnet to men. So much so that when they had a meeting, they didn't count, This is not to demise or to demean the role of women or limit it in any way, or children, but they didn't even count the women and children.
Jesus said, "Judge My ministry by how many men I'm attracting". And that's why when He fed the 5.000, the Bible said there were five thousand men and as a sub note women and children besides. Three thousand men were filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Jesus said, "I'm going to find 12 men and I'm going to take over the world". And when He chose them, He didn't pick religious men. He picked farmers and fishermen that had BO and cussed a lot, regular guys, guys that are real men. They were attracted like a magnet to Jesus' ministry. They got into it. These men got into it.
The Bible said Paul and Peter got in such a fight that... The scripture uses this. You know, real men, we hang around each other long enough; we're going to get into it. We play basketball or something; somebody is going to get into it. It's just how it is. Okay, the holy men are all in the conference, but real men get on each other's, you know? But Paul said, "I withstood Peter to his face and there was no small contention". Can you imagine walking into church one Sunday and see the pastor and the assistant pastor up in each other's grill? "I'll bust you. Step outside. Step outside, jerk. Come on. Make a move".
These were real guys. I want to say it loud and clear. We need you, men. Your wife needs you. Your family needs you. Here's why it's so important that you follow Jesus closely, because boys follow men. "Well, how do I do it? How do I do it"? I've been reading this book called "Act Like Men". It's really got ahold of my heart. And it comes from, the main scripture is 1 Corinthians 16:13. I'm going to give you a real quick pattern of how to be a mighty man. "Be watchful". This is an amazing scripture. "Stand firm in the faith". Everybody say the next three words. "Act like men. Be strong". And then, the next verse says, "Let all that you do be done in love".
Those three words, act like men, what does that mean? God says "the thing that I need from you more than anything else is that you would act like a man", that you would step up every day and do what a man is supposed to do who loves God. Act like a man. Be a mighty man and act like a man. What does that mean? I'm going to give you three things that it does not mean. Number one, it does not mean act like a woman. This is not a bad thing. "Well, what do you mean by that"? In other words, don't follow. Lead. If you're going to be a mighty man, you've got to learn to act like a man. And the way you act like a man is you don't follow. You lead.
God has given a man a role, a responsibility, an accountability. It's your house. It's your marriage. It's your children. It's your family. It's on you more than anybody else in that household. Act like a man, not like a woman. Don't follow. Lead. That's your job. Men lead. What does that mean? It doesn't just mean don't follow, lead; but it also means, according to 1 Peter 3, that men are to dwell with their wives in understanding, in an understanding way, listen to this, "giving honor to the wife as the weaker vessel".
The second thing, it means to act like a man, or doesn't mean, is don't be the weaker vessel. The Bible said that she is the weaker vessel. That in again is no way to demise or demean the role of the women. You see, you don't know my wife. No, he's talking about physically we are, listen to this, emotionally, mentally. You're to act like a man spiritually and you're not to be the weaker vessel. You're not to be the weaker vessel. Your prayer life is not to be the weaker vessel. Your consecration to God's house is not to be the... Act like a man.
You've got children. You've got a family. You've got all kinds of responsibility. Act like a man. And don't be the weaker vessel. Step up and act like a man. Not only does it mean don't follow, lead, don't be the weaker vessel; but lastly, it means lose the drama. Don't be a drama queen. To act like a man, to be a mighty man is to not be a drama queen. Oh yeah, men can be a drama queen. Conflict in the family and everybody knows they've got to walk on pins and needles 'cause you're there. Tone it down. Act like a man. Men don't scream and rant and rave and everybody has to walk on pins and needles around them.
Act like a man. Get full of the Holy Spirit. Let Him help you take control of your anger. I don't care how successful you are. You don't have the right to be unkind. To be holy is to be kind. If you're not holy, you're not kind. If you're not kind, you're not holy. Turn to somebody around you and say, "Act like a man". Tell him, "I need a mighty man". I'll tell you what else it's not. To act like a man is not to act like a woman. Number two, to act like a man is not to act like an animal. There are 275 times the Bible uses the word beast. Titus 1:2 says that there were men who were liars and like evil beasts. David said when he committed adultery, "I was like a beast before You, God".
Nebuchadnezzar was so filled with evil spirits that he acted like an animal, the Bible said, running through the forest. He became like an animal, like a beast. To act like a man is to not act like an animal. What does that mean? Animals only care for their own desires. You think you've got an animal tamed, but you can't tame an animal. They want their own desires. I was thinking about this. If you're like an animal, as a man, "It's my food. It's my chair. It's my sex. It's my needs. It's my appetites. It's me, me, me, my. It's all about my desires". You're not a man. You're an animal. An animal has no manners.
Don't act like an animal. Open the door for your wife. Open the car door. Get some manners. See a man opening the door to his car; it's either a new wife or a new car. Say thank you. Be kind. Get some manners. Don't act like a woman. Act like a man. Don't act like an animal. Act like a man. What does act like men mean, lastly? It means don't act like a boy. You're not a boy anymore. Boys cry for their mommy. Boys want their mommy. Your wife is not your mama. Boys want to be take care of. Boys want everything. You're not a boy. You're a man.
1 Corinthians 13, "When I was a child, I thought as a child; but when I became", notice, there's a when of childhood. "When I was a child, I thought like a child, acted like a child, played with childish things. But when", there's a second when. You need to catch your second when because some of you are stuck in protracted childhood. "I'm not going to say I'm sorry". That's what little boys say. Men act like men. Men are the first. They say, "I'm sorry. I was wrong". Even if you weren't wrong, you were wrong, if you're married. So just go on and admit it. "But when I became a man, I put away childish things". "Gather around with my buddies". It don't work like that no more.
Your number one priority is your wife and your family. Nothing else. "I put away childish things". You're young only once, but you can be immature for life. Thank you, all the women said. And the men are mad at me. They've deserted me. So can I close with three quick things? So I know what act like a man doesn't mean. Don't act like a woman. Don't act like an animal. Don't act like a boy. Be a man. Take responsibility.
What does that mean? Well, that means this. Number one, three out of four of the descriptions of what it means to act like a man is military terms. Number one, he says be watchful. Now, look at me, all you men, please, and listen. Be watchful. It means to keep your eyes open, to pay attention. It means, it has to do with Old Testament cities that were fortified and the only way that the people inside the city could rest in peace at night is they knew they had watchmen on the walls who were looking out for any impending danger trying to get in and destroy their homes and families. And God says, "I've called you gentlemen".
This is not playtime now. I'm telling you. I'm a pastor. Been married for 29 years and Cherise and I will celebrate our 30th anniversary this year. But I want to tell you something. Listen to me. Hold on just a moment. There has never been a time in all of my life that I have seen families under duress and attack and distress and trouble. I have felt my own self, the weight the complexities of family, the hurts of family, at times, the brokenness of family. I was riding in my car the other day, and I know it was the devil, but I just heard a voice that just said, "Just keep riding".
So many things with children, so many things with family, you just feel like, "God, I can't take it. I don't know what to do. This is ridiculous. How can this happen to my family, in my family? How can these things be going on"? But here's what the Lord told me to tell you. "Be watchful". Get up on the wall. Pay attention to your family. Pay attention to the media. Pay attention to the internet. Be watchmen. Go up in their rooms and they can have privacy when they pay rent, but since they don't pay rent, there's no thing called privacy. I go on your computer. There are no codes on phones. You go in and you are a watchman. And it's not your wife's responsibility. It's your responsibility. You've got to be a watchman for your house.
What kind of music is on there, is in their beats? What are they listening to? What kind of language are they listening to? Be watchmen. What kind of friends do they have? The Bible says of Eli in the Old Testament that he raised two sons, and I cannot believe the wording. I looked it up again. It said, "But they were worthless sons". How would you like for the Bible to say, concerning your children, you raised them and they were worthless sons? And the Bible tells why. It says of Eli, the preacher, the high priest, because he didn't restrain them.
The word restrain means no measured efforts on his part to even resist the wickedness of his children. Wow. Dad, mom, be watchmen. And when your kids want to bring stuff in, if you don't restrain them, if there's no measured effort on your part to resist evil, it's coming. And the Bible said they were blaspheming God. What I'm saying to you is you have to be watchmen over your family and your house. You can't always be best friends with your children. And they need dads. They need men. Boys follow men. And if men get it right, if men get it right, boys are going to follow. Get off your phone. Get off your couch. Get out of your office. Be watchful. Act like a man. Are you watching?
Secondly, stand firm in the faith. Another translation, The Message Bible, says, "Hold tight to your convictions", what you believe about the word of God, what you believe about marriage, what you believe, in other words, don't let your theology gravitate toward your behavior. Don't start changing your theology because you have let down the standard and you've lost your convictions. But let the word of God stand firm on your faith. Let the word of God be that rock solid thing in a shifting culture that brings you and calls you back to repentance and calls you back to separation and calls you back to holiness and calls you back to purity and calls you back to a walk with God. Make a big move. Act like a man.
If you can't handle the computer, if you can't handle your cell phone, if you can't handle things, make a big move. Make a hard call. Step up. Act like men. Lastly, let all that you do be done in love. For me, as a father, this is huge because I'm going to tell you what'll happen to your family sooner or later. And those of you who've got young children, you think this'll never be your lot. But just listen. There's a scripture that says "the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God". That simply means that when your children or your family is acting in a way that you totally disagree with and dishonors God, the wrath of man will not, in my family, produce the righteousness of God.
If I scream, if I get angry... and oh, this is where the enemy, the accuser will attack you, because when it's... boys, girl... but the wrath of man... Mom screaming, dad screaming; it's not going to produce righteousness. What's going to produce righteousness? The Message Bible says of that, "Let all that you do be done in love".
The Message Bible says, "Love without stopping". Love without stopping. Love without stopping. "You're breaking my heart", but love without stopping. "I've raised you different", but love without stopping. "Oh, my God. You don't understand what you're doing. You're making terrible choices". But love without stopping. Screaming, ranting, putting hands through sheet rock, fussing, cussing, it's not going to produce the righteousness of God. What will produce the righteousness of God? Love without stopping. And I say it to every marriage, every woman, every man. You may not like everything your husband is doing. You don't, I'm sure. You don't like everything your wife is doing. But God's word to you is "Live without stopping".