Tony Evans - The Biblical Call To Manhood
We're living in a day when people have surrendered meaning to convenience and have surrendered purpose to existence. And this is nowhere seen as great as it is a dilemma as it is in the lives of men. The struggle of manhood today has incited chaos in every other area of our lives, the refusal or failure of males to become men as God has defined them. When you look at the scope of the decline of marriages, of churches, of the climate and the culture, much of it can be tied to the absence of Adam, men not being in their God-ordained space.
Ezekiel 22:30, God says, "I tried to find a man to stand in the gap so I would not have to curse the land, but I could find none". Plenty of males, but I couldn't find a man. Jeremiah chapter 5, verse 1 says, "They looked for a man among all the males and they couldn't find one". Which means it is possible to be a male and not be a man. In Genesis chapter 18, we are looking at a culture in chaos, in decline, and getting ready to experience judgment, Sodom and Gomorrah. All of their problems were due to men. They were rapist, and then it talks about they were living in a context of social injustice by oppressing the poor. So, you add homosexuality, you add violence, and you add social oppression, all of that is in Sodom and Gomorrah, the Bible says.
And so, God looked down and he saw the outcry, the evil decline of the culture, and was preparing to judge it. God created the man first because he would be the one God would be looking to first. Abraham is now in the vicinity of Sodom and Gomorrah, a decaying culture, as you and I are living in today a decaying culture for all three of the same reasons. And he gives them three things. Verse 19, "I have chosen him. In the midst off this decay, in the midst of this culture, I found me a man. I've selected him, and I have chosen him for a purpose".
How do I know he chose them for a purpose? Because verse 17 says, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I'm about to do"? In other words, I'm up to something. And to do what I'm up to, I found me a man. The point is some of the things God wants to do, he can't do 'cause he can't find him a man. He can't at least do it the way he wants to do it because Adam is unlocatable. He's in hiding. The first thing every male needs to understand is that you have a divinely orchestrated reason for your manhood.
When a man accepts Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, he is drafted into the purpose of God. But unfortunately, many men who even go to church don't even care to know the purpose of God. And therefore, they live distracted in the purposes of culture. Because you're living in the presence of culture, or your own desires or designs, or what you learn from a father that did not have God as the center of his purpose, then you're going to create errant purposes and you will be distracted from the purpose of God. The reason that Adam knew what he was supposed to do, it says God told Adam what he was supposed to do. He told Adam that, "This is the garden I want you to work in".
He told Adam, he gave him specific instructions, is that Adam walked with God during the cool of the day. Before he rebelled against God, he walked with God, so God was free to tell him what he was up to. God has some plans for every man here, but he's not free to tell you what he is up to 'cause you're not walking with him in the cool of the day. You just visited him on Sunday. He says, "I've got some stuff I am not going to hide from Abraham 'cause he's been selected. He's been chosen for my purpose".
So, the first thing that a real man, what I call a kingdom man has to understand is you have a divine design for God's glory and the expansion of his kingdom that includes all the other stuff we think about work for. I have chosen you. God has a purpose. Proverbs 20, verse 5 says that, "In the heart of every man is a purpose, but the man must draw it out". Far too many men are living without a divine purpose. They can talk about their career, they can talk about their business goals, they can talk about their finance, but when you ask them what is God's purpose for you, they get quiet because they spend all of their time in school and none of their time in the kingdom.
If you're a man here, then you've been selected, and you've been called and crafted by God for a kingdom purpose. And you don't want to live your life, look back on your life and never know why you lived your life. I have chosen you. But this choice involves your and my and our participation. It's not a passive choice, where you sit down, "Okay, God, I'm willing to do your will. Whatever you say to me I'm going to do. Just show me your". Okay, all that's good starting point, but that involves your participation. Again, the purpose is already inside, but it says, "The wise man brings it out". So, it's already there in seed form. He says, "I'm not going to hide from Abraham what I'm about to do 'cause this man is operating according to my authority and in relationship with me".
That's the first thing. Second thing he says in verse 19, "So that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord, and to do righteous and justice". The misunderstanding is that it's the woman's job to raise the children. That may come from the culture, it doesn't come from the Scripture. Says, "I command Abraham to raise the children and to teach them righteousness and justice". Ephesians 6:4 says, "Fathers, raise your children". In the Bible, it is the job of the man to raise the children, not the woman. The Scripture says that, "I chose him and I want him to raise and train and command his children after him".
The reason why we've got chaos with kids is daddy can't be found. Daddy's either sired them and left them physically or emotionally, daddy's neglected them or abused them. Thank God for all the great men we have in our church where this doesn't fit this category. Fathers who never new fathering who are now required to father, so they have not had an example. That's why it says, "I have chosen him so that he may command his children after him," so that he's setting the pace in the home. He is establishing it. Deuteronomy chapter 4, verse 9. Deuteronomy chapter 6, verses 6 and 9, "Teach your sons and your grandsons".
Why didn't he say your daughters and your granddaughters? Why does he say, why all the sons and sons and sons so much in the Scripture? Not because the daughters weren't important, but because the sons were to be prepared to replicate the father in the families that they themselves established. So, pour into the sons because in most cases, if you get the men straight, over time the women have been built to come along. But when men refuse to be what God wants them to be, it creates havoc in the home and in the relationship. He says, "I want you to raise your kids. I want you to set the pace. I want you to establish the framework for the future because the kids represent the future".
Our kids are not a lost generation, they're the product of a lost generation. Of abandoned men, men who can tell you everything about football and nothing about Scripture. Men who can quote statistics but can't quote a verse. Men who would never ever miss a practice or a game, but can't get their kids up to go to church. Because everything is out of whack. But at the same time, they say, "I want God to do this and God to do that". You can't miss "so that". "I chose you so that". Because if we're going to fix the culture, he says we can't skip the family to fix the culture. How are we going to fix the White House if you can't even control your house? And what are you to teach them? Righteousness and justice.
Righteousness is your vertical standing before God. That's your walk with God. That's your living to please God, setting a spiritual standard in the home that everybody knows about, that it's not vague. This is how we roll up in here, up in here. As Joshua said in Joshua 24:15, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord". Everybody in your family ought to know we serve God in this house, and here's how we do it. In other words, divine guidelines are established by dad, by the father if you are a father. You set the righteous standards. This is right, this is wrong, God said so, he told me to teach you. So therefore, let's review the rules of this house because God has chosen me to set them. Okay? You saw it's there.
And then he was to teach justice. Righteousness is your obedient walk with God. Justice is your equitable treatment of man. Justice is horizontal, righteousness has to do with the vertical relationship. That's how you deal with people. He says, "You ought to teach them justice, how to be equitable, how you treat people, how you respect people, how you honor people, how you're fair to people. You teach them that. That's supposed to come in the house. And so, he says that this is a responsibility of the father.
So, if you can make the practices, if you can talk about fantasy football, if you can talk about the stats of this team or that team, you certainly can take time out to have devotions. You certainly can take time out to have memory verses. You certainly can take time out to pray with them at bedtime. And that may mean recording the show and looking at it later 'cause you got to be dad first. Got to be dad and husband first. So, I can't look at that show right now, but technology has set it up so I can look at it later, 'cause right now I come home from work to my second job. He made man the stronger vessel 'cause you should be able to bear more weight.
See, the nature of a foundation is not how pretty it is, it's how much weight can it hold. Not how nice it looks. You don't go looking at foundations, you just want to know is it solid or is it cracked. So, the first thing is there is a purpose, there is a destiny for a man. There is a responsibility of discipline and discipleship for a man. And then the third thing, at the end of verse 19, he says, "So that". Let me hear the men say, "So that". Now, this is our second "so that". The first "so that" was so that you could get your purpose. The second "so that" is so that God would now bring your purpose. One is for you to know it, the other is for him to bring it. Look at what he says, "So that the Lord may bring," you see that? "Bring it upon Abraham what I have spoken about him".
See, you got men wanting God to do stuff, but he said, "I can't bring that yet 'cause you ain't doing what I told you to do. You want me to give you something bigger and you ain't handling the smaller. No, I ain't bringing it yet". So, then we go out there and we try to make it happen ourselves, and then we mess other stuff up. He says, "So that I may bring upon Abraham what I have promised to him". What did he promise Abraham? Watch this, watch this, men, you don't want to miss this. He says, verse 18, "Since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed". No, you didn't. He says, "Guess what I'm going to bring Abraham? I'm going to make him a great nation. I'm going to make him a mighty nation. In fact, through him, everybody else going to be better off. Through him, all the nations of the earth will be blessed".
So, let me tell all the men here something. You need your seatbelt for this one. It's okay to want to be great. In fact, you're sinning if you don't want to be great. Greatness is built into the DNA of manhood. The problem is they don't want to win God's way, they want to win their way. We want to win our way. It's okay to want to be great. He says, "I'm going to make of Abraham a great and mighty nation. But guess what, I'm going to do it". Now, you know how freeing that is that God's going to bring it and I don't have to fight to get it? You know how freeing that is? That God is going to invade my circumstances when I'm in relationship with him, submitted to his authority, walking with him, prioritizing him, fulfilling my responsibilities to those who are in my scope of influence.
And let me show you something else in chapter 17. In chapter 17, talking about fulfilling his scope of influence, it says in verse 6:26, "In the very same day Abraham was circumcised and Ishmael his son, all the men of his household who were born in his house or bought with money from a foreigner were circumcised with him". So, he not only took care of his kids, any man in his vicinity he affected. So, the question is, what do men think when you show up? Do they see a real man, or they just see one of the crowd? Do they see somebody who's taking a stand under God, or he's just another cultural icon? Does he see somebody who's buff in the weight room, but wimpy when it comes to decisions of life?
He says he affected all the men in his vicinity. Not just his kids, and so God wants you to be a man of influence. He wants you to be great. You don't just want to just pass through here. You want to make whatever mark God has for you on the world that he gives you. Now ladies, your job is to make it easy for him to do that. Encourage him to be all that God has created him to be using all that God has given you so he can become what God expects of him to become. Men, you belong to another kingdom. You belong to the kingdom of God. You represent the King of kings. And you may be living in a chaotic world, but your job is to roar and serve notice on this kingdom you're from that kingdom, 'cause greater is he that's in you than he that's in the world.
Now, I know, I understand, I understand. You're saying, "But that's not where I am. I've blown it, you know? I've got kids I don't know, I get kids I didn't take care of, I've been divorced. I got, you know, on and on and on and on. What am I going to do? What am I going to do"? I got that, I got that. I got yesterday doesn't look good. But when Adam blew it, God redeemed him. When Adam blew it, God cut some animals open, made some cloth of skin, and he redeemed him. So, if you are serious, you're not beyond changing the rest of your story. That part of your story you can't fix, but don't let what happened yesterday ruin your tomorrow. Become the man God wants you to be.
His name was Thomas Anderson, the move is called "The Matrix". "The Matrix," "The Matrix Reloaded," "The Matrix Revolution," three of them. Thomas Anderson, AKA Neo. Neo is a computer programmer, part-time computer hacker. But through a series of circumstance, he gets whipped away to a computer generated reality called the Matrix. When he gets whisked away to the Matrix, he runs into a man named Morpheus. And Morpheus says, "Neo, we've been waiting for you. We have been waiting for you. There is a war back here". He says, "There's a war between the people in Zion and the machines. And there is this war, and we have been looking for a conquering hero, we have been waiting for you, Neo 'cause you are the one. You are the one that we've been counting on to change the trajectory of what's happening back here in this world".
He explains to him all the dynamics of this new way of thinking and living, and then he offers him a choice. He says, "Neo, in this hand, I have a blue pill. If you eat this blue pill, then you'll wake up in your bed tomorrow and this will only be a dream. If you eat from this blue pill, you'll just think that this was just a thought that came across your mind, and then you'll go back home to your plain, old ordinary life. But in this hand, Neo, I got a red pill. If you take this red pill, you will now enter into the real world. If you take this red pill, you will enter into a life you never thought possible. If you take this red pill, you're going to have powers that you never dreamt of.
If you take this red pill, you're going to fall in love with a woman named Trinity that you could only have dreamt of. You're going to get a relationship you never dreamt of. If you take this red pill, you're going to have a problem 'cause there's a dude up here named Mr. Smith, and he can replicate himself over and over again, and he's going to try to stop you. But because you took this red pill, you're going to be able to overcome Mr. Smith. So, the question is, which pill do you want? Do you want to leave here and go back to your plain, old, ordinary manhood? Or do you want to leave here or stay here and get this thing done so that you become the person you were created to be? We've been waiting on you, Neo, but it's your choice what pill you take".
So, I want to say to all the men here today I got two pills. In this hand, I got a blue pill. And you take this blue pill and you go home to your plain, old, ordinary life. You go back to your plain, old, ordinary job, and you live your plain, old, ordinary way. But in this hand, I got a red pill. And if you take this red pill, you're going to find power that you did not have, ability that you did not possess, strength that you did not own, and a new relationship that you didn't think possible. Neo took the red pill and then Morpheus says, "Okay, now let's see how far this rabbit hole goes". So, I want to see if I have some men here who'll take the red pill and will say, "I will be God's man, for God's standard, for God's glory. I will become the man of my house. I will influence my realm and be the man that God created me to be".
Every man has been called by God to biblical manhood, not merely to maleness. There can be a difference between being a male and being a man. Being a man has to do with owning your responsibility under God and having God as your authority. When you forsake that definition under God, then you have compromised the true definition of manhood, and you actually settled for being a male. It is absolutely critical that you understand, like in a good football game, you've been drafted. You've been drafted to be the man God has called you to be.
And that means that you now own the responsibility for your family, for your children, preserving your marriage, making an impact in and through your church, and making a visible difference in the society. A whole nation would be dependent, God told Abraham, on his call by God to biblical manhood. And that means that you don't apologize for that post that God has given you. You wear that banner of manhood proudly, but humbly. In fact, you become the servant of all because people understand you to be a leader who serves, not just a dictator who demands. So, there is a call upon you, and this call not only comes from Scripture, it's coming from our society. Our society needs and is looking for biblical manhood to be manifested. God is calling you and me to be that kind of man.