Tony Evans - The Influence of a Kingdom Man
An American embassy is basically a little bit of America a long way from home. It is a small replica of what the big nation is about. In an American embassy, the laws of America rule, not the law of the country in which the embassy is located, because all embassies are sovereign territory. They don't belong to the country they're in. They belong to the country they're from. It's headed by our ambassador. If you ever get in trouble and you're overseas, you wanna make your way across that gate. Because if you can get across that gate, you're now in America, even though you're located on foreign soil.
The kingdom of America has many replicas in every recognized nation in the world. The kingdom of heaven has many replicas, embassies, that are supposed to be a little bit of heaven a long way from home, and this embassy is called "the church". What the church is supposed to be is a local manifestation of the big kingdom, demonstrating in foreign soil of this world the values, laws, and expectations of the big kingdom. It was inconceivable in the Bible that a kingdom man would not have a meaningful relationship with God's place of worship. That's why it says in Psalm 128, verse 5: "The Lord bless you from Zion". "The Lord bless you from Zion".
Now, Zion is one of those picturesque words in the Bible. It referred to God's holy dwelling place, that special place that was set aside for God's unique presence. There's a holy mountain called Zion, Mount Zion. On the holy mountain called Mount Zion is a holy city called Zion, Jerusalem. On the holy mountain called Zion, the Bible calls Jerusalem, "Zion," but in the city that's called Zion, Jerusalem, is a holy place called Zion in Scripture too, and that was the temple. The temple was where a father took his family to worship Yahweh. It was where a father took his family to let them know, "We are part of somethin' bigger. This thing is bigger than just me, your mom, and your brother, and your sister. There are a whole lot of folk who think like we think, act like we act, talk like we talk, walk like we walk. Let's go hook up with them on a regular basis".
That was Zion, the place where a father, it was inconceivable that a mother would wake up a Jewish father and ask him, "Are you goin' to Zion today"? That would be inconceivable because it was his role to lead his family in the worship of God and in the connectivity with others who were part of the covenant of God. But you may say, "But Zion is in the Old Testament". Well, not quite, because Hebrews chapter 12 says: "When you come together to worship, you come to Zion". Zion is that term that reflects entering in to God's unique presence. Now, God is everywhere, but God has localized, unique presences, watch this, that brings unique blessings attached to them.
Notice what he says, "The Lord bless you from Zion". Now, he started off by him blessing you as an individual simply because you're fearing God. But now he's upped the ante and says, "There are things that God will do for you when you're connected to Zion that he will not do for you if you are disconnected from Zion". Your involvement as a kingdom man in the kingdom embassy called the local church is critical. But a lot of people don't understand what the word "church" means. Jesus was the first one who used it in the New Testament in Matthew chapter 16, and verse 18, he says: "'And I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'"
Jesus established the church to stop the gates of hell. Jesus established the church to rule in history. The word "ekklesia," where we get our Greek word for "church," meant "called-out ones," and it referred, in the Greek city-states, to people who were called out of the general population into the Greek assembly to legislate on behalf of the population. So, when Jesus says, "I have come to build my church," he is saying, "I've come to build that group of people who will legally legislate on earth on behalf of heaven". In the same way that an American embassy is supposed to legislate and seek America's interest on behalf of America in a foreign land, the church is supposed to seek heaven's interests and legislate on behalf of heaven on a place called Earth. In fact, Ephesians 3:10 says: "God decides what he's gonna do with the powers that be by checking with the church first". And based on what the church does, will determine what God does.
So, you can see, if the church is not right, and the church is not functioning, and that's the vehicle that God starts with when it comes to the culture, then the reason we can't fix the culture is 'cause God can't fix the church. It is the church that God uses. So what does Satan wanna do? He wants to keep men disconnected from this place that is the church. What is the role of the church in the life of a kingdom man? And a role of the church is supposed to focus on a kingdom man. We live in a day when, apart from the pastor and some leaders, the church is influenced predominantly by women, and that is because kingdom men often look at the church, or men often look at the church sort of like a prostate exam: "It may be necessary to save my life, but it's so invasive and inconvenient, I'd rather not bother with it".
For many of 'em, it's sort of like when my wife asks me to hold her purse. It just don't feel right, you know? That is because often, we have dumbed down the definition of the church. Instead of being this legislative body that draws heaven down so that heaven has a vehicle to work through to speak to the culture, we're satisfied with a sermon and a song and go home for an after-church dinner. That's not what the church is for. It is this legislative agency that acts on behalf of heaven to draw down heaven to earth so that earth now has a vehicle that's on earth from heaven for the power of God to be manifested. That's why he keeps churches separated. That's why he keeps the vision in churches, because Satan knows, hell knows God will not work in a divided location.
So he creates division in order to created disunity, in order to keep what God is building. Notice what Jesus says. He says, "I will build my church, and the church I'm building, hell can't stop". So, if hell is stoppin' the church, we must not be buildin' his church. 'Cause he says, "The church I'm buildin', hell won't be able to stop. And the reason why hell won't be able to stop is because I'm gonna give the church the keys to the kingdom," he says in verse 19 of Matthew 16. "Keys" means "access to authority". You can enter your house with your key, enter your car with your key. He uses the world plural, "keys," why? Because every key on my keyring is to open up another door.
Well, he says in verse 18: "Hell has gates, multiple doors, so I'mma give you keys, multiple keys. So that whenever hell wants to open a door, you'll have a key that will open up heaven so that I can tell hell that it can go you know where". So, God wants to exercise authority because God is interested in dominion, ruling, not just going through the motions, calling down so that heaven perks up and says, "My embassy is calling me, so we gonna back it up with the whole nation". He says that in verse 19. He says: "'Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.'" You know what that means? That means authority.
I was in New York on my way to Chicago. I left the Marriott Hotel and I had to go to a Hilton Hotel in Chicago. I got my key in the Hilton Hotel. I got up to the 20th floor with all my luggage. I put the key in the lock. It went, "Click, click," red light, didn't come on. "Click, click," red light, didn't come on. You know how irritatin' it is to go up 18 floors with luggage and your key not work? Being somewhat evangelically ticked off, I went back downstairs and I went to the counter, and I said, "This key is not working". He looked at me and he said, "I'm sorry, sir, but this key doesn't go to this hotel". I was usin' my Marriott key from New York, tryin' to open up a Hilton lock. The reason why the church is not workin' today is we usin' the wrong keys. He says, "I will give you the keys to the kingdom," which means you've gotta be a kingdom church, which means you've gotta be a church full of kingdom men because God has called for men to lead in the church.
Now, I'm a little bit unpopular with this view around the country, but God has always called men to lead, not only in the home, but in the church. 1 Timothy chapter 3, verse 1: "If a man," and the Greek word there means "male". "If a male desires to be a leader in the church". He says in chapter 2: "Women are not to have authority over men in the church". So when you reverse that, you've done what Satan did in the garden of Eden. You create the great reversal from which God backs off. So, men have to step up in the church because the church is a kingdom institution. Don't get me wrong. Our ladies are critical, their gifting, their knowledge, just like a wife, their skill are critical. But God has called it, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob". Not because the ladies weren't important, but because the men were responsible. You are responsible.
So, it is inconceivable in the Bible that a man would not be a dynamic, involved, active, committed part of a local church. Not sending his family, leading his family, because that is his role. Why go, though? Well, certainly, the collective worship of God, that's one of 'em. We go to worship God. And you what worship is. Every time your favorite football team plays, that's football worship, you know? You got your pew, that special place you sit in the living room. You know, you got your altar, the television set. And you will get three hours of uninterrupted focus and attention, 'kay? So, worship is the celebration of God for who he is, what he has done, and what you are trusting him to do. But it's for more than just worship.
The purpose of the church is for discipleship. Discipleship is that developmental process of the local church that moves a person from spiritual immaturity to spiritual maturity. The goal of the church is to disciple, and the goal of the church is to primarily, watch this, disciple men because men are responsible for discipling their families. You are to be your wife's pastor. 1 Corinthians 14 says: "If a woman has a question, let her ask her husband at home". That assumes the husband even knows the answer or is gonna go get it. If your wife is callin' your pastor's name more than she callin' your name, stuff is out of order in your house. Because you are the spiritual leader. Not because you know more than she does or know the answer, but because you are responsible. That is what "headship" means: "I am the one who takes responsibility," and here it is, even if you're not the one to blame.
You see, they fire coaches, right? But the coaches don't drop the ball. The coaches don't fumble the ball. The coaches don't miss the blocks. Why you firin' the coach? 'Cause he's responsible, even though he's not the one to blame. So, you say, "Well, they did this". That's what Adam said, "Well, this woman who you gave me". But God didn't say, "Eve, where are you"? Or, "Adam and Eve, where are y'all"? He said, "Adam, I'm lookin' for you". Why? "'Cause I told you. This is your responsibility". So you've gotta own it, which means you've gotta own it God's way, which means you've gotta learn what that means. So that means that the church is the place to disciple you. Whatever church you are a part of, you should become a part of a group of men who are committed to the development, responsibility, and accountability toward one another.
You've gotta be committed. Every man should have at least three relationships in the local church: A spiritual father, somebody you can look up to guide you in being a kingdom man. A spiritual son, those younger than you spiritually who look up to you as you're looking up to your father so you're helping somebody else become a spiritual man. So that, it is you, your father spiritually, your son or sons spiritually, not just your biological sons, but your influence to the boys in the church. So that as a result of this discipleship motif, the reason why you wanna go and you should be the one takin' more notes than your wife, or relistening to the tape, is it's your job around the table to review the sermon. The purpose of preaching the sermon is not to forget it. It is for you to review it with your family around the table.
So, you go to the church to get the information. You review it with your family so that you become the spiritual leader in your home. You say, "I haven't been to college. I haven't been to seminary". But you have been to church. And if your pastor's doin' his job and teachin' you right, you've got enough information. You cannot make it as a kingdom man as a lone-ranger Christian. You will be cut off, you will be isolated, and you will be destroyed. Just like a lone log in a fireplace can't stay hot for very long, it's gotta be rubbing up against other logs, you've gotta be rubbing up against other males and other men who are kingdom oriented, who think in terms of the motherland as they run their embassy to support the vision of the pastor, the biblical vision of the pastor and of the church.
The rallying group for the church should be the men of the church, and the ladies should support that. But that pastor oughta know that he has an army of men behind him to represent this embassy's presence in the community that it serves, in the place where it is situated. You belong to the kingdom and you belong to Zion, and Zion is the place where God's people come together to worship and to be discipled, to replicate. It's also where you minister. It's also where you use your gifts and talents and skills for the furtherance of the ministry, not just for the furtherance of your career. Remember, God blesses to you if he can go through you. That's where you use your gifts.
I know you're tired. I know you've worked all week. But I remember when I was playin' football, and I'd come home, and I didn't want my mother to ask me to do any work, and it would be after two a days. And I'd come in and say, "Oh, boy, I'm so tired. I think I'm going upstairs and rest". I'd scream it out 'cause I didn't want her to ask me to do nothin'. So I wanted to tell her when I got in the door, "Don't ask me". To which she would say, "You better get your ugly self up in this kitchen and wash these dishes and clean this floor". And she'd give me all this stuff to do, and I'd say, "Mama, I'm tired, I'm very tired". She would say, "Did you just tell me you were tired"? She said, "Let me explain somethin', boy. If tiredness were a criteria of function, your breakfast wouldn't be made, your lunch wouldn't be made, your clothes wouldn't be clean". She said, "If tiredness were a criteria of function, I'd have gotten rid of you the day after you were born".
What she was saying to me is, "You can't get the benefits of the house and incur no responsibility in the house". What God is calling on men, kingdom men to do is to step up. Paul tells in Timothy, he tells his son Timothy, "When you go to the church at Ephesus, you tell the men to step forth and pray in every place. I want the men taking the lead in prayer," he says. "I want the men lifting up their hands, their holy hands to God. I want the men front and center". Not because the women aren't critical, they are, but because God has called the men to lead his covenant, and the church is the new covenant of God. And so you just can't pass it off: "Your mother will do it. Your mother will do it. Your mother will do it. Your mother will do it". No, "As for me and my house, I'm the leader here".
And yes, there are times you have to delegate to the wife. You can't be there, or there's an emergency. Yes, she's there to help. She's there to collaborate. She's not there to replace. And so what we have today is replacements taking place in the home and in the church. And as a result, Jerusalem is in trouble. Look at what he does. He says: "And you will see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Indeed, you may see your children's children. Peace be upon Israel"! You see what he did? He just went from the individual to the family to Zion the church, and now he's in the city of Jerusalem and the whole nation of Israel. He's not changing the culture by the culture. He's changing the culture by kingdom men, starting with themselves, going to their homes, taking it to the church, and now expanding it into society. Because when these kind of men are operating in the church, now Jerusalem has to pay attention to 'em and Israel has to take notice of them.
Having a nice worship service is great, but what is the public manifestation of it? Help me, how can we have all these churches on all these corners with all these preachers and all these members and all these programs and all these buildings, and still have all this mess? There's a dead monkey on the line somewhere. The embassies aren't right because the men have not taken their kingdom position, and so Jerusalem is in trouble. The average boy that grows up, he grows up predominantly being influenced by a woman. He's in the woman's womb for nine months. He comes out, he's with the mother for most of the time. The babysitters are generally females. The elementary teachers are mostly females. And if there is no man in the picture, then his whole life is gathered around a female. And we wonder why we're growing weak men. We're growing men in the culture because we're not developing them in the family and then in the church, and so they're creating a mess in society.
He says, "Jerusalem will become a strong place and Israel will become a strong place". You will be measured as a kingdom man not by your title but by your impact. If we're not having an impact, we're not representin' the kingdom. If you're a kingdom man, you're making an impact, first in your home, then in your church. And when they give the benediction, you shakin' it up in Jerusalem and Israel. You shakin' it up in your community. No longer be ashamed that you represent the King, because God has called you to be a kingdom man. Now, you may say, "But I haven't been a good kingdom man. I've messed up personally. My family's all messed up. My kids don't wanna talk to me. Me and my wife are struggling or maybe divorced. And, you know, I haven't been engaged in church. I've heard these lectures, but I am not a kingdom man".
Well, you know, my wife, when my kids were growin' up, she would cook these big meals, a roast on Sunday after church, and potatoes, and green beans, and cornbread, and these big Sunday meals. And they would be huge, and we would enjoy the Sunday meals, but she was also the Tupperware queen 'cause she wasn't gonna do this again on Monday. So she puts all this in the Tupperware, puts it in the refrigerator, and then she brings it out on Monday and reconfigures it. She brings out a casserole dish. She would put all this stuff leftover from Sunday, she'd dice it, chop it, put it in the casserole dish, sprinkle some grated cheese over it, sprinkle some cream of mushroom of it, call it some French-sounding name, when all it really was was leftovers in the hands of a master. Well, if you just give God what you got left, he'll dice it, chop it, put a little cream of Holy Ghost over it, and he can still serve you up a kingdom life that you can use.
You know why I love Psalm 128? I love Psalm 128 because it's my story. You see, my father learned to fear God. He brought it home, and my mother became a fruitful vine within his house. I became an olive plant around his table. He took us to Zion, where I fell in love with God's Word. And that's the reason why I will reach all of these cities through our radio and television, the books, and even this seminar, because my dad became a kingdom man, and as a result, cities will be touched by the ministry of this seminar about kingdom man. You see, it's my story, and that's why I love this story. God is calling you to be part of a movement. First of all, personally, by becoming a kingdom man. Secondly of all, by developing a kingdom family. Thirdly of all, by being part of a mobilization movement in your church that disciples the men as a kingdom church. And then, intervening in the culture as a kingdom church so that you create a kingdom environment using something like an adopt-a-school initiative that we would love to come to you and support you in developing in your own church. That is what we want to happen, and that is what we're committed to, because God is calling men to be kingdom men.
A kingdom man is a man of influence. When he goes public, it is clear that he belongs to God, operates under divine authority, and is not ashamed of his spiritual identity. A kingdom man is not a secret agent Christian. He's not a spiritual CIA representative. No, he goes public. His surrender to Jesus Christ becomes clearly identifiable, like a man wearing a jersey of his favorite team. It's clear who he supports and where his commitment lies. And a kingdom man goes public. His neighborhood knows that he belongs to God. The folks at work who work with him know that he operates with integrity on the job, has high character, and does not compromise truth for popularity.
When a kingdom man goes public, it is clear that he's tryin' to influence other men and boys to become that kind of man by providing leadership, correction, by providing support, how he treats women, with dignity and respect, not being abusive and dishonoring because he's leveraging influence. And when a kingdom man does that, when it becomes clear that he represents another king in another kingdom, not just in church on Sunday, but Monday through Saturday in all of his affairs of life, then it becomes obvious that God has wrapped himself around this man and this man is not ashamed to be identified with him. And so, what is your influence? How many other people know that you belong to Jesus Christ and have surrendered your life to him? How many people are aware that his Word controls your decisions? Because until that happens, you're not yet a kingdom man. Until you go public, nobody knows it but you. Go public and let people know you're not ashamed of your relationship with Jesus Christ.