1 Timothy 3:14--16: "Men of God...Men On Guard"
These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God* was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.
The title: “Man of God” is a title of endearment that draws a distinctive difference between the man of the streets, whose lifestyle…livelihood…living arrangement and spiritual mindset conforms to and have been shaped by the demonic driven rudiments of this world …from the man who have been brought out of darkness…into God’s marvelous light. The difference in the 2 types of men lies in the fact that the "Man of God" is a "living representation" of a man who has been born again... saved…sanctified…and set free from the penalty of sin…and is now going through God's cleansing process and is being set free from the power of sin as he goes through what is called the "sanctification process"! The man of God is now Holy Ghost sealed and Holy Ghost filled because he’s been "washed" in the blood of the Lamb Because he is no longer lost and destined for hell when he dies, he has become a man of a different world, because from a spiritual perspective, he now lives here as an earthly “non conformist” (spiritually speaking) as his salvation in Jesus Christ has purchased him “heavenly citizenship”. He’s free. Freed from the "old man "(his former self) who came into this world born in sin and shaped in iniquity. He's now a new creation in Christ Jesus. (1 Corinthians 5:17) Old things have passed away and if you take a closer look at his life now…you can see that right before your eyes, he has become "new", transformed by a “renewed” mind in Christ Jesus, now able to prove that good…acceptable…perfect will of God…
This title of endearment (Man of God) describes men now dedicated to the cause of Jesus Christ; men who have decided to follow God in every way and depicting men who are willing to learn and obey the Lord’s every command with exceeding joy…Their every action shows that their very lives have been shaped by the principles…precepts and sovereign truths of Our Sovereign Creator. During his spiritual transformation, the man of God came to realize that there were 3 things needed in the salvation of our souls:
The first was a "fighting a good fight" in our behalf by the Lord himself. God using His angelic army and having already forged the plan of redemption and preparing the ultimate sacrifice (Jesus Christ) before the foundation of the world fought the powers of darkness in our behalf because he wanted all of us to be saved and to come into the knowledge of the truth.
The second thing that was needed was a “holding faith”…that kind of faith that keep us theologically sound in our belief of God in Jesus Christ…and educationally valid so we could completely hold on to the mystery of the Faith with a pure conscience and accept the real truth about Sin…Satan…Salvation and Our Savior Jesus Christ by faith. And the last thing needed was the ability to maintaining "a good conscience", because we need to be persuaded that nothing past of present…living or dead…no power…principality….no height…no depth or any living creature will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.
Over the course of time, the longer you are around dedicated men of God it will become more evident that a real man of God clearly will not fall in love with this ever changing world. He won’t conforms to the character of Satan, …the prince and power of this age. He’ doesn’t become a blasphemer…a deceiver…a supplanter…and he will refuse to march to the sinful seductive drumbeat of this world…He has no desire to live for the things of this world because if he does… he knows what God said ”the the love of the Father is not in him”.
So then my brothers and sisters to be a man of God requires that man who desires to be God’s man to possess the kind of “eyes” that looks to the hill from where really all of his help comes from. He must then let this mind be in him that was also in Christ Jesus. And because he now knows all of his help comes from the Lord… the maker and creator of all that is in heaven and on earth...that man will begin to embrace heavenly things:those things that God stamped and earmarked for eternity and the new world that is to come… things that are pure …things that have virtue….lovely things…holy things…good report things…those things that reflect that the man of God has a true connection with God.
From a “giving perspective”… no matter what the crisis or the cause, if God’s man have the resources…he becomes a man who willingly serves our God by giving freely from his resources…giving all if necessary… not murmuring or complaining when he does it… and as he continues to grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord…at some point…when he has his Garden of Gethsemane experience….God’s man will learn to gladly suffer for the cause of Jesus Christ as one of the consequence of their faith and you will hear him say not my will…but thy will be done….
The Prophet Micah in Micah 6:8 gives us a summation of the plight of the man of God in one neat verse: Micah says: “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? He has shown you to act justly … to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” BUT …if you look up on the wall of this church’s sanctuary…can’t you hear the church chiming in… as she speaks from her Covenant creed… that was fashioned from the sacred scriptures, as she promises in her covenant with the Lord an added clear addendum to what Micah just said: The CHURCH SAID:…We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love…to remember each other in prayer….to aid each other in sickness and distress…to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling…in courtesy…and in speech…To be slow to take offense…but always ready for reconciliation…to be mindful of the rules of Our Savior….and to seek them without delay…..
So since the man of God know what God requires of him…and has accepted his identity as a man of God…and begins to walk out his new life in Christ Jesus…as you observe him in his walk… He will keep his mind and heart pure by guarding his eyes and ears and especially guarding his mouth in what he chooses to think …and what he chooses to say … and because he is a man of God…he now must step up his game and become what the Bible calls a real man Men..…let’s talk about our role as a man…
As a man…we must recognize our authority as Head of Household and the spiritual leader of our family. That means as head of the house….we know that once we have finishing handling the family business in the marketplace…we need to be at home in the same house …with our family… Yes we will want to have our “rec” time…our time of recreation…women want it too…and there’s nothing wrong with rec time…but I must warn both sides: too much “rec” time will eventually cause a wreck in your marriage….Men and women both need to know when it is time to get out of the streets and go home and take care of each other….We may be grown….but curfews still keep us out of trouble….
Let me repeat something I said to this men's group last year…God made men of God to hold up in tough times, to be “difference makers”…. God built men for all the tough tasks and tough times of life. Godly men have a dual identity: Men we have to be both worshippers and a warriors….and if we are married…we are both leaders in finance and leaders in our romance… we are both laborers for our families and lovers of our wives….
Here's something else I told you this last year too ….Sometimes, it can get mighty rough and get really tough…especially when tough decisions have to be made. Now when I talk about being tough…I’m not talking about being a thug….I’m talking about “manning up” and “taking responsibility” when toughness is warranted and tough decisions have to be made…and then at a moment’s notice have to gear back and gear down and become tender and compassionate again… Can I dispel a so –call “street cred”? Acting like you are hard…emotionless and uncaring doesn’t make you a man…Just because you show compassion and tenderness… toward a woman or a child that doesn’t make you a whimp….It really means you got good sense….and as the book of Titus said we have a responsibility to women and children to show them God’s way of life so in a twisted equal rights society like the one we now live in you won’t see the kinds of things we see now!…
So, whenever we fully embrace this Christian walk… the man of God will come to understand what Jesus meant in the “Beautitudes” when He commanded us in Matthew 5:48 to "be perfect…He meant …we are to make every effort to be spiritually mature in the faith…be compete…totall submissive and all in to the will of God…thoroughly furnished unto all good works…operating like a well oiled machine…by following the model of perfection as our heavenly Father who is completely perfect"…and totally unflawed …
And you know what? We can do it….I said we can do it…because Jesus ‘ life gave us the perfect blueprint…but the Apostle Paul let us know in Philippians 4:19 that he is only able to do it through Jesus Christ who strengthens him and because God is perfecting him to be conformed into the image of His Son Jesus Christ….Paul lets us know in Ephesians 1:4: it is also God that enables him to be “holy and blameless in his sight” through His omnipotent power and the indwelling of His Spirit.
Now Men, on our own, we are incapable of holiness and perfection, but through Christ who strengthens us, we can. The man of God knows that his new nature is that of the righteousness of Christ which was given in exchange for our sinful nature at the cross where Jesus shed His blood and died for our sins. The songwriter said it right: It was at the cross where we first saw the light and the burden of our hearts rolled away….It was there…by faith…I received my sight…and now…I am happy…all the day….It was there at the cross…I received my ability to walk humbly with my God… that he must rely solely upon Him to be able to live to the fullest and persevere to the end. This brings us to the reason why as Men of God…we must always remain ON GUARD…
Sadly there seems to be many Christians today, men in particular that lack the Biblical qualities of what God says a man should have, as well as how a man after God's on heart should conduct himself. Here's the paradox. This letter the Apostle Paul wrote to his son in the ministry Timothy was not addressed to men of the world. These men Paul addressed were members of the church. It’s not like that they aren’t in the church with regular attendance. Church had become something what they did as a routine function…rather than identifying them as who they are in Jesus Christ. The real problem was they weren’t fully locked in commitment to Christ and have become victims of having what the Apostle Paul called in 1 Timothy 1: 19 a “ship-wrecked faith”.
Tragic things started happened in their lives, They have began to depart from the faith. They’re believing more man-made doctrines and tradition of men rather than holding fast to their convictions concerning the Word of God. Over the course of time, they stopped fighting the good fight of faith in Christ Jesus.
So as Paul points out in the 4th chapter that as a result of their waywardness and wavering in the faith, perilous times were to come in the latter days. (last days) And by the way…The "latter days" that Paul was speaking about are already here….He said in those days: Some will departed from the faith. They will give heed (begin to listen and live their lives according) to the influence of seducing spirits and the practice of doctrines of devils…They will speak hypocritical lies, having their conscience seared with a hot iron…They will become more lovers of pleasure…rather than lovers of God….They will exhibit a form of godliness….but deny the real power…and when this happens, we have been told by God of such….turn away from!
So…leading into today’s text Paul in the earlier part of this 3rd chapter gave a total of about 30 qualifications for a man who is to be God’s man… . He shows us in what it takes to be leaders, using the qualifications of a bishop, and then of a deacon.. as the model of being godly men..
Now every man will not be called to licensed ministry of a deacon in the church…but everybody has been both called to evangelism… and called to be a servant of Jesus Christ…and neither position is something anybody should take lightly…So…..Paul writes here in that 14th verse : I’m writing to tell you that I have plans to come to you shortly….but if I’m delayed…for a long time…by the time I get there…you will already know what it takes to behave your selves in the house of God….
There are 3 reasons why you need to know how to behave yourself as men of God:
First of all: YOU are God’s house…the building… the earthly tabernacle… your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost . The Spirit of the Living God has set up a residence in you…. You are the church…"the "Earthly Tabernacle" You are as much of the church as the next man…Now…on the spiritual level…how much church and Holy Ghost power go on inside of you depends on how much time you’re willing to spend in God’s Word and praying on your knees…If the songwriter was telling the truth when they said: just a little prayer and faith go a mighty long way…imagine how much more farther a whole lot of Word…a whole of prayer…and a whole lot of faith will take you…Then you must remember that one day your physical body cannot inherit the kingdom of God Jesus said "flesh and blood" cannot enter the kingdom. You will need "another body" adapted to heaven.
2 Corinthians 5:1-11 said: "For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
God's Man: The Judgment Seat of Christ
Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your conscience. If the "Institution Church" has been corrupted, it happened because corrupt people within the fellowship made it corrupt in their immoral behavior, false teachings, and in doctrinal matters.
Second This physical building this physical place of worship is also God’s house…it is the “ekklesia” the church of the living God…the assembly place…the place where all of God’s children are to get together have a good time in the Lord…with nothing but Jesus on our minds…and
Third…the church of the living God is the pillar and ground of the real truth…the upholder of the great truth of the mystery of godliness…and what is that truth?....Glad you asked…God was manifested in the flesh…..justified in the Spirit…Seen of angels…preached… to the Gentiles…Why you ask….John said Jesus came to His own…and His own received him not…but as many as did received Him…He gave power to become sons of God…even unto them…that called upon His name… I said He was preached to the Gentiles… believed on in the world and received up in glory…
Challenge of every Man of God: "Be ON GUARD…BE ALERT….BE PREPARED TO DEFEND AND FIGHT"
…The reason you got to always be on guard is because you are already in a war and you’re at war…
First of all you are at war within yourself …The Devil’s at war with you because you are a man of God…he messes with our emotions…There is warring within your members…Your head says one thing…your heart says another ….when you would do good…evil is always present….God now have you …but the devil’s still pulling on you…and then you are warring on the outside…The devil’s attacking on every hand…You are in a gigantic wrestling match…the Bible said that we wrestle not against flesh and blood …but against principalities…against powers…against rulers of the darkness of this world…against spiritual wickedness in high places…You’ve got to be On GUARD….We are soldiers in the army…we got to fight…although sometimes…we have to cry…we got to hold up….the blood stained banner…We got to hold it up…until we die…. You ask me Preacher…What am I guarding…You/re guarding a lot of things…
You’re guarding your heart with all diligence. You got to keep love of Jesus down in your heart….You got to keep hate out of your heart. You got to keep joy…in your heart and the peace of God got to dwell in your heart… and then….Remember, out of the issues of your heart, you will verbally address with your speech. You have to do what King David did. In the 51st Psalms, Davis was heard telling God: "Create in me a clean heart and renew in right a right spirit. Then, Solomon, the man of wisdom said to us in Proverbs 4:26: Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of wisdom. It's important that we do this because it is out of the issues that are housed in our heart that we speak out. So when we guard our heart, we keep perverse speaking from coming out of our mouths and evil and corrupt talk from our lips.
You got to stand guard over your faith…and stand firm in your faith…1 Corinthians 16:13 says we have to WATCH…We got to STAND FIRM IN THE FAITH…We got to BE BRAVE and we got to BE STRONG…In other words…we got to stand up…we got to man up…we've got to get up and hold up the blood stained banner… You need the kind of faith that tells the world…The wages of sin is still death, but the gift of God is still eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Men of God, we have to tell this dying world our hope is built on nothing less that Jesus blood and righteousness…I dare not trust the sweetest frame…but wholly lean on Jesus name….I don’t know …how you feel about it…On Christ…the solid rock I stand all… other ground is sinking sand…. Another thing we have to guard is….
We got to guard our Spiritual health…In other word we got to shed dead weight…the Bible said we got to lay aside every weight and the sin that thus so easily best us and then….we got to run this race with patience…looking unto Jesus…He’s the author and finisher of our faith…We have to get rid of everything that spiritually weighs us down ...things like envy...jealousy...strife...and lying....back biting...slander and things of the like.
Finally, we have to stand guard of the Gospel because the Gospel story is under attack. Paul gave us the mystery of Godliness...and it all starts and ends with God: The Gospel message is Jesus Christ died for our sins (on the cross at Golgotha's Hill) according to the Scriptures...He was buried (In Joseph of Arrmetheia"s new tomb) and rose 3 days later (from the tomb declaring all power was in His hands) according to the Scriptures. There are those who refuse to believe in the resurrection story. As a child of God, the whole basis of the Christian Faith rest on this Gospel message. We must go into all the world and do what Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20, that is carry this same message to everyone we meet, with the assurance that Jesus is always with us through the Holy Spirit.
Rev. Dr. William Edward Boddie