Note to the reader: This message was originally designed to be given to a group of men in a particular local church.
Everything done here is to be based upon the principle of sola scriptura. This is the idea that everything done is based off the scripture as the sole foundation of how one act. The scripture may not be specific for every possible situation, but it certainly does provide principles and proper practices for every life situation. As I go through several of the ideas of masculinity please do not hear what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that I exemplify any of these traits. I am also not saying that you do not have these traits.
Now, I want to look at the comparison of two men in particular. We will look at the two great men in scripture who are considered covenant heads, which is simply someone who acts as a head of a covenant in a natural (i.e. having children) and representative way. Major questions we want to answer today include: 1. Is gender significant? 2. What makes a man definitively masculine? 3. How can I, as a man, attain these traits? First we will look at Romans 5:12-21:
12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Here we have the great comparison between two men. The first man (Adam), and Christ Himself. Paul opens this passage with “therefore” this is in light of peace with God due to reconciliation. Paul again summates our need for reconciliation: sin. As you are familiar with the wages of sin is death. And sin came through one man: Adam. Adam acted as our federal head in that he was the representative for all mankind. We see this plainly in verse 18 where one trespass acted as the condemnation for all men. Adam also acted as mankind’s natural head. This is the idea that the sin nature and guilt of Adam is passed down to the children. We see this in verses such as Exodus 34:7 where God passes judgment on the fathers and their children for sin. We also see the idea of natural headship in Hebrews 7 where Levi pays tithes to Melchizedek through Abraham.
Now, let us turn to the beginning of the Book to see creation of man and woman to see if there is any significance between them. We live in a culture that tries to blend gender lines. We have specifically gender neutral Bible translations, boys being admitted into female bathrooms, state governments that militantly attempt to take away all “gender specific language” (i.e. instead of Freshmen, it’s First Year Student). We even have conservative evangelical scholars explaining there is no specific godly traits for men or women, all believers have the same godly traits to strive after.
Genesis 1 goes through the entire creation narrative when God creates the entire universe out of nothing. The march of days of creation continue rhythmically then slows down on one special creation: man. Verses 26 and 27 read, “26 Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
First we see the triune work of the Godhead when God says, “let us”. Then as he has the authority to do so, he gives authority to mankind. Notice his act of creation does not limit his own absolute power. Then the author places a poem for this special creation in verse 27. Moses explains man was created in the image of God as male and female. Male and female were created equally. There is something very significant with how mankind was made. We should not neutralize gender, God intended separate genders in mankind’s perfection. Separation of gender was not a result of the fall, or some dreadful sin of dominating men, or some over zealous bickering of the feminist movement, it is the very reflection of the image of God. Men and women are created equal with different roles. In verse 28 we see a command for both men and women: be fruitful and multiply. We also see they are both given dominion, then roles were given specifically to Adam in the following chapter. In chapter one we see a wide angle view of all of creation, then in chapter two, the lens zooms in on the creation of mankind. Look at verse Genesis chapter 2 starting at verse 4:
“4 These are the generations
of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
Now look at verse 15,
“15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Notice a few certain things that were set out for specific gender roles: Adam was made first and Adam was given three specific things. First, Adam’s purpose was to work the garden. This entails responsibility. Work and responsibility are very masculine things and should be assumed primarily by the men. “Men don’t carry things because they happen to have broad shoulders. They have broad shoulders because God created them to carry things.” What I’m saying is that God created men with this specific role. Assuming work is not some result of a curse, it is a reflection of the masculine nature of God.
The next thing we see as a purpose for Adam is to keep or guard. Men are called on primarily to protect and guard their families. This includes physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Finally God gives Adam His word. Men are given the responsibility to teach the Word of God to their families, to shepherd the homes and intercede on the behalf of their families. Again, this incurs an active role. Our local church simply teaches sound doctrine, it does not react to every single response to that teaching. That role rests on the father and husbands.
Now lets see the results of these commands for Adam. Genesis 3 reads, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.”
Typically some focus on the Eve’s failure in eating the fruit. Look, did Adam provide, protect or pastor? No. The ordered role before the fall was God, man, woman, animals. Look at the order of the fall: animal, woman, man, and God is thrown out of the picture. The failure wan not primarily Eve’s but Adam’s who failed at protecting, providing and pastoring. Notice when God goes to reproach them who does he speak with first? Adam.
Now we have seen the first man’s role and failure I want to turn the page to the perfect man. What is it that makes Christ definitively masculine? Take a quick look at Ephesians 5:31,
31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
We see the picture of marriage is what we do; whereas, the reality is Christ and the church. What is the reality of Christ teach us as men? What is that one thing that makes Christ’s role definitively masculine? First I want to look at where Christ’s succeeds where Adam failed.
Christ is perfect in provision:
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
Christ is perfect in protection:
39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Christ is perfect in Word
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Christ Himself is the revealing thing of the Father, perfect in pastoring his bride. Not only did Christ simply teach, protect, and provide for his bride, He came from heaven and sought her. This is the defining masculinity of Christ: He came from heaven and sought his bride. He actively took the responsibility. Now we need to understand who Christ is and how he took this responsibility.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Here we see clearly who Christ is: absolute in power. Christ is sovereign over all things above all things. He needs nothing. He down not dwell in temples made by human hands. He cannot be contained by anything that we strive after or achieve. He is above all. Now look how he sought his bride:
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Christ’s responsibility was sacrificial. This is masculinity: the glad assumption of sacrificial responsibility. I try to talk and build up a lot of guys at Truett and over the summer when I worked at camp. Older guys especially. You know what I see? Boys who happen to have to shave. Being a male and a Christian does not mean you are automatically a biblical man. Nor are any of us the source of masculinity, Christ is, we simply carry it. These boys at school and camp are captivated by video games and laziness or just enough to get by. They are snared by filth on the computer screens keeping them from the godly pursuit of one woman. Why? Because no godly man has ever stood up in their life screaming, “No! Make War against sin! Make war against laziness!”
Where are the men? “Just enough to get by” is not good enough. We are called to assume sacrificial responsibility. I’m not referring to economics as in you need make more than getting your ends to meet. I’m referring to godliness. I’m referring to making disciples. Christ has called us all to make disciples. There are boys in this church that need you. There are young men in this church that need you to gladly assume sacrificial responsibility. Live godly lives, be an example to your family, go to the streets and preach the Gospel, dive deep into the caverns of God’s Word, pray on your knees until they blister, whatever it takes to gladly assume sacrificial responsibility. We talk and teach scripture here, excellent, we also desperately need to live it out. Masculinity seems to be skewed in that men work and are responsible physically, but neglect emotional realities with ourselves and the deeper spiritual things. It must not be that way. We are to work hardest physically and spiritually.
How do we attain these traits? Get a job. It’s a very masculine thing to work. A job for a Christian is never a secular endeavor. I know later last year when I was job searching they finally hired me at the school cafeteria. I was flipping burgers and asking, “do you want fries with that?” It’s the job that every jokes about not getting. But even the simplest jobs cannot be seen as merely a job, every job is a vocation from God that must be pursued with a holy ambition. Ambition is usually the thing that is seen to kill a man. Ambition for money, pleasure, or power. (illus? Rio Bravo opnening scene) Then the lack of ambition also kills for there would be no production. We need a resurrected ambition. The old sinful ambition that has been nailed to the cross and a resurrected ambition whose purpose primarily is to glorify God.
One of the major lacks in providing is that most of the time we thing it merely means breadwinning and done. This is not the case. We cannot forget nor lack in the provision of ourselves. Gary Chapman wrote a famous book about the five love languages. Whether his ideas are true or not, I do not know, but one of my wife’s “love languages” or something I do that means a lot to her is spending time with her. I try to set aside special time to devote my entire attention to my wife without distractions from work or school. This is what our families need, us to provide money, time, emotional support, love.
We also need to provide for our church. The ministry of our local church is that people may get together and be edified and admonished by one another. We as men are called upon to lead and initiate relationships with other people in the church for this purpose. We are needed to serve and provide for our church in any way possible. Our world also needs us. Christ did not give the great commission in vain. We need men to sacrificially provide themselves to serve, share the Gospel, and send other missionaries. As John Piper has famously said, “go, send, or disobey.”
When it comes to protection one thing we often need to reflect upon is: are you the one protecting your home or the very thing your home needs protection from? The most important thing a man needs to guard his home or his church from is his own sin. We are called to make war against our sin at all costs for the sake of our families and for the sake of our church. What is this sin in majority? Absence. The amount of fatherless homes continues to increase. The amount of church attendance by men continues to decrease. Where are the men? Too consumed by their own pleasures and passions to step down their self constructed pedestal and offer support. The church culture in America is constantly being attacked by Charismatic movements which tell us religion is all based upon ‘feelings’ when no one really knows what ‘feelings’ mean. (Christian radio example, seeker friendly churches). We are called upon by God as men to protect our churches to guard our families, to stand firm upon sound doctrine, and live godly lives. Not sit back in our recliners comfortably and watch the women run everything! Paul writes, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” 1 Cor. 16:13
Finally, we are called upon by God to pastor our homes. What does this mean? We are to lead our family to Christ. So much of our Christianity today is tainted by easy-believeism. You do not lead your family to Christ by simply getting your child to recite a prayer. You do not lead your family to Christ simply by reading them a scripture every once and a while. To lead them to Christ you must know Christ. We know Christ from his written and revealed Word. Study it. And do not simply read your families scripture, live out that scripture! We don’t have church time, work time, home time, all of our time is devoted to Christ. Because we claim to be Christians we claim to submit our entire being to Christ the Sovereign Lord. We must devote ourselves to scripture, pray upon our knees for our families, and have such a passion for Christ that our families know that we are genuine. “Being real” is not consistently sinning and admitting your sins, ‘being real’ is doing everything within your power to stop your sins.
These things can only be done sacrificially. We as men have been called upon by God to gladly assume sacrificial responsibility.
 Douglas Wilson, Father Hunger: Why God Calls Men to Love and Lead Their Families (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012), 10.