Friday, January 25, 2008

Go For The Men: Bringing Back Godly Order

One of the greatest missing elements in American Christianity today is the leadership of a godly husband and father who knows how to biblically lead his home. There is no question that the home is in serious trouble in America today, and perhaps no other generation in our short history as a nation has been targeted by the devil for destruction as much as the generation in which we live. While we have busied ourselves with all sorts of ministries and programs within the local church, we have failed to focus on the home and the marriage relationship. While we have busied ourselves with so much outreach, we have failed to engage in an in-reach that develops in our men good leadership principles, and in our homes a strong biblical foundation. While our homes are sick and spiritually anemic, we have focused on many things that may well be good in-and-of themselves, but have placed the proverbial cart before the horse. We have become so busy building our churches, that we have forgotten to build our men. Though it is important to win souls to Christ, it is also of great importance for husbands and fathers to disciple their wives, win the hearts of their children, and lead their homes. The local church is only as strong and foundational as the homes that make it up, and we had better look to our homes if we are to present an effective witness in the community where God has placed us.

It has been said, “If you preach to women, you’ll reach women. If you preach to children, you’ll reach children. If you preach to men, you’ll reach men, women, and children.” The typical program-based church has an endless array of “ministries.” Normally, they will have children’s programs galore, a ladies’ ministry, youth group, pre-school/daycare, sports teams, Sunday School for all ages, and maybe a Christian school. Does it strike you a bit odd that the only group left out of the line-up is the men?

Thomas Manton said, “Religion was first hatched in families, and there the devil seeks to crush it; the families of the Patriarchs were all the Churches God had in the world for the time . . . if he can subvert families, other societies and communities will not long flourish and subsist with any power and vigour.” The local church can never be any stronger than the families that belong to it.

God’s design for the home is diametrically opposed to our culture’s concept of the family. The Jews, God’s chosen people, placed great importance on husbands and fathers. They could not even have a synagogue service unless a minion (a minimum of ten men) were present. Worship services were predicated upon a strong masculine presence. The priests taught the men and the men were to teach their families.

The headship of the husband and father is also clearly taught in the New Testament. “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man . . For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man . . . Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man” (1 Cor. 11:3,8,9). God has an order and His plan is that men lead their homes.

It has always been God’s plan that the fathers be the primary communicators of truth to their families. In Deuteronomy the Lord charged the men, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deut. 6:6-7).

Now I am not suggesting for a moment we abandon evangelism, stop reaching out to children and young people, ministering to single Moms, etc. God’s command to evangelize and disciple others is clear. The church should be a hospital where the spiritually sick find healing. We are involved in an ongoing salvage endeavor, reaching out to those whose lives have been devastated by sin. A church should be so loving that sinners feel welcome, and so hot that sinners come under conviction and get saved.

What I am suggesting is that we get our own houses in order. I fear we will continue to multiply generation after generation of statistics if we neglect to train the men in the church to train their children. Training includes instruction, confrontation, inspiration, accountability, godly example, and personal involvement. If men are to shepherd their families, then the under-shepherd (pastor) must shepherd them. There is simply no excuse for the appalling lack of accountability and strategy. God will give us wisdom if we will courageously, boldly, and desperately ask for it (James 1:5).

It’s high time to make church membership mean something. We have the worst of sins in the best of churches. Men are addicted to enslaving habits, defiling and destructive music, hobbies, sports, pornography, materialism, NASCAR, and a host of things that hinder them and their families. Will we continue to facilitate spiritual mediocrity, or chart a new course by calling men to step up to the plate? Is it a church or a club, a Bride or a harlot? Congregations that have good doctrinal statements without Biblical practice are the delight of the Devil. Husbands and fathers must be challenged to grow up, put away childish things, and assume their God-ordained function.

To have effect, truth must be believed, preached, and practiced. Intellectual theories and lip-service will not get the job done. We must take action.

Integrity demands our practice conform to the truth of Scripture. God expects much of men, and so should we. The patterns of non-expectancy, non-equipping, and non-accountability must be replaced with vision, training, and intentional involvement.

It takes a strong man to lead strong men. The key to strong churches is strong families, and the key to strong families are strong fathers. Job sacrificed for his family to be right with God. Abraham taught his family to obey God. Joshua led his family to serve God. Men must be taught to pay the price for righteousness, challenged to obedience, and directed to lead their households for God.

May God enable us to be like “The children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” (1 Chron. 12:32). Zion is in desperate need of a resurgence of strong male leadership. Brethren, let’s go for the men!

Excerpts from an article by Evangelist Harold Vaughn, "Go For The Men: Bringing Back Godly Order"

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