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Lombard CRC

The Question On Every Man's Heart

If you remember back last month,

we looked at the question written

on every female heart.

We noted that only our Heavenly Father

can answer the question girls and women ask,

“Am I lovely?”

That question leaves a wound on a woman’s heart.

Only God heals that wound.

And only with the answer that is Jesus -

whose life and death on the cross

proves God’s answer:

Yes, you are lovely –

you are fearfully and wonderfully made,

a pearl of great price.

 

We said that women look to their fathers

and father-figures in their lives

to find an answer to that question.

When men give unholy answers

that focus on physical beauty

or sexual perversion

or male superiority

they don’t bless the women in their lives

as God intended them to do so.

All the cultural answers fall short –

finding an answer by having a man,

or a career,

or thru pleasure or purchases

or any other earthly purpose won’t satisfy either.

Only Jesus.

That is the answer we must give one another

by our words and actions,

promises and sacrifices.

 

But what about boys and men?

Is there a question on a male heart

that yearns to be answered also?

Yes.

See if you can figure it out

what that question is

as I show some pictures of men

and you ask yourself if this is what comes to mind

when you think of what a boy should grow into

or a man should be:

first picture –

Duncan Keith – champion, teeth knocked out

 

next picture –

young man from my former church – body builder champion and now med student

 

here’s another picture of a friend of mine –

Larry is battling cancer, hospitalized, he is facing his limitations as we all do and will

 

one more –

James Bond, another image of a man

 

Thinking about your reactions to these photos,

seeing what men value, strive for, battle against,

do you have a guess at that question

written on every male heart?

John Eldredge teaches that the question is:

Do I have what it takes?

That’s the question we males need answered:

Do I have what it takes?

 

one more picture –

 

from the second episode of the TV show This Is Us

when Randall tracks down

his biological father William

and his first words to him are,

‘I’m your biological son,

I came here today

so I could look you in the eye

say that to you

and then get back in my fancy car

and finally prove to myself and to you

and to my family who loves me very much

that I didn’t need a thing from you . . .’

 

Get it?

He’s saying, I’ve spent my life

trying to prove to myself that

I do have what it takes.

Written on the male heart of your brother,

your friend,

your father,

your son, your uncle and grandpa

is that question:
Do I have what it takes?

And the answer to that question

comes from their fathers and

from the men in a boys’ life:

Older brothers

Father-in-laws

Grandpas

Uncles

Cadet counselors

Teachers

Coaches

Friends

Elders

Deacons

Mentors

Pastors

 

John Eldredge writes,

‘A boy learns who he is and what he’s got from a man, or the company of men. He cannot learn it any other place. He cannot learn it from the world of women. The plan from the beginning of time was that his father would lay the foundation for a young boy’s heart, and pass on to him that essential knowledge and confidence in his strength.’

Just look at the Bible.

 

We’re given this holy moment of blessing

between God our Heavenly Father and

God the Son.

As Jesus begins his earthly mission

to offer himself as the One who will give his life

to redeem your life and mine,

and bring God’s rule into all the world,

what does Our Father in heaven say to his Son

who has put on human flesh

and will take up all our sin?

Our Heavenly Father

speaking from the throne to Jesus

as he comes out of the waters of the Jordan says:

“You are my son, whom I love;

with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11)

God the Father desires the Son to know

he does have what it takes.

God the Father reveals to you and me

the blessing that men are to give

to boys, young men, and to each other.

And the blessing is a life lived following Jesus,

who has what it takes.

When Jesus stands before the world

after being falsely accused, beaten,

and prepared for the cross,

at that moment, Pilate,

feeling compromised for bowing to pressure

and acting out of his own weakness –

right then, he presents Jesus, and says,

“Here is the man!”

Jesus is the TRUE MAN.

God become one of us.

God in human flesh,

fulfilling what we could not.

Answering what we cannot.

And this is all given to us in the Bible,

to be blessed

and to take up this cause of Christ

for one another.

 

It’s all about answering that question.

Do I have what it takes?

Boys ask this,

When taking up a sport,

when looking for dad or big brother or uncle

to help him learn to throw and catch, or skate, or shoot a basketball.

Or learning to ride a bike.

For help with his homework.

Asking to start up the mower or car engine.

 

That’s what building fires is all about. J

That’s why men like to grill meat.

Or own loud toys.

That’s why men not only like to catch fish

but also tell others about the fish they caught.

It’s also why so many men struggle with anger.

It’s the attraction to gangs in the inner city.

It’s why some fathers

pressure their son to make the team,

and yell the loudest at referees at the game.

 

The thing is, trying to answer

this question causes a wound on a man’s heart.

We know we haven’t answered this question well.

Every man is wounded.

And every man tends to pass that wound on

to the next generation.

 

We men don’t want to hear this.

It attacks our pride.

But we won’t become the men God intends

for us to be until we own our wounds.

Until we confess as did King David:

Psalm 109:22 – For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.

 

This biblical wisdom is not always welcome.

Men are ‘taught’ to tough it out.

To overcome.

To bury the wound.

To act out our anger like James Hodgkinson

did in Washington this past week.

 

But healing will only come by confession.

 

Brennan Manning says, “The spiritual life begins with the acceptance of our wounded self.”

 

What are we to do?

Take our wound to God.

Most of the time we look to those less than God

to do what the Heavenly Father alone can do.

Men look to material things or cultural things

like money, or success,

or conquest to answer the question:

yes, I have what it takes – see?

I have a fast car,

I have a corner office,

I have a trophy case,

Look at my portfolio,

I got the position,

I got the girl,

I beat you on the court.

 

Or men look to women to answer the question.

Like Adam, choosing Eve

over the Lord.

When men give in to

pornography’s temptations,

or choose to be unfaithful

to their wife,

or engage in pre-marital or extra-marital sex,

this is all a doomed search to answer the question

where the answer cannot be found.

Moms, sisters, girlfriends, wives, women –

you cannot answer this for the boys and men

in your life.

Yes, you are highly valued.

You are sustainer,

a partner in the Kingdom,

you are sisters in the Lord,

as Paul said, contending side by side

with men for the gospel of salvation.

But you are not the one to validate your man

or your boys.

 

Charles Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip and Charlie Brown,

remembered a time as a boy he was home

and his mom had some friends over.

As he walked thru the room to go outside

he heard the women talk about him.

One said, “He’s such a nice boy, isn’t he?”

Charles remembered thinking,

“Oh boy, is that all I’ll be in my life?”

 

Contrast that with a cartoon strip he created about Charlie Brown going out to help his dad mow the lawn:

See?

Looking to say:

I have what it takes.

 

That’s the blessing we men are to give –

not only to sons,

but also to daughters,

who need to be blessed knowing their father

and their spiritual fathers and brothers,

are there for them:

to fight for them,

to protect their value,

and to bless them with the grace

of the gospel of Jesus.

 

Sons and boys need to hear from their fathers

and their spiritual fathers and brothers,

that yes, you have what it takes –

by our ministries and fellowship together

we understand this is one blessing to give:

you have value given you by our Heavenly Father.

It’s time for older males to mentor younger males

and explore together what it means to be

a disciple of Jesus, the true man,

the One blessed by the Father,

with you I am well-pleased.

 

Because all men carry a brokenness

and still struggle against sin,

the job of the father and other men then

is to bring our sons and boys

to our Heavenly Father thru Christ Jesus.

Tom Wolfe says it well:

The deepest search in life, it seemed to me, the thing that in one way or another was central to all living was man’s search to find a father, not merely the father of his flesh, not merely the lost father of his youth, but the image of a strength and wisdom external to his need and superior to his hunger, to which the belief and power of his own life could be united.

That’s the task for God alone –

who, because of what Jesus did by the cross,

is now our Father in Heaven.

 

Jesus, God come in our flesh,

the God-man testified over and over

to the grace of the Father:

John 5:19 – I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can only do what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

John 6:57 – I live because of the Father

 

We are each made for God.

Our lives lived for the purposes of the Lord.

Our salvation found in his grace –

the grace that is Jesus.

 

It is the Creator,

it is the Heavenly Father,

who instills the value of our lives to us.

It is our Heavenly Father

who answers the question for us

and heals our wound.

And the answer comes thru God the Son, Jesus,

who took on human flesh and was the True Man.

The second Adam.

Romans 5:15 -

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many.

 

Do I have what it takes?

Outside of the grace of God the answer is No.

All men who know the wound

of being cut from the team,

not making the grade,

being bypassed for the promotion,

being told, “I just want to be friends,” J

experiences like these that judge

‘no, I don’t have what it takes . . .’

without Christ -

In our own strength we’ll never have what it takes.

We are sons of Adam.

We are born sinners.

But Jesus put on human flesh and

shared our human wounds:

He was mocked.

He was rejected.

He was called a failure.

But he was vindicated by the Heavenly Father and now has the name that is above every name.

That at the name of Jesus every knee in heaven and on the earth and under the earth will bow.

 

In Christ, the God-Man, the answer is yes –

I remember I am fearfully and wonderfully made after all.

Jesus gave his life FOR mine.

I have purpose and meaning,

I am blessed to bless others in his name.

 

We don’t need a second chance or more time.

We need a new life.

That alone Christ gives.

“Follow me,” Jesus says.

“I have come that you may have life and have it to the full,” he promises.

Paul later says, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph 2:10)

 

Men – have you received this gift of God?

It’s time to stop trying to prove yourself on your own.

Confess that no,

I don’t have what it takes on my own,

but yes, I do have what it takes in Christ –

I will live his way because by his cross

my Father in Heaven gives me all I need

to be the blessing I’m meant to be.

 

How can I be such a blessing?

Every boy and man is created by God and

remade in the image of Jesus for three purposes:

A battle to fight.

A beauty to rescue.

An adventure to live.

 

  1. A battle to fight – a great mission in life that transcends home and family.

It means calling Jesus Lord and Master and

obeying his commands:

Not living for your own success

personal happiness,

or doing life my way, but

resting in the power of Christ

as you take up your cross in his name.

 

  1. A beauty to rescue –

This is not just about girls and women,

it’s about the church.

The beauty to rescue in Jesus’ name is HIS bride,

the church.

Will you fight for her, the church?

Will you use your abilities to serve others

with the strength and passion of Jesus?

What help will you give?

What truth will you tell?

What command will you obey?

What word of Jesus will you trust?

 

  1. Last,

An adventure to live –

After the Father blesses the Son,

Jesus is AT ONCE, says Mark,

immediately sent out into the wilderness

by the Holy Spirit.

On his return in the verses that follow our text

Jesus begins the adventure we are called to:

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

 

The rocky wilderness will give way

to a rock that is higher

than success or popularity

or physical strength or earthly happiness.

The adventure is in following Christ

through repentance and trust.

 

Moms and dads, maybe you’re hearing

that there has to be something intentional

about how you’re raising the children

God has given.

The temptation today is to keep your kids busy.

To make sure their days are filled

with experiences and participation

in every sporting event,

every cultural and social outing,

every happiness.

You say yes to everything,

not realizing that every time you say yes

to something,

you are saying no to something else:

yes to playing ball,

and yes to learning an instrument,

and yes to ballet and karate classes,

and yes to that video game and movie and device,

what you’re saying no to may be

Sabbath rest,

family dinners where blessing is conferred

from parents to children,

stillness that leaves room for hearing scripture

and listening to the still, small voice of God.

Old and young souls nee time to figure out

what is the real battle I am to fight

the beauty of Christ’s church I am to rescue

and finally the true adventure

and purpose for which I am saved by grace

and called to follow Jesus.

 

After all, just as beautiful roses

and fruitful trees need intentional pruning

in order to flower and fruit,

and athletes & those in the armed forces

go into strict training,

so does a boy growing into manhood

need to say no to some things

in order to be strong enough

to take up his cross and follow the Lord . . .

That’s a real man:

That’s following the true man, Jesus.

That’s having what it takes from our Heavenly Father.

 

 

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