Faith Filled Men
June 16, 2019 (Father’s Day)
Today is Father’s Day – a day when we honor our fathers – the men who help give us life and nurture, teach, and train us. But – for some reason – Father’s Day is not celebrated in the same way or with the same amount of enthusiasm as is Mother’s Day. I read this week that there are more phone calls made on Father’s Day than on Mother’s Day. Now – before we men start celebrating that fact, I must also say that there are more collect calls made on Father’s Day than Mother’s Day!
A small boy said, “Father’s Day is just like Mother’s Day, only you don’t spend as much on the gift” Some fathers would reply: “what gift?”
Even in Church — on Mother’s Day some preachers will get up and praise all the mothers, placing them high upon pedestals, and attributing to them no wrong — which is fine – they deserve it. But on Father’s Day, the same preachers might get up and tell all the fathers that they need to be better fathers, and then proceed to point out all the ways they fall short.
Some fathers may feel that they can identify with the old Rodney Dangerfield line: “I get no respect!”
Well, today is Father’s Day – and while I realize that I am not a father, I also realize that God blessed me with a wonderful example of what it means to be a faithful, devoted, Christian man – a faithful, devoted, Christian husband and father. Dad was a great example for me and my sisters of what it means to be a Christian husband, a Christian father, and a Christian leader in the Church and the community. I also know that I see in many of you examples of what it means to be Christian fathers, husbands, and leaders in the Church and the community.
Yea — I may not be a father – but in my Dad I had a great example of what it means to be a Christian man – and I still have great examples around me of what it means to be a Christian man.
So — as we honor our fathers today, I want us to look at the qualities that might be needed for a Christian father – but I want to expand that idea – much as I did on Mother’s Day – and consider what it means to be a Christian man — an example of what I call a faith filled man — a man who has faith in God and who is a leader in the Church and the community.
Now – ladies – don’t just turn me off here – because I believe that, when we look at these qualities, we’ll see what it can mean to be a Christian woman also. As we look at these qualities, we might see what it means to be faithful Christians – whether we are men or women – boys or girls.
What qualities does God expect of in Christian men?
What does it take to be a faith – filled man?
Our Epistle passage in Romans 5 and the other passages I will refer to today do not speak specifically to men – I believe they give us some qualities that we can apply to all Christians – but for today I want to look at these qualities and how they can produce faith filled men.
I want to look at three qualities:
Faith – character – and conviction are three qualities needed in faith filled men.
It takes a man of faith to be a faith – filled man.
Paul writes in Romans 5:1:
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ”
We need men who know that they are justified by faith.
In the world you might try to justify yourself through what you do – what you accomplish – how much money you make – how big a house you have – what kind of car you drive — and so on. Ever since the cave man men have felt the need to provide for their families and themselves. Now – guys — this “drive to provide” is a good thing and there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to provide for your family. In fact, it is indeed one of your responsibilities, but you can take that too far. You can easily get into the rut and fall into the trap of thinking that what you do – how well you provide for yourself and your family, how much you accomplish or the size of your bank account, house, car, or whatever – is the most important thing in your life. You can get into the rut and fall into the trap of believing that these are the things that truly define who you are. You can begin to believe that these are the things that justify your existence. You can begin to believe that if you have these things you are a success and you are living a life that is truly pleases you – and you can fool yourself into thinking that you are also living a life that is pleasing to God.
I mean – God has blessed you with these things – so you must be pleasing Him – right?
That’s the way a lot of people think – and a lot of men spend their lives chasing material things – sometimes justifying it by the fact that they are providing for their families.
But – is that what really identifies who you are and justifies you?
Maybe in the eyes of other men – but what about in God’s eyes?
Does Paul say in Romans 5:1:
“Therefore, since we have been justified through our hard work, we have peace with God through what we have accomplished?”
Nope. That’s not what Paul says at all, is it?
Instead, Paul writes:
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ”
Again, don’t get me wrong, guys – you need to do what you can to provide for your families and for yourself – but don’t get into the rut or fall into the trap of believing that you are defined by or justified in God’s eyes by these things.
There is only one thing that justifies you in God’s eyes – and that is your faith. Your faith in Jesus Christ. Your faith in Christ and what Christ has done for you by dying on the cross for your sins. It’s only your faith in Christ that justifies you before God. So – the first step in being a faith filled man – the first quality needed to be a faith filled man – is faith. If you have faith in Christ, it doesn’t matter what else you have. Everything else in life is well and good – but it won’t justify you. Only your faith will do that.
Looking over this congregation today I see so many men of faith – a faith in God that will not waver. We need more of you.
Ladies – I pray you are still listening – because what I am saying to the men applies to you also!
So – the first quality God expects in His men (and women) is faith.
A second quality God expects in His men – a second quality for a faith filled man – is character. Guys — once you have your faith in Christ worked out and have that faith as the foundation for your life – you need to work on your character.
In the last part of verse 3 and the first part f verse 4 in Romans 5 Paul is describing some of the blessings that faith in Christ brings – and he writes:
“… suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope”
Character is one of the byproducts of faith and is one of the qualities needed in a faith filled man. This quality of character does not come easily or automatically – it comes through what Paul refers to as “suffering” and “perseverance”. In life you are going to have sufferings – things will go wrong – sometimes terribly wrong. God does not promise to save you from suffering. What God does promise you is that He is with you in your suffering and will help you persevere, and if you let it the experience will build your character.
We need men of character. God calls you to be a man of character – a character that is built on your faith and developed through your perseverance in suffering.
Have you ever suffered in your life?
I am sure you have – we all do. It’s part of the human experience – part of what a friend of mine calls “this roller coaster we call life” with all of it’s steep highs and low lows and twists and turns. I would dare say that a person who has never suffered has not lived. But in that suffering, God can help you persevere and can help you build your Christian character.
Looking over this congregation today I see so many men who have character — character that is built on faith in God and perseverance in suffering. We need more of you.
Guys — we need men of character. God calls you to be a man of character – a character that is built on your faith and developed through your perseverance in suffering.
Ladies – again,, you need to listen up — because what I am saying to the men applies to you also!
To be a man of faith you start with faith then you let God work on your character.
A third quality God needs in His men – a third quality of a faith filled man – is conviction.
Guys — the world – the Church – your family – your community – all need you to be a man of conviction. God needs you to be a man of conviction. You need to be a man who is willing to stand up for God’s things in a world where God’s things are too many times overlooked.
One great example of a man who had conviction and was willing to stand up for God’s things is the story of Daniel. You remember that Daniel was a young Hebrew living in Babylon when the Hebrew people were in captivity there. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon issued an order that for 30 days no one could pray to any god but him. Daniel, however, had conviction and continued to pray to God. He was threatened with the punishment of being thrown into a den of vicious lions, but he continued to pray to God and not listen to the King’s orders. The King finally made good on his threats – and had Daniel thrown into the den of lions – but instead of being eaten alive Daniel was saved by God.
Daniel had conviction and knew what was the right thing to do – despite what the King said – and God spared Him. The book of Daniel also tells us the story of Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednigo – the 3 Hebrew young men who – under situations similar to that of Daniel — were thrown into fiery furnace, yet God saved them. They stood by their convictions, even to the point of what seemed to be certain death, and God saved them. The Bible and history is filled with stories of people who have stood by their convictions and been living testimonies of faith in God.
We desperately need men of conviction today. We desperately need men of conviction now. We desperately need men of conviction here. We desperately need men who have faith in God and a Godly character – and who have a conviction for standing up for God’s things in a world where it is not popular to do so. The world – the Church – your family – your community – all need you to be a man of conviction. God needs you to be a man of conviction. You need to be a man who is willing to stand up for God’s things in a world where God’s things are too many times overlooked.
How about it, guys?
Are you a man of faith – of character – and conviction?
Are you willing to stand up for God’s things in the world – even when it seems no one else is?
You need to make a stand for God’s things – especially when it seems that no one else is willing to do so.
Remember the old saying – if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.
Guys – I implore you to have conviction. Have a conviction for the things of God. Stand up for the things of God and don’t let your families or your Church or your community or the world fall to the things that are not of God.
Looking over this congregation today I see so many men who have conviction — a conviction that is built on faith in God and Godly character. We need more of you.
Wake up ladies – again, I’m talking to you also.
We need men of faith in todays’ world – men who have faith – character – and conviction. We need faith filled men.
So – how about it, guys?
Are you a faith filled man?
Is your life built around the qualities of faith, character, and conviction?
Yes – we have faith filled men here at Edgewood.
Are you one of them?
I got a phone call from a great friend Thursday as I was working on this sermon – in fact one of the guys who lifted me up in prayer and spirit at The Barn in Fort Mill — and he reminded me of a passage of scripture where Paul pretty much sums up what it takes to be a faith filled man. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 16:3-4:
13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.
To be a faith filled man you have to be on your guard. You have to be on your guard because the world is trying to pull you away from being the man God wants you to be – so you need to be on your guard and remain faithful to God in all situations of your life. You also have to stand firm in your faith, and not let anything tempt you away from doing God’s will. You need to stand for and do God’s will all the time. You will also need to be courageous and strong. You will also need to let God’s love shine through everything you do.
Looking out at this congregation I see many faith filled men.
You know – you can tell who the faith filled men here at Edgewood are. They are the ones who continually work on their faith. They are the ones who come to Sunday School and Worship on a regular basis – not so they will be seen by others but because they know they need times to learn more about God and be strengthened in their faith. The faith filled men here at Edgewood are also the ones who seek out fellowship with other men – because they know that God did not put us in this place to try to live the faith filled life on our own but God has put us here with others who we can learn from and be encouraged by. They know that others need them and they need others. The faith filled men here at Edgewood are the men who serve God, the community, and the Church in any way they can.
I give praise for the faith filled men here at Edgewood – but I assure that we need more faith filled men – and women – here at Edgewood, here in this community, and in the world. We need more men – and women – who have a strong faith, who have a strong Christian character, and who have a strong Christian conviction.
Will you be one of God’s faith filled men – and make a difference for God’s glory? Amen.