1 Thessalonians 1:1b-7 “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers.”
Starting a new Men’s topical Bible Study at church this last week, the question was raised: “What does it mean to be a Christian man in the church, in the home and in the community today?” The reference book that the group is reading and Pastor’s suggestion is that the definition of today’s Christian men may have been taught, packaged, and reduced to merely a dutiful nice guy that is separated from the heart and potential that God uniquely created him for. That there is so much more for the man of God in gifted abilities and opportunities that the Lord intended (Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”) and to live life, not that is robbed of balance, satisfaction & joy, but to its fullest (John 10:10 ”The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”). The message is to be all that you can be for Jesus and that will take some examination with the help of God, some exploration in light of the holy Scriptures of God’s Word found in the Bible, some adventures and battles along the way as the devil will attack with lies and deceptions to attempt to steal, kill & destroy God’s plan for us, but to grow and mature as godly men, we must follow the Lord; be imitators of God.
During the group discussion last study, I was especially blessed by the comments of two young men there that evening. One, dressed in gothic apparel, long hair & a pierced lip, spoke of how his age group expected all others through subtle peer pressure to do what was right in their eyes and that it was unthinkable for the individual to not agree, embrace and participate. His example was: when one turns the age of 21, they must go out with their group, hammer down alcohol and get drunk. Their will must become the will of the group, whether godlessness, lawlessness, or against the individuals conscious or desire.
John 3:19-21 "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
The second young man, with dread lock hair, totally agreed with the assessment that the society has captivated and control the youth to follow the depravity and immoral lifestyle that they set the standard for, not God. He gave the example of a group of friends who decided to go to a local “strip” club. When he stated the he did not want to go because he felt that it was “wrong” for him to go to such a place, they ridiculed him for his personal moral and spiritual convictions. In society’s mind, there is no God who gives moral laws or standards, so they live by what is pleasurable and right in their own eyes, and demand others to do the same - Deuteronomy 12:8 & Romans 1:32. I was impressed by the heart and courage of these young men with the hand of God touching their life, a work in progress, like me … and you, active and maturing, growing men of God, imitators of God.
Ephesians 4:17b-24 & 5:1-8 “No longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.”
In Christ, Brian