Title: Where have all the men gone?
Text: 1 Corinthians 16.13f
Intro: Where have all the men gone?
I hope I do not offend you. That is not my intent, but I can see from the start that the Gospel is offensive and I know some of you may feel slighted – when I say some of you, I mean the women. Please hear my heart. This message is intended for the male segment of our population. Understand, women, you raise men. Men cannot become men without the influence you bring. But today, please hear my heart and my alarm when I consider our text and ask: Where have all the men gone?
We find ourselves in 1 Corinthians 16.13f. As Paul is closing out his letter, he has 5 commands he presents to the Corinthian men. His address at this moment is to the men. His Command is clear, and he minces no words. It is a good time for us to do the same. Again, this message is for all of us, but it is directed mainly toward men.
The Feminist movements of the late 1800s and the 1960s have caused our men to cower. The moral revolution of the same period, intended to liberate women, has instead, imprisoned the man and hurt the woman. Sure, there are some wonderful advances for women (job opportunities, Title IX, etc.). I recognize that, but overall – those movements have left men confused as to what they should be, and how they should act.
Ben Shapiro, when asked about due process and sexual assault and how we are to basically believe women without due process (Think Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh) replied:
Ben Shapiro: The Left destroyed mores with regard to the relation of traditional sexes. So, the original idea was that men were supposed to act with honor and chivalry when protecting women. And women were supposed to look for, for example, relationships just as men were. Sexual activity was supposed to be confined, that was ideal, it was supposed to be confined to committed relationships, particularly marriage. Not everybody lived up to that, but a huge number of people did. In fact, once people got pregnant, people basically got married. There are studies from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s that showed a lot of 7-month pregnancies.
When you don’t teach men to protect women, you get men who will victimize women. And when you don’t teach women that they ought to cherish men who are responsible and good, all you end up doing is incentivizing bad male behavior.
The Feminist movement was not wrong when it said men are acting like pigs. They were wrong when they said women also ought to act like pigs, too and that this is a solution to our problem.
After 50 years of this 2nd wave of feminism, the young men of our world have abdicated their roles and chosen to no longer try or to be responsible. They are not pursuing a college education. They are not getting the training they need to care for a family. They are found in their rooms trying to conquer levels or stages in video games, instead of trying to conquer a young woman’s heart or attain some type of training to make a living and provide for their families.
Boys are told that they can no longer be boys. In schools and churches, they are told to sit and be idle. If they’re too rambunctious, they are given medication to slow them down and make them behave. There is a movement amongst us to have gender roles removed – let me correct that, to have gender removed from society. And the world is buying it. There are young men now, who identify as female and enter into physical competitions against females – yet, they are biologically male.
And, instead of identifying this as a mental illness, the world is playing this fantasy game with them. You and I are encouraged to play along. Use the names they choose. Use the pronouns or made-up words they choose.
Ill.: The Air Force Academy this past week, instituted new policies for their cadets on using woke language. No longer can you ask a soldier or a sailor if they got a letter from ‘mom’ and ‘dad’. You must use the gender-neutral term, ‘parents’. The following is posted in an article on Foxnews.com from the orientation at the Air Force Academy.
Have you seen the recruiting commercials the Russians are using and the most recent US Army recruiting ads? It is unbelievable the difference. Our US Army recruitment video appeals to those who wish to embrace the LGBTQ+ lifestyle and agenda. The US Army video shows us a girl and they never show her doing her job or any part of her life in reality. They only show a cartoon. The Russian military recruitment video shows a young man and they show him doing his job, going through his physical training, and jumping out of an airplane. When you watch the videos, side by side, it is clear that we need to begin learning how to speak Russian. We’re going to get… We’re doomed.
No! It’s time. It’s time to wake up and raise up our boys to be men. Godly men, men who care, who protect and defend a woman. I saw a video recently of a young woman on the subway in NYC. She was being harassed, mistreated, and abused by a teen thug – a male. There were other men on the subway, but they just looked the other way while this young man slapped and abused her.
Where have all the men gone?
Let’s read our text together. Paul is very clear here when he addresses the men: 1 Cor 16.13f; 13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.
Paul is using ‘military language’ here. It is clear in the 1st 4 commands. I could say some phrases from this pulpit this morning – some of you might catch them and others might not, but every man who served in the armed forces would catch those phrases – and know what I meant. There are phrases specific to the Army, the Marines, etc.
Paul is using language here that demonstrates this is a battle!
I. Be Watchful
Ill.: Someone has rightly said in a secular sense that the world can be divided into three categories: the few who make things happen, the many who watch things happen, and the vast majority who have no idea what in the world is happening.
Real men don’t just watch events unfold and they aren’t aloof to what’s happening. Real men engage. They may look like they’re just sitting on a wall, but they’re watching, observing, and engaging. Like a sentry on duty. You might not even know they’re there.
exp.: I’ve told you this before, this is the word from which we get our name “Gregory”. Actually, the Spanish transliteration is spot on with the Greek: Gregorio. Be Watchful! The imagery is of someone standing guard – maybe on a wall, maybe in the field, but they are on guard, nonetheless.
Ill.: I’ll never forget hiding in my barricaded fortress pulling guard duty in the middle of the woods. We were out in the middle of nowhere and the night was as dark as the coffee I learned to drink in the Army. There was no moon. I could barely make out the path, but it was just pure darkness in the trees.
We didn’t have night vision goggles. All I had were my ears. My responsibility was to be on the lookout for anyone coming. If I heard someone, I had to holler out: Halt, who goes there? Someone would identify himself and or themselves (there were no women). I would ask for the password. And if they didn’t know the password – the night would light up with machine gun fire.
I had no idea if anyone was trying to sneak up on us and capture our post. There were guys sleeping – relying on me. I did not want to be the guy who got his squad captured. Talk about the ultimate humiliation! You never live down being the guy who failed to protect his squad.
Paul is using this kind of language. You might find this translated – stay awake! That was the thought behind the command. That is what it meant. During the watch of the night, as boredom set in, one might tend to close his eyes… just for a moment. But don’t you do it! Stay awake! Be watchful!
app.: Paul is warning the men in the church to stay awake, be Alert, and keep a watchful eye out for the enemy is near. He prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour! He wants to destroy the church – but we must not let that happen – not on our watch! Men, this is on us!
II. Stand firm in the faith
exp.: Don’t act like you’ve not heard this before. It’s been used quite a bit over the past month. We first saw it back in 10.12 – where Paul issues the warning – Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. It is the context of chapter 15. We see it in v 1 – Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand. He employs our previous terminology, Watch Out, Stay awake in 15.34 – 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. And he comes back to this command to stand in 15.58: 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
III. Act like men
exp.: one word in the Gk; Andre or Andrew. We have this word in English, but for us, it is simply a noun: man. In the Gk, though, it is a verb – the verb, man. Kind of hard to translate that word because it doesn’t exist in English. We basically verbalize our nouns. Hence, act like men; behave like men; man up! But even that doesn’t make sense, because we really don’t know anymore what a man is supposed to act like! And there are two good reasons:
- In our lifetimes and in the generations before us, Men were poor examples or they were absent.
- With the feminist movements (late 1800’s/1960’s), men gave up and gave over their responsibilities.
This verb appears in the NT only here. But it appears multiple times in the OT. Most famously and repeated in: Be strong and courageous (Deut/Joshua). He is telling them, “when you go into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, be strong and act like men!” i.e.: The opposite of how their Fathers and grandfathers acted the first time they came to the Holy Land.
Paul’s understanding of what it means to “be a man” comes from the O.T. – His Scriptures. He employs language and grammar he is familiar with. Paul is echoing familiar passages such as:
- 1 Samuel 4.9: 9 Take courage, and be men, O Philistines, lest you become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been to you; be men and fight.”… Order: Take courage (vb: strength) , and be men (vb: man),
- 2 Samuel 10.12: 12 Be of good courage (vb: man), and let us be courageous (vb: strength) for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” Order is more like 1 Cor 16.13 – Be of good courage (vb: man), and let us be courageous (vb: strength) for our people.
- Psalm 31.23f in the last three commands of 16.13f. The themes of pride, shame, and love all emphasize what Paul has been teaching the Corinthians So, alluding to Psalm 31 would be an appropriate fit.
Ps 31.23f reads: Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. 24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord,
Here we see the three commands in the LXX that we find in our text: Love, Act like men (Be strong), and Be strong (Courage of heart). With the context of 1 Corinthians dealing with pride & shame & love and relationships, Psalm 31 just might have been on his mind when he wrote this conclusion to his letter.
But what I want you to see is that translating these things is hard. Sometimes, you’re just translating an idea. Like the idea of the noun, ‘man’ turned into a verb!
I’m reminded of when David challenged his son, Solomon with the charge in 1 Kings 2.2:2 “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, 3 and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn…
David dies and Solomon has to ‘man up’ – he defends his throne and brings retribution to those who stood against his father. He has to put men to death. Those are tough decisions. He gives some of those men chances, but those men don’t take advantage of those chances – and they reap the consequences – they die.
So, what does it mean to “be” a man? Well, taking it from the OT, it means “to be brave” or “be strong in the face of adversity”, to show courage. Do you remember earlier when I said there was a video of a man on YouTube who was mistreating a woman? And there were men there, but they just turned away and didn’t come to her defense or protect her? That is the opposite of what it means to be a man. Those men behaved in a way that demonstrated their confusion. Maybe they were scared, but maybe they were thinking the way they’ve been taught – women are basically men and can take care of themselves.
And what does that look like to “act like men”? In these verses, we see courage in the face of adversity, but I think there is more:
1st, Character. Character is a trait in itself. It isn’t something you add or learn. It is revealed in those times of adversity. There is no such thing as bad character. You either have Character or you don’t. It is there or it is lacking. Some men lack character. Webster defines character as: moral excellence and integrity.
Chuck Colson, in a speech some years ago, stated: All of you know that I spent my life, the last 35 years going into prisons. I love it. I have a passion for it: to bring the Gospel to prisoners who are absolutely loved. But I discovered early on that the reason the prisons were being filled wasn’t all the sociological theories about crime that we hear generally. It was the fact studied at Harvard in 1986 by two great social scientists: the lack of moral training during the morally formative years.
It hit me that we are raising a generation that lacks male role models. The family has broken down. These kids aren’t learning character. Where does character come from? It comes from habits that you learn in the family first. That’s the first basic structure that Aristotle once said is the first school of human instruction. It comes from associations that you become part of, where you find your identity—you find role models and other people. That’s how character forms.
2nd, acting like men means stepping up. We see that in Deuteronomy, Joshua, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel. Even after they enter the Land, we see it in David, and in his challenge to his son, Solomon. As time went by, the Israelites failed to be men when times of struggle arose. In some instances, they vacated their responsibilities. Women and children were left to play the part of men.
The Lord warned the Israelites through Isaiah, that when men fail to be men, he will bring women and children to lead them. We’ve identified women who led Israel in Scripture. That isn’t a mandate to elect women to lead you. That is an indictment against a people who have rejected God’s leadership by failing to follow him! Isaiah 3.1-12: the sin of omission has led the people of Israel to the brink of destruction. The men have given up their leadership roles. Instead, they boast about the sin of Sodom (that’s homosexuality; think LGBTQ+). With the abdication of their roles in leadership and responsibility, infants and women will now rule over them. That is their lot – a lot given to them of their own choosing.
This is happening before our very eyes! Kamala Harris this past week advocated for children to have a voice in government. What? The prophecy of Isaiah against the Israelites is becoming a reality in the United States of America!
Men, act like men! That doesn’t mean being a bruit or a tyrannical ruler in your home or office. It means putting God first. It means putting your wife first and your children next. It means standing up and leading your family with character, integrity, and moral excellence. It means being courageous in the face of adversity.
t.s.: and it means… number four
IV. Be Strong
Exp.: Young men, you don’t gain strength from Video games. It comes from mowing and raking and lifting and carrying and swinging and the list goes on. It is physical strength. It is also an emotional strength. It is keeping your head when things are in chaos. It is trusting the Lord in the midst of the storm and doing all you can do in that process. I love the old adage: work like it all depends on you, but pray like it all depends on God. This comes out so well in the final command:
V. Do all you do in Love.
Exp.: Do everything in love. Let love be your motivation. Dads, discipline in love; moms, teach in love; people, serve in love.
What should you do? Southern Seminary put out a book: A Guide to Biblical Manhood. I highly recommend it to all men. In it, they list 25 things every man should teach a boy.
Ill.: 25 things every man should teach a boy…
Conclusion: Max Sherman was an unknown energy efficiency scientist until he ran some tests on an iconic product. As a specialist in examining the effectiveness of sealants within heating and air conditioning systems, he made a startling discovery that he reported in a small circulation publication, Home Energy Magazine. His finding, however, was picked up by USA Today, then the Wall Street Journal, and then a frenzy of media outlets.
His discovery was that most duct sealants were relatively effective with one notable exception: duct tape. Sherman reported that duct tape “failed reliably and often quite catastrophically” when applied to duct systems.
He blogged about the kinds of questions he started getting regularly along with his routine answers.
- Question number one: how did duct tape get its name? Sherman: I don’t know.
- Question number two: what can you use it for? Sherman: anything but ducts.
- Question number three: do you use duct tape: Sherman: all the time, just not on ducts.
What made Sherman’s story so newsworthy is the incessant joking that surrounds duct tape and how it’s thought to be the stuff that holds the whole world together. “Popular culture abounds with uses for duct tape: duct tape calendars, books like 101 Uses for Duct Tape, and more,” stated Max’s report, “but lab experiments have finally proved that duct tape, as it is generally used, should not be used to seal ducts.”
Randy Stinson and Dan Dumas wrote that story (Biblical Manhood) and then they conclude: And so we find that duct tape is good for many applications but cannot fulfill its original purpose – what it was created for and what it was named after. The irony of the naming and usage of duct tape is the same irony that is played out in men’s lives across the nation week after week. There‘s a lot men can do, but they are struggling to do what they were created for.
If ever there was a time for men to step up and be men, it is now! Not to lord their responsibility over their families, their church and their world. But, in love, to step up and be who they were created to be. Protect, Provide, Lead out! Men, will you stand? Boys, will you stand, too?
Father, I pray for our men, that they will rise up and fulfill the calling on their lives to be men. May we as men treat our women and all women with the dignity and respect they deserve. May we treat our daughters as young women, so they’ll know what a real man is (and what to look for in a mate). Father, helps us to show the way by the lives we live. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Men, Be watchful and stay awake, Stand firm in the faith, Act like men, and Be strong. Do everything in love.
Let’s all stand for the Blessing & Benediction: 20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Heb 13.20f