Serve The King- Live for a Greater Reward
Stay Humble- Think of Yourself Less
Stand Strong- Don't Give In
Speak Out- Speak the Truth in Love
Step Up- Be a Man of Action
Set The Stage- The Big Picture, The Problem
I want you to look around right now. We're about 1,500 strong, and I hope when we're done, we're about 1,750. What we're going to do is work through a series of things that stand alone each week that build on each other in some way. There's a logic to my order. They build in a little bit of a way, but you could always invite a guy who hasn't been here the week before.
Here's what you can't do. You can't let men who are here today taper off. Men don't say they're going to do one thing and then do another. Men show up and stay there and finish. They dwell. Let's not let this be a six-week series that tapers off. I would encourage you to say, "I'm going to finish this thing I started. I'm going to consider what God's Word says about what it means to be God's man, and then I'm going to be around others who will spur me on and keep me there."
Look around. Let's fill this bottom bowl up and let's not be guys who go, "I'm tired this week." You need to know the last two weeks of getting ready for this I got home at 1:30 two weeks ago on a Wednesday night. I got home last night around 11:30 from being away on a two-day conference with some leaders here at the church thinking about and praying about doing things with you, so I don't want to hear it. Let's go! Let's fill it up. Let me pray, and we can kind be off and running from.
Father, thank you for these men who did rise early and determined to consider the things you would have for us to know about who you created us to be. Help us not to have a false view of men or a false bravado or a machismo that does not reflect the goodness of who you are, but help us neither to be passive and to hide and to shrink back.
Help us to be like the man, the God-man Jesus, the one who is strong and saves and who is tender and loves. Make us those men, and may women, and children, and other men be blessed because we were attentive to you and your ways and we received your grace that redeemed our lives from the pit and made us men worthy of others to follow.
We have a ways to go, Lord, so use this time to conform us into the image of what you intend for us. Restore the glory that sin and our selfishness have lost. Thank you that that is your intention as a good Father to make us godly men. In Jesus' name, amen.
Well, the Scripture says in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, verses you are going to help each other know and memorize, that we are to be on the alert, to stand firm in the faith, to be strong, and to act like men, and the question always begs itself…What do men act like? It follows the call to strength and manhood by saying, "Let everything you do be done in love."
"Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." That's what godly men are. I'm going to say again, as we start this series, the Scripture says all men (all of us, and me first among them) have sinned and have become less than God intended us to be, and because we have gone our own way, we have fallen short of the glory of God.
That is not a verse (Romans 3:23) that reminds us of why judgment has fallen upon us as much as it is saying, "Dadgummit, guys, you had a chance to be glorious and to be my vice-regents, to be men who were a tribute to my sovereignty and my love, and you went a different way, and you became a picture of oppression and pain as a result of the way you have led apart from me, and I want to restore to you, because I love you, the glory that has been lost."
One of the things I'm going to tell you that men do is that they run to chaos, and the reason we run to chaos is because we were made in the image of God, and that is what God has done. Genesis 1:26. Are you ready? Look at this. When God was beginning this whole thing and when he was going to reveal to the angelic realm and to a world he created who he was, he decided to place inside the perfection that always dwells where God is somebody like him.
Angels preexisted this moment. Angels had already rebelled against him, and God had cast angels out. When you see in Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created…" it is not talking about the very first acts God ever created. This is God revealing in human history in his revelation before the angelic realm in the spiritual world who he is, and in order to reveal who he is, he chose in this place of darkness and chaos to put beauty.
It was a place of judgment. It was a place where those who had rejected who God was were living. In the darkness and the chaos and the void of life, God created beauty. Then, God placed into that darkness and chaos man. Who was man? Genesis 1:26 tells us. "Let Us make man in Our image…" That was God's creation.
"We want them to rule like we rule over all of everything that has ever been in existence. Man will rule over this dominion and this domain, and if he walks with us and enjoys us and abides with us, he will be a source of blessing, and he will maintain the beauty, and he will maintain the order, and he will maintain the peace, and the kingdom will be as it should be, but if man listens to that outlaw who is there who has rebelled against me, chaos will ensue."
Watch. There had been rebellion in God's presence before. That was pre-Genesis 1. Those who were created to be in God's presence in the spiritual and angelic realm had rebelled against him behind one who said, "I think I can do better with God or without God. Follow me." God cast them into that outer darkness, and he forever settled the question, "Who is sovereign and strong?"
But God had never had a chance to prove there was no better way to live than in love, so he's about to show not just the fact that he is powerful, but he is about to show that he is good and gracious and merciful. He gives those who thought they could do better than him sovereignty, and he said, "You can be the prince of this earth and the prince of this world." I'm not talking about us right now. I'm talking about the angelic realm of Satan and the fallen angels.
God warned the men he created in his image that there is a liar there. "All you need to know is that I am good and he is not. He's not in and of himself sovereign. He's not in and of himself powerful, and he is not good. He is a liar. All you need to know, man,, is that I'm good. You need to be related to me and walk with me, and it will be glorious, but the day you think there is a better way and the day you think you can find life apart from me, you will bring the same chaos and darkness and disorder into your life," and that's exactly what we did.
As you find God's record of human histories (de-evolution not back toward apes but sinners away from the glory God intended for us), you see chaos and destruction and death and war ensue. What God did in the midst of that chaos was he ran to it. He's a rescuer, and he's a lover, and he by no means will let the guilty go unpunished, but he is patient toward you not wishing for any man or woman or child who suffers because of the sin of man to perish, but that all would come to eternal life.
He rescues humanity, and he asks for some men to walk with him, and his glory is restored, and his grace is found to be a source of that glory and grace to others. The very first thing men who are made in the image of God do is they step up and they play the man. Whenever I see men do this, it strengthens my heart.
One of my favorite stories of all time happened in 1555 in England. This is several decades after a guy named Martin Luther stood up in the face of men who weren't glorious, who perverted the Word of God, who distorted the Word of God, and who began to use this book to oppress and abuse people. That's what always happens when men create systems. Dead religion is always there to control people not set people free.
The pope and his minions were controlling people. It was said of the bishop of Germany, one of the servants of the pope during that day and age in the sixteenth century, that if it weren't for this man who stood up, Martin Luther, and taught people what God said, that he intended for them to be free, "We could have made all of Germany to eat hay."
What he meant by that was, "We could tell people that we hold the keys to the kingdom (the keys to heaven), and these superstitious men who believe we are the viceroys of God and we are the ones who represent God's will and way, if we tell them they have to eat hay to get to heaven, we could have made them eat hay."
All of a sudden, what Luther did was he came along and took the Scriptures and started to teach it in Latin, which no one knew, but made it available in common German and made it available to people that they may know what the Word of God says, that you don't earn your way to him, that God has been running to your chaos and your sin, and that Jesus didn't come to die so that if you did other things you would eventually be forgiven by God, but Jesus came to set you free and to restore you back into relationship with your Father so you could be the men God wants you to be.
He took away the death grip of superstition and error that was contained in the Church of Rome, and a fire swept across the known world at the time. Five years later, it hit England, and it was no small controversy there. There was a king who was there who was wanting to get rid of one of his wives to start over with another one, and there was a bunch of corruption that happened.
Basically, he bought his way out of his marriage in a perversion of Scripture's intent, and he was told he could move on and have another woman and his previous marriage would be annulled. Men started to speak up and go, "That's not the way men should act," but there was an unholy alliance that was made with the Church of Rome, and Henry VIII started his parade of wives.
There were men who started to speak up and say, "Listen! Not just because that man is king who says he wants to do this can buy his permission to do these things do we speak against it but because all of the corruption that is coming out of this particular expression of the church of God needs to be corrected."
There was a gentleman by the name of Hugh Latimer who ran into a student. This man, Hugh Latimer, was a godly man and a godly leader, a servant of the pope at Cambridge. There was a young student who came to him. His name was Thomas Bilney. He started to say, "Father Latimer, I have found truth that will set me free."
He asked if he could come and meet with him (this student to this esteemed Cambridge officer and teacher and servant of one of the most powerful institutions on earth). The student went in there. This student had been known to be following the teachings of Luther and actually following the teachings of the New Testament because he was reading his Greek New Testament, and he saw what Luther said was true.
He went in and said, "I need to speak with you, Professor." The professor thought he was going to recant and seek forgiveness for causing trouble at Cambridge, and he ended up sharing a testimony that converted this 35-year-old leader in the church. For the next decades, that Cambridge professor and leader in the Church of Rome became a vigilant spokesperson for truth and freedom.
When he was 62, he was locked up in the Tower of London. He'd be summoned out every now and then to go before different church councils that would ask him to recant because he was a powerful speaker. Every single time, all he would bring was a simple New Testament and defend his position from the Scriptures.
Then, one day, they said, "That's enough of the debate," and they took him and another young church leader by the name of Nicholas Ridley. They brought them in the square and tied them with a chain to a post. They were going to light them on fire. They knew it was their death and they would be burned because they were going to be truthful and rightful representations of the grace of God. Latimer and Ridley…
I love this section of history because at this moment men who were there wrote down what Hugh Latimer said to Nicholas Ridley at the moment right before they were burned. He said, "Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man, because we shall this day light a candle, such a candle of God's grace in all of England that I trust it shall never be put out." They lit that flame, and those two men singing hymns went home to be with their King. They died for the truth that sets men free.
We know that candle in England still exists even though it has gotten dimmer and dimmer and dimmer because other men have not followed in their way. They have moved back toward dead religion even within the Reformed Protestant Church. May it never be! Here's a picture of that spot. They marked the spot where Ridley and Latimer…
I think there's even a wider shot you can go back and see. This is in a common place in the middle of a busy street in England, but they preserved the land where Latimer and Ridley stood and stepped up and said, "We are not going to let wolves dominate you and intimidate you and make you eat hay and be a part of dead religion." There is a plaque there that marks these men. It says, "This is what happened here on this day."
When men step up and do what they should do, other men take note. They mark it, and they go, "These are men who brought freedom to others because they said, 'I am going to assume it's my job and my moment. I'm going to take responsibility, and I'm going to do what men do.'" When it says in the Scripture to play the man…
I love this. In 2 Samuel, chapter 10, this is where Latimer took this verse when he told young Ridley to play the man. In 2 Samuel, chapter 10, verse 7, this is David. He was talking to Joab and all of his army and all of his mighty men who followed him. Remember, what David was doing was stepping up. He's eradicating chaos and evil and oppression in the land. He's not yet king, but he's at a place where he is doing what men do which is to deal with wolves and oppression that are in the land.
He takes Joab, the leader of the army, and his mighty men. Then, he says in verse 12, "Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the LORD do what is good in His sight." **In the original language in the King James, it doesn't say, "Let us take courage," but it says specifically… This is the Bible Latimer had." Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people…"**
What does it mean to play the man? It means to take courage and to have a strong heart, a heart that is informed by truth. It means to be living the way God would want you to live. Now, I'm going to show you a little excerpt right here, and I'm going to tell you this is the way men who understand what God wants them to do…
First, I'm going to put up a definition for this very first week. Men step up. They play the man. This is what men do. You can write these words down if they're not in your book. Men lead. They don't follow. They don't shrink back. They step up and initiate. They are men of action. They say, "Let us take courage and do what we should do."
Every man who is made in the image of God will assume it is his job and his moment. This is it for you. I've told you guys again and again I know what I'm going to ask God to do when I see him. When I see that everything he said about who he was is true, I'm going to want to say, "Now that I'm fully convinced because I see you not with the eyes of faith but I see you with the eyes of reality that every man will see with fully one day, I'm going to beg for the privilege to go back and act like a man."
In other words, I'm living today in the answer to the one prayer I'm going to ask God when I meet him. "Let me go serve you, O King! Let me be a man. Let me do what you want me to do. Let me take my moment and use it for your glory. Let me hate apathy and reject passivity. Let me play the man. Let me rescue the weak. Let me stand against the oppressor. Let me strangle the wolf. Let me be filled with tender mercy and love."
There's a scene from a movie that has some rough things in it, but there are pieces of it that have enough redemptive value that I have watched it and I commend it to you if you can handle it. Here's a little clip. This is the American Sniper movie. This is the very beginning of the movie, and it is showing you where this warrior came from and what kind of home produced this warrior named Chris Kyle who rightly, as a minister of God's justice which is what God says the army is, not individual men acting as vigilantes…
God tells men how to act who are in a part of a sovereign government. When you're a part of a sovereign government and you're a minister of God for good, the Scripture says, you don't bear the sword for nothing, and there is a time to go to war and deal with evil that is systematic and intentional. Nations go to war. Just like they did in 2 Samuel 10, they should today. Go catch the series I did called War: What's It Good For? Here's a little clip. It helps us understand who we are. Watch this.
I want to show you something. This is our website. We are one church with four campuses and thousands of locations. I've asked them to change that from that one church with four campuses and thousands of locations. I've changed that. This is what it says now. "We will whup your ass if you're a wolf."
Listen. I think there are three kinds of men who are godly men. There are sheep who know our Master's voice and who know Jesus is their Shepherd, and because of the kindness of God, we begin to walk with him as he intends us to walk with him. As sheep who have a Good Shepherd, we are his sheepdogs.
I'm going to say this, and I mean this. I don't want to just get a cheap laugh, but part of what we do because we are men is when we see men who become wolves and not sheepdogs, we will confront you. We will step up and say, "That's not the way men act. That's not what you do, single man, with a single woman. That's not the way you date. That's not the way you use your wealth. That's not the way you use your power."
We will speak the truth to one another. There are a lot of guys who don't like that, and they'll want to burn you at the stake, and they will go to war with you. They hate you because they are of their father who is himself a wolf. In fact, he is a roaring lion seeking whom he will devour. Godly men run to the chaos. That's what God did.
Men who are weak hide in the darkness and live in the shadows, because they want to do what they want to do, and they don't want their deeds to be exposed in the light. They want to say they love a woman and leave her. They want to stay married to a woman and be abusive toward her, and we should whup their way of living with truth modeling righteousness and what real men are.
Here are pictures of what happened on 9/11. You see all kinds of folks when that chaos first ensued. You'll notice which direction they are running from the cloud. You'll see it again and again. Here's this last picture, which is especially tragic, because you see people who are supposed to run toward trouble running from it.
This is what men do who are made in the image of God. They run toward chaos and darkness and pain and suffering, and they lead. They initiate. They are men of action. They assume it's their job and their moment. They hate apathy, and they reject passivity, because they are God's men. If they see wolves, they kick their heinies.
God did this. We're made in his image. Remember that. In John, chapter 18, we have a section of Scripture right here where Pilate is hanging out with Jesus because wolves hated him, because he, like Luther years later and Latimer years later, was speaking out against the oppression of men. I'm going to read this section quickly.
Pilate was with Jesus, and he understood he had this man thrown upon him who others hated. Pilate said, "Who are you? What's up with you? I'm not a Jew. I don't know why you're here and why the Jews hate you. Your own nation and your chief priest delivered you to me. What have you done?"
Mark my word, men. If you step up, if you lead, if you initiate, if you hate apathy and reject passivity, others will hate you. Others who call themselves men will hate you, because you're going to be calling light into their darkness. Pilate is saying, "What is up with you?" "Jesus answered, 'My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.'"
Men, this is not your kingdom. You are aliens and strangers. You are at war, and the Enemy will hate you, and you will have to stand firm and be on the alert and be strong and act like men. When you fight, you fight by taking thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, and you let everything you do be done in love, but you are men, and this is not your home, so quit looking for ease and comfort.
No soldier in active service entangles himself with the affairs of everyday life in order that he might please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. We are at war! We need to stand firm and shod our feet in the gospel of Christ, put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith, and pick up the sword of the Spirit. Again, I'll use the phrase that we'll whup the wolves' ass with truth. It's not a power encounter; it's a truth encounter.
You want to burn me at the stake? We will light by God's grace such a candle that it will never go out, and men will mark the spot. "Here were men, and they loved what every other man didn't love. Here were men who were faithful when every other man became unfaithful. Here were men who kept their pants up. Here were men who made women glad they were women with those men and children who respected those fathers because they weren't about their own hobbies and habits."
This isn't your home. It's not my home. "Therefore Pilate said to Him, 'So You are a king?' Jesus answered, 'You say correctly that I am a king.'" **Jesus knew exactly who he was, and you must, too."For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."**
Sheep, do you hear his voice? Is this your Shepherd? "Pilate said to Him, 'What is truth?' And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, 'I find no guilt in Him. But you have a custom that I release someone…'" Now, this coward of a man, Pilate, is trying to find a way to not call an innocent man guilty and still not offend the people.
"So they cried out again, saying, 'Not this Man, but Barabbas.'" He was someone they had initially been glad Rome had captured, because he was creating oppression to the people who he said he was there to set free, which is what men who were doing what was right in their own eyes always do. It says at that point Pilate took Jesus and beat him thinking maybe that would satisfy the crowds.
"And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him; and they began to come up to Him and say, 'Hail, King of the Jews!' and to give Him slaps in the face. Pilate came out again and said to them, 'Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.' Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them…" **"Ecce homo," in Latin."Behold, the Man!'"**
Guys, this is the picture of what a man is. It's Jesus. There is no question he was strong. John, chapter 10, talks about what a sheep dog or what a shepherd does. In verse 11, "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep."
If your wife or if your kids, when asked, "Tell me about your dad," don't go, "Let me tell you about my dad. He is not about him." Single men, if your girlfriend doesn't go, "I'll tell you about my boyfriend. He's not about him. He's not telling me, if I love him, 'Let me do this.' He's not experimenting with me like I'm his wife."
If your kids don't say, "My dad is not about him," then you are not like the one whom you say you love. If you're not rescuing them from the darkness and the chaos and if you're not saying, "No," to your flesh because you're not about you, and if you're surrendering to your flesh, you're not the man God intended you to be.
Praise God that this Jesus went to the cross for us to redeem us, but we have to take seriously that redemption and begin to walk in it. Jesus says, "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." He's not about himself. "He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming…"
He runs from the chaos. "…and leaves the sheep and flees…" He goes about his little golf game. He goes about his little comfort. He goes about his little pornography. He goes about his little mistress. He goes about his little business that's all about him. "…and the wolf snatches them and scatters them." He flees because he's not God's man, and the glory is not on him.
That's not what men do. They lead. They initiate. They walk back into a dysfunctional marriage and say, "I'm going to own my stuff. I'm going to be a man of action. I'm not going to make this about you. This is about me. It's my job and my moment to restore what my sin has destroyed." They hate apathy and reject passivity. They are on the alert. They are firm in the faith.
Quickly… I could walk all day. In fact, I thought about just spending our entire first week on this little section right here in Psalm 101. Psalm 101 I call the king psalm. I've called it that for a long time. It was the very first thing I had my kids memorize in Scripture. In Psalm 101 turns out to be a psalm that for years had been called the prince's psalm because it was written by a young David.
What you're going to find out is that David, before he became somebody who went out and oppressed evil and said, "If I find wolves, I'm going to kick their ass…" I'm going to say it again. This is a very biblical idea. God hates those who destroy people, and he wants to rescue them from their destruction before it's time for judgment.
Mark my word. He will not put up with their evil long. David, in this king's psalm, describes what a king does. In a sense, this is his inaugural address. It's when he stood up. He had been affirmed king, and he said, "This is the way my kingdom is going to roll." It is a psalm that talks about how you need to think.
What marks this psalm is, depending if you use, "I shall," along with "I will," eight to ten different times David says, "I will… I will… I will… I will…" He makes it really clear that he's going to be a man of action and a man of purpose. He's going to say, "This is what you can know about me. This is my moment, and this is your king."
What David does is he says, "I'm going to look at the reign of God and I'm going to look at the character of God, and I will sing of the goodness of God. I will remind myself of who God is, and I will be his man." Every time David did that, it led to blessing on the way. Now, this psalm ends with him saying, "I will find wolves, and I will kick their butts."
What happened is David stopped doing Psalm 101 during a season, and he didn't kick butt. He started looking at butt, and it got him in trouble. For years, there was a righteous king. Watch this. Do you want to know what to do? Memorize Psalm 101. Step up and make these, "I wills," the way that you live. He starts by saying, "I will sing of lovingkindness and justice…"
"I will remind myself what is right and true." It's so interesting. When you look at who Jesus is, that we beheld the glory of God in the person of Jesus, we saw that he was full of grace and truth. That's who he is. God is the God of strength and justice and mercy and love. That's what men are. They are tender warriors. They are shepherd kings.
David said, "I'm going to remind myself why I'm so glad to have God as my Good Shepherd. The Lord is my shepherd. He is lovingkindness, he is mercy, and I will tell everybody I can about him with my lips and with my life." What David does in this little psalm here is he sets himself up, and he does, and walks through… He basically says in verse 1 through 3, "I will…"
He gives you a bunch of different ways to say it, but this is what he says. "I will lead." Watch what he says he's going to lead. "I will lead myself." Men, that's the very first thing you have to do. We cannot go and tell others about what this country should be like or their families should be like or their lives should be like if we are not men of self-leadership.
The precious possession of a man is diligence. What men do is we think we're great because we look good in a mirror, and God says, "You're great if you reflect my glory and you discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness." David says, "I'm going to remind myself of the lovingkindness and justice of God. I will use my lips, and I will use my life. Do you want to know what my kingship is going to be about? Modeling God."
I want you to think about this. You go, "Well, I'm not a king, Todd." Yes, you are. You're the king of your home. You're not sovereign over it. God is, but he's going to let people suffer under your leadership or prosper. Young princes, you are free to make your choices, but you're not free to choose your consequences.
I want to ask you, single men. Are you marked by lovingkindness and justice or perversion and self-indulgence? Is there chaos where you have dated, or do you leave women better than you find them? Don't tell me about how others should do and lead if you're not leading yourself. David starts by saying, "I'm going to follow the greatest leader, the Shepherd King."
He says, "I will sing of lovingkindness and justice…" Then, he goes through and says all of these different things about what he's going to do. "I will give heed to the blameless way. When will You come to me?""God, I'm ready for you. I'm not going to shrink back, because I live as if I know that you will come and you recompense, and your reward is with you, and I will be ready."
"I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart." What David is saying here is, "I'm going to be about self-leadership. Before I speak about righteousness to the nation, I will model righteousness before them. I will not be a do-as-I-say-not-do-as-I-do leader. I will say, 'Follow me.' I will say, 'Imitate me, as I imitate Christ.' I will be that kind of man. The king will go first in righteousness and not act above the law."
It was a major shift in world history when we said it is no longer going to be rex lex. Rex means king; lex means law. It's not longer going to be the king is law; it's going to be lex rex. The law is king, and the king himself is subject to law and righteousness. David said, "I will be a man who will humble myself under the righteousness of God."
David said, "There is going to be no difference in my behavior either in the public square or in the private palace. I will lead myself." Guys, who you are when you are alone is alone who you are. You think about what most guys… When you think about music videos and a rock-star lifestyle, what do you think about? "I want to be rich and famous and powerful."
Why? "Because I see what the rich, famous, and powerful guys get to do (whatever they want with women)," but David is saying, "When I come to ultimate power, it's not going to be time for me to indulge and live the life. I will live a righteous life." When he said, "I become powerful, it's not going to be time to party and feed my flesh."
He said, "I will live a righteous life." When he became in power, he didn't say, "It's time for the world to know who the man is." He said, "I will be God's man. I will live a righteous life." When he became a leader and a king, he didn't say, "It's time for me to impress those who didn't vote for me." He said, "I will behave wisely."
That's what David says right here. Verse 3: "I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me." Guys, can you say that? You need to put that on your iPhone. The next time you want to watch something on TV, ask yourself, "Is this worthless or is it worth something that God said would edify me and build me?"
Then, in verse 4, he's going to move from leading himself and he's going to say, "I will be led by wise and faithful men." Guys, when you step up, not only do you lead yourself, but you lead yourself in who you run with. Watch what he says in verses 4 through 7. Here are some more, "I wills." "I will not have a perverse heart be my friend."
"A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil. Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure.""No one who has a haughty look who is arrogant and prideful and scoffs and mocks at God… I'm not going to have them be my counselors and my friends."
"How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night." "I will be that king. If you're a wicked man, if you're a scoffer, or if you're defined by sin, you will not be my playmate. That's not going to be my cabinet (guys who encourage me to compromise). No."
Verse 6: "My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me." How are you doing, men? Are you that guy who says, "Do you want to walk with blameless men? Walk with me. Do you want to walk with somebody who makes war against sin? Walk with me. Do you want to walk with somebody who loves his wife, shepherds his kids, and doesn't live for more comfort and who says, 'I will behave righteously'? Walk with me."
That's what this church ought to be. That's what God's men are. "He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house. He who speaks falsehood…" He who says, "God's way isn't good and his Word isn't true and disobeying him isn't that big of a deal, "…shall not maintain his position before me."
"I will minister to him, but he will not be in the cabinet of my life." David says, "I'll lead myself," in verses 1 through 3. In verses 4 through 7, he says, "I will be led by wise and faithful men." Then, he says after that in verse 8, "Then, I will kick wolves' ass." Mark my word, guys. You will not be able to kick a wolf's ass if you don't do verses 1 through 7.
We don't just get guys who want to go to war and ask, "Do you want to go to war? Good! Go to war." No. We train them. We surround them with other men who are trained. They purposefully discipline themselves and arm themselves, and they deal and act wisely in a disciplined way. That's when the wolf will fall.
Verse 8 says it right there before you. "Every morning I will destroy [the wolves] …" I have to deal with the wolf that attacks my heart in verses 1 through 3. I have to be with other guys who hate wolves and aren't wolves in sheep's clothing. "So as to cut off from the city of the LORD all those who do iniquity."
David says, "I will have a right view of God and meditate on his perfection. I will tell others of the goodness of God. I will have a right view of a righteous life. I will look forward to God's coming and nearness. I will walk with integrity. I will avoid sin and temptation. I will hate unrighteousness and the work of those who promote it. I will flee immoral things." That's his inaugural address.
Then, he says, "Do you want to know who is going to lead with me? I will not give my ear to gossips or prideful and arrogant men. I will walk with wise and faithful men. Righteous men will be my companions. I will avoid mockers and scoffers and those who are comfortable with sin and rebellion, and we, nation, will hunt wolves. We will destroy the arrogant, expose and eradicate the wicked, and we will make ourselves men," and all of the people rejoiced.
When David did that, he kicked ass and took names. When he looked at ass and wanted their names, it brought trouble to the land. I just want to talk to you like men. This is a big deal. Look what happens to his family and his nation when he gets selfish and when he stopped being that man.
Step up. Lead. Initiate. Be a man of action. Assume it's your job. This is your time, men! Your wife is praying that you'd get up early on Thursday morning. She's praying that the lovingkindness and justice of God runs through your veins. There is a woman out there who wants to be courted and dated and loved, single men, by that kind of man. We have a nation that wants to know, "Are there going to be men who are blessed and educated who prosper who are going to be generous?"
When the righteous reign, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, there is groaning in the land. We don't go to church. We are Christ followers, and this is our moment. We have to hate apathy. This is not somebody else's job. This is your job. This is your kingdom. This is your moment.
I'm going to close with this, as we get ready to figure out what we have to do. Step up. I'm going to tell you, if you don't start with thinking about how to step up by thinking of verses 1 through 3 of Psalm 101 and what you have to do to step up with the discipline of godliness in your life, it doesn't matter what else you want to say and do. It's never a glory to a country when they go and beat wicked men and pay women of the country they're there to rescue to sleep with them and have sex with them. No, that's not the kind of army God has.
There's only one branch of the military that has never missed its recruiting goals. Do you know that? It has always had whatever their quota was to fill out this particular wave and season of men who needed to enlist. There is only one branch of the military that every time has always met its goals. It's the Marines, because the Marines didn't say, "Come here! Fight with us." They say, "We're looking for a few good men."
As I was thinking about this very first thing about stepping up and leading, initiating and being a man of action by assuming it's your job and your moment, only a few men are going to do it. Many a man proclaims his faithfulness, but the Scripture says, "Who can find a trustworthy man?" God is looking for a few good men, and with a few good men he can change the world.
The eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the earth looking for those whose hearts are his that he might strongly support them. You can do this, if you do Psalm 101, verses 1 through 3, and you do Psalm 101 with other men like in verses 4 through 7. The wolves won't be happy. Women and children will be. Watch this little ad and see if you don't see a theme here from the Marines. Then, we're done. Watch this.
I'm like, "Yes!" Guys, this is not a macho run to go to war and blow people up. I want to remind you that we run to him and say, "Make us like Jesus. We're the few good men you're going to use." We're one church. We're four campuses and thousands of locations, and we will not be wolves. We have to deal with wolf-ness in this camp before we say, "We're sick of the wolves out there."
You figure out where you need to lead yourself this morning and what you're going to do about it. You find out the guys in your group who want to be men, like in verses 4 through 7, and if you can run with them, and you don't sleep in next Thursday, and you don't sleep in between now and then.
Some of us need to go home and ask our kingdoms, "Will you forgive me? Because I have not been a Psalm 101, verses 1 through 7, kind of king, and that's why wolves are destroying this house, and I'm done with that. I'm going to be God's man, and I'm going to be strong, and I'm going to let everything I do be done in love, and these are the men who are going to help me." You listen to people sing who want to know who your God and commander-in-chief is, and you watch peace prosper in this land. Step up. This is your time and your moment. Let's go!
Father, help us to be those men. We cannot be it without Jesus. This is not a hoorah. This is just a sober reminder that this is in history when you have made the men who are in this room. Will you forgive us that we have prostituted ourselves? We have been seduced from the battlefield by just numbing ourselves with pornography and selfishness and the love of comfort. We haven't disciplined ourselves to be anything other than guys who go listen to other men, and we don't want to listen.
We want to learn your ways. In our little spot, we want to be your kings, so, Father, help us to do what we need to do today and take a step toward what you want us to be. It starts with just understanding grace, that you're not mad at us. You're just ready for us to come home and restore the glory that sin and selfishness and sloth have lost.
Help us to hate apathy and reject passivity. Help us to play the man. We thank you that Jesus is the man who deals with our sin. He's the man we can follow and be his sheepdogs. Let us hear your voice, because we are your sheep. In his name I pray, amen.