Speak Out- Speak the Truth in Love

Summit - Spring 2019

Todd WagnerMar 28, 2019Dallas

Good morning, men. Come on in. Grab a seat. We are going to get started diving in on speaking out. I want to make sure I get you guys into your groups so you can talk a little bit about it. The very first thing I want you to talk about is what we just talked about last week. What are some specific examples of ways you found yourself doing the very first thing I think God wanted men to do, which was to step up and say, "This is going to be my chance to lead and initiate and be a man of action to hate apathy and reject passivity"?

If we are just in here going over some ideas and we're not implementing those ideas, then we're not going to change our world. We're not going to change ourselves. We want to be men of action who apply this. We talked a lot about making sure we finish stronger than we started, so I want to encourage you to be calling guys saying, "Let's go. I'll see there. Let's be there at 6:30 sharp and get started. Let's get in our group, and let's talk."

We're talking about five attributes of godly men. There are lots of ways you can go with these. These categories I'm giving you are intentionally broad because you need to fill in a lot of things underneath them. God wants us to play the man. We are called in the Scripture to be strong and to act like men, so we're trying to figure out what men do.

Last week, we said that we step up. This week, I'm going to make it very simple. I'm just going to say, "Speak out." That's what men do. If I had to define what it means to speak out, I'm just going to tell you that silence in the midst of sin is a sin, so we can't sit there and watch other people mess up and not speak out.

I'm going to read you a quote by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. You may or may not have ever heard that name before. He was an individual who was persecuted under Communist Russia. He later was freed from the Gulag and became a renowned and thoughtful speaker around the world, often speaking and writing about religion in Communist-dominated areas.

In a lecture at Templeton in 1983 he said, "More than half a century ago, while I was still a child…" As, if you will, Communism and the effects of Marxism and Leninism and Stalinism were encroaching themselves across the land. "…I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia…"

What do you think in the early days…? You have to remember Communism was a 70-year experiment specifically in Russia, and it did not go well for the Russian people, but as it made its way out of the philosophies of Western Europe to application in what became known as Communist Russia and people saw what was happening to their society, Solzhenitsyn said that when he was a child before he himself was oppressed by this growing ideology, he would hear older men saying, "Men have forgotten God..."

Solzhenitsyn continues to say, "Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval [of oppressive Communism]." (I put the phrase about Communism in there. It was just Communism…period.)

"But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people [who were slaughtered and suffered and were imprisoned and persecuted] I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: 'Men have forgotten God...'"

It begs the question, how did they forget God? The way they forgot God was that men failed to do what God wanted men to do, which was to speak out, to be courageous, to fear God and not men who are going to scoff at them for what they say. They're going to learn to speak, and they're going to speak the truth in love.

That's what men do, and when men forget to do that, you have seen it all throughout history. You see women and children and other people suffer, because God has called us to be a kingdom of priests. Priests are not just mediators between God and man, but priests are reminding people continually of what is true and what is right.

When we fail to have individuals do what they're supposed to do… In fact, the sign of judgment on a land… We read it in the very first week when we were kind of setting ourselves all up in Isaiah, chapter 3. It says, "I am going to remove both prophet and priest from the land." It was a form of judgment.

When we scoff at God and we don't believe we need God and we want to go our own way, eventually God is going to just slowly reduce the number of voices and altogether eliminate the voices that are the solution that is necessary in order to bring people back to the one thing that will give them freedom, because you're not going to find freedom and hope without God.

One of the great mysteries of the twentieth century was how a largely "religious" Germany could have undertaken the horrors of the Holocaust. The answer is it was just a dead, religious Germany, and prophets and priests were small in number. Many of the guys who were in churches continually compromised in order to maintain favor with the nation state and those who were in power, and they failed to do what God called them to do, and that's why you have a constant redefining of church.

There was first a confessing church and then a smaller, evangelical confessing church, and then the true confessing church. Again and again, men kept giving their way to fear that there were going to be members of the SS who were sitting in congregations and were arresting them. In fact, there was a guy by the name of Martin Niemöller who was one of the great prophets and leaders who lived in Germany during that time.

He actually was imprisoned because he spoke out against fascism and against the hate and the anti-Semitism that was coming out of Hitler and his political ideology. There was a young pastoral resident or intern who was making his way through the prisons visiting those who were in prison. He was going along the way, and he came to a cell, and there was Martin Niemöller, this giant of the faith.

He came across and looked at him and said, "Pastor Niemöller, what are you doing in here?" Niemöller looked back at this young "pastor." He said, "No, my son. What are you doing out there? You know exactly what I'm doing in here, what a man of God should do during this day and age, and if you're out there walking and visiting those who are in prison, it's because you're not stepping up and speaking out and saying the things you need to say. You're lacking courage and clarity in your message."

A little bit later there was a woman who was a propagandist for Nazi Germany. Her name was Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, and she coined the phrase, the spiral of silence, after witnessing what Hitler did to intimidate citizens until they were afraid to speak out against what we know as the most horrible evils imaginable.

She basically said that a society generally falls into a fearful state and is afraid to say things anymore when the spiral of silence happens. She said this is what happens. Typically, a very vocal and loud group of influential people begin to tell the world what to think. They're going to begin to control the conversation. People, by and large, who don't think something is true but watch influential people and media and popular ideas become popular and embrace…

Even though they don't think they're right, they don't want to go against the flow and the tide of what they think is public opinion. What happens is a vast majority of people just listen to what really a small minority that sounds like a majority voice is saying, and they listen just to the conversations of the elite media and entertainment and the education elite. They kind of say, "Well, it really doesn't affect me."

This mentality is what happened in Nazi Germany. When they were coming for the homosexuals, "I'm not a homosexual, so I'm not going to say anything." When they come for the trade unionist, "I'm not a trade unionist, so I'm not going to say anything." When they come for the Communist, "I'm not a Communist, so I'm not going to say anything." When they come for the Jews, "I'm not a Jew, so I'm not going to say anything."

It was Noelle-Neumann who famously said, "Then, they finally came for me, and there was nobody there to defend me, because I was silent all along the way and didn't care when injustices were happening to people as long as those injustices didn't affect me." When people are silent because it's not really affecting them and they don't want to appear out of step from what they think is the majority, what happens is when a few small voices speak out, they are demonized.

They're called bigots, intolerant, and hate-mongers. They're oppressed and punished. Then, everybody says, "Wow! I don't want that to happen to me." As a few prophets are picked off here and there, people start to say, "Gosh! Everybody else is saying this. Those who are saying that are called awful names. I don't really want to be called an awful name."

All of a sudden, everybody goes, "Well, no one is saying anything, so even though I don't think it's right, it must be right," and everybody all of a sudden marches along, and we have Nazi Germany in 1930s. We have Russia in the twentieth century. We have America in 2019. One of the things I did one time when I was talking here to our young adults… When I talk to our young adults at The Porch and other places, I'm always just trying to give them courage and let them know, "You guys have to start to evaluate some of the things you're hearing that are out there."

Let me just say a few things. Then, I'm going to read a lot of Scripture in this short time together. I'm going to say this. This is a men's study, so we're going to talk like men. I was in a room with this crowd, and I said, "You guys do know it's loving to speak up. Right?" I mean, we had an entire ad campaign for a beer company that said, "Friends don't let friends drive drunk."

Now, I heard that from a voice that was probably deeper than the 40s and 50s like me, but when I said that to that room, that ad campaign had come and gone, and it was like one or two people who slowly murmured it, which concerned me because I drive around Dallas. I go, "Guys! Friends don't let friends drive drunk. They speak up. They go, 'You probably shouldn't do that right now.'"

Everybody kind of went, "Okay. Yeah. Now I know the little phrase. I'm kind of for that." Then, it was right around the time that Bruce Jenner had just received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for courage in sports. Do you all remember that? Abby Wambach gave him that award. I said this, and I'm going to say it again, but listen to me all the way through. I think he should have received that award.

I was 13, a young man growing up, when I saw Bruce Jenner win that gold medal in the Montreal Olympics. I think it was 1976. He was the greatest athlete in the world. I ate Wheaties because Bruce Jenner won those Olympics. He was a decathlete. I was like, "Man! He's a good-looking American guy. He has taken on the world, and he can do everything and anything."

Here's what happened. Somewhere along the way, Mr. Jenner was just confused. As he continued to find his own way through life, he moved into what has been called for centuries gender dysphoria, which means he began to question his own identity and even his own gender. Listen.

When you are one of the world's most famous people and one of the world's most esteemed athletes and you begin to question your masculinity, it is hard to tell people that you are more comfortable in women's clothes and living underneath a woman's persona. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to raise your hand and say, "Something inside of me is deeply wounded. Something is deeply broken. Something isn't right as it should be."

One of the things men do when they speak out is you don't just tell culture what's going on that's wrong, but you look at God's Word. It's a mirror. You go, "That's not who I am, and these are the things that are strangling me and controlling me and holding me," and it takes a tremendous amount of courage to look at other guys and say, "There is something deeply broken in me. I'm addicted to two-dimensional images," or "I'm addicted to prescription narcotics," or "I'm addicted to work to find my identity," or "I'm addicted to self-promotion and anger."

It takes a tremendous amount of courage to do that. Let me finish this thought. Stick with me. Bruce Jenner had a tremendous amount of courage when he said to the world, "Something is going on inside of me that I'm feeling this way." Bruce Jenner's problem wasn't that he struggled with sin. All of us struggle with sin.

Bruce Jenner's problem was his church. Bruce Jenner's problem was that everyone around him went, "That's not a struggle! There's nothing wrong with that! You just follow your little heart, Bruce! You do what seems right to you! You be courageous enough to mock God, to mock your own pain, and your own dissatisfaction by following after the ideas of men."

I just said this to them. By the way, it was Bruce Jenner on the back side of all of this that said he is no happier than he was before. That's the problem when you're around a bunch of weak people who are followers and who are trying to look like they have some progressive ideology. Guys, I'm all for progress when it comes to technology and business and industry and understanding, but when you have truth and you progress off of truth, progressive ideology is not progress. It's called perversion, and we don't get better.

I just said to them after I talked about this, because they were kind of shocked like you were when I said that Bruce Jenner had a tremendous amount of courage, "Guys, let me ask you again." This is a culture that has been taught, and increasingly what is happening is there is grooming that has happened to our children. They have been told and are increasingly being told, "If you are a loving person and not a hate-monger…"

If you want to ever go back and look at this and you want to see how there has been a rapid shift like never before in human history from seeing a certain psychological disorder that quickly becomes the norm and anybody who thinks what previously had been considered a psychological disorder the norm is now the person with a psychological disorder.

That happened as a result of a political movement, and if you want to understand, it's this thing called the DSM (the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual) that is put out by the American Psychiatric Association. What happens is a bunch of guys get in a room and vote on what they think is a disorder and what isn't a disorder.

There were several people who had themselves gender identity issues and gender dysphoria who became ruling elite within the American Psychiatric Association, and they decided to vote and to change what we believed was the problem. That's all it was. You can go back and do your own work and your own study on that.

What happened was a bunch of people went, "We want to be progressive. We don't want to be stupid. The intellectual elites are telling us this is what's true." I'm going to say it again. I said this to the young adults after I talked about Bruce Jenner. I said, "Let me ask you again. Friends don't let friends…" This time a bunch of them mumbled and started to say, "drive drunk," but I go, "cut their penis off because they think they're a woman." It just got quiet! You can imagine!

They looked at each other and slowly started to laugh. Then, laughter broke out in the room, but they didn't laugh because I said the word penis. They laughed because I think somebody was telling them, "If you think that's crazy, you're right! If you think it is nuts that we tell our teachers to not assign gender to young children, you're correct!"

Let me ask you a question. If I came in this room and I had a dog in here and I told you that tail at the end of that dog was a leg, how many legs does that dog have? If you say, "Five," I'd say, "No! It has four! I'm just an idiot who calls the tail a leg." That dog has four legs, and that boy has a penis. It's amazing to me that that is controversial today. It's controversial today because men have fallen in the same spiral of silence that happened in Nazi Germany.

So what do we do? We learn to speak the truth in love. Let me just tell you this, guys. God is going to make sure that truth prevails. He said very simply, "If my disciples don't speak the truth, I'll get the rocks to cry out one day." What that means is God said, "One of the ways I'm going to make men know the truth is true is that men are going to be dashed and their children are going to be dashed on the rocks, and through that pain, I'll slowly woo them back."

When you find somebody who stands up and starts to speak the truth in a way that makes other people kind of go, "Wow," it's amazing how thirsty the world is for this. In Proverbs, chapter 25, verses 11 and 12, it says, "Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances." Our world is desperate for men who can speak truth. It is like an apple of gold in a setting of silver.

How about this? "Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear." The Scriptures say a right answer is like a kiss on the lips. Who doesn't like a good kiss from a lover on the lips? Our world is looking for that. There's a guy many of you will all know. I'll put a picture up of this individual. He has kind of come crashing on the scene.

Who knows him? How many of you know who that is? Raise your hand. His name is Jordan Peterson. Have you ever heard that name? Raise your hand if you've heard the name. Jordan Peterson is an individual who was actually a clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology at Toronto University.

He has about 84 million different individuals watch his messages on YouTube. He calls himself a cultural Christian. He's not sure he really embraces Christianity. He just says that Christianity is by far the most consistent and ethical and redemptive philosophy in the world. It works. By the way, this is what Christopher Hitchens also said in his book God Is Not Great.

He says, "I have to admit. I can't argue with Christianity. Historically, I can't argue with what it says. There are just certain things that I don't believe God should do or let happen, and because God lets these things happen, I can't believe there really is a God." Meanwhile, Christopher, God explains why these things happen.

It's because men are silent and men move away from God. Then, they make war with one another and do awful things to people, because nobody is stepping up and saying, "We had better get back to God." Hitchens didn't even listen to why God said there is evil in the world. It's not because God is evil; it's because men have forgotten God.

Jordan Peterson became famous. He didn't want to be, but when the Canadian Human Rights Act passed a few years ago which added gender expression and gender identity to the list of the protected groups, he spoke out against it. He just said, "I'm not going to call the students in my class by their preferred gender identity. I'm going to call them what I want to call them, not because I want to be disrespectful."

He said, "I'm going to love them. I'm going to be careful with them in everything I do and care for them in every way that I can. I always have. I have people with all kinds of ideas in my class, but you're not going to tell me how I need to speak, because when society starts to sway how it should speak is when a society stops having a tournament of narratives and a mutual sharing of ideas, and that's always how we get better. I'm not just going to carry along with this oppression."

He refused to use preferred pronouns in his class. He was admonished by his president. The media swarmed on him and said, "You're breaking the law." He said, "Well, I don't respect that law." He stood up, and all of a sudden the whole world started to listen, because one guy said, "This is crazy!"

By the way, can I just tell you how the whole world got in this mess? Let me just read to you the story. See if you can find it. Anybody who has been around the Scriptures for very long will know the answer to this. Look in Genesis, chapter 3, verses 1 through 6. It says, "Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field…"

We know a little bit later that the Serpent was an embodiment of evil. It says, "…which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, 'Indeed, has God said…'" **Watch the very first thing that is challenged."…has God said…" "Is the Word true? Should you trust it?""You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?"**"Has God said that?"

"The woman said to the serpent, 'From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, "You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die."'" What's interesting there is that's a misquoting of Scripture. God never said, "Don't touch it."

Adam probably heard the word. "You shouldn't eat from that one tree because that one tree establishes that you don't need me, and that tree says that you want to know what good and evil is, and I'm telling you, Adam, look around you. There's nothing here but perfection, and I made it, and all of this beauty and perfection you're in the middle of and this woman I gave you with which you are well pleased…

That's my gift to you. You don't need to know what is good. I'm good. Follow me, but if you don't believe in me and you don't have faith in me, you can figure it out on your own. If you eat of that, you'll be on your own, and I'm going to tell you that when you leave me, the God who is light and life and love, you're going to get darkness and death and hate. I wouldn't go there."

Apparently, he told the woman, "Don't even touch it," which was probably not a bad idea, but what happed, because he didn't teach her why and just gave her the moral what, was that woman was susceptible, so the Enemy took that apple and said, "Really? You surely won't die." He probably had it in his hand. Every painting you've ever seen, he had it in his hand. All he had to do was walk over there and pluck it and go, "I have it! I'm touching it. Am I dead? No! I'm having a great conversation with you."

He said, "I'll tell you why. God is not good and doesn't have your best interest in mind. God is looking to rip you off. God says that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you'll be like God. You'll know good and evil. God is just insecure. God doesn't want you to compete with him. God knows when you know what you know you won't even need to pay tribute to him. You won't have to walk with him in the garden. You can skip around with whoever you want."

"When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise…" This is why we're reading this, men. Watch this. "…she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate." What's the very first sin? Was it Eve eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? No. I think it was the silence of Adam.

Adam was right there the entire time not speaking up and not saying, "Don't mess with my woman! We know what good is. Eve, forgive me. I did say, 'Don't touch it,' but God didn't tell us not to touch it. I just told you that because I didn't want you to go near it because I love you. Look at all this around you that is beautiful and good and right about God's way. Is there anything we lack? Is there anything we want? Why would we want to mock our God? Let's at least go talk to him. He told us there was a villain here. He told us to trust him."

Adam just sat there passively and didn't speak up, and something far worse than Communist Russia was born. In fact, Communist Russia was only a symptom of that. Something far worse than anti-Semitism and Nazi fascism was born. In fact, Nazi fascism was just a symptom of that. Something far worse than transgender ideology and the corruption of marriage and family happened.

In fact, this is just a symptom of what happened because men sat there quietly and were not students of the Word and didn't speak up. We are called to speak. This is what it says in Scripture. When you speak, you don't just go, "Well, I think…" You want to be men who will go, "I'm a servant of Christ and a steward of the mystery of God. He is my King, and he loves me. He has restored me, and he is restoring more and more of my glory."

Can I just encourage you guys with something? The apostles were not very learned men, but all that people knew when they were with them… "Who are these guys?" They'd say, "Well, I'm not really sure exactly who they are, but I can identify them as men who have been with Jesus." What do you think it was about them that made people know they had been with Jesus?

I think part of it was, yes, for sure, whenever Jesus showed up, they showed up, but I think it's because they talked like him. One of the things that humbles me when I read my New Testament and see that God comes to earth… Think about this. God is here in human form in the person of Jesus Christ, and 78 times he quotes what he already said.

I mean, Jesus can go anywhere he wants. Right? Every word that comes from him is the Word of God, and he quotes Scripture. When the apostles wrote 209 times from Romans to Revelation, they're quoting the Old Testament. Frankly, the rest of the time Paul is just elaborating on what Jesus said. The book of James is basically James' effort to capture the truths of the Sermon on the Mount.

When you speak, guys, it's not enough just to speak. You want to speak the words of God. It alone… Do you guys know this? It alone is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness so that men of God might be equipped and adequate and ready for every good work.

This is 2 Timothy, chapter 4. The very first words that come out of that… Know the Word of God. If you want to speak out, men, you have to prepare yourselves to speak out. You have to discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness. You don't want to be like philosophers who are just trying to grab out and write volumes and volumes and volumes of how men should think.

A loving God has showed you how you should think. Solzhenitsyn said, "I have done all kinds of study. I myself have written eight volumes. Do you know what our problem is? We have forgotten God." Somebody has to remember him. Somebody has to speak up and fear God and not men.

This is 2 Timothy 4. "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead…" **Make no mistake. Not Stalin, not Lenin, not Hitler, not society's elite, and not the future progressive of America, but God is going to judge."…and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word…"**

When we talk about what makes godly men in biblical community, we say, "They devote themselves daily. They love the Word of God, so when they love others they can speak the Word of God." How many times do you have no apples of gold to bring because you've never listened to what God said?

What did Adam need to do at the moment of greatest human peril? Speak the words of God. What do you need to do? You have to be men who learn to speak the words of God. It's why we devote ourselves daily. Then, we pursue other people relationally. We live and speak truth above our own brokenness. We ask others to sharpen us. When we encourage each other, we counsel each other biblically. It's how we engage missionally. We preach the Word.

When do you preach the Word, Todd? "…in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction." Verse 3 says, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine…" Guess what. Somebody is going to have to step up. We are in that day. I want to tell you.

Do you know what Jordan Peterson is doing? Jordan Peterson says, "I'm not going to give away human history. You guys always used to mock the Christians because they were so anti-science. Let me just tell you something. Science has settled that there are binary genders, so now what is the other side saying? That science isn't really important. Being spiritually enlightened is important." Peterson is going, "Bull! Bull!" The world is running to him. This brother is becoming a multimillionaire. He's a New York Times Best-Seller.

Do you know why? Because he's going, "I believe the book of Genesis is true." Because our world is like children in so many ways. They go, "The emperor looks naked to me, but nobody is saying that he's naked. Everybody is applauding and acting like the emperor has clothes on," so I guess I'm not going to have the faith of a child that God's Word is true. By the way, have the faith of a child but the intellect of an adult. You go and test this book and see if it's not true.

Most of you have already tested it, by the way, by mocking the promises and warnings of God, and you're paying a steep price for it, so let me just encourage you. Why don't you test if you follow it if it doesn't work out well for you? Go listen to my series called I Am Rich. For 30 years I tested the Word of God which says, "I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread. All day long he is gracious and lends, And his descendants are a blessing."

I'm just telling you I've been running a 30-year experiment to see if that word is true, and even though I haven't been perfect in my affections for God, the huge direction of my life has been toward trusting him, and let me just add myself to the words of David. I once was young, and now I am old, and I have not ever been forsaken by my God. God has allowed me to be gracious and lend, and by the kindness of God, my children have followed in my steps, and they are a blessing. Test it.

Men won't endure sound doctrine, but they're going to sure look out in their pain. "…but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires…" And they are all over TV. "…and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths." Like, "If you want to be a woman and you're a man, you can be."

"But you, be sober…" Don't be drunk with the zeitgeist, the philosophy of the age. "…endure hardship…" When you speak the truth, I'm just going to love you enough to tell you, if the world is powerful enough and wickedness is prevailing enough, and it always gets that way when men don't speak up early, it's getting more difficult, but you be like Jesus who showed up at a very dark time, and don't be surprised when they hate you the way they hated him. "…do the work of an evangelist…" (A person who shares the good news as a messenger of God.) "…fulfill your ministry."

We need men who realize they have to deal with the sin in their own hearts and have the courage of Bruce Jenner. You just make sure you're surrounded by the church, who could have saved Bruce Jenner a lot of pain. Are you all with me? It takes courage to speak truth about what is authentically wounding your soul. That's what I mean when I say Jenner was courageous. His problem wasn't his sin struggle; his problem was his church.

Do you know what the problem with America is? The church. Men. We are here to put a stem to it and to stop it. We have to be guys who know what God says, because God loves people, and speak up. This is what one guy said a long time ago. Is there a decay of conscience? The pulpit is the reason for it. Let me just say it this way.

You men, kingdom priests, are the reason the consciences are hardened and being decayed. You're the reason the progressive ideologies are being imposed upon our children through our public education system, and that is systematic and intentional. It's what Hitler did. It's what Lenin did. It's what they're doing to our kids.

Is the public press lacking moral discernment? The pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, it's because there are no men in it. It has become feminized and weak, and we just buy that God wants us to go through this weekly gathering and not go through radical living. If the world loses interest in Christianity, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in the halls of our legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it (corrupt, weak men).

I could go on but you get the point. You guys have to figure out what's true with me, and you have to imbed it in your hearts, and we have to start saying it. If they just go, "These are old, worn-out ideas that Jesus had, and we reject that," say, "You can reject it. You can't reject the consequences. I just want to be a faithful friend. If you want to lock me up, lock me up, but I'm not going to let you down. I'm not going to let you, Eve of civilization, be seduced while I go along with you. I will speak up and say, 'The emperor is naked. Let him imprison me as I mock his futility.'"

"…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts…" (First Peter 3:15) It means the first thing we have to do as men is live lives that are worthy. Have you ever heard that saying? Your life is speaking so loudly that I can't hear what you're saying. We have to lead. We have to lead ourselves. As we lead ourselves, which is to say, "…sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts…" we have to always be prepared to make an offense when anyone asks us to give an account for the hope that is within us.

When you speak the truth, guys, speak the truth in love. It says in 1 Peter 3:15, to speak with gentleness and reverence. Let your speech be seasoned with salt, as it were, in order that you might be able to give grace to those who hear it. Proverbs 15:2 says, "The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly."

There is a time to talk straight like, "Friends don't let friends…," but there is a time to just sit and be kind and gentle. One of the reasons Jordan Peterson, this cultural Christian, has such a following is because he's just talking straight. Let us talk straight with grace and truth. Amen? Let's go, men.

Father, would you make us men not who speculate or who philosophize but men who speak the truth, who do the work of good messengers and evangelists who are sober and not drunk on popularity or people-pleasing? Help us to step on the throat of a weak, passive Adam and be a life-giving spirit like your Son, Jesus, who dwells in us. Because we spend time in your Word and with him, when we speak, may the words of our mouths even as the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight!

Lord, help us to take ground this week in spurring each other on to love and good deeds. Lord, we believe your Word is the solution, and we know men have rejected it, but let us not reject you. Let us be godly men. Would you bring grace and healing to a wounded land, to wounded genders, to a wounded legislature, to a wounded church, to wounded families, and to wounded children? Let us heal them in your name. Make us men. In Jesus' name, amen.

God bless you guys. Let's go!