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Serve The King- Live for a Greater Reward

Todd WagnerApr 18, 2019Dallas

Messages In This Series (6)
Serve The King- Live for a Greater Reward
Todd WagnerApr 18, 2019Dallas
Stay Humble- Think of Yourself Less
Todd WagnerApr 11, 2019Dallas
Stand Strong- Don't Give In
Todd WagnerApr 4, 2019Dallas
Speak Out- Speak the Truth in Love
Todd WagnerMar 28, 2019Dallas
Step Up- Be a Man of Action
Todd WagnerMar 21, 2019Dallas
Set The Stage- The Big Picture, The Problem
Todd WagnerMar 7, 2019Dallas

All right. It is great to be together. This is the last week. We talked about finishing strong. I hope you picked up the phone, called men this week, and said, "Let's be here. Let's be about it." But we are not about being here. We are here to strengthen each other's hearts, to remind each other of things that are true, to increase our thanksgiving to God that I'm not alone in this world, and to, ultimately, be about it. That's what we want.

I would ask you as we start, who is thankful you have been a part of this these last eight weeks? Not individually. I'm asking, would your wife raise her hand? Would your coworkers raise their hands? Would your community raise their hands? Would your kids raise their hands? Would your dog wag his tail? Is somebody glad you have been here being reminded of what it means to be a godly man?

If all we do is come in here and talk about it, about what we should be as God's men, and there has not been in us a sense of a life-givingness to others, then we're clouds without rain, springs without water. We are hearers of the Word who deceive ourselves. I want you to know my heart in the midst of this is that our time together has legs. It is encouraging to me that you guys are going, "I'm glad I've been here," and to just be reminded to be around other guys who go, "This is what we do. This is who we are." We're going to get after it.

We are on the fifth attribute of what it means to be a godly man. This one is a catchall. If you're like, "I can't believe he didn't mention this thing," then I'm going to cover it this week. We talked about how godly men step up. They lead, initiate. They're men of action. They assume it's their moment. It's their responsibility. They hate apathy. They reject passivity. That was week one.

Then we talked about how godly men will speak out, because they know it's their responsibility to not be a reed shaken by the wind, but to be individuals who are going to show there's not a curse in the land because God hasn't removed the prophet. We said silence in the midst of sin is a sin, so we're going to be courageous. We're going to speak the truth in love, and fear God, not men.

We talked about the fact that when we do that, we're not going to be surprised that we're going to be challenged, attacked, or criticized, but we're not going to give in. We will stand firm or stand strong. Then we have to realize we can't do any of these things if we're not humble, if we're not vessels which God lives in and works through.

We're going to get to the last one this week, and it's…Serve the King. We want to be men who seek first his kingdom, his glory, his righteousness, his purposes, if you will. We're going to be men who hope, ultimately, in the eternal, and we're going to live for a greater reward. That's what men do. They know who they are. Part of humility is knowing who your King is.

Last week, as we were speaking about staying humble, we talked about the fact that there are lots of guys who accept the story of Jesus. They're okay with the idea of a cross, even the concept of a resurrection, and even their own sin. There are guys who will go, "Yeah, I know I'm not perfect. If God is perfect, then I'm separated from him. God seems to have done something in the context of history that has changed the world. Apart from this sacrifice, that was he himself, in the person of his Son, dying for me, I wouldn't have a chance. I need a Savior. Jesus is my Savior."

They'll say that. They'll know the story. They'll check the box. They'll go, "I'm not a Muslim. I'm not a Buddhist. I'm not a Hindu. I'm not an atheist. I'm not agnostic." They would check the Christian box, but they are not men who follow him as Lord. One of the things that marks you as a man of God is you are a man of action. You serve. That is a do verb, because a verb is an action, right? Serve is something you do.

Listen. We want to be mighty men. If you want to, open your Bible up to 2 Samuel, chapter 23. We're not going to read all of it because there's a list here of about 37 names. This is where, in 2 Samuel, chapter 23, verse 8, you're going to find a list of what are called David's mighty men. They are not actors. They are not theologians in word only. They are mighty men because they were mighty in deed. They were mighty in what they had done. They didn't just sit there and wave palm branches. They picked up their crosses, and they followed their king.

Remember, we're in the middle of resurrection week, when we're having this study together. It's the middle of the Passion Week of Christ. You have to remember, all of Israel said, "BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!""Hosanna! The Lord saves! Jesus, you're the one." They laid their coats down, and they threw a parade for him. But they went on about their business, and when push came to shove, they denied him. I'm not talking about the disciples. I'm talking about the nation.

Giving lip service to Jesus does not make you a servant of Jesus. It makes you somebody who gives lip service to Jesus. What makes you a mighty man are these things (look at verse 8): "These are the names of the mighty men whom David had…" What we want to be is mighty men of God. We want to be guys who live for him. That's what the mighty men did. Watch this. I'll pick out a few things there in verse 8.

There's a guy whose nickname was Adino the Eznite. Sounds like he's right out of Northern Italy, and he was part of the gang. You know what I mean? It says, "…because of eight hundred slain by him at one time." Then you have, in verse 9, "…Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there to battle and the men of Israel had withdrawn." I put men in quote there. "He arose and struck the Philistines until his hand was weary and clung to the sword…"

Then we get down to another guy who is described, Agee a Hararite. In verse 12 it says, "But he took his stand in the midst of the plot…" A field of full of lentils. When everybody else fled again, he stood, and he did. He "…struck the Philistines…" Then it goes on. Let's go down to verse 18. This is a guy named Abishai. "Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief of the thirty. And he swung his spear against three hundred and killed them…"

In verse 20, "Then Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done mighty deeds…" By the way, notice, son of, son of, son of. Faithful. Faithful. Faithful. My prayer is, because we've done this, there are going to be generations of godly men who come out of your loins, your discipleship, your heritage.

Look at this brother. It says, "He also went down and killed a lion in the middle of a pit on a snowy day." How is that for a resume? He jumped down into a pit and killed a lion on a snowy day. I like that little detail. Not only that, "He killed an Egyptian, an impressive man. Now the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, but he went down to him with a club and snatched the spear from the Egyptian's hand and killed him with his own spear."

Listen, you read 2 Samuel 23, and what you'll see is these are men of action who didn't just say they loved the king. They didn't just sing songs about their love for the king. They served the king. I want to ask you this. I'm going to say it now. I'm going to say it again at the end…What is different? What in your life is different because you say, "I'm going to be God's man"? Who has noticed?

By the way, one of the worst things we can do is tell everybody we're going to be a mighty man. No. What you're going to find out is these guys were mighty men because they did mighty things. Everybody goes, "You must be one of David's mighty men." Why? Because you're doing things that advance the purposes of the king. That's what makes you God's man. It's not that I want to be God's man. It's not that I'm talking about being God's man. It's that I am God's man.

I say this all the time. When I'm talking to guys about the discipline of self-leadership and about being about it, I ask guys three questions. Here's the first question: Do you want to be a godly man? I don't find very many guys who go, "No. I'm not sure. I don't think so. I want to be about me and live for fleeting things and face judgment." I don't find many guys who stick their chin out that way. Right?

When I ask guys, "Do you want to be a godly man?" They go, "Yes." Then I ask the second question. "Well, does God want you to be a godly man?" They go, "Well, of course." Then I ask the third question. "Are you a godly man?" If you go, "Yes. Yes," and then you say, "No," the reason you say no to the third question is because you answered the first question incorrectly.

You are never going to desire God's will more than he desires his will for you. The Lord is ready to strongly support those whose hearts are completely his. There is nothing that is keeping you from being God's man from his side. It's always ours. Lip service doesn't make us godly men. What makes us godly men is that we do. It frustrates me to no end that sometimes I go, "You know, I just want to be a guy… I mean, I want to be a Christian. I want to accept who Jesus wants me to be and just live in the grace of God. I don't want to do, do, do, do, do."

I'm like, "Man, I don't think you understand grace." Grace compels us to respond. That's exactly what Paul said. "For the love of Christ controls us…" Grace is God's riches at Christ's expense. Grace is when God give us something we don't deserve. What God gives us is a chance to be conscripted into his family. We are traitors. We are self-willed men.

We are men who deserve to be executed by the righteous King, but he has said, "If you'll acknowledge you have betrayed me, if you'll acknowledge there's no life apart from me, if you'll acknowledge that the mighty angels of God are going to go from the east to the west and bring every man to his knees and bring him to a place of judgment, that you know you're a part of those men who have betrayed me, that you ask for mercy, you see my provision for you, and you know that I love you and want to restore you to the man you should be, then you're in."

When you see God has done that, he says, "Let's go to work. Then be my man. No longer be a slave to self and unrighteousness." This is what we do. We are saved, made men of God, part of his family. We are saved by grace through faith alone, but I'm going to tell you something, guys. The faith which saves is never alone. It's never alone. It's always accompanied by works.

This is exactly what James is saying. James isn't saying you're justified by your works, but that your faith is justified… In other words, it's proved as genuine faith by the fact that you go on being about what you say you're about. Do you understand that? Paul says we're saved by grace through faith alone. James says the faith which is alone is a dead faith. He's not saying you have to do things to be saved. He's saying if you're saved, you'll do things.

Not to earn God's love. As I've said, ad nauseam to my friends, it's not performance-based acceptance. It's acceptance-based. I accept the reality about myself, the truth about God, and his love for me, and so I will live for him. I'll become his mighty man. What do mighty men do? They jump down into a pit, and they take on lions on snowy days. They take on impressive men.

This week, there was a study that was released by folks who look at these things, by a guy named George Barna, who studies them. You may or may not have heard about this study. Some folks up in New York at Fox News called and asked if I would jump online and have a discussion about some of these facts. Here are a few of the facts:

Sixty-nine percent of pastors apparently feel pressured about whether or not they should speak on controversial issues. Fifty percent of those pastors worry about offending somebody, so they don't speak about issues that may be offensive to their people. Ed Henry, on this little segment I was on, said, "Pastor Wagner, do you feel pressure?" My response to him was, "Well, I don't really care what I feel. The question is who am I, and what am I responsible to do?"

The Scripture says in 2 Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 20 (I told him this), "…we are ambassadors for Christ…" In other words, I serve my King. It's "…as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God," and walk with him. What I would tell pastors is if you're going to feel pressure, feel it from your King. Feel it from the one whom you are here to serve and represent. That's where you should feel pressure, because that's the one who is going to hold you into account.

Let me ask you, guys. Do you feel pressure from the Philistines? Because if you don't, it's probably because the Philistines go, "Well, that's not a problem. That guy will either stay silent and let us do whatever we're going to do, or he's fighting with us." We are going to be, and have to be if we're going to be godly men, doers of the Word.

Our God is a God of action. He's not passive. He demonstrates his love. He seeks. He saves. He sacrifices. He rescues. He restores. He gives. He is a life-giving Spirit. Let me ask you again. Guys, what's different? What have you done? One of the worst things we can do is say, "We're going to be godly men," and then not be those godly men. I would not tell you to start marching around saying, "I'm going to be a godly man." I would just be a godly man. I would tell people, and I would be unashamed of who my King is.

We did a Summit in 2007, and I was actually looking at an email this week. It was from a member of our body. His name was Truby McDougal. One of the things I challenged men in 2007 with is, "Could you be convicted…?" I didn't use the words of being a mighty man of God. "Do people at your office know who your King is? Are you just a do-gooder?"

By the way, I'm not a big fan of random acts of kindness. Mighty men don't do random acts of kindness. Mighty men always serve their King. Everything they do is informed by their love for their King. They're not afraid to tell people, "Hey, listen. The reason I do this is because I love Jesus."

When people say, "Man, that really encouraged me today," I love to tell people, "I'm so glad because do you know what? God loves you, and God wants you to be encouraged. I'm his servant, and so what you're seeing in me that encourages you, if it's good, it's of God. Every good and perfect gift comes from above. You need to know something about me. People didn't used to say that I encouraged them. People used to shun me and walk away from me, because I was destructive and selfish. I'm so glad you see in me the kindness God wants you to see, because I'm his."

How hard is that? I'm not a mighty man. I am his mighty man. Truby heard me ask if people at his office would know he's a mighty man. In fact, would they convict him of being a mighty man of Jesus if there were a trial? He heard me ask that question. He went down (he worked at an architectural firm), and he shot an email out. He said, "Hey, I have to ask you a question. Do you guys know who I am? If there were a trial and you guys were called as witnesses, would your testimony convict me of being a mighty man of God?"

He said that turned into all kinds of conversations. He said most of them were fluff, polite conversations. "Oh, no. You're a good guy. I've never heard you cuss. Now that I think about it, you don't drink." Those are not things that, in the end of themselves, define someone as a mighty man. He said, "There were a lot of cultural complements I got." There were a few guys who responded. One guy sat him down and said, "You know what? I could neither testify that you are or that you're not. I just don't know."

Do you think people knew that Adino the Eznite was a mighty man? Do you think they knew who he served? Do you think he was okay with Philistines having his picture up somewhere saying, "Look, if we're going to continue to maraud, rape, and intimidate, we have to deal with Adino the Eznite, because that brother is about it. Adino loves his king"?

Let me remind you about David. David was not about David. David was about another King. That's why when we started this whole thing. In the first week, we talked about stepping up. David gave his inaugural address: "I will… I will… I will… I will… I will… I shall… I will… I will…" He was a man of action.

David really didn't care what happened to him as a result of defending the name of God. There were a lot of giants who mocked his God. Everybody else fled, and David stepped up and said, "For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?" People were going, "He's a big, nine-foot tall Philistine, David." David said, "I don't care, because I'm a servant of the King. If that's what God brings before me, I'm going to take it on." That's what mighty men do. When you do, you're going to be attacked, and you're going to be criticized.

We love our King, Jesus, because he was a God who serves us. Right? This is Mark 10:45. "For even the Son of Man did not come to be…" Sung to. To have parades. To look for palm branches. He didn't come so guys would gather once a week and sing tribute songs to him. The Son of Man came, the Scripture says, not "…to be served, but to serve, and…" To lay his life down. "…to give His life a ransom for many."

Do you remember what I said to you the very first week we started this entire thing? What made Jesus so great? Jesus is a King worth serving because he was a life-giving Spirit. He didn't take from you. He gave to you. He was a man of action. Do you remember what I said you loved about Jesus the very first week?

What makes you love Jesus? What makes you respect Jesus? It had nothing to do with his athletic accomplishment, his sexual conquest of women, or his financial success. What made you love Jesus, what makes the world love Jesus, is he didn't come to be served but to serve and be a man of action.

When you do that, you can be sure it's not going to always go well with you. We've had this conversation many times. In 1 Peter, chapter 2, verses 21-23, Jesus knew this. If you're going to do this effectively, if you're going to love your wife when she doesn't seem lovable, if you're going to say no to yourself and serve your kids, it's going to feel like there's an eternal death and eternal persecution, and there is.

Dying is not easy work. God isn't looking for us as men just to stand up one time and give public testimony while they put a bullet through our heads. That takes courage, for sure, but honestly, it's a lot easier than living day by day in faithfulness, following Jesus, taking up your cross, and following him, especially in the midst of our prosperity. I've talked to a lot of guys in countries where there's a lot of persecution. I go, "I want you to know we're praying for you, and I'm impressed with the way you're standing firm."

They go, "Don't be impressed. I have no other option but to cling to Jesus. What I'm impressed by, Todd, is in your prosperity and in your freedom, you seek Jesus as radically as we do. We pray for you. We marvel at your faith, that you live, not in the midst of pending death and suffering… We see the fleetingness of this world. We're ready to go home. But we see you living in prosperity and freedom, and we still see you disciplining yourself for the purpose of godliness. We marvel at your faith."

Here's my question. Would they marvel at your faith if they saw you, or would they just see you sing fight songs to your King but really be about yourself? Jesus didn't just give lip service to God. He was about it. This is the verse, in 1 Peter, chapter 2, verse 21. "For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps." I've mentioned it a bunch, that there are only two times in Scripture where it says specifically, "Jesus did this as an example."

One of them is in John 13 when he picked up the towel, and he washed his disciples' feet. He said, "This is not about you. This is about caring for others, clothing yourself in humility. I'm doing this as an example for you. This isn't the place where you exalt yourself. It's my job to exalt you. It's your job to humble yourself." "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time," God said through Jesus. "Be a servant."

The other time is when he says, "Suffer," because you can be sure the Philistines won't like it when you serve your King. It says, "…Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps." Well, what were the steps you should follow in? Here we go. "…WHO COMMITTED NO SIN…" and that's not your job. That's why you need a Savior. Your job is, when you commit sin, to acknowledge it is sin, to deal with it, confess it, repent of it, forsake it, make amends, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace.

Jesus, "…WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH…" In other words, he wasn't duplicitous. He wasn't saying one thing and doing another. It says in verse 23, "…and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats…"

Watch this. This is what great servants do. They know who the King is. "…but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously." See guys, this is what you have to figure out. Who is the king? Who is really the king? Our King has told us, "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you…"

I'm not going to go too far in this, because it's my entire message this weekend, as we talk about what Easter really suggests, what Easter should produce, and why we live a certain way. I'll give you a little bit of a preview. As believers, this is our hell. Jesus says, "Don't be surprised at hell. You're at war." "No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life…"

You're not here to establish a business and to further your renown and your comfort. You are at war against the Philistines. The war we fight is not one where we're taking captive the flesh of men but the souls of men. Our instruments of war are love, taking captive every thought, and standing up against speculations and false ideas against who God is and what the purpose and meaning of life is about, and we're bringing them into subjection of who Christ is.

We live as if we know what the purpose of life is. In other words, we serve. We don't look for more comfort. We don't try and become men through athletic accomplishment, sexual conquest, or financial success. In fact, if God gives us financial success, we further his kingdom, not our comfort. We know we're here to make a difference and not a living. When we live, and if God blesses us, we thank him for the Kevlar-reinforced Humvee and we use it at war, not to drive around the suburbs with the music turned up.

This is what the Scripture says here in Revelation 22. It's the way the whole book closes, when he is telling us, "Look, I'm the King." "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega…" Right? This whole series, if I had to title it, would be Eco Homo. Behold the Man. Jesus says, "I am the Alpha Dog. I start this thing, I end this thing, and I'm looking for good men."

Good men aren't good because they put together a resume of good deeds. They're good because they know God is good, and they affiliate with him in humility. They acknowledge their sin. They ask him to clothe them in his righteousness. They ask him to reshape their hearts and to strengthen their souls. Then they are about it, and they decrease so he would increase. It's not their spirit which makes them strong. It's God's Spirit they yield to. They know he's the beginning and the last.

It says, "Blessed are those…" Watch this. You have to do this first, men. "Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life…" We are brought into the presence of God…not according to deeds which we have done in righteousness, not because of things we do…because of what he has done.

We enter the gates of the city because of what Christ has done for us, but because of what he has done for us, we do everything we can for him. We are not surprised that while we are in a world that is led by Philistines, we will be reviled, and we will suffer. But our hope is in the eternal. We live for a greater reward.

Let me ask you, do you remember this guy? I put his picture up the very first week in the introductory week. Ehud. Do you remember Ehud? He's been dead now for about eight weeks. He was a billionaire diamond trader. He died tragically in France about eight weeks ago trying to get his unit enlarged, because he didn't know what a man was.

I didn't tell you that the first week, but what he said the very first week was the only time he felt big… He had what they call a Napoleon complex. He was small in stature. It was his money, his financial accomplishments, and the way women responded to him that made him feel like a man. When he couldn't find women around to make him feel like a man, every day he would go to his accountant, several times a day, and go, "Tell me how much money I have. Tell me how much money I have." Then he would smile and feel good.

He's been dead for eight weeks. He hasn't been sitting here with us learning this. Let me ask you a question. What have you done for the King that Ehud hasn't done the last eight weeks? What have you done because you're here, you say you know the King, and you're not going to give yourself to fleeting things? What's different in the world because you didn't die getting your penis enlarged eight weeks ago?

What women go, "I think I trust men more than I used to," because they ran up against you? What children go, "There must be a God who lives, because my dad changed"? What individuals at your office go, "You know what? There's a different sort of dignity around here, and strength, kindness, love, character, and integrity. If there is a God, there's a different God-honoring here," because you have been in their offices? What neighbors go, "You know what? I'm so glad I live in this neighborhood, because God apparently put his man on this street for me"?

Guys, I'm telling you, if we are not about it, if we're just playing church here, then we're not serving our King. A call to be a Christian is a call to be a man of action, a Christ-follower. Don't be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you. Don't be surprised that it's difficult to die to yourself. Of course, it's difficult to die to yourself. That's what dying is.

I just made some notes. Men, to be God's man, to be a great man, you must share the life of Christ, which is suffering for the glory of others and serving for the good of others. That doesn't make us godly men. It's because we're godly men that we do these things. "Todd, what have you done today to give life to another person, as opposed to add life to yourself?"

Are you a mighty man? Where's the pit? Where's the lion you have dove in and taken on? Where is the impressive Egyptian you stripped of his spear, because you spoke words of truth with kindness? Did you work for more comfort for you, so you could create, or did you live to create more comfort for others? Did you speak to give life to others or to protect other people, or did you use your strength to intimidate other people? Did people rejoice because they were under your authority, or did you use your authority to keep people under you?

Every second of Christ's earthly life was a death for him, yet every minute of his offering up of himself and submitting to his Father's will was a source of life for others. He models what it means to die to self to give others life. He models what it is to be a nontoxic life-giving man. Offering your life for others is not the end of yourself. It is the beginning of who you were created to be.

Apart from him, you can do nothing. With him, you can live in a way that is glorious and God-exalting. Giving up your life to follow Jesus is not the end of everything. It's just the end of self. When a man forgets himself, he usually does something everybody else remembers. I want to remind you that the greatest leaders don't tell other people what to do and then don't do it themselves.

We serve a King who we're going to celebrate tomorrow, who gave his life for us so that we who were Philistines could be grafted in as his mighty men. He didn't then make us his mighty men so we could wave palm branches and sing. He is refortifying us, revivifying us, and he is letting us participate with him as if he himself were entreating others through us. He didn't just want your vote. He's going to make you an ambassador. He wants to make you mighty men, so others love the King because the King's men love them.

Guys, God saves us from our death and judgment, but I want you to know he does then provide for you. Not just the greatest life to come, but the greatest life there is. When you read 2 Samuel 23, you go, "I want to be one of those guys. I want to know who the true King is, the one who is going to ultimately win. I want to serve with him. I want to learn to wield the sword. I want to stand firm and not retreat when everybody runs away. I want to have a breastplate on of righteousness and not flee when the wicked pursue me.

I want to have the helmet of salvation on. I know exactly what it is God has done for me, and who I am. I'm going to lift up the shield of faith through which I put out the flaming darts of the Enemy. I'm going to wield the sword of the Spirit. I'm going to take down mighty fortresses which are lifted up against the throne and the kindness of God. I'm going to go to war. I'm not going to entangle myself in the affairs of everyday life. I'm going to serve. I'm not just going to sing. I'm going to serve."

This is the way we started the very first week. It was the commencement address of David, who was a servant of the King. He said, "I will sing of lovingkindness and justice, to You, O LORD, I will sing praises." Now watch what it says in verse 2. This is Psalm 101. He says , "I will give heed to the blameless way. […] I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart." Then tucked in between those two things it says, "When will You come to me?"

"When will You come to me?" In other words, David was ready because he says, "I will give heed to the blameless way." Because he says, "I will walk with integrity." "When will You come to me?" "I am ready, because I'm serving the King." Jesus tells parable after parable about this. "Hey, when the King comes, make sure you're doing what the King wants you to do, because it will go well with you." "For God is not [unkind] so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints."

This is what righteous and faithful men do: They give heed to the blameless way. They walk within their house in the integrity of their hearts, and they are ready, when their King comes back, to be caught at war. The war against flesh, the war against the ways of this world, and the war against the enemies of God. The powers. The principalities. The spiritual forces of darkness. So, guys, serve the King. Live for the greater reward. Hope in the eternal. Seek his kingdom, his righteousness, and his glory. Let's be about it.

Father, I pray for these men, that they would be ready, that they would say, "Lord, come," because I'm not lying there trying to make my penis bigger. I have girded up my loins. I am running, and I am speaking to them all you have commanded me. I'm not going to be dismayed, Father, because I don't want to be dismayed by you, my King. Father, would you keep us from being men who just give lip service to you, who wave palm branches and then walk away and worship ourselves?

Father, as we go right now to meet as men, would you have us look at each other and go, "Hey, what's different? Where have we stood against evil when everybody else fled? What have I done to train my fingers for battle so I could serve my King more? Where's the platoon I am committed to walking with and serving with, so I don't go fight alone? Where's the discipline in my life, so I might please the one who has enlisted me as a soldier?"

Father, thank you for the dignity and purpose you have given us. Thank you that you've clothed us in your righteousness alone but help us to rightly respond to that righteousness. Help us to be men. May women and children rejoice because men have shown up. May evil be put on its heels and run. May our King be loved.

We thank you that you're going to come one day, and you're going to find every bit of darkness in every corner we couldn't get to. Help us to get to it in every way that would give you glory. Help us not fear the battle. Help us not mind the reviling. Help us to not get weak when people utter threats, but, Lord, make us men who keep entrusting ourselves to the one who judges rightly and live for that greater reward. I thank you for this army of men who want to be about it with me. By your grace, may we do that now. In Christ's name, amen.