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“A Few Good Men”
As I was thinking about this Father’s Day message the movie. “A Few Good Men,” came to mind, or more specifically an exchange that happened in the courtroom scene between Jack Nickelson’s character, Colonel Nathan Jessup, and Tom Cruise’s character, Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee.
Kaffee: Colonel Jessep! Did you order the “code red?”
Judge: You don’t have to answer that question!
Jessep: I’ll answer the question. You want answers?
Keffee: I think I’m entitled to them.
Jessep: You want answers?
Keffee: I want the truth!
Jessep: You can’t handle the truth!
You don’ t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall – you need me on that wall.
We use words like “honor,” “code,” “loyalty.” We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punch line.
Now while this is not a show that I would recommend, but this memorable back and forth exchange got me thinking about what it takes to be a good man, a godly man and father.
This morning I don’t want to talk about the topics of honor, code, and loyalty, as great as they may be, but rather I want to talk about is that a godly man and father are those who lean, lead, and love.
The first thing then is that we need to learn how to lean.
But what or who do they lean upon? The answer is not hard, in fact it’s easy! It’s the Lord God and not upon our own ability or knowledge.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV)
To lean in the Hebrew means to give oneself support, and figuratively it speaks here of leaning or trusting in the Lord rather than in one’s own understanding of a situation.
To be a godly man and father means that we lean or trust in the Lord for everything in life, and we are to live this way as an example to others, especially to our children. Do they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we trust God? Do we show them this trust by the way we live your lives?
The answer, if you’re anything like me, is not all the time and that’s because of the war that’s being waged right now for our souls, as our flesh and spirit battle it out as to who is going to be in control, God or our own fleshly wants and desires.
And so, if we’re to lean upon God then what should we be leaning on Him for?
Are we trusting in God for our salvation, or are we still trying to work it out in our own understanding and power? The Apostle Paul wants to make sure that we know that our salvation isn’t in what we know or what we do, but in the Lord and in Him only.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV)
As men we are the ones who want to make it happen, and it’s hard for us to trust in anyone else. And if you don’t believe me, just ask your wives, especially when you have to get directions.
This is one of those macho image sorts of thing. I’m man I can carry that 100-pound sack, only to find that we pay for it later as we lather on our backs Ben Gay, and pop some Ibuprofen into our mouths.
The Lord speaks of our need to lean upon Him for our strength in one of the most beautiful passages of how our strength fails but God’s strength prevails.
“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:30-31 NKJV)
When we wait for God, He’ll give us the strength to endure and succeed, but when we move forward on our own, then we’ll fail and fall. And our kids will be there to witness both.
As men we suppose to be the breadwinners. You know, hunters and fishermen.
Now, in our culture today that has been tossed out the window, as two incomes are needed just to survive. And for men this is an ego thing, and if we can’t provide we become depressed and irritated and the unfortunate part is that we take it out on our family.
What we have to understand is that it all comes from the Lord. God is the one who gives us the ability to work at this or that profession. And so when it comes to providing we need to lean on God, trust in Him instead of ourselves.
“My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 NKJV)
To be those godly men and fathers we need to lean upon the Lord and He’ll give us what we need to provide for our families. What we need to do is to stop taking it out on our families and start taking it to God in prayer. This is what we need to be showing to our kids.
Besides leaning or trusting in the Lord, the second characteristic of a godly man and father is their ability to lead
To be a godly leader in both our homes and in the community, we as men need to learn how to be a servant, to be a man of integrity, and faithful.
Servant leadership is all the rage in corporate America and within today’s churches, but it really hasn’t made its ay into the home. Instead what we see are men who consider themselves the King of their castle, and everyone else is their vassal. It’s where the wife and children are there to serve them.
Wives are to cook and clean, while the children are to take out the trash and mow the lawn. Now most of you guys are probably saying, “In what universe?” But even in saying that reveals the attitude of being a ruler, not a servant.
A servant serves his family by helping to meet their needs, without sacrificing the role of being the head over the family. Being a servant leader isn’t abandoning our responsibilities of being a godly husband and father, but what it means is that we do the way Jesus tells us.
At their last dinner together Jesus tied a towel around his waist and began to wash the disciples feet. He said,
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:14-15 NIV)
Jesus never abdicated His headship, but was their leader. Notice He said, “I, your Lord and Teacher.” What He did as their Lord and Teacher was to take upon Himself the lowest position of a servant in the household by washing the disciples’ feet.
This is the first point about leading. We are to lead by serving.
It’s where we say what we mean and mean what we say. That we can be both trusted and counted upon by those we lead.
We see this sort of integrity on the part of King David. It says,
“And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.” (Psalm 78:72 NIV)
It was with such an integrious heart that God commended David saying that He was a man after His own heart, Acts 13:22.
If David had a heart after God’s heart, and if David’s heart was integrious, therefore it can be concluded that integrity needs to be an integral part of every good and godly man, husband, and father.
Integrity is one of those indispensible qualities, and it begins on the inside. It’s an inside job. Before we can lead others or our family we have to be able to lead ourselves.
In Jesus’ rebuke of the scribes and Pharisees, He told them to clean the inside of the cup if they wanted to make sure the outside was clean. He told them they had to clean on the inside. But how can we possibly wash our insides?
We wash our insides through confession and repentance.
So a godly man and father who leads with integrity is someone who is free from hypocrisy and who is honest about who they are before a wholly and righteous God. Upon seeing God the prophet Isaiah said, “Woe is me, for I am undone. I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” (Isaiah 6:5 NKJV)
A godly man and father is also someone who can lead by example and who openly and honestly confesses their faults, shortcomings, and sins and seeks to turn away from them.
And finally a leader is one who faithful.
A godly leader is one who is faithful to their calling and to God and His word.
King David was such a godly leader. It says of him
“For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep.” (Acts 13:36 NKJV)
David served God and those that He led faithfully.
The writer of Hebrews gives us two other examples of faithful leaders, Jesus Christ and Moses.
“Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.” (Hebrews 3:1-2 NKJV)
Now while there are many things a faithful person may do, faithfulness ultimately stems from belief. What the writer of Hebrews says is that they held steadfast to what they believed in, Hebrews 3:14. That is, they never waivered.
To be that faithful godly leader, we need to stop listening to the lies and start believing in the truth, and lead others to that same truth of God’s word.
To be that good man, that godly man and father we need first to lean and trust in the Lord God; then we need to lead ourselves and our families as that faithful, integrious servant. And the last characteristic is to
To be one of the few, we have to be men who love both God and others. This is actually the Great Commandment.
And while we put it as one, the Great Commandment has two parts, our need to love God and others.
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39)
First we need to love God
First and foremost a godly man and father is one that loves God above every one and every thing else. It’s where God is number one.
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)
To love God with all our heart, soul, and mind is to love the Lord with the whole of our being, with the whole of who we are.
But God is spirit the Bible says, and if we’re to love God we’re to love Him in spirit and in truth, John 4:24.
But how do we love Him in spirit and in truth? It’s by doing what He says in His word.
Jesus said, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46 NKJV)
The Apostle John said,
“If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar.” (1 John 4:20a NKJV)
Therefore, if we’re to love God we’re suppose to love others, which is exactly what Jesus gives us next, and remember, Jesus said that if we love Him we’re to do those things He said.
So what did He say? Simply, we’re to love others as our way of showing God that we love Him. Which is the second part of the Great Commandment.
“And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:39)
Going back to Jesus telling us that we’re to love and worship God in Spirit and truth, and seeing that God is spirit, how can we show Him that we love Him? Is there some practical way this can be worked out?
Yes! We show God how much we love Him by loving our neighbors as ourselves. This is what Jesus meant when He said that the second is like unto the first.
But what does it mean to love our neighbor as ourselves. This has brought a whole lot of condemnation to many because they’ve determined that they truly can’t love God they way they should because they can’t really love themselves.
But that’s not what it means. To love your neighbor as yourself means that we are to love others the same way we want to be loved. And this is the way a godly man, husband, and father is to love his family, wife, kids, and grandkids.
And so on this Father’s Day, to be one of few, the proud, the dad that God has called for us to be we must be fathers who lean upon the Lord for everything in life, letting this be an example for your children to follow.
We need to be a father who leads others, including our family and children as a faithful servant, leading out of the integrity of our hearts.
And finally we need to be a father who loves God above all else, and we do so by loving others the way we want to be loved.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study