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November 16, 2023
Session 1: Five Forms of Masculine Weakness
Owen Strachan
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Entrust 2023, The War on Men: Building Biblical Masculinity within the Church, sheds light on the crucial, God-given, biblically defined role men play in society, the home, and the church. We see the detrimental effects of the absence of men retreating within society and abandoning the home. Explore the cultural and general impact of dismissing masculine traits, understand the importance of confident, courageous, and clear-headed men, and delve into the biblical teaching of masculinity.

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Transcript

Thank you very much, Philip, for that kind introduction. What a joy to be back at Kindred with the men.

Yeah.

Come on. You got to do that better. With the men.

Yeah.

All right, there we are. You don’t have to stand up and beat your chest at this point, but that’ll come later. No, in all seriousness, it’s wonderful to be here. Such a joy to speak with Pastor Philip, Pastor Mike Fabarez. Both men I love look up to and have learned much from. I count them counselors in the faith, and I’m so overjoyed to be at a conference talking about these themes, The War on Men, because I know that many men are struggling today and need help and want hope, and we’re all battling the flesh. There aren’t some men who are above other men. We’re all just the same. We’re all beggars in need of God’s grace, every last one of us.

Amen.

So that’s who we are, but we know where to go to find that help and that hope. It’s the Word of God. It’s nowhere else. It’s the Word of God, and that’s our intent for today. I knew we had a problem when I started watching my son’s 12 and under homeschool basketball team in Faulkner County, Arkansas. People have asked me, “When did you decide to write a book on manhood?” I’d wanted to write one for years. I trained under Al Mohler at Southern Seminary and learned a lot from him about manhood. That’s where I really caught a passion for the subject, but the time was not right for some time. But when I then saw how much the boys on my son’s team in particular struggled to rebound, I knew, Houston, we have a problem. Let me unpack that for you very briefly. You didn’t know we were going to talk about homeschool basketball this morning, but hey, I’m trying to give you your money’s worth.

So you would watch these boys last season, and a shot would go up, practice after practice, game after game. There would be no moving toward the ball. There would certainly be no boxing out. Boxing out, the stance where you got to hold back guys. Rebounding is not a matter of elite skill. At least much of it. Rebounding is a matter of what? Desire, action, intensity, and yet these boys, so many of them, had no instinct to be aggressive. They had no innate assertiveness. When I saw this, I thought, “That’s really where we are today.” This isn’t just a little detail about overheated athletics in central Arkansas from a guy who, as my wife rightly says, shares a lot of basketball analogies in my preaching and teaching. She’s exactly right.

No, this was a broader phenomenon in the culture. Boys have been told that they need to step back. Boys have been trained in lots of different ways that it is not a good thing for them to be aggressive, assertive, or intense. We’re going to talk about that. You’re going to hear quotations that literally tell boys and men not to live in those ways, and guess what? Many boys, young men, and men have heard the cues, the overwhelming messages from our culture, and they have taken them. They have ascent it in order to survive a society that has largely turned on them, that has, dare I say, turned on you. There really are two visions of what men should be today. The first vision, which I’m going to talk about now at length, says this, in some, men should be weak, men should be weak.

Boys, this is me talking, are naturally wired by God to want to be strong from an early age. When a boy has no strength in his arm, he’s got a puny little muscle. Four-year-old boy, six-year-old boy. What does he do? He comes up to you as a father or a mother or a grandfather or an uncle, and he says, “Feel my arm.” He’s got the tiniest, tiniest hint of strength that has dawned in that little bicep, and yet it’s a big deal to him. One of the funniest things I’ve heard is that at parenting conferences or marriage conferences, there’s a device where you tell the wife to put her hand on her husband’s arm like this, and then the speaker says, “How many men flexed when you did that, wives?” And every hand goes up. It’s an innate thing. It’s a natural instinct of men. You can’t have your wife, whom you’re trying to impress. You’re in a lifelong relationship of trying to impress this is the woman, you’ve won and now you’ve got to impress her ongoingly. You can’t not do it. You can’t not flex.

That little funny physical reality is actually telling you something about the God-given wiring of a man. He wants to be strong. He wants to, in fact, not just be strong in a proud sense. Sin corrupts this instinct, of course, but he actually wants to be strong in good ways, doesn’t he? He wants to see what Daddy is doing. He wants to track with dad’s job. He’s fascinated by how dad smells when he comes home. I remember my father in Maine coming home as a forester, a man who walked the woods of Maine for a living, and he had a unique smell just from being out in the woods and the forest, and I loved it. I remember seeing my dad’s thermos that he would put coffee in, and I would hold it when he came home because I thought it was just cool.

Just things of dad were cool because dad was strong as I saw him, six foot tall, serving our church, a man of few words, unlike his son of many words, a man who would take communion to the ladies in the nursing home when no one saw it. A man who faithfully served his church. I was driven by that to want to be strong like my father. Many of you were as well. Men, in fact, watch movies to relax where there’s a war going on, yes?

Yeah.

Women watch movies about romantic comedy to relax. Can we just put on a romantic comedy? And men, you got to work this out in marriage. How many nights are you going to watch a Romcom or a PBS masterpiece thing, All Creatures Great and Small? It’s actually a very good show, but how many nights are you going to watch that versus how many war movies can you get her to watch? Because war movies, for us, at least for many of us, are how we relax. Think about that. Think about the wiring of a man. That’s because we, on average, have 2,000% to 3,000% more testosterone than women, so to relax, we imagine that we ourselves are an epic and heroic conflict. Welcome to the world of men.

All of these things are real. All of these things are wired into us by God, and yet all of these things are opposed in different forms today. It’s not mostly you that I’m concerned about adult men, by and large, here this morning. It’s our boys. It’s our young men. You can watch what the culture is doing, and basically most of the time many of us go, “Nope.” And that’s part of what a man has to do a lot in his life. Nope, not doing that, but what about our boys? What about our young men, who don’t necessarily have that training? What about boys from broken homes? What about young men who don’t have a father? What about divorce sweeping across our society? Who’s helping those boys? You see, today, in basically every metric, men are in crisis. Men are not just struggling. Men are in crisis, and these instincts that I’ve already talked to you about, they’re being taken out of voice. They’re reaching into the wiring of a boy, and they’re changing the wiring. They’re trying to. They can’t ultimately do it, but they’re trying to.

Let’s look at five forms of masculine weakness today. Five dimensions of masculine weakness. I’m the first session. I want to help you understand the problem. We’ve got massive pastoral wisdom on deck coming in some specific areas, but I want to first talk to you about the serious problem we are in, the war on men. First, men are struggling economically. Economically, men are dropping out of the workforce in shocking numbers. In 1960, 93% of men aged 25 to 34, prime working years. 93 out of 100 men had a job, 1960. 2021, same age bracket, 25 to 34, 68 out of 100 men had a job. That is a drop off a cliff. Men, in terms of working rates, are at the same rate we were at in the Great Depression. Men are not working.

This is a major problem because work is such an important part of a man’s identity, rightly understood in a theocentric way, a God-centered way, work not as his identity. That’s a temptation. That can be an idol. But no, work is a part of his identity. Even a key part of his identity. Young men need to be trained to work. Men are made for work.

Amen.

We are made for it. As Pastor Philip alluded to, even in the introduction, in the Garden of Eden, God told Adam, pre-fall, no curse, no corruption of paradise, that he was there, Genesis 2:15, to work and guard the garden. That’s his original mandate. Boys are not made for laziness. Boys are not made for passivity. Boys are not made for entertainment. As an end unto itself, boys and young men are made for work. There is dignity in work.

Amen.

If our society gives up on that value because our society is in the long, slow process in America of going Marxist, as we’ll talk about, we are not giving up on that. We can’t give up on this. We can’t let our boys be glued to screens and not learn to work. We have to train them in this form, but many young men are not receiving this training today.

Second area of struggle today, 2023, men are struggling educationally. Men are struggling educationally. We find the same narrative that I just outlined in this area. For every one young woman who drops out of school today, college, seven young men drop out. Seven young men drop out. This is an educational, I repeat the word, crisis. It’s a crisis. It’s not like, “Ha, men have some challenges today.” I’m not here to say that to you. I’ve studied the data. I’ve written a book on it, and in my humble judgment, in the judgment of many, many others who are not Christian who don’t agree with me on all the particulars in these areas, men are flaming out.

Young men are not all called to go to college. Don’t misunderstand me, but many men are, and college helps them grow, gives them skills, and trains them up. The key point for us is that stat I just gave you. Young women are staying in school. Young men are not. Young women today are trained to be tougher than young men. It’s an inverse of the way it’s supposed to be. It’s supposed to be the case that a man is strong for his wife, not that a wife is strong for her man. There are times in a man’s life when he tears, when he tears up, when he cries. There’s an appropriate period in a man’s life for mourning. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not calling for a calloused, unemotional brand of manhood. That’s actually not biblical manhood. Biblical manhood has a place for a range of emotions.

That’s right, but what I am saying is, fundamentally, we are supposed to be the ones who live in an understanding way with our wives. We are supposed to be strong for our wives. It’s not that we never show weakness. No, it’s not that, but it is that consistently, we have to be a rock in the home for our wife and our children. We’re not the ultimate rock, but we, as a little rock, point to the much greater rock, Jesus Christ.

Amen.

That’s our calling. But fundamentally, if men are ghosting everyone, dropping out, and not keeping their commitments, we’re not in a good situation. I remember my dad saying to me, “We’re not quitting.” I wanted to quit a sport. I wanted to quit a tough team situation. There’s times when you do have to step away from something, but in this case, my dad was giving me a very valuable lesson. He said, “We’re not quitting. You’ve got to see this through. I know this is hard. I know this is not an ideal situation, but I’m going to walk with you through this and you’re going to see this out.” And we need fathers who help their boys understand these things, and we need men who are strong in the grace of God for their wife and strong and steady for their children.

Third reality, third way men are struggling today, men are struggling physically. Men are struggling physically. The grip strength of all things is of men. Adult men has declined in terms of 20 pounds of force in the last several decades. What I mean is, as I grip this beautiful leather Bible right now, this was gripped with 20 pounds more force per square inch. I’m literally making this up as I go in terms of the metrics. I don’t know a lot about force. Is that a term, force per square inch? Don’t tell me. Anyway…

No.

No? Okay, good.

No.

This is a good lesson we’re doing. 20 pounds more several decades ago than now. It’s taking boys and young men between 30 seconds and a minute more time to run a mile than it did a few decades ago. This is weird because, even with all our societal challenges, and they are many, we still are in a time of great prosperity overall, so why is it men are declining? Why is it men are struggling physically? Men don’t need to be bodybuilders, and that’s a good thing for us. We’re not all going to look like Schwarzenegger, but men should take dominion of their bodies. Listen, guys, we’re in a plastic society now. Many of us work on screens. I’m not here to say that’s bad or wrong or something, but we’re in a society, particularly as men, that encourages us to be consumers and to consume virtual things, to not build a real life, to have a virtual sex slave on our computer or our phone, to get into pornography, in other words, to not cultivate a real woman’s heart but to get into this weird fake relationship digitally.

We’re in a society that encourages us to consume and consume and consume. We don’t need to go to work. We don’t need to go to school. The government will take care of us. We don’t have to pay bills. Someone else will pay our bills. If we get into debt, someone else will forgive it. The government will forgive it, and by the way, the government itself will oversee our very lives themselves. This is an age when men are tempted to be less than men. If you’re going to make it, if your boys and young men are going to make it, you’re going to have to punch back against the spirit of the age and the power of the Holy Spirit. You’re going to need to reject the spirit of the age and a plastic, virtualized life where you build nothing, you risk nothing, you cultivate nothing, and you guard nothing.

You’ve got to swap that out, and you’ve got to embrace the biblical vision of manhood, where you do risk things, where you do build real institutions, where you invest in a marriage not just for a few years but ideally for five decades, six decades, seven decades, where you invest in a real church. You don’t just click a button and sit on a screen, and no one knows you, and you are known by no one. No, you go to a real church. Do you understand the temptation there? You go to a real church, and you don’t forsake the assembling of yourselves together. You want to invest in that church. You don’t merely show up on Sunday morning.

You actually do the really hard thing when you’re unfamiliar with a new context and you go up to someone and you say, “How could I serve? What can I do? What can I do to serve this church? It’s not good for me to just be a consumer.” You understand? There’s that theme. It’s not good to just consume. It’s not good to just be served. That’s the pull of the flesh. The challenge before all of us, not some of you, all of us, is to figure out how we can be like our savior, Jesus Christ, and serve. There is actually tremendous good, fulfillment, and joy that comes when we serve a real flesh and blood body of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

A bunch of you are Kindred members, some of you from other churches, faithful churches in the area, praise God, you’re welcome or from out of state even, but what I would say to you, if you’re a guest, I’m not throwing heat at you, but I would say find a church, a strong Bible preaching gospel loving church and then join it and then serve it. That’s really when you will feel deep meaning and satisfaction that God intends you to have in the church.

Men are tempted to be lone rangers. There’s some part of a man that wants to drop out. There’s some part of a man that wants to be self-sufficient. Clint Eastwood in the Dollars trilogy of the Dirty Harry movies, just swaggering through life quietly, admittedly, but not really connected to anyone, doing your own thing, not building anything, and, by the way, not really risking anything, but that’s not the biblical vision. The biblical vision for all of us is to join. We’re to be like Nehemiah. We’re to rise and build.

Fourth area of struggle, men are struggling in fatherless homes. Men are struggling in fatherless homes. In fact, a good number of you may not have a strong relationship with your father. It’s not a mild trend today. It’s an epidemic. One out of every three children in this country, in America, hails from a broken home. One out of every three children is from a broken home. 80% of those broken homes are single-mother homes, so what does that tell you? There’s narratives in the data, if you look closely enough. It tells you that men are disappearing. Men are not staying with their wife. Men are not staying with their family, and the ones who suffer the most in those situations, as some of you know personally, are the children. America, as a society influenced by Christianity, used to be set up to nurture, strengthen, and help kids. That’s actually how society is supposed to function. As fathers and mothers get older, their life turns, and they’re not the focus of it anymore. Really, so much of your life is ordered around the care, nurture, feeding, and watering of boys and girls.

America has shifted in an expressive, individualistic context where now our identity is not about serving others and building things, as I was just talking about. Now, our identity is expressing our true self, and kids are an afterthought. Look at what America is doing to its children. We’ve perfected the slaughter of babies in the womb. We’re letting our kids be preyed upon by leftist pagan advocates in our schools, where they are encouraged to think that they have no stable gender identity. I’m not here to say it’s a sin to have your kid in public school. That’s not what I mean. I’m a public school product. I’m lamenting what is happening in our public schools, you understand? Not in all of them, but in many of them, they’re being indoctrinated. Brothers, they’re being taken from us.

Amen.

They’re being taken from us. Now you have your own situation that you have to manage and figure out as a Christian. The Bible doesn’t answer this question once and for all in terms of educational decision. What I would just say to you, whether you do public, Christian, homeschool, or whatever, classical, is that you need to lock in, you need to take ownership of this situation. You need to shepherd your boy, shepherd your little girl. Help them wherever they are, whatever you and your wife do to school your children, and there really is freedom here, as in a lot of areas of the Christian life, I would just say you’ve got to be the one who’s taking stock there. You’ve got to lead, figuring things out, and getting a plan.

You talk with your wife. You’re not scared of her wisdom. You’re not threatened of her counsel, but you ultimately have to make that wise and godly decision as best you can. It’s no easy thing for any of us, but you have to protect your children. You have to train them in the nurture and admonition of the Christian faith. We want to be the opposite of the dad who, sometimes in very difficult circumstances, leaves. Men are targeted today in divorce courts, for example. Men do have fewer rights when there is a real breakdown in the marriage, and women definitely can and do sin against men in egregious ways, in ways that, even in my judgment, biblically allow for a divorce and a remarriage. I’m not here to blame all men for all situations. I’m just trying to say, brothers, we’re in a crisis here as well, where, forget the circumstances that the husband and wife are in, many boys and girls don’t have a dad.

If you wanted to break down a society in the most efficient way possible, here is what I would tell you to do, remove fathers from it. That is the single easiest and quickest way to destroy a society, target the church, and position children toward hell and away from heaven. Let’s be men. Let’s be men, brothers, who stay, as much as God will help us even in hard circumstances. Let’s practice forgiveness in our marriages. Let’s do all we can to live at peace with our spouse. Let’s do the hard work of communicating with our spouse, our wife, forgiving our wife, trying to understand our wife. It is less a week-long certificate program and more a lifelong PhD program that you never unenroll from.

Right.

It turns out you’re always a student in the school of women, and yet this is good. This is 1 Peter 3. There is a lot to learn. These women are fearfully and wonderfully made, and we want to understand them well, live with them in a gracious form, help them, and bless them as much as we can. When that dynamic is in place, our children will, in general, be positioned to thrive. So let’s punch back against the darkness. Let’s stay. Let’s forgive. Let’s communicate.

Hey, brothers, if your marriage isn’t in an ideal place, if you’re in a tough season, it’s okay. You are not alone. Marriage is no joke. It is probably the hardest thing most of us will ever do. It is good and right to reach out to a brother in this church or your local church or an elder or a pastor or a biblical counselor and say, “We’re stuck. We are stuck. We are not having great communication. Our kids and us, actually, my wife and I are okay. We’re not in good patterns of communication with our kids. I’m trying to lead as a godly man. This isn’t going well. We need help.” Brothers, don’t buy the lie that you are supposed to be. Self-sufficient. You are not supposed to be self-sufficient. Jesus Christ is all-sufficient.

Amen.

Jesus Christ is here to help you. Jesus Christ has to help every last one of us. If nothing other than this, Jesus Christ is the only one who can atone for our sin and get us across the line to eternity with God.

Amen.

So at the very least, you need help in that sense. Eternal help. You can’t get yourself to heaven, brothers. This isn’t a matter of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, doing better, gritting your teeth, and just getting it done. No, it’s not going to get done. Salvation is of the Lord. You need eternal, infinite, and divine help, and there is no shame in admitting that. But it’s not just a matter of the moment of conversion that you wrote in your Bible 30 years ago. It’s a matter of help all the way to the finish line. You need help. There’s no shame in it. We all need help. I need help.

I’ve had brothers speak into my life. I’ve had mentors and counselors help me through things. There have been rough patches, even that I have faced. There are sins that God has exposed in my marriage and my home. It hasn’t landed us in TMZ. Praise the Lord. There hasn’t been an international podcast series about the Strachan marriage or something like this. I give thanks to God for that. It’s only by the grace of God. Brothers, what I’m trying to say to you is, I need help. I need a lot of help. You know what the woman is called in Genesis 2 regarding the man? What’s she called?

Help me.

Helper. Help me. What does that say? Forget the divine element for a minute. Just in the human sense, God looks at the man and says, “Bro, you need some assistance.” And he gets it. He gets a spouse who blesses him, strengthens him, gives him good counsel and wisdom, and calls him off a little bit when the dogs are about to break out of the cage and the anger is going to get out of control. God helps the man. He helps the man in an earthly sense, and then especially God helps His people, and He doesn’t just help get you saved. He helps you all the way to the finish line.

Fifth reality, men are struggling spiritually. This is a big category. There’s lots we could say about this category. About 70% of men aged 18 to 24 view pornography on a monthly basis. I repeat myself, it’s an epidemic. Pornography use increases the marital infidelity rate astronomically. Hey, guys, you know the argument that the left still uses in the public square that says, “It doesn’t matter what anyone does in the privacy of their own home, so all you retrograde, conservative Christians just shut up because it doesn’t matter what people do and the privacy of their home, that’s up to them.” You know that argument? There’s an element of truth there. Conservatives don’t want cameras in everybody’s house. There’s something weird like that, but on the other hand, it’s a lie that your private behavior is disconnected from your public behavior. Isn’t that a lie?

Yeah.

If you are looking at porn and no one knows it, no one sees it, your life is neat and clean. Let’s even bump this up a little bit. You’re a very successful man. Let’s even say you’re the kind of man that other men look at and go, “Wow, I wish I could be like him.” If you are privately, though, using pornography, you are 300% more likely to have an affair. If you have an affair, there is an excellent chance you will blow up your marriage. If you blow up your marriage, tons of people are affected, and not for a week or a month, but probably in different forms for a lifetime. It is an utter lie from the pit of hell that your private life is disconnected from your public life.

So any men within the sound of my voice who are battling sexual temptation, we all face it. We all stumble in many ways. James 3:2, yes, we all do. We all have a sin problem, not some of us. Any men who are in those patterns, though, deep patterns I’m talking about, come to the light. Come to the light. Confess this to a brother at the break. Talk to a friend here outside at lunch. Talk to a pastor tomorrow at… Tomorrow. That’s an interesting church calendar on Friday. Okay, there you go. Show up at your church on Friday and just talk to someone.

Even better, talk to someone on Sunday about this issue. Today’s the day to leave the darkness and walk into the light, but I’m not here to tell you if you have this problem and if you’re in patterns of lust, that you are gone, that you are irredeemable, that you have canceled your Christianity. You’re in sin, and sin is serious. It’s serious, but you are not without hope. You are not beyond the reach of God. Change can happen. Redemption can happen if you’re not a Christian, and real growth can happen if you are a Christian. God loves hopeless cases. That’s all God works with.

There’s other stats that show our spiritual crisis as well. The suicide for boys and girls is the same. Suicide rate is the same until 10 years old. What a horrible stat to share. At ages 10 to 14, boys become two times more likely to commit suicide. At ages 15 to 19, young men are four times more likely to commit suicide. At ages 20 to 25, men are five times more likely to kill themselves. Here again, the data is telling a story. It’s telling us that men do believe they’re hopeless. They’re without value. If they have fallen, stumbled, and gone off the path, there’s no way back. I want you to understand, our culture actually wants to communicate this message to men. There are people out there who really do cheer the demise of men. There are people really out there who do want women to win and men to lose, and if boys and young men end up killing themselves, so be it. In fact, there are four major opponents of strong manhood in our time. Let me talk about four of them.

First opponent, modern psychology. We’ve been talking about how men are struggling. Now I want to transition very briefly and talk about why men are struggling. Why men are struggling. Here’s one. Modern psychology tells us that the following is bad. Traditional masculinity, marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, aggression, an interest in achievement, adventure, risk, and violence, all of that, the American Psychological Association, the preeminent body of psychologists in a secular sense in America, tells us is harmful, is bad. To want to be competitive, to want dominance, to be aggressive, to have an adventurous spirit, to want to achieve, this isn’t part of manhood. They just described manhood. Everything about manhood is bad in that form. Do you understand? That’s a 2019 a report. Basically, everything that men naturally do, the APA has said, is bad. Now listen, every man is a sinner. Every man is lost. We’ve talked about this already.

I don’t have to spell it out at length. Every man has a sin problem. Absolutely. So sin corrupts all the things I just talked about. It weaves its way through adventuresomeness, risk, and competitiveness. Absolutely. I’m seeing this as a coach of my son this year. Yes, I leveled up to become not just a spectator, very frustrated one on the sidelines, but a coach. So yes, I am the coach of the 7 and 0 Faulkner Falcon, but I’m the assistant coach, so I can’t… It’s a pat on the head for myself there.

According to the APA, the very wiring of a boy is bad. What we have to do is say, “Yes, boys, go off the wire. Boys get things wrong. Competitiveness will get out of hand. I’m trying to work with my son on that right now. Shepherd him. He doesn’t need me to come up to him and scream at him. He also doesn’t need me to just pat him on the shoulder and say nothing. He needs me to do the harder thing of putting my arm around him and listening to him and talk with him.” Make sense? That’s what our boys need a ton of.

The more you do of I’m learning, the more you do of arm around the shoulder, the less you have to do of yelling, the less you have to do of raising your voice. The more you’re at level three talking with your son, working through things in a patient, loving, but firm way, the less you have to go to level nine, red-faced. According to the APA, though, our boys are bad just for wanting to be competitive and aggressive. I’ve had friends tell me in New Jersey, for example, elite New Jersey circles near Princeton, that boys at recess have been asked to stop playing even touch football because it’s dangerous. It’s bad. This is where we are today. I’m sorry. You just have to laugh sometimes, don’t you? You can’t be all serious. I mean, when you study this stuff for a living, some of this is just goofy. Yeah, that’s the technological-theological term for it. Goofy.

Okay, second opponent, Marxism. I can’t spell these things out at length. I talk about them in the book, The War on Men, that you now have. Suffice it to say that Marxists hate God’s design. Marxists honestly despise manhood, womanhood, and the home. In fact, Marx and Engels called for this in the Communist manifesto itself in 1871. Abolition of the Family, that’s their phrase. The Marxists want to destroy the family. Do you understand that? That’s a very significant commitment. We’ve seen this in recent years with Black Lives Matter, its popularity. Black Lives Matter literally erased fathers from their platform. They talked about the need to support extended families and villages to the degree, quote, “that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.” What was missing from that formulation? What was missing?

Fathers.

Fathers. Thank you. Fathers are missing. What is the cornerstone of a godly home?

Fathers.

Fathers. So that’s a big deal.

Third opponent, feminism. Feminism has had a major effect. Massive transformative effect on American society. There’s a lot I could say about this as well. I will cut to the quick here. I will point you to how feminist theologians, for example, have attacked the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer, you say? Yes, the Lord’s Prayer. Here is how the Lord’s Prayer begins from scripture, Jesus’ prayer, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done.” Jesus, in prayer, addresses God the Father. This is a good and holy thing to do in prayer. That’s literally how Jesus teaches His disciples to pray.

You see, in Jesus’ mind, God the Father matters greatly. You understand the connection between eternal fatherhood, divine fatherhood, and earthly fatherhood. God, the Father is not some imaginary character, but our faith is only Christocentric. No, God the Father is a hugely important figure in the entire story of God’s people, and Jesus honors His father, and Jesus tells us He has come to obey His father, and Jesus tells us He has come to do the will of the Father, but many influences in our society, including in the church, hate God the Father, and this is really where I think a lot of these problems begin.

Here’s the revised Lord’s Prayer that feminist theologians have created, “Our mother who is within us. We celebrate your many names. Your wisdom come, your will be done unfolding from the depths within us.” How are your depths within you this morning, by the way? Some of you’re like, “The depths within me are going to necessitate the break very soon.” Anyway, did you see the Apple commercial? Did you see the Apple commercial with Mother Nature? Apple? This is not far from you out here in California. Apple still believes in a divine being. I was fascinated by this. Just a few months ago, Apple is theistic. Who knew? But it’s not God, the Father of the Bible, or Jesus, Spirit, the Trinitarian God of the Scripture, the true God. It’s Mother Nature. Mother Nature in these Apple… You can look them up. You can find them. Mother Nature is very angry about climate change. I just want you to know that.

Okay, the fourth opponent for us to talk about is wokeness. As mentioned, I’ve written a book on Christianity and wokeness. I’m not going to talk about all the particulars. I’ve talked about them here before. Our society, though, I will say this, is now oppression-obsessed. There was a video that went out of a cop in Minnesota. A woman was driving the wrong way down a street, so this is not a minor problem. People could have died because of this. It’s not a good thing to do. The cop discovered very quickly that this woman was drunk, and there was no patriarchal oppression that he was trying to push onto the woman. He was just really trying to handle the situation and move on. You got to just be so thankful for the cops and men like the cops who stay in the game in the midst of absolute madness in 2023.

Anyway, this woman told the cop that she had severe anxiety and she was from displaced peoples or something like this, and so there was generational trauma, and, I’m sorry, there are real problems in our past, but basically we all know what was going on in this situation. This woman was just trying to get out of getting a ticket and going to court, going to prison. That was a little taste of where our society is. The actual sin of driving down a road the wrong way and potentially killing people is nothing. That’s nothing. But these pretend problems that this woman was articulating, that’s everything. That’s what has happened. Right is wrong. Wrong is right now. We’re largely living in an upside-down world. To the degree you don’t live in an upside-down world, be thankful. Try to preserve that little corner of the world. Suffice it to say that nothing is worse in a woke society than strong manhood, especially strong white manhood.

I am not here to be an apologist for whiteness. That’s not my point, but that’s what woke people tell us because of those who have power, white people being the racial majority. The worst thing you can be now, according to intersectional advocates, is a straight white man. What I want to say in response very quickly before we conclude this morning is that straight white men need Jesus.

Amen.

They need Jesus, but they are not a worse form of men or humanity than anyone else. You understand that?

Yes.

There is not to be special hatred targeted at anyone based on how they look, but that is how Satan wants us to think, and that is the division Satan has brought into our society, and that division has been allowed to come into the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a travesty, and there will be pastors who answer for it on the last day. Let’s oppose such disunity and attacks of the gospel. Brothers, let’s work across the lines of skin color and background and show and demonstrate that we love all the body of Christ.

Yes.

Let’s show that we have unity in Christ, even if we have nothing in common in terms of our background. Let’s let the church shine in these evil days.

Amen.

There’s a second vision of who men should be today. “Men,” God says, “should be strong. Men should not be weak.” That’s what the culture says. That’s what I’ve been spelling out at some length, in case you didn’t notice. The Scripture goes the opposite way. The Scripture calls men to be strong. But listen, you have to rightly frame this, not to be strong in the Andrew Tate way, in the puffed-up chest way, in the exaggerated way, in the way that prays on women, in the way that goes and gets whatever you want, materialistically in the way that leaves a trail of chaos in your wake.

No, the strength that you and I are supposed to embrace and exhibit is divine strength. The strength of a godly man is a strength that originates from him, recognizing he can’t be as strong as God requires in himself. He needs nothing less than the strength of God, but then God calls him through conversion and in sanctification to ongoingly be strong, to choose strength over sinful weakness and passivity. That is biblical manly strength.

I’m going to just go rapidly. I’m almost done. You hear this call repeatedly. Let me just touch through, rip through a few texts. 1 Kings 2:2, David is dying. These are his last words to his son, Solomon. 1 Kings 2:2, what does he say? “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in His ways and keeping His statutes.” So what does masculine strength look like? Where does it start? It looks like God’s strength to hate evil and love what is good.

Amen.

It doesn’t come from you, man. This isn’t about you cleaning yourself up and looking better. This is about God working in you to humble you. You’re never stronger, it turns out, than when you’re humble before God. So you’re never stronger, men, than when you’re confessing your sin and turning away from it. Having your sin exposed is not an L. Having your sin exposed is a W. It’s a win. Because now God is humbling you. Now, God is disciplining your bad temper. Now, God is controlling your unruly tongue. Now, God is making you self-controlled. Now, God is making you disciplined where you weren’t. Now, God is making you kind, gentle, and tender with those you love, where before you were brittle, distant, and angry. This is when a man is strong.

You see this calling to be strong throughout the rest of the Bible, Joshua 1:6-7, just as Moses has departed the earth too, so here’s another young man stepping into leadership. What does God say this matters? Does God say, “Just step back, bro. Just be passive. You don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to risk anything. It’s cool. I’ve got it.” No, God says, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.” Then He repeats it. Verse 7, Joshua 1:7, “Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses, my servant, commanded you.”

By the way, quickly note the connection of carefulness before God and courage. We are not calling men to be courageous but not careful. It’s been framed that way by some very prominent voices today, but in biblical terms, the courageous man is supposed to be the careful man, by which is meant the carefulness in the text in the Bible, being anchored in the word of God, studying the word of God. Studying the word of God is not only for seminarians, pastors, or theologians. Every man in here is called to be a student of the Word of God, and when you’re careful to do what the word of God teaches by the power of God, then you can be courageous. Then you can take the stand God would have you take in this godless world.

We move ahead to the New Testament very quickly. You see the strength of the warrior savior, Jesus, the Christ, in John 2. Wicked men have made the temple, a sight of the worship of God, a financial marketplace. Jesus is good with the free market. The parable of the talents puts wind in our sails for what we call market exchange for making money, frankly. But here there’s been the corruption of worship, and so Jesus saddles up. John 2:13, “The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem and the temple. He found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons and the money changers sitting there and making a whip of cords. He drove them all out of the temple with the sheep and oxen, and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.”

This is Jesus showing us what other biblical texts have called for strength in God against evil, and that’s a huge part of godly manhood. We’re strong to choose what is good and stand for what is good. That’s positive, that’s joyful, and we are strong to stand against evil and defy Satan. That’s the strength we need. Paul speaks of this, lastly, as I close in 1 Corinthians 16:13, “Be watchful. Stand firm in the faith. Act like men. Be strong.” And don’t forget verse 14 either, “Let all that you do be done in love.”

So brothers, here is what I say to you as we close. Our culture is telling men to be weak. Our culture is saying, excuse me, that strong men are the problem. That’s toxic masculinity. Here is what I say to you, not from my own mind but from the Word of God. Strong men are not the problem. Strong men are the solution. The days are evil.

Yeah.

Brothers, will you rise? Will you stand once more? Will you put on a display powered by the grace of God, of masculine strength, such that 100, 200, 300, 400 years from now, people reading history, if Christ tarries that long, will look back and say, “Those were terrible days, and yet look at the men who stood up? Not all stars. Not the superheroes. Ordinary men of God who stood up in an evil age and heard the ancient call from a dying king.” Be strong and show yourself a man.

Amen.

Let’s pray. Father, please help us to live out that call. Help us to be strong in You. We are not strong in ourselves. We thank You for King Jesus. We thank You for the gospel. We thank You for redemption. I pray for my brothers. I pray that You will strengthen them in Christ. I pray that we will kill sin. I pray for those who are not a Christian but are thankfully here today. I pray that they will cross the line of faith by your grace, and I pray, Father, that by your power we will stand in evil days. In Jesus’ name, amen.