The Portrait of a Godly Man
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scriptures: Joshua 24:14-15
Sunday 29th May 2016
As we round up this series of family-focused messages today, let me share with you the second part of last week's message. Today's message is titled 'The Portrait of a Godly Man'.
Our foundation scriptures taken from Joshua 24:14-15 reads: "So fear the LORD and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD alone. But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD" (NLT).
From this scripture, we can deduce that Joshua took a stand to follow God, and assumed his positional duties at home, and in the nation of Israel. He was decisive, unambiguous and intentional about where he was leading his family. The phrase 'As for Me and my family' from our foundational scripture could imply the following points: Godly choice, Discipleship and training, Fatherhood, Leadership, Love, Purposefulness, Responsibility and the fear of God. These eight interpretations define the qualities of a godly man. Let's take a close look at these points today.
(1) Godly Choice: Joshua's godly choice to follow and serve God also included his entire family. This was simply an extension of Joshua's relationship with God. In the same way, our choices today as men inevitably impact our families positively or negatively. The bible refers to Jesus sacrificial choice in Hebrews 12:2, 'We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honour beside God's throne' (NLT). We are called to emulate this as godly men.
(2) Discipleship: Joshua trained, nurtured and discipled his family in following God. As godly men, we have the responsibility to carve out time for devotional, bible study and prayer time as a family.
(3) Fatherhood: It has been observed that the level of fatherhood that a person experiences is directly linked to the outcome of that person's life. Our world is in dire need of fathers. Fatherlessness is the most destructive trend of this generation, way beyond gang crime, drug addiction, corruption and other social ills in society today. Our nation's prisons are filled with inmates directly as a result of this. Once fatherlessness is properly addressed and reversed, we can unreservedly successfully address other social deficiencies in society. Abraham was known to God as a man who nurtured his family. Here is Genesis 18:18-19, "For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised." As godly men, our responsibility as fathers must include directing our families to keep the way of the Lord. A father's roles include protecting, providing for and promoting the family. It also includes assuming the role of the priest and prophet over the family. A father's presence and love is also known and constant in the home.
(4) Leadership: As godly men, our roles as leaders at home, in church and in the community are a vital one. In initiating leadership, especially in our homes, we follow the biblical model of manhood outlined in scriptures. Here is 1 Corinthians 11:2-3; 'I am so glad that you always keep me in your thoughts, and that you are following the teachings I passed on to you. But there is one thing I want you to know: The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God'. Right from the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, God entrusted the home and the garden into Adam's leadership. Here is the reason why if things go wrong in the home, men should be held accountable. Hence, God called Adam to question when things when out of place in the garden, although Eve ate the forbidden fruit first (Genesis 3:12). When God spoke to Adam in Genesis 3:9; 'Then the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?", it was a question requesting for his positional bearing as against his locational layout. Men's position of headship in the home is God ordained, and should reflect the leadership style of Christ. Jesus served as a leader and emphasized this in Matthew 20:25-28; 'But Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many" (NLT).
(5) Love: Joshua loved and cared for his family; it was a foreshadow of what Christ would later accomplish on earth. Christ's love for the church ultimately led him to the cross, while we were all still sinners. Many men have buried their love for their families as exemplified in the story of Jacob. Genesis 48: 7 reads; "Long ago, as I was returning from Paddan-aram, Rachel died in the land of Canaan. We were still on the way, some distance from Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). So with great sorrow I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath." Rachel was the love that Jacob once had until she died. With Rachel, Jacob buried his love. Instead of burying our love for our families, let's keep it alive. In the same way that Jesus called forth Lazarus, we must call to life our love for our loved ones, if for whatever reasons, we have buried it.
(6) Purposefulness: Joshua was a purposeful man, and had a sense of purpose throughout his lifetime. As men in the family, our drive towards our mission in life must be obvious for all to see. Besides this, our families must be clear about the inclusive goals and aims in life. So questions like, where are we going? What are the plans? Which direction are we heading? should be clear to all in the home. Joshua's visionary outlook to life informed his godly choice in the midst of an ungodly generation.
(7) Responsibility: A godly man takes responsibility in the family. This is what Joshua did. He did not leave the responsibility of his household to chance. Failure to take responsibility is dangerous. Joshua position was simply this: 'If it's going to be, it's up to me'. As men, the state of our families today is our responsibility.
(8) The fear of God: Finally, the statement "As for me and my family we will serve the Lord" implied Joshua for God. Joshua was a man that feared the Lord and chose to walk in his way. He was a man of God's presence, who esteemed God's word and made it a final authority in his life.
A man who fears the Lord, will love his wife as Christ loved the church, guide his children and train them in the way to go, model Christ to his family and generation, build an altar of prayer in his house, and serve the purpose of God throughout his lifetime.
As Godly men who have been called by God to serve our families, I encourage us all to make godly choices, disciple and train our families, be godly fathers and leaders at home, love our families, be purposeful, take responsibility and walk in the fear of God.
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