Apparently I really was sick last week and not just upset about having to preach about submission to women. Took me about four days to feel like I was able to function correctly. Interesting feedback after last weeks sermon. Men complained that they thought it was supposed to be about women and they still felt like they got hit. Women were very silent. (for the most part.) Lets press on. 

In our first sermon to men in this series we talked about the role that they are to play in the home. The question is what are you supposed to be doing as a man? According to our text for the series there are some very clear directions and guidance regarding our role and how we are to play it. 

Let me remind you again that all of this series is based on a couple or a man and woman that are committed to follow Christ. Women you will never understand godly submission if you aren't fully surrendered to Christ first. Men you will never understand submission if you aren't fully surrendered to Christ with your life. Let me give you an example of the absolute opposite attitude you should have when you step up to be a leader in your home. 

A young husband felt henpecked, and he was going to a psychiatrist about the problem. The doctor told him, "You don't have to let your wife bully you! Go home and show her you're the boss!"
The young man got home, slammed the door, shook his fist in his wife's face, and growled, "From now on, you're taking orders from ME! When I get home from work, I want my supper ON the table. I want my clothes laid out. I will be going out with the boys. You will be staying home. And another thing. Do you know who's going to tie my tie?" "Yes," she said. "The funeral director."

Step Up in Love Ephesians 5:21-33 

A Mans Top 3 Priorities 

1. Provision: We are to love our families and provide for them as Christ provided for the church. 

2. Protection: We are to protect our families the way Christ provides for the church. 

3. Nurture: We are to feed and cherish our families as Christ cherishes the church. 

There are three supporting text and I would like for you to read them with me: 

8 But those who wont care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.  1 Timothy 5:8 NLT

7 In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in Gods gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

      1 Peter 3:7 NLT

Its okay to say that women are weaker. We say it everywhere. Physical standards, golf tees, etc. We are going to look at this head on. It doesn't mean that women are not smarter (SAT scores) or that they have a better tolerance for pain then most men.  (Its a physical thing and that's all it is) Generally if you are being attacked on the street or in your home who is going to step up and defend? I rest my case. 

For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of Gods church?

                                                                                                                           1Timothy 3:5 NLT

Today we are going to answer this question: How do we Step up in love to lead our wives and families? 

How to Step Up In Love to Lead Your Wife and Family: 

  • Husbands hold primary responsibility for the financial provision of their families. 

8 But those who wont care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.  1 Timothy 5:8 NLT

Does this mean that women should never work? Absolutely not. Read Proverbs 31 and you will see that women certainly work. There are some circumstances where because of the economy or training/education the wife in some homes may be the primary source of income. This is done as a mutual choice made by the couple.  

What I am talking about today is the role that men need to play and the responsibility they are to accept and step up to. If anyone doesn't provide for, (financially) his own household, hes worse than an unbeliever according to 1 Timothy 5.  Now the structure under each of these is the role, the responsibility, and practically what it looks like or core values, so that you can use this as a guide as you develop these in your own home.  The role here in this verse is: 

The Role:  The Family CFO/Bank President  

That doesn't mean you have to get everything done.  It doesn't mean that you do everything.  It means at the end of the day, when you look at the financial issues in your home, you are morally responsible for God.  It means that you are primarily responsible for the financial health of your home, and it doesn't mean just money.  This would include things like, savings, credit to debt ratio, retirement, insurance, wills, trusts, investment and spending.  In other words, if there's this huge credit problem in your family, don't look at your wife and say, You're spending too much.  You are morally responsible to pull in the reigns and say, This is where were at financially.

The Responsibility:  Shelter, food, clothes, financial training 

What this means, by way of responsibility, is you are to provide shelter, food, clothes and financial training for you, your wife and your children.  It is a mans responsibility.  A real man says, There will be a roof over our head.  There'll be food on the table, and I will teach this family, and I will learn if I need to but with Gods help I am going to accept the responsibility.  

The Reality is that you need to step up in five areas: 

The Realities:  5 Objectives 

1. Do Honest Work      Do an honest days work 

2. Honor God First    Your family will watch and follow when you put God first. 

3. Live Within Your Means  There are a lot of people that I know that are living their life on credit cards because they have to have what everyone else has. Men stop it. I'm not going to go off on this but frankly there a lot of people missing out on the blessing of following Gods instructions about tithing because they don't know how to live within their means. 

4. Prepare for the Future   Thinking about more than just the here and now. What happens to your wife and kids if something happens to you? Are you saving anything or spending it as fast as it comes in? 

5. Train Your Children Model for your kids the importance of how to handle money. 3 jars: Giving, Saving, Spending.   10 80 10  Give the first 10/ Live on the 80/ Save the last 10. 

The Core Values: To Model and Teach

1. Work Ethic 

2. Stewardship of Money and Time 

3. Responsibility and Discipline 

4. Enjoyment and Generosity

Men, we really need to step up here and quit being so passive. As the CFO it doesn't mean you're the bank teller, it doesn't mean you need to write every check, it doesn't mean you're in charge of all the accounting department, but it means at the end of the day, where you're at financially, and the planning for the future, rest squarely, in Gods eyes, on our shoulders.  That's the job description.  Remember all of this is filtered through Ephesians 5:21 (submit to one another) 

How to Step Up In Love to Lead Your Wife and Family: 

2. Husbands hold primary responsibility for the spiritual development and protection of their families.     1 Peter 3:7; Ephesians 6:4; Deuteronomy 6:4-9 

The Role: The Family Priest Some of you are saying, What in the world does a priest do? Well we are going to explore that for a moment or two. 

The Responsibility:  Come before God on behalf of your family and come before your family on behalf of God. 

The Realities:  5 Objectives 

1. Set the Pace Personally You need to walk with God. Going to church is one thing but I am talking about taking it to another level. 

2. Know the Spiritual Condition of your wife and children  Find ways to have conversations about spiritual things. It will feel awkward at first but I remember a few times when my own kids expressed a wish that I would sometimes question them about their faith. 

3. Pray for them and with them regularly.   Step up guys and take the lead on this. Quit being passive. There is no one here that knows how uncomfortable this is more than me but I implore you to push past the discomfort. Step up and lead in this area. Talk to God like you talk to anyone else. Invite Him into your conversations. (This means more than now I lay me down to sleep. Can you imagine being in the woods with our son or hanging out with our daughter and offering a simple prayer of thanksgiving for them or a prayer of affirmation and protection? (its the priestly thing to do) (Levi and Kaley leaving the country and praying over the phone before they left Atlanta) 

4. Insure Biblical Instruction occurs at home and at church Go to the church website and click on ministries/family and you are going to find a wealth of materials that will help you lead and instruct your family. I am really baffled to be honest with you about the things we are trying to provide that people don't seem to want to hear or know. Milemarkers/ Raising a modern day Knight. Take advantage of these opportunities. Step up and lead. 

5. Make Experiencing God and Loving Each Other (not morality) your aim 

The Core Values: To Model and Teach

1. Dependency Evidenced By Prayer/Fasting 

2. Faith In God and His Word

3. A Service and Outreach Orientation 

            4. Progressive Growth In Personal Holiness:  .  

A priest in Old Testament time guarded the holiness of God.  They had to change their clothes.  They had to wash their hands.  They understood, like no one else, that God is holy.  Now men, if there's an area, I'm going to shoot it straight in it is this area.  When it comes to the dress of your children, when it comes to what goes into their minds, whether at your home or when they're out, when it comes to the friends they hang around with, when it comes to the music and the lyrics they listen to, please stop hiding your head in the sand and say, Oh, they're teenagers, and they're going through a phase and they'll come out of it okay. 

There is a time for a man, as the priest, to act like a Levite and say, This is the standard in our home.  And you will go through a season of possibly two, maybe even three years, where you're not the most popular person in your family.  You're the parent.  You're the father.  You're the priest, and you set the standards, and that means, even though youre uncomfortable, when your daughter comes at 14,15 or 16 years old wearing something totally inappropriate you say something. She wants to be accepted, and they all make these clothes that come up to here, and its really, really tight there, and it looks like she had to get in the bathtub to get her pants on, and its really low cut here and every man in this room knows what every other man sees when your daughter walks out looking like that.  As the husband, when you turn a blind eye or as a father, a blind eye, and say, That's sensitive, and I don't want to talk about it.  You have abrogated your responsibility.  

You say to your daughter, Honey, we don't dress like that in this home.  That causes a man to lust.  Let me explain to you what goes through a mans mind, in an appropriate way.  Is that what you're wanting to communicate?  I don't care if its in style.  

When your kids are listening to music that is vile, and negative and violent, when they spend hours on video games of people killing people.  Men, step up and say, No.  Were not doing that in this home.  We are never going to change if the television today is the outlet, like a PVC pipe of poison into the average home.  And at some point in time, some man needs to step up, put a stopper in that thing and say, Were not doing that here.

A lot of the movies they watch are not healthy for your kids.  You're going to be the priest in the home.  You're going to set standards about dress, and about attitudes and about music.  And then you're going to play with them, and you're going to engage them, and you're going to have fun, and you're going to develop alternatives, and you're going to say, You know, during the week, were not going to watch TV in the last hour before you go to bed because you cant do this on your own.  

Redeem two things and you'll make progress.  Get the meal time back, would you?  You can get 90% of your priesting done at meal time and bed time.  Turn the stupid television off and tell your family, Were going to eat together, at least a couple three times a week.  And if you have small kids before they go to bed put great things in their mind, and love them, and get down on your knees and pray with them, and be the priest of your family and don't worry about being popular. See, the issue is not do they like you next week.  The issue is in 10 years, will they like you? 

By the way guys you do this in love and not harshness. There is one more responsibility that we need to look at. 

  • Husbands hold primary responsibility for the relational health and welfare of their families. 1 Timothy 5:5; Ephesians 6:4; 1 Peter 3:7 

For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of Gods church?

                                                                                                                           1Timothy 3:5 NLT

The Role: The Family GM/Coach   Think of your family, guys.  CFO: can we get our arms around that?  Bank president, doesn't mean you do all the stuff.  It means, I'm going to make sure were on solid ground.  Okay, I'm the priest.  I'm going to make sure that what God wants done gets done.  Now I'm the GM, general manager, I'm the coach, but think of an NFL team.  Whats the super bowl?  Whats it look like to win?  Your ultimate responsibility is this; it is to manage the household in a manner that produces love, obedience and respect toward God and one another.  You want to manage the relationships.  Manage the team.  Plan, love, care, model in such a way that the kids, if you have them, or between you and your wife, experience love, respect, and obedience to God, and love and care for one another.  That's what winning the super bowl means, and you're the coach. 

Next week guys you're going to learn that we are not very good at this end of and you are going to see how women are designed to do major parts of this but they need us to step up and take the lead sometimes. 

The Responsibility: To manage the household in a manner that produces love, obedience, and respect toward God and one another. 

The Realities:  5 Objectives 

1. The marriage covenant is verbalized and celebrated  Don't be afraid to show appropriate affection in front of your family. 

2. Time is scheduled to develop marriage and family relationships  I think people under 40 get this better than some of us that are older. Make time for your family and relationships. 

  • Structure and boundaries are provided to insure family relationships take priority over outside demands   

Put your family first! I am not against sports but man we are out of control in our families. Listen to me please, chances are your kid is not going to the pros. Frankly, that's probably a good thing. They might stay off drugs and stay away from illicit relationships and five marriages! 

 Do you eat together?  Well, we cant eat together because soccer practice, baseball, practice, and ballet practice, and music lessons, and then we have this, and then we have this and then we have that.  And so families run, run, run, run, run.  

You want your kids to be great athletes?  Get them off of all these crazy teams in the early years.  Get the ball, go in the backyard, have them get their friends, and play with them.  The average youth sport activity is at least three nights a week.  Were going here, here, and here.  We never eat together.  Then you go to the game. I sit in the stands with some guy I don't know.  Here's my kids with $450.00 worth of equipment that hes got to have, and he runs and he feels all kind of pressure.  Doesn't measure up, compares himself with everyone, cries if he strikes out or misses a foul shot or drops a pass and then he comes home.  I spent no time with him, and then we hurry off to something else. 

Along with that, he may have a crazy coach and people in the stands screaming if he does poorly.  Just what every 7, 8, 9 year old really needs to develop a healthy self-concept.  Structure your life so family matters most.  

4. Communication is built into the fabric and rhythm of the family schedule 

The most valuable, deep conversations you'll ever have with your kids are not, Okay.  Its dads time.  Were going to be deep and share your heart.  Are you ready?  One, two, three, go.  You know where it happens?  It happens when you're available and they're available. It might be in a game of horse, it might be a game on the floor, it might be laying across the bed, and out of the blue they'll say, You know, dad.  The teacher said something in school, and one of my friends was telling me something.  Could you tell me what it means to . . . .  And they will use a word and you'll go, Oh.  I wondered when this was coming.  And you will have time with them because you built time into the rhythm and the fabric of your schedule.

  • Consequences are exercised fairly, firmly, and lovingly among all family members 

Guy so often leave this to the wives and yet we should be just as involved as our wives in the discipline of our kids. This should always be done with love and then some more love and not anger. These are the times that try men's souls.  kids are the things that try men's souls. 

The Core Values: To Model and Teach

1. Acceptance Unconditionally 

2. Affirmation Specifically and Consistently 

3. Accountability Filled With Truth and Grace 

4. Conflict Resolution Speaking the Truth In Love

I heard a story about a train traveling through the night in a very violent rainstorm. The lightning flashes were almost blinding, the rain hitting the windows was deafening and the strong gust winds rocked the train from side to side. When the lightening flashed and lighted up the darkness, the passengers could see the rising water along the tracks. This created terror in the minds of the passengers. Several passengers noted that through all the noise, lightening and wind, one of the passengers, a little girl, seemed to be at perfect peace. The adult passengers couldn't figure out why the little girl was so calm during all this excitement. Finally, one passenger asked her, How is that you can be so calm when all the rest of us are so worried about what might or could happen? The little passenger smiled and said, My father is the engineer.

We call you today men to step up: Be godly men, love your families by leading them.