Who Can Find A Virtuous MAN?
On Mother’s Day we took time to examine the transforming passage for women, Proverbs 31:10-31 (read). At that time I promised to focus on men on Father’s Day. Therefore, as promised, let’s think together through the Scriptures regarding male leadership in the home.
While the culture around us continues to destroy masculinity, manhood, marriage, and the family, let the true churches of Jesus Christ, who obey His Word, ask and answer this question, though it is not asked specifically in this passage, but assumed and taught in many others, Who can find a virtuous MAN? Men of our time are at a crossroads. Will we serve God and be genuine men or will we follow the culture around us as it commits suicide? This culture will persecute real men but real men do not fear the sword or their responsibilities. Let us be those men!
The godly father should be honored because when he fulfills his responsibilities he raises the level of life for everyone around him. If he is attempting to live out the biblical pattern for manhood, his is a role of life-long, sacrificial, loving leadership with the aim of presenting everyone around him mature in Christ at the judgment seat of God. What are the character and benefits of godly male leadership in the home?
His Leadership is Guided by a Christ-centered Submission to Scripture.
The primary motivation for the godly father’s leadership is a humble desire to love God and keep His commandments (Eccl. 12:13-14). His devotion is guided by seeking an accurate understanding of God’s Word. Every Christian father has a responsibility to learn what the Bible teaches with the purpose of obeying. This is one of the primary applications of 1 Corinthians 14:33–35.
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,  the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.  If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. (ESV)
1 Corinthians 14:33-35 forbids women, contrary to Rick Warren’s words at the recent Southern Baptist Convention, to be the Pastor-teacher of the church. The office of Pastor/Elder/Bishop/Deacon may only be performed by a biblically qualified man. It does NOT mean that women cannot say hello in the lobby or ask a question in a small group. She is to be under the teaching authority of her Pastors and her husband. In other words, Paul is placing the responsibility for the leadership of the home squarely on the husband/father. This is not a privilege; it is a duty and the wives are to encourage this by seeking their husband’s counsel.
We see this again in the classic text regarding the covenant home in Deuteronomy chapter 6.Deuteronomy 6:1–9 “Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it,  that you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.  Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.  “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
The fathers of Israel are here tasked by the LORD to love Him and learn His Word so that they may teach their sons to love God and obey the Scriptures. This is why your personal walk with Christ is paramount to rearing your children. You cannot train your children to have character that you do not possess first. Fathers and mothers are the keys to faithfulness in the next generation (Ex. 20:12). Do not look to the Sunday School teacher, the kids' worship leader, or the Youth Ministry to bring your children up in the nurture and instruction of the gospel. The church is here to help but the duty is yours as parents and fathers. We bear the greatest responsibility. Let us, as men of God, love God supremely and learn Scripture accurately.
His Leadership is Characterized by Love.
The secondary motivation behind our fatherly leadership is manly, sacrificial love. This second motivation grows from our humble obedience to the first motivation, obedience to the Scripture. Every Christian father should make it his life-mission to love God and learn the Scriptures first, and to love his wife and children secondarily. Consider Ephesians 5:23-33.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,  that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,  because we are members of his body.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (ESV)
In verse 25 the husband/wife relationship is compared to Christ’s marriage to the Church, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” What can we learn about loving biblically from this text?
It is marital love, Husbands love your wives. God is the author of marriage, not the government. Marriage is right because God ordained it. When challenged, Jesus told the Pharisees,
He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,  and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (ESV) Matthew 19:4-6
Marriage is the mandate for eligible men and women to come together for life and intimacy. God forbids cohabitation, i.e., living together. Culture may allow and even approve of it but God does not. God calls men to covenant with their wives in the holy bonds of matrimony. A husband’s love is expressed by his oath before God and man in the form of a covenant. We should never minimize this. THIS is how love is expressed before God. One man and one woman for life. Homosexual relationships are NEVER marriage before God.
It is monogamous love, Husbands love your…We are to love our own wives until death part us.
It is manly love. As Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. Paul refers, in the past tense, to Jesus’ death on the cross as giving Himself for His bride the Church. Men, this is the kind of love we are to have and to show for our wives. The Greek word is agape’. This is often called the sacrificial love because it is love that gives itself for the one loved. This word calls us to action. Love is an act not just a feeling. Our popular culture tells us that love is an emotion but the Word of God teaches that love is an action. Christ loved the Church, thus He gave His life for her. Wives remember, men of God love in deed more than word (1 John 3:18).
It is mandatory love, love…The Apostle’s words call us to obedience. This is a commandment, “Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her.” Men this is part of our walk with God, to love our wives and children with patience, nurture, and instruction. In another place, he tells us to love our wives and “to not be bitter against them” Scripture is not commanding legalistic obedience here. Instead, we are called to allow God to fill our hearts with godly love for our spouse and our children. Feelings may have brought us to the covenant of marriage but it is loyalty to the covenant that will sustain the feelings for a lifetime. Again, the word agape’ carries the idea of ‘unconditional love.’ We should pray that God gives us love as our Savior has for His Church. Our marital relationship is the garden in which our children grow. Take care of it and many of our fathering problems with go away.
His Leadership Benefits Everyone.
“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.  And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
The Puritan Richard Baxter is known for his tireless work restoring the Christian families of his parish through training fathers. This is what he said about trying to build our churches without building our fathers and homes. “If we suffer the neglect of this [building up fathers], we undo all. What are like to do ourselves to the reforming of a congregation, if all the work be cast on us alone, and masters of families [fathers] will let fall that necessary duty of their own…If any good be begun by the ministry [ministers of the gospel] in any soul in a family, a careless, prayerless, world family is like to stifle it, or very much hinder it….” The Reformed Pastor
He provides leadership for his family.
- He led his family in the right direction. Like Noah and Abraham, Joshua’s primary objective as a father was to lead his household to God. His goal wasn’t to provide the best education, to acquire wealth, or to be a success, but it was to bring his family to God.
- He led his family as a unit. We observe in Scripture that when it came to the family, the rule was NOT every man for himself. Instead, families were households. Decisions were made and actions were taken corporately. The biblical family is a unit, not a military unit, a family unit. The over-emphasis of individuality is destructive to families. Let us lead our families to bond and believe so as to obey the gospel.
- He led his family by example. In this instance, Joshua was making a real stand for God in the midst of thousands of his fellow Israelites. He had been one of the spies that gave a faith-filled report to Moses when all others except Caleb were filled with fear. Joshua had humbly served Moses the man of God even when the people were ready to kill Moses. Men, Joshua is an excellent example for us in these evil times. He boldly stated, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Who decides for your household?
He provides leadership for his wife. When we combine the teaching of Ephesians 5:23-33 with the Apostle Peter’s instructions here in 1 Peter 3:7, we can briefly summarize the husband's leadership to his wife in six ways.
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (ESV) 1 Peter 3:7
- He provides for her.
- He protects her.
- He purifies her.
- He treasures her.
- He cares for her.
- He respects her.
We have not mentioned the godly man’s role in the ministry of the church or in the workplace. The standard that God has set is high. It is only attainable through Christ, as we walk closely with Him through prayer and the Word. It is easy to see that the Christian father who takes his role seriously has a tremendous task ahead. Where there are men who are working toward being godly husbands and fathers there ought to be support, respect, and honor given.
Wives and children, I plead with you, do not honor movie stars who are fictitious heroes. Children, do not look up to famous rock pop stars, athletes, or actors. These have given nothing for your gain. They will never work for your good. They rarely serve your God. Look much closer to finding your hero. He is often a silent hero who is consistently present, providing, and protecting you. He is called dad.
Rise Up Men Of God!
Love You All,