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Book Jacket

1594020299
Trade Paperback
72 pages
Feb 2004
Regular Baptist Press

Men at Church

by Don Shirk

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

MEN AT CHURCH . . .

KNOW HOW TO BEHAVE

This study will help you understand the significance of your role as a man at church.

MEN AT CHURCH are a rare breed. For years the statistics of our culture prove that, for the most part, it was “women at church”: women teaching Sunday School, women at prayer meeting, women serving, women in charge and men in tow. Mark it down: God loves women, and women play a vital role in church life, but a look at the bulk of Biblical evidence points to a whole lot more male church activity than what exists in many churches today. Somewhere along the line we lost that legacy.

Until now. That’s why you are working through this book. You want to be a God-made man. Perhaps you never thought of it, but God has divinely created you to be male. The bottom line? Guys are naturally drawn to guy stuff. Also, the fact that you currently are in some sort of “church” setting (such as an adult Sunday School class or Bible study) says that in some way, shape, or form, church is special to you and the things of God interest you. The bottom line? Church stuff is guy stuff. Sure, women are an essential part of God’s program in His church. But men dedicated to God are to accept and assume their God-designed place in His church. Thus, the purpose of the following lessons is to demonstrate the truth that “men at church” are the living reality of what Christ continues to build (Matthew 16:18).

They are not a mirage, but are real men.

“This Isn’t Your Father’s Oldsmobile!”

Remember the commercial that pronounced, “This isn’t your father’s Oldsmobile”? What was it saying? Besides trying to get you to buy a new car, it was saying that the times and culture had drastically changed. And now Oldsmobiles aren’t even being built! Each new generation brings drastic changes.

Consider these facts about the students who will enter college in the fall of 2004, most of whom were born in 1982:

    • We have always been able to reproduce DNA in the laboratory.

    • We have always been able to receive television signals by direct broadcast satellite.

    • There have always been ATM machines.

    • Around-the-clock coverage of congress, public affairs, weather reports, and rock videos have always been available on cable.

    • They have never heard a phone “ring.”

    • Congress has been questioning computer intrusion into individuals’ personal lives since they were born.

    • “Spam” and “cookies” are not necessarily foods.1

These facts demonstrate the changes in technology from one generation to the next. However, technology isn’t the only thing that has drastically changed. Even the very way we live has changed. Not only is the “traditional” family the exception today, but so is the traditional “church-going” family. For many men coming into the church from unchurched backgrounds, church life is about as familiar as Mars.

They lack a basic grasp of the Biblical components that comprise a genuine local New Testament church. So let’s begin with getting a handle on some needed basics about men at church.

“Men . . .”

1. How has the face of manhood changed from what it was twenty-five

    years ago? fifty years ago? ___________________________

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

2. What has contributed to this change?_____________________

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

“. . . at . . .”

3. Think of and list the various places we men spend time.

    •_________________________________________________

    •_________________________________________________

    •_________________________________________________

    •_________________________________________________

    •_________________________________________________

    •_________________________________________________

    •_________________________________________________

    •_________________________________________________

4. What do these observations reveal about our lives? ___________

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

5. What do they reflect about our priorities? _________________

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

6. What guidance do Psalm 90:12 and Romans 13:11 and 12 provide

    concerning the places where we spend our time?

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

“. . . Church”

7. What is unique about church? __________________________

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

    Note the following Biblical truths about your church:

    • It is central to God’s program today (Matthew 16:18).

    • God is building it (Matthew 16:18).

    • It is a place of hope and victory (Matthew 16:18).

    • Believers in the New Testament joined and actively participated in it (Acts 2:41, 42).

    • Men are equipped at church to accomplish God’s priorities for life (Ephesians 4:12–16).

    • Both belief and conduct matter

Unraveling the Mystery

So just what is it that men at church are to do? While many New Testament books teach truth about the local church, this study will focus primarily on three small but powerful books: 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. Commonly called the Pastoral Epistles, they are not for clergy only! Rather, these books offer a unique glimpse into real manhood in the setting of the local church.

Written by the apostle Paul, these books provide a look into the heart of a man’s man interacting with men. Paul possessed the needed balance of being both tough and tender. The Lord used Paul’s consecrated character to mentor both Timothy and Titus in the practical outworking of local church life.

Look up the following passages to discover Paul’s balance of toughness and tenderness: 1 Timothy 1:20; Titus 3:10; 1 Timothy 5:3; 2 Timothy 4:11.

8. How do we men at church need this balance in our character?

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

Behavior Basics

So why did Paul write these books? First Timothy 3:15 provides the answer: “That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (Read 1 Timothy 3:14–16.)

Needed: responsible men

In verse 15 the little word “that” reveals Paul’s purpose in writing: to strengthen Timothy in his personal responsibilities in leading the church. Paul encouraged Timothy to step up to the plate and assume the responsibility of leadership entrusted to him.

9. It is interesting to observe how many men shy away from responsibility, not only at church, but in everyday areas as well. Why do

    men have this tendency? ______________________________

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

10. What do we need to do to counter this tendency? ___________

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

Needed: knowledgeable men

Verse 15 reads, “That thou mayest know.” Paul knew that much of Timothy’s survival would depend on his knowing certain truths. This particular word “know” refers to the possession of knowledge or skill necessary to accomplish a desired goal. Paul was not speaking of mere intellectual knowledge but of hands-on knowledge of what to do in given situations in the church.

11. What do men need to know to have a working knowledge of the

    local church? _______________________________________

    _________________________________________________

12. How does the local church benefit when men are equipped with

    this understanding? __________________________________

    _________________________________________________

Needed: consistent men

First Timothy 3:15 says, in part, “that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God.” The word “behave” describes more than simple behavior, such as passing out bulletins or picking up empty communion cups. Rather it speaks of a consistent pattern of life. Local churches need men who are dependable and faithful, not up one week and down the next, here one week and gone for three, on fire for the Lord this month and in spiritual Antarctica the next.

13. How can we develop a consistent pattern of life that honors God?

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

14. In what areas do we men need a consistent pattern of life?

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

15. List the benefits to your church when men are consistent in their walk with the Lord.

    •_________________________________________________

    •_________________________________________________

    •_________________________________________________

    •_________________________________________________

    •_________________________________________________

    •_________________________________________________

Needed: church-going men

One of the well-known hymns of the faith is “Take My Life and Let It Be”; it has been rewritten by some to read, “Take my wife and let her be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee; Take my children as Thine own; As for me, I’ll stay at home!” Strong, knowledgeable, and consistent men do two things when it comes to church.

First, they do not avoid church. Demonstrating their commitment and leading their families, they show that the things of the Lord have priority; consequently, they are “in the house of God.” When the doors are open, they are there. They do not take lightly circumstances that squeeze them out of the house of God. Rather than let ting good things, such as sports and community activities, dictate their calendar, they allow the things of the Lord to take priority.

Times when they might have to miss church because of a conflict are the exception rather than the rule.

Second, when they are in church, they conduct themselves properly because they grasp three critical truths.

Truth 1: They know Who’s in charge. The local church is “the church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15). It belongs to Him. He, not the men, owns it.

16. What can happen in a church when men think it is “their”

    church? ___________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

    Truth 2: They know what’s at stake. It is “the church of the living

    God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). “Truth”

    refers to the divine revelation of the gospel and the content of the

    Christian faith.

17. Why is truth so important in church? ____________________

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

    Truth 3: They know Who to follow.

18. First Timothy 3:16 presents six descriptions of Jesus Christ. How

    do these descriptions reveal the worthiness of Christ and our need

    to follow Him exclusively? _____________________________

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

    _________________________________________________

Nothing is more exciting than men at church discovering the joy of worshiping and serving the living God! Pray that this spiritual journey will shape you (through your behavior and character) into a useful, godly man at church.