The Need for Male Leadership in the Home

What are the male figures like on our favorite TV shows?

What about on movies?

Why does it seem like men are almost always portrayed as distant and passive or as fumbling idiots?

I think it is because the writers know what will connect with the audience–an aloof, selfish, disinterested, male character will connect with the viewers.

STATISTICS REGARDING THE IMPORTANCE OF MALE LEADERSHIP

This ongoing trend is called “The Decline of Fatherhood and the Male Identity Crisis” by to Psychology Today. In their study, the lack of male leadership in the home is partially responsible for many of the problems in our society.

  • “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy, and criminality, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics.
    • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census;
    • 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes according to a study by the Center for Disease Control;
    • Daughters of single mothers are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, 111% more likely to have children as teenagers, 164% more likely to have a premarital birth and 92% more likely to dissolve their own marriages.
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes according to the National Principals Association Report on the State of  High Schools;
  • Children from low-income, two-parent families outperform students from high-income, single-parent homes. Almost twice as many high achievers come from two-parent homes as one-parent homes according to a study by the Charles F. Kettering Foundation.
  • In a longitudinal study of 1,197 fourth-grade students, researchers observed “greater levels of aggression in boys from mother-only households than from boys in mother-father households,” according to a study published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology”

THE GOSPEL AND MANHOOD

Not just the fabric of society hangs on this, but the ability to understand God’s love can either be helped or hurt by a male role model. 

Ephesians 5:25b-27, 29 “… 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. … For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,”

The gospel story from Ephesians 5 tells us that Christ came to this earth and gave himself—not just his stuff—for us. He sacrificed everything to be punished for our sins. This great act of initiative, sacrifice, and love cleanses us from our sins and brings us close to himself.

The hope of the gospel is that, although we have been scarred, wrinkled, beaten, and spotted by sin, Jesus Christ can cleanse us and make brilliant and majestic. No matter what we have done, through Christ’s sacrifice, we can know that we are accepted and loved by God. He cherishes us as something unique and precious to him.

It is no mistake that people who have been burned by a man—through abuse, through unfaithfulness, through aloofness—struggle to understand these points of the gospel.

“You mean, God is interested in me?”

“You mean he is faithful in his love?”

“You mean he loves me for my good, not to use me?”

“You mean he sacrifices for me?”

“You mean God is more than a sleeping angry powerful force that I don’t want to wake up?”

“You mean he is consistent with me?”

“You mean he loves me?”

Those without a male role model, or with a bad one, struggle to understand that God loves instead of uses, sacrifices instead of demanding service, and pursues our good instead of his hobbies.

On the other side, a loving, sacrificial male role model can profoundly impact a family. When my father was a teenager, my grandparents started to save up money to buy him a record player (for those born after 1985, it’s kinda’ like a big iPod). During a rebellious phase, my dad snuck into my grandparents’ bedroom and stole some of the money so he could buy drugs and alcohol for a party with friends. When my grandparents found out, they were heartbroken because my dad had abused their love for him. My dad still remembers how disappointed and sad my grandpa was when he found out.

The next day, my grandpa came home from work with a brand new record player under his arm. This sacrificial act of faithful love helped my dad to understand more about God’s faithful love for him. Within a few years, he asked God to forgive his sins and trusted in Christ as his Savior. Shortly after that, he decided to become a pastor and has now spent over 30 years sharing God’s love with others.

CONCLUSION

Our society desperately needs good male role models, and our families desperately need to understand God’s sacrificial love for them. Husbands play a vital role not only in America, but also in God’s plan to illustrate his love for mankind.

The story of God’s love is not just another way to show us (Husbands) how we don’t measure up; the gospel forgives us for our failures as husbands. It reminds us that, through faith in Christ, we are absolutely loved and accepted by God. We need to experience God’s precious love for ourselves every day and then share that proactive, sacrificial love with our families.

Answering Common Objections to Jesus’ Resurrection

The vast majority of Americans believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In 2014, one poll indicated that 69% of Americans believe that Jesus rose from the dead. In a similar polls in 2013 and 2012, 64% and 77% believed that Jesus rose from the dead.

These polls lack specificity about whether people believed this event was a physical or spiritual event, but these statistics show that the vast majority of Americans are still influenced by the Easter story.

REASONS TO BELIEVE JESUS’ RESURRECTION HISTORICALLY, PHYSICALLY HAPPENED

1 Corinthians 15:1-8 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

  1. 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 records 15 specific witnesses and a crowd of about 500 people who saw Jesus post-resurrection. At the time of the writing, he appeals to them because they were still alive and could give eye witness accounts. This should be counted as a verifiable event with so many witnesses.
  2. Jesus’ body was buried in the same place that the church would start only a few months later. If the disciples were lying, it would be easy to prove them wrong and go to the tomb to show Jesus’ dead, decaying body.
  3. The gospel records that women were the first to see Jesus. In this time, a woman’s testimony would not be admissible in court. This shows that the disciples were not trying to cleverly concoct a story about Jesus that wasn’t true, but they were simply recording a timeline of events.
  4. Jesus physically ate, talked to, touched, and walked with his disciples over an extended period of time. This was not a few seconds of bigfoot walking in the trees. This was multiple encounters in various contexts with multiple disciples for various amounts of time.
  5. A group of mostly religious Jews were willing to change their tradition of worshiping on Saturday to a Sunday-the day on which Jesus was raised from the dead.
  6. 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 was a creed, or a traditional doctrinal statement that had been passed to Paul. This idea predates Paul and the gospels, dating it to about 30-33 AD, or 2-5 years after Jesus ascended to heaven.

COMMON THEORIES THAT OBJECT TO A CHRIST’S HISTORICAL, BODILY RESURRECTION

Objection #1: Jesus’ Resurrection was a hoax and a lie.

From the very beginning, the religious rulers were concerned that the disciples would try to fake Jesus’ resurrection. They knew it was a possibility because they remembered that Jesus predicted he would rise again. Therefore, they went to Pilate and requested special provisions be made to keep Jesus in the tomb.

Matthew 27:62-66 “The next day, which followed the preparation day, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, ‘sir, we remember that while this deceiver was still alive, He said, ‘After three day I will rise again.’ Therefore give orders that the tomb be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, His disciples may come, steal Him, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead.’ Then the last deception will be worse than the first.’ ‘You have a guard of soldiers,’ Pilate told them, ‘Go and make it as secure as you know how.’ Then they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting the guard.”

The disappearance of his body would question the Roman authority and would challenge the Jewish leader’s religious authority. Both parties wanted to make sure that Jesus stayed in that tomb. Because they were worried that a great deception would take place by the disciples, they guarded it.

In order to protect it, Roman Guards stood by the tomb until the third day. A 3000-4000 pound stone was rolled into a divot right in front of the opening. There was probably also some kind of mortar seal on the stone and cave mouth to seal the stink in.

According to this theory, untrained disciples would have had to organize and overcome the best-trained guards in the world, break the mortar, roll the huge stone away, and disappear with the body without being seen.

The lie that the disciples stole the body was started immediately after Jesus’ resurrection by the chief priests.

Matthew 28:11-15 “As they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. After the priests had assembled with the elders and agreed on a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money and told them. ‘Say this, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole Him while we were sleeping; If this reaches the governor’s ears, we will deal with him and keep you out of trouble.’ So they took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been spread among the Jewish people to this day.”

Even if they were able to steal the body, one fact still does not make sense: liars do not make martyrs. Liars are cowards. A liar will abandon his lies as soon as his lies do not serve him. Why would the disciples steal the body of Jesus, create this lie about the resurrection, and die terrible deaths for something they knew was a lie? When faced with torture and death, wouldn’t at least one of the disciples have told the truth in order to save his life?

Objection #2: Jesus was never actually dead.

According to this theory, Jesus was whipped, beaten, hung on a cross, and stabbed through his heart without dying. Then he was cleaned, wrapped in linens, anointed with spices, and buried in a dark tomb with a boulder covering the opening. Having never died, he woke up, rolled the 3000-4000 pound stone away from his tomb, snuck by  the guards, and convinced all of his disciples that he had come back to life from the grave.

The beatings that Jesus endured would have been enough to kill almost any man. At the very least, he would have been dehydrated and ridiculously weak. He would have had very little blood and infected wounds all over his body. Even if he survived his crucifixion, he would have had years of recovery time. He could not have been able to convince the disciples that he rose from the dead. The disciples would have seen right through his lie.

Considering all that Jesus’ body went through, it does not seem reasonable to think that he survived.

Objection #3: Jesus being alive again was merely a hallucination of the disciples.

This theory basically says that all of the disciples started having hallucinations and visions of their teacher being alive again. This was the result of the great stress and depression that they had because of their teacher’s death.

This objection cannot be true because it is impossible for groups of people to have hallucinations together. Individuals may have hallucinations, but groups do not have hallucinations of the same thing. According to records, Jesus appeared to large groups of people at a time: two Disciples on the road to Emmaus, Mary and Mary Magdalene, 10 apostles, Thomas and other apostles, seven apostles, all the apostles, and 500 people at one time. The fact that he appeared to many crowds on multiple occasions denies the possibility of this objection against the resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:6 “Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time, most of whom remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.”

Objection #4: Jesus’ resurrection was spiritual thing, not a physical thing.

This theory says that Jesus’ spirit came back and appeared to the disciples. He was a ghost or apparition, but did not physically come back to life.

If you look at what Jesus did after he came back to life, then you start to realize this theory can’t be true. After Jesus rose again, he did physical activities that required having a body. He ate, cooked, and had Thomas touch the scars in his hands and side.

Luke 24:41-43 “But while they still could not believe because of their joy and were amazed, He asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ So they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.” 

In fact, some of the original apostles (who ended up recording Jesus’ life and resurrection) had trouble believing Jesus was physically raised. Some of them thought he was a ghost. In response, Jesus had all of the disciples touch his healed wounds in order to prove to them that he physically came back to life.

Luke 24:36-40 “As they were saying these things, He Himself stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace to you!’ But they were startled and terrified and though they were seeing a ghost. ‘Why are you troubled?’ He asked them. ‘And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself! Touch Me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ Having said this, He showed them His hands and feet.”

The transparency of the disciples concerning their doubts about the bodily resurrection of Jesus indicates their sincerity and honesty in their testimony.

Objection #5: Christ ‘lives’ in my heart, much the same way the memory of lost love ones live in our hearts.

Christ was physically there with them as a group. He ate and drank with them. They physically touched him. The disciples could not do these things as a group with a memory.

Objection #6: Jesus was an alien.

Yah. It’s a real theory. I am not even going to give this one the dignity of a response.

Conclusion

If the majority of Americans believe that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, and if all of the historical evidence points to the physical, historical resurrection of Jesus Christ, then why isn’t this more important?

In other words, if someone claimed to be God, claimed that he would die as punishment for our sins, claimed that he would come back to life three days later, and fulfilled all of those claims, doesn’t that verify his message? Shouldn’t we submit ourselves to him, believe that he died to save us, and follow his commands?

Part two of this study will look at the some of the implications of Jesus’ physical, historical resurrection.

Pastor Josh Byers from our sister church Willow Creek Baptist Church put together this handy picture with proofs for the resurrection.

Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?

Other information and resources

 

Statistical Trends of American Marriages

So why focus on marriage? I probably don’t have to tell you that marriage is a hot button topic in our culture, but just so you understand the trends in America, I want to give you a few statistics from a fascinating survey conducted by TIME and the Pew Research Center.

  • In 1960, 68% of all twenty somethings were married. Today just 26% are. There is a continuing trend in younger generations away from the idea of marriage, leading some researchers to question how many of today’s youth will ever get married.
  • Almost 4 in 10 people say that marriage is becoming obsolete.
  • 44% of all adults say that they have cohabited at some point in their lives, and 64% of those say that they thought of this living arrangement as a step towards marriage.
  • In 1969, 68% of people said that premarital sex was wrong, but today 60% of people say that premarital sex is not wrong.
  • In 50 years, marriages have dropped in every race, but in minority groups it has been most pronounced:
    • in Whites, from 74% to 56%
    • in Hispanics from 72% to 50%
    • in Blacks from 61% to 32%
  • Percentage of women giving birth in 2008 who were unmarried
    • 72% of Blacks
    • 53% of Hispanic
    • 29% of Whites
  • Kids raised in these households were often raised by one parent:
    • 52% of Blacks
    • 18% of Whites
    • 27% of Hispanics
  • Divorce rates have actually gone done over the past 20 years, but America continues to have one of the highest divorce rates in the world at 3.7 divorces per 1000 people.

So why focus on marriage? Because of two serious problems: 1) Americans are disenchanted with marriage, largely because nearly everyone has been touched by divorce, separation, abuse, tense homes, boredom with romance, adultery, and a thousand other common problems, and 2) Americans have never been more idealistic of what “true love” and romance should bring them.

All you need to do is watch any romantic movie or read any love story and you see this distortion. Our culture today has taught us that love should be easy, should sweep us off our feet, should right all of our problems, should make the world a better place, should finally make us feel secure, should help us to fulfill all of our future goals, should keep us completely satisfied passionately and romantically, and should make us better people.

So, not only are Americans disenchanted with marriage because of all the problems it brings, but they also have ridiculously high expectations for true love and marriage. They are both overly pessimistic and optimistic at the same time! They are conflicted with their heart’s idealistic hopes for romance and the cold harsh reality of crumbling marriages all around them. No wonder why there are trends away from marriage in America!

This series of sermons and blog posts are meant to give hope, but not an overly idealistic hope. God intends for marriage to be so much more than the mundane, fight-infested, struggles of every day. And yet, at the same time, God never intended for marriage to complete you, save you, heal you, secure you, give you hope, and bring heaven to earth.

Marriage is a gift from God to enjoy. Companionship, romance, sex, friendship, love, respect, and intimacy are all good gifts from God, but they are a poor substitute for God.

This is the first in a series of posts about marriage. Each of these posts piggyback off of our current sermon series on marriage. Some of these posts will be extremely practical “how-to” marriage posts, others will be deep-thinking theological ideas that provide a solid foundation for marriage, and others will simply be informative. Sometimes, marriages need some extra help. Feel free to contact us to set up an appointment for free marital counseling.