A Godly Man

Bible Book: Hebrews  11 : 24-29
Subject: Men, Godly; Faith; Commitment; Family; Fathers

A Godly Man

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com
Introduction

Hebrews 11:24-29:

"24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them. 29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned."

A college professor was teaching his students about a certain man in history who ended up with no country to call his own. He asked the question, "What could be sadder than a man without a country?" A young lady in his class piped up and said, “A country without a man in it would be far worse!"

Apparently the college lady did not want to live in a country without a man in it, for surely she was on the lookout for one of her own. But it is serious for a country to have a shortage of real men - godly men. We need in our churches men of integrity, men of faith - in others words, men of God. I am aware that the principles I am about to present to you can apply to any and all believers, but today I want to apply them very specifically to the men in the congregation.

You need to know that God is looking for some dedicated men in every generation. Ezekiel wrote the following in Ezekiel 22:30 to his generation:

"I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.”

What a sad statement. That must never be said in our day - certainly it should not be said in this church. This applies doubly so for dads, for we carry an incredible responsibly for generational faith. No, we can't make our children follow the Lord, for that is a personal decision for every individual; however, we can do our best to give our children an example of godly manhood.

I want us consider a man who made the right decision when came to following God's will and way. We are looking today at Moses, as recorded in the passage I read from Hebrews 11. Let us observe some things that set Moses apart as a man of God.

First, note ...

I. The Choice or What He Left Behind

When one chooses to serve God, he or she must leave some things behind. It is a sad reality today that so many people want to claim Christ but seek to live while keeping one foot firmly set in the world. Christ did not say, "Choose me," He rather said, "Follow me!"

Moses made a choice and he opted to follow God above all else. Those who refuse the Lord are making a choice, just as those who embrace the Lord are making a choice. There is no neutral ground when it comes to making a decision for or against Christ. To fail to follow Him is to reject Him.

Moses made his choice for the Lord and that meant he had to leave some things behind him. You see, it is impossible to proclaim faith in your life and then live as if that faith means nothing in your behavior, choices and attitude.

Credit Card Christians - The Lord will never be accepted a credit card Christian life. You know what I mean by that, don’t you? We do not think about a credit card until we need it. When the moment comes that we need to pay for a purchase, we reach for the credit card without thought. The other day I was buying gasoline at a service station, or at least I was trying to. I reached for my wallet and was shocked to discover the card I normally use was missing. I use that card for almost everything, because I get points for every purchase. Since I pay it off every month without every paying interest, I enjoy using it. The card was not in my wallet. I had another card and slipped it into the payment slot on the gas pump so I wouldn’t have to go inside the convenience store to pay for the purchase. But, it was a bit of a shock that the card was missing. Sadly many people treat the Lord like a credit card, which means they think little of Him until they need something that only He can supply. To choose to fully trust the Lord means to put Him first all the time. We must never stick Him in our back pocket till the tough times come and we really need Him.

Consider what Moses left behind when he made his choice to trust and serve God? We see this in Hebrews 11:24-26.

Moses had become the child of Pharaoh’s daughter because she had found him in a basket by the Nile River. Though he was a Hebrew, Moses grew up in the Egyptian court with all the privileges that went with his position. When he grew up, however, he refused to remain at home in the court of the Pharaoh.

Now let's stop for a moment and recall some figurative language in the Bible. Figuratively, in the Bible Egypt is a symbol or type that signifies the world. Pharaoh was a type that signified Satan. What did Moses give up when he left the Pharaoh’s palace? He turned his back on the world, the flesh and the devil. He did this in three specific areas which are mentioned in our text today.

A. He left behind him the Egyptian Position

Moses likely would have become the highest official or one of the highest officials in all of Egypt, if he had simply stayed right where he was in Egypt. Understand than there is nothing wrong with a noble position, if that is God’s plan for you. I would rather be a preacher than president of the United States, because being a preacher is what God called me to do. I would rather be your pastor than president of General Motors making $15 million dollars a year. I really would! Why? Because it is God’s will for me. Anywhere else would be misery for me, because I would be out of God's will for my life. There is no place happier and more fulfilling for a child of God than to be in the center of God’s will in your life. That is why missionaries go off to far away places, make meager salaries, often live in danger and find results very difficult to achieve. Yet they do that anyway - because it is the only place to be truly fulfilled and happy - in the center of God's will.

I read some time ago about a missionary who was offered a lucrative job with a large company. Because the missionary had been in a country where the corporation seeking to hire him needed someone who knew the language, habits and nature of the people, they were willing to pay the missionary many times what he was being paid to serve God. He turned down the job. He was asked by a company official, “Is the salary not big enough?” The missionary answered, “It is not that your salary is too small, it’s that your job is not big enough.” Serving God is always bigger than any offer the world can make. Of course, if it is God's will for you be serve in some position of distinction, some place where your income is especially large, then that is where you will find a way to serve God, give to God and honor God. It is not the position you have but rather whether you are totally committed to God's will wherever He places you.

Don't misunderstand what I'm saying. It may be God's will for you to be in a position of leadership, of influence and great wealth. If so, use that place for Christ. Honor Him. Give to Him. Stand for Him. Always the issue for the Christian is the will and work of God. Use your skills for the Lord. But also, always be open to God's leadership in some new adventure He has for you. Hold to nothing in this world that keeps you from God's leadership in your life and family.

Moses left behind the position he might have occupied in order to be in the position God had ordained for him. We need men of God like that today in our churches and homes. We need men in high places who are unashamed to stand for Christ. We have men in this church who do that - we need many more who will do that. God is calling you as surely as He called Moses. He can use you where you are, but only if you are willing to leave behind the world's demands to be faithful to the Lord.

We see also that ...

B. He left behind him the Egyptian Pleasures

The lavish court life in Egypt was surely not equaled in all the earth at that time. Whatever pleasure Moses sought he could have experienced in his lofty position in Egypt. We are told in our text that he refused to enjoy the pleasure of sin for a season, but rather chose to suffer with God’s people.

Now, be assured that there is pleasure in sin, but that pleasure is only for a season. Sin begins in springtime, blossoms in summer, but then the cold winds of autumn turn to winter. The price for the pleasure comes in like a frigid winter blast. Judgment arrives!

The hymn writer wrote,

“For thee all the pleasures of sin I resign.”

Some well-meaning editor changed it to read,

“For thee all the follies of sin I resign.”

Indeed, sin is a folly more than a pleasure, for the folly reveals the foolishness of sin in due season.

Some years ago there was a woman lion tamer who kissed one of the lions as part of her act. She had performed this feat numerous times without mishap, but on one occasion while on stage in Baltimore, the beast for some unexplainable reason became angry and bit her causing her face to be severely disfigured. Sin is exactly like that! We can trifle and play around with it for some period of time with no apparent harmful effects. In fact, dabbling with forbidden practices and flirting with danger holds a special kind of fascination and thrill. But then, just when we relax and seem to be getting away with iniquity, the very thing we've been toying with turns on us without warning and in some instances can literally destroy us. Moses chose to avoid the matter altogether. He chose to serve God!

How different are the pleasures that Jesus give His followers. Look at Psalm 16:11 ...

“Thou wilt show me the path of life

 in thy presence is fullness of joy

 at they right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”

The pleasures that God gives are forevermore. When you know the Lord you are happier when you are unhappy than when you used to be happy as a lost person. No, I didn’t make a mistake saying that. The happiness of the Lord is better in misery than the happiness of sin at its best moment, for sorrow always follows sin.

Moses not only left behind him the Egyptian position, but note also that …

C. He left behind him the Egyptian Possessions

We are told in our text that he esteemed the reproach of Christ as greater than the treasures in Egypt. Now some of us have seen a few of the artifacts than were discovered in King Tut’s tomb. I stood in the Cairo Museum in Egypt and beheld the gold chariot that King Tut used. Other artifacts were there that startled the eye. His solid gold-lined coffin is majestic indeed. All this multiplied many times over were at his feet each and every day. Moses lived in the court of the Pharaoh where this kind of wealth was normal but he chose to leave that behind him in order to know the riches that were before him in His life for God.

Moses wanted something that moths, rust and thieves could not destroy. Just think of all the treasures of Egypt that were stolen by thieves from the mammoth tombs of the pharaohs. Most of the pyramids and graves of deceased Egyptian leaders were once filled with gold and jewels, yet when modern archeologists finally got into the inner chambers of those tombs they found them empty. Thieves had slipped in and taken almost everything. Moses was wise to put his hope in something that thieves cannot steal - he put his faith in God.

The poet penned the words:

“To get his wealth, he spent his health,

And then, with strength and main,

He turned around and spent his wealth

To get his health again. “

Many men are spending their energy on possessions which cannot satisfy and may very well be destroying the more important matters in their lives.

Douglas MacArthur II, nephew of the famous World War II general, served in the State Department when John Foster Dulles was Secretary of State. One evening Mr. Dulles called MacArthur at his home.  His wife answered the phone and explained that her husband was not there. Not recognizing who the caller was, she angrily complained, "MacArthur is where MacArthur always is, weekdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and nights - in that office!" Within minutes Dulles had MacArthur on the phone. He gave him this terse order: "Go home at once, boy. Your home front is crumbling!"

Those same words might well be directed to many husbands and fathers today. Spending their time in pursuit of other interests, they neglect their wives and children. Although they provide financial security, they fail to give the loving attention their families so desperately need and deserve from them.

How rich are you? Add up everything you have that money cannot buy and death cannot take away and that is how rich you really are! Moses knew the value of things and he knew that the things of God are far more valuable than the things of earth. The Bible says, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver.” Having silver is not the problem, but loving it so much that it takes you for God's will in your life, home and church is shameful and destructive.

So, first we see The Choice and What He Left Behind, but now let's consider ...

II. The Cost or What He Loved Within

Anything you love has a cost attached to obtaining it and also a cost to maintaining it. When you truly love something, you gladly pay the cost required. Moses loved God and God’s people. He was willing to pay the price required to honor that love. Moses took his stand with a despised people, a people whom the world looked down upon.

What caused Moses to identify with God’s people and leave behind the courtly world he had known? Love! He loved God so much he was willing to suffer reproach, disgrace and suffering for His sake.

 Consider Jesus. He was subjected to ridicule, to slander, to blasphemy and ultimately He was nailed to a cross. So how do you think that you can be a Christian and expect the world to love you? No one can be a true Christian without the world looking down upon you at times. The reproach of the cross is something every true believer must bear.

This requires …

A. Identification

Look at 2 Timothy 3:12 ...

“All that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

For example, maybe you can’t get that promotion at your work place because you don’t want to drink with the boys. Maybe you can’t get that better job because you will not go along with unethical practices in your company. That is the price we pay in order to honor the God who gave His Son for us.

Believe me, if you live for Christ some people are going to look down on you. Look at Philippians 1:29 ...

“Not only to believe on Him but also to suffer for His sake.”

Moses knew that suffering was a part of serving God. Read Hebrews 13:12ff. Here we see that Jesus suffered and we are called to go after Him and bear His reproach. That is part of what it means to be a man after God’s own heart.

Also, look at the ...

B. Intimidation

The world will seek to intimidate you and silence you as a Christian. This may come from almost any direction. Satan will use whatever is at his disposal to keep you from selling out to Christ.

In 1827 William Booth was born in England, and years later he began the Salvation Army. He was a minister in a particular denomination but when he truly got saved he went down to work in the red-light districts of London. He ministered to the poor, wayward and hungry. Some people hated him because of it. Those lay people who worked with Booth were sometimes physically attacked by people. The church in which he held his ministerial credentials held an ecclesiastical court and told him that he was to stop the ministry he was performing in these evil and dirty districts. They told him that what he was doing was not cultured enough for the denomination to which he belonged. They asked him if he was willing to give up that work among the sinful and poor. As he stood to answer, his wife was in the balcony of the assembly. It is said that she waved her handkerchief, stood to her feet and yelled as loud as she could, “Willian, Say no, say no.” He spoke the word, “No.” His church refused him, but that is how The Salvation Army was born. Booth made a decision to suffer disrepute rather than give up serving Jesus among the most needy people in London.

Listen, dear men in this church, we must stand for the Lord amid the world’s glares and bitterness. That is what set Moses apart and that is why God used him so.

Now, note one more thing from our text today…

III. The Compensation or What He Looked Forward To

Moses wisely took the long look when making his decisions in life. The word “regard” in our text today means to do some accounting. Moses had been calculating and when he compared the wealth of heaven with the riches of Egypt he knew that the future of God’s people was greater than anything among the Pharaoh’s people.

So, what did he calcuate?

A. Moses Calculated the Temporal

Everything in this world is temporal without God – I mean it - everything in this world is passing away. It is no wonder that so many people are on drugs and use alcohol, for life seems so empty, short and meaningless when you look at it without knowing Jesus – without trusting God. All you see is passing away.

Some of you in this service today are very young – let me assure you that the body you are proud of today will one day shock you. It is all temporal. The pleasures of today will pass and be followed with pain. No, I’m not trying to depress you, rather I’m trying to get us all to do what Moses did – take the long view of life - the eternal view. Calculate what is most important. You look at yourself in the mirror and then you look at some of us old, or older, folks and you think, "I'll never look like that!" Yes, you will. In fact, you may look even worse. Seriously, everything in this world is but a passing cloud, when God is left out of the equation. It is here for a moment, and then it is gone.

Also, note that ...

B. Moses Calculated the Eternal

You see, Moses looked at the eternal nature of life. God offers something that time can’t destroy. Coming to Jesus, we come to the One who overcame the grave. He is enthroned forever and offers to all who come to Him a part in the glories of heaven that await the children of God.

Look down the long road.

Look at life through Jesus.

You will see joy.

You see fullness of pleasure forever.

You can say with Moses, “I am going God’s way, it is the only way to go!”

The flesh looks at the beginning, but faith looks at the end.

Conclusion

Men, we need to recommit our lives to living for Jesus. In order to make a difference for our families, our churches and our nation, we must turn our backs on Egypt and set our face toward obeying the Lord in all things. I pray we might be a church full of men like Moses, men who will suffer with God’s people rather merely enjoy the pleasure of sin and this world for a fleeting moment.

And let me say this to everyone - every man and woman, every boy and girl - today is the day to stop and decide or re-decide to follow Jesus. Let us do that right now.