The Importance of Praying With Your Spouse

Posted by on Mar 27, 2015 in Featured, Leadership

The Importance of Praying With Your Spouse

couple-praying

This article is a part of the new 30:1 Marriage Devotional series.

If there were one topic in all of this devotional series to write about, this one would perhaps be one of the top three. Hands down, as it’s enmeshed in all of the topics. There is no more of a time when we are brought into the right position and relationship with one another and with God, than in prayer. I have counseled many different couples who were in need of marriage reconciliation. I stressed their growth forward must contain unified, hand-holding, undivided prayer time.

God has uniquely and spiritually placed two people’s body into one flesh, and unified prayer is essential for a healthy marriage. Praying together is a form of communication. While it is right and we are to individually enter our prayer petitions and supplications, we also need to do this with one another; this is when we find out the heart and soul of the person—we hear their hurts, their joys, and their needs for wholeness. I know that the times when I am praying with my wife that we may have some similar requests to our heavenly Father, but then I will also notice some which are different or would not have thought about.

Praying for our spouses is one of the duties of being a good and faithful husband—we are supposed to be invested in our wife’s spiritual and emotional maturity and health. As I have stated to quarreling couples, when we come into the presence of God together, hand in hand, it is impossible to still hold onto our sins, grudges, and biases—the Holy Spirit will not allow it—or you will have to back away from the prayer time, which will convict your own heart.

I can vividly see the picture of the time when my wife and I were on our knees together in front of our sofa, weeping; we had submitted our goals, surrendered our needs and wants, and asked the Lord to show us His will and unified plan for our lives, for the Kingdom’s sake. It was such a beautiful moment and a defining one. I think most couples miss out on these times. While the husband and the wife have an individual prayer life, most do not have unified prayer time—this should not be.

There is power in unified prayer and especially within the spiritual union of two souls working and living as one flesh. Sometimes our individuality gets in the way of our unique combined DNA. Each married couple has a specific God-given DNA. This is why some couples are exact opposites, some are alike, or weird, or passionate, or any other attribute, but the bottom line is that the two individuals are knit together by God, as He creates an exclusive unified DNA. When this DNA prays to the Creator, I believe things change within a marriage. No longer is life about self, but about serving the Creator through a unified flesh.

This post first appeared at Men’s Daily Life and is posted here with permission.

Reflection

• When was the last time that you held hands and prayed with your wife—besides saying the blessing before a meal?

• “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” (1 Peter 3:7). This does not mean weaker in intellect, but in strength. It is obvious that most women have smaller frames. As husbands, we respect, protect, and honor our wives as companions in the journey through life.

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What is the biblical evidence for the imputation of Adam’s Sin?

Posted by on Mar 27, 2015 in Featured, Sin

What is the biblical evidence for the imputation of Adam’s Sin?
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Editors note: The purpose of this series is to help our readers understand what sin is, how serious sin is, and how great the grace of God, who offers redemption to sinners from sin and new life in Christ.

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sin-shorterThe doctrine of the imputation of Adam’s sin means that when Adam first sinned, that sin (and its blame) was rightly regarded by God to be our sin as well. John Piper writes:

The problem with the human race is not most deeply that everybody does various kinds of sins—those sins are real, they are huge and they are enough to condemn us. Paul is very concerned about them. But the deepest problem is that behind all our depravity and all our guilt and all our sinning, there is a deep mysterious connection with Adam whose sin became our sin and whose judgment became our judgment. (John Piper, “Adam, Christ, and Justification: Part 1″)

God ordains that that there be a union of some kind that makes Adam’s sin to be our sin so that our condemnation is just. (“Adam, Christ, and Justification: Part 5″)

The biblical basis for this doctrine of imputed sin is discussed thoroughly in John Piper’s five sermons on Romans 5:12-21. Here we will simply seek, to summarize, some of the primary evidence from this text.

Sin Entered the World Through One Man
First, Paul states in 5:12 that all sinned in Adam: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Paul seems to be equating the “because all sinned” with “through one man sin entered into the world.”

Sin is Not Imputed Where There is no Law
Second, in verses 13-14 Paul adds a clarification which confirms that he does indeed have the imputation of Adam’s sin in view in the phrase “because all sinned” rather than our individual sins. He states: “For until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.” In other words, Paul concedes that personal sin was prevalent in the world before Moses (“until the Law sin was in the world…”). But he adds that these personal sins were not the ultimate reason people died in that time period: “But sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam until Moses.” As Piper summarizes:

People died even though their own individual sins against the Mosaic law were not the reason for dying; they weren’t counted. Instead, the reason all died is because all sinned in Adam. Adam’s sin was imputed to them. (John Piper, “Adam, Christ, and Justification: Part 2″)

Death Reigned Even Over Those Who Did Not Sin Like Adam
Third, Paul’s statement at the end of verse 14 further clarifies that he does not have personal sins in view as the reason for human death: “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam.” Piper notes:

In other words, yes Paul concedes that there are other kinds of laws before the Mosaic Law, and yes people broke those laws, and yes, one could argue that these sins are the root cause of death and condemnation in the world. But, Paul says, there is a problem with that view, because death reigned “even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam.” There are those who died without seeing a law and choosing to sin against it.

Who are they? I think the group of people begging for an explanation is infants. Infants died. They could not understand personal revelation. They could not read the law on their hearts and choose to obey or disobey it. Yet they died. Why? Paul answers: the sin of Adam and the imputation of that sin to the human race. In other words, death reigned over all humans, even over those who did not sin against a known and understood law. Therefore, the conclusion is, to use the words of verse 18: “through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men.” (Ibid)

So the purpose of verses 13 and 14 are to clarify verse 12 in this way:

At the end of verse 12 the words, “death spread to all men, because all sinned” mean that “death spread to all because all sinned in Adam.” Death is not first and most deeply because of our own individual sinning, but because of what happened in Adam. (Ibid)

Paul’s Emphasis Upon the One Transgression
Fourth, at least five times in the following verses Paul says that death comes upon all humans because of the one sin of Adam:

Verse 15: by the transgression of the one the many died

Verse 16: the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation

Verse 17: by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one

Verse 18: through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men

We are all condemned not ultimately because of our individual sins, but because of one sin (verse 18). We die not ultimately because of personal sins, but because of Adam’s one transgression (verse 17). It is not ultimately from our personal sins that we die, but rather “by the transgression of the one the many died.” Paul states over and over again that it is because of one sin that death and condemnation belong to us all. In other words, we are connected to Adam such that his one sin is regarded as our sin and we are worthy of condemnation for it.

The Direct Statement of Verse 19
Fifth, verse 19 provides us with a direct statement of imputation:

For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

Paul here says that we are made sinners by the sin of Adam. Due to his disobedience, we are regarded as sinners. We cannot take “made sinners” here to be referring to original sin in which we become inherently sinful because it is paralleled with “made righteous.” The phrase “made righteous” in this context is referring to the great truth of justification. Justification does not concern a change in our characters, the infusion of something inherent in us. Rather, it involves a change in our standing before God. In justification, God declares us righteous because He imputes to us the righteousness of Christ–not because He makes us internally righteous (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21). Thus, when Paul says “made righteous” here, he means “imputed with righteousness” not “infused with righteousness.” Since “made sinners” is paralleled with “made righteous,” it must also be referring to imputation. Thus, Paul is saying that we are all made sinners in the sense that we are imputed with Adam’s sin.

Further Resources

John Piper, “Adam, Christ, and Justification”

John Murray, The Imputation of Adam’s Sin

John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, 5:12-21.

Douglas Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 5:12-21.

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Inheritance of Tears: Trusting the Lord of Life When Death Visits the Womb

Posted by on Mar 26, 2015 in Book Reviews, Christian Living, Featured

Inheritance of Tears: Trusting the Lord of Life When Death Visits the Womb

TEARS+COLOR+BIG+300 Why do bad things happen? Perhaps the sting of pain is most distinctly felt in the loss of a child, particularly the loss of a child through miscarriage. The cessation of that unborn life before there was the chance to break forth from the womb and for the parents to enjoy raising up their child assuredly is a heart-wrenching and devastating event. Is there good to be found in such tragedy? Is God still in control in the midst of such sorrow and grief? Jessalyn Hutto, in her powerful new book Inheritance of Tears: Trusting the Lord of Life When Death Visits the Womb, shares her experience with miscarriages and how she came to realize that in the midst of life’s storms, God is always there and remains sovereign.

The pain of miscarriage is quite evident and Jessalyn shares quite vividly the pain she experienced. I can only imagine what it must be like to have lost a child at such an early stage of pregnancy and what it must be like to come back to a church setting where it seems every other woman in the building is experiencing the joy of their baby boy or girl. This topic is something I have heard little spoken about in church, perhaps because as Jessalyn notes, most people do not know how to respond to someone who has gone through the pain of miscarriage. Perhaps this is because most do not have a good grasp on the sovereignty of God.

It is that very topic and how Jessalyn unpacks that important theological subject against the background of her own experiences that makes this book so powerful and important. Even if dealing with a miscarriage is not something you have experienced or are currently experiencing, the fact of the matter is at some point in life, you will face tragedy. Whether that is the loss of a loved one either expectedly or unexpectedly, the loss of your job, financial woes, health issues or any number of problems, in this life we will have trouble. Scripture makes it quite clear that in a world dealing with the problem of sin, we will all come face to face with tragedy and sorrow.

How we handle such situations is key. Jessalyn aptly notes “Our holy God not only knows each and every event that will occur in our lives before it happens, he actually plans our lives down to the smallest detail – again, for our good and his glory.” Many will balk at such a statement, claiming that makes us robots or declaring that means God causes evil. Jessalyn recognizes the difficulty for a finite creation (humanity) to understand the ways of an infinitely holy, just, and righteous God who is our creator and sustainer. In response to those who take issue with her previous statement, she saliently comments, “What we must struggle to understand, of course, is how his goodness can also be expressed through the suffering he allows to enter our lives…we must assume that even something as horrible as miscarriage can be considered good as it passes through the Lord’s sovereign hand for his good purposes.”

Jessalyn also reminds the reader that we serve a Savior who is acquainted with grief. He came to earth and died on the cross for us. He experienced rejection. He shed tears of blood. Through that sacrifice, He has provided a solution to this sin and death problem. It is that glorious future that Jessalyn concludes her book with, reminding the reader that the “suffering we face presently will be overshadowed by the glorious inheritance yet to come. This is a battle we fight through faith. And as we fight, experiencing glimmers of our eternal reality along the way, our souls will be happy in Jesus.”

This is a book I highly recommend for anyone dealing with pain and sorrow in their life or who has questions about God’s sovereignty. Jessalyn Hutto does an excellent job of orienting the conversation to what God tells in His Word about His sovereignty and His plans for us. She shares these truths from the perspective of one who has gone through trials, and who has been able to see God’s sovereignty work in her own life, even in the midst of the sorrow of miscarriage.

This book is available for purchase from Cruciform Press by clicking here.

I received this book for free from Cruciform Press for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Crucified with Christ: How the Cross Kills Sin

Posted by on Mar 26, 2015 in Featured, Sin

Crucified with Christ: How the Cross Kills Sin

Editors note: The purpose of this series is to help our readers understand what sin is, how serious sin is, and how great the grace of God, who offers redemption to sinners from sin and new life in Christ.

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Crucified with Christ: How the Cross Kills Sin

sin-shorterThe most graphic image that Scripture uses for the killing of sin is crucifixion. The cross has rightly stood at the center of Christian theology throughout church history.

Crucifixion was so painful that a word was invented to describe it: excruciating, which literally means “out of the cross.” The Jewish historian Josephus said that to be crucified was to die a thousand deaths. The Roman historian Cicero said, “There is no fitting word that
can possibly describe so horrible a deed” as crucifixion, and “the very word ‘cross’ should be far removed not only from the person of a Roman citizen, but from his thoughts, eyes, and his ears.”[1]

With this background, we can begin to understand why it was so scandalous for Christians to serve a crucified King. But despite the scandal, Paul actually boasted in the cross and represented the life of a Christian as a crucified life, employing this graphic image as a metaphor for the believer’s relationship with sin.

For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. . . .

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. . . . But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 2:19–20, 5:24, 6:14)

What was it about crucifixion that led Paul to write this way, and what does it mean for us today?

The Cross and the Nature of Mortification

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires,” writes Paul in Galatians 5:24. These words depict the nature of a believer’s break with sin in graphic but insightful terms. Sin’s death is like a crucifixion: slow, gradual, painful, and eventually final.

When a condemned criminal picked up his cross to carry it to the execution site, there was no turning back, no chance for reprieve, parole, or pardon. Crucifixion was a death sentence. But the death would be gradual, often taking not hours but days. When first nailed to the cross, the victim would struggle for survival, crying out in agony with all his might. But as he lost blood and strength, the struggle would lessen and his cries would grow faint.

Putting sin to death is a similar experience. There is a finality to the decisive break with sin to which our Lord calls us: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). Once we truly pick up our cross, having had our hearts changed by the grace of Christ to yield our lives to him, there is no turning back. The die has been cast, the future has been determined: sin must be killed. Taking up the cross to follow Jesus mean that sin has received a death sentence. But it doesn’t die all at once. No, putting sin to death is a slow process.

Mortification is also a painful process, and we must never allow ourselves to think that the pain associated with sanctification is a sign that something is wrong. Crucifixion is painful, and Scripture presents mortification as a kind of crucifixion. The pain cannot be separated from the process.

At first, our sinful flesh struggles against the Spirit, screaming in agony to be spared. But mortification gradually weakens the power of sinful desires in our hearts. In the words of Octavius Winslow, “Nail after nail must pierce our corruptions, until the entire body of sin, each member thus transfixed, is crucified and slain.”[2]

The Cross and the Power of Mortification

The image of crucifixion provides a second and even more important insight about mortification. This truth is found in its connection to Christ’s crucifixion for us. In Galatians 2, Paul points to our crucifixion with Christ:

“I have been crucified with Christ,” he writes. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the
life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). It is significant that this precedes Paul’s later statements in this letter about crucifying the flesh and being crucified to the world (Galatians 5:24, 6:14).

The death of sin in the death of Christ. This connection reminds us that the power of mortification comes directly from Christ crucified for us. As John Owen said, “The death of Christ is the death of sin.”[3] Only by virtue of His death to sin as our representative do we receive the power to renounce sin in our lives.

This is also the teaching of Paul in Romans 6, where he says that “our old self was crucified with [Christ] . . . so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (v 6). This is part of Paul’s argument for why it is morally incongruous for a believer to continue to live in sin. Christ was crucified for sin (not his, but ours). In his death, “he died to sin, once for all” (v 10), meaning that he died to the judicial power and authority of sin. Since we died with him, sin has lost its power over us. “So,” Paul says, “you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions” (vv 11–12).

This means that the power we need for crucifying sin comes from the cross, where Christ was crucified. It is only through virtue of Hhis death to sin that you and I can put sin to death in our lives. The only way you can kill sin is through the power of the Spirit applying the death of Christ to your heart and life.

“Let us slay sin, for Christ was slain.” Christ’s effectual sin-canceling work of the cross is therefore the only power that will enable us to kill sin in our own lives.

And this is one of the purposes for which He died. As Peter says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

As the great nineteenth-century preacher Charles Spurgeon, in one of his characteristically Christ-centered sermons, declared:

The best preaching is, “We preach Christ crucified.” The best living is, “We are crucified with Christ.” The best man is a crucified man…The more we
live beholding our Lord’s unutterable griefs, and understanding how he has fully put away our sin, the more holiness shall we produce. The more we dwell where the cries of Calvary can be heard, where we can view heaven, and earth, and hell, all moved by his wondrous passion—the more noble will our lives become. Nothing puts life into men like a dying Savior. Get you close to Christ, and carry the remembrance of him about you from day to day, and you will do right royal deeds. Come, let us slay sin, for Christ was slain. Come, let us bury all our pride, for Christ was buried. Come, let us rise to newness of life, for Christ has risen.[4]

The Cross and the Means of Mortification

We have been discussing the objective power of the cross of Christ to put our sins to death. This objective power is real and effectual, regardless of our feelings about it at any given point. But there is also a subjective element involved: we must exercise faith in Christ and his cross in order to enjoy the fruits of His victory over sin in our lives. As Paul goes on to say, “Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).

The cross not only shows us 1) the nature of mortification (a slow, gradual, painful death), and 2) the power of mortification (crucifixion with Christ). It also shows us 3) the means of mortification. In order to kill sin, we must exercise both faith and love. We exercise these graces by fixing our minds on and filling our affections with the cross of Christ.

How to do it. But how do we practically set our minds on and fill our affections with the cross? How do we exercise faith and love toward Christ crucified for us? It is not done with a crucifix or some other visual aid. This is not the method proposed in Scripture. No, Paul tells us how Christ is portrayed as crucified: “It was before your eyes [that is, through preaching] that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?” (Galatians 3:1b–2).

The great object of our faith and love is Christ as portrayed in the gospel. Only as we gaze on the glory of the Lord in the gospel are we transformed by the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). We do this as we:

1. Consider the purpose of Christ’s death for us.

2. With an expectation of help from him.

Our Savior died to destroy the works of the Devil, to redeem us from lawlessness, and to cleanse and sanctify us through His blood.

• When you meditate on the mercy and compassion of Christ, the mighty Maker who died in your place.

• When you remember that your ransom was purchased at the price of His precious blood.

• When you consider the cost of the gifts you have received through the cross—wisdom, righteousness, holiness, sonship, redemption, and future resurrection to glory forever.

• When you reflect on the salvation and safety that your Brother, your Captain, and your King has secured for you.

• When you realize that God is more satisfied with Jesus’ obedience than He was grieved by your sins.

• When you ponder the pain and the shame of the scourging and scoffing, the spitting and mocking, the crown of thorns and the nails in His hands, and all the cruel wounds He received on your behalf.

• When you understand that you are not only acquitted but accepted as fully righteous in God’s sight, perfect in the eyes of the law, because the full measure of divine wrath was poured out on Jesus for you, and His obedience has been counted as yours.

• When your heart is filled with the glories of his triumph over Satan, sin, and death.

• When your affections are captured anew by the self-sacrificing love of the Lord and Lover of your soul…

…then you will discover that the stranglehold of sin on your heart has grown weaker, that sin is less alluring, and that your fallen desires have been displaced by desires for God, his glory, and his grace.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!

My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul![5]

When you are fighting sin, fill your mind with these truths. Say: “Lord Jesus, you died to free me from sin, to put my sinful passions and desires to death, to change me and restore me in your glorious image. Thank you for your dying love! Now, cleanse me with your blood. Strengthen me with your power. Uphold me by your grace. Help me, Lord!” This posture of dependent faith and zealous love toward the Savior who was slain for us is lethal to sin.

This post is adapted and edited from chapter 7 in Brian’s book Licensed to Kill: A Field Manual for Mortifying Sin (Cruciform Press, 2011). Used with Permission.

End Notes

[1] Cicero, quoted in Gordon D. Fee, Paul’s Letter to the Philippians (Eerdmans, 1995), 217–218.

[2] Octavius Winslow, No Condemnation in Christ Jesus (The Banner of Truth Trust, 1991), 151.

[3] John Owen, The Holy Spirit: Abridged and Made Easy to Read by R. J. K. Law (The Banner of Truth Trust, 1998), 175.

[4] C. H. Spurgeon, “To Lovers of Jesus – An Example” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit (Pilgrim Publications, 1977 reprint) Sermon #1834.

[5] Horatio Spafford, “It Is Well with My Soul,” 1873.

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Older Men Speaking into Younger Men’s Lives

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Featured, Leadership

Older Men Speaking into Younger Men’s Lives

Bible-Reading1Young Christian men need older, seasoned, godly men in their lives. In the past year, I’ve been meeting regularly with an older, godly, seasoned man from my church. In addition to this, I’m in regular communication with one of the pastors because of my role in the Men’s Ministry. Who they are isn’t as important as the fact that they pour God’s grace into my life and are a tremendous encouragement to me. In this article, I want to convince and persuade you, young men, to find a godly older man to speak into your life.

Moses was a very busy man, after all he was leading Israel from bondage in Egypt to the Promised ­­Land. He was leading a massive number of people. Moses needed his father-in-law (Exodus 18) to speak into his life, although he didn’t realize he needed it. And yet his father-in-law’s advice was timely. The same is true for us today. Young men, you need older men in your life. Don’t assume that you don’t need this, because if you think that you don’t, you are simply being prideful. Older, godly, seasoned men have much to impart to your life, not only knowledge of the Word of God, but also experience with God that they have gained through many trials and experiences. They also have life knowledge that you may one-day need. Don’t resist this knowledge and experience; heed their rebukes and be wise.

When I was a teenager, like most teenagers, I thought I knew everything. But at this time in my life, however, I realize that I don’t know everything. I resisted my parents’ instruction and was foolish, often even as I heeded other older men’s speaking into my life at my local church. Young men, we need older men in our lives for the simple purpose that they know more than we do. I don’t care if you’re like me and have a long list of titles after your name, or if you’re 30-40 years old, and have been in ministry for 10 plus years as I have. You still need older men in your life! I don’t care if you’ve been a Christian for the majority of your life, as I have been. I qualify under all those categories. I have multiple Masters Degrees and have been a Christian my entire life and I still need older men. I still have many areas where I need to grow. Young men, be humble—God uses humble men who are still repenting for His glory.

Thanking those who are godly and take the time to speak into our lives is so important. Not only is it important in terms of thanking them for how the Lord is using them, but it is another way of honoring our elders for their godly example. This is sadly an often neglected aspect of ministry towards the saints.

In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul tells the Corinthians to follow him as he follows Jesus. The Corinthians are to follow the apostolic pattern of life that Paul has set before them. We, as young men, need to follow the example of godly men who are farther along than us. As a young man, you may think you know everything, and I understand that feeling. You may think you know more about God than those who are older, and you may very well. Yet you still don’t know everything. People may come to you to ask for answers from the Bible and guidance for life all the time. If you’re like me you can answer dozens of questions about systematic theology and can rattle off the meaning to more doctrinal and theological words than you’ve experienced in your own life, yet you still have need for godly mentors. If you don’t think you do then you are misguided, arrogant, and prideful. In 1 Timothy 4:11-15 young men are told to make their progress evident to all. One way we do this is by being in submission to those who are older than us, especially to our pastors and elders who will have to give an account to the Chief Shepherd the Lord Jesus Christ.

To wrap up this article, please allow me, to summarize, a few points. First, be humble because of the grace you’ve received in and through Christ. You don’t know everything, and that’s okay. To acknowledge that you don’t know everything is to admit that you still have areas to learn and grow in; the word disciple, after all, means “learner”. We are to learn from Jesus and one another. This requires living in humble submission to Jesus and to those who are older and more seasoned than us.

Second, it requires that we minister from a place of neediness of God’s grace. Since humility is, as Augustine and Calvin said, the definition of the Christian life, it goes to reason that we have a great need for Jesus all the time. As Charles Spurgeon said, “I have a great need for Jesus. I have a great Christ for my need.” Jesus is what we need and He lives to make intercession for us at all times because He rules and reigns now, as our High Priest and Intercessor.

Finally, you need godly, older men because you need to live in community with God’s people. You need to see how these older men live their Christian lives. You need to consider the outcome of their doctrine and way of life. We live in a culture that devalues all of this, and I realize that the message of this article is countercultural, but it is biblical. You need Jesus and other godly, mature, seasoned men in your life. If you are serious about pursuing ministry of any kind, for any length of time in your life, I plead with you to consider what I’ve said in this article. If you want to last in ministry, you will need the counsel and friendship of older men. You need to learn now from their failures and their successes. You need to consider their doctrine and the patterns of life that flow from their doctrine. If you don’t, the consequences could be great and your faith will suffer.

Make no mistake, I’ve been a Christian since I was four years old. I’ve seen many, many Christian pastors and leaders come and go in the 30 years I’ve been a Christian. One way to avoid failing and destroying not only your life and ministry, but also the lives of many people around you, is to have older men speaking into your life.

Older men speaking into younger men’s lives is God’s pattern of ministry. Intergenerational ministry is not optional, it is God’s means of grace to you. It is a help to you; accept it, don’t fight against it. Gladly accept this means of grace in your life, rejoicing in the God who provides wisdom to you through the examples of godly men. Learn from them, seek them out and follow their pattern of life and doctrine as they follow Jesus. I plead with you, young man, to abandon your life of impurity and ungodliness, and consider the standard of God in His Word. Follow your leaders as they follow Jesus. Seek the Lord and His righteousness. Consider what the Bible has to say about true wisdom and how it is dispensed from the older to the younger. Consider how our God places people in your life; consider all He has said and you will see that God does use older men in powerful ways.

Older men, be gentle with the younger men in your local church; we need your rebukes and your love for Jesus. We need your wisdom, and most of all we desperately need your prayers. We are a generation that is hurting. We are the generation of the father-wound: those without fathers. Pray for us and love us with the love of Jesus. And, young men, as you heed the counsel of older godly men who have “been there and done that”, God will use you. Those who decrease are those who are growing in the grace of God. I believe the Lord will make these things plain to you, young men, who earnestly desire more of Jesus and less of yourselves. May the Lord richly bless you young man as you seek after His righteousness.

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