at the launching of GLCC-Dagupan's Men's Fellowship
(January 19, 2014)
We are all descended from Adam. His fall brought upon us all perishability, dishonor and weakness. Yet because of God's grace, we who put our faith in Christ were united to him. According to 1 Cor. 15:42-45, Christ shall reverse our perishability into imperishability; our dishonor into glory; and our weakness into power.
Surely, it is still a future event. While waiting for it, our bodies will still be subjected to sickness, death and decay. We are still facing varied miseries here on earth. We still manifest our dishonor by sinning daily. Yet we should not despair, for our union with Christ is not without effect in our present life. If we are indeed new creatures in Christ, his victory on the cross will be made manifest in out lives (2 Cor. 5:17). One of the benefits we get from the work of the Last Adam is the abundant provision of grace (Romans 5:17). And what does grace do? It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and wordly passions. This abundant provision of grace enables us to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. (Titus 2:12)
We formed this fellowship to help men sandwiched between the First Adam and the Last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45). Just like any other fellowship of Christians, we assemble so together we may avoid being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13). As a start, here I offer specific areas of concern all drawn from the life of the first man ever created, namely Adam. All points I listed are lessons about leadership. As you may remember, God took Adam and put him in the garden of Eden to manage it. He was the first ever apointed manager of God's property here on earth. He was a steward. (Genesis 2:15).
Later, God said "It is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helper fit for him." (Gen. 1:18). After a whole day's work of naming the animals, God caused Adam to sleep deeply. When he woke up, he has to name one more creature. Adam's overflowing joy was expressed in poetry:
"This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called `woman,'
for she was taken out of man."
Take note that no suitable helper was found among the animals, ruling out bestiality. Also, God did not make another man as a partner ruling out homosexuality. Finally, only one rib was taken out of Adam ruling out polygamy.
No question the appearance of the woman in the garden brought so much joy to Adam, yet the roles have never been changed. Adam is primarily responsible for keeping the garden and Eve was given to him as a helper.
1. Men sandwiched between the First Adam and the Last Adam must help each other in the area spiritual leadership.
Eve has just been deceived by the serpent. She ate the fruit and gave some to Adam too. Both of them sinned, and each of them were held responsible for their sins. But I would like you to notice something. After sinning, they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord. Whom did God call? He called the man (Gen. 3:9). He questioned him if he had eaten the forbidden fruit. (3:11). In fact, that prohibition was given even before Eve's existence (1:17). As God held Adam responsible, so he will also hold us responsible. We are to keep watch not only of our spiritual condition but also over the spiritual condition of our wives and children. In addition for our task of spiritually leading our families, the New Testament reveals that we also are to spiritually lead in the local churches where we belong (1 Tim. 2:11-13).
But we somehow inherited this problem of passivity in the area of spiritual things. In Gen. 3:6, we see that Adam was there all the while when Eve was talking to the serpent and he did nothing. Instead of protecting Eve from the deceitfulness of the enemy, he participated in the evil act. When sin threatens our wives and children, we have protect them from the evil one. We can't just stand there and do nothing. We have to protect the ones we love from Satan's works.
Same passivity by men may be in the church. While the women in our church are busy in spiritual activities, we are content watching boxing matches on Sunday afternoons. Men, we have to step up especially because our church holds to the complementarian view of church leadership. That is we believe that even though men and women are in equal standing before God, they were given different roles. We believe in an all male eldership in the church. Aspiring to be an elder is a noble thing according to Paul. But we have to pay the price of higher standards of discipline (1 Tim. 3:1-7). May the Lord use this Men's fellowship to prepare men for such a high call.
Aside from the problem of passivity, we also have this problem of excusing ourselves from responsibility. When God questioned Adam of eating the forbidden fruit, what did Adam do? She blames Eve (3:12). He was seeking his self-preservation even at the expense of his partner. And so we must understand this problem of ours. God gave us responsibilities to fulfill, and yet when we fail, we tend to excuse our selves and blame others. We are more interested in self-justification than in repentance.
2. Men sandwiched between the First Adam and the Last Adam must help each other in the area of stewardship.
Stewardship is the proper management of resources entrusted to us. Adam was entrusted with a garden to manage (Gen. 1:26-30). We may not be entrusted with a garden, but we must remember that everything we have are all possessions of the Creator. They are not our possessions; we are just stewards. As Adam was appointed to manage the garden, you are appointed by God to manage whatever you have. When the true owner returns, he expects to see at least two things:
1st, ORDER - God will not be pleased with a garden filled with weeds. If the Lord has entrusted you with a business, or to lead an institution, he put you there to bring order. By managing your resources well, you imitate God. Why? Because as you get rid of disorder, you reflect God's nature who dislikes disorder (1 Cor. 14:33). Unfortunately, it is expected and accepted by the prevailing culture that a boy's room shall be less orderly than a girl's room. Much of this disorder arises out of our laziness, a sinful condition repeatedly condemned in the book of Proverbs. In manifests itself very early in a boy's life such as not passing his homework on time or spending 150 minutes playing video games while leaving mere 15 minutes to put things in order.
2nd, PRODUCTIVITY -- The problem with our society is we just follow half of the command in Genesis 1:28 "Be fruitful and multiply..." People justify population explosion with this verse, yet they disregard the other half of the command--- that is to be fruitful. The command was preceeded by a blessing, then followed by the instruction to rule over the animal kind. Then followed again by the giving of seed-bearing plant.
1. Blessing---> 2. Command to be fruitful and multiply ---> 3. Entrusting of the animals and plants.The implication of course is that as the Lord has blessed Adam, he must then be productive in livestock, fishery, poulty and agriculture.Our problem is our tendency to do nothing with the things God has entrusted us (Matt. 25:24)
Yet there are also times when you are not lazy; you may even work-work-work with all your might nonstop, yet you will only produce little. This is one of the effects of the fall: the difficulty of earning as indicated by the cursing of the ground and the emergence of thorns and thistles from them (Genesis 3:17-18). There will be countless frustrations in this fallen world, and so we need a fellowship where we could carry each other's burdens and ease each other's pain.
3. Men sandwiched between the First Adam and the Last Adam must together seek to bring men outside of Christ to be in Him.
Brothers, we are between two men. First, we are in Adam with all the miseries associated with his sin. We are also in Christ with all the hope of glory in eternity. Yet outside of Christ there are men who are associated with Adam only. If the imagery may help, they are not sandwiched between two Adams. There is only one slice of bread in their life, and that is their participation in Adam's sin. Though they may not know it, they are in serious trouble. Why? Because the Bible says "For as in Adam all die... " (1 Cor. 15:22). They need to experience the other half of the verse "... so in Christ all will be made alive. You have to belong to Christ to be resurrected and enjoy eternal life.
One of main missions of the church aside from worshiping God, and building up the brethren is to seek the lost. Let us go out in the world and introduce Jesus to a dying world that they too may experience the new life in Christ.