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Able Men for the House of God

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Able Men for the House of God

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Able Men for the House of God

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The apostles forsook everything and Christ began his church with them. You too, can be an able man for the house of God. Here's how!

Transcript

Today, we're going to talk about men. However, this doesn't mean the females can just tune out. They might learn something too. Because men are very important to the health of any congregation. First, a little bit of background information for you. Two hunters got a pilot to fly them into the far north for elk hunting. I think one of them was Blaine Williams. They were quite successful in their venture and bagged six bucks. Maybe it wasn't Blaine. The pilot came back as arranged to pick them up. He started loading their gear into the plane, including the six elk. But the pilot objected and he said, "The plane can only take four of your elk, you'll have to leave two behind." They argued with him, because the year before, they had shot six and the pilot had allowed them to put all aboard.

The plane was the same model, same capacity, so reluctantly, the pilot allowed them to put all six elk on board. But, when they attempted to take off and leave the valley the little plane could not make it and crashed into the wilderness. Climbing out of the wreckage, one hunter – Mr. Williams said to the other, "Do you know where we are?"

"I think so" replied the other hunter, "This is just about the same place where we crashed last year." (laughter)

Now for some real background information okay? Welcome to Lakeside Church. Lakeside Church is the statistically average U.S. Christian congregation. You call it Riverside, whatever you want to call it - the statistically average Christian congregation in the United States. Lakeside will draw an adult congregation that is sixty-one percent female and thirty-nine percent male. About twenty-five percent of the married women who attend Lakeside will do so without their husbands. Lakeside will attract a healthy number of single women, but few single men. The majority of men, who actually show up for services are there in body only. Their hearts just aren't in it. And few will do anything during the week to nurture their faith. And that information is from churchformen.com. Now Lakeside is the norm in Christianity in general in the United States and also around the world. Our church profile in United may be a bit more balanced, but swinging in the direction of more females than males. A gender gap affects our Sabbath services, Bible studies, teen activities, Sabbath school programs, pre-teen activities, and in today's churches in the world, women are the participators, men the spectators – in general. And we need to ensure that that's not the case here.

Researcher Christopher Ducker has written a fascinating paper on the feminization of the church in Great Britain, and he wrote a book, or a paper titled "Disbanded Brothers – Has a 'Feminised' Church Alienated Men in the UK?" And he combines statistical research with a poll of 456 Christians and found in the UK just thirty-five to forty percent of British churchgoers are men. Men aged 15-30 are the least likely to attend. Forty-eight percent of Christian men and thirty-four percent of Christian women believe the church is not as welcoming to men as it is to women, and he said sixty-eight percent of men, and forty-six percent of women believe women feel more at home at church than men.

So how did weekly Christian services get to this point? How did a faith founded by a man and his twelve male disciples become an anathema to men? Why do Christian churches around the world experience a chronic shortage of males, when temples and mosques to not? Why are church-going men so hesitant to really live their faith, when men of other religions willingly die for their faith? I actually have my theories on why that's the case, with the churches of the world, and we can talk about that at another time. But for many churches, they see it not as a real top concern anyway, they don't mind having more women there than men. After all, if you want a smooth running congregation, women are the key. Women keep the activity machine going, they sing in the choir, care for the children, teach the classes, cook for the potlucks and serve on the committees.

George Barner, famous researcher – Christian researcher, put it this way – "Women are the background of Christian congregations. Men are like hood ornaments on cars – nice but not necessary." But over the long term, a lack of men will doom a congregation - and we're talking here today about real men. The gender gap is associated with church decline, according to the latest studies. The denominations with the fewest men per capita are also those that have been losing members and shutting down their churches in the world in general, we're talking about. On the other hand, research has shown that churches with robust male participation are generally growing. A lot of the mega-churches actually have a healthy percentage of men in them, and they are growing. If you want a healthy church for the long term, it's been shown you have to attract men. This was Jesus' strategy, and it still works today. But there's just one little problem. Men hate going to church. Here are a few more alarming statistics in this regard about the average U.S. Christian congregation, once again from churchformen.com: as many as 90% of the boys who have been raised in church will abandon it by their 20 th birthday. Quite a few men go to church only to keep their wives, mothers or girlfriends happy. The majority of men who do attend church do nothing to serve within the body of Christ. Once again, those are the statistical norms. This gender gap is not just a U.S. phenomenon. Churches around the world are short on men. No other major religion suffers a large, chronic shortage of males. In the Islamic world, men are openly, publicly, unashamedly religious. Of the world's major religions, only Christianity has a consistent, nagging shortage of men.

Today, let's look in the Bible, and we'll see that Jesus had no trouble captivating men. Rugged fishermen dropped nets full of fish and left all to follow Him. But today's church can't convince men to drop their remote controls to come for a couple of hours a week. This isn't the first time this has happened in human history. Today's message, we've got here this afternoon in today's service is for the men and boys among us. And I've titled this message "Able Men for the House of God." "Able Men for the House of God." Not very many people spend their time reading or studying the first nine chapters of I Chronicles. And that's where we're going to start. But those first nine chapters aren't read very much because they are nothing but a genealogical record for nine chapters. So and so begat so and so, who begat so and so. So we see those as boring and irrelevant in our lives today. But I believe as we look at the passage I have in mind, we'll see its relevance. It begins in I Chronicles 1:1 with Adam, and then goes on to cover 3,500 years of human history including all of Israel and Judah, until the time of the Jews captivity, and then their return back to Jerusalem. And in these genealogies, we see that God is on His throne, and He is in control. We also see that when God's people obey Him, He will bless them. If they disobey Him, He will chasten them. So it's the blessings and the cursings that we're familiar with.

Now look at I Chronicles 9:1

I Chronicles 9:1 So all Israel was recorded by genealogies …we're told… and indeed, they were inscribed in the book of the kings of Israel. But Judah was carried away captive to Babylon because of their unfaithfulness.

The vast majority of the men in Judah, and earlier in Israel had turned their backs on God, and they were taken captive because of it. Two entire nations taken into captivity because the men turned their backs on God. But there was one group of men that proved their faith, and it's in Verse 10 and 13, through 13 if you want. And it's speaking of the priests in Jerusalem. The author of Chronicles writes in I Chronicles 9:10

I Chronicles 9:10Of the priests: Jedaiah, Jehoiarib, and Jachin;

Verse 13and their brethren, heads of their fathers' houses—one thousand seven hundred and sixty. They were very …were found to be… able men for the work of the service of the house of God.

And this is, I guess, that capstone scripture for today. I Chronicles 9:13. There were some able men in the priesthood that were found for the work and service of the house of God. God called able men to serve Him. And what we see in the past still holds true today. God is calling able men to serve Him. The problem is that it's getting harder and harder to find men who will stand against the cultural norm and say, "as for me and my household, we will serve God."

Despite what we see happening in the Christian denominations of the world, God is still looking for able men to serve Him in God's true church, in Christ's true church. Men who will put on the armor of God, take up the sword of the spirit, and fight the good fight of faith. Because we are in a spiritual war today, and God is calling able men to stand on the front lines. And that's you and me – we're a part of that plan.

We're going to look at four attributes of a man of God. I was asked before services "how many points do you have today?" I have a reputation of having a lot of points sometimes. Just for today, I'm breaking out of the mold. But mind you, these four points can also be attributed to women, ok so, if you're a female, look at them from your perspective as well, but I'm going to be focusing more from the male perspective.

Now the first attribute, the first point we have here is: Available Able Men.

God is looking for available, able men. The greatest ability perhaps is availability. It doesn't matter what abilities you possess, if you're not available to God, you're useless to the cause. Look at this classic chapter in Isaiah chapter 6. Isaiah 6 is a fascinating chapter or book in the Bible about the throne of God. And here in Isaiah 6:1 Isaiah 6:1In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
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we read:

Isaiah 6:1 Isaiah 6:1In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
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In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne … and this is an amazing picture here… the Lord sitting on a throne high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.

And then Isaiah 6:8 Isaiah 6:8Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
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also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then (Isaiah) Isaid, "Here am I! Send me."

Isaiah gave himself completely to God, completely to the cause. It was a ready response – "here I am, send me." It was a faithful response. He didn't specify where or when, he just wanted to be sent to do the work of the Lord here.

We often look at men like Isaiah, Abraham, Moses, David, Paul and many others as men with tremendous abilities, great men of the past. But the truth is, they were men, just like you and me. They were ordinary men in society who made themselves available for the Almighty God. And God then, did amazing things through them, as we read. What it is, is a matter of commitment, being there, being available, and being committed to what God wants you to do. So God then, used those men of the past, in great ways to impact the lives of thousands even millions of people through these words that we now read. Because they said, like Isaiah said, "Here I am, send me." They were available.

Unlike Isaiah, so many today are not available. Men in society have put up the "Do Not Disturb" sign when it comes to their church attendance. Many have too many things going on in their life. They just don't have the time it seems, to serve God and His people. And so we have to ask, "Do you have too many irons in the fire? Are you too busy? Do you feel like you can't catch up? Are there not enough hours in the day to do what's really important?" Maybe Moses could have said that too. Maybe King David could have said that as well. But don't forget, Moses was busy with his flocks at Horeb. Gideon was threshing wheat by the wine press. Elisha was busy plowing. Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king. James and John were busy mending their nets. And Matthew was busy collecting taxes. But they all responded to Christ's call to service. They made themselves available.

Let's look at the story of Elijah and his confrontation with the prophets of Baal, for a moment in I Kings 18. The first we see of Elijah is in I Kings 18, he's told by God to go unannounced, that there'll be no more rain until he says so. Baal worship had become common, and Baal was thought to be the god of rain, so what better way to put that to rest than to stop all the rain. Now Elijah makes his announcement and then leaves. And, sure enough, the land dries up from no rain. Now, for a couple of years, Elijah sets up a challenge to prove who is the true God. And this is what happens:

I Kings 18:19 Now therefore …says Elijah… send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal…as well, he wanted them there… and the four hundred prophets of Asherah…he wanted them… who eat at Jezebel's table."

So he wanted all of the people of Israel, and all the pagan prophets as well to turn up on Mount Carmel.

Verse 20 So Ahab …who was the king… sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel.

Now Elijah was in actually quite a bit of danger through this whole experience, but the personal danger was overridden by the fact that he had decided to answer God's call in this regard. And the mob may have been ready to lynch him when he arrived. But Elijah made himself available for this task for God. And we live in a society that wants to neuter manhood. People want you to believe that there's really no difference, that it's all learned. Because of that, society is raising a generation of men that don't know what it means to be a real man, and stand up for what's right. A humorist, Will Rogers, quipped, "God made man a little lower than the angels, and he's been sinking a little lower ever since." And in society today, that's what we see. When it comes to commitment, the true values and God's way of life.

Well, Elijah was told to go and present himself to Ahab. And he knew it wasn't a safe thing to do, but he made himself available anyway. He did so and set up this challenge with the prophets of Baal. But there were others that day that were passive, sitting on the sidelines, seeing what would happen – as spectators, but unavailable to help. Look at I Kings 18:20 now.

I Kings 18:20 Again… So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel.

Verse 21 And Elijah came to all the people… not just the prophets, but to all the people there of Israel… and said, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people answered him not a word…nothing.

Nobody spoke up to say, "I'm with God." Nobody, Elijah was alone. Elijah was man enough to stand alone, but the rest were unavailable. Elijah was looking for someone from the nation of Israel man enough to stand up with him. He said, "Is anyone available? Are there any more men that will stand with me against Baal?" But no one would.

You see, don't be too busy, or too afraid even, to be available because then you're too busy. We must not let our priorities fall out of whack and head for a meltdown. We must allow God to rearrange our schedules and use us – we have to be available to God. And as we sadly see there in I Kings, Elijah stood alone in Israel.

I have a joke about a chicken and a pig here for you today. But I'm going to tell the clean and unclean meats version, and change it to a chicken and a turkey. A chicken and a pig…a chicken and a turkey came upon a church building and read the advertisement on the billboard out front, which read, "help us feed the poor." Immediately, the chicken suggested they help feed the poor with turkey-bacon and eggs. The turkey thought for a moment, and said "there's one thing wrong with feeding bacon and eggs to the poor. For you, it only requires a contribution, but for me, it requires total commitment."

But that's what we do when we give our lives to the work of God. It's a total commitment. And of course, symbolically we die in the watery grave at baptism to refreshed and alive in the Holy Spirit to serve God. And many refuse to make themselves available, because they think God is demanding too much of them. Things that get in the way of their lives - their normal lives. But that's why the scriptures tell us to count the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In the world today, far too many men are exchanging their opportunity for eternal life with things that are temporary in the physical life. The momentary pleasures rather than true salvation. We need to make sure the same thing is not happening in our midst, in our congregations in the true church of God.

If you want to be resurrected at the return of Jesus Christ as one of His saints, then you must take a stand. We must stand against the evil forces of our day, and we must make ourselves available for the work of God.

As General Norman Schwarzkopf said "It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle, it takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle." So, to be a true hero for the faith of God, you've got to get into the battle. You've got to make yourself available.

And so, an able man for the House of God is an available man.

Secondly, God is looking for dependable able men.

So, you're available, but you've also got to be dependable. Dependable, able men. In the Apostle Paul's time, a steward would completely run a property for the owner. And these steward's were faithful, dependable people. For us, as stewards or servants over the property of God, how should we be about our Father's business?

I Corinthians 4 , Let's turn to the New Testament now for a moment. Verses 1 and 2

I Corinthians 4:1 Paul writes to the Corinthians…Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

Verse 2Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

Don't you like it when someone says, "I'll be there." and they are? When they say, "I'll do it." and they get it done? We like dependable people. People who are faithful to their word. You know you can count on them, the congregation can count on them, and God can count on them. Why does God ask us to be faithful to our word? Why does He ask us to be dependable? Because He is faithful. We are to become like Him. And God wants us to be faithful, dependable servants over His spiritual property.

Remember a lesson in the parable of the talents? Let's turn there for a moment, Matthew 25. The parable of the talents. Matthew 25 beginning in verse 14.

Matthew 25:14 Matthew 25:14For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered to them his goods.
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"For the kingdom of heaven is like a man…and as you find out later, this man was a type of Christ… traveling to a far country, who called his own servants…and that typifies us, God's people… and delivered his goods to them."

So Christ called His servants together – us. And in verse 15

Verse 15 "and to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey."

Verse 16 "Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents."

You see, he put them to work.

Verse 17 "and likewise he who had received two gained two more also."

Verse 18 "but he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money."

Verse 19 "after a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them."

Verse 20 "so he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.'"

Verse 21 "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of (the) your lord.'"

So what Christ is saying to His servant is, "I knew I could depend on you, thank you for being faithful and dependable."

It's interesting that when God finds a dependable man, He gives that man additional responsibilities. But what if we bury our talent, and are not profitable and available for the work that God wants us to do? Notice, beginning in Verse 24 now.

Matthew 25:24 Matthew 25:24Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew you that you are an hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not strewed:
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"Then he who had received the one talent came and said, "Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed."

Verse 25 "And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours."

So I guess then, go ahead and dig it up. You can get it if you want.

Verse 26 "But his lord answered and said to him, "You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed."

Verse 27 "So you ought to have…at least…deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with (some) interest."

Verse 28 "so therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents."

Verse 29 "for to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away."

And so, this is a sobering story of faithfulness and dependability and doing…going about the work that God has for each of us to do as men in the faith.

There's another classic story of a man who was not dependable. A man who did not…who was not faithful, who did not support his family, who abandoned his wife and all at the time he was needed most. I'm not sure if you know who I'm thinking of yet. Anyone who's been around boys knows that they seem to possess a natural aggressiveness – to initiate, to explore and to achieve. Boys are more apt to trip their younger brothers, tackle their sisters and punch each other in the arm, than girls. And though it varies from man to man, this inbred behavior to get things done, to do things – both physical and psychological, is not a learned behavior, it's innate – it's part of being a male. I guess you can chalk it up to testosterone or something. But, for some reason, men of every age become passive when it comes to initiating this action in their homes, with their families and in their communities. One example may be found in the biblical headwaters of Genesis. In Genesis 3, the serpent approaches Eve with a tantalizing proposition. He convinces her that the forbidden tree is actually the path to life. Satan coaxes Eve with the promise that if she takes just one bite, she will be like God. And so, the stage is set for Adam to intervene – to be the man of the house. After all, Adam has been given responsibility over the garden. To dress it, to keep it and the prohibition against eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was even spoken directly to him. Adam is the master of the home. We fully expect him to come running with a garden hoe, chop off the head of the serpent, and end this heinous approach of evil. But, confronted with your social and spiritual responsibilities, Adam becomes, of all things, passive, unreliable and undependable, and then does the same thing. Have you ever wondered what Adam was doing while Eve was being propositioned? Most people assume that he was absent at the time – communing with nature or tilling the soil, naming animals – not true. He was right there watching his wife contemplate moral and spiritual suicide. Look at Genesis 3:6 Genesis 3:6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her; and he did eat.
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.

Genesis 3:6 Genesis 3:6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her; and he did eat.
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So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

So, as naturally aggressive as Adam was as a male, when the moment of authentic manhood arrived, when he was called upon to act responsibly, to take charge spiritually, to protect his woman – Adam just stood there. He was not to be depended upon.

Yale sociologist, Stephen B. Clark says quite flatly "men have a natural tendency to avoid social responsibility." That's why so much of the training of the children gets left to the women. Families cry out for men who will do more than tune out when they come home from work. Women want men who will protect them, not use them. And society needs men who will stand for moral absolutes, and we don't see it around us. An able man for the house of God is a dependable man who will stand by his Christian duties.

So that's the second one.

Being available, being dependable, and now number three: Being mobile, able men.

Mobile. Being mobile, able men. You see, it's good to be a man, isn't it men? Here are the top ten reasons why it's good to be a man:

1. Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat. 2. A five-day holiday only requires one suitcase. 3. When clicking through the channels, you don't have to stall at every shot of somebody crying. 4. Guys in masks don't attack you unless you're playing hockey. 5. You only need two or three pairs of shoes. 6. Car mechanics tell you the truth. 7. You can admire Clint Eastwood without starving yourself to look like him. 8. Gray hair and wrinkles only add character to men. 9. We can do our nails during one traffic light. 10. If another guy shows up at the party in the same outfit, you just might become lifelong buddies.

It's great to be a man, and it's great to be a dad. And now back to the point of being mobile, able men. Men must not sit on their spiritual recliners, but live and share the good news of the gospel of the kingdom. If we want to do God's work, we have to get up and go. There is a certain mobility involved. We have to keep that testosterone flowing. Look at Mark 16:11-15 Mark 16:11-15 [11] And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. [12] After that he appeared in another form to two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. [13] And they went and told it to the residue: neither believed they them. [14] Afterward he appeared to the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. [15] And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
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. There is a portion of this I'd like to paraphrase; you'll see it in a minute.

Mark 16:11 Mark 16:11And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.
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And when they heard that He …Christ… was alive…of course He's just been crucified, and now they've heard that He's alive… and had been seen by her…one of the other women… they did not believe…the disciples didn't believe that He'd really been resurrected.

Verse 12 After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country (side).

Verse 13 And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either.

"What do you mean you saw Christ? We saw him get…he's dead and buried"

Verse 14Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table…of course eleven, one had gone and hung himself – Judas Iscariot – there were eleven left of the original disciples… Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.

He said "I told you I was only going to be only in the grave for three days and three nights and you didn't believe," and He rebuked them.

Here they were sitting around the table moaning and groaning, "Well, what are we going to do now?"

Verse 15 And He said to them…get up off your backsides… "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."

Get busy! And that's the same commission we have today – is to be busy about our Father's business. Moses was willing to go from Horeb to Egypt. Amos was willing to go from the hills of Tekoa to Israel. David was willing to go from the sheep pastures to the palace. Philip was willing to go from the city to the desert. John the Baptist was willing to go from the desert back to the city. These men made themselves available, they were dependable, and they were mobile.

In everything we do, God living in us – should be seen. As we mobilize ourselves in God's work. Friends, family, schoolmates, coworkers should see that we are about our Father's business. Growing, learning and developing in the grace of God. As Peter told us in II Peter 3,

II Peter 3:18 "but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…"

See, there's work to do, we have to be about that business. Reader's Digest recently asked, "What has six eyes and cannot see?" The winning answer that won the prize – three men in a house with dirty laundry, with overflowing trash cans and a sink full of dirty dishes. We have to mobilize ourselves to actively live God's way.

Look at the last words of Jesus Christ as He gave some last minute instructions to His disciples in Acts 1:8 Acts 1:8But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.
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. Some last minute instructions to the disciples and to the brethren that were gathered there now as well.

Acts 1:8 Acts 1:8But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.
American King James Version×
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem…then He continues… and (but also) in all Judea and Samaria, and…you shall be witnesses of me…to the end of the earth.

It's interesting that we can't do it on our own. We need the power of God's Holy Spirit as that verse begins with. With the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be actively mobilized as men in God's church. And we can be a part of witnessing His way of life to all corners of the globe as the church does that.

Here's an example of a man mobilizing and doing what needed to be done in Luke 10. Luke 10. He did this even though others refused. In fact, the man who mobilized in this instance, and took care of what needed to be done was despised in his community. He was not looked up to at all.

Luke 10:25 Luke 10:25And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
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And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

Of course, a lawyer here.

Verse 26 He said to him, "What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?"

Verse 27 So (the lawyer) he answered and said,"'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND,' and 'YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'"

Verse 28 And (Christ) He said to him, "You have answered (correctly) rightly; do this and you will live."

Verse 29 But (the lawyer) he…wanting to justify himself…said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"…How many people do I have to do this too to make it?

Verse 30 Then Jesus answered and said…and here's the answer – a long answer, mind you… "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead."

Although I don't know how you can be half dead, but anyway…you're either dead or you're not.

Verse 31 "Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side…" of course the priests were respectable people in the community, but he refused to help.

Verse 32"Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side".

Verse 33 "But a certain Samaritan…" a despised member of the Jewish community "…as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion."

Verse 34 "So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him."

Verse 35 "On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.'"

And so here's the big question for the lawyer now.

Verse 36 "So which of these three…" the priest, the Levite or the Samaritan "…do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?"

Verse 37 And he said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to (the lawyer) him, "Go (mobilize) and do likewise."

So able men are mobile men for the house of God. They are men of action in God's service, not just bystanders in the congregation.

And then finally, number four – stable, able men. Stable, able men. To be available, dependable, mobile and stable. We are in a spiritual battle, and the world is falling all around us. And unless we stand fast, we may fall with it – get taken in of the desires of the world. How many members of the church have you seen over the years that have not been able to stand for the faith once delivered to them? We could all have our lists couldn't we? How many have become entangled again in the yoke of bondage, overcome by their own human efforts? I Corinthians 16 reminds us how we need to stand in this regard.

I Corinthians 16:13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.

The Modern King James Version puts it this way:

I Corinthians 16:13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be men, be strong.

II Thessalonians , go over a few pages, II Thessalonians 2:15

II Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.

God is looking for stability in His congregations. Looking for stable, able men. We must not underestimate the strength and stability that comes from us working together in God's church. Every man needs a band of brothers, friends. And we need strong friendships in the faith. Jesus began His ministry by assembling a team of men. That's how it began. They trained together, they worked together, and they suffered together. And men cannot succeed as followers of Christ without a team surrounding them. No matter how meaty the sermons each week, no matter how much time they have with their buddies, to come to maturity in Christ, men need a band of brothers standing around them. And then a spiritual Father in heaven giving us the guidance we need.