MEN AND WOMEN
March 31, 2002 – EASTER
A couple of weeks ago, I was running through a neighborhood and I saw something pretty familiar. I saw a garage sale. I could tell that it was the tail end of the garage sale because several people were still milling around and everything was picked over.
I thought to myself as I cruised by, isn’t it weird that human beings purchase other human beings’ junk? That’s kind of strange, isn’t it? Then I thought that we all have junk in our lives. We have some emotional junk. Maybe we have a habit that is tearing us apart. Maybe we are tyrannized by fear or stress. A lot of us have relational junk. Maybe you have gone through a marriage or two. You could find yourself estranged from some family member.
We also have spiritual junk. The Bible calls spiritual junk, “sin.” We mess up. We commit cosmic treason. We get out in the deep weeds when we go against God’s will for our lives. We are all there. We’ve got junk in our lives.
We also have some material junk, don’t we? Maybe you are at a point in your life where you thought that buying that toy, making that amount of money, having that house or that boat would do it for you. Now you find yourself disillusioned. You find that the shine has worn off and you know in your heart of hearts that one day, those material items, that junk, is going to end up in the garage sale of your life.
We also have some masculine and feminine junk. I am sure some women are saying, “Oh, yes, Ed, he has got some masculine junk. He is loaded down with some serious trash.”
Maybe, guys, you are saying that she has got some feminine junk. But don’t point fingers, please.
I am kicking off a brand new series called, “Men and Women.” The goal for this series will simply be this. We will have the freedom, after our study together, we will have the freedom to be the kind of men and the kind of women that God desires us to be. Because the truth of the matter is this: Most of us don’t know who we are. Most of us are clueless concerning true masculinity and true femininity.
Here is what the Bible says in Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female, he created them.”
When God made us, when God made man, for example, he chiseled into the soul of man his masculine characteristics. When he made woman, he chiseled into her soul his feminine characteristics. When we see who we are before God, we see what it means to be a man and what it truly means to be a woman.
For the next several weeks, I am going to talk to men. Ladies, I know you are saying to yourself right now, “I will have my man here for the next several weeks. He is not going to miss.”
Then I will talk about women for several weeks. Here is what Sigmund Freud wrote about women, “Despite my 30 years of research into the feminine soul, I still haven’t answered the question, what is it a woman really wants?” Sigmund Freud said that. I am going to tell you something. At the end of our time together, men, we will know beyond a shadow of a doubt what it is women really want. Or, I think we will. Anyway, stay with me.
Let’s look at a guy who was junked up. Let’s look at a man who really had some serious junk in the yard of his life. He had a bad garage sale. His name was Simon Peter. Simon Peter was a man’s man. He owned a fishing business and he was doing quite well. He had employees. He knew what it meant to deal with the elements and deal with employees. He knew about 401k’s and all that stuff.
One day, Jesus had a business meeting with Simon Peter. Jesus did business in Simon Peter’s life. Simon Peter bolted from his fishing business and began to hang out with Jesus. This guy was a type-A personality: brash and bold. He would fly off the handle just like that. One day, Jesus gave Simon Peter a nickname.
Why do guys like to give each other nicknames? They are terms of endearment. Women don’t do nicknames. Have you ever noticed that? They might do nicknames but we could not repeat the nicknames on the stage that they use for each other. I’m just kidding, ladies. Guys, though, love nicknames.
Jesus looked at Simon Peter and said, “From this day forward, your nickname is going to be The Rock.”
I’m sure when Simon Peter’s disciple buddies heard Jesus say that, they probably went, “The Rock? What a crock, Jesus. Simon Peter, The Rock? He’s not stable. He’s not tough. He’s not bold. He’s not committed. He’s not courageous. The Rock? It’s a good name for a professional wrestler, Jesus, but Simon Peter?”
With that statement from Jesus, that nickname probably put some serious wind into Peter’s sail. He probably took his robe off and had it embroidered on the back with “The Rock.” He probably thought he was ready to go.
One day, Simon Peter looked at Jesus and said, “Jesus, I will never forsake you. I will always stand for you. I’m the man of the hour, the tower of masculine power, Jesus. I’m not going to back down. I’m not going to dis you. I’m not going to trash you. I am the man.”
Jesus looked at him and said, “Simon Peter, you are going to deny you even knew me over the next several hours.”
What happened? Jesus was in the garden the night he was arrested and he asked the disciples to serve him, to help him, the only time in Scripture we see this happening. What did the disciples do? Did the disciples help Jesus? No, they were sawing logs.
The authorities came to arrest Jesus for a crime he did not commit. And Simon Peter, in front of Jesus, was committed, in front of Jesus, was courageous. He took out a sword and did the Zoro thing. He cut a guy’s ear off. He went nuts.
They arrested Jesus and put him in a holding tank where they began to torture him and abuse him. The Bible says that Simon Peter, The Rock, followed at a distance. Simon Peter was junked up in the area of commitment and courage. The world and women are begging for men who exemplify commitment and courage. Simon Peter cratered. He choked. The Rock was crumbling.
The Bible says in the Gospel of Matthew that Simon Peter was outside this holding tank, warming his hands by the fire. Let’s check out what he did. Because Simon Peter did the three-peat thing. He trashed Jesus.
I’ll pick up Matthew 26:69-74, “Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard and a servant girl came to him. ‘You also were with Jesus of Galilee,’ she said. But he denied it before them all. ‘I don’t know what you are talking about,’ he said. Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, ‘This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.’ He denied it again, with an oath: ‘I don’t even know the man!’ After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, ‘Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away.’”
How many native Texans do we have here? If you were born in Texas, here is what happens when you travel around the country. You might say, “Take a right at the light and you look very nice.” People will say, “Oh, you are from Texas. I can tell that Texas twang.”
Simon Peter didn’t have a Texas twang but he had this accent that showed everybody that he was from the same area that Jesus was. People would say, “You were with Jesus.”
Look at Verse 74, “Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know the man!’ Immediately a rooster crowed.”
He denied Jesus by the fire. The heat was turned up and he crumbled. Commitment and courage are inseparably linked. Men, we need commitment and courage.
I pulled into my driveway at about 6:00 pm. My kids greeted me at my truck. They said, “Daddy, Daddy, we want to show you this fort that we built.”
I said, “Okay.” I dropped my briefcase down, which is always a risk in my yard because we have three dogs that have a combined weight of 450 pounds. I walked up a little hill and there was a little fort. I thought to myself that this was pretty good. They had built this all by themselves. I saw all of our tools they had taken from the garage to this area.
I said, “Guys, how in the world did you get all these tools up here?”
Then they pointed to the red wagon and said, “We put them in the wagon and pulled the wagon up. That’s how we did it, Dad.”
I said, “That’s great but make sure you return them to the garage.”
The tools represent commitment. The wagon represents courage. It’s great to say, “Yes, I’m committed in the marriage. I’m committed to you, Christ.” But, we have to take commitment and put the tools of commitment in the wagon, in the vehicle of courage, because courage affords us the opportunity to live out our commitments. When we put commitment in courage, God will build a fort out of our lives. I’m talking about a fort of true masculinity.
We need commitment and courage. They are inseparably linked. We must take commitment and strap it to the back of courage and live it out. We can build a fort by the grace of God.
Why, though, do we as men struggle with commitment? All the time, men are being trashed these days. Years ago, it used to be dumb blonde jokes. Now, it’s dumb man jokes.
People say all the time, “My man is just not committed. If he was committed, blah, blah, blah.”
Here is why we struggle with commitment. Guys, if you have a pen or pencil, you might want to jot these down. Number one, a lot of us struggle with commitment because we have been rejected before. Maybe we have put our commitment out there, our heart and soul into a relationship. We have had it handed back to us and we don’t want to go there again. That’s reality.
The second reason many of us struggle with commitment is maybe an authority figure let us down. Maybe a father said, “Yes, I’ll take you fishing. Yes, I’ll take you hunting.” Maybe a coach or a teacher made a promise, yet they cratered. Now we are scared of commitment.
The third reason why a lot of us struggle with commitment is the fact that some of us just don’t think that we can cut it. We say, “If I commit, I am going to mess up. So I’m just not going to commit. I’m not going to say one thing and do another so I just won’t even go there. I’m a man of my word.”
The fourth reason why we struggle with commitment is because, when we commit, it will be the end of the hunt. Men are hunters, always looking for something. “Hey, if I commit to Jesus Christ, the hunt is over. He will stifle me. He will limit me. He will hem me in and I won’t really be free.”
Just the opposite is true. Once you commit to Christ, that’s when the hunt, the adventure, the excitement begins. Sometimes single guys who are believers love single girls who are believers. They get right up to that point and they say, “I better not commit to her. I can’t commit because, if I commit, no more hunting, and no more flirting. If I commit, what if someone better looking comes along?”
Guys, look at the person next to you. I don’t care what they look like. I don’t care if you are seated next to Tyra Banks or Brad Pitt. There is somebody better looking than those. We have got to commit in relationships. Many guys here need to commit to dating relationships, because once you commit to a Christian woman, the adventure just begins.
Commitment and courage are inseparably linked. The world and women are begging for men to have commitment and courage. Simon Peter, though, blew it. I don’t know about you but I can identify with that, because we have all cratered during crunch time, guys. We have all messed up.
The good news is this – that Jesus Christ, our Lord, walked up to the garage sales of our lives and he has paid for all of our junk. Isn’t that fantastic? He’s paid for all of our junk, our emotional junk, feminine junk, masculine junk, spiritual junk, material junk. Jesus has paid for it all. Now, he is begging you saying, “Put up a garage sale sign. Accept the fact that I have paid for your junk. Admit that you are junked up. Turn from your junk and follow me.” The moment we do that, a couple of things happen.
He Rescues Us
First of all, Jesus rescues us. What about Simon Peter? What happened to him? Did he rescue Simon Peter? The Bible says that Simon Peter bolted. When Jesus was crucified, he cruised. The Bible says that he went back to fishing. After Jesus resurrected from the grave, Simon Peter was out in the boat with some other disciples trying to catch some fish. Christ was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. I have been to the exact spot before several times. I hope we can go back one day.
Jesus called out to the guys, “Hey, guys, have you caught anything?” Fishermen are pretty optimistic. I love to fish and I’m optimistic. But these guys were down. They said, “No, we have been skunked.”
They didn’t recognize Jesus.
Jesus said, “Well, why don’t you try the other side of the boat?”
They put their nets on the other side and they had some big ones. Suddenly, The Rock, Simon Peter, said, “That’s Jesus. The voice. I can make him out now.”
He took off his robe, dove in the water, swam to shore and the Bible says that Jesus was on the beach. He had built a fire and he was making breakfast.
Don’t you know that when Simon Peter saw that fire, his mind rushed back to a time when he dissed Jesus a couple of days earlier in the courtyard? Don’t you know that he remembered how his commitment and his courage cratered during Christ’s time of need?
Let’s pick up the book of John, Chapter 21, Verse 15, “When they finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you truly love me more than these?’”
Three times he asked him, “Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me?”
“’Yes, Lord,’ he said. ‘You know that I love you.’
Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’”
Jesus rescued. He forgave. He reinstated Simon Peter. I don’t care how many times you have crumbled. I don’t care how many times you have backed off your commitment and shown a lack of courage, there is hope for you and there is hope for me. God rescues us once we get to know the resurrected Savior. He rescues us, the Bible says, from a Christless eternity. Because of our junk, our sin, the Bible says, if we got what we deserved, it would be eternal separation from God. The Bible calls it hell.
Some of you are saying, “Ed, I have a tough time with that. How could a good and loving God hurl people to hell?”
God does not hurl anyone to hell. We make that choice. The ball is in our court. The option is up to you and me. We either receive what Jesus did, we either receive the fact that he paid for our junk by spilling his blood on the cross, or we don’t. If we do, we are rescued from a Christless eternity. If we do, we are forgiven, reinstated and then we can see who we are in Christ. We can see our true image.
He Refurbishes Us
The second thing that Jesus does once we put out a garage sale sign and receive the fact that he has paid for our junk is this – Jesus refurbishes us.
My wife loves garage sales. She has never met a garage sale that she does not like. We have stopped at all these places in all different towns in Texas at garage sales. A lot of the furniture in our house are pieces that she has bought at a garage sale and has refurbished herself. When she refurbishes something, she puts her spin on it, her style on it, her personality on the object.
Men, when we bow the knee to Christ, when Jesus rescues us, he refurbishes us. He puts his personality, his character qualities inside of our lives. Our souls are hard-wired with commitment and courage. Men, that is why we are drawn to commitment and courage. That’s why women are drawn to men who exemplify commitment and courage. God is a God of commitment. He’s committed to you and me. He has gone on record throughout the pages of Scripture. Over and over, he tells us that we matter to him. God is so committed to us that he sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins. Christ was committed as he was hanging there between heaven and earth. I am sure all the demonic forces said, “Jesus, don’t commit. Jump down off the cross. Call down all the angels.”
Jesus said, “No.”
Why? Because of our lack of commitment. Why? Because of our junked up lives. That’s commitment. God has shown his hand. He has said, “I am committed to you.”
God is also a God of courage and he will give us supernatural courage when we come to him. The Bible says in Exodus, Chapter 15, Verse 3, “The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name.”
A lot of us have a whacked-out view of Jesus. We see Jesus as a pale, frail, emaciated, emasculated pacifist who is always turning the other cheek. That’s not our Savior. He was perfectly balanced with love and with strength.
A mild mannered male cannot carry a 100-pound cross through the streets of Jerusalem. A mild mannered male did not take up the occupation of carpentry, which meant he was responsible for the excavation work all the way to the finished work. A mild mannered male cannot cleanse the temple of moneychangers. A mild mannered male cannot get into the face of people and say, “I want to speak the truth about your life in love.” A mild mannered male cannot voluntarily allow Roman soldiers to drive spikes through his hands and feet. A mild mannered male cannot say, “I forgive you,” while this is going on.
Most of the guys in this place could not even walk the mileage that Jesus clocked over a typical day. I’ve been to the Holy Land. I’ve seen it. You wouldn’t believe it. Jesus is a man’s man, a man of courage. Our God is a God of courage.
Talk about courage, the most courageous thing God has ever done was to make you and me. You know why? That was a risk. We are not made like robots. I’ve got a choice. So do you. We serve a high-risk God. Men, that is why we are hard-wired for risk and courage and adventure. But that’s a good thing. If your life is boring, if it’s same old, same old, then you are not seeing yourself as made in the image of God.
Do you know why so many men are addicted to pornography? Do you know why so many men frequent topless clubs and all the illicit websites?
Some are saying, “I know why. It’s because men are visually wired.”
Yes, I know that. What is the underlying reason? The underlying reason is simply this. When men look at the images of those women, it makes men feel feelings of masculinity without commitment and courage. It’s the cowardly thing to do. We can feel like men without any commitment, without any courage, and we use women as objects. Pornography is ruining millions of people’s lives. Cowardly men, scared men, men masquerading their masculinity.
When we see who we are in the face of Jesus, when we see who we are in the face of our resurrected Lord, we see commitment and we see courage. We become people of commitment and people of courage.
I’ll leave you with this question. Have you put out a garage sale sign in the yard of your life? The good news is that Jesus has paid for your junk. He wants to rescue you and refurbish you. Because when you allow him to rescue you and refurbish you, you will become a Rock too.