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Exercising Your Courage

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
August 19, 2020 4:00 am

Exercising Your Courage

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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August 19, 2020 4:00 am

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God's designed for men is that they challenge. They know how to lead. That's a man. Men are not weak. Men are not compromisers. When you meet a man like that, you call him a what? A wimp. They're vacillating, don't have any conviction.

Don't want to challenge men who are men, are people of spiritual conviction who can face a spiritual challenge, not cable.

What does it mean to be a man? Is it something that comes at a particular age or with heroic accomplishments or with a certain level of maturity?

Well, today on Grace to you, John MacArthur looks at what should be true about you. If you're a man and what kind of man you should look for if you're a woman. As John continues his study called a course for Life. As you listen, keep in mind that John preached the message you're about to hear two students at the master's university where John serves as chancellor. But whether you're a student or a parent and whether you're a man or a woman, the subject this lesson looks at is crucial. And you need to understand what God's word says about being a courageous man after God's own heart. And with that, here's John MacArthur.

The most basic fundamental virtue of manliness is what I want to talk about. I want to talk about what makes a real man.

I want to talk about the solitary quality that is foundational to manhood. And I want to put it in one sort of stuffy word and then I want to describe it. If I were to find one word, borrow some old word, it would be the word fortitude.

It's the old word fortitude. Now, if you look it up in the dictionary, you'll find basically that the word fortitude is made up of two other words, courage and strength.

The most fundamental distinguishing, basic foundational quality to manliness is fortitude or the combination of courage and strength. It is the willingness to listen carefully, even the desire to risk. To take a challenge. To attack difficulty to have an adventure. To move into the unknown. To square up against difficult odds. Men seek that. And I really believe that that's a genetic component. I believe God has designed it in men, that they are the risk takers. They are the ones who face the challenge. They are the ones who conquer. On the other hand. That which is most true about femininity is that it seeks the very opposite. Security. It kind of works like this. The husband comes home and says, honey, it's really exciting. God has called us to the jungles of Arean Jaya.

We're going to a tribe that has never heard the word of God. We're going to be living in the jungle and we're going to give our lives.

And she's saying how we're moving. Where where will we live? What kind of house? Where we have a room will take care of the kids. What what will happen to me when you're off in the jungle?

Her thoughts instinctively nesting no risk. Security, protection, insulation, comfort, his thoughts, adventure, challenge, enemies, attack, conquer.

That's the spectrum that which is truest about manliness, is that it is courageous.

It is strong. It loves a risk and a challenge that which is truest about.

Femininity, it seeks security, protection, insulation as a nesting instinct. That's by God's design, that's built in to the very genetic makeup of men and women.

The great leaders have always been risk takers. The great leaders, the great champions, the great heroes of human history are those men who sent their life on the line for a great cause. They're great generals. They win great battles. They're great soldiers in the midst of war. They put their life on the line. They run across minefields. They capture enemy installations by themselves. They're great missionaries like Stan Dale, who finally fell over after the fiftieth arrow plunged into his chest.

But not until.

They're great scientists who venture into the high risk areas, the great challenges to discover great things that can better the life of mankind.

They're great businessmen, entrepreneurs who come up with incredible ways to find success.

They're great athletes who achieve great things because they love the risk. They love the challenge. If there are wars, they will show up on the battlefield.

If there are no wars, they have to show up somewhere else because that's something in a man.

That makes him want that risk. The real man. The man who is a real man is a man who loves a risk, who loves a challenge, who wants to cut on the edge. Now, with all that in mind. Turn to First Corinthians, Chapter 16. Paul writes to the Corinthians. PSINet church included men and women, obviously. But I want you to notice what he says. First Corinthians 16, 13. I just want to take one phrase out of here. We don't have time for the rest of it. One phrase, middle of the verse.

Act like what?

Act like men.

Now, that poses a question in my mind as soon as I read it. What's the question? How do men act?

We all know act like men, how to Women Act.

The verb, let me tell you what the verb means in Greek, the verb means to conduct oneself in a courageous way, and it is what we call hapax lamina, which means this is the only place in the New Testament it ever appears.

This verb is only used one time in the New Testament. It means to conduct yourself in a courageous way. Therefore, to conduct yourself in a courageous way is to act like a man.

How do men act? They're courageous. They're risk takers. They're challenge lovers. They're conquerors. They're on the cutting edge.

They love it. They seek it. They desire it. They long for it. You notice what phrase follows that one.

Be strong.

Act like men. Be strong. So you have the combination of those two things. Act like men. The verb means be courageous. Be strong means be strong. There you have courage and strength, which equals fortitude. That which is truest about a man is that he has fortitude. Would you please note his verse 14, however, because here's the balance. And let all that you do be done in what? In love, you can't have courage and strength without a balancing element, and that balancing element is love. How do men act then? Men act courageously. Men act in strength and they must be reminded to do it in love. Men are not weak. Men are not vacillating. Men are not compromisers. Men are not defeated. Men are not fearful. When you meet a man like that, you call him a what?

A wimp. A wimp.

They're vacillating, don't have any conviction, don't want to challenge. They're kind of depressed. They're fearful.

But real men face life with fortitude, with courage. They love to take on a challenge.

Now, to see the richness of this truth here in First Corinthians 16 have to go to the Old Testament. Now, follow this thought. This is the only place this kind of instruction appears in the New Testament. But these same words appear in the Old Testament. In the Septuagint, now the Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Old Testament. So if we want to know how those people at that time viewed that phrase, we see it in the Greek Old Testament. So take your Bible, turn to Deuteronomy, Chapter 31. Moses is speaking to all of Israel here. And you'll notice verse six.

And here we find these same kinds of terms. And in the Greek Old Testament, the same words that are used in first grade in 16 are used. Verse six, be strong. And what courageous. There are those two terms, again, same two terms. Do not be afraid or tremble at them. Now, here you have the very description of a man. He is strong and courageous.

He does not fear and he does not shake when he faces an enemy, when he faces difficulty and he is telling the people, you're going to go across into the land and you don't be don't be worrying about the AMA rights and all of that. You're going in there and you need to be strong and courageous.

That's how men are act like men.

Why? Follow verse six for the Lord. Your God is the one who goes with you.

He will not fail you or forsake you, then Moses called a Joshua said to him in the side of all Israel.

Joshua, you'll be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land, which the Lord is sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give it to them as an inheritance. And the Lord is the one who goes ahead of you. He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

Now, why are you to be strong and courageous? Because. Why?

Because the Lord is with you. Because the Lord is with you.

Go down a verse. Twenty three. Same chapter.

Then he commissioned Joshua, the son of none, and said same thing. Be strong and courageous. Any time you are to be a leader, you must have strength and courage. You must have the strength to endure the difficulty and the courage to face it.

That's fortitude. That's how real men act first, Kings, Chapter two. First, Kings Chapter two, David is charging his son, Solomon, what does a father tell a son? What does a father want from a son?

Verse one of first kings to David's Time to die. Drew near. He brought Solomon, his son, in. What does a dying father say to his son? First of all, every father would like his son to be a man. A man's man. So we draw Solomon to his side. And what does he say? I am going the way of all the earth. In other words, I'm going to die like everybody else. Here's what I want you to do. Be strong. Therefore. And show yourself what?

A man. Be strong, be a man.

Keep the charge of the Lord, your God, walk in his ways, keep his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, testimonies.

Do what you know is right. He's saying be courageous and strong in terms of faithfulness to God.

First Chronicles. Chapter 22. In First Chronicles, Chapter 22. Verse eleven. David, again talking to Solomon. Verse eleven. Now, my son.

The Lord be with you, that you may be successful and build the house of the Lord your God, just as he has spoken to you or concerning you, only the Lord give you discretion and understanding and give you charge over Israel so that you may keep the law, the Lord, your God, and then you shall prosper. If you are careful to observe the statutes and the ordinances which the Lord commanded Moses concerning Israeli sums it up.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear nor be dismayed. Be strong and courageous. That's how men act. That's the way every father would want his son to act. Strong and courageous. Second Chronicles 32.

Second chronicles 30 to one, after these acts of faithfulness, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, came and invaded Juda and besieged the fortified cities and thought to break into them for himself. Now, when has the CIA saw that snacker Ribbit comedy intended to make war on Jerusalem be decided with his officers and his warriors to cut off the supply of water from the springs which were outside the city? And they helped him. So many people assembled and stopped up all the springs in the stream which flowed to the region saying Why should the kings of Assyria come and find abundant water? And he took courage and rebuild all the wall that had been broken down and erected towers on it, built another outside wall, strengthened the M.O. in the city of David and made weapons and shields in great number. And he appointed military officers over the people and gathered them to him in the square at the city gate and spoke encouragingly to them. What it has a CIA say or seven be, what strong and courageous do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of a Syrian or because of all the multitude of which is with him. For the one with us, listen to this is greater than the one with him.

Who was the one with him? Who was it? Satan. Who was the one with us? God.

Be strong and courageous.

Now, we have just gone through a number of scriptures that tell us how important a phrase that New Testament phrase is.

Be strong. Act like men means to be courageous. A man does not give way to fear. A man does not give in to intimidation.

A man does not seek the easy path.

A man lives on principle. A man lives on the courage of his conviction. He stands strong against opposition. He is brave and he faces challenges.

That's manly fortitude, it means contending with difficulty. It means facing a challenge. It means meeting an enemy.

It means bearing the pain of a difficult situation. It means upholding righteousness. It means pressing on to God's purposes.

This is the virtue that makes a man a man. And, ladies, let me taste it. This is kind of man you're looking for. And gentlemen, this kind of man you want to be. And from our viewpoint, not just in the social world or the business world or the economic world. But in the spiritual dimension as well. One passage in the Old Testament to pull it all together, Joshua, Chapter one. And I want you to turn to Joshua, chapter one. Here is the word of the Lord to Joshua. Moses is now dead. Joshua is the leader. And I want you to notice versus five to nine, Joshua one. God speaks to Joshua.

No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Well, what a statement. What a promise. Nobody will be able to take you on and win. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you. I will not fail you or forsake you. Verse six.

Be strong and courageous for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them only be strong and very courageous. Be careful to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded. You do not turn from it to the right or to the left so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on a day and night so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it for then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous.

That's the third time God said this to him.

Do not tremble or be dismayed. That's the opposite for the Lord.

Your God is with you wherever you go. Now, three times he says, be strong and courageous. But what are the components that motivate that? What's behind it? Component number one. Verse five. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you. I will not fail you or forsake you. The first component in being strong and courageous is faith in the presence of God.

Faith in the presence of God when I know that God is present with me. I can face any spiritual challenge and know that greater is he that is with me than he is with them.

Right. Greater as the New Testament puts it, is he that is in you than he.

That is what in the world. So the first component of fortitude is faith in the presence of God. Confidence in God's presence. Second one's in verse six.

Be strong and courageous wife, or you shall give this people possession of the land, which I swore to their fathers to give them.

The second thing that gives you courage and strength is not just faith in the presence of God.

But follow this faith in the purpose of God.

God had promised he would give kanon to Israel. Joshua, God says, you know, the cause is right. If you know God is present and you know the cause is right. That's the substance of courage and strength.

Joshua, you know that I promise to your father's to give them this land so you can move out with courage knowing you can't be defeated.

The third component versus seven and eight.

Only be strong and very courageous, because if you're careful to do all the law, which Moses, my servant commanded you and you don't turn from the right to the left, you will have success. Then in verse eight, he says the same thing another way. This book is the law. The scriptures shall not depart from your mouth. You meditate on a day and night, careful to do everything that's written in it, and you will make your way prosperous.

You will have success. This is another very important component. Confidence in follow this. The sovereign providence of God. You have confidence in the presence of God. He's there. You have confidence in the purpose of God. He'll work out his plan. You have confidence in the providence of God that he is orchestrating every single detail of life to make your way successful. Let me tell you, some young people, I live on these principles. I live on the reality that I can face any spiritual challenge because God is with me. The cause is just and God will orchestrate every event in his providence to bring about his purpose and success.

And there's one other component. Verse nine. Have I not commanded you? Have I not commanded you? What is this? This is to recognize your duty. To recognize you are called to obey obedience. Let's call it duty.

I am under duty to be strong and courageous. I must do that where I trust the presence of God. Where I hope in the purposes of God. Where I have confidence in the providence of God to orchestrate every detail.

And where I am submitted to my spiritual duty. I will be strong and courageous, and I will act like a man and that I am commanded to do. That is a man. It's amazing to me how many people in our culture think a man is some kind of macho guy with no principle. Not so.

You know, God has designed this into us. God has designed the man to lead. It's built into the fabric of their genes. It's our responsibility to lead.

And that's why it says act like men, be strong, but do everything you do in love. God has built into the fabric of a man. A genetic component to make him able to face challenges and take risks.

Why? Because he's the protector of his wife. He's the provider. Hey, we live in a risk free world, right? What do we risk?

What do you risk you getting your little car? You put on your little safety belt and hopefully you have an accident. A big balloon blows up in your face so nothing hurts you.

What risk if you get sick?

You've got an HMO. If you have a job, you can't get fire or the ACLU will sue your employer. You don't have to go hunt for your food. You're not trekking through the jungle trying to find something to eat. You know, carving out a house in the midst of wilderness is a risk free world. Your biggest risk is that you don't get a 60 80 with your hairspray.

Right. Whereas the risk you know what happens?

You know what happens in a risk free society. You don't produce men, folks. You don't produce men. You produce wimps on one side or artificial men on the other running around beating their chest.

They have no idea what manliness is, which is which is living on the basis of principle.

We don't know what risk is. The only people who I think really know what risk is, is some of us who live in as Christians in the spiritual warfare that Christians live in.

God's design for men is that they challenge. They know how to lead. That's a man that's built into them.

And we have to protect women. We have to provide for them. And we have to insulate them and allow them to have that opportunity to be in a place where they can be all that God wants them to be protected. That's why you see the marriage is likened to Christ and his church.

Christ as the savior protector. And the church is the one saved and protected where the bride he is the husband.

Men who are men are people of spiritual conviction who can face a spiritual challenge, not cave in. You say, why are you saying this? This should be just given to men? No. Remember now First Corinthians is written to men and women. Right. So let me close by saying this. Men and women today, all of you are to be strong and courageous in the spiritual dimension. Right.

All of you. He's not just talking to men. We are all to do that.

We are all to face temptation. With conviction, courage and stand firm.

You're gonna be in a situation where you'll be tempted to compromise. Gonna be strong and courageous. Are you going to remember that God is present? Are you going to remember that God is established just purposes? And if you're obedient to him, they'll succeed. Are you gonna remember that God is providentially orchestrating even the difficult things of your life for his own glory? And are you going to remember that you're called to duty?

Or are you gonna compromise? If you act like a man, you'll be strong, courageous. You're gonna be tempted to tolerate teaching and behavior and viewpoints in others that you have affirmed as unacceptable. Are you going to cave in to that or are you going to stand your ground? You're gonna be tempted to break your vows during your devotions this year, maybe in chapel or in class at some time in church service. You've made some promises to God about how you want to live. Are you gonna go home and break those promises and break those vows under the pressure? Or are you going to act like a man strong and courageous?

This is Grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us. John's current study is a collection of messages he preached at the Masters University, lessons that together provide a course for life. So, John, today you talked about some specific leadership qualities, great material. But leadership is something we hear so much about today, not only in the church, but outside the church. In fact, bookstores are stocked with books on leadership. And the problem is a lot of the advice. While it may seem motivating and interesting and even entertaining, a lot of that advice about leadership today is bad advice.

Yeah, it is. You know, you could divide all of leadership into two categories. One would be manipulation and the other would be inspiration. There's only two ways to lead. You can manipulate people or you inspire them. And if you manipulate people, there are two ways to do that. You manipulate them by reward or you manipulate them by the fear of punishment. Right. Right. That's the only way you can manipulate people. You have to hang a carrot in front of them. That's going to be their reward. If they follow you or you have to threaten them. And we've all seen people in even in spiritual ministries who manipulate their people by fear. I mean, they literally are afraid of their leader. And we know others who who manipulate by making all kinds of promises of reward. But the honest way to lead the biblical way to lead is by inspiration, not manipulation. What does that mean? It means trust and respect. When people trust you and respect you, they follow. Now you can have a title. You can have a job that says vice president or chief executive officer or whatever doesn't make you a leader. What makes you a leader is when you turn around and you see people following you. There are people coming after you because they want to hear what you say. They want to know what you know. They want to be like you. And they want to follow you to the next great adventure, the next great experience in the Christian life. So that is genuine leadership. And of course, naturally, that's what the Bible talks about with leadership. I wrote a book called Called To Lead, and you might think it's like a Stephen Covey book. You know, seven lessons for leaders. And it's sort of a psychological book. It's anything but that. It's the story of Paul and a shipwreck, basically. That's kind of the heart of leadership. And here's a guy who was a prisoner. By the time the trip is over, he's in charge of everything. By the sheer force of his inspiring life. This book called To Lead, will teach you how to be a biblical leader. And you say, well, I don't know if I'm a leader. Look, if anybody's following you, you're a leader. You need to take that responsibility even if you're just a parent looking at the kids coming up in your family. Great book called To Lead. You can order a copy today, right?

Called To Lead Looks at 26 leadership lessons from the Life of Paul showing you how to lead by example, how to defend your integrity, how to handle adversity and much more to place your order. Get in touch. Today you can call us toll free at 855 Grace or shop online at G.T. y dot org called to Lead is an ideal book to study together with a young person.

You're discipling or a child. You're preparing for graduation or the leadership team at your church. It's available in both English and Spanish.

Again, to get John's book called To Lead, Call 855 Grace or Shop Online at G.T.. Why, dawg? And now turning the corner a bit if you know someone who is thinking about life after high school.

Keep in mind that John MacArthur serves as chancellor of the Masters University in Southern California. It's a four year liberal arts university with a commitment to the authority of scripture, discipleship and strong academics. To learn more, you can link to the Masters University Web site by going to G.T. y dot org.

That's G.T. y dot org. And we'll have a link there to the Masters University.

Now for John MacArthur and the entire grace to use staff. I'm Phil Johnson reminding you. Watch Grace to you television. This Sunday on Direct TV, Channel 378 or check your local listings for channel and times and make sure you're here tomorrow.

When John continues his study, A Course for Life with another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time on Grace to You.


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