A Real Man

Title: A Real Man

Bible Book: 1 Corinthians 15 : 45-49

Author: Jerry N. Watts

Subject: Men; Father's Day; Manhood



All of my life I have had my own personal concept of what it means to be a real man. Understand, I never gave it much “thought,” I simply watched dad, papaw, my uncles, men friends, and others to decide what manhood was all about. Know what I discovered? Most of us men have given little thought to being or becoming a real man, we just kind of “gravitated” into the role. Candidly, as I reached middle age, I sensed that maybe I didn’t have it all “right” or altogether on this issue. So for the past several years my passion has become to engage men on the issue of becoming real men and how to become real men.

By lunch tomorrow my desire is for you and I to have either discovered or reaffirmed what God is calling us to be and do. Although in His word, God doesn’t write out the “definition” of a man, we are certainly given picture after picture of what a Godly man looks like.

Turn in your Bible to 1 Corinthians 15 and let’s begin our journey for the next few minutes about manhood. (Read Text)

Robert Lewis tells the old story about a man who always wanted to go to the Super Bowl and could never get tickets. Finally, he found a ticket, bought it, and arrived at the stadium to discover that his seat was in this “nosebleed” section. The only thing he could see requiree binoculars. All during the first half he watched both the game and the crowd. He was looking for a vacant seat somewhere closer to the field. He thought that surely someone would get sick, have a family emergency, or even have a car accident and be unable to make it to the game.

Just before half, he saw it, a vacant seat on the 50 yard line next to an old man. At half-time, he made his way down to row 10 and spoke to the man about the vacant seat. “Sure you can sit here. For years, this seat was my wife’s but she died so make yourself at home and enjoy the game.”

Just as he took his seat the second half started and he couldn’t believe it - only 10 rows away from the 50 yard line – at the Super Bowl. Wow! Surely it doesn’t get any better than this!

As the third quarter ended, the man came back to reality and began to think about this older gentleman. Turning to him he said, “Thank you so much for letting me sit here, but I’m curious, I can’ t believe you couldn’t get one of your friends to come to the Super Bowl with you.” With a tear in his eye, the older man said, “They’re all at the funeral home.”

Now, that was an inconsiderate man. For the next few minutes, let’s consider a couple thoughts which will be the springboard to all that the break-out leaders and our keynote speaker will offer. We are going to consider, “A Real Man.”

I. The Common View of Manhood

Some will, no doubt, be upset by what is about to be said. But my request is to ask every man here to lay aside our pride and our preconceptions for the next 15-18 minutes and simply open our minds and hearts to another way of thinking. This is not a new way, but rather an old (Old, Old) way of thinking – God’s way of thinking! Let the thoughts permeate your mind and give them a fair hearing and consider these truths so that the Holy Spirit can use them to speak to our souls.

The common view of manhood to is difficult to express. Why? It is difficult to express because so many are trying to define it. For us, “southern males,” manhood is almost always about being the “most”, the “best”, and even the “toughest.” As teenagers, this was drilled into us. The young man who scored the most touchdowns, had the highest batting average, or scored the most buckets was obviously the real man. By the way, the real man didn’t ever express emotion, was literally insensitive, and could dominate those around him. Then, starting about 20 or 30 years ago, as some of us came into adulthood, the idea developed and was discussed that men need to get in touch with their “feminine side.” That was a real winner. Honestly, I have looked me over and there is nothing about me that looks or feels feminine.

A. The Facts about this View of Manhood

The fact is that today we have a flawed concept of manhood. Some of this has come from dictating dads and manipulating moms as well as uninformed people. Most of the time, this is done in or out of ignorance. From the home to the work ethic to sexuality, we live in a culture which is attempting to redefine what God has designed. The results are horrendous.

Yesterday I sat with a few friends and asked them if anyone had ever taught them what manhood is or even had ever given them a definition of true, Biblical manhood. The answer from everyone at that table was ‘no’. What is sadder than this is that we live in a culture which gives conflicting and confusing messages about manhood like I’ve already mentioned.

Is it any wonder that the ‘central problem of every society is to define the appropriate or correct roles for men.’ And when a culture is divided over the role of men, that society is doomed for ultimate failure. Dr. Lewis tells us that the “#1 fear among Junior High Students is that dad is going to leave mom.” Why is this? This fear in large measure, in the USA, is due to the fatherless society as many men are MIA today. They are missing in action when it comes to taking on the “Spiritual and developmental” responsibility for their families. For you see, “as men go, so goes the life of a society.”

B. The Fallout from this View of Manhood

Conflicting messages about masculinity have taken a huge toll on men. In Men’s Fraternity some of the first things we learned was “manhood is in a state of confusion,” “confused men cause problems,” and “confused men settle for less.”

Before we take issue with all this confusion, consider some of the results of having a confused masculinity in a culture; the men lack direction and are troubled, women suffer and fight for their equality and protection, and family life disintegrates while children are hurt. In essence society as a whole becomes troubled. I challenge you to read the paper and watch the news for the next seven days and debunk these truths.

II. The Contrasting Views of Manhood

From the scripture we have read and in other passages we discover two contrasted two views of manhood. In 1 Corinthians 15 they are spoken of as the “First Adam” and the “Last Adam,” the first man and the second man, and the man of dust and the man of heaven. We know these two men as Adam and Jesus. We’ll contrast these two types of manhood as Accepted Manhood (Adam) and Authentic Manhood (Jesus). At the end of our time, I will ask you to decide which of these two represents you right now. And then ask, “Are you satisfied?”

A. Accepted Manhood

We begin talking about the Accepted Manhood. Know why I term this the “accepted manhood?” Because I am a simple person and simply put, this style of manhood is readily accepted, if not expected. We first see it in Genesis 3 in the fall of mankind. Isn’t it interesting that the first time the man (Adam) fails to be what God designed him to be, that all of mankind bears the shame and the consequences for all time.

Genesis 3 is a familiar passage because it is known as “the fall,” which is the first act of sin in the Bible. Let’s read how this happened. (Read 1-6) All of my life I thought that Adam must have been on the other side of the garden when this took place, but the scripture tells us that Adam was with her. What happened to the man who received God’s direct word “don’t eat of the tree?” At the very time He needed to step forward, become active, show leadership, and stand for the right, he became passive. Perhaps he and Eve had already had some trying discussions and he didn’t want to aggravate the situation, so he allowed her to make a decision to be disobedient to God.

Accepted Manhood - Authentic Manhood

What a man does - What a man is

Competition with other men - Community with other men

Temporal power - Transcendent power

Personal rewards - Eternal rewards

Self - Others

Success – Significance

Men, I know this is not popular today, but by the order of the Creator and His words, God designed Adam to lead. Did you realize that God did not speak directly to the woman until Adam directed God’s attention there? In case you perceive this is a ‘put-down’ for women, this has nothing to do with the respect for women and men, rather it has to do with responsibility. Since the Garden of Eden, God has designed and expected men to lead. And not just lead to the ballfields, fishing holes, and hunting stands, but also to the cross. Yet, the accepted manhood of our day paints a picture of men who focuses on this fleshly existence, bases decisions on human reason and personal instinct, has no real view of God and eternity, and as Genesis says and Paul writes, he is just a living soul and that’s all.

B. Authentic Manhood

Now let’s talk about the Authentic Manhood. Have you ever had a day or even period of time in your life when you felt like everything you did had the reverse effect of what you were trying to do? You attempt to repair your car and instead of it cranking it won’t even fire. You try to please your wife and, probably not a good illustration, but you get the idea. I would suspect that Adam might have felt the same way and certainly the legacy he presented us left some deep scars. However, the Last man, the 2nd Adam - Jesus the Lord, gave us a model of manhood which we can like, learn from, and live by.

Let’s take a look at what Jesus did. And let’s look at Him in the midst of the emotional upheaval at Gethsemane. From this experience, let’s write down and remember a definition of an authentic man. This didn’t originate with me, but it is worth knowing.

"A real man is one who rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads courageously, and expects a greater reward, God’s reward."

In Deuteronomy 6, God tells the Children of Israel to LOVE HIM with all their heart, souls, mind, and strength. Do you know how important that was to God? God’s instructions were to “repeat it to your children, talk about it when you sit down, lie down, walk around, or get up. Put it on your hand, your forehead, and your doorpost." It’s that important.”

At the critical time in the garden, Adam became passive. At the critical time in different garden Jesus said, “Not my will but Thy will.” Jesus was actively in the place where His Father told Him to be. He wasn’t active or accepts His responsibility because it was easy, but because it was His.

Roy Smith said it this way, “The ability to accept responsibility is the measure of a man.” Have you ever considered all the responsibility God has place on our shoulders as men? Most of us would say, yes, I teach my kids about guns, girls, and guts. But what about the most important things in life? This is the area of leading courageously. Being a real man is not for wimps. It requires courage, spiritual courage to stand for truth, for what is right and for the gospel in a culture that will demean and dumb you down. To lead courageously, we must master one huge obstacle. That is, “feelings.” The greatest way to master these is to keep your eyes on the prize and expect that greater reward of hearing Jesus say, “Well Done.”


Men, I have attempted to encapsulate hours of truths we need to hear into just a few minutes. Years ago, John Eldridge spoke to the masculine mentality with a book entitled, “Wild at Heart.” While His concept about God needs tweaking, but John nailed the trigger in the heart of a man. He wrote that every man has an adventure to live, a battle to fight, and a beauty to win. The real man is living out His dream because it is God’s dream for Him.

“Trust in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Having heard about these two, which one are you?

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