Thursday, 17 July 2008

Real Men Stand in the Gap - Franklin Simmons

Standing in the Gap, A Real Man

Men's Day Celebration, the theme is "Real Men Serve the Lord" and the scripture chosen is:

Scripture: (Ezek 22:30 KJV) And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

I want to center this message on the thought "Standing in the Gap, A Real Man". First let's look at my perception of a real man's characteristics. Real Men:

Get Nervous and Excited
Make Mistakes and Achieve Perfection
Lose and Win
Cry and Laugh
Experience Pain and Pleasure
Experience Sorrow and Joy

But, through all this diversity, they serve the Lord. Real men serve the Lord!

Also let's be clear, not all men serving are serving the Lord, some are serving the Lord's purpose.

Oh yes men, don't deceive yourselves, you can be used by God for His purpose and never receive a blessing. There is a difference in serving God's purpose and serving God. You see God's servants WORSHIP GOD, they PRAISE GOD, and they TRUST GOD, hence they receive His blessings.

What do I mean by being blessed and being used! Well, God can use anything to serve His purpose. He used a donkey to stand in the gap for Balaam to keep him from going astray. God sent an Angel to block the way of the donkey and force it aside three times, each time Balaam would smite the donkey. However, Balaam didn't know why the donkey was acting so strange and was mad enough to kill it. Then the Lord caused the donkey to speak to Balaam and question his treatment of it, especially since the donkey had been so loyal to him in the past. Then the Lord opened Balaam's eyes to see the angel and the angel told Balaam if the donkey had not turned aside then I would have killed you. Now, who wouldn't serve a God like that? Read the story in the book of Numbers, the 22nd chapter.

He used a fish to stand in the gap for Jonah until he repented and went on to preach to the Ninevites. Jonah was tossed into the depths of the sea, only to be saved by a great fish that kept him for three days and three nights as he pondered his decision to run from God and then he repented. Jonah said, out of the belly of hell I cried out and the Lord heard me and placed me on dry land to accomplish the mission he had originally given me. Now, who wouldn't serve a God like that? Read the story in the book of Jonah, the 1st and 2nd chapters.

He used ravens to stand in the gap for Elijah while Elijah waited out God's drought hiding from Ahab, king of Israel at that time. God had given Elijah the task of telling Ahab it would not rain or even have dew in the land for years. After telling Ahab, Elijah fled and Ahab hunted him to kill him but never found him as the ravens tended his needs, because there was no man to stand in the gap for him for fear of Ahab. Now, who wouldn't serve a God like that? Read the story in the book of I King 17th chapter.

You see God can use anything. If he can use these animals he can use you. But, the difference is the blessings received. Yes the blessings are the difference in serving God's purpose an serving God.

Now, being blessed is to receive a gift of God.

Well, You might ask what is a gift of God? God's gifts are conveyed in (Gal 5:22 & 23): they are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. When you receive these gifts you can be a real man and stand in the gap. You see, you can have the meekness and longsuffering of Job, who suffered the loss of all his family and property and even endured injury with much pain and suffering. But, he endured it all with patience and without resentment. You can have the love that Steven showed, as he asked the Lord, lay not this sin to their charge as Saul stood by holding the coats of the villagers and watching as they stoned Steven to death. You can have the faith of the Hebrew Boys (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) as they said to Nebuchadnezzar, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. You can have the joy of David as he said weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. He also said this is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. You can have the peace of Paul, the man that stood and held the coats of the men that stoned Steven to death. I can see him now as he stands on the deck of that storm tossed ship destined for destruction telling the seamen to fear not for there will be no loss of life. You can have the gentleness of Elisha, as when he led the Syrian army blinded by God from Dothan to Samaria, delivering them to the King of Israel as prisoners. When the King asked shall I smite them, Elisha replied no, give them food and drink and send them home. And the King did and the Syrians troubled the Israelites no more for a while. You can have the goodness of the good samaritan as he cared for the wounded, left for dead man that the priest and levite pass by. You can have the temperance of John the Baptist as he kept himself under the subjection of Christ while he prepared the way for Him, not once entertaining the tribute of men saying that he was the Messiah. Now John was a man with a mission and because of his conviction God was not going to let that favorite nemesis of man, Pride, get in his way. Now who wouldn't serve a God like that! You see men, one of our biggest problems is pride. If we can develop the temperance to defeat our worldly pride we can stand in the gap and be a real man. Are you serving the Lord's purpose or are you serving the Lord and receiving your blessing? Take an inventory of your characteristics.

Ezekiel searched for a man such as these, but found none. God is searching today for such a man, are you that man. Can you stand in the gap if called upon today? Well if you can't, then here are a few suggestions:

I suggest you take the advice of David and:

Change your ungodly ways. Because Psalms 1:5 says the ungodly shall not stand. Psalms 5:5 says that the foolish shall not stand. We cannot drink our liquor, do our drugs, down our brothers and expect to stand. We cannot dishonor our women by thought, word or deed and expect to stand. We cannot abandon our children and expect to stand. We cannot go behind our brother's back and do all kind of evil things and expect to stand. We cannot say hurtful things to each other and expect to stand. God sees, hears and is aware of all these things and will hold us accountable.

He wants us to be righteous as he admonishes us in Psalms 24: 3-5, Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. You know the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

He wants us to be reverent as he exclaimed to us in Psalms 33: 8, Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. You know the fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge.

He wants us to be glad as he confesses to us in Psalms 122: 1-2, I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. You know the joy of the Lord is my strength.

He wants us to be patient and hopeful as he exclaimed to us in Psalm 130: 5-7, I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. You see my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.

Also, take the advice of Luke and be watchful and prayerful as he repeats the words of Jesus in St. Luke 21: 36. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. Pray without ceasing, for prayer is the way we communicate with God. Pray when things are good and when things are not so good.

And then take the advice of Paul and:

Be justified by faith as he tells us in Romans 5:1-2, Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. You see without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith seals our prayer requests.

Paul wants us to be whole as he emphasizes in Ephesians 6: 10-20, Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. We have got to start living so we can stand and speak boldly for Christ. Not having to look around to see who is around that might know something on us. For there is nothing stronger than a righteous Black man standing for what he knows is the truth and can back it up. But, if we speak one thing and do the opposite, then we are weak in our delivery and not convincing to our audience.

He also wants us to be Holy as he challenges us in Philippians 1: 29 - 2: 4, For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me. If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. You see I am my brothers' keeper. Everything Christ did He did for others.

And when you can do these things, you can as John P. Kee says, "Stand for Holiness, stand for righteousness and be counted among them that shall reign with Him". He said, "I decided to take a stand, not knowing I'd lose my best friend, but I'd rather live right than in Hell to lift up my eyes. Stand for Holiness, stand for righteousness and be counted among them that shall reign with Him. You stand, when friends are gone, stand when you're all alone and believe He shall receive His own. Stand, stand, stand, you stand!"

In order for us to stand we as men will have to do as the Colorado Mass Choir recorded "Stir up the gift". They said, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but the Lord has given us POWER!" He has given us "Power and love, His joy and peace; His happiness; He has given us a sound mind." And "Never should I be afraid." But, Stir up the gift. They said Lord, "Lay your hands on me, and Stir up the gift." They said "Touch me, Lord, Stir up the gift, I want you to stir me. I want you to stir me, Stir me, Stir me Lord. Oh stir me. Yes. STIR UP THE GIFT!" Touch me, Lord. Stir up the gift.

St. Stephens, Opp - Men's Day
Franklin Simmons


blogger templates | Make Money Online