This is a resource I provided to the men of Grace Community Church following our Father’s Day Weekend. You can also find a PDF version of this resource on our website by clicking HERE. Specifically for men, please take time to use it as a personal study guide, as well as sharing it with other men.
FOUR MARKS OF A MAN OF GOD
This resource is provided to you to help you, as a man, determine and develop the four key marks of what it means to be a “man of God.”
Read: 1 Timothy 6. The Apostle Paul is writing to Timothy, passing the mantle to him to take over for the great Apostle, Timothy who is gifted to preach and teach, who has functioned and will continue to function as a pastor of a local congregation, will have influence over many others who will be under his teaching and preaching. He will no doubt be used by God to raise up many other men as the one who was himself raised up under the mentoring of Paul. He needs to have an understanding of the essential elements of effective leadership as a man following Christ.
Note 1 Timothy 6:11 “But you, Timothy, ARE A MAN OF GOD, so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.” Here the Apostle Paul designates Timothy as a man of God.
Note 2 Timothy 3:17 “…so that the MAN OF GOD may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Paul states to THE man of God here, referring not just to Timothy, but to all men who would follow Christ. So, twice this expression is used in the New Testament, “man of God.”
Once to refer to Timothy, and once to refer to all those men who desire to be equipped as a man of God.
What does “man of God” mean? Maybe if we just took a very simple approach to it and said it means, “God’s man!” That is to say, a man who belongs personally to God, a man whom God in the truest and highest sense owns or possesses. This is not a man who belongs to the world. This is not a man who belongs to the culture. This is not a man who belongs even to the church. This is God’s man. This is the man who personally belongs to God.
This is a very unique and powerful title. It is a very technical title drawn out of the Old Testament. And while it only appears twice in the New Testament, it appears over 70 times in the Old Testament- “God’s man, the man of God!” It is said of Moses that he was the man of God. It is said of an angelic messenger sent down with a message from God to the wife of Manoah, the mother of Samson, that Samson was the man of God. It is said of the prophet who spoke for God to Eli, the high priest, predicting judgment on his family, that Samuel is called the man of God. Numerous of the prophets are called the man of God, Elijah, Elisha. David is called God’s man. It is a technical term so much so that in every single usage of that phrase it applies to someone who spoke the Word of God, someone who was a spokesman for God. It is a technical term, a man of God is someone uniquely called to proclaim the Word of God.
The title, “man of God,” refers to any man who is equipped by Scripture- “All Scripture is provided so that the man of God can be adequate to his work.” Think about it this way. How can you speak for God unless you know the message of God? You cannot know the message of God apart from the Scripture. All Scripture then is given to you as men, to be men of God, that we may be perfected or made adequate to the proclamation of the Word of God to ourselves personally, to our families, to our culture.
Paul labels Timothy, “You man of God.” He places him in a long line of very elite company. It’s pretty amazing to think about being a man of God, overwhelming really. I think Paul himself was personally overwhelmed his entire life with a sense of transformation and gratitude; considering where he’d come from. Timothy is a part of that long line of elite company, and so also can you be.
The whole letter to Timothy is a call to posture himself in light of Scripture as a man of God- to be God’s man. That in opposition to all the phonies and the fakes and the frauds and the false teachers and the false apostles and the charlatans and those who parade themselves as if they represent God (Read 1 Timothy), you can always tell a man of God, because a man of God speaks faithfully and lives faithfully the truth of God. That’s what sets him apart.
The man of God is known by four marks…four distinguishing characteristics.
FIRST: The man of God is marked by what he flees from! 1 Timothy 6:11 “But flee from these things, you man of God.” That is a present imperative- it is a continuing action, being commanded. The Greek verb, pheugo, from which we get the English word fugitive. We are fugitives. We are a running man. We are running relentlessly. We are running all the time. We are fleeing all the time.
And from what? From “these evil” things, you man of God. The question is, what things are we fleeing from? 1 Timothy 6:9-10 “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction, for the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many a pang, but flee from these things.” From what? From the love of money and all the attendant corruptions that come with it.
You can even go back to verse 5 where he says, there are some people, he calls them men of a depraved mind, deprived of the truth, that’s a pretty serious indictment! There are those who suppose that godliness or religion is a means of gain. There are men who make money their god, as well as those men who realize you can make a lot of money through religion. Paul may be speaking of church leadership in this regard, but the principle and command to flee is applicable to all men.
Paul notes that “godliness,” actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. You brought nothing into the world and you’re not going to take anything out either. If you have food, a job, a place to live, clothes to wear, that’s enough. You don’t ever want to get caught into all of the temptations, traps and foolish and harmful lusts that plunge people into ruin and destruction that go along with materialism. Loving money produces all kinds of evil. It’s not just the evil of loving money, it’s all the evil that goes with being preoccupied with the material, the physical.
If you are to be a man of God, you will be a running man, a fleeing man. 1 Corinthians 6:18 warns all of us, “Flee sexual sin, flee fornication.” 1 Corinthians 10:14 warns all of us, “Flee idolatry.” Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:4 to avoid myths, endless genealogies which give rise to speculation. Avoid those things that corrupt your clear mind and assault and attack biblical truth. In 1 Timothy 6:20, he says, “Avoid worldly, empty chatter.” The Greek word used is bebalos, it’s an onomatopoeic word- something literally outside the sacred temple, non-sacred babble. As well as to avoid the opposing arguments, the antithesis of what is falsely called knowledge. Avoid all the garbage that comes in the name of religion and philosophy. Don’t let your mind be corrupted.
In 2 Timothy 2:22 Paul says, “Avoid youthful lusts.” You have to run, your whole life to be a man of God, from everything that can corrupt you. Ideas can corrupt you. Lusts can corrupt you. Material things can corrupt you. You run from all those worldly idols. False teachers and liars and frauds, false apostles who pervert the truth of God for money.
You run from that your whole life, you are escaping those corrupting influences that come along with this passing world. And when the Lord does give you and bless you with more than you need, you have to be the model steward of that. But, you can’t be God’s man and the world’s man. You have to be a fleeing, running man.
SECOND: The man of God is known not only by what he flees from, but what he follows after. Again, 1 Timothy 6:11 says “Flee from these things, you man of God, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.” While we’re fleeing from the world, we’re running after spiritual virtues. We’re fleeing temporal values and pursuing spiritual virtues. And this also is a present imperative indicating continuous action under command. We are commanded to be always fleeing the “evil things” and commanded to be always following after “godly” things.
Paul is simply saying, “Get out of the sight of the things that will corrupt you, and never let the things that produce virtue out of your vision.” As a man, the ongoing development of a life after Christ, to be a man of God, is an effort to run from evil and to pursue God. That’s what it is. Proverbs 15:9 says, “The Lord loves him that pursues, that runs after, that follows after righteousness.” The man of God has to ask himself, “Am I running with all my might? Am I a fleeing man? And am I a following man?”
What am I pursuing, following after? This is a critical question! What are you running after? What do you want? What is your ambition? Like Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5:9-10, can we say, “I have as my ambition to be pleasing to Him.” Can you say, “My goal, my driving desire is to please God. That’s what I am running after!” To be a “man of God” you have to be running after “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.”
Righteousness has to do with doing what’s right. How simple is that? It’s all about having your life set in the direction of doing what is right while you’re running from what is wrong! To do what is right not just before others, but to do what is right before God. We’re talking not here about imputed righteousness that comes in justification, but the practical righteousness that comes in sanctification- that you are obeying the Word of God!
Godliness is what happens on the inside; thinking what is right. Paul did what was right because he thought rightly. His life was right because his thoughts were right. He was winning the battle on the inside. He was cultivating godliness in his own heart, reverence, holiness, purity in the heart. He was truly loving God and therefore loving what pleased God. He was delighting in God and therefore delighting in what brought joy to God. Behind right behavior is a right attitude. We are to serve God “acceptably” Hebrews 12:28 states, How do you do that? With reverence and godly fear. This all has to come from a worshiping heart. Godliness is critical.
By the way, the word godliness is used nine times in 1, 2 Timothy and Titus. It’s at the heart of everything you do as a man of God. If the heart is not godly, eventually it’s going to show up. Given enough time, the truth of who you are will come out. Be sure your sins will find you out. Inevitably it’s going to show up. And so hypocrisy will reveal itself in most cases; so watch your heart, watch your motives, watch your desires. The man of God then pursues righteousness and godliness.
Faith is a trust in God that is unshakable. You are known as a “man of God” because you are confident in God for everything. You are known for being loyal to the Lord, for having confidence in God’s power, God’s Word, God’s purpose, God’s plan, God’s promise. You live under divine sovereignty. You live in the light of God’s promises. You believe that if you live according to God’s Word, God will honor what you live! You are unshaking in your commitment to the Bible as your standard. You know that the sovereignty of God resolves everything, that the providence and the power of God is expressed in response to the Word of God. Your life
is lived in the consciousness that everything is controlled by the Lord and everything good happens by the Spirit using the truth that comes from the Word. And so, there’s no frustration, there’s no forcing, there’s no manipulation, there’s just diligence in the proclamation of, and living out of the truth and entrusting it to God. The true man of God is a man who lives by faith in the sovereign outworking of the purposes of God.
Love is agapan- the volitional love, unrestrained, unrestricted love toward God and men. The man of God loves the Lord his God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. He is a lover of God, devoted to the Lord, committed to self-sacrificing service on behalf of others. He loves others in the sense that he gives his life away to them. The love of God is his motivator in all that he is and all that he does.
Patience and to persevere is being steadfast, staying the course. The Greek word used here is “hupomone” and it means “to remain or stay under.” As a man of God it means you have the ability to endure, to hang in there, to stay the course, to be under the burden of it, under the weight of it, under the power of it, even under the disappointment of. And it’s not passive acquiescence, it’s a victorious kind of endurance. It’s an unswerving loyalty to the Lord, to your family, to people, to the church, to the truth. The man of God has this amazing resilience, through the ups and the downs, the good and the bad, etc., he endures it all.
That’s what you follow, righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, gentleness.
THIRD: The man of God is known by what he flees from, what he follows after, what he fights for. The man of God fights the “noble” fight! The Greek word is kalos, the noble fight for the faith, the contending of the Christian faith. Why? Because biblical truth is always under attack. Every man is called to be a fighter, for his family, for his and his family’s future, and for his faith! This is an agonizing battle in which we are engaged and a faithful man of God is a soldier, a warrior, a fighter, a boxer, a battler. He fights the good fight.
In ancient times the gloves of Greek boxers were fur-lined on the inside and on the outside made of ox hide. Sewn into the ox hide was lead and iron. That’s how you fought. And basically the losers had their eyes gouged out. It was very serious conflict. And so is spiritual warfare. It’s sad to see men who don’t want to fight, who don’t want to go to battle, who don’t want to guard the truth, who don’t want to protect the truth for themselves, for their families, for their futures.
1 Timothy 6:20, “Guard what has been entrusted to you…” Man of God, that’s just part of your duty! 2 Timothy 1:13 “Retain or guard the standard of sound words.” 2 Timothy 1:14, “Guard through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us the treasure that’s been entrusted to you.” It’s a guardianship. There’s a battle out there for the protection of the truth, the protection of all that God calls sacred, and we have to be fully engaged in that battle.
1 Timothy 6:12 “Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” The man of God knows this is all about salvation, all about eternal life. It’s the very eternal life to which you were called and to which you made a good profession in the presence of many witnesses. Paul is saying, “Timothy, here’s what pulls it all together.”
You’ve got to take hold of eternal life! This is in apposition in the structure of the Greek language that is being used in 1 Timothy 6:11-12. It’s in apposition to the three verbs…flee, follow, fight. Why are we fleeing so hard from the corrupting things? Why are we following so hard after the glorious virtues? Why are we fighting? Because these are issues that relate to eternal life!
Nothing else matters except eternal life! The temporal, the earthly, will all fall away! Get a grip on what is eternal. That’s what Paul is saying to Timothy. To which you were called…that’s an effectual call into salvation. And to which you made a confession when you established that you had put your trust in Christ…remember, Timothy, the man of God is one who is committed to serve God by proclaiming the Word of God with a view to eternal results. We are far above the pitiful struggles for things that are perishable and useless. We’re battling for what is eternal.
FOURTH: The man of God is known by what he is faithful to. YES, what he flees from, follows after, fights for, and most importantly, what he is faithful to! 1 Timothy 6:13 “I charge you in the presence of God who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Wow!
What does Paul admonish Timothy to do? Keep the commandment! What is the “commandment”? In Paul’s usage it takes in all the commandments of the Scripture, all the commandments of the law of God. This word “commandment” used in the singular numerous times in the New Testament, refers to the Law of God, not merely a single commandment; not this commandment as opposed to that one, etc.
So the man of God is known because he is faithful to the commandment, to the whole of Scripture. We are men of the Word above all else, that’s why we know what to flee from, what to follow after, and what to fight for! The man of God does not need to fear anything, as long as he keeps the “commandment.” The man of God is marked by faithfulness to God’s Word!
The man of God flees from those things that will corrupt him. The man of God follows after godly virtues.
The man of God fights for the faith with the eternal in mind. The man of God is faithful to all of God’s Word.
(c) 2013, Terry Broadwater with adaptation from teachings by John MacArthur.