STUDY | Spend the week studying Genesis 1:26-31. Consult the commentary provided and any additional study tools to enhance your preparation.
DETERMINE | Many questions have been included in this guide. Read through this lesson to determine which questions will work best to encourage, push, and grow your group.
PRAY | As you prepare, pray for the preaching of God’s Word this coming weekend. Pray also for your time in this week’s study and your group’s openness to God’s Word.
LANDING POINT | Trust what God has made, not what culture creates.
Remember the 4 Rules for Small Group Discussion
- Confidentiality. What’s said in the group stays in the group.
- No cross-talk. Be considerate of others as they share. Refrain from side conversations and texting during group time.
- No fixing. We are not in the group to fix each other. Jesus does that part.
- Sharing. Be sensitive to the amount of time you share. Don’t talk too much or too little. Every person brings something valuable to the group.
As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion.
This week we will explore God’s general design for humanity, focusing particularly on his design for manhood. We will look closely at the original design God created for man in Genesis 1 and identify some practical steps to return to his design with the Holy Spirit’s help.
Q: How does our culture define manhood?
Q: If that’s true, what would that mean for women or children?
Select 2-3 questions to discuss as a group.
MADE TO BE LIKE GOD
Humans have a special relationship to God that no other created thing in the universe has—we are made in his image! Just as a mirror shows the likeness of whatever it reflects, being made in God’s image means that we reflect part of who God is to the world. In everything we do, we should imitate God (Eph. 5:1). And why should we imitate him? Because he is our creator and our ultimate parent! Just as little children resemble their earthly parents, we should resemble the One who made us, our Heavenly Father! From the start, in everything we do—including the way we relate to others, the way we steward our resources, the way we parent and the way we conduct ourselves in the workplace—we were created to look like God. This understanding that we were created to resemble God and imitate him in everything we do is a defining characteristic of a Kingdom Man.
READ: Read Genesis 1:26-31. List some ways God clearly calls us to be like him in this passage.
Q: In what ways are children like their parents? How do children develop these “likenesses”? How does this help you understand why we should be like God?
NOT MADE TO BE GOD
Though we see many ways we are to be like God, Genesis 1 also shows us that we are not God himself. Though a little boy mimics his dad in many ways, he does not claim to be his own father! Genesis 1 says that like any good Father would, God gave everything in creation for mankind’s use (Gen. 1:29). We did not create these things ourselves. True identity, responsibility and authority were delegated from the Lord to us. Biblical manhood is something we learn by watching our Father, not something a man defines for himself. As we saw in this week’s sermon, Adam was given authority to be like God, yes, but he was also to live under God’s authority.
In contrast, the world declares that a real man makes his own way and only answers to himself—that he lives for “number one.” Instead of remaining the child who wants to grow up to be like his dad, worldly men claim to be the dad instead, taking God’s place! To get back to the best and truest design for manhood, we must look to the example of Christ. He is the only one who is truly “like God” in every way because he is God! Only he can show us what it means to live for the interests of others instead of living for self. A Kingdom Man recognizes that he is not his own god and looks to the example of Jesus instead of living for himself.
Q: In what ways does our culture glorify worldly men instead of Kingdom Men?
Q: Share about a time when a man in your life acted as the Kingdom Man he was designed to be. How did this experience impact you?
Select 2-3 question from this section to answer.
As we’ve seen in this week’s sermon, modern-day “Adams” must see how Jesus’ work restores their identity, responsibility, and authority; helping them become the men God designed them to be. Let’s explore each of these.
WHO A KINGDOM MAN REALLY IS
Without knowing not just who we are, but whose we are, all our efforts to return to God’s original design will be in vain. In ancient history, kings would erect “images” of themselves, putting these statues throughout the king’s domain so that travelers could see exactly whose land they were in. Similarly, when the world looks at the modern man living in the true image of God, it should remind them of the King he represents. Bearing God’s image at work means being excellent in all we do—this shows the world what God is like when he works. It also reveals God as the ultimate creator of work. Bearing God’s image at home means leading, protecting and providing for our family—this shows what God is like as a Father to us. Bearing God’s image at church means being a shepherd in the congregation—this shows the kind of leader, as well as servant, God is as the head of his church. In everything a man does, his example should be a mirror reflecting what God is like! This is what image-bearing means.
Q: In what ways have you built your life in pursuit of your own image instead of God’s image?
Q: How does the “image” you live in impact the lost friends and family around you? What message does it send them about who the true ruler is in your life?
WHAT A KINGDOM MAN IS RESPONSIBLE FOR
Instead of being about God’s Kingdom, today men are taught to build their own kingdom. And instead of bringing God’s will into the world, our culture celebrates achieving man’s will, no matter the cost. Only through Jesus’ work and power can men step into their original God-given responsibility once again.
Responsibility at work means knowing that the labor a man offers is in service to God, his family, and the good of his community. Responsibility in the family means offering thoughtful leadership to the spiritual direction of the household. Responsibility in marriage means reminding your wife of the gospel often, leading her through the Word of God, praying for her and pursuing her heart daily, serving her as Christ served you. Responsibility in daily life activities means always looking for an opportunity to share the gospel with others—this is how men usher in God’s kingdom and his will in the world. These are the things God makes a Kingdom Man responsible for.
Q: When it comes to being responsible, what does our culture teach men?
Q: Do you usher in your own kingdom or God’s kingdom in your daily life? For your answer, think about your weekly schedule and your bank account. Do they reveal that you are more concerned with your will or God’s will?
HOW A KINGDOM MAN USES AUTHORITY
Some men refuse to put the authority God has given them to good use, thinking authority itself is wrong. Others want total authority and use their power for selfish gain. Instead of showing kind and compassionate authority to their spouse or those under them at work, they practice harsh and callous authority. Instead of protecting others and serving them, they exploit them, as we can clearly see in common examples like watching pornography in private or bullying employees in the workplace. This is what authority looks like when sin takes over. But Jesus does not leave mankind without an example! Jesus brings Kingdom Men back to the godly version of authority—one that washes the feet of others, extends kindness, delegates power to others in ministry and protects those in harm’s way, even if it requires death!
Q: In what ways have you seen authority practiced wrongly? Why do you think our culture has such a hard time believing authority can be good?
Select 1-2 questions from this section to answer.
STEPPING INTO OUR TRUE DESIGN
Though we know we should return to God’s design for manhood (and humanity), it’s hard to put into practice. We are constantly bombarded with messages that attack God’s good design, telling men that they should be their own gods. We need the Holy Spirit to change us every day, helping us step back into our God-given identity, responsibility and authority as his image-bearers instead of following culture’s current. To reflect God rightly, we need help. We cannot return to God’s initial design on our own—to get there, we must remember the gospel and Jesus’ example to us about manhood.
Q: What opportunity has God placed you in so that you would bear his image and point people to him? How can you portray his likeness in that place this week?
Q: If you are a man, do you struggle most with: living out God’s design for identity, responsibility or authority?
Spend time in prayer this week about God’s design for mankind, especially men in particular. If you are a man, pray for the Lord to realign your definition of manhood to his definition. Pray for his Spirit to change you into the man God intends you to be. If you are a woman, pray that the Lord would realign your definition of manhood to his definition, too. Instead of viewing the men around you according to the world’s standards, pray that the Spirit would give you a new lens to view your brothers through—a gospel lens.
Midway through this week, send a follow-up email to your group with some or all of the following:
Read Proverbs 20:6 and 1 Timothy 5:1-8. Reflect on God’s design for the character of his sons.
Ask the group to share any stories or lessons learned regarding God’s design for humanity (manhood in particular), and how they see his design as better than what the world offers.
WHAT ABOUT WOMEN?
God’s design for man often overlaps with God’s design for woman, though there are very specific callings and roles that make the genders different and unique as well. Many times in Genesis 1 and 2, when “Adam” is mentioned, it is meant to be read as “mankind,” not just “man.” For example, women are also called to bring God’s will and kingdom into the world. They, too, should share the gospel with the lost in their lives. Both the man and the woman were told to rule over the earth. God delegated the responsibility of developing all of the world’s culture, whether that be in in the arts, the sciences, the home, the family and so on. In Genesis 1, the Bible clearly states that God made “them” in his image—both male and female. Image-bearing is a task for both women and men, though this sermon series focuses on manhood, something very lost in today’s culture.
Other times in the Genesis story, God is speaking to Adam as a man in particular, not as a representative for all humans. For example, when God comes looking for the couple after they sin in the garden, he asks explicitly for Adam, holding him ultimately responsible for the sin. God had told Adam not to eat of the tree, and when Eve did, God considered it Adam’s fault for not obeying the clear command he had given to the couple. Adam was charged with the ultimate direction of the marriage and even when Eve altered the direction, God held Adam responsible. This reveals that the husband had a different role in the marriage, and he had used his role wrongly.