Having a Jonathan Spirit: Biblical Manhood in 1 Samuel 14

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Ben Mandrell, a church planter with the North American Mission Board in Denver, Mandrell holding a sign saying where he is goingColorado, preached on biblical manhood in chapel at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) on Oct. 21.

Mandrell was the senior pastor of Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, Tennessee, when he felt called to take a risk for God. He, his family and his team are laying the foundation for Storyline Fellowship, a church plant set to launch in Northwest Denver next February.

He earned his Master of Divinity degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from Union University in the field of expository preaching.

Mandrell spoke on 1 Samuel 14, drawing out the passage’s implications on biblical manhood. In this chapter, Jonathan displays a fearless faith in taking on the Philistines, ultimately for the glory of God.  

Mandrell believes this courage and bravery, this “Jonathan spirit,” exists in every man, and his prayer is that it would be released. “Every man has something in him that wants to be on the front lines doing something great for God. We want to be Jonathan,” Mandrell said. “But who we want to be is not always who we are.”

According to Mandrell, the gospel is the key to unlocking this “Jonathan spirit.”

“The reason men aren’t on the front lines is because they’re walking wounded, and the reason they’re walking wounded is because the gospel hasn’t gotten in,” Mandrell said. “The gospel is the very thing that has to get in there and set a man free before he can run to the front lines for God.”

In the text, Jonathan makes it clear that his sole motivation is the glory of God. He instructs those with him to allow the Philistines to see their approach so that there would be no confusion about whose was the victory.

“Jonathan’s courage is not macho-man stupidity,” Mandrell said. “They are trusting God and stepping out in faith.”

Mandrell urged students to consider whether or not they are attempting anything that is sure to fail without the help of God. “If you don’t have an answer to that question, you’re not living by faith,” he said.

“Jonathan believed that God would save him living or dying,” Mandrell said. “We have to stop and ask ourselves, do we believe that? And if we really believe that about the future, how does it inform the present?”

For the Mandrell family, this meant moving to a new state and planting a church. He hopes that his children will learn to live by faith by watching that way that he lives.

“One of the greatest motivations for my wife and me to leave west Tennessee and move to the west was the vision that we had for our children’s future,” Mandrell said.

Mandrell also addressed every man’s need for a loyal companion to support and encourage him.

For Jonathan, this was his armor bearer who said to him, “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”

“Wives, you don’t realize the power you have,” Mandrell said. “Every man wants the approval and not just permission but partnership of his wife.”

Mandrell closed with a vision for the church. “Let it be so in the church of Jesus Christ that men would set the bar high in taking great risks for God,” he said.  

To watch this message online, please click here.

To view photos from chapel, please click here.

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