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Family Matters

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Family is messy! And this week is sometimes the greatest reminder of that. When we think about Thanksgiving, a multitude of emotions can run through us. Some of us may be excited about catching up with family around the dinner table. Some of us may feel sad and lonely because this year some of the family is not coming to Thanksgiving dinner because of a family feud that has left everyone bitter and angry at one another. And some of us approach Thanksgiving with FEAR because we WILL be around those family members we’ve been fighting with. Or those family members who always tend to make us feel like we’re not good enough or always let us know we don’t do anything right. Or maybe Thursday will be a marathon of hopping from house to house to house, because you come from a broken home and have to make sure you spread your time evenly among the families or someone will be upset! OR even making sure your parents get to spend just as much time with the grandkids that day as your spouse’s parents!
So now… who’s ready for Thanksgiving??
It’s no secret that family is messy.... Even when we look at God’s Word, we don’t see many good examples of families. For instance… Adam and Eve, the first family every created. They did not have it together AT ALL! Eve eats the fruit of the forbidden tree and offers it to Adam. Adam then must make a choice to choose God or his wife, and he chooses his wife. And Men have been choosing women over God ever since! THEN they have 2 sons… Cain and Abel. and in only the 4th chapter of the entire Bible, we find the first murder in history! Cain killing his brother Abel. Now that’s some family disfunction! And there are many more accounts of dysfunctional families in the book of Genesis alone!!!
Ham disgraces his father Noah by uncovering his nakedness
Abraham lied about his wife Sarah saying that she was his sister and she was taken to the King because of her beauty. And had God not intervened, she would have been taken from Abraham for good! and this didn’t happen once BUT twice!
And we can’t forget about when God promised Abraham a son through Sarah… and when it was taking God “too long” to come through on his promise, Sarah gives him her slave girl to sleep with so he can have a son through her!
WHAT A MESS!!! and these are just a few examples!
But while there are not many GOOD examples of families in the Bible, there is a TON of clear INSTRUCTION on how the family should function.
We may go through ups and downs, and sometimes those downs make us want to forget we ever even had a family! BUT family is so vital to God’s Kingdom work. And when the family functions the way that God designed it to function, the family can be a mighty witness to the world!
Paul thought this was a very important subject as he addresses it here in his letter to the Colossians. But he also echoes these thoughts in his letter to the church in Ephesus. And Peter is also in agreement in the book of 1 Peter.
The function of the family is an EXTREMELY important subject to God!
So as we continue in our study of the book of Colossians, let’s read .
Paul addresses 4 different people groups in this passage: Wives, Husbands, Children, and Fathers.
And it never fails, when this is taught on, there are some who think. “This is just so old fashioned. This does not apply to our culture today!” There are probably some of you thinking this right now. In fact, I can remember teaching on this passage years ago when I was working in youth ministry and one girl came up to me after and said, “I have a problem with this bible verse. I am not submitting to ANY man! I am an independent woman!”
And this is the mindset of many today. In fact, to teach anything different today would be politically incorrect. Not just on this subject, but MANY things in the Bible that will hinder us from living life the way WE see is best. And we are taught to react like this. We are taught by everything around us to make ourselves #1.
But before we begin examining this text, I want us to get a little background info. We come to this passage and can easily zero in on verse 18. Guys use this verse against their wives to get their own way, and women can look at this verse as one that oppresses women and goes against everything society tells them today.
This is a very controversial passage of scripture. And again… we tend to think that was the norm back then and does not apply to us today.
But I want you to know that:
This passage was just as controversial then to the original audience as it is now.
In fact this passage and the other teachings of Paul, Peter, and Jesus were very freeing and liberating to women! And you may be thinking “How can that be when they are saying women need to submit?”
In those days, women and children were considered only slightly higher in value than sheep and cattle.
You see…
They were looked at as property of the man of the house. In fact if a man was tired of his wife he could divorce her instantly. They had the simplest form of no fault divorce possible. When a man wanted a divorce, he would go up to his wife and say “I divorce you. I divorce you. I divorce you.” and that was it! Marriage over. Now if the wife wanted a divorce… Tough luck! You were the property of your husband and there was no escaping unless HE wanted the divorce.
But:
Even today when we look at some eastern religions, we still see that women and children are treated more like property than human beings.
Radical Islam is one example of this. Andy Stanley in his study Future Family shares this. “As our nation moves further and further away from a biblical world view, the group that will suffer will be women and children. And in the segment of our society that has already abandoned marriage - those who have said marriage is not an option, the group that is thrust below the poverty line the quickest is women and children.”
So in that culture where women and children were thought of as next to nothing… when Paul taught things like “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” -
This teaching was RADICALLY different from the norm of society.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Paul was saying “You see this wife of yours? She is not below you. She is not your property. She is of equal value and worth because she is a child of God. She is your wife, but she is ALSO your sister in Christ.”
Jesus radically changed everything when He came to this earth. But one of the many of the changes was this change of anyone being able to think they were better than anyone else.
And this is why Paul began the letter of Colossians with theology on Jesus. Reminding them of the truth of who Jesus is and what he has done. Then in chapter 2 he follows that with warnings about those who would come and try to deceive them and sway them from the truth. then chapter 3 begins his practical application section. In view of what we know about Jesus, how then shall we live? And that’s what we have been discussing here for the past few weeks. Now we approach verses 18-21 as we see
how we should live in a Jesus honoring way in our homes.
He begins with wives.
“Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting to the Lord.”
This is directed to women as a
practical application of how wives should live in response to the love and freedom given through Christ.
So men… If you were to come up to me and say “Jordy, doesn’t the bible say wives should submit to their husbands and do what we say?” I would look to you and ask “what is the first word in this verse?”
Wives
So this verse is addressing wives! This is THEIR practical application! It is NOT giving us ammunition to use against them. But don’t worry… the scripture addressing us is coming in a minute.
So wives, why should you submit to your husbands? gives us a little more insight.

Wives, submit,m to your husbands as to the Lord, 23 because the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives are to submit to their husbands in everything.

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife and Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also the wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. -
But this verse is part of a passage with an over arching theme. Verse 21 says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”.
So the first reason wives should submit to their husbands is:
Scripture commands us all to “submit to one another
So out of reverence for Christ, how do we submit to one another? There’s then an application for each… Guys! I’ve got bad news for you… The women are not the only ones submitting!
The second reason to submit is:
God created marriage to be a beautiful picture of the relationship between the body of Christ and Jesus Himself.
Wives represent the church. So just as the church should obey Jesus and submit to Him and love and serve Him, wives, you should obey, love, cherish, and serve your husbands.
Some of you are thinking right now.... Well if I am a representation of the church… then that means my husband should be a picture of Christ… and he is NOTHING like Jesus… in fact he’s not a Christian at all! Am I still supposed to “submit” to him?
Yes!
And here’s why!
Submitting to your unsaved husband could be the thing that wins him over to the Lord.

3 In the same way, wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by the way their wives live 2 when they observe your pure, reverent lives. 3 Don’t let your beauty consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and wearing gold jewelry, 4 but rather what is inside the heart,bh—the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For in the past, the holy women who put their hope in God also adorned themselves in this way, submitting to their own husbands, 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. You have become her children when you do what is good and do not fear any intimidation.

This passage is not saying you shouldn’t wear makeup or jewelry. But what it is saying is that the way you love your husband as well as others and unwavering love for God should be WAY more attractive to your husband than your looks. And as he sees you continue to show him love and respect and you continue to put God first in everything you do, you may just win him over.
One pastor tells this story:
“One day I had a woman come to me distraught because her husband told her he wanted a divorce. She wanted to do anything she could to save her marriage. So I told her, for the next few weeks I want you to serve your husband, love him unconditionally. If he does something that irritates you, don’t complain about it. So she went home and began doing just that. And the first day her husband asked ‘What’s wrong with you?’ She was straight up with him. She began to tell him that she went talk to her pastor and that he told her to show him love and respect. He looked her right in the eyes and said ‘you might as well quit now because this will never work.’ Well she kept on and 2 months later was still going strong, refusing to give up on her husband. Well one day, her husband came to the church office in the middle of the week and asked to see the pastor. He said I don’t know what you have done to my wife, but she is a new person! I can not believe the way she has been treating me despite my constant criticism. I just wanted to thank you for whatever you did.”
We don’t know if this man became a christian or not, but we do know that this couple’s marriage was saved because of this woman’s persistence in submitting to her husband and he noticed the difference in his wife.
Wives if you love and submit to your husband the way God designed it to be, that is the first step to a better marriage and a better home. You will be a shining witness to your husband, your children, as well as others around you.
But this is not a one sided commitment.
Husbands, you have a roll here as well. Paul continues in with:
Husbands, love your wives and don’t be bitter toward them.
or as Hebrews 5:25-33 says:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. 27 He did this to present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. 28 In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church,

So husbands, we have a bigger role than our wives.
Husbands are a picture of Christ.
And what does Christ do for us?
He loves us
He provides for us
He leads and directs us
He died for us
So
In light of what Christ has done for us, how should we treat our wives.
We should love them unconditionally.
And they should be able to see that we love them. There should be no doubt in their mind that we care about them. And men, one of the
greatest barriers
between us and our families is sitting in your pocket right now.
Our Smart Phones
Our small little smart phones so often cant become a massive wall between us and our families. I just got through reading the book 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You by Tony Reinke. And let me tell you… this book has changed the way I use my phone. It is so easy for us to become so engrossed with our phones and social media that slowly our family begins to suffer.
Here’s an eye opening clip about how our Smart Phones can consume us!
-PLAY VIDEO-
Wow. And this is the norm in our society now!
Here are
2 BIG ways our phones can affect our family (and if this is an area you struggle with, I highly suggest Reinke’s book):
A. Our wife and children think they are less important than what’s going on on your phone.
I was told a sobering story this week about a young girl who approached her grandmother who was checking messages on her phone. The grandmother was one that made every effort not to be on her phone while the grandkids are around, but wanted to check to make sure no one had been trying to get in touch with her. When the girl got to her grandma she said, “when you get done with your phone, could you watch me play hopscotch?” This is a girl who had been taught that whatever was going on on the phone came first and she must wait. Are we teaching this to our children? Are we modeling this to our wives? Men AND Women! I encourage you to be mindful of the message you are sending to your family.
WOW this is a little girl who looked at her dad and thought “What’s going on on his phone is more important than anything I could ever say.”
So guys, when your wife speaks to you and you do not even realize she is talking, or your children are begging for your attention and you are telling them to hold on so you can finish reading a Facebook post from a friend OR finish your level of Candy Crush, there’s a problem!
The second big problem is:
B. We become dissatisfied with our own life compared to the lives of others.
Social media is one of the biggest killers of joy there is. Why? Because when we see everyone’s “perfect” lives on Facebook, we begin to be dissatisfied with our own lives. The thing is, MOST people don’t post all their dirty laundry and bad qualities on Facebook for all to see… Some do… but most don’t. So when we see that our friends are in Disney World for the third time this year and you’ve been saving for 4 years now and still can’t afford to take your family, you begin to be dissatisfied with your job and maybe that your wife hasn’t been doing as much to contribute to that vacation fund. And then you scroll down a little further to see that your friends wife surprised him with a home made 5 course dinner just because she loves him… And your past 3 dinners were A ham sandwich, a bowl of cereal, and Easy Mac. Then you begin thinking “Why doesn’t my wife do this for me!” Suddenly, you are depressed, angry, and slowly but surely dissatisfied with your life, family, and everything else God has blessed you with.
So guys! put down the phone, stop neglecting your family, and be thankful for all that God has so richly blessed you with.
So Jesus loves us, so we model that same kind of love to our wives. And Jesus also provides for us, so:
2. We must provide for them.
It is our responsibility to work hard and be able to provide for our families financially.
3. We must lead and direct our family.
Just as Jesus leads and directs us.
This is a big one! Men! We are to be the spiritual leaders in our households. God designed it to be this way! But in this day and age, many men have become so passive when it comes to the Word and church. And many godly women have stepped up and become the spiritual leader in their home. And it is so good that these women do step up to make sure their children are in church and learning about God, but God designed husbands to have that role. But when our family never sees us reading our Bibles or praying, or never receives good godly advice, counsel, and training from us, or over and over again see us choosing the things of the world over the things of God, we ARE leading and directing them… We are just leading them in the wrong direction. MEN! It is time to stand up and be the men that God created you to be. Men who pray for your families, pray with your family. Teach them the things of God and lead by example.
And just as Jesus laid down His life for us,
4. We must lay down our lives for our family.
Husbands, Jesus Christ died for us, the church. He is our example of how we should love our wives. Nothing about our life here on earth, beside God Himself, should be more precious to us than our wives. We should be willing to sacrifice ANYTHING for her well being.
We represent Christ in this beautiful portrait God has established through marriage.
So then Paul moves on to the children.
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. (v.20)
Teenagers, let me share something with you this morning.
Your parents are your parents. They are not your buddies or best friends.
So you can’t treat them that way. It seems more and more that the line between parents and peer is fading more and more and children think they can disrespect their parents by talking to them the way they would their close friends. This does not honor God.
Parents have the responsibility of leading, guiding, and protecting their children. So when they make a rule, it is probably for your own good. So children, honor your parents. Obey them, respect them.
Finally Paul gives a word of warning to Fathers.
Father’s do not exasperate (aggravate - NLT) your children, so that they won’t become discouraged.
Men, We’re getting hit again! But These principles are also very applicable to moms as well! But
a father’s words to his kids can make a huge difference in their lives.
a father’s words to his kids that can make a huge difference in their lives.
Fathers, the words we use to our children will make a huge impact on them. We can build them up or tear them down with our words. And
building up our children is like building a house.
In the younger years of their life, we begin to build the foundation. Every word of encouragement we give our children is adding a square brick to the foundation of their life. But every negative word we give them will take a piece of that foundation away. The words we instill in them now, will make all the difference in who they will become later in life! This is their foundation. And guys it is very difficult to fix a house that is on a bad foundation.
Ms Cody Arceneaux once shared with me that she constantly tells her grandson Jackson Cole that he is awesome to instill in him a sense of self worth. And one day they were working on a little project together and Jackson Cole had done a good job and he turned to his grandma and said “I Awesome”. And that story has stuck with me and has shaped the way I build up my own girls. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t tell my girls these 4 things. “You are awesome!” “You are so beautiful!” “I love you soooo much!” and “Jesus loves you so much!” I want them to grow up truly believing these 4 truths. I want this to be the foundation of their lives. I want them to see their self worth and know that they are truly beautiful. I want them to always know that their daddy loves them with all his heart and even more importantly than dad loving them, Jesus loves them more than dad ever can.
As our children begin to grow older, we continue to build them up. We have built the foundation, but we must now begin the structure of the house. This begins about the time they start school. The problem here is that you are not the only person building at this point. Their friends and teachers and coaches all begin to “lend a hand” in building the structure of who your child will become. So we need to make sure we are building up as much as we can to compensate for any of the negative words they are receiving from these outside sources. When a friend comes and tears down something in your child, you rush to build it back up again. Parents, we are to be the biggest cheerleaders in our children’s lives!
Then as your child becomes an adult, we enter into the maintenance and repairs stage. You have spent the first 20-something years of their life building them up… now is not the time to quit. Continue to encourage your children up. Continue to remind them of their worth. Let them never forget their self worth and that they are loved. Now don’t get me wrong here! I am NOT saying we go around correcting our adult children and trying to take control of their lives. Their comes a time when we have to let them make their own decisions. BUT we never stop being their cheer leaders.
Now here’s the trick… the better we build our foundation, the more solid our structure will be, and the more solid our structure is, the less maintenance and repairs we will have to do down the road. So we have to start young and continue to encourage and build up our children with our words from an early age. But maybe your kid is older now and you are thinking “It’s too late. Can I really start this now?” YES!!!
Mr Brian Vidrine once had a problem with the foundation of his house. One side of his house began to sink and it caused the ceiling to start cracking and walls began to shift… it was a MESS! Well he called a company to come in and go beneath the foundation with pilings and lifted the foundation to get it back where it needed to be. It was a lot of work and effort, but it could be done.
If you haven’t been one to build up your child or even if you have been someone who is very hard on your kid, It’s not too late to come in and start repairing that foundation. It WILL be a tougher job, but it is so worth it.
Here is a story about how a father’s words were the difference between life and death in one young man’s life.
In June 1992, Jim Davidson and Mike Price climbed Mt. Rainier. On the way down, the two climbers fell 80 feet through a snow bridge into a glacial crevasse: a pitch-black, ice-walled crack in the massive glacier that cover Mt. Rainier. Mike Price died.
In his book The Ledge, Jim Davidson tells the story of his miraculous survival and courageous climb out of the crevasse. Throughout the book, Jim reflects back to his childhood and young adult years, describing his relationship with his dad. As early as Jim can remember, his father had shown what some considered an almost reckless confidence in his son. Jim worked for his father, painting high, steep-pitched roofs and electrical towers as early as age 12. The work terrified his mother, but Jim's father kept communicating his belief that Jim could accomplish great things if he pressed through adversity and kept going.
As Jim stood, bloodied and bruised, on the two-foot-wide snow ledge next to the body of his climbing partner, he heard the encouraging voice of his father. With minimal gear and no experience in ice climbing at that level, Jim spent the next five hours climbing out, battling fatigue and the crumbling ice and snow that threatened to bury him. Throughout his ordeal, Jim kept recalling the words of his dad. And five grueling hours later, thanks to his father's words, Jim climbed out of the crevasse to safety.
The words we speak
Our success as fathers depends a lot on the words we speak to our children. Few fathers will ever have the value of their words tested so dramatically as Jim's father. For most of us, the test comes in small doses over a long period of time. But sooner or later, the effectiveness of our words will be evident.
So guys… yes family is messy. and it is so tempting to throw in the towel sometimes. But I encourage you to strive to fight for the spiritual health of your family with everything you have!
I want to share one final thought before we go. This summer we did a great study on family. And one of the things we learned was a question that can make a huge impact on your family life! And that question is:
What can I do to help?
WIVES, submit to your husbands, as is fitting to the Lord.

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.

20 Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.

HUSBANDS, love your wives and never treat them harshly.
This will help to improve relationships with every single member of the family. Husbands, ask this question to your wives. Mom’s ask this to your children. And children! Ask this question to your parents… And if you really want brownie points… ask this question to your parents while their friends are over! You know what’s gonna happen when you do that? as soon as you walk away, their friends will be sitting with their mouths open begging your parents to teach them their ways! So this could be the first step in your family to really begin submitting to one another. So I challenge you this week to ask this question 3 times before next Sunday! This could revolutionize your household!
CHILDREN, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord.
FATHERS, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.
Let’s Pray.
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