Your Family Matters
This morning we are looking at God’s purpose for family life. Our own little family studies course this morning: No better place to start than at the very beginning. Turn to Genesis- which means beginnings. Here we discover not only our origins but the origins of family life.
1. God created family. He created us and placed us in families. It is His deal. It was His idea. You were placed in your family by a sovereign God. None of us had a choice in the matter did we? None of us asked to be born nor could we choose which family to be raised by. So whether your family is small or large, has two parents or one, lots of siblings, or none at all, adopted, or a foster child, God is sovereign over your life and over our families. He created the family unit for a purpose! And what was that purpose? Genesis 2:15-25 . It was not good for us to be alone. Actually throughout the Bible as a whole family is revealed as the God-ordained human institution supplying security, identity, heritage, connection, continuity, and closeness for people. This is what family does and is supposed to do – give us all a sense of identity and roots. It is the basic building block of all human culture. Your family matters! (Turn to your neighbor and tell them that – “Your family matters”!)*
2. Famiily life is spoiled and stained by sin/. Not only does Genesis give us our origins it also shows us what has gone wrong with the family. Even before our race’s first children were born we blew it! Let’s look what happened to the very first family. Gen. 3:6ff. Here’s the deal: Because of this very historical event, every one of us have family of origin issues. It’s called sin and its consequences! We talk about dysfunctional families don’t we. Well here is the source of the dysfunction! I have issues because my parents had issues. My parents have issues because their parents had issues. All of us have issues; because the very first set of parents who ever lived had issues!! Actually they didn’t at first and didn’t have to have issues, but decided to not listen to God, not trust God and therefore opted for issues. Just look at the dysfunction of the very first family! Genesis 4.* The first sibling rivalry. Competition. Anger. Jealousy. Temptation. Deceit. The first murder. The first cover-up. The curse and the consequence of sin within the very first family unit! And on and on it has gone.
3. Regeneration and renewal comes only through Jesus Christ!/ Romans 5:12-21. * Because of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, our family life can take on renewed identity, purpose and function. In Christ now the strength of the family can be properly restored. Jesus can and does make a difference in our relationships and our families. He should be making a difference! It should bother us that many of the statistics monitoring the break down of the family in our culture are the same in the church as they are in the world? This should bother us and stop us. Why are our divorce rates the same as the world’s? Why are our marriages as weak as those in the world? Why is there often no difference between the morality and behavior of those in the church and those in this world? Yes I know it sends us back to the last point, yet when the Spirit of Jesus gets a hold of a person, a couple, a family, our lives take on a different quality. The Spirit comes and works within us and through us. Jesus is the cycle-breaker. He the one and only pure and sinless one, entered into our race, entered into our world, becoming one of us. He was raised in a human family, he submitted to the leadership of a mother and father, and he lived to make the good sacrifice – to die for Adam’s helpless race. Now, through Jesus Christ the cycle of sin in us and in our families can be broken! The cycle of family violence, he can break. The cycle of addiction, he can break. The cycle of family poverty, he can break. The cycle of anger, He can break. Jesus breaks the cycle of sin in our families as He renews and regenerates our lives individually which in turn influences and changes our families.
· When Jesus came to do what He did, He set us up in a new Kingdom, with new commandments. No longer was the law written on tablets of stone, now the law through Jesus Christ is written on our hearts.
· John 13:34 - “A new command I give you,” said Jesus, “Love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another”. John 15:12 – “My command is this: Love each other as I have love you.” This one command, in its simplicity and profoundness, changes everything! Jesus pours out His love into our hearts, and turns our hearts toward one another! One of the first evidences I recall of my regeneration in Jesus was repentance and love toward my siblings! I was grieved by how I was treating them, especially my sister. God in Christ Jesus turns our hearts toward home.
· So much so that Paul to Timothy in 1 Tim. 5:1-2 , uses family relationships as a model of how we should treat each other in the body of Christ. We should treat older men as we would fathers, younger women as sisters etc. Paul even makes our responsibility to provide for our families as a priority in our faith – 1 Tim. 5:8!!!
· When Jesus gets a hold of our hearts, he turns them inside out, and he turns them from the narrowness of self-absorption to “one another”. So I’d like to wrap up this message with the practical “one another’s” of the New Testament. This is straight Biblical family council: It is our responsibility to apply these:
1) Love one another. 1 John 3:11,23; 1 John 4:7,11,12; 2 John 5
2) Love one another deeply, from the heart – 1 Peter 1:22
3) Serve one another in love. – Gal. 5:13
4) Forgive one another. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you – Col. 3:13
5) Be devoted to one another – Rom. 12:10
6) Honour one another above yourselves – Rom. 12:10
7) Live in harmony with one another – Rom. 12:16, 1 Peter 3:8
8) Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. – Rom. 15:7
9) Greet one another with a holy kiss – Rom. 16:16, 1 Cor. 16:20, 2 Cor. 13:12
10) Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Eph. 4:2
11) Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you – Eph. 4:32
12) Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord – Eph. 5:19
13) Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ – Eph. 5:21
14) Teach and admonish one another – Col. 3:16
15) Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thess. 5:11. Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. – Heb. 3:13
16) Spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – Heb. 10:24
17) Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling – 1 Peter 4:9
18) Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” – 1 Pet. 5:5
· Family Resource Websites:
· In 1 Chron. 16:7-37, once he got the vertical right with God, he went home to “bless his family”! (1 Chron. 16:43). Let’s take that principle out with us. Let’s go home and begin to bless our families, bless and not curse, love one another as Christ loves us!
· Prayer for God to strengthen our families.