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Your Home Matters

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·  This morning we begin a new series of messages entitled, “Family Matters” which will run from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day.  I thought this would be a good time of the year to hear from God around issues of home, family, marriage and parenting.  A few disclaimers right off the bat:  1) Obviously I can’t say all that needs to be said on these key areas of our lives in just 5 weeks, yet my prayer is that God will turn our hearts toward Him, turn our hearts toward each other - toward the relationships in our lives which we can take for granted the most – the ones we live with every day.   2)  I realise that the theme of some of these messages may not apply to you personally – I know that not all of you are married, that not all of you are parents, and that some of you live alone.  But please don’t stay away on a Sunday ahead just because the bulk of a message may not apply to your particular place in life.   With sensitivity, I believe there will be truth taught in this series that you can apply to the relationships in your life – whatever the life stage. 

·  So on this Mother’s Day we begin with a message entitled – “Your Home Matters” and we are launching out of these few verses in 2 Timothy 1.

·  Writer Gary Allen Sledge wrote this:  “It is difficult to know what counts in the world.  Most of us count credits, honor, dollars.  But. . . I am beginning to see that the things that really matter take place not in the boardrooms, but in the kitchens of the world.”   It’s true – I’ve heard a southern preacher declare, “We need revival in the kitchen before we have revival in the church”.

·  Home.  The place you live.  The place you hang your hat.  Most likely a place you spend a great deal of your time.  We talk a lot about home. Home making, home improvements, home renovations, home budgets, home runs.  More than the physical place, home is about people – relationships – it is the place where you share life with others, including your neighbours if you happen to live alone.

·  I like what Chuck Swindoll has to say about home:  “The home is the bottom line of life, the anvil upon which attitudes and convictions are hammered out.  [It is]. . .the single most influential force in our earthly existence.  No price tag can adequately reflect its value.  No gauge can measure its ultimate influence . . . for good or ill.  It is at home, among family members that we come to terms with circumstances.  It is here life makes up its mind.”.

·   The word “home” may conjure up different things in your mind.  When I think of “home” I think of two places:  1) The home I have now, the home we are making as a family; 2) The home I grew up in – my family of origin.   I remember once as a school kid, some bully wanted to beat me up after school. . .    So from a child’s level, home is (and should be) that place of acceptance, safety, shelter – a place you want to be.  Stephen Chalmers wrote this:  “Out of the dreariness, into its cheeriness, Come we in weariness, Home. 

·  Yet I am not naïve.  I know for many the home you grew up in or perhaps the home you are presently in does not conjure up warm and cozy memories or emotions.  In fact for some of you, home may not feel safe, it may conjure up pain and stuff you’d rather forget.   It wasn’t until my college years that I found out that my own mother grew up in an alcoholic home.  I had no idea of the struggles she grew up with.  So yes, home can mean different things for different people.

·  Yet for this morning I believe God wants us to concentrate on and be intentional about the home life we presently have, and the home you will have and make in the future.  For the sake of today and tomorrow, for the sake of our children - What has God intended the home to be?   What does He want our homes to be like?  Perhaps, as we look into these things, He will help us make the kind of home improvements that will really please Him!   

·  Look with me at 2 Timothy 1:5.

Paul to Timothy:  “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also”.  – 2 Tim. 1:5

1.   Home is a place to cultivate sincere faith.  

·  Timothy’s sincere faith came from somewhere, didn’t it.  First and foremost it came from God, and from God it first lived in his grandmother and mother!   If there was such a thing as a 1st Century Mother’s Day, Timothy would be offering a big “Thanks mom”!

·  Acts 16:1 tells us that Timothy grew up in Lystra with a Jewish mother who was a Jesus follower – a Jewish believer in Jesus – probably converted through the apostle Paul’s ministry .  Timothy’s father was a Greek and there is no mention of whether his father was a believer or not.  Yet consider this, if he was, why was that not also mentioned?  Luke records simply that he was a Greek  Consider this:  If Timothy’s father was not a Christian, Timothy was raised in a family where one parent was a believer and one was not – a situation that I know is relevant for many of you.  So be encouraged, whatever the situation at home - faith can be passed on!   

·  Paul describes Timothy’s faith as – “sincere” - “unhypocritical”, “authentic”.  One scholar put it like this:  “A sincere faith shows outwardly what is true in the inner life before God”.   What comes out is real because of the integrity of what is within. That’s sincere, unhypocritical faith.  The outward spiritual life reflects the inner spiritual life   How many times do we get this out of order – judging and equating real faith to outward expression without any concern for the depth of one’s inner life before God.   Well what’s so important about faith being sincere?

·   Turn to 1 Tim. 1:5 – here we discover that LOVE comes from three things:  1) A pure heart ; 2) A good conscience; and 3) A sincere faith!   Out of sincere faith flows LOVE and love is the greatest.  “Without love we ain’t nothing”!   That’s why we need to cultivate these things at home.  Among the Dutch the rose was sometimes cultivated by planting an inferior rose close to a rose of superior quality. The rose of inferior quality was carefully watched and its anthers removed so as to avoid self-pollenization; the object being that it should be pollinated by the superior rose. Gradually the rose thus treated took upon itself the characteristics of the superior life of its companion.   Our love must be pollinated by the love of Christ and His love comes from: A pure heart, a good conscience, sincere faith!

·  Paul reminds Timothy that his sincere faith first dwelt, first lived in Timothy’s grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice.  The word “dwelt” denotes that this was more than simply a “visiting” faith -- it was an abiding presence within them!   I love how Paul mentions Lois and Eunice by name.  He knows them!  Your role as a grandmother or a mother is known by God, it is noticed ladies and it is so important!  So many things you do go unnoticed by so many.  But never to God!

·  600 college students were asked to write down the most beautiful word in the English language and 422 of them wrote the word "mother" (70%).  Eunice means “victorious or good victory”.  Perhaps the most victorious thing about Eunice is that her sincere faith was passed on to Timothy.   I mean is that not the victory all parents desire to celebrate about their kids, that they come to faith in Jesus Christ, that they make Jesus their Lord?  I remember hearing my mother speak once at a women’s meeting.  She was once asked, how she passed the faith on to her kids, and she replied:  “Live it at home – live it in front of the kids Monday- Sunday”. 

·  So notice how God worked in Timothy’s life:  God gave faith to a grandmother who was faithful, then to a mother who was faithful, and it was passed on to a son.  And sure it is Timothy who goes on pastor churches, to pass on the faith to so many and to be referred to more often in the Scriptures, but never forget the two people first used by God to get him to that place!

·  And just in case you are asking the question, “How?” - How did Lois and Eunice do that?  Well take a look at 2 Tim. 3:14-16  !!

·  So first in foremost, I believe God is telling us:  Your home matters! And home is a place to cultivate, to grow, to pass on authentic faith.   (God help us!. . .)

2. Home is a place to cultivate a different spirit. 

·  Look at vs. 7.  I know this is spoken to Timothy, and I know that Paul is encouraging Timothy to fan into flame the gift God gave him and to be a courageous young pastor. But vs. 7 is also a general, universal truth in Christ Jesus as well, and so I’m going to seek to apply it to our daily lives:

·   “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity or cowardness, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.”  What he saying?  Defeat should not be the norm for believers, but rather discipline!

·  I believe God desires your home to be a different place, a place that does not feel, or look, or sound like this world.  This world makes enough noise, it generates enough pain and suffering, it sends enough images and messages to make us all sick and tired!  Thank God that our homes can be different – our homes can be disciplined, greenhouses to grow us into healthy people marked with a different spirit.  

·  What kind of a spirit should we cultivate at home?  Vs. 7 has already answered:

1)         A courageous spirit!  Our homes should not be places that cultivate timidity or fear

2)         A spirit of power – the word is dunamis!  Miraculous or supernatural power, might or strength.  God’s power within us.  We want this in church but we need this first in the kitchen!

3)         A spirit of Love  – the word is agape!  Selfless, giving love. High standard

4)         A spirit of self-discipline (this word is used only here in the NT.  The word means self-discipline, inner self control (keeping a reign on fleshly passions and desires);  prudence - living a “measured and orderly life”.    My wife has this!  In fact she has all of these and so I’m going to make vs. 7 a prayer for all of our mom’s and ladies today . . .  (Ladies stand)

·   I do not believe that God intended the church to be the first place of spiritual formation or Christian education.  No, He intended the home to be the place of training up people of faith – children of faith.  It is not your pastor’s or your Super church teacher’s job to teach your children, your step children, your foster children, your grandchildren the ways of the Lord – it is yours!  As a church family we are called to simple reinforce what is being built at home.  We are here as your support.  As your reinforcement!  As a spiritual resource center !  So that our homes can be different places.  So that our homes can be places that cultivate sincere faith and a different spirit!

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