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July 22, 2018 Family Worship

 

Scripture: Psalm 11:1-3

 

[I. Introduction] One reason why the Psalms have been so beloved by God’s people through the ages because they represent so well the thoughts and intentions of a man who loves God when under duress and difficulty. Many psalms are songs of praise to God. Those are uplifting in their own right. But many times David, the author of most of the psalms, wrote them in times of great difficulty. We relate to this because is this not the story of our lives? We encounter one difficulty after another and we must wrestle through those times. If we turn to God the times of difficulty pass more easily than if we attempt to plod our way through on our own. This is why David is loved by so many of God’s children. He was a great and successful warrior. A brave man. A skilled man in more than one way. Yet, he depended on God and yearned after fellowship with Him. That is what a real man does. That is what a genuine person does, male or female.

 

[Re-announcement of text] Read along with me the first 3 verses of Psalm 11.

READ.

PRAY.

 

[Brief exposition] We are attacked by the wicked of the world. There is a battle raging! In David’s time it was a physical battle which he described as he was set upon by the enemies around him. In our day the battle is mostly spiritual. The wicked shoot arrows at us: the arrow of promiscuity, the arrow of greed, the arrow of a false idea, the arrow of self-indulgence.

 

Some were saying to David in the midst of assaults upon him, “Flee like a bird to your mountain.” In other words, find your help somewhere else besides God. That temptation comes to us as well. We look for security, practically, in other places besides God. In our minds, and if we were asked, we would all say that we find our security in the Lord. But what do we do? We tend to do things that give us comfort and security in things that are not God-centered: a good job, education, pleasant hobbies, and entertainment. There is nothing wrong with any of those things. In fact, if we have them we are blessed. But we tend to make those things our comfort and security instead of God.

 

When times of spiritual attack and stress come those things will not sustain you. In fact, if those are the primary things that we look to then we will find that difficulties  and stress come more often.

 

Verse 3: We must have the right foundations. This morning I want us to consider the foundation that God has given us. If this foundation is neglected or destroyed what can the righteous do? This foundation is the family. I want to show you out of the word of God how important this foundation is.

 

The Family is the first divinely created and sanctioned institution.

God designed and initiated at least three institutions. He designed and sanctioned human government and he did this for our welfare and benefit. Man has perverted that institution; nevertheless, it was ordained by God. We see that in Genesis 9 and Romans 13 among many other places. (Quote or read 13:1)

 

He planned and began the church, a most blessed and wonderful place to be when it is functioning as it ought. It is not just what happens on Sunday mornings or midweek evenings. It is daily living and sharing with one another. Jesus said that he would build his church. He began it shortly after his resurrection and He has been building it, and He is building it right now. He is the Divine Owner and Foreman and we are the laborers. Not only are we the laborers, we are even the very building stones. This is because we are being built into a dwelling place of God!

 

But before either one of these he established the family. Mark 10:6-9.

 

[II] Our family is a foundation and is, therefore, very important.

 

  1. Our family is the foundation of who we are.

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go;

even when he is old he will not depart from it.

 

  1. It is the foundation of our community. It is a fact that when local communities consist of broken families, fatherless families, then the community itself becomes downtrodden, degenerate, and dangerous.
  2. It is a foundation of a healthy church. It is not the foundation of the church. The foundation of the church is Jesus Christ. When I say it is the foundation of a healthy church, what I mean is that the spiritual health of the families in a church will be reflected in the spiritual health of the church. The stronger families are the stronger the church will be, as long as biblical teaching prevails.
  3. Because it is foundational we must have the right soil for the foundation.

One of the most famous buildings in the world is in Italy: The leaning tower of Pisa (not Pizza). It is a freestanding bell tower, of a cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa. It is

 

  • 186 ft. high.
  • 296 steps
  • Work on the ground floor of the white marble campanile began on August 8, 1173, during a period of military success and prosperity.
  • Took 177 years to complete.

 

The foundation is nine feet thick. The foundation itself is not a problem. It is what the foundation rests upon that has caused the tower to lean. The soil is unstable. There is too much water in the soil.  The final solution to prevent the collapse of the tower was to slightly straighten the tower to a safer angle, by removing 38 cubic meters (50 cubic yards) of soil from underneath the raised end. The tower was straightened by 45 centimeters (18 inches), returning to its 1838 position. After a decade of corrective reconstruction and stabilization efforts, the tower was reopened to the public on December 15, 2001, and was declared stable for at least another 300 years.

In May 2008, after the removal of another 70 metric tons (77 short tons) of ground, engineers announced that the Tower had been stabilized such that it had stopped moving for the first time in its history. They stated it would be stable for at least 200 years.

 

Because the family is foundational we must have the right soil for the foundation. In other words, we must have the right foundation for the foundation. That soil is family worship.

 

[III.] Therefore, family worship is necessary and essential for our families, our communities, and the health of the church.

 

Family worship is commanded by God. Instruction in the laws of God are part of the worship of God. Deut. 6:4-9.

 

The history of godly families in the Bible includes worship in the family.

 

 

  1. Abraham        “For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”

           

(Genesis 18:19 ESV)

 

From there (Moreh) he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. (12:8)

 

  1. Isaac

            And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham's sake.” So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the LORD and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac's servants dug a well.

(Genesis 26:24-25 ESV)

 

  1. Jacob

            So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz at the first. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.”

           

(Genesis 28:18-22 ESV)

 

  1. Job

            And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.

           

(Job 1:5 ESV)

 

  1. Joshua              And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15, ESV)

F. David                 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,

ascribe to the Lord glory and strength! (Psalms 97:7, ESV)

 

G. Cornelius     At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, 2 a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. (Acts 10:1-2, ESV)

 

The great Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, said:

 

If we want to bring up a godly family, who shall be a seed to serve God when our heads are under the clouds of the valley, let us seek to train them up in the fear of God by meeting together as a family for worship.

 

 

The great expositor and theologian, Arthur Pink, said this:

 

The whole household should be gathered together to bow before the Lord “parents and children, master and servant” to confess their sins, to give thanks for God’s mercies, to seek His help and blessing. Nothing must be allowed to interfere with this duty: all other domestic arrangements are to bend to it. The head of the house is the one to lead the devotions, but if he be absent, or seriously ill, or an unbeliever, then the wife would take his place. Under no circumstances should family worship be omitted. If we would enjoy the blessing of God upon our family, then let its members gather together daily for praise and prayer.[1]

 

 

[IV.] We must practice family worship because of its great and wonderful benefits. There are actually too many to list in a short sermon. I will only mention five and I will keep my comments about them very short.

 

[A.] We must practice family worship because it brings glory to God. The very purpose of life is to glorify God. The Westminster Shorter Catechism, written in 1647 and used worldwide for the past 370 years (and still widely used) asks in its very first question, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is given: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” This is the Scriptural answer.[2] When we engage in worship as a family we give glory to God and so fulfill our purpose.

 

[B.] We must practice family worship because it protects our children from sin. If we are empty-nesters it will protect us from sin. Sin is deceitful (Hebrews 3:12-13). One very good reason to be actively involved in the local church is to avoid sin. We saw this last week. This is also a good reason to engage in regular family worship. When we read the Bible together as a family, the subject of sins will come up because the Bible addresses sins often. However, if we neglect family worship, the subject of various sins will come up less frequently. We need to talk about sin. We need to warn our children, our grandchildren, and our nieces and nephews about sin and its consequences. Indeed, we need to be reminded ourselves!

 

Family worship protects us from sin because we either learn of its dangers and harmful effects or are reminded of them.

 

[C.] We must practice family worship because it draws family members closer to one another. The internet, cell phones, and television all compete for our time and the time of our family. Turning these devices off and worshipping the Living Lord draws family members closer. This is even true if some in your family are not keen on family worship or the Bible. One who has been regenerated will desire time with the Lord. Maybe not all in a household have been born anew. One day, when the Lord softens their heart, they will look back upon the times of family togetherness around the Bible with good memories. These memories will bring about a sense of togetherness. Family worship draws people together now and later.

 

[D.] We must practice family worship because it avoids the appearance of hypocrisy. Children frequently suspect their parents of hypocrisy. This happens even when parents are not hypocritical. It may be that the children observe the failings that we all have and view those failures as hypocrisy when all they are is an expression of human weakness. If we have regular family worship then this communicates to the members of a household that the parents are sincere in their desire to follow the Lord. It says, “We are not just Sunday morning Christians.” If we are just a Sunday morning Christian, then the members of our family might question the reality of our faith.

 

[E.] We must practice family worship to have the joy of the Lord.

 

You make known to me the path of life;

in your presence there is fullness of joy;

at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. [3]

 

When we turn to the Lord our God in family worship the path of life is made known. The presence of God is there because Jesus said where two or more are gathered in my name there I am in the midst (Matthew 18:20). There is a joy that comes when we engage in family worship. I have experienced this joy and it continues even into the next day! If you are not interested in being joyful just neglect family worship. Your lack of joy will be made known.

 

[V. Application] How do we have family worship?

 

[A.] It must be scheduled. If you do not schedule it, it will not happen. The schedule should be daily. You might wish to skip the days that you already meet with the church (Sundays and Wednesdays). The schedule should include a specific time. It should be a time when the most family members are home. For most, this will be in the evening.

 

[B.] If you have been neglecting family worship then start out by keeping it short – about 15 minutes. As you become accustomed to it you will wish to extend the time.

 

[C.] The elements of family worship should include at least three things.

 

  • Singing songs. Jesus and his disciples sang hymns together. The longest book of the Bible is just a compilation of songs – the Psalms.
  • Reading the Bible. Choose a book of the Bible (either Genesis or one of the gospels are good books to begin with) and read one chapter together. The one taking the lead should prepare beforehand and be familiar with the chapter in order to facilitate discussion or point out important points.
  • Prayer.

 

[D.] Possibly the most important aspect of this family time is making it a priority and avoiding the temptation to skip days. Your rule should be that is there are at least two people home then you should enjoy family worship.

 

[VI. Conclusion] Both our church and our community depend on healthy families. The family is a foundation of both. But the foundation should be built on good soil. The soil is family worship. Brothers and sisters, set your priorities right. Put aside the many distractions of life and the calling of your flesh. Begin family worship if you are not so engaged presently. Recommit if you are.

 

When you regularly have household worship you will discover victory over sin, greater closeness, greater joy, and you will avoid the appearance of hypocrisy. And our good God will receive glory! Tonight would be a good time to begin.

 

[1] http://www.apuritansmind.com/the-christian-walk/the-christian-family/family-worship-by-a-w-pink/

[2] Isaiah 43:7; I Cor 10:31; Deut 16:11; Psalm 5:11; 16:11; 32:11; 48:11; 63:11; 96:11; Isaiah 51:11; John 15:11; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Col. 1:11; (What is it with all these 11’s?? There are eleven!!) Phil 4:4; Neh 8:10.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 16:11). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.