November 2017  
SMTWTFS
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  
     
This Week's Events
NOV

22

WED
Bible Search
SEPTEMBER 25 2016 THE HOME

The Home

 

Our Scripture reading this morning is Ephesians 5:22-6:4.

 

This passage describes the home, the family; particularly, the Christian home. I am going to use the terms “home” and “family” interchangeably.

 

[I.] The home is the most important unit of life.  [A.] It was ordained and created by God. We see this in the very first chapter of the Bible and we see this confirmed by our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

            And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

(Matthew 19:1-6 ESV)

 

Note that Jesus says that God has joined a husband and wife together. It is not merely a contractual arrangement like some business partnership, nor is it merely a matter of convenience that two people decide to get married.  Marriage, which creates a family upon its inception, is designed by God from “the beginning,” according to Jesus. When two people marry they are joined together by God and that union must be given the highest priority in one’s life, right after one’s relationship with the Living God.

 

One of the main purposes of marriage is godly offspring. We read in Malachi:

 

            Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.

(Malachi 2:15 ESV)

 

Husband and wife become one. This oneness is of the Spirit. What is God seeking in the union of marriage? Godly offspring! Hence, a home or a family is, minimally, a husband and a wife; but, more fully, a husband, a wife, and children.  There are homes with only one parent and even some homes with no parents. These can legitimately be called families but we must recognize that these are also not in God’s original plan.

 

[B.] How homes go, so does the community and so goes the nation. A community is a compilation of individuals and families.  As a national average, 73% households are families of some type whereas only 27% are individuals living by themselves. Therefore, since families make up the majority of the country and most communities, the health of the family makes up the health of the community and the nation. If you want to strengthen and bless your community and your nation, strengthen and bless your home and the homes of your friends. The reason our nation is in such a poor condition is because our homes are in a poor condition.

 

[C.] How homes go, so goes the church. Moreso than the leadership, moreso than church programs, moreso than music and worship (although all of these are important), the spiritual health of a local church is determined by the spiritual health of the homes that make it up. This aspect was addressed in a series of sermons here entitled Becoming Great Again given in July. (See Sermon Notes on the church website, nsbcwinfield.com) If you want to strengthen and bless your church then strengthen and bless your home.

 

[II.] What is a Christian Home? I ask this question rather than the more generic, What is a home?, because Christ restores to individuals, homes, communities, and nations all that was lost because of man’s ongoing rebellion against God.

 

[A.] A Christian home is where love reigns. In verse 25 of Ephesians chapter 5 we read, “Husbands, love your wives…” Why does Paul have to give this command? Because, men, there are times when we are tempted to not love our wives. When they nag, when they are overly critical, when we are overly critical, when we are selfish. There may be many behaviors, both theirs and ours, that will tend to precipitate a waning of our love. But love is much less an emotion as it is a commitment. This is the biblical representation of love. Therefore, it is under the direction of our will. We can choose to love and we can choose not to love. Such talk as “I fell out of love” is simply wrong-headed because it implies that all love is, is an emotion and out of our control. If that were true then all the admonitions to love in the Scriptures, of which there are many, are a waste of time. God just wasted His time in putting those verses in the Bible if the world’s view of love is right.

 

How are husbands to love their wives? In the same way “as Christ loved the church!” Does this not take away every excuse for not loving our wives without reservation? Yes, our wives do not always live the way wives are supposed to live. They do not always do what they are supposed to do. But, men, do we? Do we always live the way we are supposed to live before God? Do we always do what we are supposed to do? No. Yet, Christ still loves us. We are to love our wives as Christ loves us! That is a tall order! Yes, it’s hard. But we can do hard things.

 

Paul goes on to say that we are to love our wives in the same way we love ourselves. That, too, is hard. Most of us love ourselves more than anyone else. But we can do hard things!

Wives are to love their husbands too! In Titus we read:

 

            Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

(Titus 2:3-5 ESV)

 

Elsewhere, too, we read that wives are to love their husbands as their own bodies (I Corinthians 7:4; the relinquishment of authority over the woman’s own body can only be done successfully in love). Therefore, there is a mutual love between husband and wife.

 

Parents are to love their children. And, children are to love their parents. The parent’s love toward their children is to be expressed by:

 

  • Telling them
  • Showing physical signs such as hugging and kissing
  • Providing for them
  • Instructing them in the ways of the Lord (Eph 6:4b)
  • Disciplining them (Eph 6:4)
  • Not provoking them (Eph 6:4a)

 

Children’s love towards their parents is to be expressed by:

 

  • Telling them
  • Showing physical signs
  • Providing for them in their elderly years
  • Obeying them (Eph 6:1)
  • Honoring them (Eph 6:2)

 

If parents love their children and children love their parents so many problems in life could be avoided! Not only so, but love shared in the early stages of life will result in a bond that will last into adulthood even when the children are far from home and on their own.

 

During WW2 there was a Presbyterian minister in Goldsboro, NC by the name of Scott. He was told that his son, Ensign Neal Anderson Scott had died in battle. Ensign Scott graduated from college in 1940 and began graduate school later that year. When the war broke out he enlisted in the Navy. During the naval battle around the Solomon Islands a Japanese suicide bomber dove into the deck of his ship and he was mortally wounded. He knew that he was dying and gave the order, “Keep those guns firing, mates.” He then dictated a farewell message to his father. It simply said, “To have had you and mother for these 24 years has been all I could ask for in the world.” Then he died. These last words are a wonderful tribute to his parents and reflect the love that he had for them. Ensign Scott was a real man who was not ashamed to love his parents.

 

A Christian home is where love reigns.

 

[B.] A Christian home is where the Lord reigns. In order to have a Christian home at least one of the parents must be a faithful follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, it is best if both parents are. When I say “a faithful follower” I mean that at least one of the parents lives their faith as opposed to just believing certain facts about Jesus and maybe also attending church. They take the commands of Jesus to heart and they have a real, personal relationship with the Lord Jesus.

 

You cannot have a Christian home without the Person of Christ living in it. You can have a religious home. But if Christ is not there then all you have is rule-following and church-attending You can have a well-ordered home. Many people who are not Christians are well-organized and run their households well. But, without Christ, that is all you have: a well-organized home.

 

Therefore, it is essential that parents nurture their own relationship with the Lord Jesus and that they do not simply enforce moral codes. Even though our children may not all be regenerated (yet), they can see that you love the Lord and that you seek His will. Since they themselves are imperfect, they will understand that your love for the Lord and your seeking of His will is also imperfect. But they will also see if it is absent.

 

To say that Jesus reigns in the Christian home means that His moral directives are taken as the compass of life as opposed to the world’s moral directives. These are in opposition to one another. Our children will be influenced by the moral directives of the world via the educational system, their peers, and the entertainment industry. Young people, your home is the place to receive, and allow to become a part of you, the truths of life that are resisted by the world. Jesus provides those through parents who are faithful.

 

A freshman college student went to a university in another state. After being there a few weeks he wrote his parents a letter. In it he said that he had so looked forward to getting to the university because he felt as if his parents were too strict and that he just wanted to do what he wanted to do without them looking over his shoulder. However, after a couple of bad experiences, he realized that they were right in the things that they had taught him. He missed home and he thanked them for teaching him not only right and wrong but who Jesus Christ really is. Many college students do not have that realization until after they graduate and go through their four years doing many foolish things and getting into trouble. Some die because of foolish behavior. Here is an alarming statistic: 22 out of 100,000 college students will die during their four years at college. A little less than half of those deaths are related to alcohol.

 

When Christ reigns in the hearts of our children they are safer because God’s laws are meant to be a protection for us.

 

A Christian home is where the Lord reigns.

 

[C.] A Christian home is where the Bible reigns. Jesus is the Lord. But His Lordship is not pie-in-the-sky. He is not Lord in name only. His Lordship must be expressed. It must assert itself over our lives. If we just mouth the words, “Jesus is Lord,” but then just live the way we wish, we are fooling ourselves. The way that the Lord expresses his will over us is through the Bible. If the Bible is God’s word, and Jesus said that it is (Matthew 4:1-11; 5:17-18; 19:4-6; John 10:35), then its directives must guide the home.

 

The Bible is the Lord’s instrument to cleanse us and to keep us from sin.

 

            How can a young man keep his way pure?

                        By guarding it according to your word.

            With my whole heart I seek you;

                        let me not wander from your commandments!

            I have stored up your word in my heart,

                        that I might not sin against you.

            Blessed are you, O LORD;

                        teach me your statutes!

            With my lips I declare

                        all the rules of your mouth.

            In the way of your testimonies I delight

                        as much as in all riches.

            I will meditate on your precepts

                        and fix my eyes on your ways.

            I will delight in your statutes;

                        I will not forget your word.

(Psalm 119:9-16 ESV)

 

We cannot have a clean home without the Bible.

 

            that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

(Ephesians 5:26 ESV)

 

The Lord sanctifies and cleanses the church with His word. This means that he also sanctifies and cleanses the home with his word.

 

Husbands and wives should read the Bible together. There should also be a time of family Bible reading.

 

The author and preacher of 100 years ago, G Campbell Morgan, had grown up in a Christian home and never questioned that the Bible was the word of God. But in college his faith was severely challenged and he began to have doubts. He was exposed to the materialistic philosophy of his day, which is still with us. In the late 1800’s speakers would rent out lecture halls and attack the Christian faith and the Bible. Morgan attended these lectures. These atheists and agnostics seemed so intellectual, he thought. He started reading books, both for and against Christianity, until he was so confused and riddled with doubt that he felt that he could not go on.

 

In desperation, he gathered up all the books and locked them in a cupboard. He went down to a local bookshop and purchased a new Bible, returned to his room, and sat at his desk. He said, “I am no longer sure that this is what my father claims it to be – the word of God. But of this I am sure, if it be the word of God, and if I come to it with an unprejudiced and open mind, it will bring assurance to my soul of itself.”

 

He read it without commentary or aids. As he read it and saw its unity and its message, he was amazed and was convicted that it is the word of God. That was in 1883. He would go on to become one of the most prolific Christian authors, writing over 80 books!

 

Even if our children are not fully convinced that the Bible is God’s word, it should be read and talked about in the home. The Holy Spirit can take those words and bring them to our children’s memory years later.

 

A Christian home is where the Bible reigns.

 

[III. Conclusion and Application] The home is the most important unit of life. It has been established by God. It is our protection from the ways of the world which are antithetical to what is truly good.

 

  • It is the foundation for a healthy community.
  • It is the foundation for a healthy nation.
  • It is the foundation for a healthy church.
  • It is the foundation for a healthy person!

 

The best home, by far, is a Christian home. A Christian home is a place where love reigns. It is a place where the Lord Jesus reigns. And, it is a place where the Bible reigns.

 

What should we do? We must make our homes a priority. What does this mean?

 

For the single person this means that they do what they can to mend the breaches in their original family. The relationship with their parents, if still living, should (as far as they are able) be healed if in need of healing. The relationship with brothers and sisters should, likewise, be restored if breached.

Similarly, if they had their own family (husband, wife, children) they should seek to restore it if it is possible to do so. Remember that nothing is impossible with God. Whether it is possible or not, it is not something to fret over. Rather, it should be a goal in which you allow God to move and have His way.

 

For the married and for the single parent. Today is the day to raise up the importance of your family. Less time for entertainment. Less time for hobbies. Less time for work (if you are working more than 40 hours per week). More time for family.

 

  • Nurture love for your spouse and for your children.
  • Nurture your love for Christ. He must reign in your home.
  • Nurture love for the Bible. It is the Owner’s Manual for the Home.

 

One of my daughter Genevieve’s favorite movies is the Wizard of Oz.  What gets Dorothy in trouble is running away from home. Once she gets to the land of Oz, she continually tries to get back home but is frustrated from doing so by the wicked witch. There is some rich symbolism there. The devil wants to frustrate your return to your home. Finally, as she is leaving Oz, she repeats the magical phrase, “There is no place like home. There is no place like home. There is no place like home.”

 

It’s true. Even with all it failures and faults, there is no place like home. Because God ordained it.