The Christian Family

Ephesians 5:22-33 and 6:1-4

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”  And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

CHRISTIAN WIFE

  • Submits to her husband
  • Recognizes her husband’s position as the head of the family

Colossians 3:18 – “Wives, submit (“to stand under” – subordination) to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”

1 Peter 3:1 – “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives.” 

  • The term “head” does not mean that the man is more important to God than the woman.  It is not talking about worth; it is talking about function and order within an organization – the family. 
  • Submission is the divine order in a relationship.  Biblical submission must come voluntarily – out of love.  It cannot be demanded or required by one person to another. 
  • No where does the Bible place woman lower than men generically.  The spirit of submission is an act whereby a woman voluntarily acknowledges her husband’s leadership responsibility under God, and, as an act of faith, grants him that position of authority in the family.

CHRISTIAN HUSBAND

  • Husband loves his wife like Christ loved the church
  • Husband loves his wife as his own self
  • The standard for the husband’s love is to be that of Christ for the church.  Christ gave himself for the church.  This is the kind of love the husband is to have for his wife. 
  • These scriptures show how dependent the marriage is upon the love of the husband – how much effect his love has upon the marriage. 
  • Rare is the woman who would reject such love.  Rare is the woman who would refuse to walk hand in hand with the man who loved her like that. 
  • To nourish means to “feed, clothe, and look after.”  To cherish means to “treat with warmth, care, tenderness and appreciation.”

CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE – Joined together.  Greek proskollao means “to join fast together, to glue together, to cement together, to be joined in the closest union possible.” 

  • Physical union
  • Mental union
  • Spiritual union
  • Marriage, as God meant it to be, is a spiritual union that can be created by God alone.  It is more than two people agreeing to live together.  It is more than two people sharing a natural affection and attraction.  It is more than two people sharing the raising of children.  It is more than two people being bound by a legal contract.
  • Marriage, as God meant it to be, is a totally unique union unlike any other relationship.  Only as we allow God to be a part of our marriage can we find this spiritual union and truly know the love that Christ intended – the love that Christ has for His church.
  • The Christian home is to be lived in the very presence of the Lord.
  • The Christian home is to be governed by the Lord.  All decisions (where we live, where we work, how much we spend, how much we save, how we disciple the children, etc.) are to be made in light of the Lord and His will.
  • The Christian home is to have three partners:  the husband, the wife and Christ.

CHRISTIAN CHILDREN

  • Are to obey their parents (in the Lord)
  • Are to honor their parents
  • Children who are Christians should obey their parents because it pleases the Lord.  Of course, it will please their parents, but the emphasis is on the Lord.  Children should walk close to the Lord so that they desire to please and obey Him.  That includes obeying their parents. 
  • Children are to show respect and value their parents as precious. 

CHRISTIAN PARENTS

  • Are not to provoke their children
  • Recognize that things change.  Time and generations change.  Christian parents must learn to distinguish between what is unchangeable (the truth in God’s Word) and what changes from generation to generation.
  • Do not over control your child.  Stern restriction and harsh discipline will cause a child to rebel. 
  • Do not under control your child.  (This is the most common problem today.)  Giving in to your child, allowing them to be the boss will lead to problems.
  • Do not live an inconsistent life before your child.  “Practice what you preach.” 
  • Are to bring them up in the ways of the Lord
  • To Nurture  means “the whole training and education of children involving the cultivation of the mind and morals, correcting mistakes and curbing the passions.”
  • Admonition means “counsel, encouragement, correction.” 
  • A child who is brought up Biblically:
  • Learns love.  He is loved by God and can love others.
  • Learns power and triumph.  God will help him.  There is a power he can turn to even when Mom and Dad cannot help.
  • Learns hope and faith.  No matter what life brings, God will see him through.  God has prepared a very special place for him in heaven.
  • Learns to serve.  God has given him the privilege of serving others for God. 
  • Learns trust and endurance.  Life is full of temptations and pitfalls that can destroy us and rob us of joy and peace.  The way to escape those temptations is to trust in God and to take the strength He offers to say “No to sin and yes to God.”
  • Learns peace.  Regardless of what is going on in the world around him, he knows God is there and God will be with him no matter what.

Back From the Dead

Romans 6:8-11 (New Living Translation)

And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:8-11 (Amplified Bible)

Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.

This testimony is not my testimony of how a life is changed.  It is rather a statement of fact of what God will do in a life, when that person surrenders to Him.  I want to focus on the goodness and the love of Jesus Christ my Lord and Master and for Him to receive all the glory. 

Looking back on my life from the post salvation view, I believe that I was called by God to the ministry at about the age of thirteen.  I was the sixth of seven children born in 1940 to poor parents who were still struggling from the affects of the Depression.  They had purchased a three room house in Bethalto Illinois in 1936 and attended the church just three or four blocks away.  We all lived in that three room house, minus two children that had died in infancy, along with a grandmother.  Togetherness…yes. 

I attended that church every time the doors were opened but even though I had experienced a closeness or call of God at thirteen I never was baptized, nor did I ever take communion.  No one ever questioned this fact.  Today I ask myself, why did they not question.  The deacons that passed out the Communion, the Pastor, the Sunday School teachers I had had, even my own parents never questioned this.

When I was eighteen, having finished high school, and having no job, I went into the Air Force and eventually spent twenty years, retiring in 1979.  Of course, as is often the case, I drifted away from Church and what relationship I had with God. 

I went deep into sin.  Drinking, carousing, smoking, cursing, dirty stories, porn, drugs, and all the things that sin does over time.  I was calloused to the things of God, even though my position in the service was working in the Chaplain’s office.   Again, no chaplain or supervisor ever questioned my behavior.  I was foul in my language and what I lacked in size I did very well at trying to make up for with my mouth.  My biggest problem was the alcohol.  One drink was never enough.  I believe now the reason I had this insatiable addiction to booze was due to lack of self control and insecurity.     At eighteen I weighed just 110 pounds and because of my insecurity, I was scared to death to say anything to anyone.  I was a different person when I was drinking.  I couldn’t remember my insecurity when I was drunk – so I drank.

On more than one occasion after a night out on the town drinking, I would come home in a taxi or someone would drive me home.  Several times I had to go looking for my car the next day.  Many times I just drove drunk not remembering a thing the next day.  God was merciful for He spared my life on many occasions when I was in that condition.  I remember one occasion as I was driving home in the middle of the night, drunk as usual, I heard an inward voice say to me, “Your mother’s praying for you.”

While I was stationed in Taiwan in 1973-74 my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I went back to see her on emergency leave because family did not believe she was going to live.

Up to this point I was without question, a sinner, lost, undone, chained, condemned, bound for hell and its torment, and without hope, bound for eternal separation from God’s love.  I was doomed, eternally lost.

Romans 5:8 (New King James Version)

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

On my way back to Illinois on emergency leave, I had a layover in Seattle-Tacoma Washington International Airport.  All I could think about was my mom and losing her.  I was thirty four at the time.  It was past the hour of the bars being open, so I was alone with my thoughts, or so I thought.

At some point there in the middle of the terminal, while I was alone with my thoughts, there appeared what I would describe as a street sign. One part of the sign where the name of the street would normally appear said heaven and was pointed upwards.  The other part of the sign was pointed downward and it said hell.  As if this wasn’t enough of a shocker, I heard a voice inwardly that said, “And which way are you headed?”

Of course I knew enough about the bible and church that I knew where I was headed.  In my heart I answered and then I surrendered my life to the Lord Jesus Christ.   Hallelujah.

I got to St Louis International Airport and my brother picked me up.  I went to my sister’s house where my mother was staying.  She was taking chemo and radiation treatments and could not stay by herself.  I said nothing about the airport encounter to anyone. 

Several days later my mother was feeling a little better and she wanted to go home to her house and her own bed.  She told my sister that Paul could go with her and if she had any problem she was only about six blocks away.  That night as she slept in her own bed and I lay on the sofa I could not sleep.  In the wee hours of the morning I could sense an awesome presence of the Lord.   I believe His presence was in the whole house.  My mother was one of those great prayer warriors we often hear about.  That was probably the main reason she wanted to go to her own house, to have His presence.  I slipped off the sofa and sat on the floor near the door of her bedroom.  After a few minutes, she said, “Paul, is that you?”  She wanted to know if anything was wrong.  That is when I told her about what happened at the airport.  Her statement when I finished telling her of my encounter was “I knew something was different about you.”   My mother went into remission and lived for another five years when the cancer returned.

I went back to Taiwan where I was stationed.  The first thing I did when I got back was look up a fellow serviceman I  knew attended church.  He told me where we went and that Sunday I headed to the church.  

Of course, this foul mouthed, drinking serviceman was no longer foul mouthed and drinking every night of the week.  It did not go unnoticed and I began telling what God had done in my life.  The little church suddenly began to have other individuals and families that did not attend church show up.  A revival was truly in progress. 

The four or five busses going to the base some thirty miles away suddenly became filled with new Christians.  No more cursing, no more dirty stories were heard.  Instead, bibles were being read, questions about scriptures were being discussed.   One weekday we took a bunch of musical instruments up to the base from the church and did a gospel music concert during the lunch hour at the dining hall. 

Fast forward…now out of service…now a graduate of Bible School…now a definite call to the ministry.   In 1984 God gave me a Christian wife to work with me in my ministry.   Victory Tabernacle, Alpha Chapel, Bible Fellowship Church,  House of Prayer, Gospel Lighthouse, New Life Tabernacle, all churches where we served and Missionary to Iloilo Philippines along with Jessica our youngest daughter.  She is also a minister today.

Today I am retired – but you can never completely retire from God’s call.  My wife and remain active in our local church and try to share God’s love whenever and wherever we meet someone in need.

I am so thankful for a mother who never gave up but kept praying for me.  I am so thankful for the mercy and love of God that kept me and brought me back to Him.

Never give up praying for your family.  

  • Matthew 19:26

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

The Christian Home and Family

Colossians 3:18-21

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.  Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.  Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.  Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

For the home and family to be a Christian home and family:

  • Christ must be in the home
  • Christ must be the head of the home
  • Christ must be first in the home
  • Christ must be first in the life of the father/husband
  • Christ must be first in the life of the mother/wife

In today’s society there are a host of combinations that make up a home and family –   divorce, multiple sets of parents, multiple sets of grandparents, multiple combinations of her kids/his kids/our kids/her aunt/his aunt/her uncle/his uncle.  If both the biological parents of a child have remarried, kids may have two fathers, two mothers and four sets of grandparents.  If one or more of the grandparents have divorced and remarried, then there will be more sets of grandparents.  This can lead to confusion in the home.

This is why it is so important that Christian parents, grandparents realize the great responsibility they have to be an example and to do what they can to teach their children of the truth of God.

The Bible is still our guide.  There is no better.  If you find yourself in a home or family that is not what God really intended, you must still follow the Bible as best as you can under the circumstances.  You must still obey the Word of God.  You must still hold true to what you know to be right. 

The command for wives to be submissive to their husbands does not mean they must take abuse either physically or spiritually from their husbands. Rather it says wives should work in unison with their husband, and respect his position as leader of the family.

Colossians 3:18 – Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.

Titus 2:4 – that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children.

1 Peter 3:1 – Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives.

Paul gives husbands instructions on how they should treat their wives. They must be selfless in their love for their wife.  They must be giving and sacrificial in their love.  Their love must be of the will as well as of the heart, a commitment as well of affection.  It must be a love that works for the highest good of the wife.

Ephesians 5:25 – Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.

1 Peter 3:7 – Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

Interesting that Peter suggests if the husband does not honor his wife and show understanding his prayers will be hindered.

Proverbs 5:18 – Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth.

Children are to obey, heed, comply, and follow directions and instructions in all things.  Children are not to behave as parents.  Children are children and parents are to be the parents.  Parents are to be the authority figure in the home.  Children are to be obedient without questioning the biblical responsibility of the parent.  This does not mean that a child should not be able to question the reasoning of the parent when an explanation is in order.  Children must be prepared to face a world that is self-centered, demanding, corrupt, evil, sinful, power, competitive, dangerous and authoritative and it is the parent’s responsibility to prepare them.

Mark 7:10 – For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.

Ephesians 6:1 – Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

Proverbs 1:8 – My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother.

Proverbs 6:20 – The proverbs of Solomon: A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother.

Proverbs 20:11 – Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right.
      

If you do not obey God and His Word in every detail and aspect as God has enlightened you, you cannot expect your children to obey you.  You, the parent, will give an account to God if you do not live up to what God’s Word demands.  You do not have a choice.  You must obey and train your children to obey.

It is amazing to me that parents allow children to decide whether they come to church or not.  You make them go to school, get immunizations, dental and medical check-ups and that is as it should be, but you let them decide if they want to go to church.  Grandparents, if mom or dad is not a Christian, it is your responsibility to do everything you can to have your grandchildren in church and train them in the things of God.