Ephesians 5: 22-31, Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church: and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be unto their own husbands in everything. Husbands love your wives even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife, loveth himself. For no man ever yet hateth his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh.”

Preliminary Remarks:
After a number of years of pastoral ministry, I have become aware of at least seven principles that are a necessary ingredient toward building strong churches.
1. A love for the presence of the Lord.
2. A maintaining of the joy of the Lord.
3. A love for the unity in the Church body.
4. A love for the Word of God.
5. A love for discipline in the House of God.
6. An understanding of priesthood responsibilities.
7. A maintaining of healthy family structures in the home.

Now all of these principles could be enlarged upon, but it’s the seventh one I want us to focus on as we attempt to discover the biblical approach to building strong family relationships in the home. I think most of you will agree with me when I say that in many cases, most of us waited until we came into a place of real desperation in our lives before we sought God and acknowledged that we truly needed His help. We were in desperate circumstances and we didn’t know how to get out of it by ourselves, so we finally turned to God. I firmly believe that it is God’s goal to get us to seek him early. However, most of us continue to seek Him late, as a last resort. Sort of like, well we’ve tried everything else, now maybe we ought to try God. The tragic thing in all of this is that so many have been this way concerning the home and family relationships.

In our generation, a desperate situation has come into the homes and families of our land. The families are under satanic attack. I don’t need to quote for you all the statistics, but in America, it’s getting to be a real challenge and risk to go to the altar of marriage anymore with a long range commitment in view. We’re told that only 50% will make it through married life with the person they just pledged to live with for the rest of their life. Many marriages end before the warranty on the stove or refrigerator expires.

But the good news is that right in the middle of all the fractured family structures, God has begun to speak to us in a fresh way about our family life and about divine order in the home. So desperate has the situation become in many homes, that people are turning an ear to what God has to say and they are beginning to seek God’s advice on their problems. They’ve tried everything else for a remedy and the statistics prove that those remedies have been ineffective. Now people are saying, “Maybe it’s time we tried it God’s way.”

I , for one, am thankful for all the good scriptural teaching that has been made available to the Body of Christ today in the area of the home life. Almost every major Christian Education Publisher has designed curriculum materials that attempt to implement truth and teaching on the home level. And oh how the Body of Christ needs it, because today the morals and spiritual values of marriage and home, given to us in the Bible, are being openly challenged even in the courts of our land. Thank God for the many Bible based conferences and seminars on marriage and the family that are being conducted worldwide. Thank God for pulpit preaching that addresses the problems of the home and parenthood and offers biblical solutions to these problems. Bible solutions work!

I think most of you will agree with me when I say that in many cases, most of us waited until we came into a place of real desperation in our lives before we sought God and acknowledged that we truly needed His help. We were in desperate circumstances and we didn’t know how to get out of it by ourselves, so we finally turned to God. I firmly believe that it is God’s goal to get us to seek him early. However, most of us continue to seek Him late, as a last resort. Sort of like, well we’ve tried everything else, now maybe we ought to try God.

Anytime we speak about marriage, family structure and order in the family, we must do so from a basic presupposition that the whole business of being married and living together as a family was God’s idea in the first place. God started the whole system by being the first to give the bride away. The Living Translation records the story this way. “So the Lord caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep. He took one of Adam’s ribs and closed up the place from which he had taken it. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib and brought her to Adam.” Genesis 2: 21-22. Now Adam got a little excited about it. For you see, all day long animals had been brought before him and he was naming them. Pig – cow – horse – chicken – sheep – dog and etc. After a while it probably got a little boring. Then Eve was presented to him. When we read Adam’s response in the King James version, it reads very religiously, “This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” However, in the original wording one reads it with intensity. Adam exploded at the sight of Eve. He can be pictured as saying (paraphrased) “Whow! At last! This is more like it. This ain’t no cow and it ain’t no pig. This is what I’ve been looking for all my life.”

And so God instituted the whole idea of marriage, and since He did, we ought to take very seriously the fact that He knows exactly what it takes to make a family work. If there is any place our Christianity should shine – it’s in the home amongst the family. But (and I’m positive that many will agree) sometimes the hardest place in all the world to live as a Christian is in the home. Let me repeat that statement again. One of the most difficult places in the world to shine as a Christian is in the home. Now, this is not an unscriptural statement. King David, who had a few family problems of his own prayed this prayer in Psalms 101:2, (TLB) “Lord, how I need your help, especially in my own home where I long to act as I should.”

Now, I doubt if there is anyone who takes the Lordship of Jesus seriously who has not prayed that kind of prayer at one time or another. “Lord, why is it that the place I want to be and do the best is usually where I do the worst? The place where I really want to show God’s love and be in the right relationship with others; why is it that it’s there that so often I act in a manner that’s the worst possible?” I’m so glad that Psalms 101:2 was included in the Bible. It lets me know that it is a biblical problem, and I’m always encouraged in the face of a problem, that at least I can find in the Bible; for that tells me I’m not off the wall somewhere if I too have that problem. It tells me that the people God was dealing with in the Bible, were people just like we are – facing the same kind of problems that we are possibly facing. It tells me there’s hope for us  just like there was hope for those in the pages of Scripture.

Now there is a reason why it seems to be more difficult to let your Christianity shine more brightly in the home than anywhere else – and the reason is this: It is the one place,  above any other, that everybody else knows you as you really are. Next to God, the home is where you’re known the best. Your family knows your uprisings – your down sittings and your moods. They know that you’re not always like you are when you are in public or in church or on the job. I share with you an example of what I’m talking about that I read recently in the humor section of the Readers Digest: “A funeral service was being conducted for a departed husband and father. The minister was speaking about the deceased in a glowing laudatory way. He went on for some time extolling the merits of the deceased – how gentle, kind, affectionate, loving and patient he was. Finally, the wife could stand it no longer. She turned to her young son and said, “Junior, go make sure that’s your father in that casket.” I’ve observed, as no doubt you have also, that some of the most unusual situations are lived out in church settings, where we dress up in spiritual garbs, use spiritual language and display what we think are spiritual facial expressions. So many times, we come across, in the church setting, as someone that we’re not quite like in our home setting. that is in the home. Thank God, it’s possible to do just that.

  How can it happen in our lives? Let’s talk about two things that we must first deal with before it can even begin to happen. Two things that are the door opener for it to happen. We must be willing to accept the fact that what God has said in His Word about every area of life, including the home and family, is correct. Not only are they correct, but they are the right thing to do. Our attitude toward God’s instructions should be the same as the writer of Psalms 119:128, and I’ve quoted it often, “I esteem all Thy precepts concerning all things to be right.”

Our actions toward God’s instructions should be the same as the Apostle James who wrote in Chapter 2 and verse 22 of his epistle, “But be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” Luke 11:28, “Blessed are they that hear the Word and keep (practice) it. Believing and practicing God’s instructions on the family structure opens the door for His blessings in the home. We must want what God wants in our family structure and be willing to do what is required of us to make it happen. As an example of what God has in mind for family structures, let us look at what His intentions were for the families of Israel. In Deuteronomy 12:7, Moses spoke these words to Israel as they were preparing to leave the wilderness and establish permanent homes in Canaan. He said to them, (and I paraphrase verse 7.) “When you come into the land, there you are going to sit down at your table, both you and your family, and you’re going to rejoice in the things you and your family are doing.” Basically, God is saying to them, “This is what I want for you and your family . I want the spirit of joy, peace and thankfulness to be in your home.”

Now notice what God, through Moses, adds in verse 8 of Deuteronomy 12. “You shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.” He is telling them that if verse 7 was to take place, then something else was going to have to take place first. If they were going to sit in their homes as families – enjoying one another and enjoying the presence of God, they were going to have to give up something that they held very dear.

That something was: the right to have their own way – the right to do their own thing. And so it is in our family structures. If we are going to enjoy the blessings of God flowing into it, then we too must surrender our ways for His ways, and stop doing our thing and start doing God’s thing. At this point in my ministry, I am firmly convinced that one of the great sins that is hurting the home and families is the wanting of our own way. People want to preserve their independence and retain control of their lives at any cost  – even the loss of the family unit. I have a scene like the following happen all too often. A person comes into my office, weeping and torn up inside over a marriage that is headed for a divorce court unless something is soon done. “Pastor,” they say, “What can I do? I’m willing to do anything to make it work.” But I soon discover in far too many cases, they’ll do anything, but the one thing that must be done. And that one thing is the giving up of wanting to have everything their own way, something that should have already been surrendered when they got saved.

Now in case someone might have missed this great foundational Bible truth when they got saved, I want to share it with you at this time. The  whole basic element of the conversion experience has to do primarily with the dealing of this problem of “going our own way – of doing our own thing.” When we repent  – we are to turn from having our own way. When we’re baptized – we are to die to the act of having our own way. When we’re Spirit filled – we’re given the ability to live above having our own way.

  Conclusion: I close this teaching by asking these  personal questions. Is your home becoming fragmented? Does every member of it seem to go their own separate way? Is daily living in your home reduced to shattered and scattered living? When together, does your family argue a lot? Has your home been overpowered by the spirit of this age? Does stress and pressure housekeep in your home?

Dad and Mom, have you lost control in the home? Have you become a pushover for the kids? Are you manipulated by them? Is your home on “the rocks” and not “on the Rock?”

If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then it’s time to get your head out of the sand and do something constructive about it. It’s time to start believing what God has said about the family and home and time to start putting into practice what He has told us to do about it. Remember, what God has said in the Bible about the family life of several thousand years ago, is not limited to the culture of that generation, but is something that God has laid down for all generations to walk in. It’s time to quit trying to do your own thing and start doing God’s. It’s time to quit ordering your own life apart from God’s way. If your family relationships are in a mess, it’s evident that your ways aren’t working. Accept what God says about establishing the home and family as being the absolute right thing for you to do—-and do it!

 “In the homes of America are born the children of America and from them go out into American life American men and American women. They go out with the stamp of these  homes upon them and only as these homes are what they should be, will the children be what they should be.” -Josiah G. Holland-

“The home – is the lens through which we get our first look at marriage and all civic duties; it is the clinic where, by conversation and attitude, impressions are created with respect to sobriety and reverence; it is the school where lessons of truth or falsehood, honesty or deceit are learned; it is the mold which ultimately determines the structure of society”. -Perry F. Webb-  

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