Saturday, November 2, 2013

Family Sunday


Today we celebrate families: Our individual families, our local Church Family and the Family of God both in heaven and on earth. God is a God of families and God is a God with a family. You see, when God could have revealed Himself in any form whatsoever, from the sun to fire to a bull or the wind … God called Himself our Father. God sees Himself as a Father, a Father with a family. In fact:

When it is all said and done, all that God will have left from His thousands of years of hard work is family.

Today we are going to begin our celebration of families by turning to the Book of Genesis to discover one of the reasons why God chose a man named Abraham to be the father of many nations. God wanted Abraham to be His covenant partner and begin His family in the earth …

Genesis 18:19  For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

One of the reasons God chose Abraham was because he knew that Abraham would make a powerful and positive impact on his children and that they would follow God. The plan God had for Abraham could not have been recognized however, unless Abraham was willing to take an active role by instructing his children and his household to keep the way of the Lord and to do what was right in God’s sight.

God’s will and plan for Abraham, and indeed God’s will and plan for our life, is never about just one person … God thinks in terms of families, households and generations to come. What we do today makes a difference tomorrow and for many tomorrows to come.

Perhaps this is why God ordained the family before He ordained the Church. God never intended we be alone in the earth.

Genesis 2:18   And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.

In fact, God never intended for His relationship with man to take the place of man’s relationship with man. Once again, God is a God of families …He wants everyone to have a family …

Psalms 68:6  God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; But the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

… not only an individual biological family but also a local Church family and a family that extends beyond life on planet earth and throughout eternity.

You see: Family is still God’s perfect plan even in this imperfect world.

God instituted the family structure so that everyone could first belong. As well, God wants each child to be cared for and to be taught the critical principles of life. Unfortunately many families are dysfunctional and do not accomplish these all important purposes which God intended.

Many people, both child and adult alike, have no place in which they feel connected and cared about. Often we find children left to themselves or worse yet, led by example to follow the same destructive pathways their parents walk, making the same destructive decisions generation after generation. Somewhere this needs to change and you can change it!

The truth is, someone or some song or some game or some movie will influence your children and ultimately teach them what to believe and how to behave. God has given this primary responsibility to the parents within the growing family structure. Family is God’s opportunity for us to establish our children on the firm foundation of a solid Bible based worldview.

The scriptures clearly admonish parents to teach their children the Words and the Will of God and to make them a continual discussion throughout the day. But, how can a parent teach a child that which is not in the parent’s heart? Most often it is not what we say that speaks the loudest but rather what we do. Let’s look in at a passage of scriptures in:

Deuteronomy 6
4  "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!
5  "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6  "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
7  "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
8  "You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9  "You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
10  "So it shall be, when the LORD your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build,
11  "houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant — when you have eaten and are full — 
12  "then beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

We can full well embrace the fact that it is the parent’s God-given responsibility to teach their children the words and the ways of God. It is furthermore the parent’s responsibility to teach their family the simple and unchanging principles necessary to live a successful and productive life.

This morning we are going to look at 7 of these simple and unchanging principles that need to be taught to children by their parents and reinforced throughout life. Parents, if these basic principles are not already in our hearts … perhaps we might take note of our own lives before we begin fussing at our kids. Fussing is what it feels like to kids when we adults try to get them to do something we are unwilling to do ourselves.

Seven Simple & Unchanging Principles of Life       

The first one deals with:
1.  Attitude
o   Be Respectful to Elders and Others.
o   The Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12)
2.  Presentation
o   There is no substitute for good manners.
o   The power of listening (James 1:19)
o   Just as important as Personal Hygiene
§  Shower
§  Clean Clothes
§  Brush Teeth
§  Comb Hair
§  Wash Hands
3.  Good Work Ethic
o   Give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.
§  Not Lazy (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
§  Not Inattentive
§  Take Personal Initiative
§  Be Loyal to your provider
4.  Time Management
o   If you fail to plan, plan to fail.
o   Plan ahead (Proverbs 22:3)
o   Arrive early
§  Burden yourself, not others
5.  Sex
o   The only gift God brings to the wedding.
o   Sex is a God given gift and blessed within the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman.
§  Sex outside of marriage is sin (1Corinthians 6:18-20)
§  This includes not only acts but also lust-filled thoughts of the heart and the mind.
§  As well as involvements with pornography, sexting, vulgar jokes and immodest behavior.
6.  Priority Living
o   There is a proper time and a proper place for everything.
o   Make the bed you get out of instead of the bed you are getting into. (Ecclesiastes 3)
o   Wash the dishes you just ate from instead of those you want to eat from.
o   Clean the clothes you just wore instead of the clothes you want to wear.
o   Pay your bills the week before they are due instead of the week after.
7.  Self Control
o   Let your moderation be known to all men. (Philippians 4:5)
o   From eating to anger (Galatians 5:19-23)
o   From Passion to Pride (James 4:6)

I want to encourage each family to set aside one evening every week for some quality family time. I know how busy many of you are and the demands on your time. However, if we are unable to say “no” or unwilling to sacrifice some lesser important activities for the sake of more important responsibilities, we will run the risk of raising yet another generation of soon to be parents who were never parented themselves.

I also want to suggest that you visit our website and download the sermon notes for this morning and use them as a place to begin instructing your family in the simple and unchangeable principles of life. Take one topic each week and discuss it with your children in an honest and open format.

This will give you a frame of reference for the first seven weeks. By the end of this year you can have discussed the importance of:
·        Attitude – Being respectful towards elders and others
·        Presentation – The importance of good manners
·        What constitutes a Good Work Ethic and an honest day’s work
·        How to Plan your Day and Manage your Time
·        The Covenant Blessings of Marriage & Sex
·        Priorities of Life
·        Self Control

David said: Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. (Psalms 34:11) 

Then God said to David: If your sons will keep My covenant And My testimony which I shall teach them, Their sons also shall sit upon your throne forevermore.  (Psalms 132:12) 

May God richly bless us as we celebrate family by modeling ourselves and teaching our children the Word, the Will and the Ways of the Lord.