The definition of marriage and family are being deconstructed and redefined. For those who care about God’s plan for the family, these are troubling statistics and trends. If you’re married with kids, you’re probably worried about your kids’ future. If you’re divorced and a single parent, you don’t want your family to be another statistic. If you’re single, especially if you’re a single woman, and you want to get married, you’re starting to panic that it won’t ever happen because of the decline of available, marriageable men. How can these statistics and trends be reversed? One heart and one family at a time.
In the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul prayed that believers would experience God’s blessing on the family. We can experience God’s blessing on our families.
Below is an automated transcript of this message:Good morning, everyone! Good to see you here this morning and it’s good to be with you. Those of you that are watching online this morning, we welcome all of you. This morning, we are beginning a new series entitled, “This Is Us.” We’ll be talking about how God wants to bless your family and how He wants you to follow His design because, after all, the family was God’s idea. And so that’s what we’re talking about today.
We begin today, just in general, talking about the family. Over the next few weeks, we will talk about marriage, parenting and how to leave a legacy. I hope you’ll tune in with us, either in person or online for the next few weeks.
Have you noticed how Hollywood has depicted the American family through the years? It’s kind of a way of keeping up with how the American family has changed through the years. Back in the fifties, there was a show on TV called, “Father Knows Best.” I would have you wave your hand if you remember that show. Today, we have, “Family Guy.” That’s the new father model, right? “The Family Guy.” Remember, back in the seventies, we had a program called, “The Waltons,” which depicted an even earlier time. Today, we have “The Simpsons,” and so, we see how the family is changing. Back in the eighties and into the early nineties, there was a program called “Full House.” Today, we have this TV series that’s very popular, “This Is Us.” Now, we might try to blame Hollywood for the problems with the American family, but really, all Hollywood does is depict what it already sees in the culture. After all, Hollywood and the news and other media are in the business to make money, and so they often depict that which is most dysfunctional because it could be the most entertaining. I hope that you’re not modeling your family off of the media’s version of the family, but instead, I would offer to you the best way is to model it based on God’s word.
Consider the following statistical portrait of today’s family: 40% of American children live with unmarried parents Births out of wedlock have increased 450% in the last 30 years. 50% of children who have married parents will live in a broken home before they reach 18 80% of single parent homes are headed by mothers, of these 40% are living below the poverty line. The divorce rate has tripled since 1960. But has recently leveled off, due to a decline of the marriage rate. In 1962, 90% of Americans were married by age 30. In 2019, only 51% of 30-year-olds had been married. A survey was done of just men. And only 35% of American men are married by 30 which is a precipitous and rapid plunge since 2005 when 50% of American men were married by age 30 .
So, right when the Supreme Court has made it possible for homosexual couples to legally marry, the majority of Americans, especially men, are opting out of marriage. Most recently, “poly” persons, persons who count themselves as either polygamous, which means they would desire multiple partners of the opposite sex, or polyamorous, which means they would desire members of the same or other sex, regardless of gender, are now seeking marital rights. Marriage will continue to decline, it looks like, as it is deconstructed and redefined.
Most recently, CBS News on July, the third reported that in Somerville, Massachusetts, they passed an ordinance making it one of the first cities in America to officially recognize polyamorous relationships. The city no longer limits the number of people included in a partnership. The change was unanimously passed by the City Council, and it requires only a minor shift in the language of their previous ordinance. It says, instead of defining a relationship as an “entity formed by two persons,” Somerville now legally defines it as “entity formed by people.” And so, we see marriage is being deconstructed and redefined in our nation.
Today the family, the American family, is in an unhealthy state. Would you agree with that in the culture today? Not only that, many of us don’t have to look at the media or the culture. Some of us only have to look in the mirror and say, God help us, we need help in our family systems today. For those of you who care about God’s plan, these statistics are troubling.
If you’re married with kids, you’re probably concerned about what kind of world your children are growing up in. If you’re a divorced or a single parent, you’re afraid that your kids are going to be another statistic. If you’re a single woman and you still want to get married, there are fewer and fewer eligible men that are interested in marriage, and maybe you’re concerned it may never happen. How can these statistics and these trends be reversed?
Is it still possible to live under God’s blessing as a family today? I would say to you, it is. It is still possible!
In the book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul wrote that believers would experience God’s blessing for their families. And I believe, today, that we can experience God’s blessing for our families.
How can we do this? As we look at the text today, I believe we’ll see four steps to experiencing God’s blessing for our families. You’re looking at me like, Oh, he’s got four steps today. Well, put your seat belts; we are going to go fast.
Four steps on how to experience God’s blessing. Turn with me, if you would, to Ephesians 3:14-21 (ESV) “14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts throughfaith —that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” This is God’s word.
So we’re looking, now, for four steps to experiencing God’s blessing on your family. Here is the first step:
1. Recognize God’s authority.
You’ll notice, in verses 14 and 15, (we will focus on those two verses on this first step) that Paul says, “For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father.” This is what signals to us that Paul’s about to give us a written prayer, he says he is going to bow his knees before the Father. So, the “ bow my knees” phrase indicates to us that he’s going to pray. Then, you’ll notice in verse 20 and 21, he offers a benediction, which means a blessing, at the end of the prayer. He prays a prayer and then he offers a benediction with an “Amen” at the end. Paul is indicating to the church that he is praying for your family. He is praying specific things and praying for a blessing for your family.
We might, also, consider when we look at the phrase, “I bow my knees,” that not only is this an indication that Paul’s praying; it also indicates that Paul’s submitting to God’s authority. Paul is saying, I bow my will to God’s will. I bend my will to His authority. He makes it even more specific. He says, “I bow my knees before the Father from whom every family in heaven and earth is named.”
Notice a couple of things there. You’ll see the word, “family.” If you’re looking at your notes, he’s talking about God’s family. God’s family is made up of your family and my family together; the individual families under Christ make up God’s family, which Christ is the head of. He’s talking about the Father (capital F) so he’s talking about God. The Father is the One who had the power and authority to name the family. Why is this? Well, the Father is the Creator, and He is the One who thought of the idea of the family.
The family is not just a social construct that can be changed “willy nilly” based on our opinions. No, God thought of the family. It was His idea, and so the Father names the family. In other words, He names what it is. He is the one who said, this is what I want the family to look like.
In the original language of the New Testament,written in Greek, there are two interesting words here that form a kind of alliteration in the way Paul’s writing here. He says, “I bow my knees before the “patér.” If you like to take notes, “from whom every patria.” So, you can see the little play on words there. From every father, “patér.” From every family, “patria.” And so, he’s saying the family comes from God. The Father is the authority. It was his idea. He named it.
Look at Genesis 1:27; when God first starts talking about the making, the creation of mankind. He says, Genesis 1:27 (ESV) “So God created man in his own image in the image of God. He created him male and female. He created them.” And so, He had this in His heart; this idea that He would make us male and female so that he exists eternally as a Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He makes us in His own image, male and female. So there’s something of that that is to be His image in this world.
Now, in Genesis, chapter two, he goes on to describe this in verse 18 “”Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now, if you’re reading the Book of Genesis, you start thinking God has a sense of humor pretty early on, because after He made everything He says, that was good. He put lights in the heavens and He says, behold, that was good. And at the end of everything, He put fishing in the sea, I did good. I’ve made trees and I’ve made flowers, I did good. Then on the sixth day, he made man and something’s missing, “It’s not good for man to be alone.” And so, He made a woman from the man. In verse 23 it says, “Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of
Before there were churches, before there were nations and before there were any other institutions, God ordained the family. It’s His idea. We were made by God and we were made for God. He wants you; He wants to adopt you into His family, but because of our sin, we’ve chosen our own way. But we can turn back to God.
Look what it says in Ephesians 1:5 (NLT) “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” It pleases God. He wants you. He wants to adopt you into His family. As we’re reading this, we’re talking about your family but we’re also talking about God’s family because He wants you to be part of His family. We have a choice to make. Will we follow the forms and systems of the family that we see in the world or will we follow God’s design for the family? We all must choose whether we will embrace cultural relativism, so that there is no truth, or we decide God’s word is true and we want a family just like God intended.
We can pray like Joshua did in Joshua 24:15 (ESV) “… 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.” Have you made that determination, that commitment yet in your house?
Fathers, May I speak to you first? Have you decided to lead your family like a priest, being the one who says, we’re gonna put God first in my house, we’re going to choose in my house to serve the Lord? Will you make that determination today? The minute you make that determination, you’ve said I’m not in charge anymore. I’m putting my whole house under God’s direction and under His leadership.
There’s a real loss of absolute truth in their culture today. Everyone is a law unto himself, just as they were during the days of Noah. There’s an embrace of relativism that’s led to so much confusion in our family system. Cohabitation, adultery, homosexuality and polyamorous relationships have led to confusion . Polyamorous relationships; well, that’s the new one. I’m just learning about new gender roles. There is a confused loss of traditional roles for husbands and wives, a delusion of masculinity and femininity so that they become interchangeable, transgenderism… I could go on.
Parenting views have changed. There are changing views on discipline, there are fatherless homes, there is a sense of we wanna be our kids friends instead of their parents. Education has changed on what should be taught. No longer is it reading, writing and arithmetic, but it’s sex education and other kinds of education that many of our parents would not want their children taught if they really knew what was happening in our schools. There’s a real shift in our culture today.
What will you decide? Will you decide, “In my house, we will serve the Lord?” Which authority will you choose? Will you base it on the latest trend, the latest “self help” family guide book or will you base it on God’s Word? You cannot say, I will base my family on my upbringing because many of us come from broken families. Even in the best of families are all sinners and we all fall short. Let’s base it on God’s truth. Will you do it? That’s the first step. It’s the most important step. It’s the foundational step. On what basis will you build your family?
Here’s number two:
2. Depend on God’s power.
We see in verses 14 and 15 that Paul is bowing to the Father. He speaks of the family; he speaks of how it’s named. But then, in verse 16 and then again, in verse 20, I want you to take note of the words, “strengthened” and “power.” 16 “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” Both of these verses speak of God’s power. So the minute you choose God, you choose for your family to come under His blessing. I’m going to do family His way. The minute you do that, here’s what you find out; you can’t do that because everything’s against you, including your own sin nature. So therefore, in order to do family God’s way, we need God’s power to do it. Paul’s praying that for us for verse 16 and he’s praying for us in Verse 20. He prays a benediction and he’s blessing us with it. So, he repeats it the first time. It’s the prayer request in verse 16; the second time, in verse 20, it’s the blessing.
I pray you have this. You kind of see it as a mirror you’ll see, “he may grant you,” in verse 16 “to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” Then, in verse 20, “Now, to him who is able;” he’s saying, it’s yours if you want it. The words, “power” and “strengthen” come from a pretty cool Greek word called “dunamis.” It’s where we get the word dynamite, dynamo or dynamic. It’s explosive resurrection power. It’s the kind of power that can raise you from the dead. It’s a kind of power that could raise your marriage, your family from the dead. Some of you have experienced it. You’ve had a family that was all but “dead,” but He has raised it from the dead by His power.
It begins with a decision. I’m not gonna do it my way anymore, which is called repentance. The Bible calls that repentance, I’m not doing it my way anymore. Do it God’s way so you put Him in control. You say, I want to do it Your way now. Please help me do it Your way. I can’t do it Your way without Your help. And he wants to help. He wants to give you power to do it.
Acts 1:8 (ESV) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Jesus promised His disciples that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them and they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem and Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the Earth. He promises a spiritual power to live in us, to empower us and to do what he’s called us to do.
There’s a troubling statistic taking place in the church today. I’m not talking about the world. I’m talking about church kids. Do you realize that 70% of American churchgoing kids, when they reach eighteen, in other words, when they graduate from high school, they leave the church and they never come back? 70% of churchgoing kids; 7 out of 10 never come back. Now, why are they doing that? Maybe, it’s because their families made other things more important, higher on the priority. Maybe they chose school, soccer, gymnastics, violin, guitar lessons…. whatever this long list of things could be, over going to church. All of the parents today really want their kids to play in the NBA, the NFL or some famous orchestra. We all have these high hopes for our kids; it’s great to have high hopes. But, how many of us are saying, I hope my child joins me in eternity, living in heaven forevermore with Lord Jesus. How many of us make that our highest hope and say, I’m going to put most of my effort into making sure that my child knows Jesus. We accidentally teach them the opposite of that even when we take them to church, because our own priority systems are so out of alignment. I’m not sure why it’s happening, but can we please be the church where it doesn’t happen? Can we be the kind of church where our kids know the Lord Jesus and they’re brought up in the faith and they don’t leave the church,whether they go to college or wherever they go, they find a church there and they stay involved in God’s family. We need God’s power to do this. That’s the only way we can do it. So we have to recognize God’s authority and depend on His power.
Here’s the third step:
3. Abide in God’s covenantal love.
Let’s look at verses 17 through 19. The apostle Paul prays like this in verse 17 he says, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,” Note a couple of words here; one is the word, “dwell.” He is saying, I’m praying that Christ “lives in your house.” It’s an interesting word, “dwell.” It’s in the Greek and literally has this idea, I pray that He “takes up residence.” I pray that He moves in your house now. We might say, I’ve got the plaque on the wall that says “Christ is the head of my house.” It’s hanging on my wall. So, you have a plaque on your wall. But, for a lot of us, He’s only “front door company.”
Here’s what I mean by that. He is invited into the front room. He can sit in the living room. He can be in the formal dining room, but He’s not “back door company” because we don’t want Him in that closet. We certainly don’t want Him in that back bedroom with that bathroom, because we hadn’t cleaned it up yet. We kind of feel like we need to clean it up first before we can let Him in. But, may I say to you, you’ll never clean it up without His help. Refer to point two: Depend on God’s power. Open up your whole house to Him and let Him go to work. I pray that you’d let Christ take up residence in your family and in your house, every room of the house, especially the closet, that you’ve kept locked all these years. Build a foundation; verse 17 says, “that you, being rooted and grounded in love,” in other words, that you’d have deep roots down into the love of Christ. You would have a foundation.
Now what’s the word, “love” here? We’ve touched on a few Greek words. Here’s a Greek word that most of you know; it is the word “agape.” That’s God’s kind of love. There’s many words for love in the New Testament, the Greek word, “eros,” where we get the word, “erotic.” It’s sensual love. The Greek word for “phileo,” where we get the name of the city of Philadelphia, its brotherly love or conditional love. But then we have the word, “agape.” It’s God’s kind of love; it’s sacrificial love. It’s not, “I love you because of…” which is conditional love . It’s “I love you in spite of; I love You as an act of the will.” It’s sacrificial love; God sent His son, Jesus, as a demonstration of it, to die for our sins. It’s covenantal love; a love that never quits, never gives up or never fails. Covenantal love; that’s a word we don’t hear much anymore. We talk about marriage, that marriage is a divine covenant and that family is to express covenantal love. He goes on; he wants you to understand it. Verse 18 says that you “may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,” that you may have strength to comprehend another, to understand how much He loves. He says, “the breadth and length and height and depth.” He’s talking about this whole huge place called love and then, to know the love and that’s to experience it. First of all, he wants us to comprehend it. And then he says, to “know, “ to touch it, to experience it. And then he says that it’s too much . It will surpass your knowledge; it’s too big. But, you can base your whole family on God’s kind of love, which is revealed to us in Christ and that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. He wants to live in your house, and He wants to fill your house with His love so that your house becomes a place of blessing and a place of rest and peace for all of its members.
Think of blessing like a covering; like an umbrella from the rain. Let’s say rain is like suffering, difficulty, hardship and warfare. But under the umbrella is safety and peace. God’s blessing is like a covering. Our house should be a place where the fullness of Christ and all of His love dwells. When you open the front door to go out to work, to school or to go to the grocery store,it’s like you are going out into a storm. You must go out there, but then, when you come back in the house, you shut the door back. You are back in the safety of your home, where husbands love wives and wives love husbands. Children love parents and parents love children. However, you may say to me, Gary, the storm is actually at my house. I need to get out of the house to find some peace. Now, if you have little kids, and I’m not talking about childish behavior, little kids are little kids. They’re born sinners just like you were. We all want our own way. Your job is stewarding them, mom and dad. Raise them up to be Christ followers. Now, I’m not talking about that kind of childish behavior, but even in that world, you can have order and peace if you put Christ first and invite Him to every room of your house.
Here’s what it says in 1 John 4:16 (ESV) So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love and whoever abides in love abides in God and God abides in him. Don’t you want the love of God to be the mark of your home? The mark of your family?
There’s a problem today. The modern perspective on marriage has fallen from God’s plan and has forgotten the whole idea of sacrificial, covenantal love. Russell Moore, in his book entitled, “The Storm Tossed Family,” writes, “Marriage is increasingly a ‘vehicle of self-actualization’ rather than a setting for self-sacrifice.” So, people enter into marriage with some kind of romantic sense that this will complete them; I need her to complete me. Well, may I say to you, that if you come into the marriage incomplete, you’ll stay incomplete if you’re thinking the other person’s going to complete you. Why? I want a 50/50 relationship. That is all you will have; a 50% marriage. What we want and what we should desire as believers, is to find our completeness in Christ, that He makes us whole so that when we come into the family, we both bring 100% covenantal love , not “I love you if” but “I love you because Christ lives inside of me.” Marriage and family is not a vehicle of self actualization, making you feel better about, you know. It’s a place to practice what God has taught us about covenantal love.
Have you heard this word, “adulting?” It’s a new verb adult thing, especially among the millennials and Gen Z. We’re about to run out of the alphabet, by the way, on our generations. They are speaking of “adulting.” “Adulting” apparently means when young people start acting like adults, but they’re not actually being adults yet. I went and got a driver’s license. I’m adulting. Millennials view marriage as the climax of “adulting.” They spend all of their twenties just, you know, having some fun. But then somewhere, maybe in their thirties or later they’re thinking , oh, the climax will be I’ll finally get married.
We see this in Mark Regnerus’ article, “Can the Church Save Marriage?,” in Christianity Today, “Marriage, even in the minds of most Christians, is now perceived as a capstone that marks a successful young adult life, not the foundational hallmark of entry into adulthood.” There used to be a time when we thought marriage was something that marked the beginning of adulthood and we grew old together and we grew up together. But now people are putting it off, putting it off, putting it off many times or not entering into it at all.
A woman named Rachel has changed her view of marriage after becoming a Christian. Can I share a bit of her testimony about marriage? This is Rachel. For Rachel, the educational phase of her life was all about freedom, independence and no commitments. She met plenty of men, she says in her twenties, but none of them was ready for a serious relationship. She doesn’t entirely blame them. She says, ‘Men have gotten rightfully confused about what the heck women want and aren’t really sure how to date women.’
I keep hearing that from the younger women today; men don’t know how to date. They don’t know how to even be men anymore. Rachel met her husband on the dating site, OkCupid. I looked that one up; it’s really a dating site. Don’t take that down in your notes, ladies. OkCupid She said, ‘The reason why I picked OkCupid was because I’m cheap,’ she said, ‘and it was free.’ Her marriage preceded her conversion. In other words, she got married before she got saved. Yet the two events, she said, felt like a package deal because they happened so close together. Before becoming a Christian, she wrote, ‘Sex was less meaningful. Cohabitation was defensible, and marriage was just a piece of paper issued by the state.’ After coming to faith and joining a church, Rachel now believes that marriage is a covenant before God in a sacred relationship.
Do you see how Rachel has changed because she’s put God on the throne of her family? If we’re going to keep teaching teens “True Love Waits,” then I think we must also teach them that marriage doesn’t have to. Perhaps, we’ve been accidentally telling them that true love waits and they are thinking that they need to wait until they’re 50.
We need to understand that the capstone of “Adulting” is not marriage. It’s actually one of the cornerstones of getting started as an adult, but at the same time, with all of this talk about marriage, I want to respect those of you that still are single or single again. We all start out, single. Many of us return to singleness. And so, I would say to you what Paul says, 1 Corinthians 7:7 (NLT) “I wish everyone were single, just as I am. Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another.” Whether you’re married or single, if you are in Christ, you are in God’s family and you are a member of this family. Often, according to Paul and I’ve seen this, it’s our singles in our church who are the most devoted and the most concerned about the family of God. Have you made the decision to abide in God’s covenantal love?
Now here’s number four; here’s our fourth step:
4. Reflect God’s glory.
Remember how we started? You begin by recognizing His authority. You depend on His power. You decide, I want to abide in His love. And then finally, the purpose of the family, the blessing that Paul closes with is that we reflect God’s glory. We are at the benediction now in the prayer, in verses 20 and 21 Paul’s closing with the blessing. If Paul were standing here, this would be the part where he lifts his hand and he says the benediction. He prays the blessing on us in verses 20 and 21. 20 “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” It’s a beautiful benediction.
Here’s what Paul says God wants your house to be; He wants your house to be a lighthouse. God wants your house to be a lighthouse in a dark world, reflecting His glory to the world. As the world grows darker, and indeed it appears to be growing darker, then one little light makes all the difference. You know, if you’re in a dark room, one little candle really seems to light up the place. Let your house be a lighthouse. God wants that.
Notice, in verse 16 and in verse 21, the word “glory.” He prays it as a prayer request in verse 16 as we’ve said before. And then, in verse 21, he says, ”to him be glory in the church.” That’s the word, dóxa. In the Greek, dóxa is where we get the word doxology. You may remember the doxology back when you went to an earlier church; maybe during the time the deacons would carry the offering plates up. I remember the first time I went to church that had a doxology; it wasn’t in the bulletin. Everyone just stood up and started singing, “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow…” They just started singing the doxology; doxology means to give God the glory, to give Him a word of glory. That’s the word we see in verse 16 and 21.
Here’s God’s idea; He wants you to put Him first, depend on His power and build a foundation of love that dwells in your house so that your house starts to give glory to Him in such a way that a lost world wants what you have. How’d you get what you have? Your reply would be, “It’s Jesus, it’s Jesus in me. We’ve depended on Him. Whatever you see here is a blessing. It’s not as a result of our own effort.”
Notice in Verse 21, it says, generations. That speaks to me, at my age now, of my grandchildren. Now I love my children, but I really love my grandchildren. At night before we go to sleep, my wife and I, before we cut the light out, we pray for our kids and we pray a whole lot for our grandkids because we know our kids and they’re the ones parenting our great kids and we love them.
When you become a parent, you learn to pray because you realize you’re not in control. You can decide if they get fed and if they get clothed but you can’t decide if they come to Jesus. You need to pray and to model a Christian life. You need to pray that they would come to Christ and that they would make Him Lord of their life. But you, at least, have them in your house. When you become a grandparent, they’re not even in your house. Well, sometimes they are, but they’re not all the time. Even the illusion of control is completely gone so what you have is prayer. You pray. You pray for the generations and you pray that they’re not part of that 70% that leave and never come back. You pray that they will grow up and give God the glory.
Does your house give God the glory? If you study the biblical purposes for the family, one of the main purposes is to mirror God’s image. We’ve read this earlier in Genesis where God created man in His own image, the image of God. He created them male and female . He created them. God wants you to mirror His image to the world. Secondly, he wants you to mutually complete one another; that’s what the family is about. I said earlier that Christ is your completer; there are certain things that you can do better if you’re in a family. If you’re by yourself, you have to do everything yourself.
In Ecclesiastes, it says, “two are better than one.” There is a reason for that; you can divide up responsibilities and work together. In Ephesians It says this, Ephesians 5:31-32 (NLT) As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. In fact, if you keep reading in Ecclesiastes, it says, “two are better than one, if one falls down, the other can help him up. If one gets cold , the other one can keep him warm.” The passage closes with surprise. “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” That’s what it says in Ecclesiastes. Cord three is Jesus. I think that’s what I’m seeing here.
Then here’s the third Biblical purpose; multiply a Godly legacy. I had the word, generations, in my head when I wrote this part. Multiply a Godly legacy. Malachi 2:15 (NLT) “Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.” God wants you to raise up kids that love Him. He wants godly children, so parents and grandparents, we’re in this together as the family of God. We want this church to reflect God’s glory and we want your house to reflect God’s glory. Those at home today, together we make up the household of God. So we gather like this for power and encouragement and to worship and hear God’s word. We scatter here in just a little bit; we go back to our various homes and neighborhoods, and we become lighthouses of God’s glory so that people see what it looks like, what it means to follow Jesus in your house.
Does your family reflect God’s glory? In an article, “Can the church save marriage?” written by Mark Regnerus, he says this, “For the foreseeable future, then, matrimony will increasingly come to be associated with the world’s most religious citizens––Muslims, orthodox Jews, and conservative Christians.” He’s saying that marriage is becoming the M word, where the culture more and more will reject it as a way of life. If you say you’re married, especially at a younger age, they will assume immediately, you must be religious. That’s what’s happening in our country today. Is that a problem? Well, it could be an opportunity. Certainly it looks like a negative thing , but it could be an opportunity to show forth God’s glory even more. Yeah, I’m not really religious, but I do have a relationship with Jesus Christ. And he has changed my whole family. And it might be a chance for us to be the lighthouse that God wants us to be, as the world seems to be growing darker.
Did you know you can ask for God to bless you and that He will? Did you know that God wants to bless you as long as we choose His way? Remember, blessings are like coverings as long as we’re not out there on our own. We’re the ones who have chosen not to live under God’s covering, under God’s protection under God’s blessing. Yeah, I believe most of what this word says. But this over here, I’m gonna do this myself. Well, that’s the very thing you’ve done now to move your family out from under God’s blessing.
Will you come under His authority? Will you depend on His power? When you decide to live in the fullness of His love and reflect His glory, God wants to bless you. He wants to bless you, my friend. He wants to bless your family. Why don’t you let Him? Let Him bless you.
Let’s pray. Lord, thank you. for Your word. Today, I pray for the person, first of all, that may have come in this morning or maybe watching online that has never turned their heart over to you. They’ve never turned their life over to you. If that’s you, my friend, right where you are, if you are watching from home or maybe you’re sitting in this room. Would you pray like this, believing in your heart? Dear Father, I’m a sinner. I’ve been trying to live my life according to my own rules and my own vision. But now, Lord, I admit to you I’m a broken person. I need help. I believe You died on the cross for me, Jesus, that You were raised from the grave and that you live today . Would you come into my life? Forgive me of my sin and make me the person you want me to be. Oh, Lord, I pray that You would save me. I want you to be my Lord and Savior. If you’re praying that prayer right now, believing He will save you, He’s ready to bless you. He’s ready to change your whole house. So let’s pray about that; no matter where you’re at today, whether you’re a believer or you’re just coming into the Kingdom; bless my family, bless my parents, my mom, my dad. Lord, bless my children, my grandchildren, my sons and my daughters. Lord, bless my husband. Lord, bless my wife; bless me. We bring our families under Your covering of blessing now. And we know You are able to do abundantly beyond anything we may hope for. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.