Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Family Life in the 21st Century

Single people are not second class citizens but it is a reality that families constitute the glue of any society, not least the church.
There is a great need for teaching on family in churches.

Genesis 1:26 ¶ Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28 And God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
· Representatives of all humanity

Genesis 2:15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.
16 ¶ And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;
17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die."
18 ¶ Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him."
19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought [them] to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.
20 And the man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.
21 ¶ So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place.
22 And the LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.
23 And the man said, "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man."
24 For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Overview of Genesis
Chapter 1: Creation...In the beginning God. The whole Bible is God-centred.
Chapter 2: Man, Woman and family life in the Garden of Eden
Chapter 3: The Fall and the consequences of the fall.

Jesus appeals to life before the fall as our model: Matthew 19:3-9 ¶ And [some] Pharisees came to Him, testing Him, and saying, "Is it lawful [for a man] to divorce his wife for any cause at all?"
4 And He answered and said, "Have you not read, that He who created [them] from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE,
6 "Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."
7 They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND [her] AWAY?"
8 He *said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.
9 "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."

1. Exposition

V 15 Man is set in the garden to work= work is a blessing despite the curse. ‘Tend’ and ‘keep it’ speaks of order (remember the feeding of the 5000). Guards against laziness.

V16-17 He commanded the man with the Word of God = not speak of free will but that man cannot save himself by keeping the law. If innocent man without sin could not keep himself righteous by obeying one command, then how can we? Salvation and the doctrine of perseverance.
There is to be order in the family and the man is particularly responsible to ensure that the family, knows, reads, memorises and obeys God’s revelation in the Bible.
V18 It is not good that man should be alone= a rich verse relating also to marriage, friendship, social life, fellowship with Christians etc.
Illustration: Give illustration of preaching on a family/marriage conference on the Doulos: Ephesians chapter five and the 8 responsibilities for husbands and 4 for wives.

Helper= Man does not excel the woman, they have different roles, equality and order. There has been much discussion over the meaning of this word but it implies friendship, teamwork, love,
Ship: You cannot have two captains on a ship.
V19-20 Adam names the animals but no helper is found= God’s humour.
V20 seeking marriage = a suitable helper. How do you know who is the right man or woman? The 6 million dollar question.
Ask yourself “Do I want to spend the rest of my life with this person?” Are they a Christian? Are they suitable? If so what is holding you back?

V22 He fashioned a woman that he had taken from man= distinctions between men and women.
Illustration: Babies in church, crèche, children’s work etc. Practical work for a church’s new building =men.
V22 He brought her to man =the first wedding in the Bible. Marriage is a gift from God and must not be taken for granted.
V23 Adam said “Bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh”, his greatest gift from all creation
V24 leave and cleave (men and women, but especially men), Mother-in law’s. They shall become one flesh = a process.
V25 Naked and not ashamed = a no secret relationship.

2. Practical Application
· Men working: two problems are laziness and working too much. We need work-life balance.
· Daily Family time: Dutch tradition, 6pm Bible reading and prayer.
· Giving thanks for meals is a good time for prayer and to disciple children in hearing how to pray and being asked to pray themselves.
Paul writing to Timothy: 1Ti 4:3 [men] who forbid marriage [and advocate] abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.
4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude;
5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.
· Developing family traditions
· Holidays without other people.
· Playing games together, chilling out, taking the children individually to do things...they open up.
· As a couple, always offer a united front to the children and discuss things away from them.
· Church is a must all the days of your lives, in season and out of season. We cannot have Christianity without church.
· Be thankful and encouraging in the home and try to avoid taking things for granted.

Calvin: ‘Every family of the pious ought to be a church’, commenting on Genesis.

Closing Song: Breathe on me breath of God
Benediction: 2Peter 3:18