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                         "FAITH IN THE FAMILY"


INTRODUCTION

1. As Christians, we are privileged to be members of God's family...
   a. With God as our Father in heaven
   b. With Christ as our Elder Brother
   c. With many fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and
      sisters - cf. Mk 10:29-30

2. Even so, we also have duties as members of our human families...
   a. As husbands and wives
   b. As parents and children
   c. As married and single

[What impact should our faith as Christians have on our physical
families?  What are our responsibilities as Christians who are blessed
with familial relationships?  Consider first...]

I. THE CHRISTIAN AS HUSBAND AND FATHER

   A. DUTIES OF THE HUSBAND...
      1. Husbands are to love their wives - Ep 5:25-29
         a. As Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her
         b. As their own bodies, nourishing and cherishing them
      2. Husbands are to leave mother and father - Ep 5:31
         a. Leaving parents to be joined to one's wife
         b. The husband therefore gives his wife priority over his
            parents
      3. Husbands are not to be bitter toward their wives - Col 3:19
         a. "do not be harsh with them" (ESV)
         b. "never treat them harshly" (NRSV)
      4. Husbands are to be understanding and give honor to their wives
         - 1 Pe 3:7
         a. Understanding their delicate nature
         b. Honoring them as heirs together of the grace of life

   B. DUTIES OF THE FATHER...
      1. To provide the necessities of life - 2Co 12:14;1Ti 5:8
         a. Parents ought to provide for their children
         b. A man who fails to do so is worse than an infidel
      2. Not to provoke the children to wrath - Ep 6:4; Col 3:21
         a. That is, by unreasonable commands; by needless severity; by
            the manifestation of anger - Barnes
         b. Lest, by your continually finding fault with them, they
            should lose all courage, and despair of ever pleasing you
            - ibid.
      3. To provide for spiritual training of the children - Ep 6:4
         a. Bringing them up in the training (discipline, ESV) of the
            Lord
         b. Bringing them up in the admonition (instruction, ESV) of the
            Lord
      4. To provide loving discipline as necessary - He 12:6-11; Pro
         13:24
         a. Even as our Heavenly Father disciplines His children
         b. Though it may be unpleasant at the moment

[Such are familial responsibilities of Christian men as husbands and
fathers.  Now let's consider...]

II. THE CHRISTIAN AS WIFE AND MOTHER

   A. DUTIES OF THE WIFE...
      1. Wives are to submit to their husbands - Ep 5:22-24; Col 3:18;
         1Pe 3:1-2
         a. As to the Lord, as is fitting in the Lord
         b. In everything, as the church is subject to Christ
      2. Wives are to respect and love their husbands - Ep 5:33; Tit 2:4
         a. Not just to submit, but to do so with respect and love for
            their husbands
         b. Which older women should teach the younger women

   B. DUTIES OF THE MOTHER...
      1. To love their children - Tit 2:4
         a. Which ought to be natural
         b. Yet sin can lead to a lack of proper affection - cf. Ro 1:31
      2. To manage the household - Tit 2:5; 1Ti 5:14
         a. The primary responsibility of the wife and mother
         b. Though a woman may also engage in activities outside the
            home - cf. Pr 31:10-31
      3. To provide spiritual training when male leadership is lacking
         - 2Ti 1:5; cf. Ac 16:1
         a. Timothy's mother and grandmother were believers
         b. Evidently his father was not, which is too often the case
            today

[Such are the duties of Christian women as wives and mothers.  Next
let's take a look at...]

III. THE CHRISTIAN AS CHILD AND SINGLE

   A. DUTIES OF CHILDREN...
      1. To obey their parents - Ep 6:1; Col 3:20
         a. In the Lord, for this is right
         b. In all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord
      2. To honor their parents - Ep 6:2-3
         a. The first commandment with promise - cf. Exo 20:12
         b. By providing for their welfare in later years - cf. 1 Ti
            5:4,8,16

   B. DUTIES OF THE SINGLE CHRISTIAN...
      1. To utilize the advantage of being single - 1Co 7:32-35
         a. Use your freedom to increase your service to God
         b. Don't be selfish with the extra time and freedom you have
         c. Don't begrudge others who may not do as much as you because
            of their other responsibilities (e.g., children, spouse)
      2. To watch out for the dangers of being single - cf. Ec 4:9-11
         a. Temptation - make an effort to develop a close relationship
            with the Lord
         b. Loneliness - accept invitations to be with others, initiate
            opportunities to be with others
         c. Self-centeredness - offer yourself in service to others; be
            flexible
      3. To remember that you are in the family of God - Mk 10:29-30
         a. You have many mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children
         b. Make the effort to develop and utilize these relationships

[Finally, some remarks regarding discipleship as it relates to our
familial relationships...]

IV. THE CHRISTIAN AS DISCIPLE

   A. PUTTING THE LORD BEFORE THE FAMILY...
      1. Of course, we are to love our parents, spouses and children
      2. Yet our love for the Lord must come first - Mt 10:34-37; 12:
         46-50
         a. Otherwise we are not worthy to be called His disciple
         b. Only then will Jesus view us as members of His family
      3. By putting God and His kingdom first, our families will benefit
         more - cf. Mt 6:33
         a. God's providence will help provide for our families' needs
         b. We will also be better parents, spouses and children by
            following Jesus

   B. PRESENTING THE LORD TO THE FAMILY...
      1. By way of example - cf. 1Pe 3:1-2
         a. So wives were to influence their unbelieving husbands
         b. So we can influence other unbelieving members of the family
      2. By way of instruction - cf. Ep 6:4
         a. So fathers were to instruct their children
         b. So we can teach other members of the family

CONCLUSION

1. The nuclear family is a wonderful blessing, intended by God to
   consist of...
   a. Husbands and wives who love and respect one another
   b. Parents who love and discipline their children
   c. Children who honor and obey their parents

2. As Christians, our familial duties are clear...
   a. Whether as husbands or wives
   b. Whether as parents or children
   c. Whether as married or single

May our faith in Christ lead us to be the best spouses and parents, the
best children and singles, we can possibly be...
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