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Text Sermons : Erlo Stegen : A Biblical family - a tool in God´s hands (part 1)

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Gen 1:27

"So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them."

The Family - what is the family?

Many people today don't know what a family means. Even the president of one of the leading nations in Europe said recently, "What is a family?" He's a clever politician, but he's confused about the family. He suggested, "a man with 2 or 3 wives, or a woman with 2 or 3 husbands". At his funeral a number of his wives were present.

Is there a Biblical standard which is valid today? And if there is, what is it? Here we read that God created man in His own image. They were created in God's image - male and female. He didn't create a man with a harem of women, or like an animal - a bull among the cows. No, He created them male and female.

In Matthew 5, Jesus said, "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.". One day the pharisees asked Jesus if it was permitted for a man to divorce his wife, because Moses allowed it. Jesus answered, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, allowed you to divorce your wives. But in the beginning it was not so."

People then refer to how David and others in the old testament had more than one wife. Others are born into a nation where it is the norm to have more than one wife. But the family according to the Bible is a man and a woman, and these two will become one flesh.

Nowadays people are confused, even referring to marriage when people of the same sex stay together - homosexual marriage. So many Governments are influenced in this way and pass laws to allow it. But God shows us clearly that such a thing is an abomination to Him. Rom 1:18, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man-and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due."

Many fall in this way. All over, even in churches it is being accepted as normal and good.
But God's wrath is poured out upon them, like His wrath was poured out on Sodom and Gomorrah and He destroyed them with fire and brimstone.

To live such a life is not a family, but something shameful, straight from hell. That is chaff that will be burned with fire.

So when we speak about the family you must know clearly what we speak about and discern between the corn and chaff.

1Tim 3:5 "for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?" So the family is very important to God.
Leadership needs to start at home, in the family; especially spiritual leadership. God asks, how can you take care of the church, if you do not know how to govern your own family. That is something which should keep any preacher of the Gospel busy - to ask himself, "How can I take care of the church if I cannot even lead my own family". If your family is not in order, it brakes down the work you do in the church.
So you need to take this matter of the family very seriously - and if you stand up to preach, first see if things are in order in your family. That is where you need to start working.

Now we've said that the family consists of a man and woman. Now if we look in Eph 5:22, "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 24. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything."

So wives, your lives should be such, that when your husband and other men look at you, they should see how they are to submit to Christ. But no wife has the right to submit to her husband in sin and be one with him in sin.
But in a Biblical family, you should submit to him in everything.

In a Biblical family, things should be in right standing between the husband and wife. So even if you can preach that the dust flies and awes everyone with your preaching, if things are not right between you and your wife, the devil will ride you and make a mockery of you. All your preaching will avail nothing. If you take your love towards your wife and then compare it with the love of Christ for the church, does it balance? Christ gave Himself for His church to make her holy. Is that what you're busy with, washing her with the water of God's word? Christ did this for the church so that she should be without spot or wrinkle. That's the husband's job, that his wife may be holy without blemish. That's one of the greatest challenges a man face in this world, and one of the greatest responsibilities. If your wife has to die today, in a car accident or from a disease, will you have a clear conscience that you've done your duty. Perhaps you're leading others to Christ, but how is it with your own wife? If things aren't right with your wife, you might find after a few years, that even those you've lead to the Lord, are also falling away. Maybe they'll be the same as those in your own family - the same as your own children. It's a tremendous responsibility and challenge to have a wife.
Your wife is a soul God will demand from your hands. Husbands, have you fulfilled your commission before God, to present your wife without spot and blemish to God? If your relationship with your wife is not right, that is an open door for demons to come into your life.
Maybe as a young man you're in a hurry to get married, but do you know how to handle the responsibility?

In a family there are also children, though not in all families. That should not trouble you, if you're barren - even in that God knows the best. Perhaps those children would have brought misery into your life - children who are not a tool in God's hands, but in the devil's hands. So if God hasn't given you any children, thank Him for that. There are many parents who goes off the right road, because they side with their children in their sin.
Some parents put down very strict laws to force the Bible on their children. Yes, there is a time for that, but there is a better way - to deal with them in godly wisdom, and teach them in an interesting, enjoyable way.
God said to Moses, "I'm going to harden Pharao's heart, and glorify My Name among them, and multiply My signs and wonders, so that you can tell it to your children and grandchildren." God did it so they could tell their children the stories of the great things God did. "So that you may know that I'm the Lord, and your sons and grandsons might come to that knowledge as well." It's not a small thing to have children, if God dealt with Pharao in such a way, so that they might tell their children the wonders of God. Children love stories - tell it to them in an interesting way. God told Moses what he should tell his descendants. Tell your children the wonders God did for you, and how He took you out of Egypt, unless you're still in Egypt. Tell them of the turning point in your life, how God spoke to you, and what God is still doing and saying to you. Or are you just punishing them, and making laws of "you should do this and not do that", and are so sorry that the Government has took the rod away.
God's Word to Moses shows us how serious God takes the matter of bringing up children. Don't make it a boring study for hours, but tell them the wonders of God, when you're on the road, when they go to bed, when they wake up, etc. Tell them and show them the wonders of God's works and deeds. You don't need hours and whole weekends. Only a few minutes at a time is enough. Your stories will form the foundation of your children's beliefs, and if they've got no foundation, it's because you haven't had good stories. And if you don't have good stories to tell your children of God's wonders and works, you must be a pauper spiritually. Make it interesting, for it's wonderful, true stories.
You're shocked when your children are devoured by the evil one and snatched away. Tell them a story of how you as a father was saved out of sin. Share with them how God saved you from anger, with which you were bound. But if you still get angry, what help will it be. Tell them how God set you free from worldly music and dancing. Maybe you think your children know enough, but there are many things they don't know. Share these things with them. And remember, when telling them God's works and wonders - a consistent, steadfast life makes the deepest impression. That is something which is written indelibly in a child's life. When you send your children to a Christian school, don't think you've done your duty. Don't try to escape your responsibility that way. Thank God for godly schools and teachers. But it's not enough. You must do your duty and fulfill your responsibility - and no work or other responsibilities will excuse you from fulfilling this responsibility towards your children. Both the mother and the father have this responsibility.

Christian parents can pass on their faith to their children. Timothy was the first second-generation Christian mentioned in the NT. So here was this grandmother who knew God and passed it on to her daughter and she in turn passed it on to her son. Timothy became a believer by the influence of the mother and grandmother, although his father was apparently not a Christian. And their faith prevailed in his life. So even if you have a husband who is a good-for-nothing, remember these two women who were still able to pass their faith onto their son and grandson. So in spite of what your husband does, you must be a good mother or grandmother. So there is a way you can pass your faith on to your posterity. God's commands to a mother and father in a Biblical family applies to them both. In such a way the Biblical family should shine in this dark world.

May you realise how serious you must take this matter of the family. A church and nation cannot prosper if it doesn't have healthy, Biblical families.

Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
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