Key Passage: Ephesians 6:1-4
Key Thought: Since the creation of the world, Satan has made it his purpose to destroy families. Family life today is often much different than God’s ideal for families. We need to be reminded of the Bible instruction to families, so our homes might experience the benefits of being more like God’s ideal.
In many ways, we live in a world that is not the way it ought to be. But too often we just assume that because things are the way they are (normal and average), normal and average must be OK.
For example, if you go to your doctor and discover you have cholesterol of 190, this is considered NORMAL. But what your doctor doesn’t tell you is people with lower cholesterol are far less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. Normal and average can destroy you!
The same is true in the area of family living. It is my conviction that the devil has made it his goal to destroy the only two institutions that God created in the beginning, back in the garden of Eden. Those two institutions are
1. The Sabbath
This morning, I would like to focus on the second of these attacks of Satan, and take a journey back to God’s original plan for families according to the Bible. Then we will consider how life has changed since God’s original plan was put in place. Finally, I would like to offer suggestions of how we might move closer to God’s original plan in an effort to strengthen families today and make home a happier place to be.
Gen. 2:21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.
22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
23 And Adam 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 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
You know why Adam called Adam what he did, don’t you? He just took one look at her and exclaimed, “Wo…MAN!”[Discuss the joy that must have existed with that happy couple living in paradise!]
I like the way Ellen White comments on this particular passage of scripture:
“Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self; showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation.” –Conflict and Courage, page 14.
So often people go to the marriage altar with high expectations of how wonderful life is going to be, with the dreams of idealism and the experiences of a wonderful dating relationship fresh on their minds, but it seems that dreams that are dreamed at the marriage altar today rarely find long-term fulfillment in the form of lasting, happy relationships. Have you ever wondered why that is? Certainly there are many reasons, but I would like to suggest that the major reason that underlies all other reasons is that couples and families simply don’t spend a lot of time working together, eating together, dreaming together, and solving problems together as God originally intended.
I’d like for you to imagine God placing Adam and Eve in the lovely Garden of Eden, and then informing Adam that upon arising each morning, his duty was to hurry to breakfast and read the morning paper.
Adam’s next duty was to leave the Garden home as soon as possible and rush off to work in an office with someone called a secretary, whose job it was to do whatever he asked her to do for most of his productive hours of the day. While he is doing this, his beloved wife should also go away to work for someone other than her husband, and she must dress attractively and do whatever she can to please this man who would periodically pay her for her services, enabling her to pay someone to take care of her children and be able to have the kind of home they really wanted. At the end of the day, when Adam was feeling tired and hungry, he was to return home and hope to find something to eat, try to unwind from the stressful activities of the day in front of something called a television set, where he would let his mind absorb the latest in violence, sex, and something called sports. Finally, after watching the 11:00 news, he and his beloved could retire to their bedroom to prepare to repeat this routine the next day!.
I believe the biggest reason sin started in the first place is Eve left the side of Adam. If they had been together while temptation was occurring at the tree, they could have discussed this and gathered strength to resist temptation from each other! Now we lead separate lives more than ever and I suspect we are consequently more susceptible to the snares of Satan than ever. We are not functioning as one!
Dear Ann Landers:
My husband doesn’t talk to me. He just sits there night after night, reading the newspaper or looking at T.V. When I ask him a question, he grunts “huh, or Uh’huh.” Sometimes he doesn’t even grunt uh’huh. All he really needs is a housekeeper and somebody to sleep with him when he feels like it. He can buy both. There are times when I wonder why he got married.
Husbands: I know communication doesn’t always come easily…
Astronaut Michael Collins, speaking at a banquet, quoted the estimate that the average man speaks 25,000 words a day and the average woman 30,000. Then he added: “Unfortunately, when I come home each day I’ve spoken my 25,000 and my wife hasn’t started her 30,000.”
If more men were self starters in the area of communication, fewer wives would be cranks.
We’re talking about priorities in the use of our time. This is not just a matter of priorities with husbands and wives. It also applies to relationships with our children. A team of researchers wanted to learn how much time middle class fathers spend playing and interacting with their small children. First, they asked a group of fathers to estimate the time spent with their one year old youngsters each day, and received an average reply of fifteen to twenty minutes. To verify these claims, the investigators attached microphones to the shirts of small children for the purpose of recording actual parental verbalization. The results of this study are shocking: The average amount of time spent by these middle class fathers with their small children was thirty seven seconds per day! Their direct interaction was limited to 2.7 encounters daily, lasting ten to fifteen seconds each! That, so it seems, represents the contribution of fatherhood for millions of America’s children. – Dr. James Dobson
Children today are too often raised by TV, daycare, and video games. They are often home alone, with little time for training or “passing the torch” of parental values. Too many spend more waking time with peers than parents.
Eph. 6:4 And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
But, fathers, do not discourage your children. Combine affection with authority, kindness and sympathy with firm restraint. Give some of your leisure hours to your children; become acquainted with them; associate with them in their work and in their sports, and win their confidence. Cultivate friendship with them, especially with your sons. In this way you will be a strong influence for good. –Ministry of Healing, page 391.
It is good when parents and children can spend time together. People often talk of quality time versus quantity time, but I am of the opinion that you can’t have a lot of quality time without a lot of quantity of time!
If you have children at home I would like to present you with a couple of recommendations if you, like me, feel a need to make some positive changes in your family life:
1. Be aware of the problem
2. Schedule regular time with spouse and children
Children are too often left alone, because parents are too busy to enter their world. If time is a problem, consider changing lifestyles… Hut vs. nice home? Which would really be best for the family? Be honest, and pray for God’s leading.
3. Family Worship – make it happen
4. Meals together as often as possible – make it a pleasant social gathering to look forward to.
5. Establish moral fences
Moral fences are vital for couples and families. A moral fence is an understood boundary that husbands and wives establish for the purpose of clarifying expectations of one another. For example, a couple could commit to not ride alone in a car with a person of the opposite sex unless it is an emergency or life-threatening situation. Determining what the moral fences are early in a relationship can help prevent inappropriate behavior or behavior that is of concern to the partner.
We all make mistakes. Sometimes mistakes are made with our children, and parents, you feel like your children have become like the prodigal, and you wonder if they’ll ever return home physically or spiritually. Others, no doubt, feel like failures in relationships with your husbands or wives, and you’re feeling a need for God to direct you to better ways of handling the challenges of life. As we think about the way it ought to be, let’s not forget that God specializes in healing and helping broken people. As we realize that things are not as they ought to be in our lives, we can turn that inadequacy over to God, and He can help our families become more and more as they ought to be.
(Read or sing Turn Your Heart Toward Home by Steve Chapman):
Late in the evening when everyone was sleeping
The father of the wayward son slipped out in the night
And looked toward the city and wiped away his tears
And prayed his son would hear his father’s cry.
Turn your heart toward home, turn your heart toward home,
You’ve been gone so long, turn your heart toward home.
But not only the sons are the wayward ones,
There are mothers and fathers who have said their goodbyes,
And the sad eyes of children are looking through their tears,
Praying mom and daddy can hear their cries (repeat chorus).
And there are those who have never walked away from home,
But in their minds they’re so many miles away,
And the Father in heaven is the only one who knows,
And if they’d listen, they could hear Him say (repeat chorus).
Submitted by Glenn Holland. Better Sermons © 2005-2007. Click here for usage guidelines. This sermon is also available with PowerPoint slides! For information, see www.adventsource.org or send an email requesting information directly to the author, Glenn Holland at: firstname.lastname@example.org