The Christian family Aps. Samuel Gyau Obuobi Sunday, September 22, 2019 Celebration Service at PIWC, Atomic

The Christian family Aps. Samuel Gyau Obuobi Sunday, September 22, 2019 Celebration Service at PIWC, Atomic  This month is our family month. We are talking about family relationships—the man, his wife, and his children and the type of relationship that must exist among them.   If you want to live as a Christian, one of the important things is the home. If the home is good, the church will be good; if the home is solid the church will be solid. As I was praying and thinking and reflecting, the Lord dropped into my spirit that there are some of us here who are hurting. Some husbands are hurting wives, some wives are hurting husbands, some children are hurting parents, and vice versa. I pray that God will bring us healing—emotional and spiritual—so that we shall be people really bonded together. We have been brought together for life. It is not a temporal relationship but a permanent one so, this morning, I am speaking about the Christian family.   I want to begin with 1 Timothy 5.8.  But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (ESV)  In this chapter of 1 Timothy the Apostle Paul began to give Timothy practical advice on many aspects of church life. He spoke on many subjects. For example, Timothy, though a leader of the church, was expected to show respect to all members whether old or young. Then the apostle made this statement that we want to start with this morning.   When he talks of providing for, I believe one of the things he his talking about is caring for and showing concern for. In other words, if anyone does not provide for, care for, or show concern for his family, and it is a very serious statement he makes—he says he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. It means that the family is extremely important as far as God is concerned. One who does not care for his family can be described as irresponsible. This shows how the important the family is important before the Lord. The Lord places emphasis on the family. The believer who does not provide or care for or show concern for the family—he is not even a Christian nor even an unbeliever; he is worse than an unbeliever.   When I talk about the Christian family what am I talking about? 1 Corinthians 11.3-4 says,  But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, (ESV)  In the Christian family context, what we see is that Christ is in the family. So, first we are talking about Christ. He occupies the position of the head. Indeed, your family cannot be said to be a Christian one if Christ is not the head—recognizing the lordship of Jesus Christ; making Jesus Christ the Lord of the family. So, a home where Jesus is not lord cannot be a Christian home. To become a Christian home, Christ must be recognized as the Lord and head of the family. So, in the Christian family we see first Christ as the head. Then he goes on to say the man is the head of the wife. So, in the Christian home, there is a man who is the husband. I am talking about the man who was born a man and has remained man. These days people are changing their sexes and claiming to be all sorts of things. Christ is the head and then there is a man or a husband who is the head of the wife. Headship here means leadership. Where two or three people come together there must be a leader and God has given that role to the man.   Then there is a wife. A woman born a woman who has remained a woman. Not a man who has converted to become a woman—that is an abomination before God. The Bible says in Genesis that the woman should play the role of a helpmate to the man. Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2.18 ESV)  Then there are the children. These are gifts from God, and I pray that if anybody needs such a gift may he who provides that gift give it to you in Jesus’ name. God is so interested in the family unit. For us as Africans, we know of the family system. We recognize that but my focus is on the family unit. God is so interested in the family unit because he created the family system. It is his own concept and he has a purpose and a reason for it. We see the beginning of the family unit when God created Adam and Eve at the beginning of time.   And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1.28 ESV)  So we see that it was God’s idea. He created and blessed them and said they should be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. So, we know that it is not man’s idea but God’s own idea. Why did God create the family system?   1. To reflect the image of God God wants us to reflect his image because it is God that created man in his own image, both male and female. So, the whole idea of the family is God’s initiation for us to reflect his image. So in the family we are to reflect the image of God—the image of love, peace, living with one another, accepting each other. So, if there is any family that is not reflecting that image, then it is not reflecting the purpose of God. He created the family so they can live together to reflect the image of God so if somebody wants to see how God is, he can look at your family and see it. Thus, if your family cannot reflect the image of God, I’m afraid you are not reflecting the purpose for which God created it. A family that reflects the image of God is one that brings glory to God. We must bring honor to God in everything we do. God wants our families to bring glory to him. The only point at which that will happen is if we bear the image of God. Analyze and evaluate your family and ask if it is bringing glory to God. If you are not reflecting the image of God, then you are not fulfilling the purpose for which God created it.   2. The family is to raise godly children One of the most important purposes of the family is to raise and train godly children. The family is to fill the earth with emotionally sound, Spirit-filled, God-worshiping, God-fearing, morally mature, righteousness-bearing young persons. When we fill this earth with godly children, they will also do same to the next generation and the name of God shall fill the earth forever and ever. So, it is important for parents to birth godly character into their children. It is not just about having children or a son or daughter but for you to raise them in the way of God.   So in the book of Malachi 2.15-16, the NLT says,  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. “For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”  I came to encourage and remind us that as a family we have a responsibility and one of the things God wants us to do is to bring children up in the way of the Lord. That is why the Bible says to train up the child in the way he should go so that when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22.6) What does God expect from this union? Why has God given you that son or daughter? The reason is that he wants godly children from you. I am not talking about biological children only. Even house helps are included. He has given you that person for a reason—that you will shape, mold, and guide the person and cause the person to become a godly person. One day we shall give account of everyone the Lord has given to us. Once the person has passed through your hands, you will give account of the person.  May we become like Lois who transferred the faith to Eunice and may we become also like Eunice who transferred her faith to Timothy that we shall have more Timothies to pastor the church of God.   3. Through the family, God wants men, women, and children to learn how to live by Christian principles That is, Christian principles like love, faithfulness, integrity, tender kindness, and tender mercies. We are to learn all these at home. As the family expresses this, the children will learn, and it will become part of them. When we talk about corruption in the land and we all complain about the behavior of some people, the observation I make is that these people may have come from home. What were they taught at home? Did parents teach them how to say yes and no? Did parents take their time to teach them how to reject bribes and how not to give bribes? You yourself are paying bribes to get them admission but I want to encourage you that the reason God gave you the children is for you to teach them the principles. Men, women, and children are to live as Christians. Love must be demonstrated at home. Faithfulness must be demonstrated. Integrity and kindness must be demonstrated for the children to pick it up. So, we have a responsibility and the responsibility is to live up to the purpose for which God created the family and I believe there is grace and the power of God to help us. When we are determined to do it, God will help us do it. May we be determined as Christian families to live to his glory.   I have observed that there are threats to the survival of the Christian family. In recent times I have observed that a few things are threatening the very survival of the Christian family. These are the things preventing the family from operating the way God wants it to operate. I see things that fight against the family and make an attempt to stop it from living the way God wants it to live.   Threats to the survival of the family 1. Lack of commitment on the part of members of the family This is especially so on the part of the mother and father. I have seen in recent times and in life that people are not committed to building a godly home and some are not committed to building a Christian home. This is a threat to the family. There is a lack of zeal and commitment. People are doing things anyhow but note carefully that no relationship just drops from heaven. Before you get a good relationship you must be committed to it and wok at it. Never assume that because you are Christians your family will succeed. You must commit to building a family. Even at school, when you tried to build a relationship with a lady and you proposed and she accepted, it didn’t just end there. Sometimes you would send a mail or a card and so son. And in those days there was something called free night calls and there were people who would have to wait till deep in the night as if they were praying, because they did not have the money to buy credit for talking during the day.   Good relationships are not automatic. You must work at it. Unfortunately, people are committed to so many other things. They are committed to old boys’ and old girls’ associations but the family has become secondary or tertiary. However, apart from Christ your number one commitment is to your family. Let us get committed to building a Christian home for no good relationship just comes. When you wake up in the morning you go and look for money and for the whole week you don’t see the children. On the Saturday you have a funeral or an outdooring and you spend the whole day there. So, when you pick your bag and are going your children ask you, “Daddy are you going today too?” There is a proverb in Akan that “Sɛ wogyae deɛ woreyɛ a wonya adaagyeɛ.” To wit, when you stop what you are doing, you get time. Get all the money you want to get but if you don’t spend time in prayer with your children and commit to them, the same money you make will be used to fight drug addiction or something else but now is the time. I came to advise somebody and encourage somebody on the authority of the word of God that may there be repentance in the house an may we commit to the family.   One day we picked our bags and our small boy said, “Daddy, today too?” There was one Saturday too that we stayed at home and they he came to ask, “Don’t you have anywhere to go today?” So I began to make amendments.   2. Postmodernism The second threat to the survival of the family is postmodernism. Technology, social media, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. Sometimes you can be together as one family but not together. You can be at home as one people but you are not. We went for a funeral somewhere; the man and his wife were together but never spoke to each other so I confronted them and asked how they could be on phone for so long and not talk to each other. Please, I want to tell you that if you are not careful technology will break up your family. I am not against technology but the danger is when technology comes between family members, husbands, and wives. And we have people we don’t know who are our friends on Facebook only. There are people we are together with that we don’t watch TV together with. Everybody has a TV in their room so nobody knows what the other is watching. There are so many good things on the internet but there are also many bad things there. I pray in the name of Jesus and speak to every family here who is being lost to social media. May that family be brought back in the name of Jesus. Technology is a threat to the survival of the family, as good as it is.   3. Economic pressure The desire to make money at all costs at all times is affecting the family. Like I said, you wake up at dawn and you are gone and the children are sleeping by the time you return. There is no relationship. If you don’t manage it well, that money you are working for will be a waste in the future. There are people who are rich and wealthy but are sorry for how they managed their families. As God is blessing you, create time for the family—make time for the family.   How to build a godly family 1. The God/Jesus factor This cannot be underestimated. Recognize Jesus as the Lord of the family. The Bible says unless the Lord builds the house, they laborers labor in vain. The Jesus factor is praying with and for the family. It has been said that the family that prays together stays together. Have a family altar at home—a time of fellowship and prayer together. Don’t let the whole week go by where you don’t get together and pray. The father is supposed to represent God as the priest in the home. Call the family together and let them pray. Together with the children, they must study the word of God. They must come together to read the word. Never underestimate the children. The things the children of today know, sometimes the kind of homework they bring home, yet they are able to learn and write and pass exams. So, don’t underestimate their thinking capacity. As you do this, they shall begin to pick up and we shall get the big men in society. It is an abomination to come to church and leave your church at home. The children include even those who are not your biological children. If you don’t bring them to church the other people will teach them.   2. Let parents take up their responsibility to build a Christian home They should diligently teach their children. Don’t leave this assignment to the children’s ministry. The primary responsibility is for the parents. In Deuteronomy 6.4-7 Moses says,   “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (ESV)  So, teaching them to the children is the responsibility of the parents. The creche and Sunday school teachers come in to help. I speak to parents who are sleeping to take up their responsibilities. Many families are indeed troubled today because they have left the diligent teaching of their children to the schools and media and Kunkum Bhagya but I came to tell you that it is your responsibility.   3. Determine to build a Christian home Be determined that the family should work. If other families have been successful I don’t see why mine cannot be. Don’t give up so early. The Bible says Daniel determined not to defile himself with the king’s food and wine. (Daniel 1.8) Be determined that your family will not break up. There is power in determination and nothing good comes cheap.   4. Let the family be a priority and make time for it Don’t put priority on entertainment at the expense of the family. Invest in the family. Sometimes you use even your children’s school fees to buy new cloth. Let the family be a priority and make time for it. As you put premium on the family and make time for it, I believe that things will change to the glory of God.   If you are here and you are hurt because of your family, I pray that let there be healing today and may your heart, spirit, and emotions be touched in Jesus’ name.  Main references 1 Timothy 5.8, Genesis 1.28, Malachi 2.15-16, Deuteronomy 6.4-7

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