What’s the problem with families today? The real problem with the family today is our failure to examine and understand the Scriptures instruction on what underlies strong families.
Deuteronomy 6:1-9 reveals five foundation stones of the Christian family that if understood and applied will help you raise a strong Christian family.
I. The Family was instituted by God it is not the pragmatic result of some cultural expectation:
Deuteronomy 6:1 “Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the LORD your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it.”
Deuteronomy 6 is fundamental to family life in the nation of Israel. Moses is not just making this directive up as some form of social engineering experiment, no! We read that the Lord had commanded him to teach them.
In John MacArthur’s book Successful Christian Parenting, he writes on the demise of the Family in America and says: “To be perfectly frank, many people today would happily carve out the tombstone for the family. In his 1971 book, The Death of the Family, (New York: Pantheon, 1971), British psychiatrist Dr. David Cooper suggested that it is time to do away with the family completely. A similar suggestion was made in Kate Millet’s 1970 feminist manifesto, Sexual Politics (New York: Doubleday, 1970), She claimed that families, along with all patriarchal structures, must go because they are nothing more than tools for the oppression and enslavement of women.”
Furthermore he writes, “Mrs. Hillary Clinton’s book, It Takes a Village, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), was written to set forth an agenda that would move America closer to state- sponsored parenting. Although she gives lip service to the importance of the parents’ and grandparents’ roles, she clearly believes that parents should not be permitted to train their own children unsupervised by the secular government. She also suggests that a more socialist approach to parenting should be the new norm, including state-sponsored day-care centers and full-day preschools for children as young as three.
Contrary to the worlds current view of the family the Bible clearly teaches that God is the one who came up with this institution.
Genesis 1:26-28 “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.” 27God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28God 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.”
After creating man in His image as male and female God instructed them to go forth and multiply. Now, note there is no cultural expectation in Genesis only the purposes of God being unfolded in His Creation. God wanted man to be blessed and part of that blessing was the procreation of children for the purpose of possessing and ruling over His creation.
Genesis 2:22-24 further defines the family as a unit with a mother and father. “The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23The 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.” 24For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”
Every family unit is established by the union of a husband and wife. Therefore, families are the result of God’s design and will only function well when we accept His design as the right one…
II. The Family exists for the glory and purposes of God not for the glory and purposes of Man:
Deuteronomy 6:2-3 “So that you and your son and your grandson might fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. 3“O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
To fear the LORD refers to the community of those who worship Yahweh We worship that which we glory in. Everything created by God exists for His glory. Therefore since God is the Creator of the family the family exists for His glory!
Psalm 86:9 All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And they shall glorify Your name.
Isaiah 42:8 “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.”
Isaiah 43:7 “Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”
The family that glorifies God is built on a covenant relationship: As Moses comes to the end of his life he calls the Nation to remember who they are and upon what they are established. The whole basis of the existence of the nation of Israel was built on a covenant that God made with Abraham.
Genesis 12:1-2 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; 2And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing;
Christian Families are Christ centered family we are under the covenant of Christ which He secured through His death and resurrection – Therefore, Jesus Christ is the one we all mutually submit to in our distinctive roles. He is the One whom we are to serve and glorify.
III. The Family’s Goal is Oneness not Individualism: – Mutual Submission to God
Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!
The greatest way any Christian family can glorify God is through the expression of oneness. The more a family is unified and functioning as a single entity under the headship of Jesus Christ the greater the glory that goes to God because God is ONE.
The Lord is ONE… This statement was unique in that Israel was to be a nation who worshiped one God not many like the nations around them. The worship of the one true God provides the basis for oneness and unity not individualism in the family.
The command to HEAR this truth is not just to hear the words but to hear it in such a way that it impacts the way you live. Moses is saying that you must first have personal relationship with God.
The difference between a Christian home and the home next door where there has been no professions of faith in Jesus Christ is huge:
1. Christian families admit their sins. The Christian knows that there is no purpose in covering up sin because God knows our sins even before we commit them and has already provided one who has made payment for that sin the Lord Jesus (Rom 8:1). There is therefore an ability to be open and honest about sin not for the purpose of being cavalier about it but for the purpose of growth through it.
2. Christian families walk in the provision of God’s grace: The Bible gives Christian’s clear instructions how to function in the grace of God not the guilt of punishment. The Bible teaches us that by the grace of God alone we can be forgiven and set free from the control and subservience to sin. With the freedom to confess sin comes the freedom to repent of it and seek God’s forgiveness. Knowing God’s forgiveness gives us the ability to ask and receive forgiveness from those we have sinned against.
3. Christian families are growing out of sins as they are being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Where there is spiritual life there is spiritual growth. No true believer can remain the same. Christ by His Spirit is constantly sanctifying us and will continue to sanctify us till the day we are taken to glory.
The Christian home is a place where sinful people face the problems of sinful people and by God’s grace yield to the truth, repent of sin, and seek forgiveness which is able to be forgiven because they have been forgiven.
God alone provides hope to families, God alone is the one who has made provision for sin, God alone can set us free and restore the damage done by our pride and selfishness.
In contrast to the worship of YHWH, where there is the worship of many different and competing gods there can be no true unity. I would go so far as to say that the brokenness of families today is because the one true God has been pushed out of the family and raised up in His place we have the humanist agenda of self love and self worship. However, when a husband and wife sin against each other they are no longer worshiping ONE God – they are no longer monotheists but polytheists. The reason there is division and conflict is because they are worshiping and loving another God (normally themselves) other than YHWH.
IV. The Family Mission is Sacrificial Love not Selfish Lust:
Deuteronomy 6:5 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
This sacrificial love is not an option, it is not a partial love but a total love for God. This is a love without rivals. Furthermore there is a fervency and urgency in this mission to love God. This love involves ALL your heart, ALL you soul, ALL your might.
Our love for God is expressed in our love for others especially those of our family.
V. The Family is the channel through which truth is passed on to future generations:
Deuteronomy 6:7-9 “You shall teach them diligently to your sons 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 up. 8“You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9“You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
You must be a teaching parent – to teach means more than to impart information. To teach means to instruct someone in such a way that the things you have taught them are now part of their lives so that they are able to impart them to others.
You must teach diligently – this involves a plan, a measurable course of action. The Hebrew root of this word means to sharpen. You are to sharpen your children, and it implies aggressive and assertive involvement
You must teach always – it is to be done at all times. This directive means that just because you have a family devotion you are not of the hook. There is to be a constant informal focus in your teaching. What stops us so often from teaching our children is our own selfishness.
This call to teach is at the heart of the Christian family structure as well. Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
CONCLUSION: So what are the options we face if we ignore building our families on these Biblical foundation stones?
A warning from Moses should be clear enough of an answer. Deuteronomy 6:13-15 “You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. “You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth.