Summary: Christian relationships in the Church. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Colossians chapter 3 verses 18 to chapter 4 verses 1:
If you think your family has problems,
• Consider the marriage mayhem created;
• When 76-year-old Bill Baker of London recently wed Edna Harvey.
• She happened to be his granddaughter’s husband’s mother.
• That’s where the confusion began, according to Baker’s granddaughter, Lynn.
• “My mother-in-law is now my step-grandmother.
• My grandfather is now my stepfather-in-law.
• My mom is my sister-in-law and my brother is my nephew.
• But even crazier is that I’m now married to my uncle & my own children are my cousins.”
Quote: Robert Orben:
• Who can ever forget Winston Churchill’s immortal words:
• “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds,
• We shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills.”
• It sounds exactly like our family holidays.
Our title this evening is A Family Affair:
• The writer (Paul) talks about different relationships that we have;
• Wives & husbands.
• Parents & children.
• Masters & slaves (Employers & employees)
• So those of you who are retired, widowed and have grown up children;
• Are really going to benefit from tonight’s message!
Before we start this section of the letter I want to mention three things about relationships:
(1). RELATIONSHIPS ARE TO BE ROUTINE.
• This is about home life and work life.
• Our faith must work in the everyday affairs of living.
• And there’s nothing more routine than family life and work life.
• But if our faith doesn’t work there then it doesn’t work!
• The Fight, J. White, IVP, pp. 121ff
• Ten Commandments of Home Rule
• (1). If you sleep on it - make it up.
• (2). If you wear it - hang it up.
• (3). If you drop it - pick it up.
• (4). If you eat out of it - put it in the sink.
• (5). If you step on it - wipe it off.
• (6). If you open it - close it.
• (7). If you empty it - fill it up.
• (8). If it rings - answer it.
• (9). If it howls - feed it.
• (10). If it cries - love it.
• More seriously, our faith must work in the everyday affairs of family life and work life.
• If our faith doesn’t work there then it doesn’t work!
(2). RELATIONSHIPS HAVE DIFFERENT ROLES.
• We are talking about roles not rulers.
• Everyone has a defined role:
• Husbands and wives, Parents and children, employers and employees.
• But please remember that everyone is of equal rank.
“Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female,
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
• Paul emphasises in these verses that we are all equal in God’s eyes.
• Equality is not the issue in these verses, the issue is one of order.
• Note: Order not importance!
• God is a God of order; and life will always work best when we follow His roles for us.
(3). RELATIONSHIPS ARE TO BE RECIPROCAL (THAT IS SHARED, MUTUAL).
• Husbands and wives reciprocate,
• Husbands and wives react to the actions of the other.
• Parents and children and employers and employees reciprocate.
• That is they have to give and take to make them work!
• What Paul was writing in the first century was radical.
• Wives, children and slaves (for our discussion, employees)
• Were looked down upon in society.
• They were second, third and……even lower class)
• But, Christianity elevated women, valued children and gave slaves a value!
• Quote: ‘Only place a slave was equal with his master was in the Church’.
We will look at these pairs together as Paul gave them to us,
(1). Husbands and Wives: Love and Submission (vs 18-19):
“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.”
• The American humorist, novelist, writer, and lecturer Samuel Langhorne Clemens.
• Better known to most people by his pen name Mark Twain,
• A Mormon acquaintance once pushed him into an argument on the issue of polygamy.
• After long and tedious expositions justifying the practice,
• The Mormon demanded that Mark Twain cite any passage of Scripture;
• Which expressly forbidding polygamy.
• “Nothing easier,” Mark Twain replied.
• “No man can serve two masters.”