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Summary: How and why did God God design the family? What does a God-pleasing family look like?

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---Robert Orben once wrote: 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’s most recent vacation.

Let’s face it, family life can be tough. It always has been tough, and yet families are important.

To follow along with what we’re focusing on today, I invite you to open your Bible and turn to Genesis 2 and Ephesians 6.

---One Sunday a pastor was preaching about things money can’t buy. Money can’t buy laughter, and can’t buy love, he said. Driving his point home he asked the congregation a question: What would you do if I offered you $1,000 to NOT love your mother and father? The congregation was totally silent. But after a few seconds, a small voice in the second row asked, How much would you give me to not love my big sister?

>Some things never change ... but our society and the families within our society have undergone tremendous changes.

---Sociologist and historian, Carl Zimmerman, in his book, Family and Civilization, studied the disintegration of various cultures throughout history. His findings were surprising, as well as remarkable. He wrote of what he discovered: The decline of the cultures remarkably paralleled the decline of family life within those cultures.

>Zimmerman identified eight specific patterns of domestic behavior that typified the downward spiral of each culture he studied:

1) Marriage loses its sacredness ... it is frequently broken by divorce.

2) The traditional meaning of the marriage ceremony is lost.

3) Feminist movements abound.

4) There is a noticeable increase in public disrespect for parents and authority in general.

5) There is a dramatic and constant acceleration of juvenile delinquency, promiscuity, and rebellion.

6) People in traditional marriages begin to refuse to live up to their family responsibilities. (Dads who don’t find employment, moms who leave their children in the hands of others so they can engage in activities outside the home.)

7) There is a noticeable growing desire for and acceptance of adultery.

8) There is an increased interest in and an increasing spread of sexual perversions and sex-related crimes.

>If Zimmerman’s findings are correct, and I believe they are , then the United States is in serious trouble. Even more remarkable is the fact that Zimmerman’s book was written in 1947, sixty years ago, during a time when the trends he describes were nowhere near as prominent as they are today in America.

We are standing on the verge of the collapse of our culture, merely another one in a long list of cultures who believed they would last forever. However, when their families fell into disrepair, the culture fell too, banished to being mere relics in the annals of history.

We have two choices:

1) We can sit and bemoan the fact, and wait for the final shoe to drop.

2) Or, we can become actively involved in STRENGTHENING our own families, and begin to make a difference...one family at a time...in turning the United States around.

It’s not an impossible task ... there is still good news...

--Yes, 44% of all marriages in the United States end in divorce, but that means 56%, a majority of couples, are staying married and believe that marriage ought to be a life-time relationship.

--94% of all the people who are divorced will remarry, believing that marriage is something to be valued, something they want to be part of their lives.

--And more than 80% of all the young people now in high school and college WILL decide to get married.

<>So, while family is still "in" today, I invite you to SMILE FOR THE CAMERA of God’s Word. Let’s take a look at God’s Portrait of the Family. As we S-M-I-I-I-L-E for the camera, here’s what we’ll discover from God’s Word:

THE FAMILY THAT PLEASES GOD IS A PLACE OF...

S UPPORT AND COMPANIONSHIP.

Gen.2:18 -- Then the Lord said, ""It is not good for the man to be alone;""

It is in the context of the family that we can be fully known and accepted unconditionally.

<>In a God-pleasing family there is on-going companionship.

Gen.2:18 -- Then the Lord said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." ... The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.

---The famous writer, Anonymous, said it well: A family shares things like dreams, hopes, possessions, memories, frowns, and gladness. A family is a clan held together with the glue of love and the cement of mutual respect. No person is ever alone who is a member of a family.

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