Summary: Part of our destiny as Christians involves our family life. God’s Word gives us several keys to having strong and healthy family relationships.
DESTINY #6: BUILDING STRONG AND HEALTHY FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!
• This is a day with mixed emotions for many people, depending on whether or not your father is alive, and how well you may have known him, if at all.
• My step-dad passed away nine years ago, and my biological dad died three years ago.
• But today we want to bless and honour all of the fathers who are here!
“Of Solomon. Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.” (Psalm 127).
• If we want to have a strong and healthy family, the Lord must build our home!
• “Family relationships will either be dynamic and maturing, or stagnant and dying.” Balswick). Where is yours at today?
• When Liza and I got married, we had both come from dysfunctional families. My parents were divorced before I was five years old. Liza’s parents are separated. What hope do we have of having a strong and healthy family? God’s Word!
THE BIG IDEA: Part of our destiny as Christians involves our family life. God’s Word gives us several keys to having strong and healthy family relationships. We will consider five of them today – covenant, grace, empowering, intimacy and divine order.
REVIEW: Our Destiny Series in Ephesians.
• Chapters 1-3 (Destined to BE). Chapters 4-6 (Destined to DO).
• REVIEW SECTION TWO: “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.” (Ephesians 4:1).
• 4:1-6 = UNITY; 4:7-16 = MATURITY; 4:17-5:20 = PURITY. Now = FAMILY.
I. COVENANT – NOT CONTRACT: To love and be loved.
QUOTE: “The logical beginning point of any family relationship is a covenant commitment, which has unconditional love at its core. Out of the security provided by this covenant love develops grace. In this atmosphere of grace, family members have the freedom to empower each other. Empowering leads to the possibility of intimacy.” (Balswick).
WHAT IS A COVENANT?
A Covenant is “an unconditional commitment which is demonstrated supremely by God in the role of parent.” (Balswick).
“And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.” (Genesis 7:7).
• A strong and healthy family must be based on COVENANT, not a contract.
• A contract says, “IF you do this, then I will do that.” and can be broken.
• A covenant is unconditional and unbreakable.
• ISSUE: One of the questions people wrestle with is: “What if I married the wrong person?” Answer: You didn’t. Once you marry someone, they are the right person!
• EXAMPLE: In my marriage with Liza, it hasn’t always been easy or fun, but we have made a promise to one another, and divorce is not an option.
• Notice also that the covenant isn’t just between the husband and the wife – but children, too! As parents, we must make a commitment to unconditionally love our children.
• EXAMPLE: Both my mom and sister Jodi are foster parents, and I have heard so many horrible stories of children whose parents have not loved and cared for them.
II. GRACE – NOT LAW: To forgive and be forgiven.
“Family relationships as designed by God are meant to be lived out in an atmosphere of grace and now law.” (Balswick).
• We saw this principle earlier in our study of Ephesians: “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” (4:32).
• In a family relationship based on law, perfection will be demanded of each other.
• Rules and regulations will be rigidly set up to govern relationships.
• This pressure adds guilt to the failure that is inevitable in such a situation.
• GRACE doesn’t mean that you don’t have to have rules in your family, but rather that you give your spouse and your children the freedom to fail, and walk in forgiveness!
• EXAMPLE: In our family, Liza and my kids have messed up LOTS… but so have I! If it wasn’t for grace, we would have all been very miserable!