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Summary: Building Strong Christian Families

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BUILDING STRONG AND HEALTHY FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

TEXT: Psalm 127:1-5

OPENING TEXT:

“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?

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.

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.”

• The first two mentions of covenant in the Bible are found in Genesis 6:18 (with Noah) and Genesis 7:1-7 (with Abraham).

“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 marriage, it hasn’t always been easy or fun, but you 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.

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.”

• We saw this principle in Ephesians 4:32 : “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.”

• 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!

III. EMPOWERING – NOT POSSESSIVE POWER: To serve and be served.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6).

As parents, part of our job is empowering our children. “Empowering is the active, intentional process of enabling another person to acquire power.” (Balswick).

• “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (Deut. 6:6-7).

• As parents, we are to teach our children about the Lord!

• EXAMPLE: Some of the ways we do this is by taking our children to church; doing daily devotions; encouraging them to read their Bibles; and praying with them daily.

• This isn’t just about discipleship, but also helping them grow and mature and become independent. Given them more and more freedom as they get older.

IV. INTIMACY – NOT DISTANCE: To know and be known.

“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:25).

• God wants us to know and be known by one another in our families intimately.

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