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Summary: Strengthing the Family

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Foundations of the Family: Changes

Hebrews 7:11-12; 8:6-13

A survey was done on people who lived to be over 100 years of age. Some common traits for their longevity were discovered. They were the following: 1) purpose, 2) positive outlook or faith, and 3) the ability to handle change or loss. They understood that change is a fact of life.

Often we hear of “generation gaps” and almost always they are spoken of in negative terms. However, they are simply changes between generations, and change is both a requirement and a product of growth. Personal and family stability requires the ability to process and adapt to change in our lives.

I. Change Is A Life Reality

A. The cycle of life.

“And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.” (Josh 23:14)

1. There is no doubt that there will be changes in our lives.

2. If we live long enough, we will die.

3. We need to accept the fact of change and be able to adjust to those changes.

a. Our world changes.

b. Our family changes.

c. Our church changes.

d. Our life changes.

B. We need to accept reality, and focus on the positives of each change.

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,” (Phil 3:13)

1. Often we like the benefits of change, but we resent and fight against the changes that produce the benefits.

2. Example: Ben and his new job; the challenge is getting people to see the benefit of the change.

II. Change Is Necessary.

A. Breaking new ground for God.

1. In the book of Acts we see the gospel going to the Gentiles.

2. This change was difficult for the Jewish believers to understand.

3. There have been equally difficult changes for us in our day and age.

4. Famous last words, “We’ve never done it that way before!”

B. Some barriers to change.

1. Focusing on an institution rather than the purpose of the institution. ie. the church (too much inward reflection)

2. Minority rule: Allowing a few dissenters to prevent change.

3. An unwillingness to take risks.

4. An unwillingness to suffer pain, because pain is very often a side affect of change.

III. Change Must Be Evaluated.

A. Life is a process of renewal.

1. The best organizations are always renewing themselves.

2. Example of the National Forests

3. Here, we must distinguish between moral absolutes and cultural relatives.

a. Moral absolutes are biblical requirements that are maintained regardless of culture.

b. Cultural relatives will inevitably have to be updated.

4. We must distinguish between mission and tradition.

a. Fulfilling the mission is always more important than keeping the tradition.

b. We must never lose sight of what our goal is.

c. That is true personally, within our families, and certainly within our local church.

B. Let’s list a few unchangeables.

1. God does not change.

“For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Mal 3:6)

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Heb 13:8)

2. The principles of His Word do not change. ex 10 Commandments

3. The doctrines of His Word do not change. cf II Timothy 3:16.

C. We can and must learn from the past.

1. Current trends: The danger of trends is that many move us away from absolutes. Trends are passing.

2. Past traditions. Some are good because they safeguard the future

3. Future testimony. If we change absolutes we cease to be Christian. If we do not change cultural relatives we cease to be. illus: lifesaving station to club

Navigating the changes of life are critical for the church, the family, and the individual. Healthy relationships between generations allow for differences and changes, and help us discover how to handle life’s adjustments.

The following is a letter that optimizes the critical attitude against change and illustrates the lack of vision that people who harbor this attitude have.

January 31, 1829

To President Jackson:

The canal system of this country is being threatened by the spread of a new form of transportation known as "railroads.’ The federal government must preserve the canals for the following reasons:

One, if canal boats are supplanted by ’railroads," serious unemployment will result. Captains, cooks, drivers, hostlers, repairmen and lock tenders will be left without means of livelihood, not to mention the numerous farmers now employed in growing hay for the horses.

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