Summary: Talk about 3 important lessons we need to learn in this battle for our family and then give some practical applications (Material adapted from Andreas Kostenberger's book, God, Marriage, and Family, chapter 8 pgs. 162- 171)
A few minutes before the services started, the church people were sitting in their pews and talking. Suddenly, Satan appeared at the front of the church. Everyone started screaming and running for the front entrance, trampling each other in a frantic effort to get away from the evil one. Soon everyone had exited the church except for one elderly gentleman who sat calmly in his pew without moving, unconcerned to the fact that mankind’s enemy was in his presence. So Satan walked up to the old man and said, “Don’t you know who I am?” The man replied, “Yep, your Satan.” “Aren’t you afraid of me?” Satan asked. “No, sure ain’t” said the man. “Don’t you realize what I can do to you?” asked Satan. “I know what you can do to me,” replied the old man. “And you’re still not afraid?” asked Satan. “Nope.” A little perturbed, Satan asked, “Well, why aren’t you afraid of me?” The man calmly replied, “Well, I’ve been married to your sister for over 48 years.”
In Genesis 1 and 2 we see God making everything in our world. At the end of Genesis 1 and then Genesis 2 we see God making the man and the woman. In Genesis 3 we find Satan tempting the woman and she sins by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The man also takes some and he eats. Sin enters the world. God punishes the man and woman and the serpent (Satan). In his punishment against the serpent God said, “And I will put enmity (hostility) between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”” Genesis 3:15, NIV. We see Satan using everything within his power to destroy the good creation that God made. He started in the Garden of Eden and he will keep on until the end of world as we know it. His greatest defeat was through the cross of Jesus Christ. “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” 1 John 3:8. However, Satan is still seeking to steal, kill and destroy as much as he can until the end.
This is Memorial Day weekend. We honor those who paid the supreme sacrifice of their lives for our freedoms in this country. Also, we often think about those who have served through the battles that our country has faced. There is a war going on right now. This war is being fought on many fronts. One of the fiercest battles right now is going on against the family. Satan wants to destroy every Christian family because through the family the Christian faith is displayed.
The NT is aware of this spiritual warfare surrounding the family. Notice that in Ephesians Paul talks about marriage in 5:21-33 and childrearing in 6:1-4. Paul talks about servants and masters in 6:5-9 especially household slaves/servants and masters in keeping with the context. Then we come to 6:10-18 and many disconnect this from what comes before. In the context of Ephesians 6:10-18, the practical matters Paul is dealing with are marriage and the family. It is important to look at the biblical teaching on marriage and the family on one hand and spiritual warfare on the other hand in a connected way. Spiritual warfare surrounding marriage and the family is a reality, and awareness of this conflict as well as skills in winning it are necessary.
Thesis: Talk about 3 important lessons we need to learn in this battle for our family and then give some practical applications
3 important lessons
1. Be aware that there is a battle going on.
Anyone who, in the case of war, fails to realize that he is engaged in conflict will no doubt be an easy casualty because of his failure to properly prepare, plan and protect himself. October 8, 1862 a battle was fought at Perryville, Kentucky. It was strange because three Confederate Divisions attacked 8 Union ones and actually won. Part of the reason is that two Union Corps were not engaged as the Army's commander, an Ohioan and former West Pointer, did not know a battle was going on! He did not hear any sounds from the battle (because of the weather and terrain, called an acoustic shadow) and so he did not know!
Much the same in the realm of marriage and the family. Divorce rates are skyrocketing, not because of a lack of good intentions, not because of the availability of resources and instruction on how to have a strong marriage, not even because of a lack of love, but because many fail to recognize that spiritual warfare is a reality that calls for a united, deliberately planned response. Even though we do not hear any sounds of this battle, we must be aware that a battle is going on. Always be alert! “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8, NIV.