Summary: It's time to turn the family back to Jesus.
Text: Col. 3:18-21
1. Illustration: When a national random sample of 1,000 adults was asked about the morality of eight family-related behaviors, large majorities of the public claimed that five of those behaviors are acceptable either because they are "morally acceptable" or that they do not even qualify as moral issues (i.e., that choice is a matter of personal preference, there is no right or wrong position related to the behavior).
The five behaviors deemed acceptable by most U.S. adults included:
• using pills or medical devices for birth control â€“ acceptable to 86%
• getting a divorce - acceptable to 77%
• sexual intercourse between unmarried male and female adults -acceptable to 71%
• having a baby without being married acceptable to 69%
• intentionally looking at pictures or videos that display nudity or explicit sexual behavior acceptable to 58%
In addition, about half of the nation (48%) said that having an abortion is acceptable.
For each of the other seven behaviors, however, born again Christians were much more likely to embrace a more traditional, biblical moral perspective. Even so, a majority of the born again adults deemed half of the eight behaviors to be acceptable: using birth control (87%), getting a divorce (66%), having a baby without being married (54%), and sexual relations between unmarried adults (51%). In addition, about four out of ten born again adults believe that viewing pornography is acceptable (38%). (http://www.georgebarna.com/research-flow/2018/4/25/americans-redefine-family-morality).
2. Now what this survey tells me is that the church is in trouble, and a part of the reason it's in trouble is because the family is in trouble.
3. So how do we fix this problem? By turning the family back to Christ!
4. We do this by making Jesus the center of the family again, and we do this by returning to what the Scriptures tell us about the family.
A. Wives and Husbands
B. Parents and Children
5. Let's stand together this morning out of respect for the Word of God as we read Col. 3:18-21.
Proposition: It's time to turn the family back to Jesus!
Transition: First, let's talk about...
I. Wives and Husbands (18-19).
A. Wives Submit, Husbands Love
1. In the previous couple of paragraphs of this letter Paul talked about how Christians should act, and now he moves on to how Christians families should operate.
2. He begins, as he does in other letters, with the wives. He says in v. 18, "Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord."
A. Now this is a concept that doesn't go over very well, and mostly because it is misunderstood and misrepresented.
B. It is looked upon in our society as a forced subjection, but that it is not what Scripture intends.
C. Submit: It has the concept of putting oneself under the authority of (hupo), not by compulsion, but willingly. The term is used in Luke 2:51 to refer to Jesus' submission to His parents (MacArthur, MacArthur New Testament Commentary â€“ Colossians and Philemon, 168).
D. The family in Paul's day was a long-established social unit, and the church was in its infant stages. The church was God's new creation, and it provided a vehicle for putting the principles of the new life into practice.
E. Contrary to Paul's society, women had equal status in the church. But the structure of the family was already in place, and it wasn't the business of the early church to undermine society, which is what would have happened if they had radically changed the family structure.
F. However, notice that Paul adds, "is fitting in the Lord."
G. As is fitting: Wives have rights and privileges, but recognition of the husband's leadership is essential to a well-ordered home, only the assumption is that the husband has a head and a wise one (Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, , Under: "Colossians 3:18").
H. It is not suggested here are anywhere in the NT that the woman is naturally or spiritually inferior to the man, or the wife to the husband.
I. When the relationship is seen from the context of the words, "as it fitting in the Lord," the true dignity of women in general and wives in particular is placed on a firm foundation (Bruce, 163-164).
3. Now Paul moves from the wives to the husbands. In v. 19 he says, "Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly."
A. The wife's submission to her husband has as its counterpart the husband obligation to love his wife.
B. This is not a love-dove type of emotion or sexual attraction; it refers to his active and unceasing responsibility to care for her well-being.
C. The phrase, "and never treat them harshly," really drives Paul's positive intention home by forbidding the opposite attitude and treatment.