Summary: Families are a place where: 1. We learn to glorify God and live for him. 2. We receive love and nurturing. 3. We learn about values and character.
The American Family is being totally redefined today. It can mean almost anything, and anyone who thinks that it should mean one man, one woman and the children that God may bless them with is seen as someone who is out of step, and even a threat to the culture. Family may mean one man and one woman, or it may mean two men and three women. It may mean two women and their adopted, or in vitro children. It may mean a man and another person who used to be a man. It may be a person and their pet according to professor Peter Singer. Almost any aberration you can think of, and some you may not be able to think of, are considered family. But the Bible is clear about what God’s definition and intention of a family is.
I want to ask a simple question this morning: What is the purpose of a family? What is the purpose of your family? Do you have a purpose? Do you understand your purpose? Are you living out your purpose? Or are you so caught up in everything you are trying to do that you have no time to think about purpose? Sometimes we get caught up in what we think everyone else is doing and expects us to do. Sometimes we get caught up in what we think will make ourselves and our children successful. But are you working toward trying to fulfill a clearly defined purpose for yourself and your family? Are you seeking God’s purpose for your family?
The first thing we must understand about God’s purpose for the family is: The family is where we learn to glorify God and live for him. The Bible tells us what God’s purpose is when it says: “Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring” (Malachi 2:15-16). This is God’s purpose for your family. He has brought you together in flesh and spirit that you might have godly offspring — children who love God and serve him; children whose lives glorify him.
The purpose for our individual lives, as well as our families, is to glorify God. This is not something that just happens. It does not even happen just because you come to church and send your kids to Sunday School and youth group. It happens because in your home you show your love for God. You talk about him. You tell your children how he has been faithful to you and helped you through life. You see him everywhere and talk about the beauty and ingenuity of the world he has created. You model before them the life he has called you to live. You have an enthusiasm for the things of God. What you do does make a difference.
A new book has come out by Judith Rich Harris entitled, Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do. In the book, Harris claims the theory that “what influences children’s development... is the way their parents bring them up... is wrong.” After parents contribute the necessary biological elements, DNA takes over and nothing they do or say after that matters. Whether that is praise and hugs, or criticism and slugs, it does not make any difference in what kind of an adult the child will become.
It sounds just a little too convenient doesn’t it? It sounds like a book written more out of guilt than honest research. It sounds like a book written to sell, since there are so many parents who want to believe that they are not responsible for their children’s training. However, a recent poll of 272,400 middle-school and high-school students said that their parents were the most important influence in their lives — and that religion was second.
Why does God want us to have godly offspring — children who are faithful to the will of God in their lives? Because we are to be like the chosen people of Israel. God’s plan for Israel was that they would win the world to him. They were to learn the law of God so they could teach the will of God to other nations. The Christian family is God’s best evangelistic tool for reaching a lost world. Our families have been entrusted with the good news of God’s love, and God has imparted to us the responsibility of sharing that news with a needy world that does not know him. The presence of God has not come into our homes just so our families can be blessed, but so that the world may be blessed. We need to make a difference in the world. Our lives need to model his love and forgiveness. We need to model the life of Jesus in loving and serving the world. This is how we glorify God.