Summary: The image of the family has changed drastically in recent years, and we no longer seem to be sure what makes up a traditional family unit.
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
Our text this morning is Genesis 1:27-28. Please listen as I read it to you.
"So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male & female He created them. God blessed them & said to them, `Be fruitful & increase in number; fill the earth & subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea & the birds of the air & over every living creature that moves on the ground."
Over the years I’ve enjoyed preaching about family relationships, about husbands & wives, parents & children, grandchildren & so on. But I must confess that in recent years this has become less enjoyable because, as most of you realize, I’m very traditional in my views of family & morality.
I’m not in tune with much of what is happening today. As a result, sometimes I feel like a voice "crying in the wilderness." So if you’ll just indulge me for a while, let’s talk about some traditional family values.
ILL. The Bible focuses on families. In fact, the oldest book in the Bible is thought to be the Book of Job. In it is Mr. & Mrs. Job, & their 14 children. That’s quite a family, any way you look at it.
They go through trials & tribulations & financial reversals. They experience death, & go through the grieving process, & marital difficulties. All this is found in the Book of Job.
ILL. An earlier family would be the family of Adam & Eve. God brings them together as husband & wife, & commissions them to be fruitful & multiply. So along come Cain & Abel & their other children.
There is the family of Noah & the family of Abraham & the families of Isaac & Jacob.
Finally we come to the N.T., & an important part of the story of Jesus is His family. He is born of a virgin, & yet, God appoints a man by the name of Joseph to take care of those early years of His life. So family relationships are important in the Bible story.
But the image of the family has changed drastically in recent years, & we no longer seem to be sure what makes up a traditional family unit.
I. THE TRADITIONAL FAMILY
A. One of the things I found as I was researching the traditional family is that some things we have thought were part of the traditional family picture have not always been a part of it.
1. For instance, in our culture we’ve always thought that marriage comes about because of the love of two people for each other. They meet, fall in love, & get married.
But throughout most of history, & in most cultures, marriages have been arranged by parents. In has only been in recent times, & mainly in our country, that "romantic marriages" have come into existence.
Even today in India & Africa, & in many parts of So. America, marriages are still being arranged, & the love relationship develops after the marriage.
2. A second misconception is that we have always thought that in the traditional family the mother stayed home & took care of the children, & that the working mother outside of the home is a recent innovation.
But that, too, is not true. Throughout most of history, the mother worked outside the home. Read about the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31, & you’ll find that she was a very industrious woman who embarked on lots of economic endeavors to provide for her family.
History tells us that for the most part, the mother worked in the field & orchard side by side with her husband. But here is the difference, she took along her nursing children. They were always with her. Then as the child grew older, it started working in the field & orchard as well. The family grew up working & spending time together.
3. The open rebelliousness of children is also a recent innovation. Many have assumed that there has always been a generation gap, & children just naturally rebel against the authority of their parents.
But it’s just not true. While in all generations there have been conflicts, the serious nature of juvenile delinquency is fairly recent, because when a child goes to the field from time of birth on, & works beside mom & dad, at the end of the day there is very little time or energy left to get into trouble. Maybe there’s a message there for us today as well.
B. So what is the traditional family, really? There are lots of voices crying to be recognized as a traditional family in our country.
Homosexuals & lesbians are saying, "We want to be recognized as families, & we demand the right to adopt children." And the unmarried, living together out of wedlock, say, "We want to be recognized as a family, too."