The Family (BFM #25)
Married With Children
Text: Ephesians 5:22 – 6:4
By: Ken McKinley
Now if you’re the observant type, then you have already realized that I have skipped article 17 – “Religious Liberty,” and the reason I’ve done that is because we’ve already talked about it. We talked about the freedom we have in Christ way back when we talked about article 8 – The Lord’s Day. Remember? Liberty in a nut-shell means that as Christians we are free from the Law, and we are free from the sin that used to control us. Now if you would really like to hear a sermon on Christian liberty, stick around, I’m sure I’ll get back to it eventually.
But today we are looking at article 18 of the BFM, the last statement of our denominational creed. So if you’ll take your copy of the BFM and turn with me to page 21, please follow along with me as I read article 18 (Read).
Within the social sciences, you will sometimes hear the phrase, “The Destiny of Nations.” And what that is referring to is that you can sometimes see the direction a nation is headed by looking at certain trends, as well as trends of history, and they will tell you that the destiny of nations can often be found in children. National fate often lies in the production and rearing of children.
Think about this: Western women in Europe are producing an average of 1.4 children. Muslim women who have immigrated to Europe are producing an average of 3.5 children. When we look at Asia – 24 years ago the ultra-sound machine was introduced, they love it! And the reason they love it is so that they can find out if their child is going to be male or female. If it’s female, they abort the child. In that 24 year time period, India, Bangladesh and China have aborted an estimated 100 million female babies, and that’s a conservative estimate. The result is that you have an over-abundance of males, with no women to marry. And without wives, you don’t have children, and without children… I’m sure you get the picture.
The idea of the destiny of nations also looks at trends in the culture. I just read an article for Jerry Sienfield’s new show – The Marriage Ref. Here’s what the article says, “For the first time, audiences will be able to look at the fights husbands and wives have, analyze them, and declare a winner.” The show will include a panel of movie and television stars, professional athletes, comedians, and other celebrities, who offer their advice on the situation. I guess no one cares that the average celebrity marriage lasts less than 3 years? Statistics tell us that marriages today are for all intents and purposes, disposable, so I guess watching them dissolve on national TV would sort of be like our version of the Roman Ampatheatre – using real human lives simply for our entertainment.
We can also look at trends in morality. Think about this: Religious views once common in our society have now all but vanished. It used to be that you didn’t discuss sexuality out in the open, now you can see it on TV every night if you want to. Gambling used to be illegal, now it’s sanctioned by the government. Abortion was a felony offense, now it’s a right guaranteed by the Supreme Court. Homosexuals were locked away, now they march openly for gay pride. And many in our country celebrate these things. They’re proud of these changes, and these loosening of morals.
But the problem is that we find ourselves in what sociologists are calling the American Paradox. We are better paid, better fed, better housed, better educated, and healthier than ever before, and with more human rights, faster transportation, greater communication abilities than any nation in history. Yet despite all of this, the American Psychological Association says that more people are depressed than ever before. Since the 1960’s the divorce rate has doubled, teen suicide has tripled, violent crime has quadrupled, the number of people in prison has quintupled, and the births of illegitimate children has sextupled. At the same time, church attendance has steadily dropped. Not just in the SBC, but in every evangelical denomination.
There is an old saying that says, “As goes the home, so goes the church, and as goes the church, so goes the world.”
Did you know that in the 1925 version of the BFM there was no article 18? It wasn’t necessary for Baptists in 1925 to define the family. It was assumed that everyone already knew that a family was made up of persons related to one another either by blood, marriage, or adoption; and it was assumed that every one knew that marriage was the uniting of one man and one woman in a covenant bond. The 1963 version of the BFM didn’t have article 18 either, but that version of the BFM was amended in 1998 and the amendment that was made was article 18, dealing with the family.
The reason they amended it and the reason our current version includes article 18 is because there is a push by certain groups, to redefine the meaning of marriage, and redefine what a family is. You see, also in 1998 a book came out that was being read to children in public schools (though I don’t know if it ever made it Oklahoma). The title of that book was Heather Has Two Mommies. I’m sure you can guess what that book is about. Since then there have been several more that have come out. All of them give the impression that it’s ok to engage in homosexual acts, and that homosexual families are just as natural and normal as the traditional family. And these books are read to children in public schools.
In Genesis 2:21-24 we read that God created woman out of man. God took from man, in order to give back to man, that which completed man. Adam said, “This is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” And verse 24 says, “For this reason, man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.” WIFE! Not his partner, his wife!
Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”
So seeing that, let’s turn back to our text in Ephesians and in the time I have left I’ll try to hit the high points of it. Now in chapter five of Ephesians; verses 23, 24, and 25 we see what I think is the focus of marriage and the family relationship, and that’s Christ and the Church. You see, marriage is so wonderful because it is modeled after something amazing.
One of the main purposes of marriage is for procreation, making babies. But not just hooligans and heathens who run rampant – but more specifically, making disciples. Way back in the beginning we see God telling Adam and Eve to fill the earth; then after the flood, we see God telling Noah to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. And when Christians are fruitful and multiply, what is supposed to happen is that this multiplication is supposed to fill the earth with the knowledge of the Lord. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” That’s from Habakkuk 2:14.
We are to train our children up in the way of the Lord, so that when they are old they will not depart from it. Psalms 127:4 and 5 says, “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.” What’s that mean? Well just like an archer aims his bow and fires his arrow at a specific target, children are like arrows in a quiver and parents are to direct their children towards a specific goal, aim them towards it, and when the time comes, let them go, trusting that their aim is true… trusting in the Lord.
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. Husbands love your wives, sacrificially as Christ loves the Church. Husbands love your wives as yourself, wives see that you respect your husbands. That’s verses 22 through 33, and notice that it says, love and respect your OWN WIVES AND HUSBANDS… it doesn’t say, husbands love your neighbors wives, and it doesn’t say wives submit to your neighbors husbands. Then we get to chapter six where we read, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, honor your father and mother, “and, “Fathers do not provoke your children to wrath.” So there we see that the children are to obey both parents and honor both parents, but it is the father, not the mother who has the leading responsibility in bringing children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. That doesn’t mean that the mother has no responsibilities in teaching the children about the Lord. Proverbs 6:20-21 says, “MY son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. Bind them on your heart always, tie them around your neck.” Timothy was told by the apostle Paul to hold fast what his mother and grandmother had taught him as a child. So moms and dads need to be united on this front, but dads should take the lead in it, and even if they don’t, they are still going to be held accountable for it.
You see, here’s the thing; kids know their parents before they know God. Kids are going to get exposed to what the world is like even before they fully understand there is a world. Kids are going to experience the kind of authority there is in the world and the kind of justice there is in the world and the kind of love there is in the world before they meet the God of authority and justice and love who created and rules the universe. Kids are soaking up from dad his strength and leadership and protection, and justice and love, and they are soaking up from mom her care and nurture and warmth and intimacy and love. And all of that is happening before they know anything about God.
So Scripture teaches us that the deepest meaning of marriage is really to display the covenant of love between Christ and the Church, underneath that is making children disciples of Jesus.
And let me just say this quickly; if you hold to the Biblical definition of marriage and family there is a good chance that someone, somewhere, sometime will attack you for it. They will say you are intolerant, that you are homophobic, that you need to get with the times, or that you are narrow minded. But in reality; we as Christians shouldn’t be narrow minded about this, we should be close-minded, God has said it in His Word, and no change of culture or change of man made morality will ever change God’s Word. The issue is settled forever in heaven and on earth.
PRAYER AND CLOSING