Summary: A study on the difference between power and authority and the importance of understanding it in our families

1. Title: Start At The Top

2. Text: Matthew 8:5-13; Matthew 9:2-8; Matthew 21:23-27; Mark 1:22; Luke 7:1-10; John 19:8-11; Rom 13:1-4; 2 Corinthians 10:8, 13:10

3. Audience: Villa Heights Christian Church, AM crowd, April 23, 2006, First in the series “Family Made For Heaven”

4. Objectives:

-for the people to understand the nature and source of authority, how it is different from power, and how it is to be properly used in our homes

-for the people to feel good about authority – that it is not only good and useful, but necessary for productive and peaceful living in any facet of life; for them to feel that it is a God-given responsibility, rather than some enemy of what they want from life

-for the people to show appreciation for those who are in positions of authority, for people in positions of authority to take on their responsibility as something they must carry out well, and for families to show deeper understanding of how their homes are to work

5. When I finish my sermon I want my audience to understand and appreciate authority, upholding it in their homes in a way that’s obvious to non-believers

6. Type: topical

7. Dominant Thought: authority comes from God and is a necessary part of the world for us to live in peace, especially in our homes

8. Outline:

Intro - (Skit – about Satan’s planned attack on the family) Maybe Satan doesn’t work exactly like that, but you can be sure that he has launched an attack against the family.

Today we’re introducing a new series called Family Made for Heaven. You might notice right away it’s not “Family made in heaven.” There’s a reason for that - there aren’t any of those. Some of you are thinking, “Especially not where I live!”

Take heart. Even the very first couple was made out of dirt and borrowed parts. They had problems with passing the buck on each other. They struggled with budgeting – didn’t make the best choices about how to dress or what to eat. Can’t you hear Eve: “Adam, does this fig leaf make me look fat?” They were evicted from their first house. When they sinned, they didn’t just estrange themselves from God, they also strained their relationship with each other. The first sibling jealousy and rivalry ended up in murder. Only 4 people on the earth, and there’s a murder! We get 4 people, and ½ of them are either murdered or a fugitive! At least it was easy to figure out who did it!

So I don’t want to talk about families “made in heaven” as if there’s such a thing as a family with no struggles. But I do want to take a few weeks to talk about helping our families be made for heaven. I say that ironically, because when we get there, those family relationships are going to be superseded somehow by even greater relationships in heaven. But I have a firm conviction that families here on planet earth were designed by God and intended to fulfill God’s purposes to help people come into contact and relationship with their Creator.

Our homes aren’t here as an end in themselves. Have you noticed that? Right after He created the woman and presented her to Adam, God said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother.” Children grow up and move away. Husbands and wives die. Families come apart – by design. They aren’t made just to be self-perpetuating places of refuge and reclusive-ness. There’s something higher for our homes to be and do. They’re supposed to be units that prepare people for heaven. They’re supposed to be child-nurturing, adult-edifying, hospitality-showing, service-giving, great commission-fulfilling, servant-sending outlets of the grace of God.

Now, that may not be all that’s on your heart this morning. It may be that you’re thinking, “I’d just like to graduate from high-school right now.” Or “I’d just like to get married right now.” Or “I’d just like to get my kids graduated right now.” Or “I’d just like to get on to being a grandparent right now.” Maybe you’d just like to be able to go home and sit down for 30 minutes without feeling guilty right now. Here’s the deal – having our homes following after God’s design – having them be what I just described a minute ago – is also the way for our homes to be all that we hope for them to be for ourselves personally.

When a home is structured after God’s design, with right priorities, and fulfilling what God wants it to be first, those other things you’re hoping for will happen too. I want that for my home. I want that for your home too. Whether you’ve been at homemaking for a long time, or you’re just looking forward to it, or you seem to have passed that in your life, every one of us should have interest in this.

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