Summary: The Battle of the Home begins with victory in the battle of the mind. However, there are further clear directions in scriptures to insure that the home is a fortress, not a battleground.
The Battle for the Home
At the annual family-reunion picnic, a young bride led her husband over to an old woman busily crocheting in a rocker. "Granny," she said, touching the old woman's hand affectionately, "this is my new husband." The woman eyed him critically for a long moment, then asked abruptly, "Do you desire children?" Startled by her bluntness, the young man blushed and stammered, "Well-uh-yes, I do very much." "Well," she said, looking scornfully at the large tribe gathered around the six picnic tables, "try to control it!"
When we talk about family and marriage, I want to begin by talking about grace. The difficulty in preaching a sermon like this is, you do not want those who have had a failed marriage, for whatever reason, to feel condemned. God is a God of “other chances.”
However, we do not want to do anything but encourage the existing marriages to hang with it. That is the purpose for these sermons; to help existing marriages to succeed.
We try to strike a balance there, that there is restoration for any choices that we make or that may be handed to us by another. Perhaps the right balance of grace can be found in 1 Cor. 7:26-27. “I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife.” Paul goes on to say other things in this passage, and we may need to look at them later.
Our position on the home, the family, is that the home should be a fortress of rest against the battles of life and not a battleground all its own. However, since the beginning, the home has been a battleground targeted by Satan. Satan tempted one side of the first marriage. Brother killed brother in the first family. Husbands lied about their wives being their sisters to preserve themselves. Brother betrayed brother, stealing the birthright and the blessing. The list is exhaustive in the scriptures. Incest, rape, hatred, jealousy, greed…. All under the roof of the home. The Bible never shelters us from this dark side of religious life. The Bible does not create the impression that Bible characters were better at home than they were in their lives.
This honest look at the characters of Saints reminds us that there is no perfect family. No home is without need of more love, forgiveness, intimacy, compassion and tolerance. Christ’s presence in our life has not insured success in the home, although it makes an improving home a possibility like no other time in history.
Despite that reality, as the divorce rate has increased in the general population, it has risen in the Church and in Christianity in general. Somewhere, the battle for the home is not being won by the power of Christ given to us.
It is not Christ’s fault, the absence of the Holy Spirit, the lack of guidance from the Scriptures. It is probably our failure to teach the way of victory in the home. I hope today we can tackle this subject thorough enough to help improve your home life, no matter how good it may be right now. I pray there is enough instruction here to help your marriage, no matter how bad it may be.
Introduction: Marriage difficulties:
Marriages today are in trouble because the battle for the home cannot be won if the battle for the mind is lost. If you did not get the previous message in the series, copies are available of the transcript in the foyer. It begins there, winning the battle of the mind, but the Bible gives us more instructions to increase the peace we can have at home.
The top three failures in marriage fall into the following categories.
1. Expectations. Married life and the spouse is not what was expected, and love is not
2. Selfishness. Lack of surrender to each other, holding out something for self.
3. Distractions. Exterior pressures becoming interior issues. Whether in laws, finances, jobs, hobbies and pastimes, things and others become a priority over the relationships of family.
Marriage counseling primarily involves aligning these three things; the differing expectations of the wife husband, the recognition and confession of selfish emotional hold-outs, and the elimination or minimization of distractions to a peaceful marital relationship. A successful Church who fortifies successful marriages addresses these three things on a regular basis. Paul addressed these very things in a wonderful way in our text.
I. Dual Submission (5:21). Eph 5:21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
This verse is the tail end of a long sentence telling us how to worship together and live a life of praise. But it ties into our “family instructions with the common word “submit”. Before Paul, through the Holy Spirit’s leadership, gets to the topic of family life, he instructs us to live lives in submission to each other. Marriage does not overshadow this instruction, so we begin here.