Summary: Where does one begin when it comes to making their family a Christian family?
In 1947, Dr. Carl Zimmerman wrote a very important book called, "Family and Civilization" The book was a result of research he had done on 3000 years of family life. This Harvard Professor made a powerful case for traditional family structure. The conclusion of his book could be summed up like this: As go the children so goes the culture; as goes the family so goes society!
Carl Zimmerman gives 7 indicators that a culture is in decline. According to history, culture that have gone into decline are characterized by:
· An increased in the rate of divorce.
· Lack of commitment to the permanence of marriage.
· Redefining the meaning of family as a solution to social problems.
· Lack of respect for parental authority.
· Promotion of co-habitation over marriage.
· Lack of inhibition concerning adultery.
· Acceptance of all forms of sexuality.
Dr. Zimmerman wrote, "As we watch the destruction of the family, so we simultaneously watch the collapse of society."
It is interesting to know that Dr. Zimmerman was a secular historian and that he never confessed to be a Christian. And again, it is interesting as well to note that he published his research in 1947!
All this goes to show that strong families are essential to the survival of any society in any age! Certainly, as Christians, we should be devoted to building strong families and strong marriages. In so doing, we can be ‘salt and light" in our culture. Unfortunately, however, too many Christians have little, if any, idea about how to build a strong marriage or family. Consequently, rather than being a positive influence on our culture, our culture is being a negative influence on us. This is revealed by the fact that research has shown that the rate of divorce is higher in the church today than in the rest of society!
What’s wrong with this picture? Instead of Christians leading our culture toward righteousness, we are letting our culture lead us toward ruin!
There’s an old saying, "If a person doesn’t stand for something, they’ll fall for anything." I believe that is what is wrong with too many Christian families today. It’s time we take a stand against the negative influence of our culture and stand for Christ. But in practical terms, how do we do this?
I believe we can be helped if, we as families, think through what our core values are. In other words, what are non-negotiables for us as a Christian family? What are our Core Values?
Everywhere you look today, businesses and organizations are talking about their "Core Values," those things that are most important to them. Those things that they want to define who they are and what they are about. Those qualities which, for them, are non-negotiables.
Well, in this series of messages, I want us to look to God’s Word in the effort to identify what should be some non-negotiables for the Christian family, and as we do, I want to encourage each of us to work on developing a statement of "Family Values."
Today, we want to consider where we should start, if we are truly going to have a Christian home and be a Christian family. If we are truly going to develop a statement of Christian core values for our family, we must "start at the heart."
In this series, we are going to consider what the Bible says about five values that should characterize the life of every Christian family. Christian families should value Fidelity, Industry, Generosity, Authority, and Charity. Each of these stems, however, from our devotion to God. God must be at the heart of family life, if our family is truly to be a Christian family.
We are told two things here about placing God at the heart of our homes:
1. Make it a priority - vs. 4-5
We should give priority to every family member having . . .
A. A personal relationship with God - v. 4
Note the use of the word "our." Seeing to it that the Lord is the God of everyone in my family must be a priority concern for me. As a parent, I must be concerned about the salvation of my children.
As a child, I must be concerned about the salvation of my parents. As a husband or a wife, I must be concerned about the salvation of my spouse. My goal in life should be that every member of my family can refer to the Lord as being "our" God. God cannot be at the heart of my home until He is at home in everyone’s heart!
Five Stages In Conversion:
Stage 1: Disinterest - No desire for truth - Inspiration (2 Peter 3:15)
Stage 2: Discovery - Knowledge of truth - Instruction
Stage 3: Discerning - Understanding of truth - Information