Summary: A sermon on the work of the Holy Sprit in our relationships in the home.
In preparing for this sermon, I decided to use for my title, The Importance of Treating Your Spouse Like a Dog. I’ll leave that alone for a few minutes for you to think about it, and I’ll address it later in the sermon, but let me say for now that I think that a lot of marriages today would be better off if the people would just learn to treat their spouses like a dog.
Our subject this morning is dealing with marriage and family relationships, in the context of the ministry and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Why, in a series of sermons on the work of the Holy Spirit, would I include a sermon on family relationships? The answer is simple. We all want to experience a little bit of heaven here on earth, but there’s only one way that can happen. The sweetest type of heaven is a home where the Spirit of the Lord presides. We must have the Spirit of God, or we can never have harmony in our homes. We cannot cherish home affection with too much care; for the home, if the Spirit of the Lord dwells there, is a type of heaven.
Let me say something else in addition to that last thought. You see, what we are at home is what we really are. We can fake it when we’re at work, at the shopping center, on the golf course, just out with our friends, and even at church. But the way we live at home when nobody is watching is what determines whether or not we are genuine Christians or hypocrites. Men and women, children and youth, are measured in the scales of heaven in accordance with that which they reveal in their home life. A Christian in the home is a Christian everywhere.
God created two lasting institutions before the entrance of sin into this world—the Sabbath and marriage. Both of these were created perfect by God to be blessings for His children, and yet the devil has attacked both of them in every way possible, trying to discredit them and make them both to be burdens, and to ultimately do away with them altogether. And it seems today that, unfortunately, he is succeeding more and more.
I want to suggest to you that in our world today, where 1 out of every 2 marriages ends in divorce, that the presence of the Holy Spirit in the home is the only answer to the problems of our society. You see, the home is the foundation for everything else around us. As the home goes, so goes the school. As the home goes, so goes the government. And as the home goes, so goes the church.
If you have your Bibles today, turn with me briefly this morning to Proverbs 15:17. It says, “Better is a dish of vegetables where love is, than a fattened ox and hatred with it.” That’s talking about the home. That’s talking about our human relationships. In essence, Solomon is saying that it is better to be poor and eat food of lesser quality in a loving home, than to be rich and eat all the fanciest gourmet food in a home full of hatred and quarrelling. And while hatred is called one of the works of the flesh, love is the principal fruit of the Spirit.
How can a home be filled with love in today’s society? The answer is simple. Psalm 127:1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” In other words, Jesus must be the foundation of the home. If Jesus is not the central figure in the home, then that home is already doomed to misery at the least, and failure at the most.
But what does this have to do with the Holy Spirit? Our main passage of scripture for this sermon is the latter half of Ephesians 5, which compares the marriage relationship with Christ’s relationship with His church. There are many wonderful counsels here to consider in our relationships, but notice what Paul says just a couple of verses before he begins to address marriage. Ephesians 5:18 says, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” He then goes on to talk about the joy that the presence of God will bring to our relationships with our friends and family.
In this passage, Paul emphasizes 3 main points about the home. I want to address his second point first, because even though he mentions it second, he places more emphasis on it than the first one. We’ll come back to the first point later, and then finish up with the third. Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” The word that Paul uses there for love is agapao, which comes from the word agape. This is unselfish love that is willing to give up everything—the same love that God has for us. This love is selfless, saving, and sanctifying.