Summary: 1st in a 5 part series applying Biblical answers to family concerns. Using the 10 commandments as the Biblical basis.
THE TOP PRIORITY FOR FAMILIES
INTRODUCTION OF SERIES:
We want to begin a new series today entitled, "Foundations For A Fulfilled Family.” What do you think of when you hear the phrase: "traditional family values." I have mixed feelings when I hear it. On one hand it’s good news because for decades we had been living in a values vacuum. From the 60’s moral free culture, where we basically said, "Anything goes," to the “Me Generation” of the 80’s we just kind of overlooked family values. And now in the new millennium we’ve discovered the fall-out. Listen to some of these statistics from the US bureau on Statistics about the 1990’s. Every 30 seconds there was a divorce in America. Every 4th child in America was born to an unwed mother. STD’s have reached medically defined epidemic proportions. 47% of all children in America now live in homes bearing the scars of personal divorce.
No wonder we have a call to, "We need to get back to family values." But here’s the other side that may not be good news. What exactly are “traditional family values”? Like the "Newsweek" magazine article some time ago by Joe Klein, which headlined the question: "Family Values? Whose Values?" What values are we going to accept? Just look at TV for example and ask that question. Whose family values are you going to implement? The Simpsons? The Bundy’s? The Barone’s? The Camden’s? You see it’s politically correct now and many want to say, “Let’s get back to family values,” but where are you going to find those values?
Well, I want us to go back in the past. But I want us to go back further than the values of the Cosby’s in the 90’s or the Brady Bunch in the 70’s, even further back than Ozzie & Harriet or Donna Reed. I want us to go back some 6000 years, where a perfect Father gave the original "Traditional family values." They are found in the Ten Commandments. And when you apply several of God’s "Top Ten" to families you can be assured that they have stood the test of time. These values have outlasted every fad of society. They are the bedrock of the western civilization. Jew, Muslim, Christian- all agree on their value.
So, for the next 5 weeks I want to study five of these time tested moral values that are “family friendly.” If you’ll listen carefully and implement them, I promise that you will fortify your family and give it the best chance for success. Deut. 6:6-7- "Always remember these commands I give you today. Teach them to your children.."(NCV) Notice two things: (1) Remember these commands.. Let me ask you, “How many of you believe you could name all Ten Commandments from memory?" You wouldn’t be alone. George Gallup’s book Surveying the Religious Landscape revealed that only 49% of all Protestants and only 44% of all Catholics could even name four of them. Now, obviously, if you don’t know them it’s certainly going to hard to live by them. God says, "Remember these commands." (2) Teach them to your children. In other words, pass them on. Do your children know these 10 values? They probably don’t know them any better than you do. God says, "these are important, remember them.. teach them." That’s why I want us to spend the next 5 weeks impressing these “Family-friendly Commands” upon our hearts and applying them to our homes, because our families desperately need some time tested, Godly, traditional family values. (PRAY)
INTRODUCTION OF SERMON:
Now, we begin with the top truth that all families should know and practice by studying the 1st commandment. The order of the Ten Commandments are not haphazard. God intentionally put this one first, because it is the most important. It is what the other 9 are built on. Let’s read it. "And God spoke all these words, `I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.’" And here is the first command. (Read together) "You shall have no other gods before me." You see, we’ve tried permissive parenting & "free love" and now our families are crumbling. Why? Because those things did not provide a stable foundation. The Bible asks in Psa. 11:3- "When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?" Let’s begin by looking at God’s right to supremacy & our priority.
I. THE ASSERTION OF GOD’S SUPREMACY: Ex. 20:2
Would you please notice that this first command assumes the existence and reality of God. The Bible never attempts to prove that God is, it simply asserts that God is to have the top place. One theologian said, "The only real freedom a man has is to choose his own gods. After that his gods determine what he’s going to be." In other words, God desires and demands the primary place in our life. Notice notice that God asserts His supremacy. "I am the Lord your God who brought you our of Egypt.." Let’s take a minute to review the events that led up to this moment. Egypt held the Hebrews in slavery for 400 years. God chose a man by the name of Moses to declare to Pharaoh, King of Egypt that it was time to let them go. But Pharaoh needed the Hebrew slave labor so he denied the request of Moses and thus, the authority of God. So God sent a series of 10 plagues and forced Pharaoh to relent. God took the Israelites to His promised land and on the way delivered and protected them. He parted the Red Sea so they could cross, He provided bread for them to eat, He guided them with a pillar of fire by night & cloud by day. And now 3 months into their journey from Egypt, God, gave Moses these 10 laws that stipulated how He wanted the people to live & the Bible makes it very clear that these words are not man’s. "And God spoke all these words.." Here’s the priority from God. He said, "I am the God who delivered you from Egypt, I am the one who got you out of that slavery mess.” In other words: "I am responsible here, I am in charge, I have the right to tell you what to do."