Summary: Speaks to the idea that our family at home is the second most important relationship we have, following, of course, our relationship with God.
AM Sermon preached at Syria Christian Church January 9, 2005
"Your First Family: Minister Well To Them"
When Americans hear the words first family---their thoughts typically race to the occupants of the White House---the president and his family. And some of you reading the words “first family” in the title of my message this morning---knowing that my ministry here is winding down--- may have jumped to the wrong conclusion. Some of you may be thinking “Oh great. Darren’s going to preach politics.” Folks, as much as I appreciate President Bush’s open declarations of his faith in Christ---and as much as I believe we are obligated to pray for him, his family and all others in positions of leadership---I assure you here at the start of my message I’m not going to be trying to force my political opinions upon you this morning. As I outlined this final sermon series I decided that for the first four weeks of January I would preach on the relationships we Christians ought to be most concerned about. I believe the Bible teaches us that in our relationships we should focus first on God, then family, next the church and finally unbelievers and so that’s the order in which we will consider them.
And so last Sunday morning I began by focusing on our most important relationship, our relationship with God as I shared with you my challenge to keep Christ as your first love. Today I want to share a few thoughts with you on what I believe the Bible teaches us is the second most important relationship area of our lives---family. Chuck Swindoll said of the family, “Whatever else may be said about the home, it is the bottom line of life, the anvil upon which attitudes and convictions are hammered out. It is the place where life’s bills come due, the single most influential force in our earthly existence.”
Now I know that sometimes we refer to the fellowship of believers or the members who make up the church as the family of God. But this morning our primary focus is there. Rather the focus today is upon our relationships with our natural family, our blood kin, especially those living under the same roof with us. We’ll talk about how we’re supposed to relate to fellow church members next Sunday.
Let me share with you very quickly some reasons why I’ve concluded that of all of our human relationships, our relationship to our family should come first. I believe the precedent is seen in the ten commandments. When you study the 10 commandments closely you realize that they’re really about relationships. The first four help us to understand how we are to relate to God and the last six how we are to relate to one another. By divine design the fifth commandment, the first of the commandments which deal with how we humans are to relate to one another is a commandment concerning family relationships --children are to obey their parents.
The precedent is seen again in Mark 5. A man possessed by demons was healed by Jesus. Many of you can recall hearing the story of how the demons left the man and entered into a herd of pigs....how the herd then rushed headlong off a cliff and died....and how the people who observed the healing instead of rejoicing over the man’s being healed were upset at the loss of the herd. But there’s an oft overlooked detail in that story which speaks to the priority we are to give our families. Here’s what verses 18-20 of Mark 5 say: [SCRIPTURE SLIDES]
18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him.
19 Jesus did not let him, but said, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed. I see in these verses the idea being taught get right with God then go and minister first to your family.
Hebrews 11---it’s know as the great faith chapter of the Bible---it’s sometimes refered to as the Faith Hall of Fame because it lists for us men and women of great faith. The list begins with Noah---describing him this way: [SCRIPTURE SLIDES] 7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Noah the man of faith God put at the head of the list was commended for responding with a faith that expressed itself first in the building of an ark to save his family.