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The Family of God

  

The Christian family is the foundation for becoming a part of the family of God and the life in the Kingdom of God, where fellowship with one another will be everlasting. Families are the mainstay of the movement of God’s word to further generations.

When a man and woman marry, the Bible assumes they are committed and mature Christians. Each one, in harmony with God is able to apply principles of the Word to self and each other. Some of the principles are: humility; not causing the other to stumble; encouraging one another in the faith, love, and forgiveness, etc. The husband and wife as parents both are to be actively involved in raising the children.

The father in our culture historically appears to take a back seat to the rearing of the children. The Bible is quite clear on the matter that the father teaches and trains his children in the Word, especially after age 6. (Prov. 3:1,2; 11,12; Prov.4:1-5 for starters)

Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. (Luke 11:7). I used to think this man did not want to help, but the reality of it is that in his culture he was instructing his children at the end of the day – and that time was sacrosanct. He was protecting that inviolate time.

The father is to be the mainstay of the home. A father nurtures children by every act that he does, not just by what he says. A few of these actions are how he: feeds the baby; has discussions at the table; relates to his wife; disciplines; forgives and settles problems; plays (and loses) games; uses language; maintains financial security, and shows physical touch. How a father acts is an image of our Heavenly Father. It has been said that a child does not become what the father says, but what the father is. If a father does not do these godly things, then the child has to, through the help of God and Christ, overcome and put to death those things which damaged him.

Children are taught independence from the very beginning. Each stage is one stage closer to being autonomous yet well versed in corporate living. Children are taught these concepts through love and security within the family. When a child feels loved and secure, he/she is able to venture out to the lessons of the world. In the family context a child learns about love, forgiveness, standing up for him/herself, liberty with godly boundaries, meekness and humility, courage, what “no” means and doesn’t mean, consequences, self-discipline, and exploring gifts and talents as well as recognizing weaknesses and how to compensate or improve. It is within this nurturing family that a child learns about the love of God, God’s chastening, and what it means to give and take for the corporate good of the family (i.e. not causing a brother or sister to stumble). The teachings of Jesus, in the locus of family, are the significant impetus for movement of the gospel of the Kingdom of God.

As it states in Timothy 3:3a and 4-5 an overseer is to be above reproach, husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable… manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household how will he take care of the church of God?). When a man accomplishes these things, he is worthy of moving into the responsibility of leading the larger church family. Being a part of the church family with Christ as the head and its leadership that meets these fatherly characteristics is a nurturing larger family to bring those who are seeking God.

Is it no wonder that the Kingdom message has been lost and is difficult for many to receive when so many families that profess to be Christian are suffering from emotional and physical abuse, incest, rage, substance abuse, rebellion, out of wedlock children and lawlessness? It is better to have a mill stone around the neck and dropped in the sea than to hurt one of the little children. Is this decline of the family, especially the Christian father, just a part of the end times or is it something that can be made right?

3 Responses to “The Family of God”

  1. on 20 Mar 2007 at 12:57 pmKaren

    The other verses I really like on this topic are found in Deuteronomy 6, and they come just after the Shema, Judaism’s most important prayer:

    6:4-9 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

    As for your question, I think it’s something we need to make right as far as we can, beginning in our own households and moving out from there.

  2. on 21 Mar 2007 at 6:51 amMary Ann

    Karen,

    Yes, Deut. 6 and many other places very clearly describe the importance of training children. It just seems to me to be of utmost importance to practically apply what we know so that the Word can move from generation to generation – especially understanding the wrath and end times so that our chldren (or us) will continue to be faithful. I know marriage and family isn’t a glamorus topic, but one that is so very, very vital to God’s plan for salvation. It is to be like a microcasm of life as God would have it to be now and possibly a glimpse of how it will be in the Kingdom. Only through getting rid of the old man nature that I picked up througout my childhood and teens and even young adult years have I been able to really begin to have a true vital relationship with God.

  3. on 24 Mar 2007 at 2:43 pmKen

    What vital reminders these are, in the article and in the comments. God’s representatives are not “self-made”, independent adventurers who don’t have a clue about the “hands on” dirty work of rearing children in day by day, year by year experience. Life simply does not work that way.
    How wonderful though, that despite the massive loss of real family love and nurture in our modern cultures, God’s restoration can be so powerful. People who have grown into adults with gaping holes in their development can be delivered to such a degree that they can provide tender care in families and within God’s family. Such real turnarounds in life attest to the magnificence of our miracle- working God.

  

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