Sun, Dec 18, 2011

Building a Godly Family

Part Five in our series on Marriage
Duration:52 mins 40 secs

Building a Godly Family

Ps 127; Eph 6:1-4

Introduction

Baking – right ingredients, recipe

Building – follow the plan, the blueprint

PS 127 – READ

  • Psalm of Solomon – or could also be translated as a Psalm for Solomon –which would make David the author.
  • Ps 127’s basic message is the essential importance of God’s involvement in whatever people attempt.
  • The city motto for Edinburgh, Scotland is Nisi Dominus Frusta (“Without the Lord, Frustration”), derived from Psalm 127:1. Is very true an accurate
  • This morning I want to apply this Ps 127 to us, to our marriages and our families – Entitled this massage - Building of a Godly family.
  • In building a Godly Family you have to Build Depending on God and you need to Build Descendants for God  
  • Build  depending on God .

1Unless the Lord builds the house,  those who build it labor in vain.

Unless the Lord watches over the city,  the watchman stays awake in vain.

Unless Lord builds the house – this has two likely meanings – the building of the Temple – a very plausible meaning since this Psalm was sung as one of the “Psalms of Ascent” (collection of 15- Ps 120-134)– when pilgrims on their journey to the Temple ascending up the steps leading to the Temple Gate would sing these Psalms, one on each step. 

Another interpretation is that it has reference to the family, the word “build” can also be translated as - to obtain/have children  (Gen 16:2; 30:3) and the word “house” can refer to a family (Ex 1:21; Ps 113:9).

That is what I want to bring before you this morning.

Husbands, Wives – unless the Lord builds your marriage, your family, you labour in vain – it is futile, worthless for it will not amount to what you may have hoped for.  But how does the Lord build my marriage, I am the one married? By following His plan - A builder follows a plan, a blueprint. God has given us his blueprint for marriage. We have looked at this for the past four weeks, you want to involve God in your marriage, you want His help in building your family. Follow His plan.                                                                                                              Husbands – you need to love your wives, as Christ love His Church, Husbands you need to lead your wives, nourishing them and cherishing them.            And Wives – You are to Love your husbands, you need to submit to their God given leadership and you need to respect him for who God called him to be.

     If you do not follow God’s blueprint – you labor in vain

Your marriage will never be a God glorifying family; it will never be a joyous union of companionship, courtship and commitment. It will not be a Godly family. 

Why? Cause you are using the wrong blueprint, and therefore very likely the materials – brittle bricks of human wisdom cemented liberally with the mortar of selfishness. You house will fall. You build in vain, for God is not in it. 

V1b-  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in  vain

Unless the Lord protects your community, the place where you live. The area where you make your living and raising your kids – the watchman stays awake in vain - those who endeavor to make your city a safe place, to speak out against evil, to campaign against social injustices to stand up for what is right- it is all futile unless the Lord is in it. Your plans and purposes, your hopes and ambitions, you building a future for your kids will all end up in frustration, be in vain, will come to nothing unless the Lord is in it. Unless His will and purpose are being followed to will all be worthless. A City is only as good as the families who reside their – Lesson for impacting our city – one person/ one family at a time!

 V2 It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep

     It is worthless to exert yourself from early morning to late night, being concerned about the future, working very hard to quiet the anxious thoughts in your mind. The world is going down the drain how will I continue to provide for my family. The world economy is a shambles and who knows what will tomorrow bring. So you eat the bread of anxious toil – worrying all the time. Working hard, trying to cover all the bases. Lying awake at night contemplating all the different scenarios of what could happen and what you can do to stay ahead or to continue to provide for your family.

My friend – when God is in it. When you rest in Him, depend on Him – he will give you sleep - God gives to His beloved sleep -sweet sleep – anxious free sleep.

Some translations say God gives to His beloved even in his sleep. I think the more accurate translation is that God gives His beloved sleep – for the wisdom literature is full of exhortations to diligence and hard work, not to be slothful. Here in Psalm 127 – I do not believe the Psalmist speaks against hard work, he speaks against hard work without trust and dependence on God!

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Building a Godly family means having a God Dependence, trusting Him, following Him, involving Him. Don’t be like so many who follow their own blueprint and when the wheels come off – they blame God – You can’t blame Him if He was not involved!

The second aspect of a Godly Family is raising – Godly Descendants

Build Descendants for God or Godly Descendants v 3-5

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

God’s procision is seen here through his gift of Chilren – they are a legacy , they provide a level of protection in battle and they provide security in an ancient legal setting.          

Children our GIFTS from God – Chilren are a heritage from God. A possession entrusted to you. Children are given by God and one should never loose sight of this fact.

Children you are born into the exact family God wanted you to be in. You are your parent’s heritage, their legacy, a witness and testimony to who they are long after they are gone.  Often people who know your parents would say

The apple does not fall far from the tree.

Or you are a chip of the old block.

Children are the fruit of the womb, a reward – they are a gift. They are to be treasured as such. But 

              Remember children do not make up the basic family unit. They do add to the family, a bit of spice and flavour. Children are a great joy to their parents. BUT the basic family unit is made up of the husband and the wife. Children are the add on’s. They are optional extras – they are not essential to make up a family unit.

              It is therefore paramount that you do not make them the central part of your marriage relationship. In raising Godly descendants you need to view children with the right perspective.  Men – Your wife is the most important person in your family- not the children, Ladies – your husbands are the most important person in the family for you. I know this is difficult for you wives, you are much more physically and emotionally involved in having children and raising them.

              But you must retain the right perspective of God’s blueprint for marriage. The Basic family unit consists of the husband and the wife, so greatest gift you can give your children is to love & care for one another.

Why? Because children are always raised to leave the home. They will start a family of their own. They will always be your children, but they will leave the nest one day.

Children our GODLY Arrows v 4

              Children are here described as arrows in the hand of a warrior. The idea here is that the children you have in your youth, will grow up to help and maintain their parents when they are old and need help. The Psalmist uses a picture of war. Children are as arrows in the hands of a warrior. Arrows are weapons, to both attack and to defend. God is the one who gives children and when they are grown up, they provide a level of protection to their parents. That is a very loving thing to do

              Kids remember when you are grown up, being part of a Godly family means that you must take care of your parents. You will be your parent’s arrows shot against the enemy of poverty and hardship when they are too weak to defend themselves.

Let’s talk arrows for a bit. An ancient warrior would make sure His arrows are ready for when he needs them. An arrow needs loving care and preparation to fly straight and to be an effective weapon. The tip needs to be sharpened and well secured. The shaft needs to straight and strong and the flights need to be strong and smooth. Any of that lacking and the arrow becomes less effective to the point of useless to the warrior.

              Many parents have kids, have little arrows, but to build a Godly Family, you need to have godly Arrows.

Mom & Dad - It takes a lot of hard work to get an arrow battle ready. It takes a lot of time and effort to prepare your children for life – to produce godly arrows. 

      Unfortunately many parents believe in a type of big bang theory when it comes to raising godly children - first there was nothing, then it exploded and voila – you have a godly child. Many parents are very hands off. They just leave their kids to figure things out for themselves. That is the best way to ensure your children will go wayward – they will like a bent arrow will miss the mark completely. You want your arrows, your children to fly straight and true. That takes effort, diligence and perseverance. Parents raise your children to be godly arrows.

How do we do that? Thankfully the Word of God instructs us on how we should do it. I will focus on but one portion of Scripture

Eph 6:1-4 – Please turn there. Here Paul give us a few basic instructions on how to build a Godly family. A godly family with Godly descendants or godly arrows.

              Eph 6:1-4

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Children – hold bible – what is this? …. What is the Bible?… the Word of God, what does that mean? The words in the Bible are God’s Words – the bible tells us that the Bible is God breathed – he spoke these words. Men were “carried along” or moved by His Holy Spirit to write down exactly what God wanted to communicate (2Pet 1:21)                                                                         
     So – would you say it is an important book? – If we could hear God speak – I don’t know what that would sound like exactly – sometimes the Bible described it as a loud thunderclap, others times like the sound of rushing waters – Like standing next to a massive waterfall and the noise is just overpowering – If you could hear His voice – and He tells you to do something – would you do it?  I think you would – you would be too scared not too. I know I would be very scared; my legs would be like jelly and I would probably fall down – whapp onto my face – everyone would know something happened because I would have dirt all over my face.

V     You know what – When we read God’s Word - He is speaking to you. – He is speaking to you today from his Bible – though we do not hear him, he is speaking – I guess we can be thankful for that for – or our faces would be in the dirt every time God speaks of to us – we’ll have red faces like the trucks and cars stained from the red soil and dust – Secondly – it is a good thing because we can go back and read again and again what God said because I don’t know about your I tend to forget and it is very important to remember God’s word.

V      Now this morning God is speaking to you from His word– he speaking to you and me and everyone here - and He say – Children - Obey your parents in the Lord – for that is right.

  •  - what does it mean to obey?  - You have to do as you are told.
    Obey
  • DO what your parents tell you to do – that is pretty simple. But why- For it is right – v1 - Because that is the right thing to do

Who decides what is right and wrong – not you and I, but God! What He says is right – is right and what He says is wrong – that is wrong.

If Jesus was to stand here today and said to you:  Will you do what I say – I’m sure you would say – Yes, definitely Jesus I’ll do what you say. Well, He is saying to you today - obey your parents, listen to them- do what they tell you to do. That is what He wants. Can you understand that! Sure…

Man that is what I love about God – He is so very clear – it is easy to understand – not so easy to do – is it?

In Colossians 3:20 - God says that as children you need to obey your parents in everything – Everything?  Everything!

Why everything - for it pleases the Lord – Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Obeying your parents pleases Jesus.

Even Jesus who is the God-man – He obeyed His parents  - the example – Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem when his parents left for home and his parents were concerned and went looking for Him- they found Him in the Temple. Afterwards Jesus was obedient to them. Lk2: 51 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. – He was obedient to them.

There is another thing Jesus wants you to do – You have to honor your parents – you have to obey your parents and you have to honor your parents.

To be a straight shooting arrow – you have to obey and honor.

  • Honor
  • Tell me what does it mean to honor someone - means – respect – these are difficult words to explain – honor or respect.
  • Let me try and explain it in this way – when your mom and dad tells you to pick up the sweet wrapper and throw it in the bin – if you say yes and go immediately pick it up and throw it in the bin – you both obeyed and honored or respected your parents. How? By obeying immediately, and with a good attitude
  • But, If you go with your shoulders hunched over, dragging your feet, moaning – do I have to and slowly pick it up and throw it in the bin in a defying manner, with a bad attitude – you have obeyed you parents but you have not honored them – for your attitude was one of rebellion – I’ll do it because you are bigger than me, but know I don’t want to do it and I will not do it when I grow bigger
  • That is a bad attitude, it is a rebellious attitude – that is not honoring your parents – God hates rebellion. He hates it if children do not honor their parents or any other authority placed over you. 
  • He even put it in His LAW the Ten Commandments, the 5th commandment
  • It is the first commandment with a promise – If you obey this commandment – it will go well with you and you will live long in the land – That is a promise to those who obey God’s command to obey and honor their parents

You will have a long and full life; it will prove to be a blessing to you.

God hates rebellion – but obedience brings blessing – tell me who wants to be on God’s bad side- in his bad books – not I, but who wants to be blessed by Him – Oh yes sign me up for that one.  Well honor your parents.

  • That commands hold true for children of all ages – when you leave to form your own family unit – this command still hold true. And in the context of Ps127 – one way to honor you parents is to protect them when they can’t.
  • So kids – obey and honor your parents and the Lord promise that you will have a long and full life.

Parents your role in producing godly arrows is also addressed.

V     Parents

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Though Fathers are mentioned as the head of the home, this instruction is certain applicable to both parents, fathers and mothers, but Paul addresses it specifically to fathers who are the ones responsible for their children’s education.

As you are to lead your wife, you are to lead your children.

To produce godly arrows your role is to provide for them leadership.

First a negative instruction – how not to do it.

Fathers, Do not provoke to anger or do not exasperate your children.

  • How do we do that?
  • Overprotection - Out of love for their children they fence them in to the point of suffocation. Don’t do this, don’t go there, be careful of that. Sure there need to be protection and fences, but allow them some room within those fences- it involves taking a level of risk, to allow your children to make certain decisions- obviously the younger they are the closer the fences, but the older they are – the wider the fence needs to grow. Over protected children grow up unsure, insecure and often times bitter and angry. Don’t be like the parent who shouts – don’t go into the water until you can swim- well mom, dad they need to be in the water to learn to swim.
  • Favoritism If you show favoritism between your children – shame on you. God is the one who made each of your children, you are to love them equally and provide for them equally – Don’t be like Isaac who loved Esau more than Jacob. That will provoke your children to anger
  • Discouragement - Constant negative comments and criticism. Ah you will never be able to do that. You will probably not amount to much. Dad, when I grow up I want to be a …….. – It ain’t gonna happen, you might as well forget about it. That would exasperate your child.
  • Hypocrisy - Holding your kids to a standard you yourself do not maintain. Children are masters at observation – they have probably long ago notice the discrepancies between your talk and your walk. If you then discipline them for their failures to maintain the standards you don’t keep – you are provoking your children to anger
  • Bitter words and outright physical cruelty. In Roman times fathers could meet out any form of discipline and often it was very severe. Fathers who by their superior physical strength abuse their children, or slay them with the cruelest of words – will raise up children who are angry, resentful and bitter.

Fathers do not provoke your children to anger - Instead – Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord 

Bring them up is the word nourish - the same word as used in 5:29 – husbands are to nourish their wives. Fathers you are to nourish your children. To loving, tenderly care for them, provide for them, physically as well as mentally and spiritually.

You do that in the discipline and instruction of the Lord

Discipline has to do with what is done to the child. It includes rules and regulations, but also rewards and punishments as and when necessary.

Instruction has to do with what is being said to the child. The word is admonition, which includes teaching, warning and encouraging.

Both discipline and instruction are to be of the Lord.

You want godly arrows, you want godly descendants, godly kids – then don’t do things that provoke them, but discipline and instruct them in the Lord.

Teach them the things of God. Hold them accountable to the things you taught them.  That will help produce godly arrows, arrows that will fly straight and true when they leave your hand.

Go back to Ps 127 -  An arrow will always leave your hand – that is the nature of an arrow - you shoot it away.

The same with your children, they will leave. If they don’t want to, then you must shoot them away.

I will fail in my duty if I do not warn you that raising godly kids, producing godly arrows – take a lot of time and diligent effort. My warning to you husbands and wives are not to solely devote all your time and effort, all your resources and energy on your arrows, on our children.

Hear me right – you need to diligently and meticulously raise your children in the ways of the Lord, to make them godly arrows who will fly straight and true when they leave your hand – BUT they will always leave and what’s left in your hand – your bow. You need to care and pay attention to your bow. That which is meant and destined to stay with you. Your husband and wife – you need to first and foremost work on your relationship with one another – Your are meant to be one and what God has put together let no man separates.

If you neglect to care and pay attention to one another  – you will look at your husband and your wife after 20 years of investing into your children and wonder – who is this person, I‘m not even sure I like him or her anymore?      

 Many, many marriages break up after the kids leave home – why? Because all the attention, the love and the care was devoted to the children and little to no time was devoted to one another.

Back to Ps 127 V5 reads - Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them – he shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies at the gate.

Children our GREATEST Witness - Children are a gift from God. In the time this Psalm was penned many children and especially in a male dominant society, many strong sons were a considerable blessing to a father, because they were able to provide through their labors, but also was a form of security and support when their were disputes with others.

The gate of the city was a place where the people would gather to have their differences settled- for judgments to be rendered between two opposing men or families. The man who had many sons had greater security in such a situation. His sons could come to their fathers aid should things get out of hand.

Our legal system does not work quite the same way, but the man who has raised many godly children – would not be put to shame by the accusations of an enemy. Why?  Because of the testimony of his children’s character and conduct.

As well as their testmony of their parents integrity – In the family there is the closest of relationships. The people you no doubt know the best are the ones you see the most. They know your good days and your bad days. A man of integrity will raise godly descendants who would serve as a testimony against the accusations from an enemy. This is what is being referred to when it say that an elder needs to be an man who is blameless and then in describing what that involves it mentions the abiitiy to run his own household well and who has his children under control. Your children is a great witness, not the onely witness, but an important witness to your character and conduct.

You are called to build a Godly family – A family who is dependent on the Lord, who builds their family on God’s blueprint, who trust and rely on Him for protection and provision and who seek to raise the gift of children to be godly descendants, godly children, godly arrows who fly straight and true and who is a testimony to their parents dependence on the Lord. Sounds like an impossible task – Not if the Lord is in it.

A close walk with the Lord is required, a daily abiding in Christ

A Gospel saturated life - the realisation you need help, the humility to ask the Lord and the love for Christ to do what he commands you to do -  Let’s pray.

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