A study was conducted several years ago comparing the decline of a society vs. the decline of the families within that society. In this study eight specific areas were noted:
- Marriage loses its sacredness…is frequently broken by divorce.
- Traditional meaning of the marriage ceremony is lost.
- Feminist movements abound.
- Increased public disrespect for parents and authority in general.
- Acceleration of juvenile delinquency, promiscuity, and rebellion.
- Refusal of people with traditional marriages to accept family responsibilities.
- Growing desire for and acceptance of adultery.
- Increasing interest in and spread of sexual perversions and sex-related crimes. **
As many of you know, the traditional definition of a family is under great attack these days. NBC came out with a new TV show this year they are calling ‘The New Normal’ which consists of two gay men living together and seeking to produce a child through a surrogate mother. Though many in our modern culture would like to make this the new normal, according to God’s Word it is anything but normal. What does the Bible teach us about the family?
I. The Family’s Design
Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
A. God’s Plan for the Family
From this passage of scripture we can learn some very basic, but important, truths about the family:
1. That one man would be joined in a covenant relationship with one woman for a lifetime.
Jesus reiterated this truth –
Matthew 19:5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. [‘asunder’ – to divide, separate. i.e. – to divorce]
Jesus said that God ‘joins’ or literally ‘yokes’ a man and a woman together in the relationship we call marriage. Jesus also tells us that this relationship is to be for a lifetime. ‘Let no man put asunder’ means – “Let no man divide or separate. Let no man divorce.”
2. Together they would produce and raise-up a godly heritage unto the Lord.
We learn also from the book of Malachi that it is God’s will that the husband and wife produce and raise up children who will know and serve the Lord. Though there are many advantages from being married, God’s primary purpose is that they be fruitful and multiply and raise up a godly heritage.
Malachi 2:15 God made husbands and wives to become one body and one spirit for his purpose — so they would have children who are true to God. So be careful, and do not break your promise to the wife you married when you were young. NCV
3. Physical intimacy is to be only between the husband and wife.
The Bible is also very clear that sexual intimacy is to be only between the husband and wife. We read from the book of Genesis –
Genesis 2:25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
We read also from the book of Hebrews-
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
According to the Bible, any sexual relationship (either heterosexual or homosexual) that is outside of the covenant relationship between a husband and his wife is sinful and will be judged by God.
B. Many today mock and resist the Biblical definition of marriage and the family
Modern society does not accept the Bible’s definition of marriage and family. They mock at the traditional idea of one man being married to one woman for a lifetime. Yet regardless of how our culture and society may change, God’s Word will always be the same.
- Psalm 119:89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
- Romans 3:4 … let God be true, but every man a liar…
II. The Family’s Downfall
The question we find ourselves asking is – ‘What has happened to the family? How did we get so far off track?’ As we continue to study in the book of Genesis, we see that in the very beginning the family fell under attack from the Devil.
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
We do not have time to study everything that is here, but there are some important truths that I need to point out:
1. Satan caused Eve to question the wisdom, authority, and goodness of God
Satan was suggesting that maybe God was wrong. Maybe it would be better to disobey Him. Maybe God’s rules don’t always apply in every situation. He also wanted Eve to think: “Who is God to tell me what to do?” “ I can be my own god.”
Satan is still trying to do the same thing today. Satan is telling people today that the traditional definition of marriage is outdated and wrong and that we need something new and more modern. Yet as children of God, we need to understand that what we are seeing in society today is the work of Satan.
2. There were consequences for their disobedience to God
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
a) It affected their relationship with God
Originally there was an openness and honesty in their relationship with God. Adam and Eve enjoyed free and unbroken fellowship with God. But after they sinned, rather than running to God, they began to run from God. They covered themselves with fig leaves for aprons and they hid themselves amongst the trees.
b) It affected their relationship with each other as husband and wife
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
Rather than loving Eve and protecting her, Adam attacked her character and blamed her for all of his problems. We read in the New Testament-
Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
‘Bitterness’ speaks of anger and resentment. Sin causes hostility in husbands against their wives.
Sin also affected the wife’s attitude toward her husband.
16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
Kay Author, who is a leading Bible teacher for women, believes that Genesis 3:16 means that from this point on, Eve was in a power-struggle with her husband. Rather than lovingly supporting him and following his leadership, she desired to rule over him. We might say that here is the beginning of the feminist movement.
c) It affected the relationships within their family
Genesis 4:8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
Sometimes parents will ask me why their children always seem to be fighting with each other. ‘They just don’t seem to love each other’, parents will tell me. Then they will ask me why this is happening. I can tell you why. It’s because sin makes us selfish. Sin makes us focus on self more than others.
It has always been Satan’s desire to weaken and to destroy the home. From the very beginning of time, Satan has been attacking the family. He has been attacking the relationship between husbands and wives. He has been attacking the relationships between parents and children. He has been telling mankind that they can have a home without God. Today we see that he is telling many that we can make the family anything we want it to be. We don’t moms or dads. We don’t need the lifelong covenant relationship of marriage. We don’t need God. Yet since the very beginning of time, we can see that Satan’s lies have been damaging the home. No home is perfect. That is why every home needs to be built upon a real relationship with Jesus Christ.
III. The Family’s Deliverance
The family is in great turmoil today. Satan is doing everything he can to destroy it. Yet there is hope for home. Heaven can help the home.
A. Problem with the home is the human heart
First we need to understand that the problem with the home is the human heart. The Bible says this of the human heart –
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Sin has made the human heart depraved and wicked. Jesus said this about the human heart –
Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
When sin entered the hearts of Adam and Eve, it entered their home. Sin immediately affected the relationship between them and God. It also affected their relationship as husband and wife. It even caused one son to murder his own brother.
Sin has affected every home since then. Millions of homes have been destroyed because of the sin in the human heart. No doubt many of you here today can testify to how sin at one time or another has affected your home. Sin has produced millions of divorces and broken homes. Sin had destroyed millions of sons and daughters.
B. God can heal the home by healing the heart
The home is in a great battle for survival these days. Yet there is hope for the home. Heaven can heal the home by healing the heart.
Ezekiel 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances. CSB
There was a time when the nation of Israel tried to become righteous through human effort. They tried to obey the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Law of Moses, yet one has only to read through the Old Testament to see how they failed. The Law itself was good. The problem was the weakness of the human heart. The Bible says that the human heart is desperately wicked.
That is why God established the New Covenant or what we call the New Testament. The Bible says that during the Last Supper, Jesus raised a cup and said –
Luke 22:20 …This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
The word ‘testament’ means covenant. The old covenant was written in stone and required each individual to be able to fulfill it through their own effort. The new covenant is written in the heart and is fulfilled as the believer walks in the strength and power of the Holy Spirit.
APPLYING THE TRUTH
A few weeks ago, Loren and Amanda wanted to talk with me about their salvation. I took them to my office and we sat down and opened a Bible.
I showed them that the Bible says that we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
I asked them both if they had ever sinned and both admitted that they had. The Bible says that every one of us has.
Then I showed them the consequences of their sinfulness. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death…
Because of sin, someday every one of us will die. But this death refers to another kind of death as well. The moment Adam and Eve sinned against God, they died spiritually. No longer did they enjoy an open relationship with God. They were afraid of God and ran from Him. They were afraid because they knew they were sinful and that God was holy. This death also means something else. The Bible says that in the end, all those who have never received Jesus Christ as their Savior will have be cast into hell and this eternal damnation is called the second death.
But then I showed them the rest of Romans 6:23.
Romans 6:23 … but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The bad news is that we’re all sinful and deserve to be punished. The good news is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and that His forgiveness is a gift.
I showed them that Titus 3:5 says that salvation is not by any works of righteousness which we have done, but according to God’s mercy He saves us.
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Salvation and the forgiveness of sin is a gift from God that is offered to us, not because we are good, but because God is gracious. The Bible says –
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Though it is the will of God that we be pure and holy people, no one is going to earn their way to heaven by doing good works. The Bible clearly says that it is not of works. If salvation could be produced by our good works, then the glory would go to us and not to God.
I then asked them if they believed this and both said that they did. I led them in prayer and both Loren and Amanda made a decision to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Today they would like to be baptized in His name in order to to testify to you that they have placed their faith and trust in Him.
This thrills me, not only because it means that Loren and Amanda are now the children of God, but also because they are a young couple who are just beginning their lives together as husband and wife. Loren and Amanda are doing what every family needs to do. They are building their home upon the foundation that will stand.
**Chuck Swindoll, The Quest For Character, Multnomah, p. 90.