Back to Basics in Our Homes

 

GUEST ARTICLE

Back to Basics in Our Homes

Acts 18:1-7  After these things he departed from Athens, and came to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, a man of Pontus by race, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome: and he came unto them; and because he was of the same trade, he abode with them, and they wrought, for by their trade they were tentmakers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks. But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul was constrained by the word, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. And when they opposed themselves and blasphemed, he shook out his raiment and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. And he departed thence, and went into the house of a certain man named Titus Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.

The house of Titus Justus joined hard to the synagogue or place of worship. That just means that he lived right next to the synagogue. His house was geographically close to the synagogue.

Today, our houses and homes need to be joined close to the Church, the place where all service and worship is rendered to God.

The Church that Jesus established was a new concept. Christ had given his very life for the Church. Some people think that Jesus died for individuals, but that’s not necessarily true because we cannot be saved outside the body of Christ, which is His Church.

The scripture speaks of Christ as the head of the Church. The Bible also teaches us that Christ is the builder of the house, the Church. Other metaphors are Christ as the foundation of the temple, as the shepherd of the sheepfold, as king of the kingdom and as a family with Christ as its head.

Ephesians 3:13-19  Wherefore I ask that ye may not faint at my tribulations for you, which are your glory. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be strong to apprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled unto all the fulness of God.

Individual >  Family >  Congregation (The Church)

The strength of God’s people is built first on individual resolve to obey God, and then on the family’s resolve to obey and finally, on a congregation’s resolve to obey God.

We understand that without an individual’s determination to live righteously, the two grandest institutions founded by God (the Christian home and the Church) cannot exist. All of us bear a responsibility to do the right thing.

The invitation song “I Am Resolved” speaks to the heart of this. Who is resolved? I am. Who can I control? Myself.

Today, it doesn’t matter what the circumstances of your life have been – YOU have a responsibility to do what God wants you to do!

But, none of us live to ourselves. We all have interaction with other people.

Romans 14:7  For none of us liveth to himself, and none dieth to himself.

We impact others. We influence them, we help them, we refuse to help them…we affect the lives of other people for good or bad! Anytime you get two or more people involved in a thing – you’ve got potential power or problem.

If a righteous man and a righteous woman fall in love and have heaven as their ultimate goal – their marriage forms the foundation of a strong Christian home. As children are born into that home, future generations of righteous people are brought up. One home affects all the lives in that home. One home affects all the lives in the local congregation, too.

Christ has to take a place of prominence in all our homes. If that’s not the case in your home, please give serious thought to the things that RULE your home. If Christ does rule your home, listen carefully because we cannot afford to let the principles of the gospel slip.

What Christ did for homes in the 1st century are still done today, except where He performed a miracle in order to establish His word. He still blesses homes just as He always has.

Our world needs the protection and care of Christ over the home. Every home has many needs. They aren’t all pressing needs, but some might be. Any home that doesn’t have Christ ruling it is in immediate need to recognize His authority and ability to save. That’s an URGENT need.

Even Christian homes can sometimes have URGENT needs. Sometimes husbands and wives have struggles that need immediate help. Sometimes kids in Christian homes have immediate needs.

I don’t know what goes on behind the doors of your house. I don’t know the private problems that you might face as a family today. But I do know this – Jesus has the solution. God, the Father, established the first home or family when He joined Adam and Eve together in the Garden. Heaven certainly knows what a home needs in order to be righteous.

I want to briefly discuss a few things that our homes need today.

We need more love and companionship in our homes.

Too many homes lack peace. We live in loose and lax times. Husbands and wives don’t always work toward cementing their relationship like they should. If we don’t work at fidelity and support and love – then we’ll fail. Shouldn’t all Christian couples determine to have a marriage that will be as close to God’s standard as possible? Shouldn’t the husband and wife determine to walk with God so they can walk closer with one another?

True love and companionship must exist in the Christian home. From the beginning God intended the relationship between a husband and wife to be the strongest, most intimate relationship between two people. God recognized the need and He supplied that need.

Genesis 2:18-20 And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him. And out of the ground Jehovah God formed every beast of the field, and every bird of the heavens; and brought them unto the man to see what he would call them: and whatsoever the man called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And the man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the heavens, and to every beast of the field; but for man there was not found a help meet for him.

The one thing that Adam needed was about to be supplied by God. She would answer his needs; supply him with help so he could better follow God. She would compliment him in every way.

Genesis 2:21-24  And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof: and the rib, which Jehovah God had taken from the man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And the man 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. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Once this bond was established, God fully intended for it to flourish. Adam and Eve would both have to nourish it, strengthen it and maintain it. Affection, love and companionship were God’s intention for man and woman in marriage.

But, as with everything God does, sin came in to tear it up. Pure things established by God would be made profane by the world that refused to serve God.

Deuteronomy 24:1-4 When a man taketh a wife, and marrieth her, then it shall be, if she find no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some unseemly thing in her, that he shall write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, who took her to be his wife;

her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before Jehovah: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which Jehovah thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

The hardness of men’s heart caused a departure from God’s plan in the day of Moses. It’s obvious that later generations of Jews misunderstood these passages. The Jews of Jesus day affirmed that Moses had commanded the putting away of their wives.

Matthew 19:7  They say unto him, Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorcement, and to put her away?

Jesus points out that they hadn’t correctly read their law.

Matthew 19:8  He saith unto them, Moses for your hardness of heart suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it hath not been so.

Had there been real love and companionship between husbands and wives, the law given in Deut. 24 wouldn’t have been used. Today and always, there would be no need to resort to the exception that Jesus taught in Matthew – were it not for sin.

Matthew 19:9  And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery.

If every husband and wife would truly love each other and share in marital companionship the way God intends – then these things would not be necessary.

A casual reading of the Old Testament shows us deterioration in marriage during the millennium from Moses to Malachi. In the closing days of the Old Testament some men were dealing very treacherously against the wives of their youth. God gave a stern hatred toward divorce through His prophet in Malachi. He said He hated putting away. God raises His standards when we get to the New Testament.

Malachi 2:14-16 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because Jehovah hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously, though she is thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. And did he not make one, although he had the residue of the Spirit? And wherefore one? He sought a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For I hate putting away, saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, and him that covereth his garment with violence, saith Jehovah of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.

Fast forward 400 years and we see things have gotten even worse. Jewish rabbis were advocating divorce for trivial reasons. Some came to Jesus in Matthew 19 based in part on the horrible standards of their day. So lax were the conditions surrounding a marriage that divorces were being granted for virtually anything.

Now these folks weren’t asking out of conscience as much as they were asking out of temptation. But rather than go back to the Law of Moses, as they thought He would, Christ went back to the beginning of time when God first established the rules of marriage. Jesus restored the marriage union back to its original plan.

Brethren, I’ve sat before couples who have failed in this area of love and companionship. As they struggle to live as they should, I’ve found nothing more powerful than to simply read Ephesians 5. In these verses the expression of love that a man must have toward his wife are very clear. He is to love her as Christ loved the Church. The Lord certainly displayed His love for the Church by giving His life for her. Husbands, do you love your wives as Christ loves the Church? Do you seek her best just as Christ seeks only the best for His Church?

By our actions and words we demonstrate our concern, love and companionship to each other. Does your spouse feel that your concern and love are as strong as they should be? They should. It’s the duty of every husband and every wife to work hard so their homes can be everything God intends.

But, love and companionship don’t stop with the husband and wife. It includes the kids, too. Parents and children must demonstrate their love and concern for each other. Parents, Christ expects us to be the leaders of our children. We owe our children enough love and concern to properly discipline them, too. Parents of young children usually get exactly what they deserve. Those parents we’ve all seen in public places who have that little screaming wild person probably deserve it because they have failed to instill discipline in their home. That small human RULES their home, not God. Parents, that’s NOT love.

Our homes need more love and companionship.

Our homes also need greater purity and fidelity.

Lax morals are the norm in our society. Premarital intimate relations used to be frowned on by our society, but that was long, long ago. Today, it’s standard practice. Living arrangements between a man and woman have little to do with marriage today. It just doesn’t matter if a couple decides to live together.

How does that affect our homes? Fornication and other sinful practices are acceptable in our society. As a result, some of our homes don’t have the fidelity they should have between a husband and wife. But also, the children who grow up in our homes are more influenced by the standards of the world than ever before. Boys and girls in the Church don’t always behave themselves as God intends. Jesus summed it up best in His Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8)

The problem is one of the heart. The mind of man is where all sin starts.

Mark 7:20-23  And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Listen to the blunt advice of the apostle Paul to the Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

The same admonition is given to the church at Galatia…

Galatians 5:19-21  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

1 Timothy 4:12  Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Timothy is told how to behave toward younger sisters in the faith…

1 Timothy 5:1-2   Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

1 Timothy 5:22  Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

Intimate relations belong ONLY in marriage. They don’t belong in dating. It’s needful for us to remind our young people of these truths. Too often our young people fail to abstain from youthful lusts as the Bible commands. Too often we fail to warn our young people of the true dangers of Satan in these areas.

Honest love and concern for our family will cause us to understand the need to warn of these things. They destroy homes and families. They bring shame on the family and the Church.

But these things aren’t limited to the young, single people. Marriage is in need of greater purity and fidelity on the part of the husband and wife. Horror stories abound in our brotherhood of unfaithful husbands and wives. It should NEVER be named among God’s people, but it has been. I fear we’ve not heard the last of it either.

In order for any man or woman to be unfaithful to their marriage partner – they FIRST must depart from the Truth of the gospel. Show me a person who has been unfaithful and I’ll show you someone who departed the faith BEFORE they were unfaithful to their spouse. First, they were unfaithful to God. Oh, we might not have spotted it. They may have fooled us, but deep down inside – they were not living the Christian life.

You’ll never encounter a couple who is having trouble because one or both are striving to live closer to the Lord. Couples who are devoted to the Truth of the gospel don’t encounter the problems that many others do. Broken homes, violent homes, abusive homes, dysfunctional homes are the result of one or more in the family going against the teachings of our Savior.

The wise man knew well the temptation when he wrote, “Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” (Prov. 9:17)

We could also discuss other areas where we need purity in our homes – things like our speech, our entertainment or even our jobs. We need purity in all these areas of our life.

Philippians 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

We need greater purity and fidelity in our homes today.

We need forgiveness, kindness, courtesy and consideration in our homes today.

Christians are required to forgive. Jesus teaches that our own forgiveness hinges on the forgiveness we extend to others.

Matthew 6:14-15  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Also…Colossians 3:13  Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

These admonitions don’t specify the home, but they certainly include it. We sometimes fail to apply things to our own homes and families, but that’s a mistake on our part. Husbands and wives aren’t perfect. Children aren’t perfect. In-laws aren’t perfect. Relationships sometimes need forgiveness.

If no sins were committed there’d be no need for forgiveness. Forgiveness implies a wrong has been done and mercy is ready when repentance is shown. God is able to act and feel as though the sin were never committed. Our goal is to be more like Him in that regard.

Only the fool says, “That’s asking too much.” If we are in need of forgiveness, we don’t think it’s asking too much. Sometimes in families we get ugly and hardheaded. Sadly, sometimes folks are more likely to forgive people they aren’t very close to as opposed to a wife, husband or child.

Peter learned from our Lord that there should not be a limit to our forgiveness. He asked the Lord how often he’d have to forgive his brother. The Lord taught him that there should be no limits to it. It’s not 7 times that we forgive, but 7 times 70. In other words, it’s limitless.

Kindness is a lost commodity in our world. Nice-ness training. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Well, it’s an industry today. Consultants charge big bucks to come train a company how to be nice to each other and especially to their customers. At my secular work we have to train people in simple manners (things like “please” and “thank you”). These things haven’t been taught at home like they should. It starts at home.

The kindness and courtesy we extend each other at home carries over in other areas of our life. Show me a rude kid and I’ll show you a home that has little or no kindness or courtesy. Parents set the example in the home. Dads, Moms: remember that it’s true. Little pictures have big ears. Kids pay attention to how you live. One day they will grow up to be more like you than even THEY know!

When we say “abusive” what do you think of? Most of us think of physical violence. We think of a husband slapping his wife or some other form of physical act. But most studies have shown that the violence and abuse in homes is often VERBAL, not physical. It’s manifested in a husband who calls his wife ugly names, a wife who hurls ridicule at her husband, parents who scream threats at their children. These are the abuses that are most common in the world, and I dare say, in families of the Church.

Kindness may not be demonstrated in our homes as it should be. Dealing gently with each other is the need for today. Compassion is needed. A husband can deal kindly all day with the people he encounters at work. But when he arrives home he may fail to have a single kind word to offer. Likewise, a wife might behave gently and with compassion all day long, but when her husband comes home she lights into him like a firestorm.

Kindness isn’t optional for the Christian. It’s commanded.

Matthew 7:12  Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Kindness, courtesy and forgiveness are needed in our homes today.

Many other things could be discussed when we talk about our homes, but these 3 areas are some fundamental, but often overlooked. When things go wrong in most areas of life, we often talk about getting back to basics. That’s what we’ve tried to do in this article…focus our homes back on the fundamental things that matter most. Those things that affect the core of our homes.

However, OBEDIENCE to the Gospel is the first requirement of having a strong Christian home. If you are a husband or wife and you’re not obedient to the Truth – we encourage you to commit yourself to Christ. Learn about salvation.

The strength of our congregations hinges on the strength of the homes representing those congregations. We want to encourage every person to work hard to make your home the place God wants. It’s important that we save ourselves and save our families. That’s how we’ll save the members of Fossil Creek!

–Randy Cantrell

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