Program Air Date - 11-11-07



James once asked, "who is wise and understanding among you?" What type of wisdom do we strive for in this world?

Thank you for joining us for the Living Word Program on this wondrous Lord's Day morning. It is always a privilege to have you with us for this time of offering to God.

Today, we have the opportunity together to worship and praise our God. This morning we will glorify our Lord through songs of praise and through the study of His perfect Word. Won't you do your part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now, let's begin our praise to God in prayer.


This morning we want to begin with a song which reminds us of that we must remain in the way of Glory. So, won't you join in with the brethren at this time as we sing together, "The Gloryland Way."

(SONG # 1)


We quoted earlier from James 3:13, where it said, "who is wise and understanding among you?" Oh, to be wise! Usually when we think of wisdom we think of success, power, or control, but really this is not what we find in the Bible. Our society has taught us that wisdom is of this world, but again this is not what we find in God's Word. In fact, the very opposite is true. In the same verse that we read earlier, James went on to say, "let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom." Does this sound like power and control. The inspired James said that good conduct, good works and gentleness are a part of what true wisdom consists of. In the same chapter, James continues his thoughts in verses 14-18, where he goes on to confirm that true wisdom is of God and not of earthly things.

When we focus on God and His will we start down the road to becoming wise. True wisdom comes from not only knowing what God says and what He wants, but being able to practice what He says and wants in our everyday action. You see wisdom is really learning to make the best use of our knowledge, in Christ Jesus.

Solomon adds this to our discussion in Proverbs 24:5, "a wise man is strong, yes, a man of knowledge increases strength." Here we see how strength and power fit in to the equation. They are outcomes of true godly wisdom, but they do not produce wisdom in and of themselves. We also further see the extent of the strength of wisdom in chapter 12 and verse 18, of the same book. There Solomon said, "there is one who speaks like the piercing of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health." Over and over in the Bible we see this same idea being promoted, how a wise man accomplishes good and promotes health, but on the other hand, the foolish choose to reject God's wisdom for the world's wisdom.

How fitting this example is, for it is this same Solomon who earlier prayed to God for wisdom, to lead God's people properly. Let's read together from 2 Chronicles 1 to see how this great story unfolded. "...and God said to Solomon: 'because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life; but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king; wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.'" Now I hope you are beginning to see what God's wisdom is like! Also notice the great rewards from God in response to one proving their wisdom before Him.

Another great example of God's wisdom is found in Joshua 24:15, when he confronted the people as to whether they would serve God or reject Him. Notice what Joshua said in this verse, "and if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Here we see true godly wisdom. Putting the Creator above everything and anyone else. Standing on the promises of God and not this earth. Where do you and your house stand in relationship to God? This morning we will begin a new series of study entitled, "The Home As God Intends." Our specific topic of study today is, "An Institution Of God!" So please stay with us through our next song and after that I will return with this study from God's Word. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "To Canaan's Land I'm On My Way."

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

As we look around our society we find lots of ideas about what the home should be all about. In fact, as we look around the world, it's just the same. There are so many ideas about really what the home is or what it should be or what is acceptable. For instance, there are many who might tell us that it doesn't matter if we have a mom and a dad in a home. Some might go even further and say it doesn't matter what makes up a home, the amount of people or the group of people or even individuals involved. Some have even gone to some extremes to even say that the home makes no difference in establishing who someone is or in actually making the person who they are in life. Reality is that all of these are very incorrect in conjunction with what we learn in God's Word. For the Bible tells us something far different.

In fact, I might ask a few questions of my own. Think for a moment about an institution as made by God. Now, ask yourself a question: If God instituted the home, if He made the home, if it's His idea, His plan and what He accomplished, how could it not be important? We might also ask: What about that which has been given by God, how could we simply disregard that which He has established? Then finally, we might even wonder what it is that is in man that causes him to be so satisfied with doing it his way or in the way that he or she wants even though God had a different idea or presented a different idea from His Word.

Well, as we look at the Bible, we find that maybe the problem goes much deeper. Throughout the Bible, we find mankind throughout all ages having difficulty with the Will of God, but when they turned on the Will of God and often began to stop following it, I want you to notice the key thing that always stands out, what is the heart of the problem.

Well if you'll look there with me at one example in Jeremiah chapter 2 there around verse 31 hear what this prophet said about Israel in these days who has ceased to serve God. It says, "Oh generations, see the Word of the Lord. Have I been a wilderness to Israel or a land of darkness? Why do my people say we are Lord? We have come no more to you. Can a virgin forget her ornaments or a bride her attire?" Yet hear what God says. "My people have forgotten me days without number." I believe why we are beginning to see that many forget the home and the importance of the home and the need for the home. It is because people have begun to forget God. Whenever we become self-centered, when we begin to look to what we want and what our desires are and really what's best for our flesh, what's most enjoyable, it is hard to have God up there with that because God's ideas are usually much different from the flesh. So therefore, one has got to go and God usually gets the back seat. So therefore, as God gets the back seat and we serve flesh, we begin to see little by little that maybe the home and marriage and other ideas that are really attributed to the home have not as great a meaning because God is no longer first in our lives.

See we've go to get back this morning at looking at what the Bible says about the home. What is it that God intended for the home? That's our series but more specifically today knowing that God Himself instituted the home. So we might understand what it is. God made it. Well, how do we know that? Well the Bible tells us. The Bible tells us that God made the home just as He has made an eternal home in John 14 verses 1-3. Do you remember those verses where it says that God has gone to prepare a place for us in a mansion, a mansion there over the hilltop and that if He goes to prepare a place, He will take us home someday to be with Him. God says, "I have made you a home, an eternal home that is perfect." Now what should we strive for today? To enjoy our physical homes that also God designed which also before Him should be perfect.

If you'll go back and begin turning with me to Genesis chapter 2, we're going to find out when it was that God instituted the home, but as you turn there in Genesis chapter 2, I want you to hear a few ideas at least that I found in relationship to many different ways that authors of our day might describe the home in a positive or negative way. One said, "Small or great and great or small is where our stomachs get three meals a day and our hearts are fed thousands of times a day. It's a father's kingdom and a mother's world, a child's paradise or harbor in life. It is where we complain the most and yet we really have the most blessings. It is also where we are accepted no matter what we are, no matter what we look like, no matter what we do and often no matter what we say. It is a place of ultimate forgiveness where also love is always the factor that wins out." See, when we begin to think about the home, even in many authors of our day and time, what a beautiful concept is presented. And why wouldn't it be when it is founded by the perfect God and the most beautiful and only God of all?

There if you'll notice with me then in Genesis chapter 2 we find that man was created by God and man was seen by God to be lonely for he did not have a helper that was comparable to him or equal to him. Certainly God had made man. He made all the animals, but there was no human that had been created for Adam. And so God saw it wasn't good. There around verse 22 you might notice that He then puts Adam to sleep. He takes the rib. He makes a woman. But it is interesting what happens when he now brings her to Adam because Adam says, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh and she shall be called woman because she is taken out of man."

The foundation of our home is a marriage. Who instituted marriage? God instituted marriage. He determined that a man and a woman would leave their families that they were raised in to become one flesh and to start a new family. That's exactly what Adam is saying. She is now what? Bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh. How beautiful that God created the first woman in this way showing the great significance and importance of women in creation, as well as how intimate and how perfect the relationship between a man a woman must be for they are both God's perfect creation according to that which He would give dominion over all the rest that He had made.

Now I want you to notice with me in the next verse, verse 24 clarifies, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh. One man, one woman, one flesh. They become husband and wife. There they were in the garden," the next verse says, "both naked but not ashamed for they were husband and wife." See, God made the home. And again, what a beautiful thought how God instituted this situation, this organization, if you will, this institution that He prepared that we might have all of our needs fulfilled, our physical needs, our thoughts, our love that we need from others and that we should give to others, a nurturing atmosphere, a caring atmosphere, a providing atmosphere, protective atmosphere, on and on and on we could go. That's what the home is all about. With a father and with a mother. A father that provides. A mother that cares and brings the children up. You know, we could go on and on and on and we will look at all these things over the next many weeks as we consider in depth the home, but as we think about again the home, the real question is again: If it's an institution of God, just how important is it? Well it is of the utmost importance. So therefore, we must understand that when God determined that "a man and a woman would become husband and wife and one flesh, thus establishing a home and then those two," as we go on to read, "would be fruitful and multiply," and actually bear children as we see Adam and Eve were also commanded to do. Cain, Abel, Seth and then many other sons and daughters. Then we see that home being established.

So what was involved in the home of God? Well a father and a mother, but not just that even but children. Sons and daughters. Well we know what a home is. We know what God's design for the home is because parents need a child to bring up in the Lord. Children need parents to lead them and to bring them up in the Lord. A husband needs a wife and a wife needs a husband. So that is the home. That is the essence of what God determined a home should be if it is functioning properly, if it has all of the parts that it needs. No doubt in our own lives we see that. We see the homes where we have a stern parent, generally the father who is stern and a disciplinarian and who usually mom turns to and says, "I've had enough. Now you take care of them." On the other hand, we've got the moms, we've got the mothers who are that individual that often the children turn to and they go there for the compassion and the love and the nurturing atmosphere as well. But again, every intricate part, the sibling, the brother, the sister, is so important to development in making us who we are because everything else we do in life is about being under others, developing under others and respecting others who are over us, of working with our co-workers like brothers and sisters or being in organizations in the same way or the church itself that has a Father and that has in a sense almost like parents, but yet at the same time children that we love one another and we care for one another and we work together. So what was God intending for the home? That it was an eternal institution. That it was forever. That the one man, the one wife forever. We know that it was never God's intent that there be changes because God condemned in scriptures divorce.

Yes, in Deuteronomy chapter 24 we see where Moses actually gives Israel the right to divorce. But then in Malachi we read there in chapter 2 how clear it is given to us in verse 16 that God hates divorce. God never wants what He has joined together to be put asunder. So therefore, He hates that thing because it is a separation of a union, a commitment, a covenant that has been made between a man and a woman before God based on an institution established by God from the very beginning. Then we might even go further than that to understand that this is exactly not only what was said in the beginning, not only what was clarified in the days of Moses but also was clarified there in the days of Jesus Himself. If you'll recall also what is said there in relationship to marriage, divorce, and remarriage and how again it shows us clearly that God hated divorce. For there in Matthew 19 it states there, "They ask a question, the Pharisees, of Jesus and say, 'Can a man divorce his wife for any reason?'" Here is the answer Jesus gave. "Have you not read that He who made them from the beginning made them male and female? He said for this reason shall a man leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two become one flesh..." The two notice become one flesh. "And then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God hath joined together let not man separate." You see, the home. A man and woman coming together not being separated. Read the New Testament. Read throughout the Bible. That's the plan of God. There was only one thing that would break the bond found there in 1 Corinthians chapter 7 and that was death. Death! Or what He will also state here in just a moment. "They then said, 'Well, why did Moses (in Deuteronomy 24 in the law) why did he give them the right to divorce?" Notice what Jesus said. Verse 8, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it has not been so. God never wanted it. God hates it. Moses allowed it, not God. So therefore, He says, I say to you as God did, whoever divorces his wife except it be for sexual immorality and marries another and commits adultery. Whoever marries one who has been put away commits adultery." Here we see that idea except it be that the unfaithfulness of the other individual is the only reason, the exception as is given here.

I want you to notice the reaction of the disciples in verse 10. They say to him, "If such is the case of a man with a wife, it is better not to marry." Do you think they understood what He said? Sure they did. Because they were saying, "If that's the case, we shouldn't get married because what if I decide I don't like her and I don't want to be married anymore. I want a divorce." Or if the lady says, "I don't want to be married to him anymore." Well the fact is that is never God's intent. So we need to give that reign back to God, that control back to God, that guidance back to God from His Word, and say, "What is your plan? What is your desire? What is the home?" It is when you and I determine to make commitments and covenants with one another as men and women to become one flesh, to establish a new family unit, to bear children, to have kids, the dogs, the cats, whatever else it takes to make that home unique and special and wonderful in the eyes of God. So that together we might grow in His name. Together we might grow in the nurture and the admonition that we might all accomplish the same goal: obedience to God, being found faithful in His sight, and then knowing that we all will spend eternal life in Heaven.

I don't know of anything that would be greater than myself and my wife making it to Heaven and knowing that also our children will be saved as well. What would make the difference? The work I do now as a father. The attitude now as a husband. The accomplishments according to God's Will of what I will achieve. How important I show them marriage is. How important I show them a wife and a mother is and how I treat them as a father.

Well, we want to discuss all of these things and grow together in understanding what God's intent for the Christian home was so that we might in all things be found pleasing in His sight so that we might receive that great reward of Heaven and live with Him eternally on High.

(SONG # 3 - "Lord We Come Before Thee Now!")


Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.

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As Christians may we be thankful for the "Christian Home," which God planned, prepared and organized for our sakes. And may our homes always be strong in God and obedient to His precepts.

(Program closing)