Program Air Date - 3-24-02



What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God's Living Word. We welcome you to our program and we thank God that you have chosen to be with us today. We are excited about this opportunity we have together this morning to glorify our creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.

This morning we want to start our songs of praise with a hymn that tells us about the sweetest things in life we will ever know. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we together sing, "Sweeter Than All!"
(SONG # 1)


As we look around the world today we see that a lack of respect for fellow man seems to increase every day. People seem less and less concerned with committing violent crimes or with doing whatever it takes to accomplish a goal or to acquire something that they want. How sad it is to continually see the moral decay in our country and throughout the World.

What could be the problem in all of this? Is it difficult to figure out why all of these things are going on? Well, I think it is and the answer to the problem is God. You might wonder, "why do people keep doing such bad things or why do awful things happen in our day and time. Again the answer is God! As our society and the world seems to decline in so many ways, as yourself the follow question, "Has the world seemed to embrace God more or less over the past centuries!" In my opinion I think we can see that our country has continued to embrace Him less and less as the years go by. In fact, before September 11, it seems like it was almost a sin or wrong to even mention God or bring Him up in most settings. Too many have been far more concerned with other people's feelings and in how they might be perceived themselves. Therefore, God has continually been put on the back burner!

What about our homes today? Well, I might first ask is there really such a thing anymore? Family time and home life have been replaced with sports activities, televisions and computerized games. Are we ever going to wake up and realize we need to get back to God.

What about our societies view of the home. Does it match up with what God wants any longer? Why not ask the world what a home is today and you will find that they will exclaim it to be anything that pertains to cohabitation, regardless of God Will on the matter.

In fact, even those who claim to still love God today and follow Him are being caught up in these awful trends. What ever happened to the Christians home? What ever happened to putting God first and over a home? Most just don't see this as a priority much in our day and time anymore.

Because of all of this we will begin a new series of study today on the Christian Home. It is our hope and prayer that over the next several months we will be able to again clearly establish what God says about the Home and the need to have Him in it. We will address as many issues as we can to better understand the roll of everyone in the family and what God expects of each of them. Hopefully, we will each examine ourselves to see if we are fulfilling our function before God or not.

As stated earlier, today we will begin a new series of study that affects all of as who live in this world. Our new series is specifically entitled, "The Christian Home." Our first topic of study today will answer the question, "What Constitutes a Family?" So stay with us after our next song and in a few minutes I will return with this lesson from God's Word. It's now time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "The Great Physician."
(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

This morning we are going to begin a new series of study, as we have mentioned earlier and we're excited as we might be able to talk about the home, the Christian home. We look around the world today and it's really confusing and sometimes even frustrating to see how the world reacts to the home and how really people disregard the home as really even being important today. In fact, our society has in recent years just continued to persist that the home is not that big of a deal when really we're finding out more and more that it is and probably a great reason for a lot of the decline in our society is because we have let the home go to waste. We have not tried to make sure the parents are there and that children are fulfilling their responsibilities and parents are fulfilling their responsibilities, not only toward the children but to one another. It's because of this we want to begin to look at this concept of the Christian home. In a day and time when we find really that people are satisfied with maybe just living together or different kinds of cohabitation or concepts like maybe that as individuals on this life, they can have different styles of life or different lifestyles, alternative lifestyles as sometimes it is referred to. Then as we look at the marriage institution today, more and more are getting divorces. In fact, if we were to be honest, it seems like more today are getting divorced after becoming married than obviously ever before. In fact, probably over half are being divorced or ending in divorce, that is those marriages that are sanctioned today in our country. So this is a sad thing to see that so many marriages and then having children and so many homes are then broken up. So we need to understand what God has to say about the home and there is obviously no better place to start to understand the answer to these questions than to go to the Bible to find out exactly what He has to say, that is God, our Creator, the one who is above all and in all and through all, the one who has created everything and given us everything that we have, and even has given us the Word so that we might know His will. Well, that's where we want to again go this morning so that we might know more about the Christian home.

In fact, we might first suggest that marriage and really the home originated in the mind of God. In fact, we can go back to the very beginning of the Bible, that is in the book of Genesis, even in chapter 1 and we see there the great story of the creation and how that God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth. He made everything that was made and nothing was made that was made without Him. As we see over in the New Testament, it was Jesus who was there and the spirit also that continued to be a part of the godhead and that planned these things according to the will of the Father even before the world was created. We see there in the creation though that man was created. In fact, in Genesis chapter 1 and verse 26, we see there that God says, "Let us make man in our own image according to our likeness and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." Here we see that God says, "Let us..." again confirming our last series of looking at the godhead. "Let us make man in our own image so that they might have dominion and rule over the earth." Well this beautiful account is carried out and even more specifically given to us as we go to chapter 2 and it tells us there in verse 7 of chapter 2 there in Genesis that "the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being. " You see in the creation, the greatest, the ultimate creation, the most magnificent thing that God made of all His creations was man, was man because man was not only similar to a lot of the creations but man was able to think, was able to follow God and obey Him and understand and reason and have wisdom and have knowledge. Yes man, again, the ultimate creation of God. Why? Because he was made in His image, in His likeness, as we read also in verse 26 of chapter 1. But now as we see man being created, we know that it wasn't long that it seems that God understood that man was lonely. In fact, very early on it seems that God understood that man should not be alone and actually indicated that as we might look in verse 18 as God said, "It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a helper comparable to him." Here we see that God understood that man needed a companion, that there as the man being alone, even though he had all these wonders of the earth that God had made and such beauties of nature and all the creatures and animals, he still needed someone that he could communicate with that was like him and on his level, that he could have a relationship with. I think that all of us understand how important relationships are in this world in which we live, how important it is that we have those that we are close to and that we love and that we care about.

Well God understood that and He understood that Adam needed that and because of that, we also look back to the scripture there again in Genesis chapter 2 and we look at verse 21 and following. Notice what God did. "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam and he slept, and He took one of the ribs and closed up the flesh in it's place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man, He made into a woman and He brought her to the man. And Adam said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman because she was taken of man.'" Here we see the whole story of how that not only Adam was made but then God saw that he was lonely, and then from Adam's own rib, God made a woman, again of the dust of the ground in order that she might be his, as it says here, helpmeet. Notice the reaction of man as obviously being pleased. He said, "This is now bone of my bones." Obviously because God taken a bone from Adam to make a woman. "Bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh." Made of the dust just as he was of the one flesh it seems to indicate here again and because of that, he called her woman as she was taken from man.

Then verse 24 really again shows us the first institution that was ever set up by our Lord God, the first really institution that was ever established that would be according to His will when there this man and woman became one together. As He said there in verse 24, "Therefore, shall a man leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh." Now we don't have to go far from there to see that truly this was the case, that here the man and the woman became one. They were one flesh. Why again? Because the woman was made of man. And they were one flesh in whose eyes? In the eyes of God and they became one flesh because they left their families and their homes to make a what? A new home. And before God, it would be a Christian home, a home that was something that was special and unique according to the plans that God had designed again through His most precious and wondrous Word. So as we see here yes, the husband and wife. We see the home being instituted and then because of this, we see the joy in their lives. Even in verse 25, it goes on to say that "even though they were both naked, the man and his wife, they were not ashamed." You see, they were in God's presence. They were following Him and they were joined before the almighty, magnificent Creator in order to give them the many great pleasures found in life, those things that God had made so that man could find not only joy but happiness in the life that God had made for Him.

Now if you go over to the New Testament, I think a very interesting thing that we find that the son of God, Jesus Christ, God Himself in the flesh, also confirmed for us here very clearly the very same fact that we just learned from the creation. In fact, you might look with me in Matthew chapter 19, verses 4 through 6 and you'll notice here what Jesus had to say in relationship to marriage. He said there, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female and said for this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become flesh, so then they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate." Here we see again clearly the pattern, the pattern that was laid out by God. When? Before the world began because we see even in His first creation that this took place and then every creation thereafter and every one that was born and every one of the earth continued then, at least according to His will, in this institution of marriage. Here again, leaving the father and mother, becoming one flesh and as we see there again in verse 6 that they no longer be two but one, one in the eyes of God, and therefore since they had been joined before God as the one flesh, two again becoming one, then it said there that "man should not separate that."

Now really I think that leads us to the next concept really of marriage, the next part of the home, the Christian home and that is that there was more than just the husband and the wife to a family or to a home. In fact, you can go back with me to a few verses. We can go all the way back to Genesis where we were earlier and see even further that Adam and Eve continued with what God had instructed them. Notice in chapter 4 and verse 1 it says, "And Adam knew his wife Eve and she conceived and bore Cain and said, 'I have acquired a man from the Lord.' Then she bore again and this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of the sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground." Here we see that the husband and wife being one flesh now, married before God, started a home, a family, a family that included as we see here children, children that were God's and that were His. And as we go on in chapter 5, verses 4 and 5, we see that there were many others. In fact, it says there in verse 4 of chapter 5, "And after he begot Seth, the days of Adam were 800 years and he had sons and daughters. So all the days that Adam lived were 930 and he died." Many other sons and daughters besides Cain and Abel and Seth. Many other sons and daughters that Adam and Eve had in order to do what God had asked them to do. So another part of the home is having children and in fact, that command was very specifically given that they should have children and we see that again indicated in the text.

If you'll go back with me again and we'll look in Genesis chapter 1 and verse 27, we see the idea there that they were created as male and female and created before God, they were told in verse 28 of chapter 1 to "be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it."

You might also remember that in Genesis chapter 9 that Noah after he had come off of the ark and had been saved by water with all of his sons, that they were all also told the very same thing, to have families, to have homes, to have children and multiply and replenish the earth and before God have Christian homes which would be based on Christian unions, men and women leaving their homes as they begin to grow up, becoming one flesh and starting their own home and raising children and having children. This is the plan that God gives. This is the institution that the Bible refers to as the family, as the home and this is what we must strive for as those who are the children of God.

But let's also consider the commitment which a man and a woman makes now in the home, in the family. How long does it last? Well the Bible tells us that it lasts forever. In fact, Paul deals a lot with this concept of the relationship in marriage and the home. You might go with me if you will to the book of Ephesians in chapter 28 again showing this bond between a man and a woman, a husband and a wife. In Ephesians chapter 5 and verse 28, I want you to begin to see here what he says about the husband. He says, "The husband ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself for no one ever hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes just as the Lord does the church, for we are members of His body and His flesh and of His bones." As we see here, the husband is to love the wife, why? Because he is to care for her as his own flesh. That's not hard to understand after our study so far. As we look in Genesis and Matthew because we see the two became one flesh. When we marry, my wife is as my own flesh. When she hurts, I hurt. When she rejoices, I rejoice. She is one with me before God. And I should feel as such before Him and as it says here, "I should treat her as myself and care for her as myself." Again, we see this is a union before God, a union that will last forever, a union that should not be broken, a union as we say in marriage today and as has always been said and is appropriate until death do us part. We know this to be the case because God tells us that He hates divorce. One verse that stands out in my mind is in Malachi chapter 2 and in verse 16. It says, "The Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce for it covers one garment with violent says the Lord of host, therefore take heed to your spirit that you do not deal treacherously." Here again, God hates divorce and considers it as dealing treacherously with others. That is again the one of the other flesh. How can we separate ourselves from one that is our own flesh? How can we even choose or think about divorcing one who is really a part of us because God hates it?

Again, in the book of 1 Corinthians we see the same idea being given that God hates divorce and He does not accept it. In fact, the instruction according to the Lord, if you'll notice there in 1 Corinthians chapter 7, read with me if you will in verse 10. "Now to the married, I command, yet not I, but the Lord, a wife is not to depart from her husband but even if she departs let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband, and a husband is not to divorce his wife." Here clearly Paul says according to the Lord's will a man and a woman aren't to get divorced. They are not to get divorced because according to God's will, they are one in the flesh and remain until death. They are a family. They are a unit. They are a home under God and before God.

Now I want to though look at two things that would separate the bond, that would allow someone to remarry and there are basically only two places we find in scripture that support and show us clearly that there were reasons why one could divorce or leave a husband or a spouse and be remarried. One is found in Romans 7, and it's clear here and one that would be understandable to you because it says there in verse 2, "For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as she lives, but if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband." Here we see that death separates. Obviously, all agree that death separates. It breaks the bond. It allows one to remarry. Even Paul said it is better to marry than to burn if you need to fulfill your fleshly desires.

But what about the other case? The other case that we have is only addressed once as we see in the text when Jesus was speaking. You might turn with me to the book of Matthew 19 and we see there that really all the things that God has said as we laid out in verses 4 through 6 was from the beginning according to God and then it begins in verse 8 saying that "Moses allowed divorce." But again, notice that Jesus in His words that Jesus said that "from the beginning, it was not so." That was not God's way. That was not God's wisdom. But then he said, "I say to you in verse 9, whoever divorces his wife except for sexual immorality and marries another and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery." God hates divorce. It's unacceptable except as it says here that it be for what? Fornication. When one puts themselves in the situation of fornication, committing adultery, sexual immorality with someone else, then they break that bond and one is not required to remain with someone who is unfaithful physically with another individual or in an adulterous relationship.

Back in Matthew 5, again Jesus dealt with this in another situation as He said in verse 31, "Furthermore, it has been said that whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorcement." But He said in verse 32, "I say to you, whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality and causes her to commit adultery and whoever marries the woman who is divorced commits adultery." Here we see again, the only reason that one divorces and remarries, the remarriage situation is when sexual immorality, immorality as far as those things which are improper is involved in on one side of the marriage relationship.

You see, the home, the home, the family of God is again an institution set up by God before the world began and from the beginning and from all that time on today even has been established in Him that we do it His way and it's a lifetime commitment. So it's a serious thing that we must teach our children about.

As they understand the home and as we bring children into the world and we raise them that we have Christian homes that have God at the center and may we realize that when we're involved in that marriage relationship that it is before God and on His behalf until death do us part.
(SONG # 3 - "To Christ Be True!")


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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May we each realize more every day how important it is that we have good, functional homes which are founded in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Program closing)