Raising A Godly Family
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Joshua 24:14-15
Sunday 1st May 2016
As we begin this year’s Family Convention today, I believe that this series of messages and the different forums we’ve prepared this month would be used by God to build and strengthen the various units within the family.
Our foundation scriptures taken from Joshua 24:14-15 reads: “So fear the LORD and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD alone. But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”
As Christians, it is important that we take a godly stand in a world that has lost its godly values, more so that the breakdown of the family is the most critical issue facing our society today. The rate of breakdown is alarming even within the Church, and our focus during this convention is to give Christ the preeminent position in our homes. We need to realise more than ever before, that the wherewithal we need to hold the family together is not in psychology, humanism, or in good ideas and principles. This can only be found in Christ. Colossians 1:16-18 describes it this way: ‘For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the pre-eminence’.
From our scriptural reference in Joshua 24, Joshua presented three options to the nation of Israel; the gods their ancestors served beyond the Euphrates (the ancestral God), the gods of the Amorites (the New Age God) or the Lord, the one true God. And just as Joshua made a choice to serve God, wholeheartedly with all the members of his family, we all also have to make a deliberate choice to serve God.
We need to critically examine the principles and values governing the choices we make in our families. What motivates the direction you and your family are heading towards? Is it motivated by traditional or ancestral beliefs, new age thinking or by the doctrine that the bible encourages us to embrace? Is it God’s word that is influencing our choices within our families or the law of the land?
While an ancestral philosophy could be displayed in values such as polygamy, various forms of slavery and bondage as revealed in scriptures during the Egyptian era, the god of the land affiliated more to the New Age world order today can be seen in several ideologies such as relativism, humanism, secularism, modernism with such school of thought that encourage its subjects to do what they feel is good, true and right to their senses. This god says you are in charge of your life. It is a god that encourages divorce, homosexuality, teenage sex and pregnancy, cohabitation, adultery, fornication, all forms of sexual perversion and pornography. Like Joshua drew the line in his day, we also have to draw the line and stand up for what we believe is biblically right.
The family was designed by God to provide a cure for the social, psychological, emotional and spiritual ills in society. Whenever a nation is described as ungodly, such a description can be traced back to the problems in the family. Every crime in a society, every type of anti-social behaviour in the community, and the various acts of lawlessness in a nation could be traced back to a breakdown in the family. However, a godly family is the key to a stable, healthy and productive nation. Godly families will inevitably produce a godly nation.
A study carried out on two early American men revealed two distinct family lineages. Max Jules lived in New York, and lived without the Christian faith. Of the 1026 of his progenies, 300 died prematurely, 100 served an average of 13 years in prison, 100 lived as prostitutes and another 100 lived as alcoholics. The same study examined the life and descendants of Jonathan Edwards, a clergyman in the 18th century. 300 of his family lineage became preachers, 65 became college Professors, 13 became university presidents, 60 became authors, 3 served as United States congressmen and 1 served as a US Vice-President.
Here are five characteristics of a Godly family:
1. A Godly family is built and centred on Christ: As a family, your sustenance and foundation must be initiated in Christ. Colossians 2:6-7 reads: ‘And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness’. With Christ at the centre of our homes, he ought to be the source of our strength, hope and values.
2. A Godly family fellowship together: Each member of a godly family must prioritise spending time in fellowship, devoted to prayer, the word and worship. Making time to pray prepares each member of the home for the days ahead, especially as the children grow up into adulthood. Besides prayer, also devote time to encouraging the children to study the bible, as this would strengthen their faith and enrich their lives. Let worship also become a key part of your time together as a home (See Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Matthew 21:13).
3. A Godly family is rooted in Christ’s Love: As members of a godly family, the bond of peace and unity is evident as they relate to one another. God’s love is also expressed to other acquaintances and others. God’s love enables the family to give generously, serve gracefully and worship Him joyfully (See Ephesians 3:17-18).
4. A Godly family forgives: In the home of the godly, there is forgiveness. Here is Colossians 3:12-13, ‘Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others’ (NLT).
5. A Godly family communicates Godly values: Values such as integrity, commitment, loyalty, faithfulness, purity, holiness, diligence respect, trust, honesty, support and giving.
Let the words of Joshua 24:15 be a focal thought during this month of our family convention and beyond, “…But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”
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