Christ, the Foundation For A Successful Family
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scriptures: Genesis 1: 26 - 28; 2:18-25, Ephesians 5:22-33
Sunday 07th May 2017
I want to begin this message with a few statistics from the Office of National Statistics, dated 14th of March 2017. Here are a few of the statistics to take note of:
There were 247,372 marriages between opposite sex couples in 2014. There were 4,850 marriages between same sex couples in 2014 (Marriages of same sex couples have only been possible since 29 March 2014). There were 111,169 divorces in 2014: The number of divorces in 2014 was highest among men aged 45 to 49 and women aged 40 to 44.
Almost half (48%) of couples divorcing in 2013 had at least 1 child aged under 16 living in the family. There were 94,864 children aged under 16 who were in families where the parents divorced in 2013. When parents no longer love each other and decide to live apart, a child can feel as if their world has been turned upside down. Fearful about being left alone - if one parent can go, perhaps the other will do the same. There are children who are angry at one or both parents for the relationship breakdown. Many are torn between both parents. These feelings are often made worse by the fact that many children have to move home and sometimes school when parents separate. Emotional and behavioural problems in children are more common when their parents are fighting or separating. Teenagers may show their distress by misbehaving or withdrawing into themselves. They may find it difficult to concentrate at school.
In response to the challenges highlighted above, a family is God’s channel to raise up Godlike children, hence the mandate to build successful families. The word ‘success’ is a function of purpose. In other words, a successful family is one that fulfils divine purpose.
Here is Genesis 1:26-28: ‘Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Marriage was designated, ordained and established for a purpose. The word ‘be’ denotes an assignment. Sadly, self-centredness, instead of purpose has dominated many marriages, today.
In addressing the single folks, let me make this clear that marriage was not designed to cure loneliness, the tradition of marrying because it is a nice thing to do, and the pressure of time and aging. All these reasons are closely related to self-centredness – a major reason for the breakdown of marriages. Genesis 2:18 gives us the main reason for marriage: ‘And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” The word ‘helper’ in this passage implies that there is an assignment to fulfil. Hence when a couple are united in marriage, the primary reason for the union ought to be to fulfil a God-given purpose. Since no human being can truly fulfil an individual, our fulfilment and wholeness can only be found in Christ. Colossians 2:10 reads: ‘And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power’.
A successful marriage leads to a successful family, society and ultimately a successful nation. The family is the cornerstone for our society. More than any other force, it shapes the attitude, hopes, ambitions and values of a child. When a family unit collapses, it is the children that are usually affected the most. On a massive scale, a conglomeration of broken homes inevitably cripples the community. Lyndon Baines Johnson is quoted as saying: “So, unless family is strengthened and stay together, the schools, playgrounds, and public assistance, and private concern — will never be enough.”
Marriage is foundational because it is on the basis of this, that God builds a society. The reason why the society is in disarray is primarily because of the attack against the marriage institution. The enemy is fully aware that if he can destroy marriages, ultimately the society and humanity will be annihilated.
Besides this, we must also realise that a healthy family is the key to a healthy church. All these have been written to make this profound statement: Our marriages are worth fighting for.
Let’s take a close look at the responsibilities of a couple – a husband and a wife in building a God-centred family:
Here is Ephesians 5:22-29 which reads: ‘Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Saviour of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands 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 it, just as the Lord does the church.’
From this text, we can surmise that the husband is the head of the wife. The headships that wives have been called to submit to, is not that of domineering or superiority, but one of leadership, guidance, direction, love, care and responsibility, as God’s will is being unfolded in their lives. Wives have been called to submit to their husbands in the same way that church would submit to Christ. The headship of Christ is that of sacrifice, dedication, commitment and love. When wives submit to their husbands in all the will of God for their families, they model Christ to the world. Feminism is not the answer to the issues in marriage – men have been called to lead.
In leading the home, can I encourage the men to love their wives as Christ loved the church? In loving the church, Christ gave His life sacrificially, loved the church irrevocably, unconditionally and totally. His love for the church is not as a result of perfection or merit, but as a result of His ultimate goal – to present the church as a glorious bride. Hence husbands are admonished in this epistle to love their wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.
So, husbands can I encourage you to use your words to encourage, strengthen, uplift and nurture your wives, just as Christ will do, till they become all that God has ordained for them to be. Each couple should be fully aware that their ultimate goal as a family is to build each other up until it can be said of our homes, that Christ is indeed the foundation of our families.
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