Please find below my notes for Pt. 2 of the teaching series, “Relationships”- Relationship and Family. For personal use only. For all other uses contact firstname.lastname@example.org. (c) 2012 Terry Broadwater.
Happy Mother’s Day! Welcome to Pt. 2 of Relationships: “Relationships and Family!” Today I want to talk about why “family” is the most powerful demonstration and best example of the way relationships are supposed to work; and how “family” is God’s idea and desire for his kingdom and for every one of us.
Remember the old TV show, “All in the Family” with Archie and Edith Bunker, Meathead and Gloria? Here’s a family with tons of dysfunction and challenges, but in the end, their relationship with each other always trumped everything. What about a more modern example: “Parenthood!” Jo Ann and I love this show.
“Parenthood” takes the reality of family life, condenses it, dramatizes it, and packages it into 42-minutes of coziness. For the most part, each member of the ensemble gets equal play, though Peter Krause’s Adam Braverman, if anyone, is the center of the show, if only because he represents the responsible son, the dependable husband, and the reliable brother. He’s magnificent in the way that he interacts with his family and deals with his autistic son, Max. Lauren Graham is the unreliable single mother, sister, and daughter, a well-intentioned and hard-working mom who can’t seem to get out of her own way when it comes to both her career and family. Meanwhile, Dax Shepard — who has a much better and more likable presence than you could ever hope for, is trying to raise an illegitimate son he only recently became aware of, five years after the boy’s birth. Then there’s Julie (Erika Christiansen), the ambitious corporate lawyer who feels like she’s missing her daughter’s childhood, and her husband, Joel (Sam Jaegerman), the stay-at-home Dad, who is grappling with the sometimes, emasculating reality of that position. He’s a licensed contractor who has been relegated to juice box dispenser, but he doesn’t dismiss it. He understands the importance of his role. The family patriarch and matriarch here are Craig T. Nelson’s Zeek and his wife, Camille (Bonnie Bedelia), who ironically are the only family members whose marriage has legitimately been endangered, but only after decades of marriage.
“Parenthood” depicts one big “family” with again, more than one issue or problem they seem to be constantly dealing with. But what you come to realize is that their “relationship as a family” is the glue, the bond, the reason they can keep it all together and overcome the struggles and difficulties; traverse the tough and happy times…
It’s appropriate that we talk about relationships and family on Mother’s Day! Let’s give up for all the ladies in the house! Personally, I’m very thankful and appreciative of my Mom and my wife- who is an incredible mom, wife, and woman of God! We’ll talk more about honoring all the ladies later, but let me give you this to consider:
Top Ten Reasons God Created Women:
10. God worried Adam would get lost in the Garden because he wouldn’t ask for directions!
9. God knew that someday Adam would need someone to hand him the TV remote! (Parenthetically, it has been noted that men don’t want to see what’s ON TV, they want to see what ELSE is on)!
8. God knew that Adam would never make a doctor’s appointment!
7. God knew that when Adam’s fig leaf wore out, he wouldn’t buy a new one!
6. God knew that Adam would never remember to take out the garbage!
5. God wanted man to be fruitful and multiply, but he knew too that Adam would never be able to handle the pains and labor of childbirth!
4. As “keeper of the garden” Adam would need help finding his tools!
3. Adam needed someone to blame for the “apple” incident, and for everything else that was really his fault!
2. As the Bible says, “It is not good for man to be alone!” And the Number 1 reason…
1. God stepped back, looked at Adam and said, “I can do much better than that!”
True? Ok, let’s get serious now! Family matters significantly for God and it needs to for us as well. Again, “Family is how we relate- to each other and to God!” So, relationship is best understood in the context of family!
Relationship and Family Foundation
Mark 10:6-9 But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”
The bottom line is that “family matters to God” and that’s why it should matter with us! As a matter of fact, God ordained and instituted the ‘family” above everything else. His heart and plan is that we all exist with Him and with each other in the context of “family!” Throughout history family has been the foundation of all society, which is the primary reason Satan so diligently attacks and endeavors to disrupt and destroy the family!
That’s why you read things in the Bible like God creating Adam and Eve to be husband and wife, to multiply, and to have children- sons and daughters. You read throughout the OT how God relates to Israel as “his children” as well as sometime referring to them as his “bride or wife.” You also see the organization of Israel in terms of “Tribes, Clans, and Families.” In the NT, Jesus is called the “Son of God” and he refers to God as our “Heavenly Father.” He tell us to pray this way: “Our Father…” Later, Paul uses terminology of “spiritual fathers and sons and spiritual mothers and daughters” to describe the context of making disciples and mentoring.
Further, Jesus, Paul and others reference the “church” as the “bride of Christ” and the “family of God.” Paul also says that just as Jesus loves his church, so a “husband is to love his wife.” So, as you can clearly see, as far as God is concerned, everything is about FAMILY and it is RELATIONSHIPS that make up the family.
And finally, back to Jesus- his ultimate purpose was to restore you and me to what- Religious experience? Institutionalized programs? Rules and Regulations? Dogmatic exercises? Of course not! God sent his “SON” to provide the way for his “prodigal sons and daughters” to be restored to right relationship with God, our Father!”
Relationship and Focus on the Family
Eph. 5:21-6:4 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your 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. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body. As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
That’s a ton of Scripture and wisdom right there! Basically, Paul is telling us what our most immediate family relationships need to look like- as a husband, father, wife, mother, and children; and it says very importantly, that these relationships need to reflect Jesus’ relationship with his church!
First thing the Bible says about relationship in the context of your immediate family is that it’s all about “submission.” Few people like that word today and fewer practice it! But it’s because we don’t fully appreciate and understand what the Bible means by it!
Biblical submission has to do with two very powerful things with powerful benefits: 1) It means to “come under authority”, and 2) It means to be greatly appreciated. And the benefits are someone else is “covering” and protecting you; looking out for your best interests because you have their best interests at heart, and you know just how valued you are.
God wants our immediate family relationships- especially between a husband and wife to be about covering and caring for one another! It’s knowing ladies that you can submit to your husband BECAUSE he deeply cares for you and he’s going to cover you; protect you, provide for you, empower you! It’s knowing men that you can submit to your wife BECAUSE she is going to also take care of you and she’s going to affirm you and be affectionate toward you.
The Bible also says that children need to submit to their parents knowing they have their best interests at heart, that parents want the very best for their kids, that they have a responsibility to protect them and set them up for a blessed future.
All of these relationships are mirrored by Jesus’ relationship with the church! Jesus loved the church by giving his life for her- so a husband is to do likewise. The church loves Jesus by honoring his role and responsibility- so a wife is to do likewise. And all of us share the responsibility that is given to “children.”
And what makes these relationships work is that we are submitted; to God and to one another. And what makes them not work is that we’re not submitted; not to God nor to one another! And being submitted means I am counting on you for your covering and your care!
Relationship and the Family of Faith
Luke 8:19-21 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they couldn’t get to him because of the crowd. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to see you.” Jesus replied, “My mother and my brothers are all those who hear God’s word and obey it.”
Why is the church so important? For one very powerful reason: it’s all about Family! You can have all the friends in the world- but what’s better than friends is family! You may not think you have any friends, but you have a family! And you may think we don’t get along a times, and we don’t agree on everything, and we all have different tastes and preferences, and we can complain and criticize, and we think “What???” Hey, welcome to family!
Family is hard, it’s complicated, it’s not always perfect, but thank God we have this GCC family! And as we know, family is family, and when you have family, you never give up on family- you fight for family, and “church is family!” It’s your FOREVER FAMILY! I hope your biological family all knows Jesus, but the church is the family you’ll be with forever.
Because it’s a SPIRITUAL FAMILY! And in it you have spiritual fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, every spiritual grandsons and granddaughters…
The key to the Church Family is that we “hear and obey!” We listen and receive God’s Word and we put it into practice- Jesus says, “That’s my Family!” Because it’s a family that wants to do that because it’s based on Relationship and Service!
What’s the difference between a restaurant and a family dinner? At the “restaurant” someone takes care of everything, wait on you, bring it to the table, and you can even complain about it; maybe even turn in a complaint card! “The gravy was too salty… I’d like a complaint card please!”
If you did that to your mother or father, they’re doing to do something to you! I’d never complain about that! It’s hurtful and harmful, and greatly disrespects the service they are offering you. Also, you don’t just roll into mom and dad’s house, sit down, and start ordering a meal! “Hey, I’ve been sitting here awhile… I’d like the menu please…”
What’s going to happen most of the time? “Hey, this is family, go to the fridge, help yourself, you know where the food is!” Or, “Hey, help set the table then, you know where the plates are!” And when dinner is done, you help to clean up, right? It’s family, we join in and do something.
That’s the difference between a restaurant and a family! It’s whether or not you join in and do something! And you join in and do something because this is not a restaurant, this is a family; we are brothers and sisters, together, serving our Father and serving one another! GCC is family and this family gives you not merely the opportunity, but more importantly, the relationships that require the responsibility to serve…
In a family you see a need and you meet it. In a business, you don’t! Why? Because family is different; it’s an entirely higher and deeper level of relationship! And that’s why God doesn’t call his church a business, or an organization, or institution, but a FAMILY!
You don’t walk into a restaurant and say, “Are there any needs here I can meet? Do you need a new commercial over or fridge… I’m just so invested in this mean you served me!” You don’t do that, but you definitely do that when it’s family! You look for ways to serve, help, bless someone else- again, that’s why God wants his church to be family because those things reflect his heart and nature.
And if you’re not doing those things, serving, helping, being a part, giving, it’s not going to feel like family and you’re going to find it easy to just leave; it’s just a restaurant or business experience for you. But when it’s family, you just don’t leave; you’re involved, you’re serving, giving, invested- it’s FAMILY! Amen?
Jesus said, “My mother and brothers are those who are hearing and doing my Word; that’s my family! They own the mission, they’re committed, they’re putting faith into action, they’re discovering the joys of helping and serving others! And that’s why God calls his church family and that’s why you need the family of faith. The church, GCC, gives you the relationships and responsibilities that goes along with that to truly experience what it feels like to invest and live life abundantly!
Tell you a story: Previous church, this guy who meets with me and tell me how bad the church is, how no one has connected with him, who he’s not getting fed… and I asked him two questions: 1) Tell me how much you gave last year? And 2) Where have you served? Guess what? Nothing and nowhere! He missed the whole point and purpose. It’s a FAMILY and in the family you don’t just show up, you jump in a serve! And I promise you, when you do that, you don’t complain, you experience all the joys and fulfillment that family, despite it’s imperfections, brings to your life!
Where you serve is where you will find family! Where you understand it’s all about relationship and not about religion you find family and fulfillment!
Foundation of Family, Focusing on your Family, and the Church, the Family of Faith!
Next Week: Pt. 3 Relationships and Friends