On October 10th, we had the blessing of ministering at the Smyrna Seventh-day Adventist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Here are notes from the afternoon presentation:
Introduction: Read the ‘Fundamental Belief’ regarding marriage and the family from the church’s fundamental beliefs. [Can be accessed from Adventist.org – Marriage and The Family].
The Foundation: The Family from The Bible and Prophetic Writings
The first unit we are exposed to as human beings is the family. Whatever your family dynamic (because families come in different shapes and sizes), once you reach the age of awareness and consciousness as a child, you start recognizing and connecting with the ones you live with.
Creation week presents the first family created by God. God called the first man and woman Adam in the day they were created, “Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created” (Genesis 5:2). They were one unit; they were one family. From this union, children were brought into the world and the human family was off to a good start until iniquity was introduced.
What are some family attributes mentioned in the Bible?
- Unity and oneness exhibited – Genesis 2:21-25.
- The blessing of a spouse and children – Psalm 127:3-5, Proverbs 17:6, Proverbs 18:22, Proverbs 19:14 and Proverbs 20:6-7.
- The father as the head of the home and provider of the family – Ephesians 5:25-28 and 1 Timothy 5:8.
- Duties of parents and guardians – Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4 and Deuteronomy 6:6-9.
- Duties of children – Exodus 20:12, Proverbs 1:8, Proverbs 6:20-21, Ephesians 6:1-3 and Colossians 3:20.
What are some family attributes mentioned in the Prophetic Writings?
Companionship — “God Himself gave Adam a companion. He provided “an help meet for him”—a helper corresponding to him—one who was fitted to be his companion, and who could be one with him in love and sympathy. Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self, showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation. “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it.” Ephesians 5:29. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one.” – Patriarchs and Prophets, 46.2
“God made from the man a woman, to be a companion and helpmeet for him, to be one with him, to cheer, encourage, and bless him, he in his turn to be her strong helper. All who enter into matrimonial relations with a holy purpose—the husband to obtain the pure affections of a woman’s heart, the wife to soften and improve her husband’s character and give it completeness—fulfill God’s purpose for them. Christ came not to destroy this institution, but to restore it to its original sanctity and elevation. He came to restore the moral image of God in man, and He began His work by sanctioning the marriage relation” – 1 Manuscript 16, 1899 and Adventist Home 99
The Blessing Of Marriage —- “…When the divine principles are recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for man’s social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature”– Patriarchs and Prophets 46.3
Working Together —- “To the dwellers in Eden was committed the care of the garden, “to dress it and to keep it.” Their occupation was not wearisome, but pleasant and invigorating. God appointed labor as a blessing to man, to occupy his mind, to strengthen his body, and to develop his faculties….Our Creator, who understands what is for man’s happiness, appointed Adam his work. The true joy of life is found only by the working men and women. The angels are diligent workers; they are the ministers of God to the children of men. The Creator has prepared no place for the stagnating practice of indolence” – Patriarchs and Prophets, 50.1
The Home: Heaven on Earth —– ” Home should be made all that the word implies. It should be a little heaven upon earth, a place where the affections are cultivated instead of being studiously repressed. Our happiness depends upon this cultivation of love, sympathy, and true courtesy to one another” Adventist Home 15.3
Holiness in Family Life
What does ‘holiness’ mean? It means someone or something is consecrated, dedicated or devoted to the service of God, church or a religion. The home is the first school for children. It is in the home that children and family members should first learn about holiness and God.
Holiness to God is to pervade the home…. Parents and children are to educate themselves to co-operate with God. They are to bring their habits and practices into harmony with God’s plans.Adventist Home, 19.5
Our homes are supposed to be sanctuaries where God can dwell among us (Exodus 25:8). It is the place where members of the family can first learn about The LORD, how to reverence His Holy Name and how to treat others.
Every Christian home should have rules; and parents should, in their words and deportment toward each other, give to the children a precious, living example of what they desire them to be. Purity in speech and true Christian courtesy should be constantly practiced. Teach the children and youth to respect themselves, to be true to God, true to principle; teach them to respect and obey the law of God. These principles will control their lives and will be carried out in their associations with others. They will create a pure atmosphere—one that will have an influence that will encourage weak souls in the upward path that leads to holiness and heaven.Adventist Home 16.3
As we look at the family, we see that the LORD has a high calling on the family. But we must also remember there are things we must guard against. The family should be a safe-haven (a city of refuge) for all those who dwell in it. Although we may laugh and have enjoyable times in it, we should not use, abuse and joke on each other to hurt their feelings.
Never should either party (the husband or wife) indulge in a joke at the expense of the other’s feelings. Never should either the husband or wife in sport or in any other manner complain of each other to others, for frequently indulging in this foolish and what may seem perfectly harmless joking will end in trial with each other and perhaps estrangement.Adventist Home, 177.1
Young members of the family should treated with respect, dignity and rightly trained. If adult members do not regard God and spiritual things, or have a casual regard for spiritual things, the children will emulate this. It is therefore imperative that parents and guardians are noble and upright students of the LORD so they can teach the children.
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)
Health In The Family
A well-ordered, well-rounded Christian family is not only called to be holy, but also healthy. It is not only important to have healthy spiritual lives, we must remember the other dimensions of our lives as well. What are they?
Depending on which model you follow, the categories are broken down differently, but for our presentation, we will follow the six dimension one. They are:
- Mental or Intellectual
[Summarized each dimension briefly and its relation to health ].
Happiness In The Family
Now that we have looked at holiness and health in family life, we will finally look at happiness. The family unit has been under attack since Eden. Satan does not want the family to know and exercise its power to change society so he employs many devices to bring sadness, despair and death our way. The Almighty created us to be joyful, happy members of the human family, and we can be this. When you consider the fruit of the Holy Spirit as found in Galatians 5:22 (But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,), joy is mentioned second. Although some use the words interchangeably, there is a difference between being happy and being joyful. Happiness is usually situational. You are happy when your loved one returns home from a trip; you are happy when you get good news from a friend; but joy is deeper and is not dependent on the situation. You may not be happy at the funeral of a loved one, but you can still have joy and hope that you will see this loved one again. You may be in pain because of sickness or disease, and you know that “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” Psalm 30:5
Having a well-ordered, well-rounded family unit truly brings fullness of joy. Do all you can to protect, encourage, uplift and support your home, for in it are the three H’s: Holiness, Health and Happiness.
The mission of the home extends beyond its own members. The Christian home is to be an object lesson, illustrating the excellence of the true principles of life. Such an illustration will be a power for good in the world. Far more powerful than any sermon that can be preached is the influence of a true home upon human hearts and lives. As the youth go out from such a home, the lessons they have learned are imparted. Nobler principles of life are introduced into other households, and an uplifting influence works in the community.Ministry of Healing, 352.3