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"GOD LOVES FAMILIES!" INTRODUCTION 1. In another study we noted that God hates divorce (cf. "God Hates Divorce!")... a. For it covers one's garment with violence - Mal 2:16a b. For it treats one's spouse with treachery - Mal 2:16b 2. How does God feel about families...? a. Does He love families as strong as He hates divorce? b. What ideal family is one that He loves to see? [We can confidently affirm that God loves families! How do we know this...?] I. HOW WE KNOW GOD LOVES FAMILIES A. GOD CREATED THE PHYSICAL FAMILY... 1. He instituted marriage between man and woman - Mt 19:4-6; Ro 7: 2-3; Mt 19:9 a. Designing it to be for life b. Allowing divorce only for the cause of fornication 2. He thus provided the ideal arrangement for children a. In which they are to be born (from the union of two sexes who have become one) b. In which they are to grow (benefiting from what both sexes have to offer) 3. His love for family extends to when families are broken a. He is a father of the fatherless, a defender of widows - Psa 68:5 b. He relieves the fatherless and widow - Ps 146:9 c. He charges that families provide for their widows - 1Ti 5:4 d. He describes such care as pure and undefiled religion - Ja 1:27 B. GOD CREATED A SPIRITUAL FAMILY... 1. He offers Himself as a loving Father - 1Jn 3:1-2 2. He provides a wonderful Elder Brother for our salvation - He 2: 9-13 3. He sent His Spirit so we could be born into this family - Tit 3: 4-7; Ro 8:15-17 4. He revealed His Word so we can be born again - Jm 1:18; 1Pe 1: 22-25 5. He designed the church to be an extended family with many mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters - Mk 10:29-30; 1Ti 3:15 [Indeed, God loves families! The concept of family is important in both the physical and spiritual realm. Focusing our attention on the physical family, let's review...] II. THE IDEAL FAMILY THAT GOD LOVES A. WHERE HUSBANDS TREAT THEIR WIVES... 1. With love and without bitterness, as Christ loved the church - Col 3:19; Ep 5:25-29 2. With understanding, honor, tenderness, and as fellow heirs - 1Pe 3:7 B. WHERE WIVES RESPOND TO THEIR HUSBANDS... 1. With love and obedience - Tit 2:4-5 2. With submission, as the church is to submit to Christ - Col 3: 18; Ep 5:22-24 C. WHERE FATHERS RAISE THEIR CHILDREN... 1. Without provoking them to wrath - Col 3:21; Ep 6:4a 2. In the nurture and admonition of the Lord - Ep 6:4b 3. With proper discipline when needed - Pr 13:24; 19:18; 29:17; He 12:7-10 D. WHERE MOTHERS RAISE THEIR CHILDREN... 1. With love - Tit 2:4 2. As homemakers, managers of the home - Tit 2:4; 1Ti 5:14; cf. Pr 31:10-31 E. WHERE CHILDREN REACT TO THEIR PARENTS... 1. With obedience - Col 3:20; Ep 6:1 2. With honor - Ep 6:2-3; cf. Pr 31:28 F. WHERE ALL ARE DEDICATED TO SERVING HIM... 1. Having a genuine faith from one generation to another - cf. 2Ti 1:5 2. With devotion to the Lord that surpasses even devotion to one another - Mt 10:37 CONCLUSION 1. No family is perfect, but God's ideal for the physical family is worth striving for... a. It is the best hope for strong marriages, for healthy and happy families, that last a lifetime b. God-ordained marriages, and certainly children, deserve the very best we can give 2. If we find ourselves in a family broken beyond repair... a. By death, divorce, or dysfunction beyond our control b. Do not forget that God has a spiritual family designed for eternity The best hope for strong, physical families is for everyone to become a child of God in His spiritual family. Have you become a child of God by being born again of water and the Spirit...? - Jn 3:3-5; Mk 16:16