The following is a transcript from a sermon I wrote and preached at First Baptist Church of Spring Valley last month. Like most transcripts, there might be a few grammatical mistakes scattered throughout, so please forgive me if you stumble upon any, and feel free to let me know if anything doesn’t make any sense. Thanks for reading!
If you have your Bibles with you today, please go ahead and turn with me to the book of Ephesians, and were going to be reading from chapter. Ephesians, Chapter 5.
While you turn there, I know the theme of this month here at First Baptist Church of Spring Valley is the family. Now, as many of you know, I don’t have a lot of expertise in this area, since I don’t have a family of my own yet. No wife. No kids. I do have a 4 year old dog, but I don’t even know where he is half the time.
However, while many of us may not have experience in the area of raising a family, I’m thankful that despite of my inexperience, and lack of knowledge in the area of raising a family, God has provided us a perfect guide through the words of His scripture.
Ronald Reagan once told a story about a newspaper photographer in southern California. One day the editor called the photographer and gave him an assignment to get aerial pictures of a wildfire to show the scope of the damage.
The editor had arranged a plane, and all that the photographer had to do was go to the airport, and find it. So the photographer went to the airport and found a plane with its engines running sitting on the runway, and immediately jumped on board and they took off.
When they reached about five thousand feet above ground, he told the pilot to take him over the fire so he could start taking pictures. The pilot was quiet for a moment and asked, “Why would we fly over the fire?” The photographer answered, “That’s what we paid for you for! I’m the photographer that you’re supposed to fly over the fire so we can take pictures of it for the newspaper!”
The pilot replied “Wait! I thought I was the one paying you! Aren’t you supposed to be my flight instructor?” It’s always safer when we trust in something that’s proven. While I might not have much to say as man, I’m not here to preach Pastor Joemel’s take on family, but I’m here to preach instruction from the infallible word of God.
If you have your Bible open to the book of Ephesians Chapter 5, please turn with me as I read from verses 22-27. Ephesians 5:22-27.
The Word of God says:
Ephesians 5:22-27 (KJV) 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
From the very beginning, when God first instituted the family, God’s intention, was for the family to be a perfect illustration of His love for mankind. Today I want to preach about how our families ought to be a Model of His Majesty.
Growing up, one of my favorite things to do as a kid was assemble plastic models. Around Middle School, late elementary school, my dad would come home from work, and bring me these plastic models that he would let me assemble. Sometimes it was an airplane, maybe a sailboat, or an aircraft carrier.
I loved them! Not just because I thought they were fun to build. They were a hassle and I messed up a lot, which is why we never kept any of the models I built, but the reason I loved them so much was because I realized that those models were possibly the closest I was ever going to get to seeing any of those things up close.
I’ve seen some F-14s and A-1 bombers at airshows, from thousands of feet away, but never as up close and personal as I could when I built those models. Those models were almost identical representations of the real thing; every door, every gun.
Now, I don’t remember anything about them now, but I remember back then, I knew a lot about those planes and those carriers thanks to those models. When I was old enough to go to the Navy Base with my father and see the ship yard, I recognized everything!
Not because I’ve seen them before, but because of those models, I felt like I was around them my whole life. Now why am I talking about model airplanes and navy boats? Here’s why.
According to the Washington Post, since 2005, the amount of people in America who deny the existence of God has gone up over 500%. What’s more troubling is that this Gallup poll survey was done in 2012. Experts believe the number could have as much as doubled since them. Statistics show by the time our children in our nurseries are done with college, the majority of America will either be atheist, or Muslim. The effects aren’t hard to see.
No need for graphs and charts to see that crime is on a rise. Teen pregnancy is on a rise. Abortions are on the rise. America is becoming a Godless nation. Now the golden question is why?
Why is America falling so far from God? Why are we so addicted to sin? Why are we so consumed with violence? Why is that we are so quick to hate and accuse, and so slow to forgive? Has God left us? Has God given up on America? Has God disappeared?
I refuse to believe that. My Bible tells me He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. My God hasn’t forgotten about us. Our nation has forgotten about God. However, before we point fingers and blame atheist for destroying America, we must have sympathy, and realize that there’s a reason for why they believe the way they believe. Why they’ve given up on God. It’s simple!
We’ve lost our model. The same way that those small plastic snap together airplanes were my model to show me exactly how an F-14 looks like from every angle, the Bible tells us that the traditional family was designed to be God’s perfect model for mankind to see exactly how God works. It was meant to be our way of seeing God.
The Apostle Paul told the church of Ephesus in verse 23, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”
God designed fathers to be loving, strong, faithful, and compassionate leaders, to show children exactly how passionately and unconditionally Jesus loves you and me! He designed mothers to be kind, gentle, submissive, and caring helpmeets, who were meant to be loved and protected, and NEVER meant to be hurt, abandoned, or mistreated; a picture of how valuable we are to God.
Unfortunately, that model has been broken. The reason why America has forgotten about God is because we have no idea how God is supposed to look like. By God’s grace, we need to change this! We need to bring the family back! We need revival of the home! We need to change our future before it’s too late.
For the rest of the time we have together, I want to share three ways that we as the children of God need to mold our families to be a model of God’s majesty for our children, and for our society to see exactly who God really is. First of all, we see in our passage:
- A Total Submission (22-24)
Ephesians 5:22-24 (KJV) 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Now I know what all the men in the room are thinking. “Amen Pastor! You tell ‘em!”. Don’t worry ladies, this point will be short.
I’ll save the majority of the message for the men because last time I checked; there are more ladies here than there are men, amen?
Here’s the thing. The Bible is telling us here that when wives submit to their husbands, children learn two things. First they see:
a. An Explanation for Submission
When a wife submits to her husband and allows him to lead, children learn the importance of obedience to God in the face of confusion. Allow me to explain what I mean.
Oftentimes, as hard as it is to admit, women are usually smarter than men. Amen ladies? I know for a fact that my girlfriend is a lot smarter than me! Some may disagree, but a lot of times, it’s true!
While God created women with equal value and worth to men, when children see their fully capable, strong, and independent mothers submitting to their often imperfect father’s they realize, sometimes, even when dad doesn’t make sense, you have to listen.
This sounds a lot like how we need to follow God; Choosing submission and obedience despite our logic and reasoning. Thankfully, unlike in the home, our heavenly father is perfect!
Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Oftentimes the reason why people have such a hard time obeying God is because we try to over reason with Him. We try to debate and argue with God over why He wants us to do every little thing He’s trying to tell us to do, and we always think we know better.
Ladies, I know this isn’t easy to hear, and trust me, this isn’t easy to say, but whether your husband is right or wrong, God’s Word tells us to try your hardest to learn how to submit to them, so that our children can see what it means to submit to God, even in the face of adversity and confusion. Secondly, not only do they learn the explanation for submission, but children also learn about:
b. The Extent of Submission
Not only do children learn why they need to obey God, but they also learn how sincerely they should be willing to serve God. When a wife is willing to do anything to serve and please her husband, children learn to be willing to do anything for God.
Isaiah 40:31 (KJV) But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
A lot of people are familiar with this verse, but the problem is that most people don’t understand it. When the scripture says to “wait” upon the Lord, He’s not saying to stand around with your arms crossed waiting. He means we ought to wait upon God the same way a good waiter or waitress at a nice restaurant waits upon us.
A waiter doesn’t wait for you to serve them. A good waiter is supposed to wait for every possible opportunity to serve you in any way that he or she can, and it’s a mother’s responsibility to teach children how to serve God, by serving their husbands.
Now I know in today’s liberal society, everything I’m saying sounds a little outdated and old fashioned, and maybe I’m an old fashioned guy, but I believe God’s truth never changes.
A wife ought to be willing to serve her husband in an old fashioned way, and enjoy it. A wife should enjoy cooking her husband dinner when he gets home from work. A wife should enjoy cleaning up after his mess. A wife should enjoy serving her husband..
Now I know a lot of younger girls hear this and think, “Well, what if the guy I want to marry someday doesn’t deserve those things? What if he’s going to take advantage of me? What if the guy I marry is abusive or rude?” I have a secret for you ladies…
If you think the boy you want to marry has the potential to not deserve any of these things… then don’t marry him! You don’t have to marry the first good looking guy that thinks you’re beautiful. Marry the kind of man you can see yourself enjoying to serve and obey for the rest of your life, and you don’t settle for anything less! God’s daughters deserve that, amen?
The reason why it’s so important for young ladies to wait and find the perfect husband is because you are going to be your children’s best model for what it means to have total submission. Your children’s ability to submit to God depends on mothers.
Ladies, strive to be the example your children need you to be. Not only does our passage show us that mothers teach children total submission, but now for the men. Secondly, we see that the family can model God’s majesty by simply:
- A Taking on of Sacrifice (25)
Ephesians 5:25 (KJV) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Love your wives! Can I get an “amen” from the ladies? Sorry men, but it’s the Bible. The same way Jesus loves us, and was willing to give Himself, and lay down His very life for us, we need to be willing to do anything, and sacrifice anything for our wives.
Husbands love your wives! Can I get an “amen” from the ladies? Sorry men, but it’s the Bible. The same way Jesus loves us, and was willing to give Himself, and lay down His very life for us, we need to be willing to do anything, and sacrifice anything for our wives.
Whether it’s a sacrifice of time, money, or just emotions, everything we have and everything we are belongs to them.
There are so many ways Christ shows us that we can sacrifice, but today I want to cover two of them. First of all, we see that one way we can take on sacrifice the same way Christ did is to:
- Sacrifice though Suffering
One of my favorite jokes that Pastor RJ says is the one about the three rings every husband must have. The engagement ring, the wedding ring, and of course, the suffering.
I don’t know how much the ladies of the church like that joke, but there is a sense of truth to it. No matter who you are, or how perfect or imperfect you think your marriage is, there will be suffering. It’s an inevitable part of marriage.
When you take two completely different people, from different homes, different upbringings, and different personalities, and stick them in a house together and tell them to stay together forever, it’s a guarantee that they won’t always get along.
It’s natural that over time, families have the tendency to slowly start to naturally unravel and fall apart, but the Bible tells us that it’s the responsibility to the man, the father to hold it together!
Colossians 3:19 (KJV) Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
1 Corinthians 13:7 (KJV) (Love) Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Men! Our willingness to suffer in order to keep a family together is what separates a boy from a man. Any boy can have a baby. I read an article recently about a 12 year old father.
Any boy can have a baby, but it takes a real man to be the father who keeps his family together. The Bible is telling us that we need to be the man our family deserves, and suffer for them.
Why is it so important for fathers to suffer for His family? Because when a child sees their father put up with suffering for his family, they realize how much Jesus is willing to put up with us.
Men, you have to make sacrifices. You have to put up with your wife and love her, even when she’s completely wrong, because when we love our wives through their imperfections, children understand that God loves us despite of ours.
Men, you have to sacrifice your time. Don’t be one of those dads that expect the television and the computer to raise your children while you hang around with your friends and go fishing. How will children realize that God wants to spend time with them if their own fathers don’t try to spend time with them?
Men, you better provide for your wives. If your wife is smarter than you, and makes more money than you, that’s fine, but by God’s grace, don’t let her work harder than you, amen?
Men, you better protect your wife! Don’t let your children feel like the police are the only people who are going to protect your family if someone tries to hurt them. The same way God is our protector, you need to be the protector of your home.
I might sound like a real red-neck right now, but a father ought to own a gun and know how to use it, amen? Forget what these liberals are saying. Gang bangers don’t care if you know karate.
Your children should look at you and see a hero; a man who’s willing to fight, and die, and kill to protect his family. When I was a child, I remember my father showed me a bullet from his rifle.
He showed me how sharp it was. How powerful it looked. Then he took that bullet and pointed to himself, and he said “Son, do you realize how many of these I would be willing to take to protect you and your mother, and this country?” By the way, fathers, teach your children to love America. Teach them to be patriots. Don’t raise a bunch of country hating liberals. There’s enough of them!
But he said, “Do you know how many bullets I’d take for you?” I didn’t know what to say. He told me “as many as it takes to make sure you’re safe, and I hope someday, you become the kind of man who would do the same thing to protect your family”
I’m not saying I’m tough. Honestly, I’m a coward. I’m afraid of heights, rollercoasters, and horror movies. I don’t want to fight. I don’t want to shoot anyone. I don’t want to die! However by God’s grace, I know for a fact that there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my God, my country, and my family. That’s what my father taught me.
Never once in my entire childhood did I ever feel afraid for my life; like there was a threat that could hurt me or my mom or my sister, because I knew my father would protect me, and God willingly, I’ll do the same thing for my wife and my children.
Not only did I never doubt my father would protect us, but because of him, I also never doubted that my God would protect me when my father wasn’t there. God’s Word tells us:
Psalms 121:7 (KJV) The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
Psalms 28:7 (KJV) The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
Men, are we willing to suffer for our family? God did. Are we willing to fight for them? God did. Are we willing to provide for them? God did. Are we willing to die for them? Our God did.
How will our children understand how much God does for us, unless we’re willing to do the same for our families? Secondly, not only do we sacrifice though suffering, but also, we must:
b. Sacrifice through Stability
Just as important as it is for us men to be willing to suffer for our families, we also have to be there. No child should EVER have to grow up without a dad. No mom should ever have to teach their son how to hit a baseball, catch a fish, or shave their face.
When a father stays faithful to his family, his children realize how faithful our God is to us. When children see their father stand by their side; they find comfort, value, and purpose.
However, when a dead beat dad gets a girl pregnant, and walks away, then children will feel like God can do the same thing. They lose their comfort. They lose their value. They lose their purpose.
Children without fathers are likely to feel incomplete. Boys without fathers are more likely to become violent, end up in jail. Girls without fathers are more likely to sacrifice their purity and not respect their own bodies. Worst of all; children without fathers have a tendency of not believing in God all together.
When children grow up without a father, they have a hard time understanding and believing in God’s promises, like when He said:
Deuteronomy 31:6 (KJV) Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Hebrews 13:5 (KJV) Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
When a child is left and forsaken, it’s hard for them to believe that they have a heavenly Father who will never leave us or forsake us!
As many of you know, God has blessed me with the unique and challenging responsibility to be a youth pastor in an inner-city. A lot of people ask, “Pastor Joemel, what do you think is the root problem with our inner-city youth in America today?
Is it the public schools teaching evolution? Is it the LGBT community? Is it the rise of Islam?” I’d say no. It’s none of that.
The root problem in our country today is that children don’t understand who God is, because they don’t have a father to model who God is supposed to be in their lives.
Until you sat down with a young man, and tried to explain to him how much God cares for us, and how unconditional God’s love is for us, and hear them say, “No! That’s impossible! No one could ever love me that much! My own father didn’t love me that much!”, then you’ll never understand just how serious this really is!
I know there’s no point in beating the dead horse, but this is something that’s very serious to me. I know that most of the men who are here today and listening to me preach have been there for their children, but let me just say to the young people:
I hope you boys promise to God right now that by His grace, the only woman who’s ever going to tell you she is pregnant is going to be your wife who you’ve committed to be with forever.
Now for the men who are here with children, don’t you ever for one second think that they might be better off without you.
Maybe you’re not a perfect father; no one is. Maybe you’re not the most spiritual father. Maybe you’re not financially or emotionally stable, but children need to know that father’s never give up.
Third and lastly, not only do we as families model God’s majesty through our mothers teaching us how to submit, and our father’s teaching us how God sacrifices, but finally, we see:
- The Teaching of Sanctification (26-27)
The final responsibility of the family in modeling God’s majesty is in the area of us teaching our children holiness the same way our God teaches us how to be holy, and separated.
Ephesians 5:26-27 (KJV) 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
The first thing we learn about sanctification for the family is the:
a. Method of Sanctification
Verse 26 makes it clear. We sanctify the family through the washing of water by the word of God. In order to teach holiness, we need God’s Word, and that starts in the home!
It starts with mothers and fathers taking their children, pulling them away from the TV, telling them to stay at home, making them sit down together at the family table, telling them their not allowed to go upstairs and eat by themselves, opening up God’s Word, and teaching your children straight from the Bible.
Men! Listen. You don’t need a bachelor’s degree in theology to be the pastor of your own home. Just use the book God gave you, and let the scripture speak for itself. Stop expecting them to learn lessons from your wise words of wisdom. I know every dad thinks that they have it all figured out, and they just understand life.
We have to acknowledge that the responsibility to raise a God fearing child in a God hating world is way above our league, and stop trusting ourselves, and start trusting in God’s Word.
Psalms 119:105 (KJV) Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Sometimes we feel like our family is just too messed up. “Pastor, my family is too hard headed. We’re too cold hearted. I don’t think a few verses are going to be enough”. Remember the Bible says:
Hebrews 4:12 (KJV) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Jeremiah 23:29 (KJV) Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?
We may have some callused hardened hearts in our homes, but greater is He that is in thee, than he that is in the world, amen?
We just have to learn to depend on the scripture. Not only do we see that the family must learn the method of sanctification and holiness, which is through the scripture, but finally, we learn the:
b. Measure of Sanctification
The question every family asks themselves, is exactly how holy does God really want our families to try and be? How much is too much? When have we done enough? Well our passage shows us that God desires our goal to be perfection. Verse 27 say “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing”
God doesn’t desire anything less than perfection from each and every one of us, so why should we settle for anything less than perfection for our families. Don’t give up on holiness!
1 Peter 1:15-16 (KJV) 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
Leviticus 11:44 (KJV) For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So often we get caught up in the sin comparing our families to other people and around us, and we get content with how holy we are, and feel like there’s no room for improvement.
We say, “Well, my son isn’t in a gang, and my daughter isn’t pregnant, so I guess I’m doing okay!” and don’t get me wrong, I’m sure we’re all doing a great job, but don’t just settle for “okay”.
My father always told me that “A man never settles for anything less than their absolute best”. Growing up, I’ll be honest. I was mostly a straight A student. My sister on the other hand, she wasn’t. Sometimes there were times my sister would come home with a B+, and my dad would hug her, and praise her.
I would come home with a B+, and my dad would yell at me, and scold me, and get mad, and I didn’t understand it. I cried, “Dad! What’s wrong with this! Everyone else got a B+, why are you do mad that it’s not an A! Why is this not good enough?”
He told me, “I know that B’s aren’t bad, but why would I be happy with you coming home with a B, if I know that you’re capable of an A, but you just aren’t trying hard enough.”
Listen, God knows we’ll never be perfect Christians, but if God loves us as much as the Bible says He does, then why would we let us settle for being less than He know we can be? If we really love our families, then why do we settle for anything less than what we know they can be for the Lord? Why do we give up so easily?
Fathers! Mothers! Let me encourage you. Let me challenge you. Don’t stop fighting the good fight. Don’t stop striving for holiness. Don’t stop correcting your kids when they’re being rebellious.
Don’t stop making your children eat dinner with you every night and tell you what they learned in school. Don’t stop telling your children to go back upstairs and change their clothes because your boy looks like a thug or your girl looks too revealing. Maybe you might think this is crazy, but my father never let my sister leave the house with anything higher than her knees. No short shorts.
I know what you might think. “What?!”, “That’s ridiculous!”, “That’s so sexist!” You can call it whatever you want, but I’ll tell you exactly what it is. It’s a father than believes his daughter is a child of God, and is too valuable to be looked at like anything less.
“Well, isn’t she going to become bitter at him for being so repressive and controlling” You could ask her. She’s thankful, and so am I. I’m thankful my father got on me for getting B’s. I’m thankful my father made sure I was home every night.
Parents! Don’t back down just because your liberal friends at work are telling you that you’re being “too much” or “too strict”.
Your family is too important for you to just “relax” and “back off”, just because a few unbelievers tell you too. Parents, fathers, mothers, hold on to your family, and don’t settle for anything less for them, than God’s absolute best, because your family is the model of God’s majesty and perfection in this world.
You’re family needs to be the picture of God’s love, and God’s grace. In this dark and ever changing world that we live in, our families need to be a firm constant in the face of evil.
Whether you’ve been married and have had kids for 40 years, 20 years, 5 years, you just got married, or you’re not even dating yet; make a commitment to God to say with Joshua, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”.
Not my way, or some other families way, or Oprah’s way, or Dr. Phil’s way, or the rest of the world’s way, but God’s way, according to God’s Word, and God’s pattern, say that I’ll follow His design for my family, to be the perfect model for His majesty. Let’s pray.