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A Plan for Your Family: God's vs. the World's, Part 1

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
April 14, 2021 4:00 am

A Plan for Your Family: God's vs. the World's, Part 1

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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Wisdom for the Heart
Dr. Stephen Davey
Wisdom for the Heart
Dr. Stephen Davey
Grace To You
John MacArthur

Can the family be saved, and I suppose for the sake of some people. We should ask should the family be saved. Is it worth fighting for. God has an answer to. Should the family be saving God is an answer to can the family be saved. In fact, we must understand the blessedness of the US and the purpose of God that unfolds in the matter of marriage and raising children, and maintain. Churchill touches on an important biblical principle. The family is the fundamental unity in society and God is the designer of the family. He knows how families work best. So how can you make sure your family is working the way God designed find out on grace to US junk. Arthur continues his study, the fulfilled family, John. We mentioned periodically that this series the fulfilled family has a unique distinction because of such a high response we get to this material and have gotten over the decades. This is our most in demand study.

Does that surprise you at all. Yet in some ways it does fill because you how many years ago to do we do this series. I know 30 years ago in a little bit longer than that more than 40 years. More than four years ago. So in that sense I me with a world changing so fast and rapidly here we are 40 years later were playing the same surgeon still the most popular that part of it surprised me. What doesn't surprise me. Is everybody still living in the family right so the issue of family hasn't gone away. Lots of things are changing around it and even to the family, but I would say, if anything, the desperation about trying to understand how a family should operate is higher now than it's ever been. I wouldn't be surprised if this series gets a response that may exceed even previous responses because the level of desperation is so high you know people are in this generation are first of all, terrified of marriage. So marriage gets no set aside for many people for a lifetime. And when they when they get married there sort of fearful about having children. And then they're not sure about how to handle his children. They're afraid of what's going to happen to them in school because they know what the going to be exposed to their afraid of what's going happen to them in the world and ubiquitous Internet and all that.

So yeah, I mean family is still the core of civilization, still God's unit to pass righteousness from one generation to the next in building his kingdom, so it's still the critical reality and it sits in. I guess you could say worse shape now than it's ever been. And so yeah I am not surprised in that sense that people are going to respond to what the Bible says about how to have a really fulfilled family and listen.

This is practical stuff. What were and talk about is not just sort of theological talk. Where were going to get right down to what it means to have a godly family, godly husband, godly father to be the wife and mother. The Lord wants you to be to be the father, God wants you to be to be the kids. God's want you to be fulfilled. Family is from heaven instruction for the kingdom people on earth.

Yes, and friend.

I think you will be encouraged by just how much God's word says about the family and how you can build a home where Christ is honored to start that building process now stay here as John MacArthur begins his look at the fulfilled family. No one needs to prove to us that we may be watching the death of the German cell of civilization, the family, all the signs are abundantly clear all around us we could drag out all kinds of statistics to indicate the dire situation in the families in our culture, we are all constantly looking at the parade and the media of divorce, sexual rebellion, and abortion, sterilization, delinquency, infidelity, homosexuality, women's liberation, children's rights, and so on. We are watching the formation of the rope that strangles the family to death, and many frankly are gladly carving out the tombstone for the family and really doing it happily in a book entitled the death of the family. A British position suggests doing away with the family completely. He says because it is a primary conditioning device for a Western imperialistic worldview. Kate Millet was a very prominent feminist books, a cookbook called sexual politics. In it she writes that the family must go because it oppresses and enslaves women on the other hand, others who are watching the death of the family see it as a disaster avirulent disease. If the family cannot function who will raise who will socialize who will moralize the next generation, Dr. Armand Nicolai the second of Harvard Medical School, sees the trend to destroy the family as a devastating trend.

He points to married women with children working outside the home.

The tendency for families to move frequently almost constantly.

The dominance of television in the home. The lack of controls in society.

The chaos of moral confusion.

The lack of communication among families and divorce and all those things he says are threatening the very life which we live. I me quote from him. He says these trends will incapacitate the family destroy its integrity and cause its members to suffer such crippling emotional conflicts that they will become an intolerable burden to society. What about the future. First, the quality of family life will continue to deteriorate, producing a society with a higher incidence of mental illness than ever before. 95% of our hospital beds may be taken up by mentally ill patients. This illness will be characterized by a lack of self-control. We can expect the assassination of people in authority to be frequent occurrences, crimes of violence will increase, even those within the family. The suicide rate will rise as sexuality becomes more and more unlimited and separated from family and emotional commitment. The deadening effect will cause more bizarre experimentation and widespread perversion" a frankly frightening picture and we are watching it being painted right before our very eyes. There is no question about the fact that the family is under a major assault that people want to redefine family and absolutely any terms they want. There's no question that we are watching a generation of young people rising up who have no socialization skills and no moral sense at all. There is chaos there is murder there is crime at a rampant level. There is even pleasure in the shooting people incidental to you just for the sheer thrill of killing.

It's a fascinating time in one sense, to be alive right in the middle of this. The family is certainly at the head of the endangered species list, much more dangerous than the elimination of some species that occupy people's attention. At that point we interject can the family be saved, and I suppose for the sake of some people. We should ask should the family be saved. Is it worth fighting for, and if so how I would add that the church has made some efforts.

Certainly, there has been a great preoccupation on this subject. Christian bookstores are literally filled with books on marriage and the family. There have been endless sermons and messages and tapes and seminars and conferences go on to deal with the issues of the family, but that too doesn't seem to make much difference. God has an answer to.

Should the family be saved and God is an answer to can the family be saved.

In fact, the Bible makes it very clear when it says marriage is the grace of life and children are a blessed heritage from the Lord, that we must understand the blessedness the bliss and the purpose of God that unfolds in the matter of marriage and raising children.

Family is still the heart and soul of human society and family as it is defined by God. It is the place of intimacy is the place of joy. It is the place of memories that build the foundation of life.

It is the place of love.

It is the place of socialization.

It is the place of morality is the place of security. It is where you build confidence now for us to get a grip on what God says about the family we really find ourselves best served by looking at Ephesians chapter 5 Paul's letter to the Ephesians.

Sort of gives us a place where all of the us of the pertinent material is pulled together and it's a great launching point for us around 60 A.D. the apostle Paul wrote this letter and send it off to the saints who are at Ephesus. It may well be too that the original manuscript didn't say Ephesus and could've been a circular letter gone through all the churches in the area of Asia minor, of which Ephesus was the first of those churches. But Paul wrote this letter to the Christians in that part of the world and one of the things it was on his heart was the matter of marriage and when you come down to chapter 5 and verse 18. You begin to get in the flow that lead you to verse 22 and following where the issues of family and marriage are addressed. We'll talk about a lot of things in this series over the next number of weeks to touch on a number of subjects and interact with the divine revelation from God, but will constantly come back to Ephesians 5 as home base because it's a perfect launching pad for us and keep in mind this is not human opinion are not here to give you my opinion. I really don't value my opinion at all. All I want to do is show you what the word of God says, and the applicable wisdom that comes from that. This is the last word on the issue. We don't need experts and psychiatrists and psychologists and analysts in marriage and family people we can go right to the word of God were not looking for tricks and gimmicks were looking for truth that can become part of our lives now in this wonderful epistle that we are familiar with the epistle of Ephesians as Paul begins to launch into this subject. He starts, at least for us in verse 18, with a very key premise and let's begin there. He says and do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the spirit that really is the key that unlocks all the rest from that great principal flows the instruction to the wife in verse 22 the instruction to the husband. In verse 25. The instruction to the children in 61 and the instruction to the parents in six to all of that marriage and family.

Teaching flows out of this principle in chapter 5 in verse 18. In fact, it is the first of several necessary prerequisites for any successful marriage or any successful relationship in the contrast in that verse as you see it there. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the spirit is quite dramatic and remarkable contrast if you just pick up the book of Ephesians and read that you might stop and say why in the world would he contrast drunkenness with being filled with the spirit. What is the point here that when a person is drunk they lost control of themselves and they wander around in an out of control kind of behavior is is he saying I want you to be out of control but not by wine but by the Holy Spirit what what is he saying here. I want you to to yield up the control of your faculties to the Holy Spirit rather than to wine. Why make such a comparison will the answer is found in a bit of the historical context. Let me give you a little bit of background. Ephesus, of course, was in Asia minor and was dominated by Hellenistic or Greek culture called Hellenistic from the Greek word Alane, a, which means Gentiles, but the Greeks believed that the great god Zeus. They have course, had a pantheon of gods and Zeus was one of the formidable ones. They believe that the great god Zeus had given birth to a son, Dionysus. Nephi ever study Greek mythology you come across the name Dionysus quite frequently.

Dionysus then according to Greek mythology spawned a religion religion of ecstasy asked Ozzie and emotionalism and the Dionysian cult. This religion of ecstasy and emotionalism. This frenzied kind of religion, saturated the Greek and Roman world. The Dionysian cult was a debauched form of worship and a popular a dominant form. The worshipers committed atrocities with human organs they engaged in orgies of sexual perversion along with the music and dancing and feasting.

But there was one common element to all of the Dionysian debacle and that was drunkenness, drunkenness, in fact, if you ever circulate in the Middle East or in the ancient Roman world, you will see Dionysus. He is associated with greatness when there is a statue or attribute to Dionysus. Some monuments Dionysus. It is always marked out by clusters of grapes because he became known as the God of wine, the Greek name of Dionysus became in the Roman language Latin Bacchus Bacchus is the Roman god of wine. When people engaged in these unbelievable drunken brawls they were called bacchanalian feasts and if you've studied any of that. That's a familiar term. Even today, take your dictionary out and look up bacchanalia and it'll say a drunken orgy. The key element then the key element in pagan worship was drunkenness. That's how that's how they got their inhibitions out. That's how they dealt with their normal restraints. That's how they dealt with normal feelings of guilt.

That's how they dole their senses sufficiently to quiet their conscience. That's how they dispel their anxiety and fear and guilt over such vital behavior as they engaged. That's how they induced a kind of giddiness that substituted for real joy. I just catapulted them in to this kind of horrible behavior. They did it by getting drunk and losing all their and omissions so they believed that drunkenness was simply the the door into ecstasy the door into religious expression and that such drunkenness elevated the believer the worshiper to to total communion with the deities so drunkenness was the key to worship the communion with the deities, the more inebriated they were, the more likely they were to get into the asked Ozzie a and enthusiasm us to Greek words, ecstasy and enthusiasm that spoke about these horrifying, often demonic kind of activities number of years ago when I made a trip to Israel, I had the privilege of taking a special trek up through Lebanon up through Beirut back east of there, and in a in a fascinating journey to the city of Damascus.

Damascus is pretty deep into the Middle East at this particular point and when we wanted to Damascus fascinating opportunity. On the way to Damascus we went to the city of Baalbek, which was the easternmost point of the Roman empire, the great Roman empire extended way to the Middle East east of Israel and we went to the city of Baalbek because there are some of the most marvelous ruins that have been preserved there and restored and they have some obelisks that are almost impossible to understand the to understand how they bit how they made them and how they move them is an ongoing dilemma. Massive massive pieces of stones. There also has been reconstructed. Their incredible temple, and all across this template was devoted to Jupiter, but all across this temple. There are grapevines hanging on the columns and across the colonnades at the top and you are told by the guide to take you through there that this is representative of Bacchus that the Romans erected at the most eastern point of their empire. A temple to Bacchus and there they carried on their orgies. What is fascinating about it.

For example, is that in the very center of this large place where they did this, there's a there's a decorated area and then a whole.

A deep hole and that was in order that the people might vomit in the process and go back and indulge themselves even more.

An unbelievable kind of conduct in which they believe that they did it in temples, but they were ascending to communion with the God's. That's what Paul has in mind. Now go back to verse 18 it takes on different meaning in the light of that context, he is saying to them, do not get drunk with wine. All that does is produce dissipation. All that does is take you down if you want to commune with God and be filled with the spirit of our religion is not brought about in its fullness and its richness and its reality by drunkenness, but rather by the filling of the spirit. Don't be filled with alcohol be filled with the Holy Spirit, literally be being Continuously filled by the spirit. If you want true religion.

If you want true communion with God. If you want true worship to take place if you want godly living. If you want to please God, then you must be filled with the spirit not controlled by alcohol but controlled by the Holy Spirit. The parallel to this is in Colossians 316 where instead of saying be filled with the spirit. Paul says let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, because that's really the same thing when the word of Christ dominates your life and you respond in obedience to it. It's the same as being controlled by the Holy Spirit.

Of course, was the author of Scripture. Obedience to the word is being filled with the spirit is not some kind of mystical experience. It's not some kind of ecstatic thing.

It's not something that comes over you and catapult you into some unconscious behavior. It's not being knocked over into a dead faint. As you see so often on television it's not launching off into some ecstatic speech.

It's not going out of yourself for being beyond control. It simply is to be continually controlled by the spirit who does it through the word, and that means we are obeying the truth so we have to start at that point, whatever were going to do in terms of our Christian life, whether it's our marriage or our family. It has to flow out all the life controlled by the Holy Spirit. And that's why the society really has no chance, no hope there not regenerate. They don't know God. They have no more hope of getting it right than the people at the bacchanalian feasts did is not going to happen right kind of marriage relationship and it right kind of family relationship is built on a redeemed life, empowered and energized by the Holy Spirit in obedience to the word of God. Now look at verses 19 and 20.

Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord. We try something where the spirit of God controls the life where there is a life devoted to the word of God in obedience to the word of God. There is praise. That's the first there is praise and I suppose obviously we could conclude that a worshiping life a praising life comes from a heart that is filled with joy. It's that simple. You give me an obedient person.

Obedience to the word of God I'll show you a positive, happy, praising, worshiping person whose heart is filled with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with singing and making melody in his heart to the Lord and I'll show you a person to get along with anybody because they're lost in wonder love and praise because there worshiping the Lord.

Verse 20 adds always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the father tell you what. It's very hard to argue with somebody was thankful for everything, every you find a person who's filled with the spirit. I'll show you a happy person. I'll show you a thankful person. A person obeying the word of God, a person filled with joy and praise and worship a person who has nothing but thanks for everything God has done is going to be wonderful to live with the bottom line were really talking here, not about some kind of gimmicks to make your marriage work. Were not talking about the you know the kind of things I read about all the time and you remember some years ago I told you about a book I read about marriage and said if you if you really want to have a great relationship with your wife.

Here's a good suggestion go buy her a teddy bear nice little teddy bear was real soft ones and bring it home rapid in tinfoil and stick it in the back of the freezer. This is in a book stick in the back of the fridge on the teddy bear before you wrap in the tinfoil is to get in the back of the freezer right words of romance and love and then just to get back to you know behind the old lasagna and someday and you don't know when when she is looking for the old lasagna and she pulls that thing out and unwraps it and finds a frozen teddy bear with a romance note the book says when you get home from work. It's going to be bliss. Are you kidding me if you have a bad marriage is better to get hit with one that's not frozen. My suggestion would be leave it thawed just in case.

Stick it in the closet. When I talking about that and I can you be able to repair a marriage like that and I can build a make a meaningful relationship like that I your suggestions all the time. Take your wife on a date to her out to dinner and that's all fine is not a repair a marriage. It isn't right is only one way to cultivate a right relationship with anybody and that's to be filled with the spirit of God filled with praise and gratitude to God, so that your heart is overflowing with joy and that's what makes a person someone that you can live with someone who's a blessing to you. It should be, frankly, almost impossible to start a fight with you because you're just too blessed to full of praise to full of thanks to full of the overflowing grace of God to control by the Holy Spirit.

You're so filled with love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control that your spouse may just get upset at their inability to cause conflict.

It has to start.

That's grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us.

John is pastor, author and Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary in the study started today is his all-time most requested series. It's titled the fulfilled family. Now keep in mind we're going to be able to air only a small portion of this complete study, but you can own it all 11 sermons on MP3 or in a CD album to get the entire fulfilled family series, contact us today to order the CDs call our toll-free number 855 grace or go online to Jide if you prefer to download the messages from the fulfilled family. They are available free of That's all 11 messages including content we won't have time to err on grace to you. Transcripts are available as well. To download the MP3's and get the transcripts go to TTY.also remember there are thousands of other free resources and if you're looking to grow in your love for God and his word.

Wondering what Scripture says about how you can serve the church, or if you want to know how to interpret a particular passage, you will most likely find a sermon or a blog article or devotional that will meet your spiritual need that website again now for John MacArthur in the entire grace to you staff on Phil Johnson inviting you back for our next broadcast when John's going to look at the biblical way to cultivate stronger relationships in your family is continuing his most requested study the fulfilled family with another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace

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