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A Fantastic Family Man


A Fantastic Family Man
Ephesians 5:21-6:4
We are talking about how you can have a fantastic family. This morning I'm going to talk to you a little bit about a fantastic family man. It has really been interesting to me and somewhat surprising to study the Scriptures about the family and what God expects a family to be. The man in the family is really the key to making it work.
When you study the Scriptures, you will find that God puts the primary responsibility for having a fantastic family on the man. I think that may be why men and husbands and fathers have been under such severe attack in American culture. Very often, in the media, the husband and the father is portrayed as some kind of bumbling, stumbling fool.
We are aware that men are going through all kinds of pressures in our society. Men have tremendous job pressures today. More than one of you men have gone into a Monday morning meeting and are told that sales are down 2 percent, the economy is tight, things are going to be downsized, and if sales don't get up, heads are going to roll.
There are tremendous temptations for men today. The temptation of pornography. The temptation of alcohol. The temptation to cut corners in order to make more money. All these pressures are against men today.
The Feminist Movement puts pressure on men. Dr. Paige Patterson said from this pulpit some time ago that one of the greatest problems in American life today is the feminization of men, trying to make men like women. The Feminist Movement tried to sell America on the idea that there was no difference between a man and a woman. But the stubborn facts of biology refuse to go away. Time Magazine, a few years ago, had a featured article on the difference between men and women. It talked about why men and women are different. The result of the article was, they were born that way. You can't get rid of it. Men and women are just different. Their brains are wired differently. For a woman, shopping is a social event. But for a man, he just finds out what he wants, finds a store that has it, runs in, hopes nobody sees him, and runs back out.
Men and women are different! You could see it on the playgrounds around schools. Boys and girls are different. Boys choose sides for their games on the basis of ability. Girls choose sides on the basis of relationships. "I know she's knock-kneed when she runs, but she's so sweet."
When the boys play and somebody gets hurt, they just drag him off the field so he won't interrupt the game. But when a girl gets a boo boo, they all gather around to encourage and support her. Men and women are just different.
So I want to talk to you about the role of a man. I have been encouraged in recent years, as there has been a renewed emphasis on manhood in America and the responsibility of men. Right here in our church we try to offer a lot of courses and a lot of opportunities for men to learn how to be a man. A lot of guys in American culture have never been taught. They have never had a role model.
They have never had an example in their home, and we try to help you men learn how to be the kind of man you ought to be.
This morning I am talking to the men primarily, but I want to talk to you about how to be a fantastic family man! I'm aware of the fact that we have single parent families here. I don't want what I say to be discouraging to you. I don't want you to be disappointed by it because if you are trying to bring up a family in a single-family household, God is going to help you in a special way.
Psalm 68, verse 5, is a Scripture you can claim if you are a single parent. "A father of the fatherless, a judge of the widows is God in His holy habitation." That is basically saying that God will help you. I'm not trying to say anything that will make single parents feel bad today, but God's ideal in the Bible for a family is that there be a man and a woman, a husband and a wife. That's God's ideal.
I'm going to use some verses of Scripture that are particularly directed toward the husband and wife relationship. But I believe I can extend what I'm going to say beyond that relationship to the entire relationship of a man in his family. What is said about the husband's responsibilities to the wife can also be said about his responsibilities to the family. What I'm going to say is real simple, easy to put it down and take it home with you.
The first guideline I want to give you men to have a fantastic family is this.
I.       Love Your Family.
You say you didn't have to come to church today to know that. You know you are supposed to love your family. I'm sure you do love your family.
I'm going to talk to you about what is really involved in loving your family. There are some illustrations given to us in Ephesians 5 which tell a man how he is to love his family.
Three times in these verses it tells a man to love his wife. Verse 25 says, "Husbands love your wives." Verse 28 says, "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies." Verse 33 says, "Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular so love his wife, even as himself." Then he illustrates it. In verse 25 he says, "Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church." Men, love your family like Jesus loved the church.
How did Jesus love the church? The love of Jesus for His church was a sacrificial love. Jesus loved the church. He loved sinners. He loved you and me so very much that He was willing to sacrifice His very life on the cross of Calvary. That's how much He loves us and that's how much a man is supposed to love his family. It is a sacrificing kind of love.
It is not a bought love, trying to buy the love of your family by giving them things. It is not a bartered love, you do this and I'll love you. It is not a conditional love, I will love you if. But it is a sacrificial love. Love is primarily a verb. Love is not just something you feel. Love is something you do. Love is a decision. You decide to love your wife. You decide to love your children. It is a conscious decision. A sacrificial love!
A lot of men have this whole thing wrong. A lot of men have the idea that to be a real man in the family means that you just have to be a dictator or a tyrant. "Go get my slippers" kind of guy! "Serve me! Do all this for me!" But when you study the Bible, you find that God commands men to love their families like Jesus loved His church. It is a sacrificing, a giving kind of love.
Not only does the Bible says that the man is to love his family like Jesus loved the church, but in verse 28 it says to love as you love your own bodies. Now we men love our bodies. We take care to see that the body is fed. We take care to see that the body is clothed. No man in his right man is going to double up his fist and beat up his own body. The man is to love the members of his family as he loves his own body. He is to nourish it. He is to cherish it. He is to take care of it. That's the way God wants a man to love his family.
That's the illustrations of it. Now there are some applications of how a man is to love his family. Turn to I Peter 3, verse 7. Remember that what is said about husbands is also said about fathers and the members of the family. We are extending the application. "Likewise ye husbands (and dads), dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered."
First of all it says you are to dwell with them according to knowledge. That means some comprehension on the part of the father. It means that the husband and the father is to try to understand the members of his families.
There are differences. Every child is different.
If you have more than one child in your family you will discover that they are very, very different. In fact, I pulled a hair the other day, handed it to Lisa, and said go get the DNA checked on that. 
It’s an amazing thing. They have the same dad and the same mom, and they are as different as day and night. You have to study your wife. You have to study your sons. You have to study your daughters and learn to dwell with them according to knowledge.
There has to be some comprehension. You need to know how to positively relate to the members of your family. "Giving honor to them." That means courtesy. Treat every member of your family with courtesy. As a father and husband, you are to treat your family members with courtesy.
It's an amazing thing that sometimes guests that come into the home or work associated at the job or fellow students at the school are treated with more courtesy and politeness than the members of the family. Why would we treat anyone better than we treat the members of our family?
The father has the responsibility to love his family. So there is to be courtesy.
Also it says, "As being heirs together of the grace of life." There is to be this sense of grace in the family. The man has the responsibility to be the spiritual leader of his family.
I don't see it so much now as I used to see it, but occasionally on Sunday morning I would see these guys coming up with about three days' growth of beard with a white undershirt on. They would come wheeling up to the church, open up the door, their wife and children would get out and come to church. Then big daddy would go somewhere else. He thinks he's tough. He thinks he's macho. I got news for you: You're not tough. You're not macho. You are not the kind of man you ought to be.
You are responsible to bring the family to the house of God and lead your family in the things of the Lord. Don't leave it up to your wife. Do you think you are macho because you can knock a hole in the wall around your house? Do you think you are tough because you can sit there and drink your Budweiser? Do you think you are tough because you can sit there and click channels all over that television set?
If you want to be a real man, then become the spiritual leader of your home. Bring them to God's house. Lead them in the reading of the Word of God. Get down on your knees and pray for your family. 
That's good preaching, even if I am doing it. I'm trying to help men. I'm trying to make men out of you! Be a man! I'm tired of these sissified, wimpy, drug-around-by-their-noses men in our culture. I want men in this church who love Jesus enough and who love their families enough to bring them to the house of God.
That's the first thing I want to say, Love your family. Did you get it?
II.     Lead Your Family.
You are the spiritual leader of your family. You are the one who sets the pace in your family. What is involved in a man being the leader of his family? Leadership travels with some other ships. One of the ships is what I call lordship.
Look at Ephesians 5 and I want to point out something to you. In verse 20 it says, "Giving thanks always for all things, unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Verse 22 says this. "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord."
This passage that has to do with family is written in the context of the lordship of Jesus Christ. I want you to listen very carefully. You cannot exercise authority unless you are under authority. If a man is going to exercise leadership in his family, he must understand the Bible principle of the lordship of Jesus Christ.
Now, the man has the hardest role in the entire family setting. It is the man's responsibility to yield himself to the lordship of Jesus Christ. That's why every man needs to accept Jesus as his personal Savior, not only for his own sake, but also for the sake of his family. That's why every man needs to be totally dedicated to Jesus Christ as Lord of his life. You can't lead your family to the lordship of Jesus Christ unless you are under the lordship of Jesus Christ.
The second ship is partnership. Family is a partnership between that husband and that wife.
It is an amazing thing to me that some men can lead major corporations and yet they can't even run their own family
Let me read you some comments about what one writer said about it that I found helpful. He was talking about so many running companies and yet their families are a disaster. He said, "The man is active, articulate, energetic, and really successful in his work. But he is inactive, inarticulate, lethargic, and withdrawn at home. They silently retreat behind newspapers, magazines, television, and highballs in the home. Or perhaps, not so silently, retreat in affairs, week night appointments, and weekend arrangements outside the house."
The absentee father! Did you know that there are one million children born in America every year out of wedlock? You know that means there are one million unwed mothers every year, but do you also know that means there are that many unwed fathers? Sir, it takes more than your contribution of a sperm cell to be a father. Of those children born out of wedlock, by the age of 13, they are 60 per cent more apt to be into crime, drugs, and illiteracy.
Marriage is a partnership. God wants children to have not only a mother, but also a father who is committed to the partnership of making that marriage work. It's a partnership.
The third ship is headship. It says in verse 23. "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church and the Savior of the body." Notice that it didn't say the head over the wife, it said the head of the wife. It is not dictatorship. A man is not the dictator in the family.
He's the "headtater," but not the dictator. That means that the man is the source of protection and provision in his family. You, sir, are responsible to protect and provide for your family.
You are responsible for where your children go and what they watch on TV and see on the computer. You are responsible for what they wear and how they present themselves. Some of you dads have some decisions to make, don't you? I'm talking about protecting and providing for your family.
The man is the head of the family also because he is the source of direction and decision for the family. Some of you men need to get a little steel in your backbone and make godly decisions for your sons and your daughters in your family.
A man is to love his family. He is to lead his family.
III.    Lift Your Family.
Look at verse 25, 26 and 27. It says for husbands to love your own wife "as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of the water by the word." Watch this. "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."
See how Christ lifts the church. Sir, that's the way you are to lift your family. You are to help them grow in their gifts. Find out the gifts of your family members and encourage them to develop those gifts and to be everything God wants them to be.
All you really want for your children is that they become what God wants them to become. If God wants you to be a Christian truck driver, there on the interstates rolling for Jesus, that's what you want them to become. Whatever God has planned for your sons and daughters, that's exactly what you want them to become. Help them to grow in grace. Help them to grow in their gifts.
Sir, if you become the kind of man and the kind of father and the kind of husband God wants you to be and if you lift your family to be everything God wants them to be, one of these days you will get that letter from that boy. "Dad, I want you to know I tested you a lot. Dad, I want you to know I did some things you weren't happy with. I know I gave you some difficulties. But, dad, I want you to know as I look back on it now, I wouldn't swap you for any dad on the whole wide world."
One of these days you will get that sweet phone call from that girl. "Dad, I just want you to know that I thank you so much for being a real man in our family."
It all starts in the family. If your Christianity doesn't work at home, it doesn't work. Don't export it. It seems to me that the family is either like a sand dune or a sculpture. A sand dune has no shape or design to it. It really just comes about by whatever environmental forces play upon it. It has no real foundation. Tomorrow's wind will change the shape and the look of the sand dune.
But a sculpture has design. There is intention. There is a goal. There is a purpose. Your family will either be a sand dune swept and blown around the winds of culture and circumstances, or your family will be a sculpture with design and purpose and goal to it. I think it all comes down to what kind of man you decide to let Jesus make of you.
Let's bow our heads in prayer.
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