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The Formula for a Fantastic Family


Fantastic Families Series
Formula for a Fantastic Family
Matt. 19:4-6, Genesis 2:18-24
I came across an on-line advertisement recently that caught my attention. It was for a ski resort somewhere, and the ad read: Fantastic Family Offers for 2009. It caught my attention, not because I was interested in a good deal on snow-skiing, but because of the wording: Fantastic Family Offers. And my initial thought was, what a great sermon starter, because that is what God specializes in: Fantastic Offers for the Family. So, for the next couple of months, I want to share some messages with you with that theme. Fantastic Families. How can you have a fantastic family?
That is a significant thought for several reasons: One of the reasons is because the needs are so great in our contemporary culture. Marriages are in trouble. Families are in trouble. And that is true, not just for families who are un-churched, but churched as well. We need all of the help we can get from God's Word to under gird and strengthen our families. 
We know also that the devil is the great home wrecker. The devil has a number of tools in his arsenal to try to destroy family life. Divorce is an enemy of the family. They tell me that about one out of every two marriages in our country end up in divorce. Alcohol is an enemy of the family.
Almost every situation where there is marital discord and family problems, you will find that alcohol is a feature.
If I were you, under no circumstances, would I allow any form of alcohol to come into my family. I would rather have a rattlesnake in my baby's crib than to have alcohol in my home. I would rather have a raving maniac in the old folk's home than to have alcohol in my family.
Materialism is an enemy of the family. We seem to have in our families an abundance of material things, but that doesn't seem to have made us very happy. We have more cars and yet less compatibility. We have more gadgets and yet we have less grace. We have more luxuries and yet we have less love. We are finding out that an accumulation of material things does not necessarily give you a fantastic family.
I think most of us understand the importance and the vitality of having a strong family relationship.
What we sometimes ignore or neglect is that the great authority on family God. And yet so often He is left out of the solution for happiness in the home. 
So this morning I want us to look at some words directly from the mouth of Jesus found in Matthew 19:3-6.
Now the setting of these words is a question about divorce. But before He gets into a into a discussion about divorce, which comes later, He first emphasizes the high standard of God. The ideal situation, the God-ordained plan. This is the formula for a fantastic family. 
And you will notice in verse 4 that He said to them, "Have you not read..." Then He makes a quotation from the Old Testament, in particular the book of Genesis, chapter 2. He is referring here to the formation of the original marriage and the original family.
You may remember the beautiful story that is told in the book of Genesis 2. The Bible says that God brought all the animals to Adam to name. An animal came clippety clopping along, and Adam looked at that animal and said that looks just like a horse to me. I'll call that a horse. Then a big animal came lumbering along and Adam said that looks just like a bear. I'll name that a bear. Then a little fuzzy animal came hip hopping along and Adam said that looks just like a rabbit. I'll name that a rabbit.
Then Adam began to look around. He said, "There's a Mr. Horse and Mrs. Horse. There is a Mr. Bear and a Mrs. Bear. There is a Mr. Rabbit and a Mrs. Rabbit. There is a Mr. Adam, but there is no Mrs. Adam. I need a wife."
The Bible tells us that God brought a wife, whose name was Eve, to Adam. The Lord performed the first wedding ceremony and the animals themselves were witnesses to that ceremony. God brought Adam and Eve together in holy matrimony.
As they married, I have a feeling that Adam looked over at her and said, "You're the only girl in the world for me." I'm not sure that she turned to him and said, "I want you to know I had a lot of offers before you came along."
Yet, they were married together and that was the beginning of marriage and that was the beginning of a fantastic relationship which is known as family.
In the course of that the Lord Jesus Christ quotes from that Genesis 2 passage a very strange statement. He mentions it two times in the verse I have read to you.
He says in Matthew 19, verse 5, "They two shall become one flesh." Then He says it again in verse 6. "They are no longer two, but one."
It is a strange mathematics here. The Word of God says that God put one man and one woman together and they became one. One plus one equals one. Very strange mathematics.
Yet, God says if you want to have a fantastic marriage and if you want to have a fantastic family, then you must understand the mathematics of marriage, that one plus one equals one. If you want to have a fantastic marriage and family, then God says, "Do the math."
I want to do the math this morning. I'm talking primarily about the husband and wife relationship. If you are going to have a strong family and a strong relationship between parent and child and siblings in the family, you first of all have to have a strong husband and wife relationship. God says the way to have a strong family relationship is to understand one plus one equals one.
Let's think about that. One plus one equals one in marriage,
I.       Physically.
God has made us a trinity. You are a body, soul and spirit. First Thessalonians 5, verse 23. Genesis 2, verse 7, when God created the first man, the Bible says He formed him from the dust of the earth. That's the body. The Bible says He breathed into man. That's spirit. Man became a living soul. That's soul.
So when a marriage takes place as God intends for it to be and the family becomes what God wants it to be, then it becomes one physically. It becomes one psychologically. It becomes one spiritually.
One plus one in marriage equals one physically.
I don't want to spend a great deal of time on this physical oneness, but I do want to hit on some highlights.
Turn to I Corinthians 6 and let me talk about God's plan for physical oneness in marriage.
In verses 9, 10 and 11, he goes into what I want to call perversion.
He is talking about the whole matter of perversion.
Sex is good. Sex honorable. It is of God.
Hebrews 13, verse 4, says, "Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled, but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge."
It is according to where the physical relationship is placed. For instance, is grass good or bad?
If it is in front of your lawn, making your lawn look beautiful, then grass is good. But grass on your carpet in the den is bad.
Or take fire. Is fire good or bad? If fire is in your stove where you are cooking your hubby some biscuits, then fire is good. But if fire is in your attic where it is getting your house burned down, it is bad.
It is according to where God places it. We are living in a culture today where young people are being told that sex has no spiritual relation to it whatsoever. We hear a great deal today about casual sex. We have a generation of people who have been brought up in America who have been taught and believe that they basically came from animals.
Therefore, if they come from animals, it is all right if they live their lives as animals. So casual sex is okay.
But I want to show you a statement. Read on in I Corinthians 6. Verse 16 says, "What, know ye not that he which is joined to a harlot is one body, for two shall be one flesh."
There it is again. Something occurs when the sexual act occurs. Whether it be between a husband and wife or whether it be between two who are not married. It is not just a casual act. Something takes place physically. Something takes place psychologically. Something takes place spiritually.
So it is not a casual matter. When it is perversion, then physically you come to the whole issue of disease.
When it is perversion, psychologically you come to the whole matters of guilt. Spiritually you come to the whole matter of your spiritual life and your relationship to God.
The Bible also gives us a word concerning prevention, how to prevent sexual immorality.
Look at verse 18. "Flee fornication." That means RUN! You ought never get yourself in a position where you can be compromised sexually. You should never expose to yourself any influences that would cause you to be unfaithful in your marriage relationship or impure in your sexual life.
Flee! Run! Be a first class coward. You remember Joseph. The Bible says that Potiphar's wife got her eyes on Joseph and she burned in her lust toward that young man.
Then one day, like a cat in heat, she reached to Joseph and grabbed his garment. All she got was his coat. He didn't lose his character. Joseph fled! That's what you ought to do when sexual temptation comes up.
A word about perversion. A word about prevention.
Then there's a word about provision.
Look at chapter 7, verse 2 and 3. "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife and let every wife have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence and likewise also the wife unto the husband."
Basically you see there that sex is intended not only for procreation, but also it is intended for pleasure. There is nothing wrong with a beautiful relationship between a husband and his wife as they bring about physical oneness.
Some people have the idea that God is up in heaven, looking down all the time and every now and then God says, "You folks down there are having fun. Knock it of!" No! God is pleased when His people have pleasure according to the way God wants them to have pleasure.
One plus one equals one physically in marriage or family.
The second matter I want to lay before you is not only are you a body, but you are also soul. One plus one equals one
II. Psychologically.
You have a psychological nature. Marriage, if it's a fantastic marriage it is intended to be a union, a oneness psychologically. That means you have intellect. You think. That means you have emotions. You feel. That means you have volition. You make decisions. You have your will. You exercise your will.
It is important in a family and in a marriage that we work toward this whole matter of psychological compatibility. There used to be a time when I would read about people divorcing and the basis and grounds for that divorce. The grounds would be incompatibility. I would think that's so foolish. I have come to believe that is exactly why many people get divorced. They are incompatible.
Billy Graham was quoted one time as saying about his marriage that he and his wife were happily incompatible. I like that.
I heard about a couple who were having all kinds of problems and they went to a marriage counselor.
He was trying to put them together. Finally, in exasperation he said, "Isn't there anything you two have in common?" The wife said, "One thing. Neither of us can stand the other."
Psychological oneness. I want to warn you of the dangers of modern secular psychology. There is a place for psychology when it is under the authority of God's Word. It is possible to gain a great deal of insight from research and concepts that can be learned about how families are to come together.
But I must always remind you that you must make a difference between what you hear as human opinion and what is based on the teachings of God's Word. Dr. Phil may do a whole lot of good, but Dr. Phil is not one of the books of the Bible. Dr. Phil is only right in so far as he is right according to what the Word of God has to say. He is giving good advice sometimes, but it is not good advice unless it is according to the teachings of the Bible. You must always ask yourself the question wherever you get your information, how does the Bible square up with that?
Let's talk about intellectual oneness. The key word there is the word "communication."
To develop intellectual oneness, oneness of mind and thought, there has to be communication. I'm going to talk more about that.
I'm going to preach an entire message on communication and the family later on in this series of messages. I'm going to admit right up front that we men are normally the problem when it comes to this area.
Let me just give you a few things about it to tantalize your appetite.
We men are a little thick. We have to learn to listen. I'm working on it. I certainly haven't done real well. I'm trying. But when you talk, it would be good to look at one another. It wouldn't even hurt to turn the TV off. It might not even hurt to lean forward and get a little closer to one another.
Learn to listen to the other person. Learn to handle your anger. We have so much anger in our culture. There is so much anger that we see in families today.
When people are angry they handle it in one of several ways. Sometimes they just blow up. Other times they clam up. But we have to learn to open up and learn to properly express ourselves.
You have to learn to avoid certain words. You know just exactly what word or words to say to get your mate all upset and to really cut and really hurt. We have to work and learn to get rid of those kinds of words. We have to learn to not dwell on the past. There comes a time when you have to let the past go. There comes a time when forgiveness has to kick in and the past is the past and you are moving forward.
Some of you sitting here today have a whole truckload of past that you've been hauling around in your marriage and in your family. Every time an issue comes up in your family, you just drag all that old past out. You have to learn to not dwell on the past.
Let me give you some quick tips. Be careful what you say. Be careful how you say it. Be careful when you say it. Be careful why you say it. Intellectual, mental oneness!
Also there is emotional oneness. The word there is the word "consideration." We have to learn to be considerate of one another. There are three basic needs every individual has. Every person needs to be loved. They need to be respected. They need to feel that they have self worth and they are respected for the fact that they are a person. They need to feel appreciation. They need to feel like what they do matters to someone and that someone is appreciative of the things they do.
Consideration goes a long way toward helping a marriage be what it ought to be and helping a family be what it ought to be. Nobody marries a perfect mate.
I heard about a couple who was having a little spat. Finally the man said to his wife, "You must think I'm a perfect idiot." She said, "No, I wouldn't say anybody was perfect."
Getting married is kind of like buying a CD. You buy the CD for the number on it that you want, but the rest of the songs come along with it. Any mate has a series of plusses and minuses.
If you count up the plusses and they are more than the minuses, you are ahead of the game.
There has to be this physical oneness. One plus one equals one physically. One plus one equals one psychologically. That's not the end of the matter.
One plus one equals one physically, psychologically and
III.    Spiritually.
You are more than a body with skin and bones and organs. You are more than a soul with thoughts and feelings and with drives and desires. You are also spirit. That means that you have a spiritual nature.
That means you have the capacity and the capability of relating to God. If you do not understand the spiritual relationship of marriage and family, you may have everything else in your family and you will have this gnawing feeling that there is still something missing in your relationship.
 What could be missing is that spiritual oneness.
I have decided that probably the most important thing we need to learn in marriage and family is to be like Jesus. Think about it.
How does that relate to marriage and the family? The Bible says in the book of Ephesians that the husband is to love the wife. Then it says, "As Christ loved the church." He is saying that in our marriage relationship and in family relationships, we have to learn to love one another the way Jesus loves us.
How did Jesus love us? Jesus loved us sacrificially.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son." Christ loved the church. We have to learn to love like Jesus loved.
It's hard to love your mate. Listen carefully. It's real hard for you to love your mate. But not for the reason you think. It's hard for you to love your mate, not because of your mate, but because of you.
Basically, most of us are selfish. Most of us enter into marriage and family with the idea of not how can I give to this relationship, but how can I get from this relationship?
I see these couples that I get to marry. They come into me for the final rehearsal. They come in all "goo-goo eyed." They think they are heading for Shangri-La. Some don't know it, but it's Vietnam they are headed to. They are so innocent.
Most couples enter into marriage like two ticks on a dog. A tick is a little creature which attaches itself to a host. A tick gets on a dog and sucks the blood out of that dog. The tick contributes nothing to the dog. It just sucks blood out of the dog. The problem in marriage is you have two ticks and no dog.
I'm going to give you the number one problem in marriage and family. It's selfishness. What needs to happen in many of our lives is to become like Jesus.
Learn to love our mate and love our family as Jesus loved the church. Some of you have been trying everything you know to do. You've been to marriage seminars. You've been to counseling sessions. You've read books. What you really need is a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
You cannot be like Jesus Christ until you come to Jesus Christ and He has come to live in your heart by the new birth experience. You can't be like Jesus Christ until Christ is in your heart and life. That's what a lot of you need.
Some of you need to just really admit to the Lord that you are a sinner, that Jesus died on the cross to save you from your sins, and if you will do that and give your life to Christ, you are on your way to a fantastic family.
Preacher, will that fix all our problems? It doesn’t mean you won’t have problems. Doesn't mean there won't be difficulties. Doesn't mean some children won’t wander away.
But if you will build your family around the church, you will have resources. There is an opportunity here for God to work mightily in your family. It will make a difference if you will establish a strong church relationship in your marriage and in your family.
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