Ephesians 5 and 6
Marriage and family are under attack! This is not a simple matter of rights and privileges, insurance, parental controls, visitation rights, and other family matters. The liberal agenda has made startling ground in its attempt to dismantle the institution of marriage. How did we get to the point where legislators are reviewing bills that embrace same-sex marriages? How did we get to the point where some places are licensing same-sex marriages? We fell asleep on our watch!
I would like to present four keys to a healthy
I. A healthy family has God as its
foundation (Eph. 5:1)
In spiritual and moral matters, our families
are to be formed by and fashioned to follow God,
Let’s consider the matter of legal institution
vs. spiritual covenant. While it is absolutely necessary
to claim and affirm the legal rights of the
family, we can in no way rely on the government
to sanctify our marriages. Genesis 2 describes
God bringing a man and a woman together in a
covenantal arrangement that He binds together.
This reflects the relationship of the church and
the Trinity—equal in essence but subordinate in
function. The Bible is clear that men and women
are created as equal bearers of God’s image;
however, each has a different role on earth. That
is not an infinite role, in that Jesus proclaimed
that we will not marry or divorce in heaven. The
marriage covenant is established here on earth
for specific purposes.
When a man leaves his father and mother, he
establishes a new household. He is to represent
God’s spiritual authority over that household with
his wife as a helpmate. We have traded this idea
of a holy marriage for something less. Just as we
cannot rely on the government to sanctify our
marriages, we cannot rely on the church either.
Getting married in the church has its value but
does not guarantee a holy matrimony. The Bible
says, “What God has joined together”!
This is a healthy issue. For our families to
be healthy, we must have God as the foundation.
How? Ephesians 5:1 says, “Follow God’s
example in everything you do” (NLT). If you see
God doing something, copy Him. You must do
the same in your relationships with others. You
must practice doing what God does, or you will
substitute the real thing for something easier to
II. A healthy family has a commitment
to submission (Eph. 5:21)
In a healthy family, everyone can’t do
whatever they want. Likewise, we must live in
submission to Jesus and to each other.
A. Husbands to Jesus. This is an absolute must as a starting point.
1. Be firm and decisive but humble and unselfish.
2. Love your wife.
3. Encourage her spiritual growth.
B. Wives to husbands. Godly women do not consent to ungodly acts/demands.
1. Humility and submission are the most motivating tools wives possess.
2. Being the right person is more important than finding the right person.
3. Wives have a God-given ability to nurture positive change in their husbands. When this influence is abused, husbands become hardened and unwilling to lead.
C. Children to parents. The promise goes
beyond the first 18 years.
Respect and honor. Those who find it hard
to respect or honor others have an unbalanced
view of themselves (“take delight in honoring
each other” Rom. 12:10, NLT; “thinking of others
as better than yourselves” Phil. 2:3, NLT).
III. A healthy family promotes loyalty
and faithfulness (Eph. 6:1)
Trust is built over time and through trials.
People, especially in families, need the security
of knowing others will not take their place.
(Illustration: Bonding-tape analogy. Using
clear packing tape, demonstrate how our
ability to bond with each other lessens each
time we attempt to bond inappropriately with
others. Place the tape on the arm of someone
and then remove the tape. Repeat this several
times, each time showing the audience how
hair, flesh, dirt, and oil stick to the tape when
it’s removed. Also point out how each successive
attempt to apply the tape becomes less
Loyalty and faithfulness are encouraged in
A. Partnering means not getting your way all the time.
B. Positive communication rules.
1. Criticize only after making five positive statements.
2. Guard your tongue of accusations, name-calling, and the words “always” and “never.”
3. Stay in the present; history belongs in the past.
4. Don’t blame or yell. “A soft answer turns away wrath” (Prov. 15:1).
C. Honesty is a priority. Trust is hard to
regain once lost.
IV. A healthy family experiences
good parenting (Eph. 6:4)
Good parenting takes the efforts of both
parents and children. During the teen years,
when an increasing amount of personal accountability
is promoted, a team mentality is
Illustration: In the context of a team, parents
are coaches and children are players.
Everyone’s goal is to see the players score.
As coaches, we teach fundamentals and encourage
top performance while managing the
game. Any coach will tell you it takes skill in
a number of motivational techniques to ensure
continued success. It also takes players who
are coachable. The idea of “not provoking your
children to wrath” should be extended to include
always giving them a clear vision of how
to succeed in every situation. This keeps them
from losing hope, becoming frustrated, or giving
in to unproductive emotions and habits.
The best coaches:
A. Keep their spiritual life in order.
B. Remember that coaching is more than just surviving.
C. Understand that they are accountable (Deut. 6:1-9).
D. Believe that success comes from selfsacrifice, not self-gratification.
E. Model a biblical lifestyle.
F. Spell devotion T-I-M-E.
May the Lord help us to keep God as the
foundation for a healthy family! By His grace,
may we be better husbands, better wives, better
parents, better children, better brothers, better
sisters, better grandparents, better grandchildren,
and better in-laws, all doing our part
to create the best environment for the extended
family of God!