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 family.

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, not governments.

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 remember.

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 effective.)

Loyalty and faithfulness are encouraged in relationships when:

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 very helpful.

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!