Monthly Archives: July 2017
By: Frances Swaggart
One of the most important subjects that can be addressed today is the home. The home is of critical importance in the stability of any society. In view of this, we are confronted with an awesome problem in America —the rising statistics of divorce, the increase of non-committal couples living together, and society’s remaking and redefinition of the family unit. This is a serious problem since the strength of the home is the foundation of our nation. As the home goes, so goes the country, and so goes the world.
Today we have a generation of young people who, in many ways, grew up homeless. I don’t mean that they grew up fending for themselves on the streets (although some surely did), but rather those who grew up without parents and grandparents who knew how to create and sustain a godly home life.
As Christians, we need to know how to create such an environment for our children and our grandchildren. That’s why I’ve decided to reprint my husband’s article series, “The Successful Home and Marriage.” Each month I will use this space to share his teachings on topics that will help you to build a strong home, a stable marriage, and children of character who are secure in their relationships with their parents and with the Lord.
SOCIETY’S BASIC INSTITUTION
“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18).
“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4)
“And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mat. 19:4-6).
God created three great institutions: the church, the home, and the state (government). These institutions have survived throughout history. Without them, the world would not have survived. They are not only three great factors in life, but also great restraining forces on the plans Satan has for the world.
If questioned on the subject, many might automatically assume that the church (the body of Christ) is God’s most important institution. Naturally, the state is also extremely important. A nation must have some form of government or there would be anarchy and chaos.
With all deference to the importance of the church and state, the home is the most important of God’s three institutions. It was the home that God created first in the garden of Eden, at the same time He created Adam and Eve. The home is the first institution on which God placed His divine seal of approval. It is the oldest institution in society—and it is also the basic and most important element in society. It has been said, and correctly, “as the home goes, so goes the world.”
IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL
Someone said that the three sweetest words in the English language are mother, home, and heaven. We should point out that mother and heaven are centered about the middle word, which is home. No one thinks about mother without thinking about home, and the home should be the picture and reminder of heaven. The home should be peaceful: it should be so good, so beautiful, that it can be thought of as a little bit of heaven right here on earth. The father should be a representative of God—and the mother representative of God’s grace and love.
Children ought to love their home so much that, every time they think of it, there will be a pleasant memory to comfort them. The home certainly should be a reminder of heaven, because whenever someone thinks of heaven, they tend to think about the loved ones they expect to meet again, “over there.” What a common thread in everyone’s Christian’s life. A mother, an aunt, a sister, a brother, a son or daughter—whoever it may be—when they depart to be with the Lord, they are missed and saddened hearts long after them. What a comfort it is to know that there will be a reunion in heaven’s glory someday. So the home is really rooted deeply in the heart’s tenderest thoughts, and in memories and aspirations of a better land where loved ones must no longer be saddened by suffering through loss and separation.
PEOPLE ARE PLACED IN FAMILIES
Psalm 68:6 tells us, “God setteth the solitary in families.” This may seem like a strange passage of Scripture. It means, really, that one of the greatest blessings God gives the human race is the home and the family. It is one of the most tender, blessed, memorable, and enjoyable arrangements that God offers to His children.
The design God has for the home sounds wonderful and idealistic. Everything God creates is good, and everything is meant to be a blessing. When God ordained the home, He ordained it to be a bit of heaven on earth. When He is truly head of the home, it functions according to His principles. It can thus be, in fact, a bit of heaven on earth.
BAD SITUATIONS EXIST
Even though God ordained the home—and even though His desire is for it to be a preview of heaven—there are many homes in a state of disruption and disarray, torn to pieces by strife. The home can be the best thing this side of heaven—or the worst thing this side of hell. Since it is ordained by God and the basic element in our society, Satan naturally does everything he can to destroy it. Approximately 40 percent of the homes in the United States are broken by divorce—and this is also true of many other countries. The enemy is doing everything possible to destroy the foundation and fiber of society, beginning with the home, and especially the institution of marriage itself.
HOME INVOLVES MARRIAGE
You cannot have a home without marriage. Marriage is, of necessity, involved in the establishing of a home. Satan has done everything he can to get people to ignore marriage and to just live together. Living together without marriage, of course, constitutes adultery. Some state that the marriage vow and the marriage certificate are nothing more than a formality and a piece of paper. That is an absurd and foolish statement. A $20 bill is just a piece of paper; the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and other priceless documents are just pieces of paper. The good and important institutions we have and depend on are, almost without exception, formalized by pieces of paper.
The marriage vow and certificate involve a commitment made, and this is the basic element in the development of a home. You can’t really have home without a marriage. Four or five young women living together do not make a home. Several young men sharing an apartment do not make a home. It takes marriage to make a home. Even when one of the mates in a marriage has gone on to be with the Lord, the memory of that home, and what it meant, still binds and cements together those left behind. It definitely takes a marriage to make a home.
The institution of marriage and the home is not something to be taken lightly. It was ordained by God. He made this clear and very obvious in His Word. He said in Genesis 2:18 that it is not good for man to be alone. He went on to say He would make a help meet (suitable) for him.
HOW GOD DID IT
It is recorded in Genesis 2:21-25:
“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
God created woman and brought her to Adam. It was God who taught them the meaning of marriage. When they were brought together, it was no doubt the original example of love at first sight. They were the first couple wedded, as God gave the command to “be fruitful and multiply, replenish the earth and subdue it.”
God made man and woman for each other. It can truthfully be said that God Himself performed the first marriage ceremony, right there in the garden. Marriage is a holy and beautiful institution—a condition ordained and approved by God. It is the first and oldest institution in human society. God ordained this for man’s good and happiness, and simultaneously it is done for God’s own glory.
In New Testament times, Jesus Himself added His blessing to marriage by endorsing the Genesis account of the creation of man and woman for each other. He said:
“But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mk. 10:6-9) So our Lord personally confirmed and endorsed marriage as a holy and divine institution. It is significant that Jesus was born into this world within the framework of a home and family. God could have sent His Son into this world in some miraculous way, into a situation devoid of association with the normal family structure. But God chose the home as the instrument through which to introduce the blessed Redeemer to the world.
While our Lord was not conceived in the natural way of procreation (and did not have a human father), Jesus was born into a home. Mary and Joseph were engaged, betrothed to be married. Jesus was born of the virgin Mary before she and Joseph became one in marriage—as is clearly stated in the Word of God. But God instructed Joseph, before Jesus was born, to take Mary as his wife, and to care for her. It thus turned out that Jesus not only had a mother, but Joseph was also present to serve as a father figure during Jesus’ early life—although he was, in truth, his foster father.
JESUS HONORED HIS PARENTS
Luke tells us about our Lord Jesus when was just 12 years old, going to Jerusalem with His parents. Jesus honored His home, and made it a holy institution. He chose to be born into humble circumstances and He honored His parents.
I believe Jesus was raised in a humble home so He could relate to the average person living in the average home. Jesus’ home was one in which the relationship of Joseph and Mary honored and glorified God.
Mary and Joseph loved one another tenderly and together cared for the baby Jesus, God’s own Son. So Jesus had a home, and while not much is said about the first 30 years of His life, there is enough revealed to know that He lived as we do, in a home. Jesus’ early life, therefore, glorified home and marriage. Marriage is often referred to as holy matrimony and certainly it is a divine institution. According to the Bible, matrimony is to be holy. This divine institution of matrimony came long before any other social institution, such as human governments.
The church, of course, is extremely important. As people began to multiply and increase, they began to worship. This can be seen in the biblical account of the history of the Jewish nation. As a separated people, they were given forms of worship by God. One can look back to Mount Sinai and see some of the instructions given for their worship.
The church is made up of believers. It is the body of Christ. It is immensely important and has a rich history. But neither the church nor human government—though divinely ordained—are as old or as sacred as the institution of marriage. This was instituted by God in the garden of Eden, and its importance has not diminished over the 6,000 years of history since its institution.