The Christian Home
June 18th, 1989 @ 10:50 AM
Dr. W. A. Criswell
6-18-89 10:50 a.m.
The title of the message is The Christian Home. A background text is in the nineteenth chapter of the Apocalypse, the Revelation:
I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as a voice of many waters . . . saying, Hallelujah – in Greek, hallelouia – for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. –
We’ll be there some triumphant day –
And he saith unto me: These are the true sayings of God.
The blessing of the Christian home: first, the Christian view of marriage. It is in the divine origin and purpose of God. In Genesis 2, beginning at verse 18:
And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a help meet for him – someone like him . . . .
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took out of his side,
[Genesis 2:18, 21]
How in the earth the King James Version wanted to translate tsela "rib," I have no idea. Throughout the whole Bible, without exception, tsela is a side of the ship. It is the side of an ark. It is the side of the mountain. It is the side of a house. Everywhere it is "side." Why they wanted to call it rib, I have no idea. And I have never liked it even when I was a small boy. What the great Author of the Bible wrote:
God took out of his side near his heart, closed up the flesh thereof; and the part of the man’s heart, God made a woman, and brought her unto the man.
And Adam said, This is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh, because she was taken from his side. And he called her ishsha, because she was taken out of ish. – He called her Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife: and they two shall be one flesh.
The divine model of that divine origin of the home is found in the passage that you read this morning from the fifth chapter from the Book of Ephesians. "Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it," His bride. And a man is to love his wife and give himself for her.
The basic goal of the purpose of marriage is very plainly elucidated here in the Bible. God brought before Adam all of the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air and the cattle, and whatever Adam called them, that was their name: every living creature [Genesis 2:19]. But there was none like him; there was not found a help-meet for him [Genesis 2: 20].
All of God’s firmament, all of God’s beautiful omnipotent works, and all of His living creatures, but Adam was alone. Wasn’t anything like him; no one like him; nothing like him. So the Lord God created a somebody out of his very heart and brought that someone to the man. That is, God created her first for companionship: to have somebody like him and with him.
The second great reason for the creation of the woman is that there might be a replenishing of the earth [Genesis 1:28]; that children might be born. God said in the first chapter of Genesis, "Let Us make the man in Our image, after Our likeness" [Genesis 1:26]. So He created him like God. God thinks. God loves. God responds. He made us like Him. "Male and female made He them. And God blessed them and said, Be fruitful and multiply" [from Genesis 1:27, 28]. The second great reason for the building of a home.
Number one: for fellowship, for companionship, to be together. Just to be together. Isn’t that a good reason: just to be together, just loving each other, just enjoying one another? And the second: for the birth of children. And the character of the home is very plainly delineated. It is a spiritual and physical union: "The man is to leave his father and mother and to cleave unto his wife: and they two shall be one flesh" [Genesis 2:24]. And then it is exclusive and permanent. I haven’t time to expatiate on Matthew 19: 3-6, when our Lord speaks of the one man for the one woman and the blessing of God upon that holy union.
So in the Christian home, we have the child. There are fifteen hundred references in God’s Holy Word to the child. And in Ephesians 6:4, we are in the nurture and love and admonition of the Lord to rear our children. So Jesus was reared. He was a child. And in Matthew 18, and in Matthew 19, He speaks of the wonderful blessing of those children in our midst. "The greatest in the kingdom of God," He says, "is that child" [Matthew 18:2-4] a gift from heaven.
In our church is a worthy deacon, Don Metcalfe. I knew his father, James J. Metcalfe who was the author of some of the most beautiful poems in modern times. They were syndicated throughout America and appeared in our daily newspapers. And I kept one of them, speaking of the child in the home:
He is too young to understand
The gospel and the prayer,
But in his own small way,
He feels God’s presence in the air.
He knows there is a borderline
Between the right and wrong.
And when temptation faces him,
That he should be brave and strong.
He knows his parents smile with joy
When he’s good all day,
As surely as their hearts are sad
When he does not obey.
He knows that when he goes to church
He should not speak out loud.
But he should pray in silence
With his head in reverence bowed.
And then he learns the ways of life,
However strange or old.
And he begins to understand
He owes his life to God.
[James J. Metcalfe]
These are the children that are reared in our Christian homes.
May I speak now of religion in the home? These are some of the things that are said of this generation. I quote: "There are more things to live with and less to live for in this generation than any other in the history of the world." And again: "Our people have two basic interests: money and pleasure." And again: "Somewhere along the line, we have lost our spiritual values through the technological advances we have achieved and the materialistic civilization we have wrought. But underneath, we are straw." May I speak of religion in the home? The question was asked, "What is the greatest element making for happiness in the home?" And the answer: "The Christian religion lived daily in the family." So the Lord said in Matthew 22, the greatest commandment of God is "to love Him with all our hearts and souls and minds and body. And the second is like unto it: To love one another" [Matthew 22:36-39].
A quotation: "A home must be more than a shelter from rain and a protection from storm. It must be a center of religious life, of heavenly sunshine, of human and divine love." And another: "The greater the place God holds in the family, the greater the sanctity and eternal character of the home." We are to be natural to pray in the home, natural to read the Bible in the home, and natural to come to church on the Lord’s Day.
May I make a little aside there? I was dumbfounded to read that a couple that are married in the church are far more likely to succeed in their marriage relationship than if they marry outside of the church. God be praised for the beautiful weddings we have in the house of the Lord. I had four here yesterday. Isn’t that beautiful? Four of them. And there were other people down here doing the same thing beside me. Oh, I praise God for it!
Now, in conclusion; the University of Michigan made an intensive research and study of the American family and the American home. And they found these five relationships to be most vital, important in the success of a marriage. Now, I am just repeating what the University of Michigan in its extensive study presented, published.
Number one: the relationship. Sexual. About one-half of all married couples have deep sexual problems. About seven out of ten wives lose all desire for intimacy. And the impotency in man is ninety percent psychological. I was dumbfounded at that. It is not anatomical. It is not physical. It is because of the relationship there in the home. The couple deteriorates. During the first two years fifty-two percent of wives are happy and satisfied with their husbands. But, after twenty years, it is less than six percent. They get tired of them.
The second vital factor in a marriage is monetary. There is no relationship between money and happiness. You can be rich and miserable. You can be poor and ecstatic. Married couples argue more over money than over anything else. And crippling debt, living beyond your means, is disastrous in a marriage.
I want to turn aside here and remind us of a message I preached here about a week ago. If you, I don’t care who you are, if you will follow that pattern: 10, 80, and 10. Ten, this belongs to God; eighty, this belongs to me; ten, this belongs to a savings account. You got a dime: this penny belongs to God, this eight cents belongs to me, this penny is for saving. If you have a hundred dollars: this ten dollars is for God, this eighty dollars is for me, this ten dollars is for the savings – I don’t care who you are or how poor you are, or how rich you may be, you’ll be the happiest somebody in this earth if you’ll do that, that simple thing.
It is vital, this monetary situation in your home. One of the things that we face today is, a century ago hardly any percentage of women were in the marketplace. Today, almost fifty percent of the women work.
Number three: the problems in the home, relatives and in-laws. The answer is in the passage that we read in Genesis: "A man leave his father and mother, cleave unto his wife: and they become one flesh" [Genesis 2:24]. Every marriage is a new creation. It’s never been before. There will never be one like yours again, you have a life of your own. Leave them. Leave them. Leave everybody: the whole outfit. Leave them. You build your home. Number four is religious, and I’ve discussed that.
And number five is mutuality and commonality. It is disastrous if a couple has nothing in common. It is wonderful if they can share everything. They laugh together. They cry together. They suffer together. They cling together. There is a book, The Complete Book of Interior Decorating. And that book said straight square lines are masculine, and curved, floozy lines are feminine. And I can understand that. I tell you. You know, sometimes I think your pastor is not godly and holy. I just think he isn’t. Anyway, that’s what this book of decorating says: a straight line is masculine and a curved, floozy line is feminine. Then the book says that a good decorator will not put in too many straight lines and not put in too many curved lines. But a good decorator will put in both in equal balance. That’s a marvelous thing in the home.
It is our home. It is our vacation, and using the pronoun plural. It’s a wonderful therapy when we talk to one another and listen to one another and discuss things together, and say good words to each other. I read this week where a judge said there is more effectiveness in praise than in blame. Then he added: "Scarcely a divorce would ever come to pass if a man would bestow upon his wife a compliment each day," just saying sweet things to one another.
Boys flying kites haul
In their white-winged birds
You can’t do that
When you are flying words.
Careful with fire
Is good advice, we know.
Careful with words
Is ten times doubly so.
Thoughts unexpressed may sometimes
Fall back dead
But God Himself can’t kill them
After they are said.
["The First Settler’s Story," Will Carleton]
Just being sweet to one another. Just being nice to one another. Just listening to one another. Just planning together, doing things together. Just talking. How precious it can be if you’ll do that all the days of your life.
It is a holy and heavenly privilege for us to open the doors of the kingdom of heaven and of our dear church to you who are in the presence of our Savior this precious hour. In the balcony round, on this lower floor, a family to come into the fellowship of our dear church; a couple to commit their lives to our Savior; a one somebody you giving our heart and life to our blessed Jesus, what a precious and beautiful time in which to come. On the first note of the first stanza, down one of those stairways, down one of these aisles, "Pastor, this is God’s day for me and here I stand." May angels attend you in the way as you come, while we stand and while we sing.
THE CHRISTIAN HOME
Dr. W. A. Criswell
I. Christian view of marriage
A. Its divine origin(Genesis 2:18, 20-25)
1. Its divine model(Ephesians 5:25-33)
B. Its basic goal
1. Companionship(Genesis 2:18, 20)
2. Replenishing of the earth – children(Genesis 1:27-28)
C. Its character
1. Spiritual and physical union(Genesis 2:24)
2. Exclusive and permanent(Matthew 19:3-6)
II. In the Christian home
A. The child
1. Fifteen hundred references to the child in the Bible
2. To be raised in the love, nurture, admonition of the Lord(Ephesians 6:4)
a. Jesus’ childhood
3. Jesus speaks of the blessing of children(Matthew 18:1-5, 19:13-14)
4. Poem by James J. Metcalf
1. What is said of this generation
2. Greatest commandments of God(Matthew 22:33-34)
3. Prayer, Bible reading, attending church
C. Conflict or cooperation
1. University of Michigan study – five relationships most vital to success in marriage: sexual, monetary, relatives and in-laws, religious, mutuality and commonality