Happy Heralds, Inc
LAYING FOUNDATIONS FOR A SPIRITUALLY SUCCESSFUL FAMILY LIFE (Ex. 2:1-10: Gen.12:1-8)
by Dr. Fred Wittman
I.C. Building Proper Relationships (continued)
How is your family life? There are three categories of family life: successful, spiritually functional families; partially successful, functional families; and dysfunctional families. In order to have a successful, spiritually functional family, certain foundations must be laid. The earlier that these foundations are laid after (or even before) marriage, the more likely successful the marriage will be. But even if your family is dysfunctional now, to make it successful is not hopeless. You can have a successful, spiritually functional family if you begin now to lay foundations which should have been laid before marriage.
The first foundation is to establish proper relationships. Marriage is a relationship. So is the family. A successful, spiritually functional family is based upon the spiritual relationships of each family member to each of The Persons of The Godhead and to each other. The Godhead is a Family. The local church is an extension of that Family. Humans must be born into the Family of The God. The Family of The God is a prototype of the human family. To understand how families properly function, we must study The Godhead and how The Three Persons relate to Each Other in these ways:
1. Recognition of Headship (1 Cor. 11:3);
2. Submission and Total Obedience to The Will of The Father (Heb. 10:5-10);
3. Ascribe Proper Worship to The Father only, not to The Son nor to The Holy Spirit (Jn. 4:23,24); and
4. Acknowledge the Sphere and Ultimate Goal of The Holy Spirit’s Work (Jn. 16:13,14; 3:3-5); (Rom. 8:26-29).
Then incorporate such relationships into our families and homes. But before we can incorporate these relationships of The Godhead into our families, there must be a proper relationship with each member of The Godhead individually: firstly with God, The Father through His Son (Jn. 14:6e), secondly to God The Son, and thirdly to God The Holy Spirit of Truth. Only then can a couple or a family be sure to have a proper, secure relationship preserved from dysfunction.
There must be a proper relationship with each member of The Godhead individually:
firstly, A. To God The Father, which includes total obedience and maintaining fellowship by means of a family altar;
secondly, B. To God The Son which includes repentance, reconciliation, redemption, remission (forgiveness of sins), receiving the gift of Eternal Life, reckoning Christ to be Lord of all, reasoning that Christ is your Head; and
thirdly, C. To God The Holy Spirit of Grace.
C. To God, The Holy Spirit of Grace (Heb. 10:29; Eph. 4:30-32; 1 Thes. 5:19).
Two gentlemen were viewing the Niagara River rapids, when one said to the other, “Come and I will show you the greatest unused power in the world.” Then he took him to the foot of Niagara Falls and said, “There is the greatest unused power in the world.” The response came “Ah no, my friend! Not so! The greatest unused power in the world is The Holy Spirit of The Living God.”
It is reported that in St. Margaret’s Bay, Southeast England, there is a well that is always covered by the sea at high tide. However, even though the salt water of the sea floods over the well, it remains sweet, fresh, and pure, uncontaminated by the briny sea water. The well is fed by the perpetual supply of fresh water flowing into this well from the hills above it. This fresh cool water effectively prevents the sea water that overflows the well from impregnating the fresh water in it.
These are excellent illustrations of the power of The Holy Spirit, the third person of The Living God. He is the greatest unused power in the world because so few regenerated professing disciples give Him full control of their lives. Additionally, The Holy Spirit of The Living God cannot be contaminated by the world’s briny waters that overflow regenerated disciples, whom Jesus designated as “Wells of Living Water
[The above illustrations are adapted from Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations by Paul Lee Tan, Assurance Publishers, Rockville, MD, 1979.]
1. Necessary Areas of Relationship:
a. Regenerated - born again by The Holy Spirit (Jn. 3:5,6; Tit. 3:5 - the Greek word is παλιγγενεσίας (pahleegehnehséeahs) - literally “again birth”; 1 Pet. 1:22,23);
b. Renewed - in mind by The Holy Spirit (Tit. 3:5 - The Greek word is ανακαίνωσις (ahnah-kaínōsees) meaning ‘renewing, renovation, intensity, repetition, reversal’; Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:22,23);
c. Regulated - controlled by The Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:17-21 cf. Col.3:16);
Neither grieve, nor quench The Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30; 1 Thes. 5:19).
d. Residence - indwelling of The Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:14; Jn. 14:16,17; Rom. 8:9-11);
e. Reminded - repeatedly prompted by The Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:26; Rom. 8:14);
f. Revelation - illuminated by The Holy Spirit (Lk. 12:12; Jn. 14:26; 16:13,14; 1 Jn.2:27; 1 Cor. 2:10-14; 1 Tim. 4:1);
g. Reinvigorated - strengthened or empowered (“become mighty with miraculous power by means of”- A Precise Translation) by The Holy Spirit (Eph. 3:16).
2. Needed Action in Response:
a. Submission -Yield to His Control (Eph. 5:18 cf. Col. 3:16; Rom. 6.13,16);
b. Saturation - Read God’s Word and obey It (1 Pet. 2:2; Mt. 4:4; Job 23:12; Jer. 15:16; 1 Samuel 15:22,23);
c. Supplication - Pray to The Father for Guidance to understand the will of God (James 1:5,6);
Have you had or are you having difficulty in your family? If you want a successful and spiritually functional family life you need to properly relate to The Holy Spirit in these seven areas: regeneration, renewed in mind, regulated or controlled, residing or indwelling, reminding or repeated prompting, revelation or illumination, and invigorated or empowered. The Holy Spirit must have His free way or there will be failure some time, somewhere. The foundation of proper relationships must be laid if you are to have a spiritually successful family life. The later it is laid the harder and longer it takes to effect it. But it can be done by The grace of The God and the work of The Holy Spirit if He is yielded to completely. What if the family is fully or partly raised?
Pray to The Father acknowledge your failure! Confess you sins of omission. And delay no longer to establish proper relationships with The Godhead and with your family. In prayer to The Father yield your body, soul (and mind), and spirit to be used and controlled by His Holy Spirit! Seek The God’s guidance for reaching your children! NOW is the time to deal with these issues! What is your response?
Where do you lack in your relationship to The Holy Spirit of Grace? Have all these areas been operative in your life and the life of your family? In which of the seven areas of relationship are you lacking? Name Them! In which of the seven areas of relationship are members of your family lacking? List them! Then take time to prayerfully discuss them with your spouse and children! Perhaps it might be better to discuss these matters individually first then discuss them with the whole resident family of your household.
What action of response that is required for The Holy Spirit to perform His work in your life and the life of your family will you take NOW to effect your proper relationship with The Holy Spirit?
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