The Family Challenge
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Lesson Two: Destroying the Family
Pastor Ty Woznek: Pastor’s Academy Lead Instructor

Positive thinking is looking at reality and then finding a solution. We need to understand the reality of how we can destroy the family to learn how to overcome those challenges. Too often we think we need to put on a perfect act. We know your secret. Your family isn’t perfect, and neither is mine. While many outside things destroy families, this guide will take us through the ones we struggle with most. In our discussion, we will look at a reality we face and then a solution that God gives us. Positive thinking is because of the Gospel. Jesus dying and rising again for our sins means each mistake we make is covered. Hiding our sin or our struggles is of no value to us.

What resources did God give us to build our families up despite our brokenness?

Danger #1: Me, Myself, and I.

Genesis 3:4-6:  But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

1 John 2:15-17:  Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

The problem is you and not me, so we think. To be humble, we think that the problem is due to circumstances, other things beyond our control, and even God Himself. After all, we can’t be bad, can we? Genesis 1-11 describes for us how the world became what it is today. While this passage is debated in our culture to its truthfulness, the Apostle John hits on the same theme. Ironically, John’s writings are some of the last writings of the New Testament. The pattern we see in the Old Testament, and especially in Genesis 1-11, is people rejecting God. So, if the problem is us, answer this:

Why do people want to run from God?

 

Why do you often want to run from God?

Solution #1: The Gospel

Genesis 3:15:  I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.

1 John 1:5-2:1:  This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.  My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

We need to often state the obvious: The Gospel is the solution.  John wrote his first letter to help those who love Jesus understand how to deal with the sin and brokenness in our lives. While doing this, John points to Jesus as the solution. In Genesis 3:15 we have the first hope of the Gospel. Even when the Bible points out sin, God also points to a way out. John unpacks how the resurrection of Jesus benefits you and me. We don’t have to be perfect because Jesus was perfect for us. When we mess up, we have immediate access to forgiveness. We also have a choice on who and what to live for.

We often discuss the Gospel separately from our discussions on the family. Why do we need to keep the Gospel front and center in building our family up?

Think of an area where your family is currently struggling. How does John’s words give comfort to us?

Danger #2: Um, I forgot.

Joshua 24:14-18:  Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Then the people answered, ‘Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods, for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed. And the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.’

Judges 2:10-13:  And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.  And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger. They abandoned the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth.

We are forgetful people. Forgetfulness hurts. Jesus’ Bible was set up in three parts: Law, Prophets, and The Writings. The Law, or Torah, was God’s instruction to us so we could understand how to live in relationship with God. The prophets describe the downward spiral of Israel and their keeping the Law. They forgot God. We forget God too. Clearly, the family is where things fell apart. In our culture and even in our churches “biblical literacy,” our knowledge and understanding of the Bible, are at an all-time low. Forgetfulness leads to tragedy in the book of Judges. But, again, in Judges, God provides a way out.

Why do we often forget God?

What are some other relationships we often forget or take advantage? Why do we do that?

There is a cost to everything, what does it cost us when we forget God

Solution #2: God in your day, not just a part of it

Deuteronomy 6:6-9:  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Joshua 24:25-27:  So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and put in place statutes and rules for them at Shechem. And Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. And he took a large stone and set it up there under the terebinth that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. And Joshua said to all the people, ‘Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord that he spoke to us. Therefore it shall be a witness against you, lest you deal falsely with your God.’

Joshua led Israel to practice what was written by Moses in Deuteronomy. We talk about what is most important to us. We celebrate what is most important to us. We set up reminders about what is most important to us. God knows we are forgetful people. He encouraged us to not forget and gave us a family solution. Joshua knew that we’d be forgetful too, so he set up a monument as a reminder. There is a pattern in Scripture where God’s people intentionally set things up so they won’t forget and that their children would ask about such things.

What are ways that we can incorporate God in our day and life without making Him just a part of our life?

What “monuments” to God’s actions in your own life do you have and why?

How do you share and remind your family about what God has done?

Danger #3: Absent dads

Malachi 4:6:  And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.

The last word from the Prophets is about dads. This is a painful topic for many of us. For single moms, this is a challenging issue as well. The elephant in our culture’s room is absent dads. Statistics point to a crystal clear picture of what happens when dads are not present. I use the term dad because one can be a father and not be present even in one’s own home. This isn’t to say moms are not essential. Moms are essential. The way God made us, dads play a critical role that cannot be replicated. A key marker to restoration and healing is how Malachi ended his book. Fathers need to be dads. We learn in Malachi 4:6 that Israel’s problem was a lack of active dads.

Why are dads essential to the family?

What are the dangers when dads are absent?

Solution #3: Active Dads and Active Churches

Ephesians 6:4:  Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

James 1:27:  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Dads, we need to show up for duty. Dads need to be present not only for our own children but also to help those families where dad is not present. Paul describes being a dad as a nurturing role, not a drill sergeant or referee role. The term “admonish” carries the idea of a “velvet hammer.” Pursuing God should be a delight not something that destroys our kids. God understands that life happens. An essential part of being a healthy church is caring for the fatherless. Being a single mom is an incredible challenge and one that should not be done alone. The solution to absent dads is active churches. Think of it this way: A good dad is active in his family. A great dad gets his family to be active in the lives of others.

What does it mean to be an active dad?

How can we help the fatherless? Single moms, how can we help you?

Why is having our family active in the church so very important? What should that look like?

Danger and Solution #4: Life is hard, so don’t give up!

Galatians 6:9-10:  And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Remember, we don’t have to be a perfect family. We just have to keep getting back up and trying again, together, until Jesus calls us home. Family is hard, but the harvest at the end is worth it!



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