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Families in Christ

Families in Christ

Our theme for this year is simply ‘in Christ’. To be in Christ, is to belong to Christ, to know Him, to love Him, to worship Him and to follow Him.

Today we will be having the dedication of Masahiro Paat and so I wanted to look at what it means for a family to be in Christ. What is the foundation upon which a family can be in Christ and what does it look like on a daily basis for a family to be in Christ?

God created the family and He has given us some very clear instructions about how we are to order and run our families so that our families can be under the full blessing of God. So with a little (a lot) of help from John Piper, let’s look at this.

We all want to have happy families, right? We all want to best for our marriages and the best for our children. Even if you’re not married yet, you will want this for your family in the future, so listen up!

1. Christian family life is a work of God’s Spirit.

So for the singles here today, as Julie Andrews sang in the Sound of Music, let’s start at the very beginning because it’s a very good place to start.

Paul laid down a very important principle for Christian family life:
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. …For what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
2 Corinthians 6:14,15
15 キリストとベリアルとなんの調和があるか。信仰と不信仰となんの関係があるか。

This has nothing to do with whether they’re nice, cute, loving or rich.
It has to do with Lordship (which we’ll get to later) and Christian family life being a work of God’s Spirit.

Now, the husband and wife are obviously the foundation of the family, humanly speaking.
And Paul sets some fundamental principles for the husband-wife relationship in Ephesians 5:22

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.

That’s it. That’s the whole instruction.
Wives, just submit. We can finish there. Let’s pray and then go home.
Some people read Biblical instructions in such a way.
They read one part of the text, view it from a worldly perspective and conclude that it’s outdated or no good.
I shared this verse with a women recently and she said, “That’s not fair!”

Firstly, let’s go back a verse. Verse 21 says,
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
The woman said, “Okay, that’s fair.”
And if you go back a couple more verses you’ll see that this mutual submission is the fruit of being filled with the Spirit.
Being filled with the Spirit leads us to speak to one another with hymns and psalms and to always be thankful and to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

What follows from verse 22 on explains what that mutual submission looks like in its different roles within the marriage.
The submission is mutual but the roles are different.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies…. 33 each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
23 キリストが教会のかしらであって、自らは、からだなる教会の救主であられるように、夫は妻のかしらである。
24 そして教会がキリストに仕えるように、妻もすべてのことにおいて、夫に仕えるべきである。
25 夫たる者よ。キリストが教会を愛してそのためにご自身をささげられたように、妻を愛しなさい。
26 キリストがそうなさったのは、水で洗うことにより、言葉によって、教会をきよめて聖なるものとするためであり、
27 また、しみも、しわも、そのたぐいのものがいっさいなく、清くて傷のない栄光の姿の教会を、ご自分に迎えるためである。。。
28 それと同じく、夫も自分の妻を、自分のからだのように愛さねばならない。..あなたがたは、それぞれ、自分の妻を自分自身のように愛しなさい。妻もまた夫を敬いなさい。

By the way, when that same women heard that husbands must give up their lives for their wives as Christ did for the church, she said, “Now that’s not fair for him!”
If we look at Biblical principles through a worldly lens, it won’t look right.
This submission in verse 21 is a description of how people act when they are filled with the Holy Spirit (v. 18). So, all of Christian family life should be a work of God’s Spirit.

But even in Christian homes which are a work of God’s Spirit, the good life doesn’t just happen. しかし、神の霊のはたらきであるクリスチャンの家庭でも、すばらしい人生というものは簡単に起こるものではありません。
There’s a second vital principle at work:

2. Christian family life is a work of God’s Spirit in the lives of those who do everything for Christ’s sake.

This leads us to Lordship.

There is a God-ordained correlation between submission to Jesus as Lord and the work of the Spirit.
So if we desire to see the Spirit of God transform our family life, we must surrender totally to Jesus as Lord and turn all our daily doings into an offering of worship to him.
When the Spirit reigns in your life, you do everything with a view to honoring Jesus.
And in that way Jesus becomes the foundation and focus and goal of the family, and life at home is transformed.

Let’s focus on husbands for moment.
The word to husbands is this: good luck. No, not really. It’s this: Be filled with the Spirit! Yield to the lordship of Christ! And then recognize that your God-appointed headship in the family is to be exercised in love on the pattern of Christ’s love for the church.
And this pattern of love was exemplified in sacrificial service. Jesus did not cease to be the leader of the disciples when he stooped to wash their feet.
Piper: “Woe to the husband who thinks that his maleness requires of him a domineering, demanding attitude toward his wife. This is not the mark of a Christ-like head but a childish bully.”
Yet husbands are to be the leader and head of the household under Christ.
Piper: “Do not let the rhetoric of contemporary feminism cow you into thinking that Christ-like leadership in the home is bad. It is what our homes need more than anything.”

This has practical applications: husbands, “it is you who should take the lead in the things of the Spirit; it is you who should lead the family in prayer, in the study of God’s Word, in worship; it is you who should lead out in giving the family a vision of its meaning and mission; it is you who should take the lead in shaping the moral fabric of the home and in governing its happy peace.” Piper

And now a brief word to wives: calm down. No not really. It’s this: if you are filled with the Spirit and yielded to the lordship of Christ, then you will be subject to your husbands as to the Lord. “As to the Lord” means that a woman’s first and ultimate allegiance is to Jesus.
So if the husband is a godly man who has a biblical vision for the family and leads out in the things of the Spirit, a godly woman will rejoice in this leadership and support him in it. If she thinks his vision is distorted or his direction is unbiblical, she will not sit in dumb silence but query him in a spirit of meekness.
Piper says, “But if a Christian woman is married to a man who provides no vision, gives no moral direction, takes no lead in the things of the Spirit, the form of her submission will be different. Under the lordship of Christ she will not join her husband in sin, even if he wants her to. And where she can, she will give a spiritual vision and moral direction to her children.
Even when she must, for Christ’s sake, do what her husband doesn’t approve, she can try to explain in a gentle spirit that it is not because she wants to go against him but because she is bound to Christ first. Piper says she is not to preach at him but must give him room and in quietness win him by your powerful and sacrificial love (1 Peter 3:1–6).
In conclusion, there is a God-ordained pattern of leadership and joyful support of that leadership, within the family. It has been conceived by God and revealed to us that we might discover happiness at home and a meaningful mission for our family. Happiness and meaningfulness are the work of the Spirit of God in the lives of those who do everything for Christ’s sake. Therefore, the question for you who want a happy home and a meaningful mission and destiny for your family is: Are you filled with the Spirit of God and yielded to the lordship of Christ?

If you’re not sure, I want to invite you to participate in prayer after the service to pray, to affirm or reaffirm the filling of the Spirit and the lordship of Christ in your lives.

At this point I would like to affirm these principles as we dedicate Hendrik and Chie’s baby Masahiro.

Hendrik and Chie, by coming forward before God and his people, do you hereby declare your desire to dedicate yourselves and your first son Masahiro Leos Paat to the Lord? If so, please respond by saying “we do.” (“We do.”)
ヘンドリックさん、ちえさん、神とその民の前に出て、長男であるまさひろLeos Paatを主にささげることを宣言しますか?そうしたければ、“はい、宣言します”と答えてください。

Having come freely, I ask now that you enter into the following commitment in the presence of God and His people (Wife hands child to husband as a sign of his spiritual headship in the family). So that Masahiro may walk in the abundant life that Christ offers, do you Hendrik and Chie vow by God’s help and in partnership with the church, to be filled with the Holy Spirit and submit to the Lordship of Christ, to provide Masahiro a Christian home of love and peace, to raise him in the truth of our Lord’s instruction and discipline, and to encourage him to one day trust Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord? (“We do.”)

Now, I ask that the church make a vow as well because parents need the help and support of their Christian community. So I direct my questions now to the church. By being present in God’s house today, do you hereby declare yourselves to be the children of God because you trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life? If this is true, please respond by saying “we do.” (“We do.”)

Would you please stand? Having come freely, I ask now that you make the following commitment to those who stand before you: So that Masahiro may walk in the abundant life that Christ offers, do you vow by God’s help, to be faithful in your calling as members of the body of Christ, to help Hendrik and Chie be faithful to God, and to help teach and train Masahiro in the ways of the Lord so that he might one day trust him as Savior and Lord? If you accept this responsibility, please respond by saying “we do.” (“We do.”)

Hendrik hands child to pastor for prayer of dedication.