by Greg Laurie – March 13, 2010

In my last column, I made a case for a biblical worldview, based on the watershed truth that there is a living God, and He has revealed Himself in Scripture.

With this in mind, we can ready ourselves to discuss some of the more controversial, “hot-button” issues in our culture today.

Going back to the Ten Commandments, you may remember that this list of 10 can be divided into two sections. The first four commands deal with man’s relationship with God, and the second six speak to man’s relationship with man. It is that second grouping of commandments in Exodus 20 that will speak most clearly to our “hot button” issues.

Verse 12: “Honor your father and mother …”

Isn’t it interesting … before a word is spoken about how to treat others, God starts with the family. Few things in life can give us as much pleasure – or pain! – as our families.

The fact is, God starts with the family because He created it. Our very existence as a society is contingent on the success of the family. And that also explains why Satan hates it so and has declared war on it. It has been said, “A family can survive without a nation, but a nation cannot survive without the family.”

Respect for parents is certainly something we have lost sight of in our culture. In fact, this very lack of respect is one of the clear biblical signs that we are in the last days. Paul wrote of those days: “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents …” (2 Timothy 3:2).

Note that God’s command says, “Honor your father and mother,” not, “honor your father and father” or “honor your mother and mother” or “honor your mother and her live-in-lover or partner.”

We tamper with God’s order at our own peril!

There is a movement afoot to “redefine” marriage and family. Media and modern culture are pushing for same-sex marriage and the so-called normalization of homosexuality.

You will hear this most often defined as a mere political issue, but don’t be misled. It is a moral issue and it is a biblical issue.

“But if two people are in love in a committed relationship, why shouldn’t they marry?”

I could reply to that statement in a number of different ways, but here is what counts: Homosexuality is outside of God’s order for life. He did not bring “Adam and Steve” together in the Garden, but Adam and Eve. His pattern is (and always will be) one man, one woman, married for life.

God is not “anti-gay,” He is “anti-sin,” no matter how it is expressed. He also loves all people, and wants them to come to repentance and into relationship with Himself.

I can hear someone say, “You are homophobic to say that!” But we could just as easily say, “You are bibliaphobic for denying this.” (If you dare to speak out against any sin, you are branded something-phobic.)
    
Here is what God says about sin and sinners not entering His kingdom: “Don’t you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers – none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, NLT).
The Bible does not give an ambiguous statement on this topic. There is no confusion on this issue, unless your confusion is with the Bible itself. The apostle Paul in no uncertain terms establishes homosexuality as a sin in Romans 1:22-27.

Here is the heart of that passage: That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved. (vv. 26-27)

How clear is that? It’s very, very clear, and you can either accept it or reject it. But if you reject it, God already spells out the consequences in this first chapter of Romans.

God’s order is for the family to be a man and woman, as husband and wife. And even though our culture seems to be doing all its power to mock, denigrate, attack and deny the veracity of that basic relationship, God’s truth stands. We must respect the institution of marriage and give it the honor it deserves.

How I thank God for the couples who have hung in there through life’s ups and downs, who have stayed together and raised their children. Their commitments and their sacrifices will have an impact for generations to come.

When I was a young boy, coming from a home of divorced parents was considered scandalous. Now, coming from a home where parents are still together is considered curious! When I tell someone my wife and I have been married for 36 years they are flabbergasted.

The Hebrew word here for “honoring” your mom and dad comes from a verb that means “to be heavy, so that we give weight.” In other words, give your parents the recognition they deserve for their God-given authority. Respect, esteem, value and prize fathers and mothers as gifts from God.

The fact is, as you get older, you get to see a lot of human drama played out in “real time.” You not only see the choices people make when they’re younger, but many of the consequences they reap from those decisions when they are older. You see what happens in the lives of people who disregard God’s Word. You also see what happens in a culture when many people disregard those changeless truths.

By the same token, however, you also get to see what happens to those who have walked with God and obeyed His Word through the years, and the blessings that follow. That is not to say the Christian life is a “bed of roses.” Far from it. Believers indeed suffer and experience tragedy, as my family and I know only too well.

Through it all, however, those who cling to God’s Words and God’s ways always experience God’s faithfulness.

Greg Laurie is the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., one of the largest churches in America. He is also the featured speaker for Harvest Crusades, large-scale evangelistic outreaches that have been attended by more than 4 million people around the world since 1990. Greg is heard internationally on the daily radio broadcast, “A New Beginning.” To learn more about Greg Laurie go to www.greglaurie.com.


2 Responses to “God’s definition of ‘family’”

  1. 1 Suzanne

    Family originates in the Godhead; it is where a loving fellowship creates a community of persons in unity.
    Family is a place of interdependency; not all function in equal authority but they are equal in personal value.
    Family is a place of trust; it is where the members of the family feel most secure.
    Family is a place of openness and faithfulness; it is where the truth is always spoken and no one lies about the others.
    Family is a place of loyalty; it is where members of the family sacrifice themselves for other family members, especially the weak and needy.
    Family is a place of caring; needy family members can rest secure that the other family members will take care of them when necessary.
    Family is a place of honour; it is where the head of the family is honoured and respected. It is where the older members are given the most respect and care.
    Family is a place of love; it is where all individuals in the family commit themselves to each other unreservedly.
    Family is a place of priority; nothing comes before the family apart from honour and obedience to God. Service to the church, whilst important, does not override the needs of the family, for which we are directly responsible to God. Commitment to family is a crucial point of God’s law (Exod 20:12; Deut 5:16; Matt 15:4, 19:19; Mk 7:10, 10:19; Lk 18:20; Eph 6:2).
    Family is united; it is not separated by distance or other responsibilities.
    Family is a place of forbearance; where there is tolerance of natural weaknesses.
    Family is a place of education and edification; it is where the wise teach the foolish, the mature teach the immature and the learned teach the weak.
    Family is a place of nurture; it is where all are cherished.
    Family is a place of honesty; it is where divisive issues are openly discussed and not hidden to fester.
    Family is a place of discipline; it is where serious faults are corrected and not ignored.
    Families such as this are the building blocks of good society. Christian families built on these principles are the visible strength of the kingdom. The local church is meant to function as a family.

  2. 2 EJ

    Dear Fellow Believers,

    This is another GREAT WORD from Ps. Greg Laurie who does not fear man and is a mouthpiece for the truth of God’s Word; it is an excellent follow-up to his last one entitled “DIVORCE-PROOFING YOUR MARRIAGE” which is now in CTF’s archives for MARCH (22nd) and WELL WORTH A READ if you missed it, so too the encouraging comments under Ps. Greg’s word in that article. Again in this one Greg spells it out,” His pattern is (and always will be) one man, one woman, married for life” – your first wife (or husband) is your only wife (or husband), see Jesus’ words in Matt 19: 4 – 6, a good example of “one-flesh” being like a pot of blue paint mixed with a pot of yellow paint to become ‘one’ paint (colour) and thereafter inseparable – this is how God sees the lifelong one-flesh marriage covenant.

    The Scripture from 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 NLT above is a stern warning to us all as Paul was writing to believers and not unbelievers: “Don’t you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshippers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers – none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God”. Although God himself will ultimately decide who will share in His Kingdom, in the light of this scripture believers can lose their inheritance in the Kingdom of God. Remarriage whilst a pre-existing spouse is still alive – i.e. adultery, is an area wherein we need to warn believers of what the Word of God says here.

    Also interesting that Ps. Greg says, “Respect for parents is certainly something we have lost sight of in our culture. In fact, this very lack of respect is one of the clear biblical signs that we are in the last days. Paul wrote of those days: ‘For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents …” (2 Timothy 3:2)'”. How many of us today are witnessing this disrespect for parents, even rudeness and bad manners like neglecting to acknowledge a gift sent or saying
    ‘thank you’ or responding to a card, email etc., failing to make a regular telephone call to aging parents to say hello – simple courtesies and respect which are often lacking in children today, even those who have been raised in a Christian home. How many of you out there have noticed or experienced this lately? Yes Ps. Greg, this surely is one of the clear biblical signs we are in the LAST DAYS.

    And yes, life isn’t a ‘bed of roses’ as Ps. Greg notes and the Lord Jesus was kind enough to tell us, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”. Thanks Pastor for your final word, ‘Through it all, however, those who cling to God’s Words and God’s ways always experience God’s faithfulness’. AMEN TO THAT.

    WELL DONE for publishing this word CTF. Iin Christian love,

    EJ

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