Volume. XXIX, No. 27
Sunday, 04 January 2015


From the Pastors Heart: Love your family


The church has chosen “Build a God honoring family” for its theme for year 2015.  Every word in this theme is familiar with us, and we all know and understand that such a theme must be practiced in our homes.  However, I must say that our homes are under siege and our families are often victims of vicious attacks from various enemy forces both spiritual and physical.  Families are not united, and their members are not loving and cherishing each other as they ought.  It is not an uncommon story that enemies are within their families.  There are family feuds and animosities against each other.  Parents are troubled by their disobedient and disrespectful children.  Teenage children shout at their parents and bang the room doors behind them as a sign of defiance to their parents.  Children are suffering under the hands of abusive and irresponsible parents.  There is no proper guidance for them at homes.  Husbands and wives have failed to keep and maintain their affections for one another and have lost the passion that desperately pushed them to marry some years ago.  Rivalries even amongst the siblings make them compete against each other, and there is no sense of genuine brotherhood even in times of troubles and trials.  There is no person who does not want to have a happy family, unless his mind is perverted not to know what it means to have a happy family.  Why do people love stories like Cinderella or Snow White?  Both stories tell us about children who were mistreated and abused by their cruel stepmothers.  There is either a total absence of a father or total carelessness of a father in the stories.  However, there are happy endings, when those main characters found princes and married them.  The stories always end by saying that they lived happily thereafter.  Very unfortunately, the real stories, I mean real …. stories, are not always like that.  Many families have been broken into pieces.  Many families have struggled and tasted the bitterness of conflicts, feuds, mistrust, abuses, and even hatred.  While I am saying all these negative stories, I also need to remind all of us that there is no perfect home and family because there is no perfect person in the world.  Mums and dads are not perfect, and their children are not perfect either.  Then what can we expect when all imperfect people are living under the same roof day in and day out?  When we think of family issues, we must return to the origin of the family in Genesis.  God made Adam and Eve.  Sin came in through their disobedience, which brought the wrath and punishment upon themselves from God.  Their first child, Cain, killed his brother Abel.  The first murder happened in the first family.  It cannot be denied that still the same principle and influence of sin works within the families.  All of these thoughts teach us one thing: we need to work hard in order to build a God honoring family.

 

Let me begin with a kind of practical conclusion of the talks I am going to give in this article.  Apart from our duties and obligations that we ought to build a God honoring family, I would like to say that it is an honor and privilege that we have our families and opportunities to love and cherish them.  Life is not very long to be wasted by conflicts and fights.  We often do not know the importance and values of our loved ones until we finally lose them and do not have any more opportunity to love them.  While I am writing this article, there are floods of reports about the lost Air Asia plane somewhere in the Indonesian sea.  Louise Sidharta was at Singapore’s Changi Airport waiting for her fiancée to return from a family holiday.  She heard the news that the plane was missing.  She said, “It was supposed to be their last vacation before we got married.”  She must be in love with her fiancé, but now there is no more of such opportunity to share her love with him.  Hundreds of high school children were drowned when a ferry capsized in South Korea early this year.  I have read the writings about the parents of dead or missing students.  One common story from them was that they felt sorry that they had not said enough to their children about how much they loved them.  I have heard children saying and crying that they have not shown their respect and love to their parents, and they just have found that their parents have terminal illnesses and do not have much time to live.  Such stories are endless.  Oh, my friends, God has blessed us by giving us families.  We are privileged to have them.  Let us cherish and love them and build a God honoring family. 

 

I wanted to give you a few thoughts about building a God honoring family from Richard Baxter’s insightful book, The Godly Home.  It has plenty of spiritual and observational facts and truths to help us to understand the importance of our families and the applicable principles to build a God honoring family.  J. I Packer aptly summarized Baxter’s thoughts of God honoring home and family from the book in his introduction as following:

 

“In typical Puritan style, Baxter viewed all human life, and here specifically all domestic life, through three grids: the grid of doctrine, that of duty, and that of promise. All three were sourced directly from Scripture. The doctrine grid set forth the purposes and goals of God, first in creation and then in redemption, for each person and for each department of his or her existence and activity. The duty grid spelled out the moral commands of God, his will of precept as Reformed theologians called it, as pointers to and as shaped by God’s objective in each case. The promise grid deployed God’s offers of help for faithful obedience, aimed at achieving his specific target in each case. In the chapters reprinted in this book, Baxter assumes that readers have a working knowledge of the relevant doctrine—namely, that the family is for God-honoring partnership and mutual service, for character-molding in and through love, and for the continuance of our race through the producing and nurturing of children; that sex is strictly for procreation, with affectionate playfulness and pleasure; and that every family should be a mini-church, with its male head as the pastor. (This is the standard Puritan view.) Baxter assumes also that we know how to plead and rely on the promises of God in relation to our hopes, fears, endeavors, and bafflements, a subject that he had already treated at length in The Life of Faith (1670). What he concentrates on is the duty grid, stating and clarifying standards by which we humans are called to live. His thought moves rapidly, and he crisscrosses each area of duty many times, filling in all the angles, hammering each obligation home in the conscience.”

 

The church theme says that we ought to build a God honoring family.  We are not just waiting to see if our family will become a God honoring family, but must work hard toward making it possible by the grace of God.  In order to achieve this holy goal, there are a great deal of duties and works we must engage ourselves for.  Richard Baxter described it as a holy governing of families.  When we neglect it, we will suffer from the calamitous fruits of this neglect.  At the same time, being conscious of such duties we must perform for our families’ sake requires us to be awakened for our duties and to get over any level of sluggishness in our souls to do our duties.  Throughout this year, we will consider such matters like marriage (or marriage involved issues), worship in our families, duties of husband/son/father, duties of wife/daughter/mother, duties of parents, and duties of children.  By knowing such duties, we all will need to pray that we will maximize our opportunities to build a God honoring family, which inevitably loves one another within its own members.  May the Lord bless our families till He comes again!

 

Lovingly,

Your Pastor


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster - Leader: Today: Bro Edwin D’Mello. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Daniel Volvricht.

*Session wishes everyone a Blessed New Year.

*History of Thoughts class resumes on Wednesday, 14 January at 7.30 pm.

*Volunteers are needed to contribute flowers in sanctuary for Sunday service. Many slots still available throughout the year. If you are interested to help, please check the flower roster on the notice board.

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Please refer to hard  copy of Lively Hope.

2. Church activities in the past week.

3. Visitors & new worshippers.

4. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Please refer to hard  copy of Lively Hope.

2. Special Prayer: Sis Yashu Qin’s father (Wuhan).

3. God’s strength, guidance & provision: Sis Wol Hee Kim & her two daughters (S Korea).

4. iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim.

5. Cambodia Missions - Rev Stephen Choi & ministry; & Bro Sun Sokha (Phnom Penh).

6. Other missions: Bro Surish Dharmalingam & ministry (Laos).

7. New Life BPC (London) - strength & encouragement for congregation; Resident Preacher Mok - UK visa application & approval.

8. Providence B-P Church, Mawson Lakes from today - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.

9. Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.

10. Journey mercies: Please refer to hard  copy of Lively Hope.

11. Those grieving the loss of loved ones in the AirAsia QZ8501 tragedy.

12. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

13. Jobs: Those seeking for jobs in Adelaide.

14. Believers suffering in Islamic & communist countries.

15. Australia: People to repent & to come to Christ.

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063