Our Loved Ones

Introduction

     The most important people in the world to us are our loved ones.  These include our immediate family and near relatives.  As Christians we will have their best interest at heart.  And in doing so they may not always appreciate our efforts on their behalf. 

     You and I have much to be thankful for.  This is especially true when some of our loved ones are also Christians.  We share with them the greatest cause in this world. 

     But this is not true concerning our loved ones who have not obeyed the gospel of Christ.  We love them with all of our heart.  And this causes us to be especially concerned for their spiritual salvation.  

Discussion

I.                   YES, WE HAVE BOTH MEMBERS OF OUR FAMILY IN THE CHURCH AND OUTSIDE OF IT.  (The church of our Lord is the spiritual family of God.) 

1 Tim. 3:15, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” 

1.      House as used in this passage has reference to the spiritual family of God

Acts 16:29-34, “Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.  And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.  And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.” 

Heb. 11:7, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” 

A.      We have examples in the scriptures in which those related by blood and marriage of the same physical family were also related spiritually.

1.      These include:

a.       The Son of God had members of His physical family who were His disciples. 

Acts 1:12-26, (Refer to this passage, especially verse 14, which states:  “…and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren”). 

b.      Three generations of Timothy’s family. 

2 Tim. 1:5, “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and they mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” 

2 Tim. 3:14-15, “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 

c.       Barnabas had a sister and nephew who were fellow Christians. 

Col. 4:10, “…and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments:  if he come unto you, receive him ;)” 

Acts 12:12-17, (Refer to this passage). 

d.      There is a good indication that the Apostle Paul had a nephew and possibly a sister who were Christians.

Acts 23:12-22, (Refer to). 

e.       The Apostle Peter served as an elder.  Therefore, his wife and children would also be Christians. 

1 Pet. 5:1, “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:” 

(Emphasize the qualifications for an elder:  1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-11). 

B.      How should we conduct ourselves toward our relatives who are not in the church of our Lord? 

1 Pet. 3:1-4, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation [behavior] of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation [behavior] coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

1 Cor. 7:12-16, (Elaborate upon this passage). 

II.                WE MUST CONSIDER OUR VARIOUS RESPONSIBILITIES UNTO OUR PHYSICAL FAMILIES.

A.     We have a unique and special responsibility unto our spouse. 

Gen. 2:24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife:  and they shall be one flesh” (Mk. 10:6-9). 

1 Cor. 7:3-5, “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence:  and likewise also the wife unto the husband.  The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband:  and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.  Defraud ye not one the other except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.”

1.      The late brother Gus Nichols, in using First Corinthians 7 as his text during a Gospel Meeting for a young adults’ Bible class, stated:  “A failure to abide by these divine commands has broken up multiplied thousands of homes.  This scripture is violated to the extent that multiplied thousands go off to seek satisfaction in some sort of an adulterous relationship.  For either companion to assume that his body belongs to himself, and not to the other, is the fundamental error held by many married people concerning the matter.  While moderation in all matters is to be practiced by Christians, still the fact remains that neither companion is to have his own way and satisfy himself; rather each is to satisfy the other.  Paul declares that this will settle the problem, and who can deny it?  There are companions who would not think of violating God’s law against defrauding other people out of their money or worldly goods, who will actually defraud their own husbands or wives out of a relationship to which they are entitled and for which marriage was provided and intended of God to keep them satisfied and happy.  And may I say that it is plainly SINFUL for one companion to punish the other by a refusal of that to which God has granted him or her the right.” (Speaking The Truth In Love, Sixteen Full-Length Sermons and Three Lectures To Bible Classes by Gus Nichols.  In a meeting at Lamesa, Texas, March 4-11, 1956). 

B.     Both parents and their children have special responsibilities unto one another.

 Eph. 6:1-4, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord:  for this is right.  Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.  And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath:  but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” 

C.     We have certain responsibilities unto both our mate and our children. These include both their spiritual and physical needs. 

1 Tim. 5:8, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” 

III.             WHAT PROVISIONS SHOULD WE PROVIDE FOR OUR LOVED ONES IN ANTICIPATION OF OUR DEPARTURE FROM THIS LIFE?  (Those provisions should include both spiritual and physical needs.)

A.     A prophet is not going to inform us as did Isaiah to Hezekiah, “...Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live” (2 Kings 20:1).

1.      But because this man in penitence prayed to God and then wept sore, the Lord spared his life.

2.      The scripture reveals that God gave Hezekiah fifteen additional years to live. 

B.     If a medical doctor were to inform us that we had a terminal illness and could not expect to live very long, how would we react?

1.      You and I would certainly want to make sure that our lives were right in the sight of God.  We realize that the spiritual state we are in at the point of death will be how we will face judgment. 

Heb. 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” 

2.      We’d also want to make proper preparation for our immediate loved ones. 

C.     We would want to carefully provide as much as possible for both their spiritual and physical well-being. 

1 Tim. 5:8, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” 

D.    What should you and I consider in providing for our loved ones’ physical needs?

1.        Men, as the primary “bread winner” in their family, should strive to provide for their family’s physical needs.  This includes the period when they are no longer living in this life. 

E.     More importantly, what should you and I consider in providing for our loved ones’ spiritual needs?

1.      We should bring our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).

2.      Parents should motivate, as much as possible, their children to marry Christians.

3.      We should provide a good example for them to follow after we’re no longer with them. 

Prov. 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” 

F.      In respect to those of our kindred who have not obeyed the gospel of Christ, we should seek opportunities of reaching them by way of the inspired Word and by example. 

Conclusion

     We will truly demonstrate our love for our families by motivating them to live faithful Christian lives and to place their physical needs in proper perspective.  It is certainly not wrong to provide well for our family.  That is, as long as it is done so honestly and place spiritual principles first in our life. 

Matt. 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” 

1 Tim. 6:6-8, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” 

--Dub Mowery

Copyright © 2004 - 2005 by Pritchett Church of Christ. All rights reserved.