This Sunday we’re covering Paul’s guidelines for family relationships found in Colossians 3:
- Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
- Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
- Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
- Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
It’s important to see these guidelines as part of the larger context we’ve been covering the past few weeks: our lives as God’s holy people. These verses probably have their own heading in your Bible–my NIV Bible has them listed under “Rules for Christian Households”–so that it looks like this is a whole new topic…but it’s not. These aren’t just some random, feel-good ideas to help everybody get along. They’re a continuation of the rest of the chapter and the chapter before, where we’ve seen:
- We were dead in sin, but now we are raised in Christ, with our sins forgiven (2:9-15).
- We died with Christ to the basic principles of this world (2:20).
- We have been raised with Christ and we are to set our hearts on things above (3:1-2).
- We are to put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature (3:5).
- We are God’s holy people, and as such, we are to be clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; we are to bear with each other; we are to forgive as the Lord forgave us; and we are called to peace (3:12-15).
And so, continuing that thought, we see what those principles look like within a family unit made up of God’s holy people: husbands and wives who love each other, parents who love their children, children who obey their parents. A family that’s able to serve the Lord, to serve one another, and to serve others, in harmony and love. This is the result of a family clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
With that in mind, we’ll be singing the hymn A Christian Home.
O give us homes built firm upon the Savior,
Where Christ is Head and Counselor and Guide;
Where every child is taught His love and favor
And gives his heart to Christ, the Crucified:
How sweet to know that, though his footsteps waver,
His faithful Lord is walking by his side!
O give us homes with godly fathers, mothers,
Who always place their hope and trust in Him;
Whose tender patience turmoil never bothers,
Whose calm and courage trouble cannot dim;
A home where each finds joy in serving others,
And love still shines, though days be dark and grim.
We’re also singing We Are an Offering, and I love the idea of these words applied not just to the church body but being sung as a family:
We lift our voices, we lift our hands,
We lift our lives up to You; we are an offering.
Lord, use our voices, Lord, use our hands;
Lord, use our lives, they are Yours; we are an offering.
All that we have, all that we are, all that we hope to be,
We give to You, we give to You.
And we’ll follow this with Seekers of Your Heart, a simple but powerful little prayer:
Lord, we want to know You, live our lives to show You
All the love we owe You–we’re seekers of Your heart.
The choir will be singing Find Us Faithful. We sing the chorus of this song in our worship services, but this choral arrangement also includes the verses.
We’re pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road,
And those who’ve gone before us line the way.
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary,
Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace.
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witness,
Let us run the race not only for the prize;
But as those who’ve gone before us, let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives.
After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone,
And our children sift through all we’ve left behind,
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find.
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful,
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe,
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful.
And we’ll finish the service with The Family Prayer Song, taken from Joshua’s familiar words in Joshua 24:15.
Come and fill our homes with your presence;
You alone are worthy of our reverence.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord;
We will serve the Lord.
A Christian Home: words by Barbara B. Hart. Copyright 1965 Singspiration Music. CCLI #3163058. We Are an Offering: words and music by Dwight Liles. Copyright 1984 Word Music, LLC. CCLI #3163058. Seekers of Your Heart: words and music by Melodie Tunney, Dick Tunney, Beverly Darnall. Copyright 1987 BMG Songs/Pamela Kay Music. CCLI #3163058. Find Us Faithful: words and music by Jon Mohr. Copyright 1987 Birdwing Music and Jonathan Mark Music. CCLI #3163058. The Family Prayer Song: words and music by Morris Chapman. Copyright 1994 Maranatha Praise, Inc. CCLI #3163058.