FAMILIES in the FAMILY of GOD
In response to the lawyer's question about which was the greatest commandment,
Jesus said: " "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your
soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself" ' "
Obviously, God cares about our relation ships; otherwise, He would not have
named loving others as the most important command besides loving Him. It's
no coincidence Jesus linked these two commands: Love for God cannot be manifested
in any way other than love for others.
God created people as individuals with unique character traits that make
them who they are. Yet, He created them also as social beings who enter into
relationships with others. And nowhere is our relationship with others more
important, more fraught with both temporal and eternal consequences, than
in the family. Here so much of who we are, either for good or for ill, is
Though living as a Christian at home is crucial, it can be challenging, even
harder than in public, where it is easier to put on facades. At home, generally,
the masks come off. It is a lot easier to fool others than to fool those
with whom you share the same table, the same rooms, the same bed day after
day, year after year. If you can be a Christian at home, you can be one anywhere.
Families fit into God's design as centers in which individuals experience
intimate association with others and are prepared for the greatest intimacy
of all--a relationship with God. In the family both children and adults may
have a warm experience that reflects the Creator and that encourages them
in loving discipleship. On the other hand, because of pseudolove or indifference,
people may leave their home with emotional and spiritual problems that are
often difficult to erase.
Just as our homes have the greatest potential to do the most good, they also
can do the most harm. No wonder that the Bible says so much about family
life. So much depends upon it.
Christian families face the challenge of seeking to live according to God's
will for life and for relationships, even as each individual member finds
himself or herself falling short of that will
3:23). That's why, first and foremost, true Christians grasp by faith
the sinless life of Christ and claim that life as their own, the foundation
upon which they can build a relationship with God that will enhance their
relationships with their own family
The wonder of our faith is the good news that God knows all about us. He
sympathizes with our weaknesses and is full of compassion and longsuffering.
Knowing this about Him, even experiencing for ourselves His love for us despite
our faults, we do the same to others, especially those in our own family.
Through family relationships God wants to show His love to the world. As
families learn to live together according to the Word of God, His grace is
diffused to all whose lives they touch, winsomely drawing others to Jesus.
Marriage and family, along with the Sabbath, are two institutions passed
to humankind from Eden. Equally the work of the Creator's hand, they are
indissolubly linked and meant to bring glory to God and blessings to humanity.
As creationists raised up to give voice to Revelation's call to worship the
One who made all things (see
14:7), Seventh-day Adventists have lifted up the Sabbath, reminding
the world of the Creator's rest. Marriage and family, in their own way, also
recall Creation, when a merciful Maker prepared a place for humanity to rest,
a haven where the power of His love draws diversity into oneness, where a
promise is a promise and commitment means commitment. This place of rest,
this haven, is the home.
However, this quarter's study has been written in the sad recognition that
for many, this haven doesn't exist as it should. Our goal, if nothing else,
is through study of the Word to help homes and families be what God would
have them to be: more loving, more secure in Christ.
Ron Flowers, author of this quarter's study guide, has worked in the
department of Family Ministries at the General Conference since 1980. He
has been teaching and writing on family issues for many years. He and his
wife, Karen, have two adult children.
(all lessons may
School Study Helps
Jerry Giardina of Pecos, Texas, assisted by his wife, Cheryl,
prepares a series of helps to accompany the Sabbath School lesson. He includes
all related scripture and most EGW quotations. Jerry has chosen the "New
King James Version" of the scriptures this quarter. It is used with permission.
The study helps are provided in three wordprocessing versions
Word; RTF for our MAC friends (this
is now a zip file); and HTML (Web Pages).
Last updated on December 30, 2005
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Principal Contributors: Ronald M. Flowers
Editor: Clifford R. Goldstein
Associate Editor: Lyndelle Brower Chiomenti
Publication Manager: Soraya Homayouni Parish
Editorial Assistant: Larie S. Gray
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Concept Design: Dever Design
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General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. All Rights Reserved.
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