Maintaining Family Unity

Family Matters  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  37:32
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Since television sitcom series began, we have been watching shows about families. The very first sitcom to air on television was a show called Mary Kay and Johnny. It starred a real life married couple. Since then we have watched many television families for many years. From the Huxtables to the Seavers, from the Bunkers to the Cleavers, television families have been entertaining us for years. What made those shows so enjoyable to us? I believe it was that all of us could relate. We understand the American family because we are a part of one. We live, eat, sleep, and breathe family. The important thing is that we learn how to live and function in the family.
Today we begin a series called Family Matters. And no this is not a series based off the television show by the same name. For the next three weeks we are going to look subjects that the family is faced with and I am going to give you practical advice based off scripture and then I am going to show you how the same advice relates to the church as well. The three topics we are going to look at is this:

1. Maintaining Family Unity 2. Conquering Family Conflict 3. Leaving a Legacy

First, let me begin by saying that I am not an expert in these matters. Yes, I do have a family, so I will be speaking from some experience, but mostly, I want to open God’s Word and show you how God sees the family. And I hope that I can give you some ways that you can make your family unit better. So, let’s begin.
If you have your Bibles with you, go with me to the book of Ephesians. I want to begin by showing you what God says about unity. Paul writes to the church at Ephesus and tells them the importance of Unity.
Ephesians 4:3 NIV
3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
The only way that we can maintain unity as believers is with the Holy Spirit working in our lives. Listen carefully, we need the Holy Spirit guiding us as we go and the only way that we can walk in unity with one another is through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Peace is another part of unity. Think of peace this way. Peace is the binding twine that keeps us together in unity. God gives us peace and that peace produces equality and understanding.
Paul knew that maintaining unity among believers would take hard work and continual diligence. We face many attempts to tear apart our unity. Think about all the things that try to come in and tear us apart. There is false teachers, persecution, lying, cheating, many outside forces that want to come in and attack the believer. I also believe that there are many outside forces that are trying to come in and attack the family. We cannot allow those things to destroy our family unity.
So, what can we do to maintain family unity. I want to give you three ways to create family unity. Go with me to my text today found in John 17.
Look at verse 20.
John 17:20–23 NIV
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
This is a prayer by Jesus to God and do you know who He is praying for? He is praying for YOU. This is a prayer from Jesus to God and it is a prayer for you. Before you were even thought of Jesus was praying for you. Before your family even existed Jesus was praying for them. And look at what He was praying.
John 17:21 NIV
21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
Jesus is praying that you and I be united. Jesus is praying that each of us will be united together. That includes your family and my family and our great big church family. Jesus wants us to be unity as one together.
So, now that we know that Jesus wants us to be united, here are three ways that we can created family unity.

1. Communication

Let me talk to all husbands and wives right now. If you do not talk with one another you will never be on the same page. If you do not let each other know how each other feel you will never be united together. Communication is a two way street. The only way that you will make a relationship work in unity is if you talk together. Communication, communication, communication.
Proverbs 12:18 NIV
18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Our functioning as a human being rises and falls on personal relationships. And relationships are built and sustained on communication. In the family, if you are not communicating you will get nowhere.
One step to solid communication is by learning to listen. And when you listen, make sure that you listen intently. Be sure that you get all the information before you make a decision. And when you get the information, please make a decision.
James 1:19 NIV
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
Proverbs 18:13 NIV
13 To answer before listening— that is folly and shame.
Proverbs 18:2 NIV
2 Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.
Also, When your child does something good or your spouse does something that you like, show appreciation to them. I’m not saying you have to go and tell Facebook world about it, but show it to them. Let them know how much you appreciate them. Let them know how much you like what they did. Say thank you and please.
John 15:13 NIV
13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Also, a good step to follow in communication is agree to disagree. Kelly and I don’t agree on everything. And when we don’t agree on everything we talk about it. If I don’t like something, I let her know and if she don’t like something she lets me know.
Also, give apologies and accept apologies. Just because you think you are right does not mean you are right.
Proverbs 28:13 LBP
13 A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance.
We will never get anywhere as a family if we don’t learn to communicate with one another. God loves the family and He wants the family unit to be strong.
The third top reason that couples divorce, only behind infidelity and lack of intimacy, is lack of communication. Problems in communication can stem from a wide variety of other issues, but ultimately, couples who can’t find a way to connect with each other in order to communicate in a healthy way, often decide the relationship has run its course.
One of the best ways that you can maintain family unity is by communicating. If you don’t communicate then you are headed for problems.
I believe the same thing goes for the church. If we do not communicate with each other as a church then we are headed for problems. We can’t minister with one another if we don’t communicate with one another.
The second way for you to maintain family unity is...

2. Sharing Responsibilities

It takes a lot of work to maintain a household. You have a house to clean, a yard to take care of, bills to pay, groceries to buy, cars to maintain, kids to get where they need to be at the time they need to be there and I could go on. You can not place all the work on one person to do. You need to share the responsibilities with each family member the children included.
It is so important that you make family routines. It is okay to make a schedule and stick to it. It is okay to loosen up a little as well. The best thing to do is to come up with a plan and stick with it.
Proverbs 16:3 NIV
3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
Proverbs 16:9 NIV
9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.
Even at the youngest age you can assign your children jobs to do around the house.
Proverbs 22:6 NIV
6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Parents it is your responsibility to train your children while they are young. Children if mom and dad ask you to do something, do it. Don’t wait until the moment passes.
Ephesians 6:1–4 NIV
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Chaos is not okay in a household. You have been instructed by God to teach your children and that includes responsibilities around the house.
I tell my children that my responsibility is to make sure that they are fully functional human being. Giving them responsibilities is part of that. And if you want to keep unity in the home then you need to share responsibilities with all members of the household.
The same thing goes with the church. I am your pastor. It is not my job to do everything around the church. I am to train you to do the work of the ministry. All of us must take on responsibilities here at the church so that we can be the church that God has called us to be.
And my third and final point today is… If you want to maintain family unity then you have to ...

3. Come Together as a Family.

In order for you to create family unity you must come together as a family. You need to put your families needs above all other needs.
We don’t have to go any further than the story of David to look at a family that was in shambles. Yes, David was a mighty warrior. Yes, David was a mighty king. Yes, David was a man after God’s own heart. But, I believe that if David could come back from the dead, he would tell you and I to take care of your family. Put your family first. In David’s family, we see where one son rapes his sister, another son tries to steal the kingdom away from David and David himself has an affair and then tries to cover it up by having her husband killed. And if you want to look at the story more closely, I believe that you can make a case that David raped Bathsheba. By law, she couldn’t refuse the kings request. David’s family was messed up and they were all over the place. But David had a heart of repentance and in the end everything works out to some degree.
If you want to create family unity then you must come together as a family and put your family first. That means that you place God at the center of your family and He will work things out for you.
Matthew 6:33 NIV
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
You need to adopt family traditions. Probably most of us if not all of us have traditions at Christmas and Thanksgiving that we do every year. Why then does it have to stop there? You need to adopt family traditions all year long. And I would venture to say that you need to take family adventures together.
Every year, my family takes some sort of vacation. Some years it cost more than others, but we make sure and go. Even in 2020 during the pandemic when everything was shut down we went camping in the middle of August because that was the only place that was open. Was it hot, you bet. Did we make memories, you bet. We will never forget Kelly going into our pop up with her bug zapper killing bugs. Being a person outside the pop up all you would hear was “zzzzzzzzzz”. I get ready to go to bed and there are dead bugs everywhere. We had to rake out our bed just so we could go to sleep. Luckily that was the last night of the trip. We made memories. Also, take lots of photos of those trips it will help you remember them better.
In the day we live in it is getting harder and harder to gather together as a family. So, you need to be intentional about doing it. We don’t necessarily eat together at home as a family because we all have different schedules. But we try to do other things like go shopping or watch a movie, go out to eat, go to a ball game.
We went to Atlanta this summer and we went to a Braves baseball game. Brenley and I watched the game while Mailey and Kelly read their book and watched videos. The point is we were together as a family.
And the most important way for you to come together as a family is to pray as a family. I believe that my kids know that if they need someone to pray for them they can come to Kelly or myself. It is so important that we lean on each other through the good times and the bad times.
And I believe the same is for the church as well. We need to lean on each other during the good times and the bad times.
God gave you your family. Take care of it. They may be all you have. Love on them. Lift them up. Pray for them. Encourage them. And most important place God at the center of your family and I believe you will see your family go to new heights like you’ve never seen before.
Let’s Pray.
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