Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
Volume 02, Number 33
church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker HWY
P.O. Box 30821
Bellingham, WA 98228
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Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
Mt. Baker church
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In this issue:
HOW IMPORTANT IS THE FAMILY?
The Bible says, "Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor
in vain who build it" (Psa. 127:1a). Rather than being primarily concerned
with the building of physical houses made of wood and brick, the teaching of
God's word focuses on the building of households, or families. A "family" is
properly defined as consisting of a unit of people who are related to one
another. The basic family unit is made up of a husband and wife (Matt.
19:4-6), as well as their children, should they be so blessed (Psa. 127:3).
While the world so often belittles, scorns,
and seeks to discard the concept of the family, the Bible places a great
deal of emphasis on its importance and significance. Why is the family so
1. The family is the first God-ordained
institution. Long before the church was brought into existence and even
before the implementation of civil government, God created the family
arrangement. On the sixth day of the creation God said, "It is not good that
man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him" (Gen.
2:18). Accordingly, God created woman and it was decreed that "a man shall
leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become
one flesh" (v. 24). God made the family a priority even from the beginning.
2. The family is the
first and only honorable arrangement provided by God for the procreation of
mankind. With regard to the family unit consisting of a man and a woman, God
said at the beginning that the married couple should "be fruitful and
multiply; fill the earth and subdue it" (Gen. 1:28). While children may be
conceived outside of the marriage relationship, God did not intend it to be
so. Concerning sexual fulfillment, the message of Scripture is clear:
"Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and
adulterers God will judge" (Heb. 13:4). God arranged the family to serve as
a loving environment in which children are to be produced
3. The family is the first place for
providing for the physical needs of its members. God designed the family to
sustain itself from a physical and material standpoint. With regard to this
function of the family, the apostle Paul writes, "But if anyone does not
provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has
denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (1 Tim. 5:8). Rather than
placing this responsibility upon the government or the church, the family
has been created by God to take care of and sustain itself (cf. 2 Thess.
4. The family is the first and best
arrangement for the training and education of children. The word of God
makes plainly evident the fact that God designed the family as a training
arrangement. The biblical charge to parents is as follows: "Train up a child
in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Prov.
22:6) and, "Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him
with a rod, he will not die" (23:13). God expects the family arrangement to
be one in which godly guidance is provided.
5. The family is the first place where true
religion is taught and practiced. Concerning the words of the Law of Moses,
Israelite families were instructed as follows: "You shall teach them
diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your
house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up"
(Deut. 6:7). While the local church is responsible for teaching and
upholding the truth (1 Tim. 3:15), the Lord has directly charged parents
with the responsibility of bringing up their own children "in the training
and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4). The undeniable expectation is that
God and His word will be held in reverence in the family, as one generation
passes His wisdom on to the next.
numerous and profound ways God has made the family first. The challenge
before us is to make sure that God is first in our families. As we seek to
fulfill God's expectations for our families, let us be ever aware that, "The
curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the home of
the just" (Prov. 3:33).
WORSHIP THAT GOD HATES
In Amos 5:21-23, God said to the Israelites, “I hate, I
reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. Even
though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will
not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your
fatlings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen
to the sound of your harps.”
The first question that comes to mind is,
what had Israel done to cause the Lord to hate their worship of Him? The
Lord continued in verse 24, “But let justice roll down like waters and
righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Something had happened that
restrained justice and righteousness.
Let’s look earlier in Amos 5 and examine
verses 10-13 which describe what caused Israel to restrain righteousness and
justice. God said, “They hate him who reproves in the gate, and they abhor
him who speaks with integrity. Therefore, because you impose heavy rent on
the poor and exact a tribute of grain from them, though you have built
houses of well-hewn stone, yet you will not live in them; You have planted
pleasant vineyards, yet you will not drink their wine. For I know your
transgressions are many and your sins are great, you who distress the
righteous and accept bribes and turn aside the poor in the gate. Therefore,
at such a time the prudent person keeps silent, for it is an evil time.”
Notice what’s happening. Folks are in sin and hate those who are reproving
them for it. They are oppressing the poor and taking bribes. Then these same
people with wicked and cruel hearts think they can turn around and offer
worship that is pleasing to God.
These folks didn’t have a proper attitude
toward God or their brethren! By this, they showed hatred for God and their
neighbor. In Matthew 22:37-40, a lawyer asked, “Teacher, which is the great
commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your
God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You
shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the
whole Law and the Prophets.” Jesus pointed out that folks needed to love God
and their neighbor. This was the same law in effect during the time of Amos.
Yet, we see Israel greatly lacked these two loves. They may have offered
sacrifices the way God commanded, they may have played the instrument God
commanded in the Old Testament, they may have even obeyed the commands
concerning festivals (e.g., Amos 5:21-23), yet God hated it all because they
behaved wickedly. Their heart was not right before their Creator.
Now we must look at ourselves. Does God hate
our worship? We may not do everything on this list God mentioned in Amos 5,
but when we’re in error, and a brother points it out and reproves us, how do
we react? How do we feel about that brother afterward? Are we angry with
him? Are we continuing in our sin? Where is our heart in all of this?
Our worship can be
vain if we remain in sin after it’s been pointed out to us in our lives and
condemned. In Hebrews 12:28 (ESV), it says, “Therefore let us be grateful
for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let
us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.” Does continuing
in sin show an attitude of gratefulness, reverence, and awe to God?
Obviously not. It shows the exact opposite.
Let’s remember to have
the proper attitude toward God and our brethren. Otherwise, God will not
accept our worship, and eventually, we’ll have to pay the ultimate price for
our sins (Rev. 21:8).
Created by Tyler Rorvig-Rieksts, last updated.
The Mount Baker Beacon is a
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA.
Send all questions, comments to the editor, John Bass at (360) 325-5149