Applying God's Family Rules to Your Family
Sermon Summary
This message looks at the message Paul had for the Church Family at Ephesus and applies the principles to the individual family. God wants His church family to be unified and growing towards maturity. He wants no less for the individual families that make up His church. Twenty rules, more or less, are mentioned in the fourth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Church at Ephesus.  Pastor Larry looks at each rule and gives practical ways we can implement them in our families and why it is so important that we do so!

Community Group Questions

1. How many of the twenty rules can you remember off the top of your head?

2. Why is it so important for parents, grandparents, older brothers, older sisters, uncles and aunts, to live out the message they claim to believe? Do you agree that hypocrisy is one of the main reasons younger people have been discouraged from following Jesus or have dropped out of church?
Titus 2:1  You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.
Titus 2:2  Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
Titus 2:3  Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.


3. Here is a list of the twenty rules. Spend the rest of the time discussing the ones you feel are most critical to family life and why! You can use Ephesians Chapter 4 as your guide.
Be real in your life
Be humble
Be gentle
Be patient
Bear with one another in love
Be unified
Speak the truth in love
Each person must do their part
Throw out the old ways
Get a new attitude
Put on the new self
Put off falsehood and speak truthfully
Do no let anger rule you
Don't give the devil a foothold
Do your chores
Watch your mouth
Do not grieve The Holy Spirit
Don't forget rules 7,9,13,14,
Be kind and compassionate
Be forgiving




Sermon Notes
Applying God's Family Rules to Your Family

Ephesians 4

The church is God's family. You are God's family if you have put your faith and trust in what Jesus did for you on the Cross. If you have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, then you are a member of the Body of Christ. You are a member of His Church, regardless of whether or not you are a covenant member of Northshore Church.   

 You have entered into a covenant with God because of the Grace that God poured out on you through Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross!

However, whether you are a member or an attender, being a part of a local church is vital to your growth and maturity as a member of God's family. Coming to the Pathway 101 class and signing up to be a member is not mandated in the Bible, it is simply a practical way we can share our Church purpose, mission, vision, core values, core doctrines, and processes so you can decide if you're in basic agreement with us.

This gives us a way to know who is on our team and who we can turn to for help in accomplishing God's work! We turn to our covenant members to fill leadership and teaching roles within our various ministries.
It let's us know who's on our team.

Paul wanted so much for the church to be unified. He wanted them to be on the same page with their beliefs and wanted them to work together as a family to advance the work of God in this world.

 What does this have to do with marriage and family? Well, as I was reading Paul's letter to the Church at Ephesus, I saw his passion for the church and his desire for the church family to be unified. I thought, wow, God wants that for His family and for ours!

 Paul knew the church would face many difficulties and attacks. He knew the enemy would try to destroy them from without and discourage them from within.
I thought, this is also true of marriage and family.

 Paul knew the world would seek to water down their faith by infiltrating them with false doctrines and false religions.
Luis talked about the Children of Israel being surrounded by pagan cultures. It was no less true of the New Testament Church. And it is now becoming more and more true in today's world.

 Many of you know first hand what I'm talking about! You've been through the fire. I know this has not been an easy series for some of you who have fought hard for your family and marriage, but things didn't work out! My prayer is that you will never have to go through that again. My prayer is that those who are in the middle of the battle will find strength, wisdom, direction and healing from God's Word.

 My prayer is for those who are yet to be married, that they will learn and apply the principles of God's Word to their dating life and then to their marriages and families down the road.


 As I read chapter four of Ephesians, I was blown away by the cross application from the family of God to your family and mine. I guess Paul was kind of amazed by what God had given him as well, because he spent much of chapter five and six talking about marriage and family.

 Today we're going to look at the list of principles God inspired Paul to write down for the Church Family and see how those principles, or rules, apply to marriage and family!

 Let's pray and then we'll jump right in…
PRAY!

Family Rule #1

Be Real in Your Life!

1As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
Ephesians 4:1 (NIV)

 Paul, a prisoner because of his faith, tells  his brothers and sisters at Ephesus to live a life worthy of the calling they had received. He didn't say live a good life so you can receive the calling. You see, the life we've been called to live is a result of the undeserved grace and love of God! The Old Covenant was by the law, the New Covenant of the New Testament is by Grace!

A whole series is upcoming entitled, "Through the Lens of The Cross"
But listen to Paul's words to Titus...

11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
Titus 2:11 (NIV)

12It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
Titus 2:12 (NIV)

13while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Titus 2:13 (NIV)

14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Titus 2:14 (NIV)

The Greek language of our text that says "live a life" actually means walk!

In other words, "Walk the talk!"
God has a path for us to walk. Question is: Will we walk His path?
We are saved by grace and we walk by grace, but both are a choice.  

We've been called to be the very children of God. Members of His very own family. If we accept the grace and adoption of God into the family it matters how we live and conduct ourselves in the family. Not just the church family, but our immediate families as well.

In fact, let me tell you this. I couldn't agree with Luis more. Your kids are watching you. Hypocrisy in parents has turned more kids away from the faith than MTV ever did!
It's so critical that we apply this "family of God rule" to our families.

Be Real in Your Life!

 Family Rule #2

Be Humble



2Be completely humble...
Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)

When we understand that it's only by God's grace we are saved and we understand it's only by God's grace we are able to stand, selfish pride gets tossed and we learn how to give grace.
What a difference it would make in our families if we walked in humility.

3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
Romans 12:3 (NIV)

4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,
Romans 12:4 (NIV)

5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
Romans 12:5 (NIV)

6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us…Romans 12:6a (NIV)

 What a difference it would make in our families if we all walked in humility.
So many of our issues stem from pride.
God's Word nails it...

3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Philippians 2:3 (NIV)

4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:4 (NIV)

5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Philippians 2:5 (NIV)

There ya go. Apply God's family rule to your family. By the way, always apply it first to yourself, then to others. Just works better that way!!

 Family Rule #3

Be Gentle

2Be completely humble and gentle;
Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)

I realize there are times when we have to put our foot down, but most of the time we would get so much more accomplished if we would just learn to be gentle. I've always said, "You can love someone to Jesus a whole lot quicker than you can preach them to Jesus!" Same thing applies to the family. A little gentle persuasion can sometimes go a long way!

I don't want to tread on Jay's message for the men next week on Father's Day, but let me just say this…some of the strongest, bravest, most courageous men I know are at times "gentle giants."
I don't know about you, but I sure am glad God is gentle with me. He's so big and strong, if He weren't gentle, we would all be in trouble!!

 Family Rule #4

Be Patient

2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient...
Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)

Has anyone ever shown you patience? If they have, then you might consider giving a little patience to others! Especially in your family! Sometimes we are the least patient with family members. We'll bend over backwards to be patient with our coworkers, but somehow we take liberties with our families to quickly show our displeasure with even the little things.

Years ago when one of my kids was a young teenager we were going down the road, just us two. We were in a pretty intense conversation and this kid had pressed all my buttons. I lost my patience whipped the car over and pointed my finger in their face and let 'm have a piece of my mind. Thankfully that was out of the ordinary for me, and their was silence the rest of the way home.

When we got home I went to my study to just reflect. During this reflection God convicted me to the core of my being.
Here's what He told me...

"You would have never talked to one of the youth in your youth group the way you just talked to your own child!"

I was so convicted. I went and apologized. Not for the stand I had taken on the issue at hand, but for the way I had handled it. I think I apologized at least once a day for a week!!

Family Rule #5

Bear With One Another in Love

2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)

No man is an island unto himself! We all need help. We want others to bear with us when we struggle, we need to bear with them. Remember, you may not understand their struggle, because it's not something you struggle with, but we all struggle with something!
Paul explained this rule in depth in the Romans 15...

1We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
Romans 15:1 (NIV)

2Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
Romans 15:2 (NIV)

3For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”
Romans 15:3 (NIV)

4For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Romans 15:4 (NIV)

Family Rule #6

Be Unified

3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:3 (NIV)

Paul then gives insight on how to do this.
We have to understand the principle of Unity.

4There is one body and one Spirit —just as you were called to one hope when you were called —
Ephesians 4:4 (NIV)

5one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
Ephesians 4:5 (NIV)

6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4:6 (NIV)

7But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
Ephesians 4:7 (NIV)

We're all here because of Grace!! We may not always agree on everything, but we must look at the bigger picture! In the Church family we have to remember our one purpose is to see the One who gave Himself for us exalted and the Ones He gave Himself for transformed!

In the family we've got to understand our number 1 purpose is to provide an environment where every member of the family is encouraged and inspired to become all God created them to be.
Paul put it this way in Romans...

5May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,
Romans 15:5 (NIV)

6so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 15:6 (NIV)

7Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Romans 15:7 (NIV)

The Importance of every member of the Family

11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,
Ephesians 4:11 (NIV)

12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
Ephesians 4:12 (NIV)

13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Ephesians 4:13 (NIV)

14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
Ephesians 4:14 (NIV)

In the family, the Mom, the Dad, the older brother or sister, Grandparents, uncles and aunts all have a role to play as a child moves from infancy to adulthood. Every member of the family is important!!

 Back to the list...

 Rule # 7

Speak the Truth in Love

15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
Ephesians 4:15 (NIV)

Truth in God's family and in your family is vital. If you can't trust the people in your own family who are you going to trust? When truth is not a staple in the family it effects our lives in a devastating way.

If loving truth is not a part of the family, a child will grow up suspicious of everyone and everything. It will impede their ability to have a meaningful and truthful relationship with their own spouse because they've learned not to trust!
Without trust, relationships will fail.

 Rule #8

Each Member Must Do Their Part

16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Ephesians 4:16 (NIV)

We all have a part to play in the strength and unity of the family. This includes kids. That's right, it's not just on the parents, it's also important for young people as they grow older to take some responsibility to help the family. This verse says we support each other in love! This rule shows up in the list twice.  

 Rule #9

Throw Out the Old Ways

17So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
Ephesians 4:17 (NIV)

18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
Ephesians 4:18 (NIV)

19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
Ephesians 4:19 (NIV)

20You, however, did not come to know Christ that way.
Ephesians 4:20 (NIV)

21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.
Ephesians 4:21 (NIV)

22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
Ephesians 4:22 (NIV)

Why would you want to hold on to things which corrupt and corrode? If there's things in your life you're holding on to that are ungodly, get rid of them. They will effect the whole family!!   

 Family Rule #10

Get a New Attitude

23to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
Ephesians 4:23 (NIV)

We need to ask God to help us cop an attitude, but it needs to be a Jesus attitude!!

1Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.
1 Peter 4:1 (NIV)

2As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
1 Peter 4:2 (NIV)

Jesus was willing to suffer for the family of God! We should have an attitude that says, "I'll take one for the family!"

Family Rule #11

Put on the New Self

24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:24 (NIV)

In other words, the new self is not self absorbed! It is not all about me, myself and I, but it is clothed in true righteousness and holiness!!  

Rule #12

Put Off Falsehood and Speak Truthfully
See Rule #7

 

25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
Ephesians 4:25 (NIV)

Rule 7

Speak the truth in love!!!!!

 Rule #13

Don't Let Anger Rule You



26“In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
Ephesians 4:26 (NIV)

 I asked my Granddad years ago how he and my Grandmother had made it for over 50 years. He told me they never went to bed angry! They would always try to work things out right away. They didn't give things time to fester!

 There are certainly times to be angry about something, but the Bible is clear we are not to let that anger turn into sin. When we have a reason to be angry, our motive should be to fix the problem, not prove we're right. Our motive should be to help the other person understand why their behavior was wrong so they can change, not so we can hold it over their head they messed up.

A couple of Proverbs would be in order here...

1A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)

11A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.
Proverbs 29:11 (NIV)

Family Rule #14

Don't Give the Devil a Foothold

27and do not give the devil a foothold.
Ephesians 4:27 (NIV)

Let me just say this…You know when you're doing something that gives the devil an opening into your family. Ask this question…
"Is this so important to me that I'm willing to give Satan access to my family and my children?"

It is the height of self-indulgence to continue a behavior knowing it is exposing your family to Satan and his evil.

Family Rule #15

Do Your Chores
See Rule #8



28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
Ephesians 4:28 (NIV)

 It's tantamount to stealing if you neglect your responsibilities and let others carry the burden of always taking up your slack. It's true in God's family and in our personal families!

Family Rule #16

Watch Your Mouth



29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

This would include such things as…
Back talk
Constant arguing
Put downs
Yelling
Criticism  

Our words should be…

Encouraging
Helpful
Godly
Peaceful
Loving
 

Family Rule #17

Do Not Grieve the Holy Spirit

30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:30 (NIV)

 It breaks God's heart and grieves His Holy Spirit when His family is in disarray. The same goes for your family. Again, I know some of you have done all humanly possible, and marriage and family is a joint venture. Let me say this...

 If you're not in a position to work on the family, because of divorce or separation, work on you. Become the most Godly woman or man you can be and God will use you to be an example of His grace and love to your children, to others and God will personally encourage your heart!!

Rule #18

Don't Forget Rules 7,9,13,14,

31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
Ephesians 4:31 (NIV)

Rules 7, 9,13, 14

Speak the Truth in Love
Throw Out the Old Ways
Don't Let Anger Rule You
Don't Give the Devil a Foothold

 Family Rule #19

Be Kind and Compassionate
See Rule #3, #4, #5

32Be kind and compassionate to one another...
Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)

Rules 3, 4, 5

Be Gentle
Be Patient
Bear With One Another in Love

Family Rule #20

Be Forgiving  

32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)

 That's a lot of rules and God knows that sometimes, even when we try our very best, we will make mistakes, we will sometimes break the rules.
That's why this last rule is there.

Forgive!

 Remember, forgiveness isn't saying it's okay to break the rules or saying to a battered woman or man they have to allow themselves to be abused, but it is saying when someone is truly sorrowful and wants to change, forgiveness is in order!
Let's Pray!!