upset husband and wife October 24 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: John 10:1-21; Mark 10:2-12; Matthew 19:3-12; Mark 10:13-16; Matthew 19:13-15; Luke 18:15-17

Restoring Family Relationships

There are many challenges to the family in today’s world. Many (if not most) American families are fractured. Many have no guide or moral values, and the result is chaos and confusion. They need good godly guidance. What they do not need is to be led further astray by bad teaching.

The Pharisees were false religious teachers of Jesus’ day and were jealous of his popularity. They tried to trip Jesus up by testing him about interpretations of God’s Law. The Pharisees provided many rules to live by, but by establishing their own brand of righteousness and leading others in their errors, they worked against God and against families. Families had struggles then and as well as now. How can we restore our family relationships?

First, do we need to be restored? Perhaps we may be injured in some way and need help. Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd who takes care of his sheep. His sheep are those who believe in him and trust him to save them and take care of them. Unlike the Pharisees and other false religious leaders, Jesus feeds, binds wounds, protects, and goes after lost sheep. He carries the injured ones close to his heart. Are you one of his sheep, or are you like a lost lamb without a shepherd? God will care for you if you are one of his sheep. Why not call on him today and ask him to be the shepherd of your soul? (more...)

Second, to restore family relationships we must be careful not to follow teachers or counselors who do not follow the teachings of the Bible. In our last lesson Jesus warned that the Pharisees were like blind guides. In today’s lesson Jesus went even further in his rebuke. He suggested, by the use of the parable of the sheep and the shepherd, that these religious teachers were destructive in three ways: the Pharisees were like thieves and robbers trying to get into the sheepfold and lead away sheep; they were like wolves trying to get in and destroy the sheep; and they were like hired shepherds that only cared about the money they made, not the sheep.

Poor family counseling and teaching in our world is like the Pharisees’ teaching of Jesus’ day. By introducing destructive teaching they ruin families. Families need to follow the true caring shepherd of their souls, Jesus, to escape the destructive philosophies of this world. What kind of destructive teaching ruins families?

Our American culture teaches us that the goal of marriage is happiness. A traditional marriage vow is, “till death do us part,” A modern marriage vow is, “as long as love may last.” What if a couple has an argument right after the wedding and now do not feel in love? Should the marriage then end as quick as it began? In American society, divorce can be acquired in a month’s time and can be for any reason. A popular reason given for divorce in today’s culture is “irreconcilable differences.” There is not much marriage security in low commitments.

Let’s give attention to Jesus as he answers the questions of the Pharisees about marriage issues.

Some Pharisees came to [Jesus] to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

“Haven't you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

"Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?"

Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery," (Matthew 19:3-9).

Wow! Those are high standards. Why does Jesus say that to marry after getting a divorce is adultery? He says this because remarrying after a divorce violates the original marriage covenant. The original marriage contract was not revocable; it was “until death do us part.” The marriage covenant is not just a slip of paper. The marriage covenant is not just a hope for happiness, though couples certainly want that. The marriage covenant is a promise, a vow to our mates in the sight of God and many witnesses that we will forsake all others and give ourselves totally to each other “for better or for worse,” and “as long as we both shall live.” These are traditional marriage vows that have a strong Biblical base. Certainly, there may be serious problems in marriage relationships, but it will glorify the LORD and work to our benefit if we will seek Biblical counseling to work out our problems. Divorce can cause chaos, division, poverty, and even violence. God wants us to seek paths of peace and restoration, not only for ourselves, though that is what we need and want, but also that we may glorify him and be an example to children and others of godly marriage relationships (Malachi 2:15-16).

Marriage is also a picture of Christ and the church; He is the bridegroom and true believers in Jesus Christ are his bride, which he purchased by giving his life for her on the cross of Calvary (Ephesians 5:1-2, 21-33). Husbands need to love and nourish their wives as Christ does the church, and wives need to respect and submit to their (non-abusive) husbands. In fact, both husbands and wives need to lovingly and willingly submit to each other, live in consideration of each other and watch that their attitudes be sweet, not destructive. Focus on the Family is a well-respected Christian organization that has programs to help bring hope and restoration to broken families.

Another current teaching regarding families is that children should be allowed to make religious decisions for themselves, without any influence of the parent. Because of this many children today are not given any religious instruction, either personally by a parent or through the organism of a church. If children are not exposed to Christ, how can they possibly choose him? We are responsible as Christian parents to grow them up in the nurture and admonition of the LORD (Ephesians 6:4). We are responsible to lead them to the LORD so that they might be saved. The salvation and discipleship of children will lead to a more moral and just society, and more generations of people will come to know the LORD if they are exposed to the Bible and to the Christian message on a regular basis.

In Jesus’ day, children were brought to him so that he might touch and bless them. The disciples tried to forbid them from coming because they did not think he had time or should be bothered by children. Jesus said, however, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these,” (Matthew 19:14, NIV). Good godly people are like the hands of Jesus; they can touch the lives of children for eternity. Most of the time caring godly people can be found in local Bible believing churches.

Lessons to live by: (about restoring family relationships)

  • Do you need restoration? Ask Jesus to be the shepherd of your soul and follow him, not false teachers. (more...)
  • Strive with God’s help to keep your marriage covenant, not just for you but also for your children. Get instruction from God's Word, pray, and seek godly counsel if you need it.
  • If you have been divorced or re-married or suffer other broken relationships, God is not done with you. Jesus can still be the kind shepherd of your soul and bring you healing and protection. *
  • Instruct your children about the LORD, and take them to church so they might come to know Jesus as their Savior. Set the example by going to church yourself and living a consistent godly life.

Today’s Bible Memory verse:

John 10:11 "I [Jesus] am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (NIV)

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