Family Sphere

Spend a minute reflecting on what families look like today. Think also about your family and how you were raised. We have blended families, individual family units, traditional family structure, single parenting, same sex marriages, adoption, abuse within the family, geographical separation, nannies, missing generations (from AIDS), and so forth. There is great variety, making it to define what “family” looks like.

So what model should we chose for our own family? What should a godly family look like?

These questions are of vital importance because family is foundational in establishing our world views. By 4 years of age, family has already shaped how we see the world and how we judge society. Parents and the home environment will have given us a definition of how to define our lives. Either God will define our lives, or something else will.

How do we discover God’s heart for family? How do we create a godly environment for our children? How do we honour our parents? How should a husband and wife relate?

To answer these questions, we need to go to Scripture!

Let’s look at one Scripture together and what it tells us of family:

Gen 1:27-28

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Q: What is God establishing for family in these verses?

  • Fruitfulness
    • Children are to be desired
    • They are to be looked upon as a blessing
  • Multiplication
    • Doesn’t have to be physically; for example:
      • Caring for orphans
      • Discipleship of younger believers
  • Male and female
    • No distinction in value between male and female children
    • Man and woman make parents – not same sex
  • Dominion and authority
    • Responsibility for the world around

Here are some things to look at when considering what Scripture has to say about the family:

  • Marriage
  • Wives and husbands
  • Family roles
  • Parenting
  • Children – sons and daughter
  • In-laws
  • Conflict
  • Sexual conduct
  • Principles and ethics of relationship
  • Inheritance laws
  • Family finance
  • Family justice
  • Education
  • Widows
  • Orphans

The purpose of family is to provide the safe nurturing environment for growth, values and development of the next generation. It is the smallest building block of human society. It is important that we seek God’s heart for this sphere and what it should look like.

Some Scriptures to consider (these are in no way exhaustive!):

  • Exodus 12:24-30; 13:8-16;
  • Leviticus 18
  • Deuteronomy 4:9-14; 6:1-9; 11:19-21; 21:15-21
  • Titus 2:1-10
  • Ephesians 5:22-6:9

Family

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Science and Technology

Science is often considered as an opponent to God and scientists as opponents to the church, but this is not the case. We see in Genesis 1 & 2 that God is the Creator. God created the seen and the unseen world; He put the laws of physics into place. This shows us that, not only is He creative, but He is also a God of Order and Power. And He still governs over the world through the Laws of Nature (gravity, matter etc). God is for science and I believe that He revels in scientists, cheering them on when they make another discovery about His creation.

This sphere is also inclusive of healthcare. He is the God of Prevention, Healing and Cure. He is also the God of Nutrition and Sanitation. Enjoy exploring God the Great Physician through the books of the Pentateuch. For example, look at what we can learn just from one passage:

Principles from Deut 23:9-14

  • Hygiene/ sanitation
  • Outside the camp is well away from food preparation
  • Preventing spread of contagious diseases, including STDs, through bodily fluids
  • Prevent contact with these things to prevent transmission of disease
  • Prevent bacteria, fungus etc growing from bodily fluid
  • Preventing spread of disease in confined quarters of a war camp
  • Protecting them from bad smells within the camp
  • Stop outbreaks of flies etc (maggots)

God is a God of Prevention. 4000 years ago, well before modern medicine, God was caring for His people in the area of health! Even today, limited health knowledge and poor practices leads to death in many third-world nations. Consider the consequences of poor water sanitisation or contaminated food.

Included in these passages are laws of cleanliness throughout the Pentateuch, which deal with bodily fluid, human excrement, contact with carcases, sexual purity and so forth. God did not put them in place to chastise His people but to protect them from disease and illness. Again, we can learn from these laws today. Consider the spread of AIDs by multiple sexual partners, which is killing millions of people and leaving many children orphaned.

Look at the science and technology that we have today. God wants to challenge our split thinking (that some things are “more spiritual” than others). God is a God of the material world! Yes, God does the miraculous, but He also wants to do it through us working in the material world.

Take a look at Scripture and see the Great Physician, Inventor, Creator and Scientist!

 A water well in DRC

Looking at Spheres in Soceity

“If the Gospel is not relevant to the issues of the day, then it is not the Gospel at all” – Martin Luther

This week I have been involved in a seminar called “Reality Check”. It is a short seminar that introduces the “spheres of society” and what the Old Testament has to say on them.

Yes, I did say Old Testament! Today, the Old Testament is sometimes seen as “irrelevant” or “no longer needed” now that the New Testament has come. We can forget that Jesus had the Pentateuch (first 5 books in the Old Testament) memorised by the time He was 12! Not only had He memorised it, but He was a step ahead of the religious leaders of the time. The Pharisees merely learnt the Word, Jesus saw the heart behind it, how to bring understanding of it to those around Him, and lived it out.

God gave the first 5 books, the Pentateuch, to His people when He was forming them into a nation. These books were written during the “wilderness years” between Israel being led out of slavery in Egypt and when they finally entered the Promised Land. In these books is found God’s heart for His nation; how the nation was to live and run. And in these books we find principles for our society, today.

Yes, today we can find truths and principles in the Old Testament that are not only relevant to the different areas of society but are crucial to influencing our society with the ways of God!

So, what are the spheres of society? The model that we are using looks into the following areas:

  • Government
  • Economy
  • Education
  • Communication, Arts and Media
  • Church & Religion
  • Science, Health, Technology
  • Family

During the next few blogs, I am going to give you a little taste of God’s heart and message to each of the spheres, but I’m also going to challenge you to dig into His Word yourself and explore what it has to say for each of these spheres, especially the one you are in. God has a purpose for where He has placed you and calls you to serve Him in the spheres you find yourself. It is important that we know His heart for the spheres because we, as the body of Christ, are the church; we as believers are the church and it is the role of the church to represent Him in society.

But to fully represent Him as the body, we must fully know who He is and His desire for the different spheres of society. As a businessmen, we must understand who He is as a just God and His heart for economics; as politicians, we must know His heart for societies and justice; as parents, we must know His heart for family; as scientists, we must know His heart for science and technology; and so on for each of the spheres.

God cares about all areas of life and society – His interest is not limited to Sunday church! So get excited as we look into the spheres!

Spheres of Society