ROBERT >> Most of us are prone to point the finger at each other in the home and cast blame on one another when we have problems in our family. If he or she would just do this or that or make this change or that change, then everything would be all right. But we don’t usually have much control over what others do or don’t do and whether they change or not. We are, however, responsible for ourselves and have complete control over what we do and who we are. The best thing we can do in our families is work on ourselves, ask ourselves what we can say, what we can do to make things better, to help the situation, to influence our other family members for good. Doing that can make a big difference in helping your family connect.

SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> Connecting with family requires a special heart of humility, sacrifice and service. The same attitude of self-denial that Jesus calls for in all those who would follow him.

He said in Luke 9:23 that, “Whoever would come after Me, let him deny self, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

You see, our world promotes self to the extreme. It’s all about me and myself and I, what I want, what I need, what I feel, what I think, take time to pamper self, do something for self. These are the messages of the world. My time and everybody making their selfies, right? Putting them on Facebook, where for some it’s become an obsession with self, with my life, with me.

Jesus didn’t talk about self. He talked about self-denial. And he didn’t just talk about self-denial. He showed us what it means. He left the glories of heaven as the Son of God to become a son of man. Born of a virgin, being conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became one of us, tempted and tried, and yet without sin. He learned obedience by the things which he suffered.

He became the author of eternal life to all who obey Him, as the Bible says in Hebrews 5:8-9. He did all of that not for self, but for us.

I want to read to you Philippians 2:5-8, where the apostle Paul encourages us to have this same attitude that we see demonstrated in the life of Jesus Christ.

Philippians chapter 2, beginning in verse 5, the Bible says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus; who being in the form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

That’s to be our mindset. The mindset that we read about here is the mindset we must bring home to our families: A willingness to sacrifice and to serve my family. It’s not what can my family do for me, but what can I do for my family?

As Jesus said again, Matthew 20:26-28, he said, “Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant; and whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Before going to the cross, Jesus sought to teach this lesson concerning the willingness to serve, to teach this to his disciples. And he did so by washing their feet. You might remember that this was the last supper, that last Passover meal that Jesus would eat with his disciples before going to his death at Calvary. They had just come off the road. They didn’t have sidewalks and paved roads like we do today. Their shoes were probably open shoes like sandals, if they had any shoes at all. And so you can imagine how dirty and dusty their feet might have been as they came into that room and sat around the table on those cushions. You can imagine that somebody needed to get up and wash their feet; but nobody did. Perhaps one was saying, well, it’s his turn, I did it last time. But nobody got up to wash their feet. But Jesus, their Lord, the Son of God, he gets up, takes a towel, puts it around his waist, and a basin of water, begins to go to each one of them to wash their dirty, stinking feet. I can see Jesus taking great care, dipping the towel into the water and rubbing it on their feet, getting the heel and coming across the top, even in between the toes, cleaning their feet, washing their feet like a servant might wash the feet of his master, or a host the feet of their guests. Jesus was trying to give them an example. This was something they did not quickly understand.

I remember when Jesus came to the apostle Peter, and I want you to notice what happened here in John 13:6. “Then He came to Simon Peter, and Peter said to Him, Lord, are You washing my feet? Jesus answered and said to him, What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will know after this. Peter said to Him, You shall never wash my feet. And Jesus answered him, If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me. Simon Peter said to him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.”

Jesus Christ wanted them to see that it was this willingness to serve, this humility to help others, this was the example that they needed to follow.

He said these words in verse 14 and 15, “If I then your Lord and teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you should do as I have you done to you.”

An example teaching them to humble themselves, to serve one another, to wash one another’s feet, to do those menial, difficult, seemingly humiliating, demeaning tasks that they might think someone else should do, to get up and do it yourself.

You think they ever forgot this?

That it didn’t have a lasting impact on them?

Surely we can see that this was a lesson they would never forget. They would be reminded time and time again, thinking back to this occasion that they ought to be humble servants of others. And this is exactly what we need in our homes. When you see something that needs to be done and you can help do it, don’t be afraid to pick up around the house, to take out the trash, to mow the grass, to help with the laundry, to clean the toilets, to run the vacuum, to help bring in some income for your family, to give a ride for someone, to go to the store, to change a diaper, to watch the kids, all of these things that need to be done in the home. If it’s not done, you do it. You take the initiative, set the example so that others might follow.

It wasn’t Jesus’ job to wash feet, and it was not humiliating to him. He did not resent it. He set the example for us all. If we follow his example, it will have a profound effect on our family and go a long way in solving the problems in our homes.

Now let’s see how the apostle Paul applies this principle to various members in the family in Ephesians chapter 5 and chapter 6. And I want you to notice here in verse 21 of Ephesians 5 this principle. Here he says, “Submitting to one another in the fear of God.”

We don’t naturally submit. We want to do what we want to do. But out of respect for God we learn to submit. We learn to submit our egos and our desires and our needs and our ways, to submit ourselves to one another. This is what God wants us to do. And he wants us to do this for the family.

Paul first addresses the wives. This is what he says:” Wives, submit to our own husbands as to the Lord; for the husband is head of the wife as also Christ is head of the church, and He is the savior of the body. Therefore just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”

Remember since the first sin in the Garden of Eden, the woman has desired to rule over her husband, but God said, “He shall rule over you,” Genesis 3:16?

This was the way he designed it from the beginning. He made the man first, the woman for the man, and of the man. And God made him to be head of the home. A woman is to respect that, not take it from him, but encourage him and support him to be the head that God would have him to be. No, ladies, God is not saying that you’re inferior, but that you have been designed to play a different role in the family than the man. No, God is not saying that you bow to some emotional ogre to satisfy his every whim, enabling him in his irresponsible abuse and sinful behavior, no; but rather to help him to be God’s man, to lead your family in the way of the Lord. This is how the wife best serves her family in the fear of God.

But next I want you to notice how Paul also addresses the husbands. Beginning in verse 25 of Ephesians 5, “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word; that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. And this is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

While respect is what we need most from our wives, what our wives need most from us is our love; a sacrificial love as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her; a sanctifying love, setting her apart in his heart, giving her a place in his heart that belongs to no other woman, a special place in his heart just for her; and a caring love, nourishing and cherishing, sensitive to her needs and her desires.

Going on in chapter 6 here in Ephesians, Paul addresses the children. This is what he says: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise, that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

Children, God gave you parents to care for you, and they’re responsible for you. Give them your respect. Not only does this make for harmony in the home, but it’s one important factor in determining whether you will live a good, long life, a blessed life.

Finally, Paul addresses the parents here in Ephesians 6:4. “And you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”

Fathers as leaders in the home represent both parents. And that’s probably put here for parents in this passage. So he’s speaking to fathers as the leaders of the home, but also to the mothers. You’ll notice there’s a negative and a positive side to the commandment here. Negatively he says don’t provoke your children. Don’t frustrate them. Don’t discourage them, as it says in Colossians 3:21. That’s what we do when we always say no to our children or when we don’t listen to them or give them the time of day, when we show partiality to one child over another; these are ways that we frustrate and discourage our children.

But now on the positive side, the apostle says to nurture them, to bring them up. That involves instruction and discipline, the chastening and admonition of the Lord. Remember, you teach them, parents, by your words and your life. Recognize that children do not know obedience. It must be learned. And discipline teaches them to obey. Without discipline, we never learn to obey. You are not doing your child any favors by failing to discipline them.

The wise man Solomon wrote by inspiration long ago in Proverbs 13:24 these words: “He who spares his rod hates his son; but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.”

Even God disciplines us because he loves us. I want to read to you Hebrews 12:6-11, because we can learn a great deal about parenting from God our Father and how he deals with us.

In Hebrews chapter 12, let’s begin together in verse 6. “For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

Yes, we see that discipline in the home teaches our children respect and obedience. And this just helps us to learn more about what it means to fear God and to obey God. We learn obedience in the home. I’m afraid today that many have given up on family. They don’t believe in it anymore. They’re looking for another way. But there is no other way. You can believe in family because God made it. Never give up on it. Family works when we deny ourself, when there is a willingness to serve our family, and we’ll submit to one another in the fear of God. That’s what makes it work. Not only does it work, but we’ll be blessed with the love, security, and identity that only a true home as God designed it can provide.

I know I’m not naive to think that everyone will be blessed to have such a home, because we live in an evil world that has done so much to destroy our homes. I know many are homeless and orphaned. Some of you have been abused, perhaps deserted and neglected, and you might never know home as God has made it for us. But I want you to know that there is a heavenly Father who wants you to be his child, to be a part of his spiritual home, the church. You see, there is a greater family than the physical family, and that is the family of God, his spiritual family, the church. I remember one occasion in the life of Jesus when he was on the earth. And he was very popular, and his family was trying to get to him.

And the Bible says here in Matthew 12:46, “While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother, brothers stood outside seeking to speak with Him. And then one said to Him, Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak with You. But He answered and said to the one who told Him, Who is My mother, and who are My brothers? And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, Here are My mother and My brothers. For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother, and sister, and mother.”

You see, Jesus was not trying to insult his physical family, but he wanted them to see that there was a greater family, a spiritual family, the family of God. In that family he had brothers and sisters, those who share the same faith in Jesus Christ. You see, in the family of God, we not only have God as our Father, we have Jesus Christ as our Savior, we have the Holy Spirit as our Comforter, and we have brothers and sisters in the family of God. I love how the apostle Paul spoke to Timothy about some of these relationships in the church.

In 1 Timothy chapter 5, I want you to notice this with me today. He says, “Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, and older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.”

What we see here are some of the relationships that we have in the church. There are the elderly who are like fathers to us in the faith, and there are the older women as well who are to us as mothers, and then we treat each other as brothers and sisters in the family of God. So in the church we have our heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ to help us, to give us identity and to give us a name. We have them there to give us the security and the help that we need in the family of God. And we’re blessed with so many brothers and sisters who love us. Some are like fathers to us, some are like mothers to us. But together we’re able to help one another in the family of God. So many passages in the New Testament teach us how to relate to one another, to serve one another, to love one another, to forgive one another, to pray for one another. So no matter what’s going on in your family today, know that God has provided for you an even greater family in his church, the family of God.

We want you to be a part of that family. You see, Jesus Christ has made a way for us to be reconciled to God our Father, to be a part of that family. Trusting him, turn from your sins, confess your faith, be baptized into Christ, and you can be saved. You will be born again, born of water and the Spirit, as Jesus taught in John 3:5. Being born again, you become a child of God now, a member of the family of God. That’s what God wants for you and that’s what he’s made possible for you through Jesus Christ. That’s what we want for you today here at The Truth In Love.

Some of you have done that, and yet I know that some have turned away from God. They’ve turned away from his family, the church that God has given to us to help us to get to heaven. But God still loves you, and we still love you, and we want you to come home. If you’re a child of God, if you need a church home, we invite you to take a look at the churches that’ll be scrolled on the screen here at the end of this lesson and find a place where you can meet with God’s people and grow up in the Lord.

Whatever your need, if you need prayers, if we can help you in any way, let us know how we can help you towards heaven today.

SINGING>> You are my strength when I am weak,
you are the treasure that I seek, you are my all in all.
Seeking you as a precious jewel, Lord, to give up I’d be a fool.
You are my all in all.
Taking my sin, my cross, my shame, rising again, I bless your name.
You are my all in all.
When I fall down you pick me up, when I am dry you fill my cup.
You are my all in all.
Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is your name.
Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is your name.
Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is your name.
Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is your name.
Worthy is your name.
Worthy is your name.

ROBERT >> I’m glad that you watched our program today and hope the lesson has been a blessing to you, helping you on your journey towards heaven. Let me encourage you to consider carefully the words that have been spoken. Like those fair-minded Bereans in Acts 17:11, search the scriptures to see if what is said is really so.

Every week on this program we strive to speak the truth in love.

Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free,” John 8:32.

John also warned us that there are many false prophets in the world, and for us to test the spirits to see whether they are of God, 1 John 4:1.

It’s not our intention to lead anyone astray, but help everyone find the way that God has set out for us in his word, the Bible. Our motivation is a genuine love for your soul and its salvation in heaven forever with God.

So please, let us know how we can help you towards heaven today.

Write us with your comments, your questions or requests at The Truth In Love, P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas, 76053.

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All our materials and services are offered to you absolutely free of charge, being provided by the churches of Christ and individual Christians that support this program.

And let me encourage you to visit one of these congregations you’ll see on the screen at the end of the program today.

Let us know if you’d like a personal home Bible study or a Bible correspondence course that you could work on your own, or if you need prayers from the church.

Whatever you need, let us know what we can do to help you today, and don’t forget to join us again next time right here on The Truth In Love.

SINGING>> Unto the hills around do I lift up my longing eyes.
Oh, whence for me shall my salvation come?
From whence arise?
From God the Lord doth come my certain aid,
from God the Lord whom heaven and earth hath made.
From every evil shall he keep thy soul, from every sin.
Jehovah shall preserve thy going out, thy coming in.
Above thee watching,
he whom we adore shall keep thee henceforth,
yea for evermore.

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