1 John 4:11 - Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Life in the modern household is a challenge. Many homes are on the verge of collapse due to forces inside and out. But that's not in itself what is breaking up the modern household. A century ago, family members had a greater dependence on one another. They worked, played, struggled, laughed, and worshiped together. As family members face life together, their bond become sturdy; their love become tested and strong.
Certainly—and thank God for this—many, many families face life the same way today. In Christian homes, Christ dwells as an invisible Guest. His influence through prayer, Bible reading, individual and group devotions, and other virtuous practices all help create an unselfish concern for other family members which is patterned after Christ's undying love for the church.
Key to modeling our lives and homes on Christ's love also includes an eager willingness to forgive. How hard this is sometimes when those we love the most hurt us the worst! Still, as tough as this can be, our family's health and growth are closely tied to our readiness to forgive as well as our ability to receive forgiveness. In this, we show the Savior's words (see Matthew 18:21-35) are in operation in our lives.
As a Christian minister, I have the God-given responsibility to urge all of you to love one another as Christ has loved us, and to make your family truly Christ-like, bound together by resilient ties of unselfish love, to make it a little bit like heaven.
In this we have Christ as our ultimate example. We know that our Heavenly Father was so moved with compassion that for Jesus' sake He blotted out all of our iniquities. And we, by the grace of God, have learned to know how much God loves us and to love the Lord Jesus. We have promised to be true to Him so that we demonstrate our love and devotion for one another in our households.
For your sake and mine, for the sake of your children and mine, for God's sake—let us make our homes, strong, loving, and devoted to God. This is the gift of Christ-centered fellowship and spiritual communion that the Father would have for each of our families. I would be happy to know that this message, based on John's encouragement to love one another as Christ loves us, touched some family where it was sick and helped to heal it.
And for those who are contemplating marriage—and the start of a family—my prayer is for these couples to know lasting love, patterned after Christ's love for the sinner. This is the first step for every man and woman who want their home to be a place where God is revered and everyone else is loved and cherished.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, come fill our hearts and our homes with Your Holy Spirit. Amen.
From "The Christian Home Is Heavenly," a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Armin Oldsen, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. How is your household different from the one you had growing up?
2. How can God's love for us inspire us to love one another?
3. What activities bring your family together—game night, watching movies, meals, hiking and camping, sports? Have you ever done a devotion together?
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