Perhaps one of the greatest plans instituted by God was the development of a structured unit of people where there is nurturing, love, companionship, training and support. This structure, given its common term, is called, “family”. And I happen to know that God loves Apostolic families. How can I be so confident? Read on.
First of all, in Matthew 19, Jesus revealed to us that marriage was instituted by God. He said, “he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” That’s pretty plain English, isn’t it? When God created the family unit, His intention was for it to be a life-long commitment. In Matthew 19:9 he said, ‘Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Those strong words underscore God’s design for the family unit to remain unbroken. He did, however, leave a remedy for unfaithfulness.
In establishing a strong commitment within marriage, God was ensuring the ideal arrangement for children. First of all, He provided for their existence through the male-female relationship, and secondly provided for their future growth by ensuring that the needed influences of both parents would be there for life. Both of these necessities for life require a mother and father in the family. God loves Apostolic families enough to make a provision for their future.
But in a climate where broken homes are sadly becoming the norm, God also extends His love to them as well. Psalm 68 tells us that God is a father to the fatherless and a defender of widows.
It is my belief that God’s institution of Family is intended to mirror and train mankind for a healthy relationship with Him. 1 John 3:1-2 describes our relationship with Him as a “Father/Son” relationship. Hebrews 2:9-13 describes His role as an “Elder Brother”. Titus 3 describes our Family relationship to Him as “heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” And if that’s not enough proof of God’s spiritual “Family” plan, Jesus says in Mark 10:29-30 that the Church is an extended family of hundreds of mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters!
Both physically and spiritually, the concept of family is important to God… because He loves Apostolic families!
What is the ideal Apostolic Family?
In an ideal Apostolic family, the husband loves his wife and treats her with respect. He models his love for his wife after the selfless love that Christ has for His Church. The Apostolic man treats his wife as a partner, with tenderness, honor, and understanding. (1 Peter 3:7, Eph 5:25-29)
In an ideal Apostolic family, the wife esteems and cherishes her husband as the one who protects her. She is submitted to him in the fashion that the church is submitted to Christ… with honor and love. In an ideal Apostolic family, the wife is a mutual partner with the husband, ensuring the success of her household. (Titus 2:4-5, Eph 5:22-24)
In an ideal Apostolic family, the father is active in raising the children. His method is to bring them up in “nurture and admonition of the Lord”, and he does so without provoking them to wrath. However, proper discipline is extended when it’s needed. (Prov. 13:24, 19:18, 29:17, Heb 12:7-10)
In an ideal Apostolic family, the mother loves her children and teaches them proper behavior. She “guides the house”, in both the maintenance of its reputation and in the discipline of the children. (Titus 2:4, 1Tim 5:14, Proverbs 31:10-31)
In an ideal Apostolic family, the children are obedient to their parents. They are trained from an early age that disobedience is unacceptable. The children do not lead the parents, instead, the parents lead the children. In an ideal Apostolic family, the children extend honor to their parents, which means they place a high value upon them… they revere them. (Col 3:20, Eph 6:1-3, Prov 31:28)
In an ideal Apostolic family, each and every family member is dedicated to serving God. Their faith is genuine and has been passed on to them from their parents. They have a devotion to the Lord that goes even deeper than their love for one another. (Matt 10:37, 2 Tim 1:5)
That “no family is perfect” is a true statement, but I believe it is well worth striving for to be an ideal Apostolic family. It is the best hope for a strong marriage, and for a healthy, happy family that will last a lifetime. Marriages that are ordained of God, and most certainly the children that result from them, deserve the very best that we can give to them.
Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a family that has been broken beyond repair, whether by death, divorce, or other reasons beyond your control. Don’t forget that God has a spiritual family that is designed to last for eternity. While people fail, God never fails. While families sometimes crumble, and relationships sometimes fade, God will never leave you or turn His back on you.
The best hope for the success of the Apostolic family is for each member to become washed in Baptism in Jesus’ name and filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. The best hope is for each member to become a part of the Spiritual family of God.
One thing is absolutely certain: God loves the Apostolic family.