A former Bible teacher of mine told of visits he made into different homes, both homes of elders of the church. One had two married sons, active in the church. He said he came away from that visit thinking how good homes help make good churches. During the other visit he asked the elder where he had met his wife. It was at a worship service. They attended the same Bible classes, married at the church building by a faithful gospel preacher. They discussed how the church had been such a help to them through the years in times of trials, problems, and grief, providing strength, encouragement, comfort, and power to face difficulties. He said he came away from that visit thinking how good churches help make good homes.
It is certainly true that good churches contribute in the establishment and maintenance of good homes. It is also true that good homes contribute to building and maintaining good churches. Like the two rails of a railroad track, they complement each other. Each is vital and necessary to the other. While in a sense independent, they are also dependent one upon the other. After all, both came from God and are divinely planned. One began at Eden and the other on Pentecost. Side by side they contribute to the welfare of each other.
Consider for a moment the benefit rendered by the church to the home. We might start by considering actual physical assistance that is sometimes offered. First Timothy 5:16 authorizes the church to offer relief where needed. Money, food, clothes, and physical care are all within the nature of the help the church can offer to those in physical distress. But more often there is the spiritual assistance: instruction, training, guidance, counsel, direction, encouragement, sympathy, fellowship, opportunity for worship and service and study that the church provides for every member of the home. The eldership has the watchcare for the souls of all who are members. This is a part of God’s plan for keeping brethren from falling away.
Consider the benefit the church renders to the children in the home. They are involved in classes where they are taught from an early age. They learn to love, share, have respect for authority, seek higher levels of morality than what the sinful world would have them accept. They learn the value of honesty, purity, and self-respect. The church assists parents in the training of children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
One juvenile judge once reported that he had tried nearly 14,500 cases of young people under seventeen years of age. In only two instances did both parents attend Sunday school classes with their children. In only 93 cases were the young people attending classes at the time they got into trouble. Don’t you see the good influence offered by the church? Don’t you see why the church urges parents to bring and accompany their children in such activities? The home and church working together is of eternal as well as temporal benefit to young people.
But the benefit is not just to the young. “The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things, that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:3-5). There is to be the coupling of Biblical instruction with practical experience of older Christians taking advantage of the wisdom of godly people.
Then consider the value of the opportunity for worship that the church affords the family. Families worshipping together have a great bond. It is a true saying, “Families that pray together, stay together.” Children are impressed by example as they see their parents active in worship to God. They learn where true value lies. They learn to respect God and His will. No greater heritage can parents give to their children than a strong parental example of faith in God. Such worship opportunities are instances of the church taking an interest in families. This is one reason we should be repulsed at the idea of “children’s church” where children are removed from their parents and shuttled off somewhere else, deprived of the opportunity to not only learn as they can by word and by demonstration, but to witness their parents in devotion to God in worship.
The church affords association with the finest people on earth. “Evil companionships corrupt good morals” (First Corinthians 15: 33). People of the church being together provide the fellowship for each other and make being a Christian a joy and privilege in this life. Good companions encourage good morals. The preventive side of Christianity is realized in Christian association. Many Christians have benefited immeasurably from fellowship with their brethren. In good times and bad times, Christians help each other get to heaven. They enjoy the wisdom and counsel, as well as the example, of godly people around them. There is no other conclusion that can be drawn except that good churches that are fulfilling the role God assigned to churches help make good homes.
But let us now consider how good homes help make good churches. Have you read the recipe for a good home? “You will need one husband, one wife, children to suit yourselves. Next, cream one cup of love until it is fluffy and mellow. Add one-half cup of tears and hardships and stir gently. Whip in a cup of joy; when smooth, add one teaspoon each of thoughtfulness, heartfelt tenderness and sympathy. Add one cup of ambition with two cups of Christianity generally. Bake in a moderate oven, top with kindness and serve repeatedly.”
There is no passage in the Bible that begins, “The home should be...” The Bible does give specific and general principles, however. This teaching includes instructions to husbands, wives, children concerning responsibilities, blessings, and privileges. Homes that listen to the teaching of the Bible will be of inestimable value to the church.
To husbands we read, “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them” (Colossians 3:19). “Likewise, ye husbands dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered” (First Peter 3:7). “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it” (Ephesians 5:25). “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife, loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” (Ephesians 5:28,29).
To wives we read, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, for this is well pleasing unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:18). “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 3:4,5). “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, and he is the savior of the body. Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22-24). How this runs against the grain to those women who think they are smarter than God and are running around promoting what they mistakenly call equal rights and the feminist movement. One thing for sure, they are not very feminine, and are certainly Jezebels as far as the teaching of God’s book is concerned. How can things that are innately different, with different roles and purposes in life, ever be declared equal to one another in all matters? It is sheer ungodly, defiant and rebellious nonsense. No Christian, man or woman, would lend support to such a concept. In our twentieth century some have considered the wisdom of God to be outmoded and outdated regarding the role of husband and wife. But they only show their own folly. When God’s will is obeyed homes will be better and the result will be that even churches will be better as well as the rest of the world.
David Lipscomb wrote, “The submission of the wife to the husband is that of love, respect and reverence which is befitting the relation she holds to her husband. In her sphere she is spiritually on an equality with man, but as a husband, he is the natural scriptural recognized head and leader of the family. Her submission must be in accordance with the principles of righteousness, and nothing is required of her inconsistent with Christian character. This submission of the wife, when rightly understood and practiced, accords with her inner nature, is in harmony with her relation to God and others, and is productive of the fullest development of her character, her highest happiness and good.”
The husband is not to be a tyrant. Wives are to be subject to their own husbands. It is not all that hard for a wife to obey God by being submissive to her husband when her husband also obeys God in his attitude and action toward his wife.
To children we read, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor thy father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise, that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-3). “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:20). It was said of Jesus when He was a child, “And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them, but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:51,52). Parents are to be honored and obeyed. They are also to so conduct themselves that it is easy for children to obey God in this matter.
Parents are to encourage, lead, guide, instruct their young to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. “And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). In so doing, parents will be helping the church as well as the home. Good homes provide proper examples for children to follow. Good homes uphold, rather than tear down, the church. Good homes put Christ and His kingdom first in all things. When the home is as it ought to be and the church is greatly assisted.
On The Church
The influence of the home regarding the church is tremendous. When both parents are united in Christ and active in the church ninety-three percent of their children are faithful to the church of the Lord. When one parent is active there is quite a drop to only seventy-three per cent remaining faithful. When parents are inactive, members in name only, only fifty-three per cent remain loyal to Christ. When parents worship irregularly only six per cent remain faithful. This ought to give parents something to consider when they think of the spiritual welfare of their children and the spiritual climate in the home, and how one affects the other. The conclusion is again beyond escape. Good homes help make good churches.
But what of your home, your family, and the church of the Lord? You are a member of the home and possibly the church also. Is it not our duty before God to make both of these divine institutions as God would have them and to the greatest degree we are capable? When the church and home work together good comes from it. When there is conflict and division between the home and the church there is eternal harm. The place to begin to make both more as God wants is with each individual. My part begins with me and your part begins with you. When members of the family and members of the church work together with one another and with God all shall be blessed. It begins with becoming a Christian and continues with being what you have become.
1. In what ways can the home be of benefit to the church?
2. In what ways can the church benefit the home?
3. Discuss the result of conflict between the church and the home.
4. Who was the originator of both the home and the church?