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Lesson 1: A Family of Families *

Introduction: A Christian faces all sorts of struggles. Most are internal fights with temptation. Some are fights against the growing evil in society. All(as we learned last quarter)are battles against spiritual forces of evil. One struggle that crosses these lines is the struggle for the family. It takes work to play our proper role in our own family. The nature of the protected family in society is currently under attack. Our lesson this quarter is all about the family. This week we start by considering the Bible's definition of the family. Let's jump in!

  1. First Family

    1. Read Genesis 2:18. What was God's view of a solitary life for Adam? (It was not good.)

    2. Read Genesis 2:19-20. Is God joking with us? Were God and Adam really considering all of the "living creatures" individually to see if any of them would work as a "suitable helper" for Adam? Can you imagine Adam saying about a cow: "Sorry, I cannot speak 'cow.'" "If Bessie were my helper we would have a serious communication problem."

    3. Read Genesis 2:21-22. What is special about Eve? (She was purpose made for Adam. She was not something that was already created that would "just do" as a companion.)

      1. What do we learn from her creation from a rib? (There is symbolism of equality in this. It suggests that God's original plan was that she would be an equal helper.)

        1. Does the creation order suggest a first among equals?

    4. Read Genesis 2:23-24. Would "one flesh" allow anything other than equality? (Read Ephesians 5:28-29. Paul uses the phrase "his own body" to convey the "one flesh" concept of God about the relationship between husbands and wives.)

  2. Jesus and the Family

    1. Read Matthew 19:3-6. What conclusion about the break-up of marriage did Jesus draw from the Genesis plan? (If a man and a woman became one flesh in marriage, they should not separate.)

    2. Read Matthew 19:7-8. Was Moses off on a "toot" of his own? Or, was this a rule given by God because of the hardness of the hearts of the people? (I do not think it is appropriate to say that Moses was writing without the permission of God. The New Bible Commentary says this: "The divorce regulations [of Moses] were a concession to deal with sin, not an expression of the way God intended things to be. Divorce might be necessary, but it was never good.)

      1. Let's look at the text to which the Pharisees referred: read Deuteronomy 24:1. Does anything about this seem unfair? (The IVP Bible Background Commentary points out that men could divorce women unilaterally, but the same was not true for women. "Jesus opposition to this sort of divorce is also a defense of married women.")

    3. Read Matthew 19:9. What "escape clause" from marriage does Jesus allow? ("Marital unfaithfulness." For those concerned that only men may divorce, see Mark 10:12.)

      1. A friend who is going through a divorce said this to me, "I don't know why Christians are so ready to defend against homosexual marriage when heterosexual marriage makes the definition of 'marriage' a joke." Have Christians made marriage a "joke?" Have they lost the moral right to speak against homosexual marriage? (If only perfect people were allowed to stand against sin, no one would oppose sin. But, the underlying point is well-taken. Those who profess to follow Jesus need to be as ready to protect marriage against divorce as they are to protect it against homosexual attack. We should not have two standards: one for sinners "like us" and another for sinners with different temptations.)

    4. Read Matthew 19:10-12. What was the reaction of the disciples in response to Jesus' teaching that the rules of marriage should go back to those established at Creation? (They were stunned. It seemed an impossible standard to keep.)

      1. When Jesus responded by saying, "The one who can accept this should accept it," to what was He referring? Was he talking about the rule against divorce or the rule that you should not marry if you will not abide by the rules against divorce? (I do not know the answer. It is clear Jesus is laying down a very firm rule on marriage and divorce. The ideal is not in doubt. On the other hand, when Jesus says the "one who can accept should accept" may be referring back to God's past willingness to be flexible on divorce given the sinful nature of humans. Since Jesus died because of the sin issue, it is hard for me to teach that God is "flexible" on the subject of sin.)

  3. Single Adults

    1. Look again at Matthew 19:11-12. What positive reason does Jesus give for being unmarried?

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 7:1 and 1 Corinthians 7:7-8. Between the statements of Jesus and Paul, how should an unmarried person look at life? (Read 1 Corinthians 7:32-34. Being single allows you the opportunity to focus on promoting the kingdom of God.)

    3. Consider again Genesis 2:18. How can you explain the apparent conflict between the teaching in Genesis ("it is not good ... to be alone") with the teaching of Paul and Jesus that being single is good for promoting the Kingdom of Heaven? (Read 1 Timothy 4:1,3. The issue is whether you forbid marriage. Marriage is supposed to be good. It is the ideal. However, some may choose to deprive themselves of this good in order to promote the Kingdom of God. To make that voluntary decision is also good.)

    4. Are single adults a family? (If Christians, they are part of the family of God. See 1 Timothy 5:1-2.)

  4. Family Fraud

    1. Read Romans 1:18-20. At the beginning of this lesson we learned that God custom made Eve to be Adam's partner. Is it logical and intellectually appropriate to argue God's intentions regarding heterosexual versus homosexual marriage from the way He created things? (We see a progression of ideas in the Creation. First, God examines all of His creation for a suitable helper. He then custom creates Eve. He did not custom make another man, although He certainly could have done that. Finally, and most importantly, God instructs that man and woman will be united as "one flesh." My children are the "one flesh" that resulted from my marriage. The entire scheme of the original family argues against the validity of a homosexual family.)

      1. You must have heard it said, "If God intended humans to smoke, He would have created them with a smokestack." What do you think of the logic of that? ( Romans 1:20 seems to say that it is the large issues about God that can be understood from the creation.)

        1. Is homosexual marriage a "large issue?"

    2. Read Romans 1:21-23. What does this suggest is the logical progression of those who reject the authority of God? (Their understanding is darkened. They foolishly begin to worship things they have made rather than the Maker of everything.)

    3. Read Romans 1:24-25. Why would sexual impurity be part of rejecting the authority of God?

    4. Read Romans 1:26-27. What does the Bible call homosexual sex? (A perversion.)

    5. Consider Paul's line of argument here. We start out with an argument about the existence of God based on His creation. We end up with a conclusion about homosexuality. How does that make any logical sense? (When God created the earth, part of His creation was this template of male and female being part of the continuing creation process. You see this template in both humans and animals. This is one of those "big picture," "large issues" things that anyone with an open mind can see. As humans became wicked, and began to worship what they had made instead of their Maker, they also rejected their Maker's template for the continuing creation process. Viewed in this light, the promotion of homosexual marriage becomes a foundational issue, like evolution and the Sabbath. Evolution is an attack on the authority of our Creator. Rejection of the Sabbath is an attack on our weekly memorial to creation. ( Genesis 2:3; Exodus 20:11) Homosexuality is an attack on the master template of creation. Satan is not stupid. He does his best to sever the lines of logic that reinforce our allegiance to our Creator God.)

    6. Friend, God created the family when He created the world. Will you do your part to promote God's original plan for humanity?

  5. Next week: God's Word on Family Living.
* Copr. 2006, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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