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Lesson 7: Keys to Family Unity *

Introduction: Do you believe that the family is the basic building block of society? If true, then if the family breaks down, the nation breaks down. Do you believe that your nation is breaking down? A "key" is something that unlocks a door or a secret. Let's open our Bibles and see what the Bible teaches are the keys to unlock the secrets to family unity!

  1. Unlocking the Foundation

    1. Read Ephesians 2:11-12. What is one unity problem described here? (People are without hope and without God. The text is specifically describing Gentiles, but it would apply to anyone who is not converted.)

    2. Read Ephesians 2:13. What is the cure for this unity problem? (Jesus.)

      1. How does Jesus fix this problem? (His sacrifice for us at the cross.)

    3. Read Ephesians 2:14-15. This seems to describe the cure for more than one problem. What unity problems are being fixed? (These are two faces of a single problem. One face is that Jews thought they were morally superior to the Gentiles. They were, after all, given God's law. The other face is that the Gentiles did not follow the law, and Jesus fulfilled the law for them, just as He did for the Jews.)

    4. Read Ephesians 2:16. What other unity problem did Jesus fix? (Our unity problem with God. We are sinners and He is a holy God. Jesus reconciled us to His Father by living His perfect life, paying the death penalty for our sins, and rising to life eternal.)

    5. Read Ephesians 2:17. What does Jesus give us? (Peace.)

      1. Let's think about this. If Jesus is the answer to the conflict between Jews and Gentiles, and between us and our Holy God, would these same concepts apply to unity in the family? Let's explore that next.

  2. Unlocking Compatibility

    1. Read John 17:20-21. What is Jesus' ultimate example of unity? (The Trinity! Jesus says that He wants us to be "one" as He is one with the Father.)

      1. Notice that Jesus says, "May they also be in us." What does this mean? (Fellow believers in Jesus are one with Him and the Father.)

      2. How would you apply this advice to the family? (Our first priority is the conversion of our family. If all of the family believes in Jesus, then the same unity principles that apply here should apply to us. Hopefully, the problems pulling your family apart are less than the problems pulling the world apart.)

    2. Read Philippians 2:1-2. What is the next step after being "united with Christ?" (Being "like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.")

    3. Read Philippians 2:3-4. What does this look like as a practical matter? (We make an effort to be unselfish.)

      1. Compare 1 Timothy 5:8. When Philippians 2:4 tells us not to look to our own interests, does that mean we should put others before our own family? (We are first unselfish with our own family. At a minimum, we should provide for our family.)

    4. Read Philippians 2:7-10. The life of Jesus gives us an insight into what it means to be unselfish. What is the natural outcome of being unselfish? Is it that we continue to have nothing? (Jesus is our example. The Bible tells us that He was "exalted to the highest place.")

      1. Telling your children that they should always put others first is not a very attractive message. The message of the Bible is that this approach has a very great reward in the end!

    5. Read Ephesians 5:21. Is this a popular concept today?

      1. What does the last phrase "out of reverence for Christ" add to the meaning? (Our understanding of Jesus' desire for how we should live shapes this command.)

    6. Read Ephesians 5:22-23. Is this an example of the submission we have been discussing?

    7. Read Ephesians 6:1-3. Is this an example of the submission we have been discussing?

    8. Read Ephesians 6:4. Does this modify our obligation of submission? Would this modify the submission of the wife to the husband?

    9. Read Ephesians 6:5-8. What is the modern context for this? (Our work.)

      1. Is this another example of the submission we have been discussing?

      2. Focus on Ephesians 6:7. What is the point of reference? (Our service to God.)

        1. Do you see that our relationship to Jesus, our understanding of Jesus, shapes our concept of submission?

    10. Read Ephesians 6:8. Once again, what is the result of this submission? (A reward!)

    11. Read Ephesians 6:9 and Ephesians 5:25. On first read, it looks like everyone is submitting to the husband and the boss. Is that true? (No. All submit to Jesus. Jesus' example is one of submitting to others. In reality, this is a circle of submission.)

    12. Read Ephesians 5:28. Why not start here? Why not say, "If you submit to [your husband, your wife, your parents, your boss] you love yourself?" Why not say there is great reward, even right now, in this approach?

  3. Human Example

    1. Read Ruth 1:1-5. How would you feel if you were Naomi?

    2. Read Ruth 1:6. Notice the way this is written: God came to the aid of His people by giving them food. Has God forsaken Naomi? Is she chasing after God's aid? (We started out learning that a relationship with God is the foundation for family unity. Naomi has reason to doubt that God is looking out for her.)

    3. The story continues that the three of them continue back towards Judah, but Naomi tells her two daughters-in-law that they should return to their mothers' homes. Read Ruth 1:12-13 and Ruth 1:20. What does this confirm about Naomi's attitude? (God's hand is "against" her. The lives of all three women are "bitter." However, Naomi says that her situation is worse because her God has let her down.)

    4. Read Ruth 1:14-16. What does this tell us about Ruth's view of God? (She wants Naomi's God to be her God. She rejects Naomi's call for her to return to her native gods.)

      1. We previously discussed unselfishness. Is Ruth being unselfish? (Skip ahead and read Ruth 2:9-10. Notice the danger and problems referred to in these verses. This shows that Ruth understood the perils of being a foreigner. Yet she decided to stay with Naomi.)

      2. We previously discussed submission. Is Ruth submitting to Naomi? (Ruth is submitting to the true God. However it may appear on the surface, Ruth is submitting to Naomi in the sense of agreeing to support her in the future.)

    5. Read Ruth 1:17-18. Who, among the three women, is promoting unity? Who is urging that they are compatible despite national differences? (Ruth.)

      1. What does this tell us about the truth of what we studied earlier? (Naomi lost her trust in God. She is the one urging that the three of them split up. Ruth embraces the true God and she promotes family unity.)

    6. The story continues and we find that God blesses Ruth with a rich husband named Boaz. Let's read what attracts Boaz to her. Read Ruth 2:10-12. What is the attraction? (Her faithfulness to Naomi and to God. Boaz believes that God is in the business of repaying people for their kindness.)

    7. Friend, can you see that the principles that we learned about family unity are proven to be true in the life of Ruth? Why not ask the Holy Spirit, right now, to help you model these principles of devotion to God, submission, and unselfishness?

  4. Next week: Season of Parenting.
* Copr. 2019, 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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