Family Worship

Worshipping Together 2023
March 1, 2023
Mike Meadors

A high view of God is essential to the heart of worship.  It is foreign to think of worship apart from recognizing who God is in all His beauty and perfections.  When God condescends to communicate His divine nature and His relationship to us, He often does so in the language of family. He is our heavenly Father.  We are His children.  We see God the Father sending God the Son to redeem a people to Himself. Christ is our brother!  As the church, we are the bride of Christ!  An appropriately high view of God’s created order in the family is an essential outworking of a high view and proper understanding of God.

We know from the very beginning that God created man in His image.

Genesis 1: 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28a God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it.

Genesis 2: 24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

Man. Woman.  Husband and wife, created in the image of God, joined by God, blessed by God. The blessing of children. We see His image expressed in this created order.  We see the promise of the seed in Genesis 3:15, whom we know to be the Christ and who would be the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature.  (Hebrews 1:3)

Consider the clear words of Paul to the Ephesians concerning the unique importance of marriage as an expression of Christ’s relationship with the church:

Ephesians 5:31 FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

Wives being submitted to husbands as to the Lord.  Husbands loving wives as Christ loved the church. In each case, Christ is the ultimate object of our submission and love.  Excerpting from John MacArthur’s commentary notes on this passage, “marriage is a sacred reflection of the magnificent and beautiful union between the Messiah and His church” and the “love relationship between believing marriage partners is to be a visual expression of the love between Christ and His church.”

Paul goes on the give specific instruction to the children:

Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.

The first commandment with promise! Obedience not just for the benefit or convenience of the parents, but the promised benefit to children for following our Master’s loving plan.

And then he returns to the men as fathers:

Ephesians 6: 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Paul is addressing the fathers directly, but he no doubt has mothers in mind as well.  Bring them up in both the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  Do they see in you love for Christ and a desire to serve Him?  Do they see in you a desire for them to know Him?  A desire for them not just to keep the rules but to enter into a relationship with Him and to see Him in His glory.

Simple opportunities and expressions can and should be part of a life of worship. Reading to them, praying for them and praying with them for others. Inclusion into the ministry to others. Witnessing godly decisions. Observing the importance and priority of corporate worship.  Consider this passage from Deuteronomy 11 concerning the internalization of God’s words:

Deuteronomy 11:19 “You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.”
We have barely scratched the surface.  God speaks to us of His love as Father.  Earthly fathers can and do fail, but the truth remains that God is our Father.  The earthly is to reflect the heavenly.  When the earthly fails, it is not a problem with the Creator’s design or order. It is because of the sinful rebellion of our hearts.

To recognize and acknowledge sin is to agree with the testimony of scripture. But to attack the very essence of these family roles is to attack the created order of our loving Father. The problems are not in the headship of the husband, or in the devotion of motherhood, or in the relationships of siblings, or with any portion of the structure of family as created by God.  The problem is the heart.
When we attack or attempt to reorder these God-created roles, we only create more sin, and instead create a man-made order that cannot flourish.

Our support and encouragement of family worship is possible in every season of life. Children benefit from seeing their parents, grandparents, aunt and uncles, and the entire extended family worship God faithfully over a long period of time. It is within this framework that genuine family worship flourishes.  If we count these roles and relationships as unimportant, or if we allow the animus of this present time to infiltrate our hearts, then we will fall short of realizing the blessing that accompanies obedience.