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A Smart Home...with In-Laws?
Genesis 28-31
Skip Heitzig

Jump To: Worship | Message

Genesis 28 (NKJV™)
1 Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him, and charged him, and said to him: "You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.
2 "Arise, go to Padan Aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother's father; and take yourself a wife from there of the daughters of Laban your mother's brother.
3 "May God Almighty bless you, And make you fruitful and multiply you, That you may be an assembly of peoples;
4 And give you the blessing of Abraham, To you and your descendants with you, That you may inherit the land In which you are a stranger, Which God gave to Abraham."
5 So Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Padan Aram, to Laban the son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.
6 Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Padan Aram to take himself a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, "You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan,"
7 and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Padan Aram.
8 Also Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan did not please his father Isaac.
9 So Esau went to Ishmael and took Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife in addition to the wives he had.
10 Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran.
11 So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep.
12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
13 And behold, the LORD stood above it and said: "I am the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.
14 "Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
15 "Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you."
16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it."
17 And he was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!"
18 Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it.
19 And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously.
20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on,
21 "so that I come back to my father's house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God.
22 "And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God's house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You."
Genesis 29 (NKJV™)
1 So Jacob went on his journey and came to the land of the people of the East.
2 And he looked, and saw a well in the field; and behold, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks. A large stone was on the well's mouth.
3 Now all the flocks would be gathered there; and they would roll the stone from the well's mouth, water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place on the well's mouth.
4 And Jacob said to them, "My brethren, where are you from?" And they said, "We are from Haran."
5 Then he said to them, "Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?" And they said, "We know him."
6 So he said to them, "Is he well?" And they said, "He is well. And look, his daughter Rachel is coming with the sheep."
7 Then he said, "Look, it is still high day; it is not time for the cattle to be gathered together. Water the sheep, and go and feed them."
8 But they said, "We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together, and they have rolled the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep."
9 Now while he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep, for she was a shepherdess.
10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother.
11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice and wept.
12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's relative and that he was Rebekah's son. So she ran and told her father.
13 Then it came to pass, when Laban heard the report about Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him and kissed him, and brought him to his house. So he told Laban all these things.
14 And Laban said to him, "Surely you are my bone and my flesh." And he stayed with him for a month.
15 Then Laban said to Jacob, "Because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what should your wages be?"
16 Now Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
17 Leah's eyes were delicate, but Rachel was beautiful of form and appearance.
18 Now Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, "I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter."
19 And Laban said, "It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to another man. Stay with me."
20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her.
21 Then Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in to her."
22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place and made a feast.
23 Now it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter and brought her to Jacob; and he went in to her.
24 And Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah as a maid.
25 So it came to pass in the morning, that behold, it was Leah. And he said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why then have you deceived me?"
26 And Laban said, "It must not be done so in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.
27 "Fulfill her week, and we will give you this one also for the service which you will serve with me still another seven years."
28 Then Jacob did so and fulfilled her week. So he gave him his daughter Rachel as wife also.
29 And Laban gave his maid Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as a maid.
30 Then Jacob also went in to Rachel, and he also loved Rachel more than Leah. And he served with Laban still another seven years.
31 When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.
32 So Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, "The LORD has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me."
33 Then she conceived again and bore a son, and said, "Because the LORD has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also." And she called his name Simeon.
34 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, "Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons." Therefore his name was called Levi.
35 And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, "Now I will praise the LORD." Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she stopped bearing.
Genesis 30 (NKJV™)
1 Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said to Jacob, "Give me children, or else I die!"
2 And Jacob's anger was aroused against Rachel, and he said, "Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?"
3 So she said, "Here is my maid Bilhah; go in to her, and she will bear a child on my knees, that I also may have children by her."
4 Then she gave him Bilhah her maid as wife, and Jacob went in to her.
5 And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son.
6 Then Rachel said, "God has judged my case; and He has also heard my voice and given me a son." Therefore she called his name Dan.
7 And Rachel's maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son.
8 Then Rachel said, "With great wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and indeed I have prevailed." So she called his name Naphtali.
9 When Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took Zilpah her maid and gave her to Jacob as wife.
10 And Leah's maid Zilpah bore Jacob a son.
11 Then Leah said, "A troop comes!" So she called his name Gad.
12 And Leah's maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son.
13 Then Leah said, "I am happy, for the daughters will call me blessed." So she called his name Asher.
14 Now Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, "Please give me some of your son's mandrakes."
15 But she said to her, "Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son's mandrakes also?" And Rachel said, "Therefore he will lie with you tonight for your son's mandrakes."
16 When Jacob came out of the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, "You must come in to me, for I have surely hired you with my son's mandrakes." And he lay with her that night.
17 And God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son.
18 Leah said, "God has given me my wages, because I have given my maid to my husband." So she called his name Issachar.
19 Then Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son.
20 And Leah said, "God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons." So she called his name Zebulun.
21 Afterward she bore a daughter, and called her name Dinah.
22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.
23 And she conceived and bore a son, and said, "God has taken away my reproach."
24 So she called his name Joseph, and said, "The LORD shall add to me another son."
25 And it came to pass, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, "Send me away, that I may go to my own place and to my country.
26 "Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know my service which I have done for you."
27 And Laban said to him, "Please stay, if I have found favor in your eyes, for I have learned by experience that the LORD has blessed me for your sake."
28 Then he said, "Name me your wages, and I will give it."
29 So Jacob said to him, "You know how I have served you and how your livestock has been with me.
30 "For what you had before I came was little, and it has increased to a great amount; the LORD has blessed you since my coming. And now, when shall I also provide for my own house?"
31 So he said, "What shall I give you?" And Jacob said, "You shall not give me anything. If you will do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep your flocks:
32 "Let me pass through all your flock today, removing from there all the speckled and spotted sheep, and all the brown ones among the lambs, and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and these shall be my wages.
33 "So my righteousness will answer for me in time to come, when the subject of my wages comes before you: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the lambs, will be considered stolen, if it is with me."
34 And Laban said, "Oh, that it were according to your word!"
35 So he removed that day the male goats that were speckled and spotted, all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had some white in it, and all the brown ones among the lambs, and gave them into the hand of his sons.
36 Then he put three days' journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.
37 Now Jacob took for himself rods of green poplar and of the almond and chestnut trees, peeled white strips in them, and exposed the white which was in the rods.
38 And the rods which he had peeled, he set before the flocks in the gutters, in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink, so that they should conceive when they came to drink.
39 So the flocks conceived before the rods, and the flocks brought forth streaked, speckled, and spotted.
40 Then Jacob separated the lambs, and made the flocks face toward the streaked and all the brown in the flock of Laban; but he put his own flocks by themselves and did not put them with Laban's flock.
41 And it came to pass, whenever the stronger livestock conceived, that Jacob placed the rods before the eyes of the livestock in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods.
42 But when the flocks were feeble, he did not put them in; so the feebler were Laban's and the stronger Jacob's.
43 Thus the man became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks, female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.
Genesis 31 (NKJV™)
1 Now Jacob heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, "Jacob has taken away all that was our father's, and from what was our father's he has acquired all this wealth."
2 And Jacob saw the countenance of Laban, and indeed it was not favorable toward him as before.
3 Then the LORD said to Jacob, "Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you."
4 So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field, to his flock,
5 and said to them, "I see your father's countenance, that it is not favorable toward me as before; but the God of my father has been with me.
6 "And you know that with all my might I have served your father.
7 "Yet your father has deceived me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not allow him to hurt me.
8 "If he said thus: 'The speckled shall be your wages,' then all the flocks bore speckled. And if he said thus: 'The streaked shall be your wages,' then all the flocks bore streaked.
9 "So God has taken away the livestock of your father and given them to me.
10 "And it happened, at the time when the flocks conceived, that I lifted my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the rams which leaped upon the flocks were streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted.
11 "Then the Angel of God spoke to me in a dream, saying, 'Jacob.' And I said, 'Here I am.'
12 "And He said, 'Lift your eyes now and see, all the rams which leap on the flocks are streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted; for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you.
13 'I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family.'"
14 Then Rachel and Leah answered and said to him, "Is there still any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house?
15 "Are we not considered strangers by him? For he has sold us, and also completely consumed our money.
16 "For all these riches which God has taken from our father are really ours and our children's; now then, whatever God has said to you, do it."
17 Then Jacob rose and set his sons and his wives on camels.
18 And he carried away all his livestock and all his possessions which he had gained, his acquired livestock which he had gained in Padan Aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.
19 Now Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel had stolen the household idols that were her father's.
20 And Jacob stole away, unknown to Laban the Syrian, in that he did not tell him that he intended to flee.
21 So he fled with all that he had. He arose and crossed the river, and headed toward the mountains of Gilead.
22 And Laban was told on the third day that Jacob had fled.
23 Then he took his brethren with him and pursued him for seven days' journey, and he overtook him in the mountains of Gilead.
24 But God had come to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said to him, "Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad."
25 So Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mountains, and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mountains of Gilead.
26 And Laban said to Jacob: "What have you done, that you have stolen away unknown to me, and carried away my daughters like captives taken with the sword?
27 "Why did you flee away secretly, and steal away from me, and not tell me; for I might have sent you away with joy and songs, with timbrel and harp?
28 "And you did not allow me to kiss my sons and my daughters. Now you have done foolishly in so doing.
29 "It is in my power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, 'Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.'
30 "And now you have surely gone because you greatly long for your father's house, but why did you steal my gods?"
31 Then Jacob answered and said to Laban, "Because I was afraid, for I said, 'Perhaps you would take your daughters from me by force.'
32 "With whomever you find your gods, do not let him live. In the presence of our brethren, identify what I have of yours and take it with you." For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.
33 And Laban went into Jacob's tent, into Leah's tent, and into the two maids' tents, but he did not find them. Then he went out of Leah's tent and entered Rachel's tent.
34 Now Rachel had taken the household idols, put them in the camel's saddle, and sat on them. And Laban searched all about the tent but did not find them.
35 And she said to her father, "Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise before you, for the manner of women is with me." And he searched but did not find the household idols.
36 Then Jacob was angry and rebuked Laban, and Jacob answered and said to Laban: "What is my trespass? What is my sin, that you have so hotly pursued me?
37 "Although you have searched all my things, what part of your household things have you found? Set it here before my brethren and your brethren, that they may judge between us both!
38 "These twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried their young, and I have not eaten the rams of your flock.
39 "That which was torn by beasts I did not bring to you; I bore the loss of it. You required it from my hand, whether stolen by day or stolen by night.
40 "There I was! In the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night, and my sleep departed from my eyes.
41 "Thus I have been in your house twenty years; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times.
42 "Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands, and rebuked you last night."
43 And Laban answered and said to Jacob, "These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and this flock is my flock; all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day to these my daughters or to their children whom they have borne?
44 "Now therefore, come, let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it be a witness between you and me."
45 So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar.
46 Then Jacob said to his brethren, "Gather stones." And they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there on the heap.
47 Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed.
48 And Laban said, "This heap is a witness between you and me this day." Therefore its name was called Galeed,
49 also Mizpah, because he said, "May the LORD watch between you and me when we are absent one from another.
50 "If you afflict my daughters, or if you take other wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us--see, God is witness between you and me!"
51 Then Laban said to Jacob, "Here is this heap and here is this pillar, which I have placed between you and me.
52 "This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not pass beyond this heap to you, and you will not pass beyond this heap and this pillar to me, for harm.
53 "The God of Abraham, the God of Nahor, and the God of their father judge between us." And Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac.
54 Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain, and called his brethren to eat bread. And they ate bread and stayed all night on the mountain.
55 And early in the morning Laban arose, and kissed his sons and daughters and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned to his place.

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Every wedding creates a blended family. Marriage not only joins a man and a woman, it blends the extended family of mothers-in-law, fathers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and brothers-in-law. The odds for dysfunction run pretty high. Today we consider the roles of God, parents, in-laws, and married children doing life together. How can in-laws be prevented from becoming outlaws? Four principles apply:

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Outline

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  1. Parents Must Release Their Children (28:1-5)

  2. God Can Rule Their Children (28:10-15)

  3. In-Laws Should Reinforce Their Children (29:18-28)

  4. Children Should Respect Their Parents (31:2-7)

Study Guide

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Connect Recap Notes: October 7, 2018
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "A Smart Home...With In-Laws?"
Text: Genesis 28-31

Path

Every wedding creates a blended family. Marriage not only joins a man and a woman, it blends the extended family of mothers-in-law, fathers-in-law, sisters- in-law, and brothers-in-law. The odds for dysfunction run pretty high. Let's consider the roles of God, parents, in-laws, and married children doing life together. How can in-laws be prevented from becoming outlaws? Four principles apply:
  1. Parents Must Release Their Children (28:1-5)
  2. God Can Rule Their Children (28:10-15)
  3. In-Laws Should Reinforce Their Children (29:18-28)
  4. Children Should Respect Their Parents (31:2-7)
Points

Parents Must Release Their Children
  • Scripture shows us examples of healthy in-law relationships: Moses and Jethro, Ruth and Naomi, and Peter and his mother-in-law.
  • One narrative shows a more complex relationship with good and not-so-good elements: Jacob and his father-in-law Laban.
  • In Genesis 28, Isaac did what all parents should do: he released his son, Jacob, to find a wife. One of the greatest gifts parents can give to their kids is to prepare them to leave home and stand on their own.
  • Children are not their parents' property. As parents, children are lent to us by God to raise. We are temporary stewards of our children. Parents must remind themselves that they are preparing their children for release.
  • When parents release their children, they shift their allegiance from providing to helping develop the new relationship. When children are released, there is a necessary allegiance shift—for daughters, from father to husband and for sons, from mother to wife.
  • An empty nest can produce a full heart if the release is done right.
  • Children should note that leaving home is more than physically moving out. It means no longer relying on parents for basic needs. A newly married couple affirms leaving and cleaving by supporting each other in front of their parents.
God Can Rule Their Children  
  • Parents can confidently release their children into God's care. God can handle them. He can manage and rule their lives.
  • Jacob left his home, his parents, and his security. When Jacob's father said Go, his Heavenly Father said Come (see Psalm 27:10).
  • Parents, if you're worried about your child's choices, release them, but release them to God.
  • God affirmed His will for Jacob to marry and have a family by promising him descendants (see vv. 13-14). God established a priority grid for Jacob: God first, marriage second, children third, and work fourth.
  • Ephesians outlines these same priorities. Chapters 1-3 discuss our relationship to God; chapters 4-6 discuss our relationship to other people; chapter 5 gives guidelines to husbands and wives, then parents and children, and finally employers and employees.
  • This is God's pattern for successful relationships. If people don't adhere to this pattern, work can become the priority over family, or children over spouse, or even spouse over God.
  • Pursuing God is the best gift you can give your spouse. Pursuing your spouse is the best gift you can give your children.
In-Laws Should Reinforce Their Children
  • In-laws should be supportive of a godly relationship. Instead, Laban was divisive and manipulative. Laban had no regard for his daughters or his son-in-law (their future husband), but only for his own financial benefit.
  • Life is too short to live with broken relationships. We should do everything we can to mend broken relationships.
  • We don't have to agree with our in-laws, but we do have to love them.
  • In the text, Laban was unwise and unfair. Laban refused to reinforce the daughter and son-in-law relationship. He failed to see that the husband/wife relationship supersedes that of the parent/child.
  • Parents must accept their child's spouse as their own child. Their child and his or her spouse are one flesh. Reinforce your children and their choices.
Children Should Respect Their Parents
  • With family tension so high, Jacob summoned his wives to hear his plan: they would follow God's command to return to Jacob's homeland.
  • Jacob chose to focus on God's faithfulness rather than Laban's hurtfulness, which was more honoring to Jacob's father-in-law. We can choose to focus on God's faithfulness instead of on failure.
  • Honoring one's parents—including in-laws—is one of the Ten Commandments. It has never been rescinded or amended. It's still in place in the New Testament; Paul repeats it in Ephesians 6:2-3.
  • Accept your in-laws just as they are; it's not your job to change them. If your parents' or in-laws' actions are not worthy of honor, entrust them to God. Pray for them, love them, and respect them (see 1 Timothy 5:1).
  • Follow the example of Peter in Luke 4. When his mother-in-law was sick, he brought Jesus to her to heal her. Bring Jesus to all your relationships.
Practice

Connect Up: As our Heavenly Father demonstrates, what characteristics should parents and in-laws strive toward? Use Psalm 103:1-10 as a starting place for discussion: forgiving (v. 3); healing (v. 3); loving and tender (v. 4); provider (v. 5); seeks righteousness and justice (v. 6); merciful (v. 8); slow to anger (vv. 8-9); compassionate (v. 10). What other qualities and characteristics can you think of?

Connect In: People within the church may struggle with in-laws as they do in other relationships. If you are married, what advice would you give a newlywed couple concerning in-laws? If you are in-laws, what insight can you share? What have been some good or difficult lessons learned?

Connect Out: What advice would you give to someone struggling with their in-laws? Do you agree with what Focus on the Family advises below?1
  • If you're a Christian, your behavior toward your in-laws should be consistently Christian in character.
  • If you have disagreements with your in-laws, your spouse may feel caught in the middle between his or her parents and you. Meanwhile, you have obligations to your in-laws, your spouse, and your children.
  • If you feel your in-laws are intruding into your married life, the old saying Good fences make good neighbors may apply. Together with your mate, set reasonable boundaries; ask that he or she firmly and kindly insist that your in-laws respect them.
  • When you marry, you became part of another family with its own set of expectations. You need to recognize and respect those—within limits. Honoring your in-laws does not mean:
  • Submerging all your own feelings, desires, preferences, and needs in the name of doing things their way
  • Permitting them to disrespect, control, or manipulate you for their own selfish ends
  • Obeying all their parental requests or requirements
1 Phillip J. Swihart, "In-Law Relationships," www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/communication-and-conflict/inlaw-relationships/what-do-i-owe-my-inlaws, accessed 10/8/18.

Transcript

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A Smart Home...with In-Laws? - Genesis 28-31 - Skip Heitzig

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Start building the home of your future today-- Smart Home.

Would you open your bibles, please, the book of Genesis chapter 28. Genesis chapter 28-- boy, they did a good job on that little skit, didn't they?

There was a couple driving down a country road and they were having a discussion-- husband and wife just talking to each other, but the discussion turned into a disagreement. And it got pretty heated so finally, they just pulled out the silent treatment. Neither one of them was talking to the other. And they didn't want to concede their position.

So as they were driving out in the country, they passed a farm. And on the farm, there are pigs and there are goats and mules and the husband couldn't resist. He pointed over to them and said, relatives of yours? And she said yes, actually, in-laws.

So in-laws are the family you get when you get married. Jay Adams who wrote several books on counseling and relationships-- said perhaps, the most difficult of all relationships to deal with is the in-law relationship. It's true that you marry the family.

Now, on my wedding day, I had a rude awakening. It was the very first time I had met my mother-in-law. I'd never met her until that day. She flew out from Michigan. She came out.

So before the wedding, we were introduced. And she came up to me and she told me who she was and she said, if you ever mistreat my daughter, I will break both your legs.

Well, as a young man, I was like well, nice to meet you, too. I was just so shocked, I really didn't know what to say. And I've reminded her of that line for years. And she said, well just so you know, the offer still stands. So that was my introduction to my in-laws-- my mother-in-law, at least.

And what's the difference between in-laws and outlaws? Do you know? Outlaws are wanted.

Now, all of that aside-- that little joking aside-- listen to some of the real-life struggles that people like us who deal with in-laws a lot, what their concerns are. This is one young lady who said, my husband's mother wants to tell me how to cook. I've cooked my own meals for five years before we got married. I think I know how to cook. I don't need her help.

Then, a couple of parents complained. They said our son-in-law has essentially, kidnapped our daughter. Since they got married, he refuses to let her come to our family events. And then, one young mother said, my sister-in-law is driving me crazy. She's always telling me how to raise my children. But the thing is-- she continues-- she's single. That'd be very frustrating-- all of these scenarios would be frustrating.

I think honestly, Adam and Eve had the best relationship because neither of them had in-laws that they had to deal with. They were just a fresh creation of God.

But you should also know that there are plenty of examples in the Bible of healthy in-law relationships. One of them is Moses. Moses had a father-in-law name Jethro-- Exodus chapter 18. And they seem to have a very amicable relationship with each other, where Moses asked his father-in-law for advice. His father-in-law was happy to give it. And Moses was happy to receive it. In fact, obeyed what was recommended-- that's one.

Another one is in the book of Ruth. You know that Ruth had a mother-in-law named Naomi. Ruth was a Moabitess. Ruth's husband died and instead of going off to her own people, she decided she would spend her future with her mother-in-law. In fact, some of the most famous verses in the Old Testament-- where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God.

And then in the New Testament, there's the story of Peter and Peter's mother-in-law. A couple of times in the synaptic gospels that is recorded in Matthew chapter 8, she is living in his home in Capernaum while being sick with the fever. Now, here's what's interesting. The Bible says nothing about Peter's wife, but Peter's mother-in-law is mentioned favorably-- now, there's a lot of reasons for that, perhaps, but that's noteworthy.

We come to Genesis 28 today-- Genesis 28 through 31-- where Jacob-- the young man who's going to get married in this case-- he is with his father, Isaac and that's the first part of our story. The second part is Jacob with his father-in-law by the name of Laban-- you've probably heard of him.

Jacob leaves home, goes to find a wife. Marries the girl so now he has a wife. But gets part of the package deal-- this crazy father-in-law named Laban.

There was a middle-aged man who went to a doctor and the doctor ran his blood tests and x-rays and said look, things don't look good for you. You have six months to live. So I'm recommending that you go home, get your house in order. Make funeral arrangements. Spend the last six months of your life in peace. Get some rest, enjoy your life.

The man was shocked, but before he left the doctor said, I'm just curious, where do you think you'll spend the last six months of your life? He said, I think I'm going to go move in with my mother-in-law. The doctor said, you got to be kidding? Of all people, why would you choose her? He said, because they're going to be the longest six months of my life.

Now, let me suggest that there are four roles that are necessary to make the in-law relationship work. There's the parents role, there's God's role, there's the in-laws role, and there's the children's role-- the children who are married adults.

First of all, parents. Parents must release their children.

In chapter 28, verse 1, we begin, "then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him, and charged him, and said to him, you shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padan Aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother's father and take yourself a wife from there of the daughter of Laban, your mother's brother."

"May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you that you may be an assembly of peoples. And give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and your descendants with you that you may inherit the land in which you are a stranger, which God gave to Abraham." So he sent Jacob away and he went to Padan Aram to Laban, the son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.

Now, Isaac does what every parent needs to do-- release your children. He doesn't say stay, son. Don't leave. He says go. I remember the day my dad said, it's time for you to leave. I'm releasing you. Go get a life. Go get a job. Go get a career. Do whatever you do. We've enjoyed having you in the home, but it's time for you to be launched.

One of the greatest gifts that a parent can give a child is to prepare that child for that release date, for that launch. So they can stand on their own before God.

Genesis chapter 2-- a text we've already looked at-- God said a man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. Don't you find it interesting that God said to Adam and Eve-- a couple who had no parents-- to leave?

For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and cleave onto his wife-- why did He tell them that? Because God was establishing the principle. You're going to have the kids. You're going to need to release those children to have a family of their own.

Psychologists refer to this as cutting the psychological apron strings. And as Christians, we understand that children are lent to us by God. They're not ours. We are stewards of them. We infuse certain values and principles. We help shape their lives. And then, we release them.

So leaving doesn't mean deserting. Don't think of it in terms of deserting. Think of it in terms of developing. You are developing that child for a shift in allegiance-- this is what I mean by that.

For that young man, the dominant female figure in his life up to that point was his mother. Now, it's his wife. And for that young woman, the dominant male figure for her was her father. Now, it's her husband. Unless this happens, the couple will not reach the fulfillment, the pinnacle, the potential God has in marriage.

So my advice to parents-- every time you look at that little child you're raising or the children in your home, every time you see them, add this thought-- I need to think about the release. I need to prepare them for that date of release.

Then if you have older children, they're out of the house, they're married, and maybe you are resenting a son-in-law or a daughter-in-law-- you think they stole my child from me, like you saw in the skit. You need to think back to their wedding day when you sat in the front row. And you were the proud mama or papa and you were watching all of that happen. And you heard the preacher give the vows and say, I now pronounce you husband and wife.

That's what all of your work was leading up to. All of your preparation. You've been training your child for this moment.

You taught your child the value of hard work. Taught them how to cook, clean, save money, make good choices. Now, you regard them and you view them as adults independent, charting their own course. And I'll just say from experience-- an empty nest can produce a full heart if the release is done right.

Now, I want to address in this first point-- young couples. When it says a man will leave father and mother-- leaving doesn't just mean move out of the house. It means cutting the cord of dependence and leaving emotionally and psychologically.

You can have parents 3,000 miles away that you've never left. You can have parents who have died, but you've never left.

A 65-year-old man who had been married 40 years after he heard a sermon on this said, I now understand why my wife and I have had so many problems. My wife never really left her father and mother.

Now, let me also say that as a young married couple, there is the need to affirm the release that has been done. Affirm the leaving and the cleaving in front of your parents. How do you do that?

By commending your mate in front of your parents. By extolling the virtues of your mate in front of your parents. By not complaining about your mate in front of your parents. Not saying negative things that would just make it difficult for your parents to respect your spouse.

So the first role is for parents, they must release their children. The second role is God's role-- at least, chronologically in our story. And here is the reason for the first point-- the reason for the release of your children is because God can rule your children. God can manage where you left off.

Look down at verse 10 chapter 28. Now, Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. So here's the single guy, left his house, out on his own for the first time. He came to a certain place and stayed there all night because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head so was his My Pillow of that era.

And he laid down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed and behold, a ladder was set up on the Earth. It's top reached to heaven and there, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

And behold, the Lord stood above it. And he said, I am the Lord, God of Abraham, your father, and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie, I will give to you and your what? Descendants. Well, he's saying that to a single man.

Also, your descendants shall be as the dust of the Earth. And you will spread abroad to the west, to the east, to the north, to the south and in you and in your seed, all the families of the Earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and I will keep you wherever you go. And will bring you back to this land for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.

Now, this is the reason we release our children because God is perfectly capable of handling our children. How can God ever do it without me? Watch Him. God does it here perfectly well without Isaac or Rebekah involved. Jacob is out on his own. He has been released.

But it's sort of like this-- his father said go and his Heavenly Father said come. There's a great scripture-- Psalm 27 verse 10-- the Psalm that said, when my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. We have the Lord taking him up here, taking care of him.

So some of you have been worried about your son's choices or your daughter's choices-- release them, but release them to the Lord. In fact, you might have to do that daily. Lord, I'm releasing them to you. I'm just praying for them right now. Take care of them. Interpose your will. Get involved in their lives.

When I first launched my son, Nate, when we did-- I'll be honest, I was a bit worried. I wasn't sure about the choices he was making, if they were the proper choices. But I have to say, looking back, I think God has done OK. God is perfectly able to manage, get a hold, shape, direct a person's life. And I think you will agree that if a couple-- a young married couple, and the parents, and the in-laws are all seeking the Lord's will, life is going to be a whole lot easier.

Now, something you'll notice-- I commented on it briefly-- but notice that God affirms His will for Jacob to get married and have children, to raise a family. Verse 13-- I'm going to give this land to you and your descendants. Well, you have to get married to have descendants. You have to get married, have babies, the babies have babies, et cetera, et cetera, to have a group of descendants.

The promise continues-- verse 14-- also, your descendants will be as the dust of the Earth and you'll spread abroad. And then in verse 15-- sort of, the capstone of it-- behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go.

God is establishing for Jacob, a grid-- a grid, a lens from which he can do life. Call it a priority grid. God is the God of the covenant. God speaks as the God of the covenant to Jacob, announcing descendants will follow. So here's the priority grid-- God first, family second. God first, family second. God establishes that for Jacob.

When you get to the New Testament, interestingly, the book of the Ephesians follows this grid, but elaborates on it. This is what I mean.

In Ephesians chapters 1, 2, and 3, the focus is on the priority relationship for us all-- our relationship with God. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 of Ephesians talk about our relating to other people. Chapter 4-- our general principles of relationships. Chapter 5 deals with specifics of husband and wife, parents and children. Then chapter 6, employer-employee relationship. So that's the grid, that's the priority. God first, spouse second, children third, work fourth-- all the way down.

That-- I believe-- is a deliberate order because the same outline order is followed in the book of Colossians and the book of 1 Timothy. So Ephesians, Colossians, and 1 Timothy all employ this grid of priorities-- God, spouse, children, work, et cetera. That's God's pattern.

If you don't keep that pattern, your life is going to be out of kilter, out of whack. If you don't keep God's pattern, work will start taking precedence over your family. If you don't keep this pattern, your kids may start taking precedence over your spouse. If you don't keep this pattern, your family or your career might take precedence over God. So that's the order-- God, spouse, children, work, and everything else.

I've counseled so many couples over the years who have found this out a bit too late. They became so consumed with having a family and raising a family that when the children left the nest, they had no identity. They felt lost, and empty, and moorless, and purposeless because they found their identity in being a mother rather than a wife. Or a father rather than a husband. And they forgot the role of the child of God relationship because they became consumed on one thing.

So if you pursue God with all of your heart, that's the best thing you can do for your wife or husband. Show them that you love them, but you love God most. That's the best gift you can give to them.

And the best thing you can do for your children is to pursue God and to pursue your spouse. Show them God first, spouse second, you third. You love them all, but there is a priority that you live with.

Now, in our story, it takes a turn. Jacob gets married-- that's the good part-- but he gets in-laws, as well-- that's the sticky part. So we're going to move ahead to chapter 29-- get ready in that chapter. This takes us to the role of in-laws.

Parents must release their children. God can rule their children. In-laws should reinforce or support their children.

Now, having said that, you need to know something upfront-- that does not happen here. It should happen, but it doesn't happen. Laban-- the father-in-law of Jacob-- is very divisive, very manipulative. I want you to see that-- chapter 29, beginning in verse 18-- now, Jacob loved Rachel so he said, I will serve you-- speaking to his future father-in-law-- I will serve you seven years for Rachel, your younger daughter.

Laban said, well, it's better that I give her to you than I should give her to another man. Stay with me. So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her-- one of the most romantic statements ever.

Fast forward to the wedding night-- verse 23. Now, it came to pass in the evening that he-- Laban-- took Leah-- his daughter-- and brought her to Jacob so a switcheroo happened. This is the father. Switches the girls up so Jacob went into her-- go down to verse 25-- it came to pass in the morning, behold, it was Leah. Surprise, shock, bummer.

And he said to Laban, what is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why then, have you deceived me?

And Laban said, it must not be done so in our country to give the younger before the first born. In other words, got to follow our little custom here. Fulfill her week and we will give you this one also, for this service, which you will serve with me still another seven years.

Then Jacob did so and fulfilled her week. And so he gave him his daughter Rachel as wife, also. Listen, this is the father-in-law from hell. You think your father-in-law or mother in-law is bad? can't hold a candle of this guy.

He cares nothing at all for his daughter. He cares nothing at all for his son-in-law. He cares only for himself. He's completely self-centered. In fact, he's after his own financial benefit.

So can you see, the in-law relationship is not off to a good start? Starts bad and it even deteriorates from here.

I'd like you to turn over to chapter 31 for a moment, I want you to follow something. We're fast forwarding now 20 years-- 20 years-- later. And 20 years later, the time has come for them to split company. They have grown a family business. It has prospered under Jacob's hard work. Jacob has had enough.

Laban is angry. The tension is very high. It's difficult. So they have a little powwow. They get together and have a confrontation.

And in chapter 31, go down to verse 41-- you will notice that Laban, in this heated conversation, reveals his true heart. Jacobs says to his father-in-law, thus, I have been in your house 20 years. I've served you 14 years for your two daughters and six years for your flock. And you have changed my wages 10 times. That doesn't mean upward. He didn't get a raise. He got demotions.

Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac had been with me, surely, now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands and he rebuked you last night.

And Laban answered and said to Jacob, these daughters are my daughters. These children are my children. And this flock is my flock. And all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day to these, my daughters, or to their children whom they have borne?

There's a lot of tension between these two guys-- can you feel it? And let me say at this point-- life is too short to live with broken relationships. If there is that tension-- and probably, there is in many of our in-law relationship-- if it exists, do your part. You may not be able to fix it, but do all you can to ease that tension and mend that relationship.

Doesn't mean you have to agree with your mother-in-law, or father-in-law, or son-in-law, or daughter-in-law, but you do have to love them.

There was a successful businessman, loved his daughter. His daughter got married so he decided to bring his son-in-law into his office. Sat him down. He said I love my daughter, and I want to welcome you into our family. And to show you how much I care, I'm going to make you a partner in the family business. I'm splitting the business with you 50/50-- generous, right?

He said, all you have to do is show up at the factory every day and learn operations. And the guy said yeah, I'm not really into factories. I don't like the noises, they bother me. I don't think I can do that.

Father-in-law said, OK. Then, I'll have you come to the office every day and learn the business part of it. The young man said no, I'm not an office guy. I'd hate to be stuck behind a desk all day long.

Well very frustrated, the father-in-law said so, wait a minute. I just made you half owner in a very lucrative moneymaking business and you can't come to the factory because it's noisy. And you won't come to the office because you don't like a desk job. I don't get it. What am I going to do with you?

And the young man looked up and said, easy, buy me out. Very clever, but lazy son-in-law. Very generous, but foolish father-in-law.

In our story, we have not a lazy, but a hard-working son-in-law in Jacob, but we do have a very unwise and unfair father-in-law. And here's the problem-- Laban refused to reinforce the choices that his daughter and son-in-law has made. In fact, he refused to release his daughter. Isaac released his son, Jacob. Laban refused to really release his daughter into Jacob's care.

Did you notice verse 43? These daughters are my daughters. These children-- referring to Jacob and Rachel and Leah's children, his grandchildren-- those children are mine. This flock is mine. All that you see is mine. So self-centered.

His error is that he failed to see the husband and wife relationship as superseding the parent-child relationship. Once that young couple says I do, there's that shift that happens and now, the husband-wife relationship supersedes, oversteps that parent-child relationship.

So parents should accept their child's mate like they would their own child. You know why? Because God said the two shall become one flesh. So if God looks at that couple as one flesh, then parents and in-laws should see them as one flesh. They should reinforce their child's choices.

Rule of thumb-- for fathers-in-law, mothers-in-law, you've got a son or daughter married off-- rule of thumb in giving advice, here it is-- never give advice. Ever. Unless it's what? Asked for, requested. It's only advice upon request. If they don't ask for it, you don't give it. If they ask for it, you give it.

Now, if they don't follow your advice, don't resent them for it. And you know why? Because your advice is your advice. That's all it is. It's not scripture. So thus sayeth Skip. So?

It's not the Bible. They stand before the Lord. They make their own choices. They can consult the scriptures. You hope that they do. You trust that they do. But you don't resent them that they don't follow your advice.

Reinforcing your children and their choices is a whole lot better than resenting your children and their choices.

None of this stuff like, well, the reason you're in trouble is you married that idiot stick to begin with. You wouldn't have done that, you wouldn't have had these problems. So in-laws should reinforce their children.

Here's the fourth-- children have a role. The children who grow up and marry should respect their parents.

I want to take you down to go back in chapter 31 to verse 2-- go back to the beginning of that chapter, almost-- verse 2 of chapter 31. Jacob saw the countenance of Laban and indeed, it was not favorable toward him as before. Then the Lord said to Jacob, return to the land of your fathers and to your family and I will be with you.

So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field to his flock. And said to them, I see your father's countenance, that it's not favorable toward me-- you know what he's talking about. The body language. The guy gives him the stink eye when he sees him. Instead of a smile, not a happy countenance.

I see your father's countenance that it's not favorable toward me as before, but the God of my father has been with me. And do you know that with all my might, I have served your father. Yet, your father has deceived me and changed my wages 10 times. But God did not allow him to hurt me.

The tension is high between Jacob and Laban at this point. So Jacob summons his wives out to the field out to where the flocks are, out to where the farm business is taken care of. And he announces the plan going forward. The plan is God's plan. God says go back to your homeland, return, and I'll watch over you there.

So instead of staying to fight with Laban-- because he's a partner in the business-- instead of staying to fight with Laban, he decides I'm going to follow God's command to go back home. In doing so, he is honoring Laban. He could have interposed his own will. He could have stayed and fight. To could have fought for the family business and gotten more of the flocks.

But he doesn't do that. He honors him. He honors them. Though, he mentions failures, he focuses on God's faithfulness-- that's honoring. He did this, but God was with me. God did that.

So the Bible says we are to honor our father and our mother. It is a commandment. It is the fifth commandment. By the way-- they're the 10 Commandments not the 10 suggestions.

And to honor your parents also implies honoring your parents-in-law.

That command-- by the way-- has never been rescinded. It was never amended. It stands today as it always stood. We get to the New Testament, it is quoted in the New Testament.

In fact, when Paul talks about the family in Ephesians chapter 5 and chapter 6, he quotes this verse-- the verse in the 10 Commandments about honoring. He says honor your father and your mother. This was the first commandment with a promise that you may live long in the land. So it's still intact. It's still in place.

There was a young man who decided for Christmas one year, to buy his mother-in-law a cemetery plot-- tactless, right? The next year, he bought her nothing for Christmas and she was a little miffed. Said well, why didn't you buy me anything this year? He said well, you didn't use the gift I bought you last year.

Now, that young man thought that his mother-in-law was not honorable. Thus, he shouldn't honor her. And I hear this from people-- yeah, I know the Bible says honor your father and your mother, but I have in-laws who are not acting honorably.

That's not what the Bible says. It didn't say honor your father and your mother if they are acting honorably. It says honor them. There's no caveat. There's no PS. We are to honor them.

So here's my advice-- except your in-laws the way they are. It is not your job to try to change them. I know that's a revelation to some of us-- it's not. I thought that's why I was put on Earth-- no, it's not. Just like parents can entrust their children to God's rule, you can trust your in-laws to God's rule.

Don't criticize your in-laws in front of your mate because that just makes it harder for your mate to honor his or her parents. Rule of thumb-- 1 Timothy chapter 5 verse 1-- never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would your own father. That goes for father-in-laws, mother-in-laws.

Now, I'm going to close with just a little story that I found from USA Today. It's really directed to gals, but it does give insight to all of us and just shows how we all think in terms of wanting to build our future, build our homes.

So it says, a new store has opened-- the husband store. There's a sign at the entrance that says, you may visit the husband store only once. There are six floors and the value of the products increases on each successive floor. The shopper can choose any item from a particular floor or go up to shop on the next floor, but she cannot go back down, except to exit the building. Those are the rules.

So a woman goes into the store. On the first floor, the sign on the door reads floor number one, men who have good jobs. That's nice, she thinks, but I want more.

So she continues upward, where the sign reads floor two-- men who have good jobs and love kids. She's intrigued, but continues to the third floor, where the sign reads floor three-- men who have good jobs, love kids, and are extremely handsome.

Wow, she thinks, but she feels compelled to keep going. Floor number four-- men who have good jobs, love kids, are extremely handsome, and help equally with the housework.

It can't get any better than this, she exclaims. But then, a voice inside her asks, or can it? So she goes up and reads the sign. Floor five-- men who have good jobs, love kids, are extremely handsome, help equally with the housework, and have a great sense of humor.

Having found what she is looking for she's tempted to stay. But something propels her to the sixth floor where that sign reads-- floor six, you are a visitor 42,215,602 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. The floor only exists to prove that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at the husband store.

Now, just as you're never going to find the perfect husband, he ain't never going to find the perfect in-laws. So closing thought-- your model, my model to follow is a model of Peter in the New Testament. Remember, Peter's wife isn't mention. Mother-in-law is mentioned favorably.

And in one of the other accounts-- in Luke chapter 4-- she is sick in Peter's home living in Capernaum. And what does Peter do? What some men would do they got a sick mother-in-law in their house-- Lord, take her home today.

You know what Peter does? Brings Jesus to her-- that's our model.

What do you do with that mother-in-law? Bring Jesus to her. What do you do with that father-in-law? Bring Jesus to him. What do you do with that son-in-law, daughter-in-law? Bring Jesus to them.

If they're unsaved, bring Jesus to them. If they are saved and a little bit cranky, bring Jesus to them. If they're saved, but not cranky, and godly, and sweet, bring more Jesus to them. Just keep bringing Jesus into all these relationships and that's going to help things flourish, rather than fail.

Our Father, we thank you that your word does speak to the human condition, even in these areas and issues of life. We find untainted scripture. You tell us exactly how things work. And in this case, they were not favorable in the Laban household.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

So Father, we can see what to do and what not to do. And we thank you that you include this for our instruction. And I do pray for families of our fellowship. That they would be built up and made strong. And would grow in grace and in truth.

And I pray for all the different relationships in speaking about in-laws-- goodness, they touch all of our lives.

Help us to be the ones who will tactfully with respect bring Jesus into that relationship the best we know how. For your glory and in Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

We hope you enjoyed this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church. How will you put the truths that you learned into action in your life? Let us know. Email us at mystory@calvarynm.church.

And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.

Additional Messages in this Series

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7/29/2018
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Meet the Architect
Psalm 127
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
In this first message of our Smart Home series, we focus on the foundational elements. Let’s meet the Architect of the home and the family—God Himself. His blueprints for the people He creates include satisfying relationships and integrated operation. We should make sure to build alongside of Him so that our homes become satisfying places of refuge, palaces of joy, and platforms for worship. Let’s take a fresh look at Solomon’s instruction.
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8/5/2018
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Get Prequalified—Finding a Mate
Genesis 24; Genesis 29
Skip Heitzig
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Dating can be exciting. It can also get weird and end poorly. I like the common sense of one who quipped, "Some people are unmarried for the same reason that some drivers run out of gas. They pass too many filling stations looking for their favorite brand!" Though dating was unknown in biblical times, let’s look at five principles in budding relationships to help you prequalify to build a solid, long-lasting, and satisfying Smart Home.
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8/12/2018
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Get Prequalified—The Minimalist Home
1 Corinthians 7; Matthew 19
Skip Heitzig
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Should the top priority of a single person be to get married? Can a Smart Home also be a minimalistic home—with just one occupant? Why is it that singleness is sometimes considered less acceptable than marriage? Can the single life be a full, enriching, and positive experience? Perhaps you’ve lost your mate or you’re still waiting to find one. Or maybe you’re happy to stay single. Today let’s consider singleness and celibacy in light of Scripture.
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8/19/2018
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Following the Blueprint—A Husband’s Love
Ephesians 5:25-32
Skip Heitzig
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To live in a Smart Home, occupants must follow the architect’s blueprint. God, the inventor of marriage, has given roles to husbands and wives so they can live together in harmony and joy. The basic role of a husband is to love his wife. This love is explained and described by the architect in the building documents found in Ephesians 5. This kind of love that a husband lavishes on his wife will enable her to fulfill her role with greater ease and deeper contentment.
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8/26/2018
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Following the Blueprint—A Wife’s Submission
Ephesians 5:22-24
Skip Heitzig
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When it comes to a family’s roles within the home, the “S” word (submission) can generate controversy. To modern ears, God’s standards can seem out-of-date and even distasteful to some. But I am suggesting that the quickest way to fulfillment for a married woman is to discover the freedom of her role as properly understood in Scripture. So let’s jump in and unpack this role and see how it is meant to correspond to a husband’s loving leadership.
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9/2/2018
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Building Your Future Home with Care
Ephesians 5:15-21
Skip Heitzig
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The construction of a house is no small undertaking. After the blueprints have been drawn up and approved, there are a series of steps to take to ensure the building is strong and durable. The verses we are considering today give us the preliminary features necessary to live peacefully with another person. Before the roles of family members can ever be exercised successfully, these considerations come first.
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9/9/2018
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Till Death Do Us Part—What You Need to Know to Make Marriage Last
Genesis 2; Mark 10
Skip Heitzig
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Is a lifetime commitment to a spouse even reasonable? Does permanence have to become a goal if it means a couple just has to grin and bear it? What if a marriage hinders one’s personal growth and self-fulfillment? Today I want to make a case not just for getting married but also for staying married. Let’s go back to the divine architect’s original prototype to understand what He had in mind when coming up with this idea of marriage.
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9/16/2018
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The Master Bedroom: Components of Marital Intimacy
Proverbs 5:15-21
Skip Heitzig
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Being intimate with your spouse involves more than just sex (though it certainly includes that). Intimacy is a sense of caring and affection in which one can be totally vulnerable with someone without the fear of being hurt or misunderstood. The physical/sexual factor should only enhance that. Intimacy is essential if a marriage is going to thrive. Let’s recover four components of marital intimacy.
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9/30/2018
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Communication Breakdown
Nate Heitzig
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God’s plan for the family is to build, strengthen, and protect it. But Satan has declared war on the family as he seeks to undermine, weaken, and destroy it. The statistics are staggering: the divorce rate has risen over 700 percent in this century, and there is one divorce for every 1.8 marriages. Since communication is key to oneness in marriage, Nate Heitzig examines the Scriptures to find how to deal with communication breakdown in a marriage, both how to prevent it and how to repair it.
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10/21/2018
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Money Matters for the Smart Home
2 Corinthians 9:6-15
Skip Heitzig
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The issue of money in a marriage is a primary source of conflict and worry, so much so that this conflict often leads to collapse. How can a married couple handle their finances so the marriage relationship isn’t damaged? Using an example of the apostle Paul’s plan to raise funds for the Jerusalem church, let’s get some solid pointers on the believer’s (and hence believing couples’) relationship to finances. Like it or not, money matters.
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10/28/2018
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Looks Can Kill: Winning the Battle with Temptation
Matthew 5:27-30
Nate Heitzig
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Many have heard the saying, "If looks could kill…" The truth is, looks can kill, spiritually speaking: temptation leads to sin and sin leads to death. In this teaching, Pastor Nate Heitzig examines two admittedly uncomfortable topics: temptation and adultery. In light of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:21-31, two strategies emerge for how to stop temptation before it starts, and how to stop temptation once it starts.
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11/4/2018
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A Mother's Role in the Smart Home
1 Samuel 1
Skip Heitzig
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A mother's love is great—it sets the standard of unconditional love. God has done and continues to do great things through women. The Bible records numerous faithful and spiritually fruitful women, such as Jochebed (Moses' mother), Ruth, Esther, Elizabeth, and Mary. In 1 Samuel, we meet Hannah, a woman whose faith modeled three powerful truths about mothers.
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11/11/2018
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The Single-Parent Family
Acts 16; 2 Timothy 1
Skip Heitzig
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Some of the most struggling and lonely people in our congregation may be those who are single parents. They may be moms, dads, divorced, or never married. They may be young teenagers; they may be older grandparents—but they all have this in common: they are raising children by themselves. Does the Bible speak to this? Are there any clues for Christians to understand so we can help bear the load of single parents among us? Yes, there are. Let’s take a look at them.
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11/18/2018
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The Fundamentals of Family and Fatherhood
Ephesians 6:1-4
Nate Heitzig
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The American family is in crisis, and children are among its many victims. Evidence of the effects of broken families on children is everywhere: 12 million teenagers are drug addicts, teenage suicide has risen over 400 percent, and 1.5 million teenage girls will become pregnant out of wedlock (650,000 of those pregnancies will end in abortion). According to the Los Angeles Times, the most reliable predicter for these behaviors is family structure. If there has ever been a time for a godly upbringing, it is now. In this teaching, Pastor Nate looks at the fundamentals of a healthy family, including parents’ responsibility to their children and children’s responsibility to their parents.
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12/2/2018
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Patching Holes in the Smart Home
Song_of_Solomon 5-6
Skip Heitzig
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Most marriages are marked by periodic skirmishes, but did you know that disagreements can actually strengthen your marriage instead of weakening it? A lot will depend on how you patch the holes left by a disagreement. Conflict resolution is an essential skill that will minimize permanent relational damage. Let’s take a look at Solomon’s marriage to his Shulamite bride, the first fight they had, and their final reconciliation.
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12/9/2018
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Divorce: When the Dream Is Shattered
Matthew 19:3-9
Skip Heitzig
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Not every smart home stays intact. Infidelity, as well as other factors, can shatter the dream of happily ever after. To be honest, this message today will not be an easy one to deliver nor will it be easy to hear. Jesus must have shocked His audience by His answers here to their questions. But my heart goes out especially to those in our flock who have been hurt by these things, and my prayer is that healing will come your way.
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There are 16 additional messages in this series.