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Watch 2022 online sermons » Jack Graham » Jack Graham - A Song for the Family - Part 1

Jack Graham - A Song for the Family - Part 1

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    Jack Graham - A Song for the Family - Part 1
TOPICS: Songs of Encouragement, Family, Marriage, Relationship

Every home needs an architect, a designer, a decorator, a builder and God is all of that and so much more for our homes and our families. And today, we're going to look at the family. In fact over the next two messages, I'm actually going to do a follow-up on this because I realized I didn't the time to do this passage justice, so we'll take part 1 today. Psalm 127 and how the Lord builds the house: "Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city", and what is the city, but a community of houses and homes and families and people?

"Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain", that is, it is meaningless, "that you would rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep". That's how God builds a home. And then how does God bless a home? Verse 3: "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate". So there it is! How God builds a home and how God blesses a home! Verse 1, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it".

God is the builder of our homes. Every home needs an architect and a blueprint and a builder; and God is all three and more! He is the one who is the foundation of our home. In fact, the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapter 3:11 that there is "no other foundation that we should lay except that which is laid in the Lord Jesus Christ". And it is futile, it is vain, it is empty to try to build your life, certainly your home apart from the Lord our God! "Unless God builds the house". Whatever you're building, whether you're building your life, you're building your family, you're building your business, you're building your career, you're building your education, whatever you are building, "Unless the Lord builds it, it is in vain". It's not going to work! You build your home on the word of God and the wisdom that He gives!

Jesus talked about this. He told a great story like we often do in sermons, we give you illustrations, like windows to let the light in, to see the truth. Well, Jesus did this. He often told stories. And at the end of the greatest story or sermon ever preached, the Sermon on the Mount, He gave a story about two men: one wise and one foolish, who built a house. One built his house, a foolish man He said, on sand. Can you imagine that? Being foolish enough to build your house without a foundation? Building it on sifting sand. And that's what he did. And the other man, Jesus said, was a wise man because he built his house on the rock, the solid ground. And then the Lord said, when the storms of life come, and they always come, the rain falls upon the just and the unjust, the foolish and the wise. Rains come. Seasons change.

I remind this to wide-eyed young couples every time we talk with them about their marriage, every time we prep them for their life together as husbands and wives, I remind them, it's not always going to be easy. It's not all sunshine; there's rain in our lives, and you need to be prepared for it. And Jesus said, when the storms come and when the rain falls and the winds and waves beat against your house, He said, if you build your house upon the rock, it will stand. He said, now the other man who built his house on the sand, his house fell and great was the fall of it! It was a disaster because he had no foundation for his life and for the future of his family. It's a very clear and simple picture, isn't it? And that is what the psalmist is telling us here.

Build your life upon the solid Rock, upon the Father who is the giver of life, upon the Son who is the love of our lives, upon the Holy Spirit who lives in our lives. And Father, Son and Holy Spirit unite with us as husbands and wives, as parents and children, to build our house together on the bedrock, the solid Rock of Jesus Christ! The Rock is Jesus Himself! He is the solid foundation. And this do it yourself plan for life or family? Hey, folks, it's not working! It's just not! There's so much confusion today in trying to define and sometime redefine the family, and with the confusion comes the collapse.

And so the psalmist said it's vain to build your family without God, it's vain to watch over your cities and then the home is the bedrock of society. It is the foundation for life and culture and society. And the breakdown of the family is resulting of the teardown of our culture and our society in this country today! It's the breakdown of the home; the breakdown of the family. And the culture is sick because families are not healthy, because marriages are sick! And they raise sick kids who need to be made well by the power and the presence of Jesus Christ! And there's no marriage, I should say just parenthetically, and no family so sick that Jesus cannot heal it. And if your marriage and your family needs a miracle, that can happen today.

The Bible says, "If the foundations be destroyed, what will the righteous do"? And what we're seeing crumbling all around us are the foundations and they're being destroyed. So we ask ourselves what will the righteous do? And that is we come against a tide and in the midst of a culture that's going in an opposite direction, we build our homes upon Jesus Christ! We honor God and His Word. "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it". "Unless the Lord watch over the city", guards the city, guards the nation, it's all futile. This psalm is not only a wisdom psalm, but it is a psalm of ascent, elevation. A psalm of ascent is one of the psalms that we have in the scripture, in fact, in this particular section of scripture that has to do with God's people traveling on their way to holy city, to the holy mount and the temple, the house of God, and there to worship.

And these songs were sung and shared along the way, as three times a year at least fathers and mothers and boys and girls would make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to the house of God. And along the way they would sing and they would shout and dance and play and laugh and love! It was like camping out with God. And like a family reunion because it wasn't just, you know, let's send Dad down to Jerusalem and he'll come back and tell us all about it. No, Dad took Mom and the kids and grandma and grandpa and the aunts and the uncles, as many as they could get together from all over Israel, they would come, they would travel on this spiritual pilgrimage seeking God. And they did it together! It was a family affair, it was a big family festival! And so these psalms of ascent would be when they would stand at the temple mount. And you can stand at this very place today.

When we travel to Israel we go to the temple or the steps of ascent on the side of the Temple Mount, and we actually stand there and sing and worship and remember the days in which during these festivals, these Jewish people and families would ascend into the presence of God at the house of God. You get the picture? They made sure in their family portrait that God was at the center. And that their worship of God was vital from generation to generation! This was the way as a people they were passing their faith along. Because remember this: we're only one generation removed from unbelief and pure paganism! And it is the responsibility of every parent, every family, to make sure from generation to generation that we are giving our children and their children's children an opportunity to take the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ into their future!

Now I want to make sure you understand that Christianity, the Christian faith is not hereditary. It's generational, but it's not genetic. And by that I mean you don't inherit salvation in the sense that you're not born a Christian because you are born into a Christian family; because your parents have a religion and you have their religion. "Well, I'm Christian" or I'm something else. God has no grandchildren; He has sons and daughters. And we are not a part of God's family because we are physically born; we are a part of God's family when we are spiritually reborn! Jesus said, "You must be born again". That is changed from the inside out.

So in one sense spiritually speaking, we need more than a fixer upper; we need a brand new life, and that life is in Jesus Christ. And it's certainly not a do it yourself plan because it's not anything that we can do or build for ourselves. "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it". So I just want to clarify right here at the heart of this message that every person, man, woman, boy and girl, needs to come to a time and a place in your life where you decisively and personally respond, repenting of your sin, receiving Christ into your life, and you are born into God's forever family! Your sins are forgiven and you have a brand new life. "Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it". Key word: Lord. The question is: Is He your Lord? Dad, is Jesus Christ your Lord? Mom, is Jesus the Lord of your life? Kids, are allowing Jesus to take His rightful place of lordship in your life?

So it's more than a casual religion, isn't it? Or an association with a church that builds your family. "Oh, well, we're Baptist. We're part of the Baptist bunch. We don't dance; we don't chew; we don't go with girls who do". Where did that come from? I don't know. Or, you know, "We're Catholic", "We're Episcopalian", you know, name it. That's not what we're talking about here. "If the Lord builds your home", if Jesus is Lord of your life, that's the commitment we're talking about. Because marriage and family, God's idea from the very beginning.

From Genesis way back, when He created Adam and Eve, a man and a woman, placed them in the Garden, gave them guidance as to how they were to live and love together, "That the two should become one. And what God has joined together," Jesus said, "let not man put asunder", or tear apart. He said this marriage relationship, this family foundation is divine in establishment. "What God has joined together", divine in establishment. It is supreme in relationship: "leaving father and mother, and cleaving to one another as husbands and wives". Becomes this supreme relationship in your life. You leave the past and live into a present. And when God blesses you and adds the children on together as a family, this is what God does, this is what God builds. It is supreme in relationship, divine in establishment and unconditional in commitment. "What God has joined together let not man put away, or put aside".

This is God's ordination, this is God's orchestration! This is what God has done! And therefore, when they would go into city of Jerusalem, singing as a family they would be celebrating and cherishing their family! And camping and vacationing together. One thing we always loved about vacations in our home. I think if you would talk with our children, all adults now, of course, with children of their own, they would look back to our times in family vacation when we would get away as some of the best times of their lives.

You know a change of place can give you a change of perspective, and just the time together. We've got so many great, great memories about being together as a family. Like the time, I had a little Camaro car. It was like two seats in the front and barely one in the back. And we jammed, all five of us, in that little thing and drove sixteen hours to Maggie Valley, North Carolina. I told that just a little wrong. We had two kids in the back, fighting all the way, and Deb was pregnant with Josh, so how is that for family planning right there in terms of taking that, we nearly lost it all in the Camaro on the way to Carolina. But, again, we laugh about it now because we made memories along the way.

And you can tell the same kind of stories. Just picture the people here with Psalm 127, walking together, worshiping together, celebrating, cherishing and loving life and laughter. It's one of the important things you need in your home. Just as an aside. There's a lot of fun and a lot of laughter. The joy of the Lord is present. He makes your home happy. And when your home is in harmony there is melody and there's music in the home. And that's what's happening in Psalm 127.

I'm so thankful that in the providence and plan of God as a boy I was born into a Christian home and family. My parents, Tom and Emogene, my brother Bob, thirteen years my senior, my grandfather. We lived in a little frame house, Conway, Arkansas. Still there. And those times sitting on the porch and counting fireflies and most important, sitting in my grandfather's lap where he read the Scriptures to me. I was taught to love God and to love God's Word, to know Jesus Christ and to follow Him. I was taught to love God's church and to be present. And we weren't just dropped off at church; we were led to church. In fact, we had business, my dad had a business. My mom was a stay at home mom. My dad had a business called the Dan-Dee-Dog, you may have heard me talk about it, and we had the best corn dogs.

My first job, and I've had a lot of jobs growing up, but my first job was working at the Dan-Dee-Dog. I think I ate up most of the profit. But we were having a great time and yet, my dad, always on Sunday closed down the Dan-Dee-Dog because he was living by the principle that, yeah, we could show up and make money and more money, but it was more important that our family have a day together and be in church together. And that built up into my life a love for God's church. In these ascent psalms they said, "Come, let"... "I was glad when they said unto me, 'Let us go into the house of the Lord.'" My parents, my grandparents put that in me! And we have attempted by God's grace to share that same faith with our family, and that we would experience the joy of the Lord.

As the psalmist said, "The lines have fallen unto us in pleasant places". And this is God's doing! This is God's work! And if you have been given a Christian home and legacy in your life, thank God for it! And if you were not, then begin that legacy of faith. Start loving your family God's way! That's how God builds a house. And that's really simple when you think about it, when Jesus is first in your home and your family. "But unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it".

Now verse 2 reminds us, and this is going to be quick, but it's important, that "it is vain that you rise up and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil for he gives his beloved sleep". The home, the family, as noted earlier, is under tremendous pressure from the culture and from Satan himself. Satan is the great home breaker and heartbreaker, home wrecker and heartbreaker. And it's more and more difficult. I look at these young families just starting out with their children and I realize, and our focus in this message today really is to remind all of us, but to instruct young families in particular this important principle of building your house on Jesus Christ. I know it's more and more difficult, the challenges. How could you possibly do the job that God has given you as parents if you don't have Christ in your life?

So a lot of the focus is on you, and I know you're running and gunning for the future and you're building a life and a career; your family's coming along, and there's tremendous amount of stress. We talked about stress in Psalm 37, the last time. Tremendous stress and pressure on the family! Every time I talk to people, especially young moms and dads, ultimately it gets around to saying, "Man, I am so tired just getting everything done". And yet the Scripture says, "He gives His beloved sleep". The point of this verse is that don't spend your life running around, trying to build anything without God, much less your family. And resist the temptation of materialism, that would cause you to overwork and to overwrought your life, that you would be so stressed and anxious and pushed to the extremes, to the edges, that you lose your family. "What would it profit a man if he gains the whole world" and loses his own family?

So He says, don't be running around working so hard that you never sleep, you're anxious and you're just eating your anxiety. Most people don't die of what they eat, they die of what's eating them! Anxious toil, wringing your hands. You're so caught up that you can't even sleep! The Scripture says "He gives His beloved (His own) sleep". It's not pills, but peace that will give you rest. Not only rest for your body but rest for your soul. The best tranquilizer on earth is trust in God; that you would pillow your head on the promises of God. Work hard all day, give it your best. Be a great wage-earner, the best that you can be! But never at the sacrifice of your wife, your children, your husband! Never at the expense of your family! Work hard all day and then tuck your children in bed at night, kiss them goodnight, pray over them, get in bed with your husband, your wife, pray together, love one another, and sleep the sweet rest that God gives. "He gives His beloved sleep".

If you are having trouble sleeping... I read this week that 70 million Americans have sleep issues. Can't sleep or don't sleep well, sleep problem. Try this: Trust God and ask Him to give you sleep. Quit staying up all night, trying to run the world, trying to babysit the world! Because, after all, God works the night shift! God's up all night. He doesn't need to sleep. That's what the Scripture says in Psalm 121 and verse 4: "He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep". So God's awake. You might as well go to bed. And instead of trying to figure things out and work things out, trust in God! Because our security, our serenity is in God and in trusting Him. God's up; you can go to sleep. No matter what you face tomorrow.

And I know there's some times when we're fretting over what's going to happen the next day, what the challenges are. God's got that as well! He has all of that in His hands, and He's watching over His children so you can fall asleep. When you think about it, sleep is an act of faith, isn't it? When you can actually let go and let God; where you can truly trust the Lord and just go to sleep. Not now! I saw a guy yawning right back there! Now's not the time! I don't know, when I was a little kid I got some of the best sleeping done on church pews I ever had in my life, but that's another subject. But when you get up every day you're met with the mercies of God.

So whatever you're going to face when you wake up in the morning, you say, "Well, I can't go to sleep because all this stuff I got to do tomorrow"! No, trust God for today and tomorrow. He's got it! "He gives His beloved sleep". I know of nothing more damaging to marriages and homes and families than stress. It's a killer! A killer! And talk about a death spiral for a marriage. When you sacrifice because of your work or your effort somewhere outside the home, you sacrifice your home and your family. Well, let's bring this to a close by simply saying keeping your marriage and your family strong and successful is dependent upon the Word of God and the will of God for your family. And when you treasure your family and cherish your wife and your children, you will live a legacy that will last from generation to generation.
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