Tony Evans - God and Family
The family is the first institution established by God that would serve as the foundation for the well-being of society and civilization. Like pouring a foundation in a building will determine the stability of what you build on it, when God established the family he was establishing the foundation upon which civilization and society would be ordered and properly built. When the foundation of the family is shaken, cracked, and broken, the society that rest upon it will be in grave danger. As it has been said, I repeat. The saga of a nation is the saga of its families written large. Whoever owns the family owns the future.
When the family structure breaks down, all manner of calamity and chaos enter into society. It is the singular role of civil government when it comes to the family to promote and protect the family as God created it to be. When wrong definitions or false definitions or undermining definitions take place in the civil society that bucks against the creation of God when it comes to family, you can bet your bottom dollar that you're going to see the devolution of society because government has taken a role it was never assigned to take or it has decided to replace the structure of the family.
When you look at Genesis chapter 6 the first seven verses, the evil breakdown of the family, he says as men became demonized and married women and they had children, it says violence broke out in all the earth. God regretted that he made man and said in verse 7 after he finishes the first six verse, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the earth". God destroys all of humanity with the flood because the family became ruined, society began to devolve, and he had to start all over again. But how did he start all over again? Genesis 6 tells us he started all over again with a family. He told Noah, "I'm bringing a flood," verse 17, "but I'm going to establish my covenant," verse 18, "and you're going to enter the ark with your sons, your wife, your sons' wives with you; and every living thing of flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark to keep them alive for you. They shall be male and female".
What is the purpose of the family? How do we get it, and what is it designed to do? Well, let me make a major point here. Government does not own the family. Government has no children. God owns the family, and he owns it by creative fiat. In other words, he decided that it would be, he decided why it would be, he decided how it would be; and he only warrants it when you use it as he created it to be. In Genesis chapter 1, that he was going to make man in his own image. He said verse 26, he said, "Let us make man in our own image, in our likeness". And he says he's going to do that in male and female, verse 27. So he lays out the principle for the family structure. There would be a male. There would be a female. He says, "I want them to be fruitful and to multiply". He says, "I want them to expand," verse 28. And then he says, "I want them to rule".
So he gives three reasons why he made the family. First of all, reflection. He says, "Let's make them in our own image". In other words, "Let's make it so it looks like us". Now, what does that mean? The family is supposed to mirror God. "Let's make it in our own, male and female". And he's going to perform a wedding here in a minute. "But let's do it male and female, and let's make the unit like us". So let me tell you what God is like. There's one God composed of three coequal persons, who is one in essence while distinct in personality. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Spirit, but they all make up the one Godhead like a pretzel with three holes. First hole is not the second hole, the second hole is not the third hole, but they're all tied together by the same dough.
When God explained how he would enter history, the Father sent the Son, the Son left, the Son sent the Spirit so that there would be this progression of the unit of the theistic family in heaven manifesting itself on earth. So we shouldn't be surprised God created Adam, went inside of Adam, out of Adam came Eve; and then out of Eve comes a baby, and they make a family unit because the family unit is supposed to reflect the Triune God. Even our government has tried to reflect the Triune God with the three areas of government. There's judicial, there's legislative, and there's executive. That's a Trinitarian setup. The difference is the biblical Trinity always acts in unity. There is no conflict. But the idea of the family was to mirror God, not just to be happy. I'll say more about that in a moment; but let me just tell you he said he would bless them based on them fulfilling why he created family, not just because they wanted a family. The second thing he says is that "I want you to replicate". He says, "Be fruitful and multiply".
Now, you have to understand that God is a generational God, but what exactly is the purpose of children? Multiplication of a family. "I want you to spread my image worldwide, fill the earth with my image through family multiplying by their fruitfulness through the production of children". Children are not just so you and I can have a look alike; children are so the image of God can be replicated throughout the culture and throughout the world, and they have families and we replicate some more.
And then he gives the third reason. "I want you to rule; that is, to exercise my rule through families on the earth". So reflection, replication, and ruling. So what should the government be protecting since that's what God said the government is here to do? The government is to protect. It is to protect the image of God in family, it is to protect the replication of children from family, and it is to recognize and authorize and protect the sovereignty of families to be families without interfering with families as long as they are being the kind of family they were created to be. So to promote and to protect family as God created them to be.
Now, having understood this, God began to set a process for the establishment of families. Stay with me here. He started with a single person. He didn't start with a marriage, he started with a single person. Why? Because he wanted a single person to be complete with him until they became a married person. Single doesn't just mean unmarried in God's economy, single means complete until marriage. If you get two incomplete singles to come together, you just started an incomplete marriage. God never meant for a single that is an unmarried person to be incomplete. You are to be complete unto God, fulfilling your divinely-designed purpose for reason until God brings marriage.
Now, when sin entered the world, then divorce entered and death entered because it was never God's plan that there would be single people for life. That's why he said male and female. Everybody was supposed to be hooked up, but the reason why that hasn't taken place is evil has entered the world and destroyed what God had in mind when he established mankind to have families in the first place to replicate after themselves. So God created a man, from man he created a woman, and then guess what? He brought the woman to the man and performed the first wedding. Why? Because marriage is supposed to be the first step of establishing new family under God, which was why God was the first justice of the peace.
So since God is the first justice of the peace, which is why most folk get married in church, God wants to say what the marriage is supposed to be, what the family is supposed to be; and the job of a government is to support that and to protect that, not redefine that. We're living in a day when government thinks it owns the family and therefore can define marriage. The Bible declares, in Malachi chapter 2, verses 14 to 16 he says something about marriage that you cannot miss, and then he goes into your offspring so he brings family into it. He says, "She is your mate by covenant". Now, this is the keyword. He says, "She is your mate by covenant". This is the word that we use a lot if you understand the kingdom. God's kingdom is run by his covenant.
Again, there are four covenants: the covenant with the individual, the covenant with the family, the covenant with the church, and the covenant with civil government. A covenant is a divinely-created relational bond. You mess with the family covenant, you've endangered the church covenant and the civil covenant. This relational bond means that you have to be in alignment with God. We have absolute chaos in our world today because we have chaos in our families today because the society at large and unfortunately Christians have joined them in redefining the family. The Bible knows nothing of same-sex marriage. The Bible would condemn any serious consideration of same-sex marriage. There's no such thing as same-sex marriage.
Jesus made it clear in Matthew chapter 19. He says it is male and female, and two shall become one. That is how God defines it. Government doesn't get to redefine it. Once government redefines what God has decided to define, government has said, "We trump God". Whenever government says, "We trump God," government is now in conflict with God. And whenever government is in conflict with God, government loses because God will then unleash his reaction to our rebellion by defining things as he never meant them to be defined. He never intended for any other definition except the definition that he himself gives. Let me tell you something else God is against. He would be against government establishing laws of no-fault divorce.
Jesus made it clear. "You don't just get divorced because you're not happy because happiness was not the first reason I created marriage. I created marriage to establish my image, to replicate my image in history, and to exercise dominion on the earth. And if you would ever get around to my definition of family, I will make you happy. But the moment that you decide to do your own thing, then you can't be happy because you've removed the support of happiness out of the definition of a family". But when the government steps in and when the government decides, "You don't have a reason to get divorced, you just don't want to be married again, we'll set you out". What does Jesus say? He says, "Let not man put asunder what God has joined together".
We've got children being shuttled from house to house. We've got children being held in foster care where the government now must become the parent. We've got children who are confused. You know what we have today? We have a generation of young people whose consciences don't beep, whose consciences don't go off, where the sense of right and wrong no longer matter, where there are no longer standards of absolute truth. We also see this in government-led education. We see schools now teaching things that undermine the creator, acting as a parent overruling parents, giving out information that rebels against God. And when you are in opposition to God, I hate to tell you this but you can't win. Any educational system that does not promote and protect the family as God defines it is a pagan institution.
Malachi chapter 4, verses 4 to 6 says, "Because the family was in disarray, I cursed the land". Did you hear that? I hope you didn't miss that. Because the family was in disarray the land was cursed, and we're looking at a cursed land because we're looking at a failed family. And when the family goes down, it's not long before the culture goes right with it. In Mark chapter 6, verses 14 to 29, John the Baptist condemns a political ruler for unlawful marriage. He goes right to the government and says, "That marriage is unlawful". The saving of the family is the saving of the culture. And just like John the Baptist confronted the political ruler, we must confront the government righteously, justly, compassionately but with clarity that God has spoken and he has not stuttered on what marriage and family is and how it is to function.
And so what we have today is the breakdown of the family, which means the breakdown of the future, and we've got to do what Nehemiah 4:14 says. He says fight for the family. Guess what he was doing? That was the government talking. Nehemiah is the governor, and Nehemiah gets all the families and he says, "You're under attack. They're coming at us from every side". He calls the men forward and he says, "You take care of your people. You take care of the mother and the father and the kids. You fight for the family because if we're going to save this society, then you better stay in front of your house and you better fight for your home".
Now, this bears on a critical thing that we need to deal with, and that is the role that men have in leading in the protection of the family if we're going to save the nation. God came and he said, "Adam, where are you"? He didn't say, "Adam and Eve, where are y'all"? Yeah, he was involved with it, but he never came looking for Eve. I need to tell the men this. You're responsible even if you're not to blame. It may not be your fault. It wasn't Adam's fault that Eve ate first, but he said, "Because you listened to your wife and you let her overrule me? I know you love the girl. She is your special one, but she don't get to overrule me. No, no, no. Let me explain how this goes. I run the show, Adam, and you have to guard and guide and protect the family. And because you failed," he says, "the culture is now in trouble. Thorns and thistles and conflict, battle of the sexes," and he deals with all of this that infiltrates the culture because the man had failed.
What did God tell Abraham? He said, "Abraham," in Genesis 18, verse 19, "I chosen you and I want you to raise the children". Because in the Bible the man is responsible for raising the children, not the woman. The woman comes alongside to help but not replace. He says, "I want you to raise the children". And guess what he told him to raise them in? Pay attention. He says, "I want you to raise them in righteousness and justice". There's our two words again. "To give them a moral standard with God, but an equitable standard among men. You raise them in righteousness and justice".
So he fights for the right of those who are disenfranchised. He fights in a righteous way for those whose liberty has been stolen from them because he's righteous and just. He fights for the child in the womb, and then he fights for equity among people and their dignity to the tomb 'cause you're teaching them both. And guess what he says? He says, "If I can get you, Abraham, and all the men in your house to do it my way, here's what we're going to do. We're going to build a nation". He says, "We're going to build, Abraham, a whole new nation if I can get you to be the right kind of daddy".
So as Joshua said in Joshua 24:15, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord". You know what he said? He said, "I don't care what y'all going to do. I know we're in a culture that's messed up, that's tore up from the floor up, but I ain't going to let that culture get in here and raise my children. I'm not going to let that culture, that government set my values. I'm not going to let that school system determine what my family knows and believes. No. As for me and my crib, this is how we roll. This is how we roll. And, government, I'm going to vote in a way that protects and promotes the family as God defined it".
We must hold government leaders accountable to the family. First of all, it's your individual life, but then it's your family life. And if government doesn't take it seriously, you better because it's your kids, it's your future. And God is a generational God. He says, "I'm the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob". He says, "I go generationally". You know, if we don't get this fixed, you can't imagine what your great-grandchildren are going to live through. When you have a government that doesn't protect and promote God's definition of the family, then you're looking at a world that's going to be totally confused, totally mixed up, and totally disintegrated.
You see, you don't let a governmental system no matter what it offers you for free to draw in your children and the family and then build a fence and then lock you in to a non-Christian definition of the family because then you'll be squealing but it'll be too late 'cause now you're caught. You're caught in a system that undermines God's definition of the family. The family is owned by God, not by government. So right there I want to challenge you with your family. Maybe you're with your family now or maybe as a single person you are the family. But why don't you say, "As for me and my house, I'm going to serve the Lord. The Lord is going to define my singleness, and I'm going to be a whole single and not a divided single. I'm going to be fulfilling my purpose until God changes my status".
Well, if you're a nuclear family, then you say, "As for me and my family," as a man in the house you should be leading the way, "we're going to serve the Lord. We're going to counteract anything that comes into this house that disagrees with God 'cause we're going to make sure in this house, up in here, up in here, this is God's place, and he established the family". And we're going to make sure that education is consistent with that and not in rebellion against that. It's time that we hold the government responsible, but we must first hold ourselves responsible. Now, I'm assuming you're a Christian. If you've never accepted Jesus Christ, you need to get that straight. You need eternal life, and he offers it for free. You talk about something for free, that's what you want for free. He gives it away. If you come to God and say:
Lord Jesus, I'm a sinner. I need a Savior. I don't want my life to be ruined. I want my life to be governed and guided by you, and I'm going to believe in you for your salvation. I'm going to come to you right now for you to save me, forgive me, and give me eternal life. And then, Lord, I want to live under this banner of the kingdom. I want to be a kingdom citizen and I want to reflect you in my life, in my work, and in my home.
Would you ask God to do that right now, to come into your life if you're not a Christian and accept him as your Savior the Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross in your place for your sin, who rose from the dead to give you eternal life? And if you're a Christian, will you recommit yourself to that right now?
The first institution that God created was the family, and it would be the foundation for the well-being of society. The saga of a nation is the saga of its families written large, and whoever owns the family owns the future. The family starts with individuals who come together in heterosexual biblical marriage. And then as children are born into that household and trained with God's principles on life and family and then go out and replicate it; then the image of God is spread throughout the land because families have come together based on his principles, have raised the next generation based on his principles so that through family the principles of God are replicated throughout all of society.