|Volume 20 Number 5 May 2018||
There are two kinds of invitations to special events; one is very specific, that is, only a select group of people, normally family and friends, are invited to attend a gathering. Then, there is the general invitation to all who would be interested in attending a special occasion. An example would be an invitation placed in a church bulletin, inviting all to attend a wedding ceremony.
In this brief article, I want to mention only three invitations offered by God. The first one is found in Isaiah 1:18. However, you should read the first 17 verses of this chapter to understand the background of this gracious invitation by our Heavenly Father. His people had forgotten Him; they were hypocritical; God rejected their worship because their hands were full of blood, just to name a few of their sins. Yet, God, in His mercy and longsuffering, offered this invitation to His sinful people: “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ Says the Lord, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool’” (v. 18). Please observe it was God who made the first move in this matter of preserving Judah and saving His people. God promised them that if they would be obedient, He would bless them (v. 19). God gave man the ability to make choices, whether to respond in a positive or in a negative manner.
The second invitation I have chosen to mention was made by God the Son, Jesus Christ. In Matthew 11, Jesus did “most of His mighty works” in the cities that were located on the northern end of the Sea of Galilee, which were Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. However, the inhabitants of these cities rejected Him as being the Son of God. Jesus said that it would be “more tolerable” for the “land of Sodom” and “Tyre and Sidon” in the “day of judgment” than for these cities because they would have repented had they seen “the mighty works” that He had done in their presence (Matthew 11:22, 24). Because the Lord desires all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), He offered this invitation: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” To everyone who accepts this invitation by faith in Jesus Christ and obeys the commands of the Gospel (Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:26-27), the blood of Christ will wash one’s sins away (Acts 22:16; Revelation 1:5).
The most precious of all the invitations extended by God in the Holy Scriptures is found in Matthew 25:34 when “the King” will say to the saved ones on the Judgment Day, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…” After a life of faithfulness and service in the kingdom of God in this life, “an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Praise God for His infinite grace, His steadfast love and His tender mercies!
There are so many decisions to make and so many factors to consider when it comes to families. Let us take a moment and see what the Bible teaches us about families.
We must start with two distinct individuals: a man and a woman. They are two people, two souls and two life stories. They have sin; they struggle, and they need a Saviour, like all of mankind (Romans 3:23). Will they obey God’s Word (Acts 2:38)? Will they be faithful to Him always (Revelation 2:10)?
Now we see a married couple. That which were two have now become one (Genesis 2:24). Husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the Church (Ephesians 5:25). Wives should submit to their husbands as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22). The husband should be the head of the family as Christ is the Head of the church (Ephesians 5:23). Will they be faithful to each other (Hebrews 13:4)? Will they get a divorce (Matthew 19:9)? Will they love and submit?
A couple decides to have children. The family is to be provided for and given the proper care (1 Timothy 5:8). The Father is to still be the head of the family and to teach his children the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Both parents should actively raise and train their children in the right ways (Proverbs 22:6). Discipline should be used in the home because the children are loved, and it is important for their training (Proverbs 13:4). Will the parents provide the care, training and discipline that is needed in the Lord?
Then, we have the children. Children are to honor and obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1-2). They are to take the training they have received and be an example to other believers (1 Timothy 4:12). Children, just like their parents and every other individual, will fall prey to sin (Romans 3:23). It is ultimately going to be their decisions, which they make as individuals, whether they are going to follow the Word of the Lord. What will they choose?
The Word of God is pretty clear when it talks about families. God has always had a plan for families. The Bible shows us that families are important for so many reasons: faith, love, training, instruction, care, etc. It teaches us that it is up to each individual to choose to follow God and to fulfill his or her role in the family. The reality is that there is only one perfect family, and that is the family of God. As we live and work in our families at home and at church, decisions will come our way. Even when those around us choose the ways of the world, let us always choose the ways of God. May we always live as children of God.