by Phil Enlow

Adapted from a message preached at the Bible Tabernacle on June 5, 2016 and used on the TV broadcast on October 2017

Praise the Lord! It’s good to see everybody this morning. This is one of those occasions when I went to bed last night and had no idea what the service was going to be about this morning. And sometimes it works that way. Sometimes you have something ahead and the Lord gives you time to think it through, but the Lord has different plans, doesn’t He? He doesn’t have a formula by which we do things. And I’m glad, because we need to know that we’re dependent on Him.

But as I woke up this morning, I had some thoughts that came back to my mind and I’m just going to trust the Lord to help me to walk through a subject, because I was thinking about the glorious “order,” I guess is the word, in God’s kingdom.

What a contrast there is between God’s kingdom and the beauty and the order that there is in it, and this world. And then I was thinking of the fact that God desires that we taste of His blessing and His order while we’re here because, what exists in Heaven is not meant to just remain there. Jesus encouraged His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (KJV).

There are people out there who take that to mean that a special group is going to drive the Devil out of the world and turn this present world into the Kingdom of God. I don’t believe that’s what it’s talking about at all. But, it does have a reason for being there. God desires that we learn how to walk in His order, because it’s an order of blessing, of freedom, of joy, of everything that He has planned for us.

We know that in the beginning, God had a perfect order, didn’t He? There was a beautiful, perfect creation. He beheld it and He said all was good. He had angels, and, though they were servants, it had none of the connotations of this broken world. They were powerful, beautiful beings who were entirely, perfectly suited for what they were given to do. And they were given responsibility and everything was exactly the way it should be, exactly the way the Master designed it to be.

But you remember how one of the angels, at least, rebelled against that order and decided that he wanted to, “be like the most High.” He didn’t want to take the place God designed for him. He wanted the ultimate place. And he wanted to lead a rebellion, thinking that his highest good was to be found by going his own way, doing his own thing, being independent. And he succeeded in leading a rebellion that resulted in him and his followers being cast out of Heaven.

But where it affects us is what happened in the beginning when we know that God created Adam. He invested him with the attributes of His own being. Adam was not just a created angel, he was created “…in the image of God.” The attributes, the qualities of being that we find in God, our Heavenly Father, were invested in Adam. And truly they needed to grow, and all of that, but they were there.

And Adam was given a place of great honor. All the works of God’s hands were put in his hands. He said, “You’re in charge. I’m giving this to you to rule over and to enjoy.”

And, of course, we know that there came a point pretty early on when the Lord looked down and realized it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone. And so, He put him to sleep and before He was done, He brought Eve to Adam’s side. And they became one in God’s purpose and God’s plan. And it’s been all downhill — I mean — (congregational laughter) — no, not at all!

But one of the points we need to understand is that Eve was not a mere afterthought. Nor was she some sort of subservient, lesser being. Rather, between the two, they shared the attributes of God. Adam had part of the image of God, the qualities that enabled him to lead, to love, to protect, to provide. All of those kinds of things were in him.

But other attributes of God’s nature and character, come straight from Him, were invested in Eve. And God’s plan was that she have the ability and capacity to love, to nurture. She was by no means a lesser being, a servant or anything of the sort that this world has turned ladies into. But she had an honored, awesome, perfect place for which she was perfectly designed.

And so, for a very brief period there — we don’t know how long — there was this perfect order. They existed in innocence at the time. They didn’t know what evil was. But then along came the deceiver. And the lie that he sold Eve was that she was missing out, that God was holding out on her, that He knew that if she only acquired some knowledge, that she could chart her own course and she wouldn’t be sort of like a “divine pet.” It was almost like he was implying that she was being held down and God was being basically selfish and restricting her, and holding her back from her destiny.

And she fell for the lie and persuaded her husband to join her and now it’s been all downhill since because of that rebellion. And so, the dominating characteristic of the human race, ever since, has been one of rebellious, selfish independence. “I want what’s right for me and I’m going to do whatever I have to do to get it.” And so, we obviously live in a very broken world.

But I believe God is calling us out. I know you do, too. And He’s calling us out to become a part of His Kingdom! And it’s a Kingdom where those qualities that existed in the beginning exist in that Kingdom and He longs for us to share in that.

But we live in a culture today that is about as broken as it can be. And we have a culture in America today that is running as hard as it can away from God, thumbing its nose in God’s face, declaring that, “We’re not going to abide by any of your principles, any of your rules” — they see them as rules — “And, we’re going to cast away your cords and throw off your restrictions. We’re going to do what we want to do.”

And, we understand the real spirit behind it is that of Lucifer. He hates God! He hates everything that is right! He hates everything that would bring about a blessing to human beings. All he wants to do is use, abuse and destroy.

There was a movement that he used, and it happens, in this case, to be the Communist movement in this country, decades ago. And they made a long list of what they needed to do in order to take over our society. It would scare you if you went back and read that list, because, probably 90 to 95 percent of what they set out to accomplish, has been accomplished!

And one of the areas where they really sought to tear things down was family and morality. And who would have thought, a generation ago, we would be where we’re at today? Where God’s definition of marriage is gone. Now people are whatever gender they imagine themselves to be. Nothing is sacred anymore. And God help you if you dare to say anything about it!

But you know, we need to stand up and we need to say, with love and with grace, that God arranged, God designed the universe. He designed us to work a certain way, and if we go against the Manufacturer’s instructions, we do it to our hurt!

And so, it’s awfully easy for us, as often as we have heard many of these truths over the years, to go on and just suppose that everybody gets it. But I think there’s a time and a place where we need to reiterate God’s plan and purpose because it affects our lives, it affects our families! It affects the way we live! And we have young families growing up and they need to understand. We are being bombarded.

We have young people growing up — we had several graduate. Congratulations to every one of you! But you’re going off into a world that hates God and you had better understand that. You better know that they have values that they have embraced that are absolutely anti-Christ, that will lead people straight to Hell while promising them liberty, promising them blessing and meaning in their lives. And the crazy thing, in this world, is that if the powers that be had their way, we would not believe in God at all.

And what they don’t get, and what they don’t understand is they are taking pride in the idea that, as I’ve said in the past, they are nothing more than accidental descendents of pond scum, having no meaning, no purpose, no significance, and no hope. And that’s what they want us all to embrace and believe is the hope of mankind.

It makes no sense at all! And here we have a God who loved us, Who made us in His image and Who’s done everything necessary to open a door of hope so that we can be part of His eternal Kingdom and be restored back to what He designed us to be in the beginning! Well, Praise God! I want to enjoy those blessings here, don’t you? I believe His heart is that we do.

And so, I’m going to go ahead and turn to some familiar scripture and ask the Lord to bring out of it what He will. In Ephesians chapter 5…. And you know, we need to get back to what God’s principles are. And they’re not just principles, they’re laws of being. I’ve made this point before. God just doesn’t make up a bunch of rules. The principles by which His Kingdom operates, they come out of His being. They are just the way it is!

And it makes as much sense to go against them as it does to ignore and rebel against the law of gravity. You might decide that you want to fly, that it would be fun. But you will reap the consequences if you violate that law.

The problem is, with God’s character and God’s moral law is that the consequences of disobedience don’t appear right away. You don’t do something wrong and then go splat, right away, always. But I’ll tell you, they’re real! And there’s so much brokenness that God would redeem us from and help us with.

So anyway, well, let me backtrack a little bit from where I was going to start. I’m going to start where he says, in the middle of the chapter, part of verse 14, “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV).

That’s some good admonition, isn’t it? Praise God! You suppose there’d be some peace and joy in living according to such things? Absolutely, there’s freedom in that.

Then it says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Now submission is one of those things that human nature doesn’t like. It’s the very opposite of what we are, of the nature we were born with. We want our way. We don’t want to be beholden to anybody. No authority is going to tell us what to do! Isn’t that the spirit of the age, more and more and more?

We see it like a runaway freight train in our society today. But in God’s Kingdom, it’s entirely different than what we envision. We think of submission as a form of “losing myself.” I’m “losing” my freedom. I’m sacrificing what is good and best for me. I’m giving over my will to another. And in this world, that’s a dangerous thing, no question about it. Slavery is a terrible thing. But in the Kingdom of God, what we are submitting to is the Author of life! It’s the Author of love!

We are surrendering to be the recipients of His love, to enjoy the place for which He has designed us, for which we are perfectly fitted, in which our highest happiness exists. And as He brings us together, into assemblies, there is a spirit of submission. There is a spirit where I’m not a law unto myself. I’m not here to do my thing. I’m not here to assert my will against everybody else and refuse to — you know, that kind of a spirit.

God longs to begin to bring that under control and to help us, to teach us this principle of submission, not so that we will be frustrated and repressed and hurt and abused and all of that kind of thing, but so that we can be set free from those things that would hold us in captivity! Our nature will drive us to distraction and to destruction, ultimately, if we give into it and we will suppose that we are being free when all we’re doing is being enslaved.

Because if our passions, our earthly desires become the master, they will drive us right into Hell, if we let them. But God wants to set us free.

Well, part of that, part of coming back under His divine love and His Kingdom and its glorious order, is learning how to say, “No,” to the rebelliousness of self. And so, He calls upon us to walk together and there’s that sense of submitting one to another.

And, it’s not just a few up here and everybody else just submits, like they’re bosses or something. This is to everybody. You remember, Peter said the same thing, didn’t he? He said, “…all of you be subject one to another.” (KJV). So, there is that sense of community and not this independent willfulness. God wants to begin to help us to govern that and to submit it and to lay our wills down. Even though we are in an imperfect state, there’s a principle at stake that is a lot more important than the issues of the moment. And God longs to set His people free!

But now we get to one of the ladies’ favorite verses in the whole Bible! Verse 22, he begins to enumerate how some of this plays out. He says, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” (NIV). Well, I’ll tell you, the movers and shakers of our feminist-oriented society love this one. And to them, it sounds like slavery and frankly, the way you look around the world, often it plays out that way, sadly. Lord, have mercy!

What must happen in the heart of God, to see the way women are abused and dominated and misused and treated like slaves and treated like cattle in so many parts of the world? That’s not how He designed things. Oh, my God! But neither did He design feminism that exalts this defiant, ‘I am woman,’ kind of spirit. I’m equal to a man. I’m this, I’m that. That’s not His Spirit either. All that leads to is trouble and conflict and everything that’s wrong.

But here’s a place where wives are so constituted, the attributes of God that exist in them find their greatest, most perfect expression in a place of submission, where they’re not the ones with their hands on the wheel and telling the man what to do and that kind of thing. It just works out that way. That’s how God designed those attributes to function.

And they are an awesome, beautiful, amazing thing, when you see a godly woman, who is in her rightful place, looking to God and trusting Him and exerting a Christ-like influence. You have no idea how valuable that is, how God is pleased with that, how it blesses His heart to see it. And you know, the world will paint that as everything but what God wants. But oh, it’s a place of blessing!

And he says, “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

And I don’t think Paul had in mind that if your husband tells you to go rob a bank that you need to do that. That’s not the idea. But there is that sense that she is always looking to him when it comes to issues of leadership. There is a recognition that, in the providence of God, God has put him over her with a place of responsibility. And the minute she tries to take that, she’s getting out of her place and it’s going to be a lot of strife.

We’re in a very imperfect state. Yet, if there is a spirit in the heart of a godly woman, “Lord, I want to please you, I know my husband’s not perfect. But I believe the principle. I believe there’s a place of blessing that you have for me and I want to occupy that. Lord, show me how to have the right spirit, even when things are not ‘right.’ It’s more important what you’re doing in my spirit than the issues of the moment.”

Oh, how we love to justify a wrong spirit because that’s not right, or he didn’t say it right, or he didn’t do it right. God’s interested in changing you and changing me. And we cannot change our spouse or anybody else in our circle. We cannot change them. Our responsibility, our place is to model Christ, to occupy the place under His rule, under His headship, under His leadership, that He has designed us for.

And the more we do that, the more freedom we’re going to have in our spirits, the less bondage we’re going to be living under, the less of a burden of the, ‘I’ve got to fix this’ kind of thing we’re going to be experiencing. But the life of Christ will flow through your heart and through your life in such a way that it will touch everybody in your circle of influence.

You read what God says about a virtuous woman in the end of Proverbs. It doesn’t sound like a slave or somebody who’s being abused, to me. It sounds like somebody who has a glorious sphere that God has carved out for her. And within that, she is even enterprising, she makes and sells stuff, she keeps her house. She turns a house into a home. The heart of her husband safely trusts in her.

There are all these wonderful, glorious virtues. Does that sound like slavery and abuse to you? No! God designed her for that! I’ll tell you, when we are in the place for which God designed us, it’s a place of glorious blessing and joy and freedom! We don’t have to try to be something we’re not, or try to fix brokenness that’s not in our power to fix.

So anyway, this is a truth and we can’t escape it. I don’t want to escape it. I love to see a godly woman. And I’ll tell you, the heart of Jesus goes out to the ladies. You think about how He reached out when He was here. Society looked down on women, treated them as second class. Jesus didn’t. He honored them at every occasion. He reached out with a heart of love to lift them up and to cause them to understand how valuable they were, the worth that they had in God’s eyes. I’ll tell you, the real message of the Gospel elevates everyone who bows to it.

But there is an order! There is a way the universe works and the way His Kingdom works, that brings us to that place of blessing. So anyway, there it is, ladies. Ask God for grace. I know there’s nobody here who has a perfect husband. My wife would certainly stand at the head of the line, for that one!

But that’s all right. All we can do is work from where we’re at and go forward. We can’t fix the past. We can’t do anything about that, but we can say, “God, here I am, but I yield to you, I want to be the person you made me to be.” That’s what it comes down to. What did you make me to be? Did you make me to be a feminist? No! (Especially not me! I was speaking for you there!)

But listen to how this is balanced. Because the Devil would take those two verses and say, you are setting us up for a life of slavery and abuse. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”

You talk about a high calling. You talk about something that flies in the face of human nature. Wow! All you can do is say, “Oh, God! I’m not like this. God, my nature is to be selfish. I would take this principle of the husband being the head of the home in a selfish way. I just want to do what I want. I want to make her serve me.”

That’s not the spirit in which Jesus came to rescue lost, helpless sinners. He didn’t come to be a king. He came to be a servant. He came to give Himself completely for the eternal welfare of a people. That’s the same spirit that He desires godly husbands to have for their wives, to create for them a place of safety.

And I don’t mean just physical safety, but I mean emotional safety, where they can be whole. They can know that they are valued and loved and cared about and provided for, and someone whose heart they can trust. I’ll tell you, we need God, don’t we, folks?

Every one of us needs God to be able to fulfill such roles. We don’t have this in our nature. It comes from Christ alone. We don’t know what love is until we meet Him.

We call it love, but most of the time, it’s lust, selfishness. Oh, God gives us that kind of a spirit and heart that He had toward His people. And I desire that in a greater way. I recognize that, just like everybody else, there’s so much in which I come short.

But guys, you’re the head of your home. But what kind of a head are you? Are you just selfish? Do you live for the welfare of your wife and your family? Do you look to God and say, “Oh, God, I’m not the top one here. You are. She may be in a position where she needs to look to me as head, but I’ve got a head, too. I’m not some tyrant.” God, take that spirit that would cause anybody to be a tyrant, an abuser in any form, take it out of our hearts and cause us to be the kind of godly people that He designed us to be in the beginning!

There is a place of blessing! The Kingdom of God exists in that kind of atmosphere! God is present! You know, it’s not enough just to come in here. And I thank God for His presence. Thank God for when He meets with us. But I’ll tell you, the devil understands that the family unit and the marriage relationship are the foundation of God’s world and God’s society. That’s why they hate it so much. That’s why they’re doing everything that’s possible to tear it down.

We have the opportunity, not just to have a place here within these walls, but to have a place in our homes where God is honored, where people can come in, they can sense the presence of God. They see it. It’s not just talked about. It’s not just a set of rules to live by, but we’re literally allowing the Lord to live in us and change us and help us to fulfil, each one, the godly role that He’s given to us.

We cannot do it except He live in us. But the other side, the flip side is we can do it because He’s in us to strengthen us to do it if we will. So we have opportunities every single day to say, “Lord, help me to be the kind of person, the kind of husband, the kind of wife that You want me to be.”

I’ll go ahead and read the rest of this. “After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect the husband.” (NIV).

So you see what’s going on. Paul is talking about two different things, and the one is the model for the other. We have a Lord who has died for all of us to bring us together, to bring us together as a congregation, as a people. And I’m talking here, but also wherever His people are. He has brought us together, and He has given everything for us.

And He exists, not just as a figurehead in Heaven. We’re not walking with a figurehead in Heaven or in a book. We’ve got a living Savior who is here. He’s among us. He dwells in His people, and He’s seeking with all of His energy to bring forth His nature in us and to recreate His kingdom upon earth.

To the extent we cooperate with Him, we enjoy the benefits of His kingdom now. Thank God for what will come. We don’t have to wait, though. We don’t have to live here in frustration and misery. We can enjoy His presence now, if we will.

So, on the one hand, it’s this glorious mystery of Christ in the church, but that is the model for the husband and the wife. Praise God! I’ll tell you, do you see God as a mean judge, rule maker, repressing us, trying to make us live in ways we don’t want to, do things we don’t want to do, an abuser?

Oh, my God! There is no greater love than we have experienced from Him. And to submit to that love, to surrender to it, to have the kind of a spirit that a wife in this passage is meant to have for her husband, this applies to every one of us. To have that kind of thing is to submit to love itself and to be set free. Praise God!

But let’s ask God to help us model that. We’ve got young couples that probably have been married since some of this stuff has been preached openly. I pray God will just bless you, that He’ll help you with all the issues, because there are plenty of issues. We’re human beings. We’ve still got this nature to deal with.

There are going to be times when we’re going to bump heads. But may God give us that spirit to remember, “Who am I? I’m His child. What is He trying to accomplish in me? How do I get there? Lord, give me a spirit to humble myself and to submit.”

I’ll tell you, the husband does a lot of submitting too, not just submitting to his wife’s opinion, though he ought to value it and ought to listen and consider it. But I mean it is a humbling, it’s a giving of his whole life for her and for the family. There’s a pretty big submission in that. He just doesn’t use them for his own enjoyment. They’re not his servants so he can live his life and do what he pleases. He’s to have the same heart toward them as Christ has towards us. That’s the model. Praise God!

That’s an awesome model, isn’t it? Praise the Lord! But obviously, it doesn’t stop with them, does it? It gets into children. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Now, let me point out that it doesn’t say children, obey your parents in the Lord, for ‘they’ are always right!

Thought I better throw that in, because we are very, very good, especially at a young age, of justifying self-will and rebellion, because the one who is in the position of authority is less than perfect. But God, once again, is more interested in our character than He is in every little issue that comes along. And it is right for someone to have a heart that is willing to submit and surrender.

I’ll tell you, young people, in this world if you hang around the people of the world all you will learn is rebellion. If you drink in their values, that’s all you’ll be is a rebel, and you will justify it! And of course, most of us can remember being teenagers. It was a while ago, but I can still remember.

And of course, we all know that teenagers are the smartest people in the world. They know everything. And especially, are they aware of how dumb everybody is that’s older than they are and trying to tell them that it’s not like they think it is. And of course, if they’re wise at all, they reach a point where they realize that their parents have learned an awful lot in the last while. They’re a lot smarter than they thought they were. But that’s human nature, folks.

But I’ll tell you, God has a place for you in His kingdom. And if you’re a little child, right now, your place is to learn from Him. Your place is to humble yourself and submit. Your place is not to say, “I’ll submit if they’re right.” What you really mean is, if they agree with your rebellion.

But have a humble spirit and look to God and say, “Lord, I want to be the kind of person You want me to be. Help me at this stage of my life to walk in Your ways, because You are preparing me to be to be an adult who can continue to model Your nature and Your Spirit in the world. One day, I’m going to have a family. One day, I’m going to have a kid just like me.”

Pay back!

But seriously, you see where I’m coming from. You see it from the Lord’s point of view. Oh, we make such big issues out of such little passing things, and God is trying to build character. And the way He does it in His kingdom is when you’re young, you exist in this unit called the family with a loving father and a mother.

I understand that the world is broken. I get that it’s not always like that, but God can still work in you. If you will look past the imperfections of those around you and honor the God whom you claim to serve, God will fight your battles. God will build character in you, and you will be the kind of person that maybe your parents aren’t. Don’t ever use that as an excuse.

God wants to build something in you that’s real, that’s eternal. “Honor you father and mother….” I know they don’t always deserve it. None of us deserves God’s favor and blessing. But, “Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise…” It goes back to the Ten Commandments. Why? “…That it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” There’s a blessing that goes with honoring your father and your mother.

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children.” That’s what’s in the NIV which is a good way to translate that. There are ways that fathers can lead and rule over their children that actually “frustrate” them, is another word. How does our Heavenly Father treat us? Does He demand things of us that we can’t do? Oh, how patient, how loving, how kind He is. When we mess up, His love doesn’t change.

And that’s the model that God is seeking to reproduce within the home! It’s that we should have the same spirit towards our children that God has toward us! There are times when discipline is needed, but discipline is never to be meted out in anger and personal frustration! It’s not that they are bothering you and messing with you, it’s that there is a spirit that is trying to take over their lives and their minds, and it needs to be corrected.

You know, I have memories of when I was a youngster, but I appreciate one memory that I have, and I guess I have it because it occurred a number of times. You know, when my parents would discipline me, I don’t ever remember my parents disciplining me in anger. I’m thankful for that. I praise God for that.

But I do remember them sitting down and saying, “I really don’t want to have to do this, but I’m doing this because I love you, and it’s necessary.” That was the sentiment that was carried out, and you know, that kind of sticks. You don’t like it at the time much. That’s what Hebrews 12 says. We don’t always appreciate it at the time, but it produces a harvest of good fruit in people that are exercised thereby.

God, help us in this area. I’ll tell you, if you’ve got a Christian home, you have got an awesome responsibility, but you’ve got an awesome privilege to help bring the Kingdom of God to this world and to have one little place, at least, where Jesus rules, where His Spirit is the dominating atmosphere in which our kids are raised. So, “… do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

And I think I’ve mentioned this before. Some of you, particularly among the home school crowd, remember a book that was circulated a quite a while ago. I think it was, “The Curse of the Standard Bearer.” Some of you remember that one? And it was a very insightful book. And basically, what it had to do with was your style of raising a child.

Basically, is your home run by rules? Because if it is, then we’re just legalists. Does God’s Kingdom run by rules? I mean, yes, there are admonitions. There are principles and all, but is it fundamentally just rule based? Hey, you broke my rule. Whack! Here’s our standard for this. Here’s our standard for that.

And, the author made a very strong case for how destructive that is, and how many kids just want to grow up and get out from under the rules. But the alternative that was presented was we need to not be standard bearers but image bearers. So that’s not simply a matter of laying down rules, but it is demonstrating the Spirit of Christ in what we do so that they have something to model. We become models for our children instead of just simply law givers.

And I’ll tell you, that’s a sobering question to ask ourselves as to what degree do our children see in us what we profess? It got quiet, didn’t it? But isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? Isn’t that what God’s plan is, that we should not only look in here and find out what rules to live by and then just enforce them, but rather, we need to have a relationship with Christ that our children can see? My parents just don’t tell me what to do, they live in a way that I want to be like them.

There’s not a formula that guarantees all the results. But I’ll tell you what, it opens up a door for God to work in hearts. You know, there’s a point in time when all we can do is just say, “God, help me to be the kind of person I want to be,” and then, just pray. How many of you have been in situations where your kids reach a certain point and all you can do is put them in God’s hands? And every time you try to do something, what does the Lord say? “Take your hands off.” There’s a place for that.

But I’ll tell you, we have a Heavenly Father who watches over His own. But do you see the principles that are in operation here? God is wanting to build little replicas, if you will, of His Kingdom, little outposts of His Kingdom in each of our homes so that the generations that follow do not have hand-me-down religion, or “I’m out of here.”

That’s about the two options if you don’t have what God wants. You’re going to have a decline. You’re going to have a moving away from life and truth, or you’re going to have people that just rebel against it and say, “I don’t want what they have. They’re hypocrites. I don’t want to be one.”

All the imperfections that I can see in myself, I just look to the Lord. But I want for me, I want for His people, and I believe this is God’s heart…. He brought this to me when I woke up this morning. I wasn’t looking for anything, so that’s usually a good sign, when thoughts just start coming unbidden, and they’re peaceable.

This is on God’s heart. He cares about your home. He cares about the relationships in your life. He cares about making you the kind of a person who can be at home in His Kingdom. I’ll tell you, your highest peace, joy, love, welfare is to be found in submission to His place and His will.

I don’t care if you’re a small child, God has a place for you in His Kingdom. He thought about you before He ever created the first star. He planned for you to have a place of love and joy and significance and all the things that atheism cannot possibly promise. He designed you for that. You’re unique. Nobody else is like you.

You’re important to Him. He died for you. He did all that it takes to make you the kind of a person that could enjoy a special place in His Kingdom, where you will have all the significance and the joy and the peace. You won’t be jealous of anybody. All of that will be gone out of our nature. There will just be the total freedom to be everything that God made us to be.

But doesn’t He want us to begin to model that now in our lives, our relationships and our homes? Yes, I know they’re broken. I know you may have an unsaved husband. You may be single. You may not have a husband or a wife. But every one of us has a place in His Kingdom, and everyone matters. You matter to Him. He died for you.

And He can help us right where we’re at to be such models of Christ that people say, “I want what they have.” I don’t want to just come and sing the happy songs and do all those kinds of things and then not really live it out there. Does that make sense? Is that what the Lord wants? Praise God!

I’m so glad that we can look to Him, because I can’t do any of this. But that’s what salvation is about. It’s not about God giving us rules to live by and saying, “Hey, if you’ll just go this way instead of that way, everything will be right.” No, I need a brand-new engine.

That’s what God provides through salvation. He provided me a Savior. He comes in to live. We read the beginning there about waking up and being filled with His Spirit. You see how that’s the key to everything that follows? It’s His life on the inside.

But He wants that to find expression in the practical areas of our lives, and as He does, He’s going to create these little enclaves of divine presence and blessing. There’ll be people who come into our homes, and they’ll feel something. They’ll say, “What is different? It’s peaceable here. I just feel something good here.”

I want them to feel it when they come in here, but I want them to feel when they come in to our homes and say, “This is a place where God lives. I want what you have.”

Folks, as the darkness grows, the light is going to become more and more significant. God’s going to use it. Basically, it’s no more than us being the people God designed us for, and just living for Him within our sphere of life. And I’ll tell you, God will get the glory. Praise God! Let His Kingdom come. Let His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Praise the Lord!

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