The Anatomy of a Happy Home Part 1
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
The Anatomy of a Happy Home
Acts 10:1-8, 19-25
Through today’s bible study we are going to see what the anatomy of a happy home is and that is important because the American home is in desperate need of repair. I believe statistics show that more than 50% of marriages end in divorce. That leads to single parent homes and homes with children from more than one family. And I recently heard that for the first time more American couples are living together than are married.
Many things have divided the home; divorce, working mothers, parents and children pursuing different interests, keeping up with the Jones’, families scattered across the country by their jobs, and the disgraceful way that families are depicted by the media. We are all concerned because we have children and grandchildren who must grow up and live with this depressing state of affairs.
The American home needs help; it needs God’s help. And I believe that the Bible is where we must go to find His help.
The passage that we are going to study gives us a wonderful model for a Christian home. The Bible has some basic principles that apply regardless of the size of a family. When these principles are established, there will be good results.
Our scriptures for today clearly illustrate the conditions that are required for a healthy, happy home. Let’s read our text, from the New King James Bible.
1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment,
2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.
3 About the ninth hour of the day, he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!”
4 And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.
5 Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter.
6 He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.”
7 And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually.
8 So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.
Cornelius was not the only person who had a vision. The apostle Peter, who was in another city, also had a vision from God, and we are told:
19 While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you.
20 Arise, therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”
21 Then Peter went down to the men who had been sent to him from Cornelius, and said, “Yes, I am he whom you seek. For what reason have you come?”
22 And they said, “Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.”
23 Then he invited them in and lodged them. On the next day, Peter went away with them, and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
24 And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends.
25 As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him.
There are three principles found in today’s scriptures which if followed will produce a happy home.
The first principle is: CORNELIUS WAS HEAD OF HIS HOME AND SET THE PATTERN FOR THE FAMILY.
As a gentile, Cornelius was an unlikely candidate to be a Christian, for up to this time we don’t have any record of anyone embracing the Christian faith except the Jewish people. But he is proof that God responds when someone genuinely desires salvation for his or her family. Cornelius is described as “a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.” (v.2) He was a religious man, even though he had received very little of the light of the Gospel; he was no idolater like most Gentiles were at this time. He believed in the one God, the creator of heaven and earth, and he had a dread of offending Him by sin. He practiced his faith before his family and he would not allow any idolaters under his roof. He saw to it that his family and servants served the Lord. He was a very charitable man, for we read that he gave gifts to the people; not asking what their religion was. We know that he was a praying man, for we read, He “prayed to God always.”
It is evident that this man was the head of the house, and that’s the way it should be in a Christian home. The man is the head and he is to love his wife and care for her. That’s God’s preference and you can see it in the scriptures. Noah, Joshua, and Joseph were three men who led their respective families and established homes that are good models.
Noah lived at a time when the world was so corrupt that God had to destroy it. The pressure on Noah to raise his family like those who lived around him must have been overwhelming, but he was faithful to God despite everything that was going on. Noah preached for 120 years and never saved a soul, and many would call him a failure, but he kept his family together and because of his testimony his family was saved, and he brought them through the flood so that God could begin again with the human race.
Then there was Joshua, who led Israel after the death of Moses. He was a strong military leader and a faithful servant of God. The nation became strong under his leadership and gained control of the Promised Land. When he was about to die, he stood before the nation of Israel and gave his farewell address. He said, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Josh 24:15) Joshua took a stand for God and his family stood with him because they believed in him; they believed because they saw the life he led.
Then there is the example of Joseph, who was raised in a dysfunctional home. His father created uproar and anxiety in the home, and because he showed favoritism toward Joseph, his brothers sold him into slavery, and later he spent years in prison for something he didn’t do; but he never stopped trusting God. At the end of his life, he was able to stand before his brothers and say, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good,…” (Ex 50:20) He forgave his brothers, and he saved his family and most of the world from starvation because he believed God no matter what his circumstances. The home of Joseph was so much different than the one he grew up in and his sons were a blessing to him and to their grandfather, Israel.
But what about today; we live in a different type of world than existed in the days of Noah, Joshua, and Joseph? There are so many instances today where the man has refused to accept the leadership role in the home, or they have left the family and women have had to take the lead. We have in God’s word several cases where women have had to take the lead. Let me give you just three examples:
1. Hannah lived in a divided home because her husband Elkanah had another wife; Peninnah. It is important to remember that even though polygamy can be found to be practiced by many in the Bible that it is not sanctioned by God. Actually, in almost every case it is apparent that there were problems in the home as the result of this arrangement. That is true here because Hannah was not able to have children, while Peninnah was; and she continually made that an issue. Elkanah loved Hannah and was very good to her, but she was unhappy and wanted a child. She prayed and made a vow to God that if God would give her a son, she would give him back to the Lord. The story is a beautiful one and shows her great faith and devotion to God. God gave her a son; he was Samuel, a prophet and the last judge of Israel, and the one who anointed the first two kings of Israel.