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You can never

know the ecstasy. the deep spiritual satisfaction. the joys, the exciting adventure your marriage can be. unless it is centered in Christ. "Can two walk together. except they be agreed?"

Cbristcentered HOllle

The Christ-centered Home

HOME! Few other words in the English language produce such a flood of memories. This first of all earth's institutions is indeed God's creation, for He established it when He said, "It is not good that man should be alone. J will make a suitable helper for him." Ever since then, the home has only fulfilled its true purpose when it has been God-controlled. Leave Christ out of your home and it loses its meaning. But take Christ into your heart and the life of your family, and He will transform your home. The home is not just a hotel or a place where people pause for physical rest and food. It should be a center of spiritual power and influence-the nearest thing to heaven on earth.

Chapter One

\''hat~s a))pening H to the HOlDe?

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a mall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto bis wife: and they shall be one [lesb. Genesis 2:23-24 Therefore take heed treacherously against Lord ... batetb putting to your spirit, and let none deal tbe wife of bis youth. For the away. Malachi 2: 15-16 of beart [permitted} you to put it hath not

Moses for your hardness

away your wives; but from the beginning been so. Matthew 19:8, ASV

Copyright THE



WHEN I MENTION the home, I am sure that it stirs a thousand memories. I remember my own father and mother-their godliness. They took me to Sunday School and church every Sunday. The Bible was read every day in our home and my father led us to God in prayer. There were times as children when we rebelled against it, but now we look back and thank God for our Christian heritage. I know there are many of you who did not have such a home. You may have grown up in a godless home. Your father may have failed to be a spiritual leader and your mother may have been more concerned over many unimportant things. You may even remember that your home was a divided one, where religion was something to quarrel about. Someone has said that paradise was home for Adam and


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Eve, but that home certainly is no paradise for multitudes today. The problems in the home and the pressures of our secular age are about to destroy the home. Yet every young person hopefully plans for a home. That is because it is God's plan. The first institution ever established-before the church, before the school, before the government-was the home. I receive thousands of letters from people all over the world. Many of those letters tell of unhappy marriages and broken homes. They tell of delinquent children and unfaithful parents. Yet all of these people want to know how to solve their problems. They want to have happy homes and the security they bring to the whole family. If everything around them crumbles, they still hope for an ideal home. The foundation upon which any happy home is built is the trust and affection a man has for his wife and the high regard in which she holds her husband. They must remember always that they have been meant for each other. A beautiful modern house with the ultimate in decoration and furnishings cannot make a home. Only where there is love and confidence, where there is respect and honor, is the home to be found. You may remember the story of Abraham, who had sent his servant hundreds of miles away to get a wife for his son Isaac. The Bible tells how the beautiful Rebekah had been chosen by God for Isaac and how, through a series of circumstances, God's choice became known. The moment Isaac and Rebekah saw each other, they knew that God had chosen the one for the other. They loved each other, and they established a God-fearing home. It was to become a home through which God would work out the fulfillment of His promise. His eternal purposes were realized in their union ..How w~nderf_ul i~ is ro know that God has a choice, and that If you find HISwill, there will be a life partner for you who will help you realize God's best in your life and in your home. The word "romance," according to the dictionary, means excitement, adventure and something extremely real. Romance should last a lifetime. Some people say that when the honeymoon is over and they face the hard realities of married life, it isn't the same any more. They expect the romance to fade when the honeymoon is over, and it surely will fade if two people try to go it alone. Only if Christ is a

partner in the home and in the hearts of the two people will romance continue. My wife and I have been married many years. I would not hold ourselves up as the ideal example of what romance should be, but we are more in love today than we were that day we made our vows to love, honor and cherish each other until death should us part. And there are other thousands who have known happiness and a continuing romance in the home. But something frightening is taking place in the American home. Time was when America set the standard for the home. There was love in the home because God was in it. With the drift into a secular society, married people have come to rely upon the professional marriage counselor to solve their problems. As a profession, marriage counseling began as recently as in 1929. Since then it has grown by leaps and bounds until in the Los Angeles phone directory there are more than three entire columns of marriage counselors, plus two full pages of psychiatrists and psychologists, offering their services to couples whose marriages are about to collapse. The tragedy is that we have a divorce rate that compares with that of ancient Rome in the days of its decadence. Caesar was married four times and Pompey was married five times. Today we have three times as many divorces as England, France, Finland and Australia. We have six times more than Holland and Norway. We are forced to ask, "What is becoming of the American home?" It is about as Ernest Haverman wrote recently in Life magazine, "True love seems to run less smoothly in the United States than ever before." One would think that the vast amount of literature on the subject of love, sex and marriage would bring about some improvement, but the downward trend continues. The Harvard sociologist Pitirim A. Sorokin laments "the disintegration of the contractual family" (in The Crisis of Our Age). He says, "The disintegration shows itself in many forms; the tie binding husband and wife into one entity, normally for life, has weakened and is therefore sundered more and more frequently by divorce and separation. These have been rapidly increasing, especially in the last few decades." This is not the shouting of an extremist but the findings of a social scientist. Our divorce courts are almost as busy as our marriage






license bureaus. One sociologist is quoted as saying, "Although almost everybody is married, they aren't necessarily married to the same spouses they had last year or the year before that." What has happened to our marriages? Another sociologist says, "I sometimes think that what we have in America, though we would never dare call it that, is a nationwide system of trial marriage. You try being married to 'A' for a while; then when you get tired of 'it,' you get a divorce and marry '8.' " Some sociologists suggest that we have more polygamy in tbe United States than any nation bas had in the history of the world-more than in ancient Baghdad or Babylon. Several movie stars have had five or six husbands or wives. One playboy I read about has had eleven wives; and one woman, aged forty-four, has already been married fourteen times. Mr. Haverman continues, "Never has marriage been so popular, yet never has it more generally been conceded to be on its last legs." Is the home going in America? Is it on its last legs? Is the home being destroyed in America, and why? Oh, yes, there are economic problems; there is the change that has taken place in the status of the woman and the man in America; there is the emphasis on sex in America. All these things have made their contribution, but I believe there is something even deeper that I want us to see. The entire institution of marriage and the home is under greater stress and strain than ever before. In this complex age in which we live, we are finding it more and more difficult to keep our homes intact. A psychiatrist recently said, "Seventyfive per cent of all marriages in America are unhappy." Why? What is the root cause? Someone else has asked the question-what is a home? A roof to keep out the rain? Four walls to keep out the wind? Floors to keep out the cold? Yes, but home is more than that. It's the cry of the baby, the song of the mother, the strength of the father, the warmth of loving hearts, the light from happy eyes, kindness, loyalty and comradeship-that's what makes up a home. A home is the first school and church for young ones, where they learn what is right and what is good


and what is kind. Where they go for comfort when they are hurt or sick. Where joy is shared and sorrow is eased. Where fathers and mothers are respected and loved and where children are wanted-that's a home. Where the simplest food is good enough for kings because it is earned. Where money is not as important as love and kindness. And, as someone has said, "Where even the teakettle sings out for happiness." That is home. I once read a statement by a certain lady. She said, "Why do I need a home? I was born in a hospital, educated in a college, courted in an automobile, married in a church. I live out of a delicatessen-tin cans and paper bags. I spend my mornings on the golf course, my afternoons at the bridge table and my evenings at the movies. And when I die I will be cremated and buried in a brass urn. All I really need is a garage." There are a lot of people that feel just about like that. And this statement is thoroughly contemporary. To quote Dr. Sorokin again, "The family has sacrificed well-nigh all its other functions. It is less and less a religious agency, whereas in ancient times the head of the family was a priest (the pater [amilias). With the decline of religion, its place has been taken either by nothing or by the Sunday School and similar institutions .... The result is that the family home turns into a mere 'overnight parking place=-not even for every night, and not a/ways for the wbole of any night, " Every June some wonderful kids come to me and say. "We want to get married." They have stars in their eyes. They are excited and thrilled with the prospect of establishing a home. I have had some of these same young people come back to see me in August, in November, in December, and they are weeping and saying, "Our home is on the rocks already, and we have been married only a few months." What is wrong? What has happened to our homes? Some tell us that even of those homes that stay together, thousands are unhappy. Husbands and wives do not get along, and there is irritation and trouble in the home. In spite of the fact that there are literally thousands of marriage counselors. and although many men of God function as guides in problems of the home, I receive thousands of





letters in which disillusioned husbands and wives pour out their hearts to me and tell of unhappy homes and broken families. In fact, of all the spiritual problems concerning which people write to me, the largest single group are those who have some family or home problem. I believe that this is so because these people sense the fact that there is a spiritual problem underlying every family problem. And there is. I believe that God, performing the first marriage and founding the home, laid out in the Bible certain responsibilities for the various members of the home. He gave to us certain laws governing marriage and the home. I am going to consider them and the particular responsibilities of the wife, the husband, the parents, and the children, in that order, and tell you what the Bible has to say about their responsibilities in the home. God gave us laws and rules concerning the home. God implied that if you want to have a happy home, keep these laws. If you want to have an unhappy home, break these laws. We have broken the laws and failed to keep the rules. Then we wonder what is wrong with our homes. May it not be that our homes are crumbling because we have broken the rules and laws of God concerning marriage and the family? May it not be that we have failed to recognize the enemies of our homes? Let me mention some of these enemies. Satan is certainly the archenemy. His masterpiece in our times is the philosophy of Communism. Its godless, materialistic interpretation of life has had untold effects upon the moral life of the nation. So damaging has been that philosophy on life that the eminent psychologist-physician, Dr. Oswald Schwarz, says, "Nothing short of a spiritual revolution would be sufficient to rectify the sexual as well as the other effects of our way of living. A purely economic revolution would not do, as the experience of Russia proved in the early years of the Soviets. The new regime tried to combat prostitution as one of the evils typical of a capitalistic society, and succeeded beyond belief-but for a very unexpected reason: an important item in the program of the social reorganization was the abolition of the institution of marriage .... This resulted at once in a hitherto unheard-of lowering of sexual morality to the level of extreme promiscuity. Consequently professional prostitution

became unnecessary, because the whole of Russia turned-as Lenin himself described it-into a gigantic brothel" (The Psychology of Sex). Another of the enemies of the home is selfishness. Now selfishness is at the root of most of our sin. That is why Jesus said, "He that would save his life will lose it, and he that loses his life will save it." Too many husbands and wives enter into marriage with the idea that the other member of the party exists for one purpose only-to make them happy. In America today, we have been sold a bill of goods. We have been convinced that everything exists to make us happy. We carry that thought into marriage. A bride expects her bridegroom to make her happy, but seldom does she plan to devote her life to making him happy. Just so, he marries thinking that she will make him happy. This is the ultimate of selfishness, and to build a home and family upon such a selfish conception is to build on sand. Unfaithfulness, too, is an enemy of the home. Mr. Kinsey believes, as a result of his exhaustive study, that "about half of all married males" have been guilty of unfaithfulness. Many others admitted that they would have been unfaithful but for fear of social disapproval (Sexual Behavior in the American Male). This tragic knowledge has served to aggravate the situation rather than to solve the problem. We've taken it lightly. We say everybody else is doing it. A book recently came out in which the heroine of the book says, "Adultery is no sin; it's amusement." The person who wrote that book and made that statement will have an awful price to pay at the day of judgment. You who read that kind of trash and filth which stimulate the lowest passions will have to pay a price. Reacting to Mr. Kinsey's findings, M.C. Mcintosh, president of Barnard College, said, "I believe that their wide distribution has added greatly to the confusion in the moral climate of our time" (Analysis of the Kinsey Report). How many homes are broken because of men and women who are unfaithful! You men that travel and go on business trips=I see you in hotels; I know something about the way some of you act. You women that stay at home; and some of you fellows that work at the office and some of you women




that work at the office-how unfaithful you are in the flippancy and the flirtations. What sin. there eve~y day in the business world of America at this pOl~t. God will not hold you guiltless! There is a day of reckoning. Be sure your sins will find you out! It will find you out in your ow.n family life here in your relationships with your mate, and. It will find you out in the life to come. Repent of your. s~s today. Ask God to forgive you and chang~ your way of hVI~g and give you power to resist the temptations of the hour ill which we live. The advocates of free love and the interpreters of Freud have left their mark on society. We are a nation that trembles with fear at the threat of universal destruction, but we refuse to turn from our great national sins. Dr. Sorokin points out that "the destructive sexual borers have infiltrated into the living body of our culture and institutions, have covered it with ugly rashes and sores, and are eating at the very vitals of our nation." He sounds so much like the prophet Isaiah, who said, "Why will ye be still stricken, that ye revolt more and more? The whole head is sick and the whole heart is faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head, there is no soundness in it; but wounds and bruises and fresh stripes: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with oil" (see Isaiah 1:5-6). The Bible reveals how God safeguards the marriage relationship by imposing the strictest penalties on adultery and fornication. Today the emphasis in America is so much on sex that men and women are facing a breakup of their homes because of unfaithfulness. In the Old Testament, God demanded the death penalty for this sin. The commandment is still there that says-"Thou shalt not commit adultery." Any. man t~at. is unfaithful to his wife in thought, word or deed IScomrrurnng one of the most grievous sins. This is the sin that will harden your heart toward God more than any other sin; t~e Bibl~ says that they that are guilty of this sin shall have their part. In the lake of fire and brimstone. I didn't say it-the Bible said It. But we seem to be drifting into the secular society at a rapid pace. Dr. Roland Bainton of Yale has said that "the

more recent years have been marked by a departure from Christian attitudes, a secularization of marriage" (What Christianity Says About Sex, Love and Marriage). Dr. Piper of Princeton adds that "the present tendency is to explain human nature on the basis of man's physical side." Do you think this can continue and not have its effects on the home? Parents who live together to satisfy only their physical urges can never "train up a child in the way he should go." Dr. Sorokin sees clearly the growing problem and warns us that "if more and more individuals are brought up in this sex-saturated atmosphere, without ... moral and religious norms of behavior, they will become rudderless boats conttolled only by the winds of their own environment" (A merican Sex Revolution). Once either member of the marriage relationship has been unfaithful, there has come into the home a bone of contention that is never likely to be removed. The grounds for trust and confidence have been taken away. Only when such an unfaithful partner comes to Christ, in true repenta?ce and faith, for salvation can such a blot be removed. Nothing but the blood of Christ can cleanse from all sin. And from earliest times, alcohol has been one of the major enemies of the home. Given a place of prominence in advertising, served in the most fashionable restaurants, and a mixer for most social occasions, alcohol is producing more than sixty thousand alcoholics annually. According to the Yale School of Alcohol Studies, 5,500,000 persons are heavy drinkers who cannot quit if they want to. In addition, there are 3,000,000 excessive drinkers, most of whom will die as such. And in the case of every such person, sooner or later it is the home that suffers. Alcohol is definitely one of the major enemies of the American home. It not only robs the home of the father, or even the mother should she become a drinker, but it deprives the children of the essentials of life. Never do alcoholism and Christianity mix. Jealousy is yet another enemy of the home. It is the failure of one or the other to trust his partner. For many people, it is far easier to understand and sympathize when the other person fails than when he succeeds. Jealousy provokes suspicion and




finally that green-eyed monster will wreck a home and throw the children upon the mercy of a society that already has too many problems. All of these things are enemies that are destroying your home. For some, your home is already destroyed as far as its happiness is concerned, as far as that wonderful thing a home ought to be is concerned-heaven on earth. Your home has become a hell on earth. A lady once wrote me and said, HI want to tell you my home is hell. If hell is any worse than my home, it must be an awful place." The disintegration of the American home is of great concern to all. The sociologist has made his study and has found out that some cancer is eating away at the vitals of the home. He thinks he knows what the problem is, but has not found a solution. Just so, the marriage counselor has taken advantage of an existing condition and has made his fortune on the misfortunes of frustrated couples. Even writers of columns to the lovelorn have suggestions and recommendations, but the problems continue.

Chapter Two

Meant for Each Other

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct tby paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

I WANT us to turn now from the sociologists, the marriage counselors, and the writers of the columns for the lovelorn. Let's go to the Bible. Let's see what the Bible has to say about marriage in particular, and see if there are not some rules and regulations and principles laid down in the Bible that could help you in your home and help us, as Americans, to preserve this institution that is the basic unit of our society. The records of history point out the fact that when the home breaks, the nation is on the skids, is on the way down. Gardner Murphy, writing on the topic of "Family Dynamics," has said, "A family is a barometer indicating not only what is going on in the world now, but what will be going on tomorrow and the day after tomorrow" (Pastoral Psychology, September, 1960). It is certainly the objective of satanic powers to destroy the home, because if the home is destroyed, the nation is destroyed just as well as if an atomic bomb had been dropped on it. Many of you today are contributing to the destruction of America by your attitude in the home, just as much as if you took a gun and put it at America's head. Many of youbecause of your own lusts and desires, because you are not willing to work to make your marriage work-are helping to destroy this nation. You are betraying the heritage we have as Americans. First, I want you to understand that marriage is a divine institution. Society never made marriage; it was founded by God. God made marriage. He performed the first marriage in the garden of Eden. In Genesis, chapter two, the record says, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him







a help meet for him." This is the first description of the home. This dependence on each other that God's first two created ones knew, was to be the cement that would unite together those who would make the home. Then the Bible tells us that when Adam first looked upon his beloved, he cried with great satisfaction, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh." A more intimate relationship can never be conceived of in this world. When Jesus started His public ministry, His first miracle was performed at the marriage of Cana of Galilee. Jesus, His mother and His disciples had been invited. His presence there has forever been a benediction to every marriage and has sanctified the home as a God-ordained institution. This very personal relationship is emphasized when the Bible says, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." The contrast is shocking when we observe the promiscuity and unfaithfulness of our times. If we can find the cause of our growing problem anywhere, we will find it in a shallow conception of marriage and the home. No nation in history has had the power to survive when it has held a low conception of this relationship. Logically then, marriage is a lifelong relationship. It is not right that a husband or wife should be changed for another according to the wishes of either. In the marriage vows it is always read. "What God has joined together, let no man separate." But our culture no longer frowns upon the exchange of a mate. When you get married, you are saying "yes," for a lifetime, from the Biblical point of view. This is not a temporary thing. There is no place in the Bible for a trial marriage. no place in the Bible for a temporary experiment, no place in the Bible for a marriage based on lust and sex. The Bible indicates that marriage is for a lifetime. It is permanent. God made it that way. He meant it to be that way. That is the reason your courtship is so important. Some get married out of a feeling of insecurity, some because of inferiorities, some out of loneliness, some out of a desire for escape from the realities of life, some out of sexual passion. some out of spite, some to gain social prestige. I heard

about one boy that flipped a coin, saying, "Shall I get married, or not?" It came down heads, and he said. "Yes. I'll get married." No wonder his marriage broke up six weeks later! Some people misinterpret sex appeal as love. Sex is involved in love, but sex by itself is not love. It is easy for people who are strongly attracted to each other sexually to assume that they are meant for each other. and that this attraction is love. Marriage is selfless. True love is never selfish. and love will die if it is not fed by thoughtfulness, courtesy. kindness and work. If you use the other person for the gratification of your own desires and the fulfillment of your own demands, that is not love. The secret satisfaction in love is giving. We love another person for his or her own sake. You are committed to the enrichment and fulfillment of the other person's life. Happiness comes through giving, not gerting. How many people enter marriage because they want something, not because of what they can give to the other person! Put it this way-if you are not marrying in order to give, and give, and give, and give again, then it is not true love. The most important reason why there is such a persistent problem in marriage and the home is that the human race has inherited a sinful tendency. This tendency to sin manifests itself in many ways, one of which is to disrupt and disturb God's true purpose for marriage. I would not say that no non-Christian can experience happiness in marriage. I have known many happily married couples who were completely secular. Neither would I guarantee that with becoming a Christian, the whole problem of marriage and the home is automatically solved. But I do say that complete fulfillment in marriage can never be realized outside of the life in Christ. It is written in the Scripture that Christ came into the world to destroy the works of the devil. Christ's power over the devil is available to the Christian, and the destroyer of the ideal home can only be routed through the power of Christ. Real marriage, which is the foundation of the home, means the commitment of husband and wife to each other. Nothing short of this commitment could make it possible for a wife to be in submission to her husband in all things, as the Scriptures direct. Nor could anything short of this commitment make it






possible for a man to love his wife as Christ loved the church. As a matter of fact, it is within the home and the intimate relationship that exists there that the deepest spiritual truths are experienced and illustrated. The world can see as in a vivid drama the relationship of Christ and His church when it views the life of a Christian family. That is why, to begin with, the Bible cautions every person who intends to marry, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers" (2 Corinthians 6:14). There is a good reason for this stern command. Marriage is the only permanent and abiding relationship in this life. A person may join almost any organization and resign with the full approval of God, but the marriage bond must not be broken. One time some Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by asking him a very technical question. They wanted to know if there was any reason why a man should put away his wife. They knew that divorce had been permitted by Moses. But Jesus answered, "From the beginning it was not so." God intended that a separation should never come. I would advise every couple planning to establish a home to first come to a complete agreement on their religious faith. There is so much that a couple should share in their worship together that much of the life of each one would be a secret to the other unless they were agreed. And does not the Bible say, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" The problems of the home are great enough by themselves. To be in disagreement in the matter of faith would cause every other problem to be magnified. A woman has tremendous influence on a man. You young women who are thinking about getting married, remember this-physical attraction is part of it, mental affiniry is part of it, spiritual oneness is most of it. There can be physical attraction, but physical attraction can wear off in a very short time. There should be mental affinity. Many wives have not kept up with their husbands intellectually. Now they have nothing in common. There must above all be spiritual oneness. Husband and wife must be one in Christ. I would beg of you young people-under no circumstances marry a person outside of

Christ. If you do, you are headed for trouble. Dr. Piper has well said, "Marriages are truly made in heaven; this principle holds good without exception. That persons concerned sometimes make a hell out of their marriage is no disproof. They only show that they are not willing to use God's gifts in the way that God himself intended." I believe that the Scripture indicates that God has the right person for everyone, if He wants you to get married. Now some people He doesn't want to get married. They have the ability to stay unmarried and serve Christ as unmarried people. If God ~as called you to that sacrifice, there will be a special reward 10 heaven for you. There are others for whom it would be far better to wait-until God's choice comes along. Are you praying about it and saying, "Oh, God, bring the man across my path that is Thy choice"?-"Oh, God, bring the girl across my path that is Thy choice"? I remember that two or three times I thought I was in love. They called it puppy love, but it was real to the puppy! I remember that one day I decided that I was going to wait on God. I didn't know that, way out in China, God was preparing a lovely young woman just for me. She was the right one in temperament and in her experience. She had to leave her home when she was thirteen to go to school in Korea. She said she never dreamed that God was preparing her for a. lifetime of good-byes. God specially prepared Ruth to be my wife for this particular ministry that He called me to. God has someone chosen just for you. Wait on God. Get God's man, God's; and there will be Little danger of a breakup of your marriage. How can a Christian girl be in subjection to a non-Christian in everything? You say, "I'm getting ready to be married to a man who doesn't go to church. He doesn't trust in God very much, but I know that once we are married I can get him to go to church." No, you can't. Instead, he will keep you from church. It usually works out that way. You won't be able to get him to do better. The most tragic letters that come to me are from young brides who had expected their young husbands to improve after marriage. The most certain evidence that God has not chosen that young man or young woman for you is his lack of commitment to Christ.



Chapter Three

And the Woman.lI.

A worthy woman who can find? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband trustetb in her, and he shall have no lack of gain. She doeth him good and not evil all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:10-12,


I WOULD LIKE to speak to the partners in the marriage relationship as individuals. The first person in the home I want to talk of is the wife. Scripture cautions the woman to build her house. "Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down" (Proverbs 14:1). That is because the home means so much more to a woman. It is her career. It is a career even for those wo~en who must have employment outside the home. If you are In earnest about building your home, then give attention to the Word of God and obey His every command. The Bible says in Colossians 3: 18, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord." Wives, submit to your husbands, because it is pleasing to the Lord. It conveys the idea of unselfish service and unswerving loyalty to your husband. The Bible teaches that the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. The Bible uses the wonderful analogy of Christ and the church to describe what the relationship is between husband and wife (Ephesians 5 :22-24). .~ husband and wife are equal in mind, conscience, position, pnvilege, freedom and happiness. The Bible says, "The twain shall be one flesh." There is equality before God. There is a balance of power in the home between the husband and the wife. But when it comes to the governmental arrangement of the family, there is not equality. The husband is the head of the home! The Bible teaches that the wife is to fit into the world of her husband. In Genesis 3: 16, "Unto the woman he said, I will 16

greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." That has never been revoked. All the way through the Old Testament, all the way through the New Testament, we are told that the wife is to submit to the husband. Ephesians 5 :22-24, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing." Ephesians 5: 3 3, " ... and the wife see that she reverence her husband." 1 Peter 3: I, "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands ... " Colossians 3:18, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands ... " . There are six .things: submit to; be subject to; be in subjection t~; be obe~lent to; reverence; and love. The Bible says to you wives that if you are not doing these, the Word of God is blasphemed and your prayers will not be answered (Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3 :7). I know it is not quite as simple as that because there are many factors involved. It depends upon whether the ~usband is a C~ristian and living the type of life he ought to live. But the Bible teaches that you have a definite responsibility to your husband. I have some suggestions that are not in the Bible that I want to give to you wives. When your husband comes home in the evening, even though you have been working all day, I would suggest that you run to meet him at the door with a kiss. Maybe you haven't done so for a long time, and it may shock him. Some women yell from the kitchen, "Is that you, John? Well,. shut the door." Instead, why don't you put on your prettiest dress, run to the door and meet him and tell him you are glad he is home? You may be a great deal more tired than he is, but it's wonderful for a man to come home and see his wife all fixed up and coming to kiss him at the door. Keep his love at any cost. Cultivate the modesty and delicacy of youth. Be attractive. (It is no wonder that some






husbands do not want to come home at night!) I know that the Bible commands a husband to love his wife even as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. But many a wife has made her husband's obedience to the will of God a difficult thing by her careless and slovenly appearance and ways. A wrinkled dress, uncombed hair and a cluttered and dirty house will do much to kill romance. You may not be a beauty queen, but there is a spiritual beauty that Christ can give you that will shine through the plainness of your face and make the most ordinary woman beautiful. Another suggestion-read! The Korean war had been going on a whole year when a lady came up to me in Seattle and said, "Mr. Graham, you talked about Korea tonight. Where is Korea and what's going on there?" That's a fact! You would be surprised! You women need to read and keep up with your husbands. If you don't, it is no wonder that he comes downstairs in the morning, sits and reads the newspaper at the breakfast table, grunts a little bit and then goes on out to work. He has nothing to talk to you about. Your interests are totally different from his. He might be interested in the dryest hobby on earth. It could even be golf! But what you ought to do is to learn a little something about it so you can carry on an intelligent conversation. Don't gossip. All some children have for Sunday dinner is roast preacher! If you are going to gossip, don't gossip in front of your children; if you do, they will be reared to be gossipers. One day at the table in her home, a little girl looked up at the visiting preacher and said, "All right, Pastor, eat like a hog." He said, "But I don't eat like a hog." She said, "Well, Mama says you do." If you gossip in front of your children, they are going to grow up to be gossipers. I am serious about that. I have been to many homes where parents have talked about their neighbors and about their minister and about their church during the whole meal. Then they wondered why they lost their . children for God and why their children lost interest in the church. The parents had robbed them of all faith in the church. You might not like your minister, but don't let your children know it. You might not like certain things about the

church, but don't let your children know it. You will drive them away from the church. Don't nag and complain. Don't forget that when you do, you are murmuring against the Lord and what He has given you. The Bible tells us all to be content with such things as we have, and you will have to let that apply to your life partner. It is found in the Scriptures, "A foolish woman is clamorous." When Solomon wanted to hand on advice to young men he wrote, "It is better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and fretful woman." I think he had enough experience to know. The wise man also said, "It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop than with a contentious woman in a wide house." And, "A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike." You can have a home that is blessed of God. You can have a home to which all the family will eagerly tum. Or, with a nagging spirit and a complaining tongue, you can make it a hell on earth. If your home is important, remember one more Scripture, which says, "Through wisdom is a house builded , and by understanding it is established" (Proverbs 24:3). To be a wife and a mother in the age in which we are living is a tremendous task, and you cannot do it without Christ. I don't know what a woman does without Christ. I do not know how you do your work. I do not know how you handle your responsibilities without the help of Christ. Give your life to Christ, to be the kind of wife and mother you ought to be. Your husband deserves a Christian wife, a dedicated wife. Your children deserve to have a Christian mother. When I look back and think of my own mother, the thing I remember most is her Christianity. I remember her faith in God. Some of these days your children are going to be grown; they are going to be gone, and they are going to have memories. Are they going to have memories of a praying mother? Are they going to have memories of a godly mother? Are they going to have memories of a churchgoing mother? Are they going to have memories of a good mother, a clean mother, a wholesome mother? Be a Christlike mother. Let them see Jesus in you. At the close of a recent Crusade, a woman wrote to me to tell of the change that had taken place in her life. She said,




"For years [ had blamed my husband and children for their failure to cooperate. We didn't have a happy home. I don't mean that either my husband or I had been unfaithful, but home was a place of strife and bitterness. More than once I wondered why I had ever married. . "Then came the Crusade, and with it Christ came into my life. For the first time I didn't think that my husband or children were to blame. I saw myself, a selfish person who thought a husband and family were there to make me happy. But I found such happiness that moment I received Christ-it seemed that I had enough for the whole family. Believe me, Christ changed me, and He changed our whole way of life. At last I realize what a wonderful family I have, and for the first time they seem to love me. The trouble was just with me." It takes a woman to make a house a home. She can make it a haven from the pressure of the outside world, or she can make it a center of tension and strife. I have known many women who were able to make a wonderful home for their children in spite of the fact that the father was a drunkard or unfaithful. Some have done so even when their husbands were dead. But although a woman can make a house a home, this fact never releases the husband from his responsibility as the head of the home. Because of Christianity, woman has been raised to a position of respect and honor. She has been made free as no women of non-Christian countries have known freedom. There are still countries in the world where women are regarded as chattels. A woman is counted as a part of a man's wealth because she makes a contribution to his possessions. But she is oppressed and mistreated. Only as a result of the proclamation of the Gospel has woman been elevated to her present place in society and in the home.

Chapter Four

HusbandslJ Lo"eYourWwes
Ye husbands, in like manner, dwell with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor unto the woman, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being also joint-heirs of the grace of life... that your prayers be not hindered. 1 Peter 3:7, ASV

WOMAN, especially in America, has been given a freedom unprecedented in world history. In non-Christian lands she is still oppressed and considered to be little more than a man's chattel. But whether a woman is free or oppressed, God's order for the home and family remains unchanged. God has appointed you husbands to be the head of the home. When a man fails to accept his responsibility, he no longer behaves as a Christian. When a woman opposes that order, she rebels against the will of God. The Bible says, "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body" (Ephesians 5 :23). Joshua one time said, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." The Bible teaches that man is God's deputy in the home. To be a husband, to be the head of the home, is a tremendous and fearful responsibility. The Bible teaches that the husband is to be the provider and the protector in the home. The Bible says that if you don't support your family, you are worse than an infidel Many men neglect the home for the club, the lodge, the theater. And too much time is taken up with the making of money to be a husband and a father. God holds you responsible. The Bible says you are to honor your wife; you are to love your wife. How long has it been since you took some 21








flowers to your wife when it wasn't Mother's Day or Easter or Christmas or her birthday? When have you just brought flowers home and said, "Honey, I love you"? I can almost see your face turn red. You know, it's those little things that mean so much to a woman. Not tbe big things. A man said to me, "I bought my wife a Cadillac. I told her she could have anything she wanted. What more does a woman want?" She wants those little thoughtful things. Call her up on the phone once a day. If you are away, write a letter to her. How long has it been since you called your wife from the office? You ought to call her every day-maybe twice a day-and just say, "Honey, I love you. Anything I can do to help you?" You don't know whitt that would do for your marriage. Show your love. Help her stay young. Help her bear the burden. If she is a housewife, she too has a difficult job. Don't be a tightwad. Give your wife a little money and no questions asked. You ought to give your wife some money every week that is hers to spend the way she wants to. But some husbands are so tight they ask questions about every penny. That doesn't mean that a wife has the right to squander your money. She has no right to be a spendthrift, but she is your partner, not your slave. And if you give Christian leadership in your home, only a foolish woman would take advantage of your generosity and thoughtfulness. Be courteous. You remember when you were sweethearts how courteous you were? You used to go around the car and open the door and say, "Darling, won't you step out?" Now you don't. You remember before you were married how you used to take off your coat and put it down in the mud puddle and tell her to walk over it! Now when she comes to a mud puddle you say, "Jump, Lady. I think you can make it." Be thoughtful. Be sympathetic. Remember that your wife's whole life is in her marriage, and it means more to her than it does to you. You have your business; you have other interests. But your wife's one great interest is her home. Remember that. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it... So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies .... Nevertheless let every one of you

in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband" (Ephesians 5 :25,28,33). You know what would be a good plan? Review your marriage vows every year. Some of you don't really remember what you promised-you were so frightened. It was not only a vow to your wife, and a vow to your husband, and a vow before the minister-it was a vow before God. It was a contract and a sacred vow before Almighty God. Your marriage is sacred in the sight of God. Any man or woman who is unfaithful to that vow couldn't commit a worse sin, the Bible says. God is going to judge it, and hell will be filled with men and women who were unfaithful. If you have been unfaithful, you can be forgiven if you turn to Christ in repentance. Your sins can be cleansed by the blood of Christ. God holds you husbands and fathers responsible for the spiritual life in your home. I want to ask you this: Do you have daily prayer in your home? Is there Bible reading in your home? Is grace said at the table at every meal? If not, God will hold the man responsible. You are God's appointed deputy in the home. You are the minister in the home. You are God's representative in the home, and if you are not obeying God in having Bible reading and prayer, which we call the family altar, it is your fault, and God some day will hold you responsible. How many dear, sweet women have to carry the responsibility for the spiritual life in the home! The husband may go to church on Sunday morning. He may even be a deacon, a steward, an elder, a vestryman; but in his own home he is not God's man. Read the requirements for a church office as outlined in the Bible. You will find that one of the important requirements is that he be God's representative in the homethat he rule his own household well. It will be hard to say, "Honey, I think we ought to have prayer in the home." You haven't had it in so many years. You have let it slip and neglected it. But do it! See what a difference it will make. It will make you and your children walk on air. Just take out the Bible, read a Psalm, get down on your knees and pray a simple prayer. What a change it will make! What a difference in your life! There is not a problem that you face in your home that cannot be solved by a family altar. I




don't know what kind of problem you are facing or what kind of difficulty you have. But dedicate your home to Christ; let Him be the head of your home. Take your children to Sunday School. Oh, don't send them. God have mercy upon a parent that sends his children to Sunday School. Take them! Set the example. Lead the way. In the early days there were no churches, no Sunday Schools, no public preaching. The only religion was in the home. Today, with all these opportunities for public worship, the father is still responsible for home training.

Chapter Five

Train Up a Child

My S011, keep the commandment of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: bind them continually upon thy heart; tie them about thy neck. Proverbs
6:20-21, ASV

IF GOD tells a son to give such attention to the instruction he gets from his parents, you parents have a great responsibility. Your training and teaching must lead your children in the way of God and of righteousness. You must teach not only by your words but by your example. You must set an example for your children to follow. The story is told of a man who was going to work one morning. It had been snowing and the walks hadn't been shoveled. By the time he had reached the corner, he suddenly noticed that his little four-year-old boy had been following him, trying to step in his tracks. "What are you trying to do?" the daddy asked. "Just trying to step where you step, Daddy," came the answer. And our educators know that more is taught by example and practice than through any other means. The great evangelist Gypsy Smith used to tell the people that there were actually five Gospels. Then he would name them: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and you. The preacher and the Sunday School teacher will read four of them, but the world only reads the last one. You are the only Gospel some people read. Your family will begin to read the Gospel according to YOU long before they know the alphabet. Your example is important. Paul once wrote to Timothy, "Be thou an example to them that believe, in word, in manner of life, in love, in faith, in purity." This holds for you as a father and head of the home. I want to set an example in my home. I want my family to see Christ in me. If you will not live a godly life, if you will not be a God-fearing man for your own sake, then be a God25







fearing man for your children's sake. Let them see a godly father. Let them see a godly mother. I've talked to el!0ugh juvenile court judges in this country and enough juvenile authorities to know that the great problem we are facing is not juvenile delinquency-it is parental delinquency. That brings me to the subject of the children. The Bible teaches that children in the home are to obey their parents. The devil's philosophy is-let them do as they please. If your little boy feels like reaching into a bucket of red paint and splattering the wall, let him do it! If you don't, you may warp his little personality. My mother had never read a book on psychology. If I had splattered the wall with paint, she would have warped me-but in a different place! The Bible teaches that children ought to obey. Parents are not to give unreasonable demands or orders. They are not to provoke their children to anger. But the children are to obey them. If your mother and father tell you to be in at 11 o'clock or 12 o'clock at night, you be there. If you aren't, you are disobeying God as well as your parents. "And, ye fathers ... bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying." But it is well known that obedience doesn't come naturally. It must be taught and learned. It was even said of the Savior that He learned obedience through suffering. That doesn't mean that Christ ever disobeyed, but that He learned the full meaning and joy of obedience in experience. Children must be taught obedience just as much as they need to be taught to read and write. Children are rebellious by nature. It is never natural for them to comply with the wishes of the parent. But a child who has been taught obedience at home is a long way on the road to obedience to God. Parents do wrong by failing to exercise wise and loving authority over their children. Children are born with an innate instability and with a desire to be directed and guided. If they

discover that their parents are weak instead of strong, and incapable of leading them properly, their personalities are affected. They will then seek and find unwholesome and improper leadership in hoodlum gangs, terror clubs and sadistic rings. When Jesus entered the world, it was the will of the Father that He should grow to maturity in a home and know the love and discipline of earthly parents. In this way, God forever placed His approval upon the home as a divine institution. The juvenile mind yearns for the hand and voice of authority, and the parent is the only God-ordained superior for the growing youngster. God never intended that youngsters should be disciplined by the courts, but by the parents. To illustrate his point, a psychologist recently told this story. A group of children were playing together. When time came for dinner, a whistle blew for one of them. She complained to her friends but hurried home. Moments later came a call from the second parent, and that child muttered a few words but went home also. For the third, there came no call. As she was about to leave, the little girl who had no cail, and who didn't expect one, complained bitterly, "I guess nobody cares much for me." Children not only need authority and discipline, they really want it. Someone has said that everything in our modern homes is controlled by a switch except the children. If we had more switches in the home we wouldn't: need so many clubs in the community. The Bible says, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of the child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." Of course we are not advocating brutality. All discipline must be meted out in the spirit of love. The Bible says, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Parents do wrong when they fail to set a good example before their children. Long before the phrase "juvenile delinquency" had entered our vocabulary, Plato wrote in his Republic, "You know also that the beginning is the most important part of any work, especially in the case of the young and tender thing; for that is






the time at which the character is being formed and the desired impression is more easily taken." We need a little discipline today. We have let the children run the home. Grady Wilson's mother told me one time that she kept a razor strap in the kitchen and had a little motto over it-"I Need Thee Every Hour." A lady came to me and said, "Mr. Graham, don't you think all my little boy needs is a little pat on the back?" I said, "Lady, if it's low enough and hard enough, it will be all right." We need discipline in the home. I don't mean that a spanking is the only method. I have five children and we discipline them in five different ways because they have five different temperaments-five different personalities. One you just speak to in discipline; for another, words don't do any good. He needs to be spanked just a little, or to be deprived of something. The Scripture says, "Chasten thy son while there is hope and let not thy soul spare for his crying." "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die." (He may sound as if he were dying, but he won't. The Bible says he won't die.) "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame." "Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest: yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul." The Bible says we are to rear our children in the fear and nurture of the Lord; if they are reared in that way, when they are old they will not depart from it. We have the promise of God. Some of you have children who have departed from God and you are worried about them; you are concerned about them. I would suggest several things. First, I would suggest a prayer of confession. Perhaps you failed in the home in the way you brought them up. Second, I would suggest prayer for them. Third, I would suggest that you live as an example before them. Let them see Christ in you. God says that if they have been reared in the nurture of the Lord, if they have been reared to love and respect God and have seen God in your life, and you took them to church and

Sunday School as children, then some day they are going to come back to Him-God promises that. Oh, I know that sometimes we would like them to grow into spiritual maturity overnight, and we get impatient with our children. But the Bible says, line upon line, precep.r upon precept, we should train our children. When your child comes to you and says, "Daddy, I'd like to talk to 'you a little bit," you sometimes say, "No, Son, not now. I'm too busy." Do you know that there's a possibility your child will never again open up to you on that subject? Don't you ever be too busy! When your child comes to you and wants to talk about anything, stop what you are doing and listen then, because he may not come to you again with that problem. It may be closed up in his heart. Set an example. Let your family see God in your life. I want to ask you parents, and you children as well, are you fulfilling your place in the home? You wives, have you taken seriously your responsibility as a wife and a mother? You husbands, have you assumed your responsibility as a husband, as a father, as God's representative in the home? You children, are you obeying your parents as in the Lord? If you are not, give your life to Christ. There is not a husband that can be a proper husband, or a wife that can be a proper wife, without Christ. There is not a parent that can be a proper parent without Christ. You need Christ in your life. You know that you have failed in the home. You have sinned against God. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. Christ died for our sins on the Cross. We can come and bring ourselves to Him. Let Christ come into your hearts and He will change and transform your lives and make you new creations. You want your son to be just like you. You want your daughter to be like you. Are you living the kind of life that they can look up to and say, "There's my daddy. I'm proud of him in many ways, but I am mostly proud because he is a man of God."-"There's my mother. I want to be like her." Can they look up to you as Christians because you have given your lives to Christ? Yau may have a successful marriage outside of Christ, but



you will never know the ecstasy, the deep spiritual satisfaction, the joys, the adventure of your marriage unless it is centered in Christ- Receive Christ into your life and see what He does for your marriage. For some of you, your love has gone dead. You have been married for a number of years and your love is dead. You are just existing. If it were not for the family and the social problems involved, you would get a divorce. Give your life to Christ and let Him rekindle your love. He will put a warmth in your heart that you never knew even on your honeymoon. When you receive Christ, He can resensitize your hearts and draw you together in a way that God intended when He performed the first marriage. He should be the head of every home. With Christ as the true head and the center of your home, you will make a great discovery. His strength will make up for your weakness. His love will control you in your every thought and action. Yield them to Him. It is sin that has made a wreck of your home and ruined your marriage. That is why the sin problem must be settled first. The prophet Isaiah calls to you today and says, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." The evils that have beset the home today are so deeply rooted in the sinfulness of human nature that only the power of God can bring an end to the problem. Dr. Piper has said, "Outside Christianity, human society has been unable to overcome these undesirable developments. Believing love alone is empowered to do so." Repent today of the sins of lust and passion, selfishness and pride. Let Christ take your life and make it over. Let Him be a partner in your marriage and home. He will begin by making you a new person and end by making everything new.