Three Steps to Restore Ruined Relationships
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
DATE: 3 Feb, 2008 AM
PLACE: Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (Malachi 4:5,6)
A. Continuing our series on Bow the Knee. This month is on submitting our family to Christ!
B. There’s some big problems in the Home!
1. The home is self-destructing
a. Pressures from the outside
b. Pressures from the inside (sins)
c. Families, parents, husbands, wives, the children, the grandparents – all turning angry and against each other – until nothing remains
d. Sounds like the beginning of a modern action packed movie!
2. Husbands and wives are apart more than they are together – and glad to be!
3. Children spend as little time at home as possible – they are all day at crčche, or school, and friends, and sports – and when they are at home, they are in front of a TV or computer or video game
4. This doesn’t happen by accident – there is a concerted effort by our enemy to destroy everything that God loves – especially the home!
5. Ours is not the only generation that has had to deal with such heartaches and pain. Just think about Adam and Eve’s hearts when they heard about their son Able being murdered by their firstborn son, Cain!
6. But even before that, think about the family argument between Adam and Eve trying to blame each other and the devil for how they had sinned and wilfully disobeyed God!
C. Areas of Pain and Frustration – Oh the complex problems of sin and failure in our relationships:
1. One woman is dealing with her husband’s addiction to pornography.
2. Another is watching her husband’s obsession with computer games eat up all of their family time.
3. One man struggles to find SOME way to make his wife happy when all she wants to do is leave him!
4. Another woman takes life a day at a time as her husband goes from one consuming hobby to another. I just recently read of a 28 year old who got married two years ago, and he spends absolutely all of his free time in his garage playing with his Star Wars collection of figures and models!
5. Some women are dealing with the wretched pain of infidelity and wonder how they will ever trust anyone again.
6. Others are dealing with the drain of living with someone bound by an addiction.
7. Some men come home to find their wife and family have left them with no warning.
8. Many women deal with the constant anxiety of being married to a spouse who cannot keep a job.
9. Still others ride the roller coaster of living with a loved one who struggles with depression.
10. Some wives deal with the stress of having a materialistic, perfectionist for a spouse; they are in debt up to their eyeballs and would give anything for a simpler, free life.
11. Other wives are worn out from living with husbands who are messy pack rats and only dream about having a sense of order in the home.
12. All of these imbalances create a burden for the spouse, and anger is a natural by-product when these kinds of stresses occur.
D. Isn’t it a miracle that our homes still stand at all?
A. Everyone needs THREE Homes
1. A Heavenly home (John 14:1-3)
2. A Church home (Acts 11:26)
3. A Christian home (Joshua 24:15)
B. Everyone needs to be right with all three!
C. Jesus Christ makes it possible to have all three homes in order!
D. What makes a Home, “Christian?”
1. People don’t, Jesus does!
2. Resolutions don’t, Actions do! (1John 3:18)
3. Perfection doesn’t, Forgiveness does!
III. Preview - Three Steps to Restore Ruined Relationships
D. Each of those words will carry a lot of meaning when seen in the Prodigal Son’s life experience in Luke 15
A. Expose (Luke 15:11-17)
1. It means, to Open Up – to quit hiding something! And we are ALL good at it!
a. Now, when we think of exposing something, it is usually, attempting to expose something in someone ELSE’S life
b. We see everyone else’s spots and blemishes, the splinter in their eye
2. But God commands us to see OURSELVES for what we really are – to take a look in OUR eyes FIRST!
a. It usually takes quite a while before all our secrets, and all our skeletons come out of the closets – because we are jerks!
b. And it usually takes a disaster to bring us to our knees and allow us to be exposed for the frauds, fakers, and failures that we really are!
3. The Prodigal son here is going to represent absolutely all of us
a. He thought HE was fine, and that the problem was his Dad, and his way of life, and his rules, and his restrictions, and his limitations
b. So off he goes – to be stripped down, and exposed for what he really was
1) A miserable, lonely, cold, empty life
2) This was absolutely the best thing for him
4. So this is not just a prodigal Son, but a prodigal Father, a prodigal Husband, a prodigal Wife, a prodigal mother, a prodigal daughter!
B. Invest (Luke 18:18-24)
1. Do what is necessary to Hold Onto your home
2. This is a very unusual and hard concept for the home
a. We easily and hungrily invest in our physical needs – don’t neglect the emotional and especially the spiritual needs of yourself AND your family!
b. We tend to invest ourselves where it is easiest to get the quickest return
c. We need to “stock-up” supplies for the hard times – not always run on empty!
d. But our homes, and our relationships need some investments – some deposits
e. Not talking about just letting your kids run right over you so that you won’t lose them, or letting your husband abuse you so that you won’t lose him! No!
f. This involves doing some things that will pay back in a good way
3. The concept is that of a car, or a fire – both need fuel!
a. If you are not constantly filling them up, then they will run out and just stop working!
b. Same with relationships!
c. Start investing, refuelling the people in your life
1) Refuelling your spiritual relationship with your heavenly home
2) Refuelling your relationship with your Church home – can’t neglect that
3) Refuelling your relationship with the people in your earthly home!
4) Everybody around you needs fuel! Needs your investment in them instead of only your drain!
4. Make Emotional deposits
a. Humility first (Luke 15:18-21)
1) Those were the hardest and longest miles of his life
2) But let me tell you this, if you want your family to survive, GO ALL THE WAY HOME! Even if it means humiliation!
3) Listen to his words:
a) I have sinned – absolutely EVERYONE in this room can say this towards many people in their family
b) Sinned BOTH against heaven and against people – people only think of sinning against God, and they will be quick to say a quick prayer to ask GOD to forgive you, but NOT your parents, or your mate!
4) God already knows you have sinned – He waits for you to accept that fact, AND accept the consequences
5) Your family knows full well you have done wrong, and only waits for you to come home and admit your selfishness and sin
6) This young man finally grows up – becomes a real man!
a) Real men aren’t perfect – just real!
b) Real men don’t run away – they serve!
c) Real men don’t fight the ones that love them – they need them!
b. Hugs – what an important area of life (Luke 15:20)!
1) This father got hold of his son (“fell on his neck” means the Dad tackled him and held him tight), and didn’t let him go for a half hour probably!
2) This sin cursed world has made men only think of sex so they don’t know how to hug and hold hands, and tickle, and express love just by a smile and by a touch!
c. Humour – rejoicing (Luke 15:22-24; Prov 15:15)
1) When was the last time you just had fun with your family?
2) When was the last time you just got excited about being together?
3) Made each other laugh, and ticked each other, and played?
d. Honour – no condemnation (Luke 15:22-24)!
1) This son held nothing against his dad – didn’t blame him any more
2) This father didn’t hold anything against his son
3) Their HOME was more valuable than justice!
4) So now the father just blesses and honours his son!
5) Ladies… honour your husband when he humbles himself. Don’t you dare keep records!
6) Teens… honour your parents when they apologize! Don’t throw away a perfectly good home just because of some misunderstandings!
5. Make Spiritual deposits
a. The most important area to invest in
b. The atmosphere of your home – is it clean? Not spotless carpets, but clean talk, clean attitudes!
c. Make time to talk about the issues of life from God’s perspective
1) Sex education
2) Dating and courtship
3) Anger, frustrations, depression
5) These are all issues for Moms and Dads to talk about with their kids
d. Now, this father in Luke 15 HAD made spiritual deposits – and they now were maturing (Prov 22:6) – they were bearing fruit!
e. This son knew where to come home to!
f. Many a man wonders if he is even welcome back
g. Many a teen ends up saying so many things in anger, that they don’t think their home even wants them back!
h. Spiritual investments will show them way back home
6. Make Physical deposits
a. Hugs will go a long way to investing in your family physically… But hugs are not enough
b. Time with them, just staying with them, working along side them
c. Ladies… please make physical investments in your husband! They will pay off!
d. Men… make physical payments in your wife! You are a dominate force, but don’t force!
e. When the Bible says, husbands, love your wives, it is not an act! It is an approach – a way she sees you, as loving, and blessing her, and honouring her, and making her day (more about this concept next week)!
7. THEY WILL ALL PAY OFF BIG TIME!
C. Protect (Luke 15:25-32)
1. Watch out for the “other” brother here!
a. The “other” brother still had a bad attitude. And if left unchecked, would have caused problems to fester and surface all over again!
b. You had better protect against old wounds surfacing again and again!
2. So what does God require?
a. Build strict boundaries around your home
1) Walls against sin
2) AND walls against bad attitudes
3) This Dad didn’t change his rules! He knew what was right, and developed those rules to protect his home!
4) Thank God for some Moms and Dads who still have control of their homes, what goes on in them, and what is watched, and what is allowed!
b. Point your home, heavenward – never give up, or lose hope!
c. Protect your date nights
1) Make TIME for each person in your home – a web of interaction
2) Make special meals for each other at home (MEN, you try it)
3) Make a date, and keep it
d. Keep your promises – protect your trust
e. Stay humble – stay completely open before your family – this is not a once off act. This son HAD to keep his SERVANT heart, or it would begin to go hard again!
A. There’s some big problems in the Home! Almost without exception, homes, even Christian homes!
B. The problems in homes are more complex and frustrating than ever!
C. It is only symptomatic of and even bigger problem: that people are not right with their Church Home, and especially not right with their Heavenly home!
D. There are three important steps to Restoring Ruined Relationships: Expose; Invest; Protect
E. Each of those words carry a lot of meaning when seen in the Prodigal Son’s life experience in Luke 15
F. The key is to put ALL of our feet into his shoes, and learn from his daddy, AND learn from the dangers of his older brother!
G. Do you want to have a great Christian home, get right with heaven and get into a great Church home!