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Protecting the Family
by Tom Brown

            The foundation of society is the family. Before there were businesses or governments there was marriage, and couples having children. God established the family before he established commerce and governmental laws.

2. The Mountain of the Family

            In the book of Genesis is told the story of the first man and woman. It's common knowledge that the human race started with a man and a woman. The Bible says that God made a woman from the rib of Adam and brought her to him, "The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man.' For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (Gen 2:23-24). Since families come before business or government, neither business nor government has power over it.  This conflict of governmental laws and marriage is nothing new. One of the most important debates Jesus had with leaders had to do with the tension between law and marriage. "Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?'" (Matt 19:3). Notice, they were not asking if it is morally right to divorce their wives for any and every reason. They were asking if it is "lawful" to do this. They were dealing with law, not with simple morality.

            The way Jesus answers it is by reminding them and us that marriage does not have its foundation or origin in law, but with God alone. He reminds them of the first marriage that God, alone, without judges, performed:

"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'  and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." (Matt 19:4-6)

            So Jesus takes marriage laws and removes them from marriage and reminds us that "laws" or what is "lawful" is not the real issue. The issue is what is "right", not what is lawful. In most countries people are free to divorce their spouses for reasons other than "marital unfaithfulness." Even though they are lawfully divorced this does not make them "morally" divorced. They still have vows they made before God, and no government can release people from the vows they made before God.

            The Pharisees understood the ramification of Jesus teaching. He was turning laws upside down. He was basically discarding them in favor of divine law. So naturally the Pharisees wanted to debate Jesus on this by appealing to Moses, and in essence, saying that Moses was close to God and God gave laws to him, including laws about divorce: "'Why then,' they asked, 'did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?' Jesus replied, 'Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning' (Matt 19:7-8).

            Jesus concedes the point that Moses indeed gave laws for divorce. But that his laws were not "commands" from God, but "permission" by Moses. You see, Moses was both the spiritual leader of Israel as well as the governmental leader of Israel. The people put pressure on Moses as the governmental leader. They forced his hand on changing the original plan of God. They made him give them the rights to divorce. Jesus made that point clear: "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard."

            Jesus however counters Moses permission to divorce with God's original plan: "But it was not this way from the beginning." In summary: Government cannot redefine marriage and its covenantal meaning. It can only cave in to pressure from society. This is what is happening with government and marriage. Today, the more hard-hearted people become, the more they will force legislators to give them what they want concerning marriage and divorce. Not only has society begged for "no fault" and easy divorce, but now they want government to change the definition of marriage. Some segments in society--namely gay activists, Hollywood, liberal theologians--do not even understand the basic fundamental definition of marriage to be the joining of one man and one woman together. They now are clamoring to make marriage between a man and a man or a woman and a woman. They want same-sex marriages.

            How would Jesus answer this? The same way He answered about easy divorce: "But it was not this way from the beginning." As Christians we have an obligation to teach the truth. We must continue to preach what Jesus taught. He taught that marriage is a covenant between a man and woman, and in a covenant you stay together unless one breaks the covenant. And Jesus says that "marital unfaithfulness" or another way to put it, sexual immorality, is the breaking of the unique covenantal bonds between a husband and wife. "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery" (Matt 19:9).

            Also in Jesus teaching, He does not allow any marriage between people of the same sex. Anything outside of a man and a woman does not constitute marriage. Now government can make laws allowing two men to get married, but they are not married in God's sight. God has nothing to do with that relationship, because it is outside of what He founded in the beginning. God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. So there is no point in trying to change the fundamental definition of marriage.

            I understand the gay-right's activists. They are quite clever and politically savvy. We Christians however must confront this mountain against the family. If we do not, then same-sex marriage will become accepted, children will be forced to be adopted by gay couples, and eventually it will be considered a hate-crime to speak against such unions, even though the Bible teaches against homosexuality. The government will then force churches to allow gay-couples to get married in their church building with threat of losing their tax except status. Then they will make the clergy marry gay couples. Make no mistake about it; government is like a beast; without them being tamed, they will try to devour the people of God. This is why we must take a strong stand against same-sex unions.

            You may feel that the gay activists are winning. The mountain seems to grow larger day by day. It is because the Church, by and  large, have not confronted this mountain. Many pastors, priests and bishops do not want to seem unloving by speaking out against this mountain. So the mountain grows. Pastors then become even more afraid as society becomes acceptant of gay marriage. Pastors don't want to lose their congregation, so they refuse to fight the good fight of faith by trying to move the mountain.

            As leaders we are called by God to speak the truth. Yes, we must do it in love, but we MUST DO IT. If you are a pastor, priest, bishop or rabbi, and you do not speak against same-sex unions, then let me tell you what you are: you are a coward! You are afraid of what people might say about you instead of what God thinks of you. We must have fear of God, and Him alone. Tell the truth about marriage. Speak it in love. But speak against the mountain of easy divorce and of same-sex unions. Stand up for the family. Now, more than ever, is the time.

3. Mountain of Business

            "Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil" (Gen 4:2). Business was set up. Abel exchanged the products of his flocks--milk, cheese and clothing--for Cain's fruit and vegetables. Thus was born the beginning of business.

            Work is a blessing. It is not a curse. The curse was fruitless and frustrating work. "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field" (Gen 3:17-18). Some people misread the curse as being "work." But work is not a curse, it is a blessing. God gave Adam a job. He told him to work in the Garden. "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it" (Gen 2:15).

            So work is a blessing given by God. In fact it could be argued that work came before marriage. Adam worked first, then God caused him to fall into a deep sleep, and then God took the rib and made a woman. This teaches us that work provides the means to make a family. A family without a job is frustrated. They can't live together in happiness and peace when they have no means to take care of themselves.

            Business's main role is provide us with economic opportunity. It is wrong for us to demand government to do this. You cannot tell government to take care your needs. Unfortunately politicians are too afraid to tell you the truth, so politicians act like CEOs and promise jobs. Then they become frustrated because they can't produce the jobs. However, businesses create jobs, not government. 

            In the beginning there were only two businesses: Abelton and Cainonton. They were privately owned. Abel owned his company and Cain owned his. It was simple at the time. But even then, Cain killed Abel. But since there was no government, God banished Cain into the desert. Later, however, as more and more people populated the earth, more and more businesses were created. The growth created the need for government. Government came together as a result of business and people needing law and order. So Government's calling is to keep law and order. Government is not the producers of wealth. It is their job to insure that businesses are allowed to produce products and make money from it without others stealing from them.

            So it is the Churches duty to tell the truth about the rewards of hard work. The Church must encourage hard work. It must tell those that refuse to work that they are sinning.  "For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: 'If a man will not work, he shall not eat.' We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat" (2 Thess 3:10-11).

            On the other hand, we must also remind businesses that with their wealth they must give back to God. Cain and Abel were doing fine until Cain refuse to give back to God what he owed to Him. Businesses, as well as owners of businesses, must tithe to God. They owe their prosperity to God; thus they must give to God the best from their businesses. Businesses have failed when they make money but do not give back to God.

            The Church must tell the truth to businesses that they must pay their employees what is fair. They must not rob people of their hard work. They must not take advantage of employees.

"Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty" (James 5:1-4).

            Businesses must also not use their power to destroy other businesses. They must not use unfair business practices to hurt other businesses. Competition must be fair.  Those with more money should not be allowed to use their vast wealth to crush smaller businesses. Crushing smaller businesses is not competition; it is war. But sometimes big-businesses wants government to treat them more favorably than smaller businesses. They use their wealth to buy politicians, so politicians create an unfavorable environment for smaller businesses. Government, in the pockets of big-businesses, create expensive rules for businesses that smaller businesses cannot afford to follow; so smaller businesses are driven out of business, so big-business is the only one left standing. This is wrong.

            Business also has an obligation to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves. There are those that are too weak, either in body or mind, to take care of themselves. Businesses must give to them. They can do it by giving jobs to those that are too weak to make money for business, but they do it for conscience sake. I believe that business should hire those that are handicap. Yes, it costs businesses to do this, but it is the right thing to do. It is called "alms giving." They should give to the poor that are too weak or old to work.

            So charity is biblical. And charity begins with those that make money. And those that make money should be helping the helpless. Businesses can give directly to the needy or they can partner with Churches to do this. Since the Church is not a business it alone cannot help the needy. That is the job of business. The Church however can partner with businesses to help the needy. And this is good.

            In the next teaching we are going to show the positive role of government and how God set it up to be a big blessing to us. It is not a necessary evil; government is a blessing and gift from God.  

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