The First Outpost: The Home (Domestic Governance)
Prayer: Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank You, that by Your grace you have instituted holy matrimony, in which You keep us from unchastity, and other offenses: We beseech You to send Your blessing upon every husband and wife, that they may not provoke each other to anger and strife, but live peaceably together in love and godliness, receive Your gracious help in all temptations, and raise their children in accordance with your will. Grant that we all might walk before You in purity and holiness, put our trust in You, and lead such lives on earth, that in the world to come we may have everlasting life, through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever. Amen.
Review The First Article of the Creed and its Meaning, refer to chapter 16 in the Catechism Explanation.
The Household Estate, or the Family is the first relationship with other people that God created.
Why did God establish the Household estate?
Genesis 1:26-31, notice the emphasis on the complete image of God in parallel with the fact that he made humans as male and female for each other. As God is the Creator and Ruler of Heaven and Earth, what abilities and responsibilities did He give to humans that reflect His image?
Genesis 2:4-25 gives us more detail on the specific creation of humans, notice the emphasis in verses 18, 20, 22-23.
How is Genesis 1:28 similar to Matthew 28:18-28?
From these passages describe the purposes God had for marriage.
How did God establish the Household estate?
In the same passages just read above consider the following:
What specific abilities and responsibilities of love did he give to Adam and Eve?
What does this say about God's design for the number of people involved in a single marriage?
What does it say about God's design regarding the genders of the spouses?
Divorce is very common today, especially when one or both of the spouses think that marriage is only good as long as their husband or wife makes him happy. Is divorce pleasing to God? Does divorce show God's love?
Read The Table of Duties
Why are Husbands paired with Wives, Parents with Children, and Employees with Employers?
How are Employees and Employers part of the Household Estate?
What are the responsibilities of the Household estate?
The Household Estate embraces the sanctity of marriage, the way love, forgiveness and redemption is shown through responsibilities of the husband to his wife (Ephesians 5:25ff) and children (Ephesians 6:4) through the wife to her husband (Ephesians 5:22) and children (Ephesians 6:4). It embraces living in love and respect as children of sinful parents (Ephesians 6:1-3). Within each household love is exercised by teaching of God's Word and external moral discipline, confessing our sins against each other, forgiving each other and encouraging each other in Christ's love to care not only for one another but those that our households and families affect. The household is governed by the Word of God through husband to wife, through parents to their children and to any employees or servants that are attached to the family.
How does the Christian husband show Christ's love to his wife?
How does the Christian father show Christ's love to his children?
How does the Christian wife show Christ's love to her husband?
How does the Christian mother show Christ's love to her children?
How do Christian children show Christ's love to their parents?
Consider the Admonition to Parents and Sponsors from our Rite of Baptism:
Dear Christian friends! Through the washing of regeneration_____ has become a child of God and joint-heir of everlasting life with Jesus Christ. As witness to this Sacrament, you are to assist him/her with Christian love and faithful prayers. Remind him/her of the heavenly grace of his/her Baptism. Give spiritual counsel and aid, so that he/she is brought up in the true knowledge and worship of God. Teach him/her the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer. Place in his/her hands the Holy Scriptures, and insure that he/she is brought to the services of God's house, that he/she is provided future instruction in the Christian faith, to the end that he/she may come to the Sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood, and thus, abiding in baptismal grace and in communion with the Church, he/she may lead a godly life to the praise and honor of Jesus Christ. Is it your honest and sincere intent to do this?
Yes, with the help of God.
God enable you to do this faithful and loving work. By His grace may He fulfill what we are unable to do.
From the Bible passages above we see that Scripture teaches:
1) That we should love one another to guard the chastity of others and the sanctity of the lifelong matrimonial union between one man and one woman.
2) The responsibilities of the father include loving his wife and children in Christ to ensure their nurturing and admonishing to salvation with the Word of God, by being willing to give his life for his wife rather than have her fall into sin, in showing this love by providing for the welfare of his wife and children, and by educating his children so they are given competent and beneficial members God's Church and of society.
3) The responsibilities of the mother include loving her children to ensure that they are nurtured and admonished with the Word of God, loving her husband in Christ as the priest and shepherd of her family, serving and submitting to her husband out of reverence for Christ, obedience to her husband as to Christ, and educating her children so they become competent and beneficial members God's Church and of society.
4) The responsibilities of the children are to show the love Christ has for them through obedience to their parents as to Christ, to make every effort to become wise by the Word of God, and making every effort to become competent and beneficial members of society through the teaching of their parents.
5) The housefather and housemother may call upon others in the case of educating their children, both in the Word of God, and in becoming competent and beneficial members of society. Such a call does not mean that the houseparents, and the housefather in particular, abdicate their authority and responsibilities toward their children. They retain their authority and responsibilities before God.
Read The Large Catechism,
Fourth Commandment paragraphs 103-116
How is honoring Father and Mother greater love than all the other works a person could invent for himself or herself?
Issues of Home and Church will be covered in Study 6.
Issues of Home and State will be covered in Study 7.
Prayer: Lord God, heavenly Father, in mercy You have established the Christian home among us: We beseech You so to rule and direct our hearts, that we may be good examples to children and those subject to us, and not offend them by word or deed, but faithfully teach them to love Your Church and hear Your blessed Word. Give them Your Spirit and grace, that this seed may bring forth good fruit, so that our homelife may advance Your glory, honor and praise, our own improvement and welfare, and give offense to no one; through the same, Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever. Amen.