The First Institution

The First Institution
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[A Theological and Practical Guide for the Reformation of God's Institution of Marriage and Family]:

* Is marriage really between one man and one woman?

* By whose authority is the institution of marriage defined?

* Is the marriage relationship a union of two leaders in the home, or is it something else?

* How can parents effectively raise their children in this ever changing world?

These important questions form the very nucleus of study in The First Institution. Beginning with God's authoritative act of Creation and ending with the heavenly wedding of Christ and His church, this book examines God's eternal purpose and plan for the institution of marriage. This book sinks the reader deep into the core doctrines of Scripture concerning marriage and family in order to establish a firm foundation for daily living. This is not a formula-book. It makes no attempt to offer patchwork solutions to the problems that normally confront spouses and children. Instead, The First Institution is a theological and practical study which reasons from the Scriptures concerning God's calling for:

1. The husband/father as the guardian of his family.

2. The wife/mother as the helper to her husband and minister to her children.

3. Children in their need to obey and honor their parents in the Lord.

From Genesis to Revelation this book examines the most relevant passages of Scripture which address these often neglected subjects of family life.

We're in the Midst of a Raging Storm: Our culture is rapidly changing, and yet the principles of Scripture have not, nor can they ever change. God's immutable Word is therefore the believer's only firm foundation in the shifting sands of human philosophy and reason. Parents must therefore be on guard, for in this restless world of ours there are many things that can occupy a family's time and energy; things which may even advance a child's education and physical strength, however our modern culture is filled with so many programs and activities that parents often overextend themselves, while falling short of the foundational priorities of nurturing godliness in the home. But parents must guard the priority established by Scripture: To commend children to the Lord, rather than to the world. The challenges to this priority are many in this world filled with philosophies of career-worship, materialism, self-esteem, entertainment and the exaltation of countless other forms of man-centered living. Therefore, in order for the family of God to sail successfully through the storms of life, they must trail behind the Captain of our salvation: The Lord Jesus Christ.

Copyright Year: © 2004

The First Institution
~ Index ~

~ Prologue ~
One Universe Under God
War Of The Worldviews - 13
Mankind's Created Purpose - 15

This section begins with an analysis of God's purpose in creating marriage. Thus, The First Institution begins with a look at the "big picture" of things before delving into the details of marital roles and child training. Without this broader introduction, all detailed discussions regarding marriage would become mechanical and meaningless. So we must ask: why did God create the earthly institution of marriage, and what is He accomplishing through it?

~ Chapter 1 ~
The Glory of God's Creation
The First Man, Ministry and
Commandment - 26
The First Woman - 35
The First Institution - 42

Chapter one is all about beginnings: The beginning of creation, the beginning of mankind, and the beginning of the first institution of marriage. This is, in fact, the very meaning of the Bible's introductory book: the book of Genesis which means "beginning." Chapter one begins with this book of beginnings in order to examine the fundamental nature of humanity, along with the structure and purpose of marriage. Within this chapter we examine the specific nature and roles of each member of the marital union as modeled by the first man and woman.

~ Chapter 2 ~
The Shame of Adam's Sin
The First Deception and Transgression - 61
The First Condemnation - 77
The First Promise - 86
The First Child - 92

Chapter two of The First Institution enters into the dark realm of mankind's fall, found in Genesis chapter three. It is here that a different beginning is revealed - the beginning of sin, corruption, and condemnation. The beauty of God's creation was horribly mangled by Adam's transgression such that mankind, along with the institution of marriage itself, was changed in a very significant way. Thus, this chapter is also a chapter of firsts - the first deception and transgression, the first condemnation, the first promise, and the first child. While these topics are difficult to face, they are essential in order to comprehend mankind's true need in everything. Without this important chapter we are like a sick and dying patient, having no known diagnosis or cure.

~ Chapter 3 ~
Restoring The Genesis 2 Marriage
The Spirit-Filled Family - 105
The Spirit-Filled Husband - 117
The Spirit-Filled Wife - 147

The observations made within chapters one and two are needful, but do not address the solution to mankind's ultimate struggles. Marriages suffer today because of the root problem of indwelling sin, and the solution to this problem involves no quick fix. In order for a family to honor the lord within the institution of marriage and family, there is a more fundamental need for them to seek the Lord as individuals who will stand before Him alone on judgment day. Thus, this chapter addresses the centrality of the person and work of Jesus Christ in everything.

~ Chapter 4 ~
Reformed Parenting For The Glory of Christ
The Two Paths of Parenting - 192
The Heart of Parenting - 201

There are many books in circulation that address the subject of parenting by examining the question concerning how children should be taught in the home. Within this scheme of analysis, parenting is often reduced to a mechanism of training tips and ideas that easily give the impression that the focus of the family should begin, objectively, with the child. Such thinking is utterly unbiblical. This is where the earlier lessons gleaned from chapters one and two in The First Institution are shown to be utterly crucial. The problems and struggles of parenting do not begin with the children per se - instead, the Scriptures reveal a more primitive struggle that must be addressed: the heart and attitude of the parent.

~ Chapter 5 ~
Training Children For The Glory Of Christ
A Child's Obedience & Honor - 228
A Child's Discipleship - 237
The Profit of Teaching - 245
The Profit of Reproof - 255
The Profit of Correction - 268
The Profit of Training - 274

Armed and equipped with the principles laid out in chapters one through four, the reader is now immersed in the subject of child training. Ephesians 5:18-6:4 establishes the broad context for this discussion, with a special focus on Ephesians 6:1-4:

Ephesians 6:1-4: 1. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3. so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. 4. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

These texts establish an important template for the entire discussion of child training. From this base, we also explore a host of other passages from both the N.T. and the O.T. Central to this chapter is the concept of godly motivation in child training. Today, children are often drawn to a form of obedience through the motivations of materialism or self esteem; however, the Scriptures establish a very different basis of motivation, and this discussion is central to the whole of chapter five.

~ Appendix ~
The First Promise in Family Worship

Within the appendix, we examine the lives of godly saints from the O.T. Their human frailty should remind the reader that all parents need the provision of God's grace through faith in the Savior:

Hebrews 11:13-16: 13 All these [Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham & Sarah] died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God;
for He has prepared a city for them.

These examples of faith all welcomed the promises of God from a distance, being temporally removed from the first advent of Christ, and yet they worshipped God in the light of the revelation of His promise. We see in many of these Old Testament examples the preservation of the principle of family worship, as in the cases of Noah, Job, and Abraham. 

Trade Cloth:312 Pages, 48 Illustrations
ISBN: 978-1-935358-00-8
Retail: $27.00