GOD’S PORTRAIT OF A KINGDOM FAMILYTable of ContentsKingdom Family Series . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4God’s Portrait of a Kingdom Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5A Christian Family Begins With a Commitment to God. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6The Christian Family is Developed Within the Proper Atmosphere . . . . . . . . . . . . 8The Christian Family is in the Community of Believers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12The Christian Family is Powerful in its Impact on Society . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14TonyEvans.org2

GOD’S PORTRAIT OF A KINGDOM FAMILYKingdom Family SeriesThe Kingdom Family Ebook series is uniquely designed to reveal timeless biblical principles that can greatlyimpact your life.When questions are available, we encourage you to print out the EBook and answer them within each sectionthus giving you a greater benefit of engagement with the material.This series closely follows the recorded teaching of Dr. Tony Evans on The Christian Family. Dr. Evans’ seriesof messages on The Christian Family is available on both CD and DVD. To request yours, contact The UrbanAlternative at1-800-800-3222 or visit us online at TonyEvans.org.TonyEvans.org3

GOD’S PORTRAIT OF A KINGDOM FAMILYIntroductionI have a beautiful bronze statue on my desk thatrepresents the family. It’s a statue of a family of eagles.The mother is on a mountain, with her babies tuckedsafely under her wings, while the father hovers abovewith his wings outstretched to protect and preservehis loved ones.Second, God told Abraham that he would have todiscipline his children, commanding them in theway of the Lord. There is a direct link between theunruliness of this generation and the absence ofspiritual leaders in the home. Unless this trend isreversed, there’s bad news for the family.That statue represents the design for the Christianfamily. Sadly, we are living at a time when the familyis constantly under attack, and the only way we aregoing to be able to protect our families from theenemy’s onslaught is seeking help from our God andfrom His Book.Finally, Abraham was to offer his children a sense ofdignity by teaching them righteousness and justice. Inever want my children to forget that they’re recipientsof God’s grace.Our children need to understand that they are to beservants to others, especially to those who are hurtingand to those who have never had the privilege of livingwith a mother and a father. Before we can expect thisof them, however we as a family must actively showgrace to others. So not only must we to protect ourfamilies from the influence of the world, but we mustalso equip them to help change the world. Helpingthe families to function God’s way is what this ebookis all about.In Genesis 18:19, God spoke to Abraham about theessential steps in guarding his family: “For I havechosen him, in order that he may command hischildren and his household after him to keep the wayof the LORD by doing righteousness and justice; inorder that the LORD may bring upon Abraham whatHe has spoken about him.”Abraham learned there are three things that arenecessary to protect the family:Before you begin this study, it would be good foryou to stop and pray, thanking God for His awesomeFirst, Abraham had to give his family a sense of Word and asking Him to make clear to you what yourdestiny. This world is full of distractions but very little role should be in the Christian family.purpose. We must be able to see beyond ourselves tofuture generations and instill in our children kinds ofgoals that would honor God.TonyEvans.org4

GOD’S PORTRAIT OF A KINGDOM FAMILYGod’s Portrait of a KingdomFamilyAccording to statistics, at least half of this country’sfamilies will eventually fall apart. Culturally, overhalf of all marriages end in divorce. And over half ofthe children in our nation are growing up withoutknowing what it’s like to have a father in the home.includes becoming surrogate parents to kids who arefinding academics difficult because of the burdensand problems in their homes.The police department has to act as the ultimatedisciplinarian for a generation of undisciplined youngThe issue of the family is people, especially teenagers, because of the absence ofcritical because everything discipline at home.else depends on it. Churchesare made up of families, and There is no way around this issue, and there is nobroken families contribute topic more relevant to church today than the issue oftobrokenchurches. the family.Unfortunately,brokenchurches then leave a brokenHow blessed is everyone who fearsimpact on our society.the LORD, who walks in His ways.When you shall eat of fruit of hands,Sociologists tell us that theyou will happy and it will be wellbreakdown of the family iswith you. Your wife shall be likethe most critical issue facingfruitful vine, within your house, yourour nation today, and thatchildren like olive plants around thethe devastating headlines and news reports that wetable. Behold, for thus shall the manare seeing every day in our newspapers and on ourbe blessed who fears the LORD. Thetelevision screens can ultimately be traced back toLORD blesses you from Zion andbroken homes.you may prosperity of Jerusalem allthe days of your life. Indeed, mayTeachers in schools are finding out that they haveyou see your children’s children.to do more than teach. Their job description nowPeace be upon Israel! (Psalm 128:1-6)TonyEvans.org5

GOD’S PORTRAIT OF A KINGDOM FAMILYThe Christian Family Beginswith a Commitment to GodWe’re not at the ideal. There are broken hearts, brokenlives, people who have made mistakes, and people whohave done wrong things. Yet the ideal must be whatwe aim for. It must be what we’re pointed toward. Itmust be what we’re looking at.commitment to God. In verse 3, he begins talkingabout family. But before he starts talking about thefamily unit, he talks about the people who make upthe family unit. Why? Because in order to have asatisfied and productive family, you must first havesatisfied and productive people living there. Or inSo let’s begin looking at the ideal, God’s painting and order to have a miserable family, you must first haveGod’s portrait—God’s picture of the family as He miserable people living there.intended it to be.When a person says, “My home is miserable,” hePsalm 128 lays it out very plainly. This must be our doesn’t mean the bricks are miserable or that thegrass is miserable or that the utensils are miserable.goal. This must be where we aim.He means that there are some miserable people livingthere. To try to have a satisfied home when you have“How blessed is everyone who fearsunsatisfied people is an impossibility.the LORD, who walks in His ways.When you shall eat of the fruit ofyour hands, you will be happy andit will be well with you will be happyand it will be well with you. You wifeshall be like a fruitful vine, withinyour home, your children, like oliveplants around your table. Behold,for thus shall the man be blessedwho fears the LORD.” (Psalm 128:1-4)Scan the code above to watch the digitaldevotional. Recommended scanners:NeoReader or QR ScannerThe first thing the psalmist says in verses 1 and 2is that the Christian family begins with a personalTonyEvans.org6

GOD’S PORTRAIT OF A KINGDOM FAMILYSo the starting place for fixing the family is fixingpeople. And God says for that to happen, the membersof the household must have their lives centered aroundGod. If they are not centered around God, then theunsatisfaction of their lives will rub off on the othermembers living in the family.Blessedness, or happiness, is not derived from what wehave, the places we go, or the money we make. Rather,it comes because a person is in the gravitational pullof God. It comes when you fear God and take Himseriously. Three things will happen because of this:God takes care of your fortune, He takes care of yourfeelings, and He takes care of your home.When God says, “How blessed is everyone who fearsthe LORD,” He is saying to, “take God seriously.” Tofear means “to be in awe of or to reverence.” If youdon’t fear God, your lack of fear will show up in yourfamily.Engage & RespondRead: Psalm 144:15; Proverbs 3:13-14; 28:20.Write: What do these verses say about God’sGod is like the sun, and you are like one of the blessings? Based on what you read, who receives Hisplanets. You can only have your orbit straight if you blessings?stay within the gravitational pull. Pluto circles the sunbetween 2 billion and 4 billion miles away. The sunkeeps it in its gravitational pull, or else it would beflung into outer space. It would leave our solar system.We have watched families leave the solar system, getflung off into space, and What is your personal commitment to the Lord?be utterly destroyed Have you moved away from that gravitational pull? Ifbecause the sun was no so, what will it take for you to move Him back to thelonger the controlling center of your home?factor. God was nolonger the center. Ifwe are not men andwomen of God, if wedon’t raise our childrento be children of God,then we shouldn’t beBlessedness, or happiness, is notsurprised if we are flungderived from what we have, theinto outer space, so toplaces we go, or the money wespeak, or if our lives spinmake. Rather, it comes because aout of control.person fears God and honors Himas Lord.TonyEvans.org7

GOD’S PORTRAIT OF A KINGDOM FAMILYThe Christian Family isDeveloped Within theProper AtmosphereBecause the husband is responsible for setting theatmosphere of the family, he is the first focus inPsalm128. Notice the words “your wife” in verse 3.When the husband is centered around God, fearsGod, and walks in the ways of God, those who fallunderneath his realm of influence will follow him.Vines not only cling, but they also climb. When aman is the right kind of man, his wife wants to clingto him, and it is in that security that she then grows.She develops strengths,abilities, and skills.She becomes a betterwoman than she was“Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine, your house, before. If a wife is notyour children like olive plants around your table” growing, either there(Psalm 128:3).is nothing to cling toor the husband has notThe image in this verse is of a grapevine, and a created an environmentgrapevine always clings. The atmosphere in a home for her growth.is that a woman should be able to wrap her branchesaround her husband. A wife who hangs onto her A grapevine also clustershusband and totally wraps around him is doing what and provides grapes forGod wants. God has created wives to live as clinging, wine. If a husband letssecure and fruitful vines.his wife cling and climb, she’ll cluster and satisfy himwith her love. That love will naturally overflow, andThe atmosphere in a home is thatthe husband will be fulfilled.a woman should be able to wrapher branches around her husbandMen should not expect a summer wife if they bringtotally because God created wiveshome winter weather. How does a man createto be clinging vines.the right atmosphere? By getting in alignmentunderneath God. That’s a husband’s most importantTonyEvans.org8

GOD’S PORTRAIT OF A KINGDOM FAMILYjob. Having offered marital counseling for over 35years, the problem that repeatedly comes up whencouples are experiencing marital discord usually boilsdown to one thing: one or both parties are out ofalignment. So few men understand what it meansto be in alignment underneath God yet most willfiercely require the woman married to them to be inalignment underneath them.If a man is expecting a woman to be answerable tohim, she should see that same principle being modeledby him being answerable to his Headship, JesusChrist, as well. What many men do is get out of theirlane in respect to the headship of Christ, but expectthe woman living with them to be in her lane withrespect to his headship over her. Yet, when everyonestarts getting out of their lanes, there is bound to be acollision. When headship is not aligned properly, theTo be aligned underneath God is to consistently make flow of God’s presence, power and authority in Hisyour decisions, whether personal or professional, representatives is compromised or lost.in line with God’s revealed Word. This meansintentionally going to the Scripture and oftentimes When Paul writes to the church that “Christ is theas well to a person acquainted with the Scripture on a head of every man,” (1 Corinthians 11:3) we knowspecific matter that you are dealing with.that He is talking about Christian men in particular.Every Christian man, therefore, has a head in thesame way that Jesus, the son of God, had Someoneover Him who covered, provided for, guided Him andto Whom He was accountable. No Christian man isautonomous. Every Christian man, whether single ormarried, is answerable to Jesus Christ. When a manlearns to submit his maleness to the Lordship of JesusChrist, he is living out the basic principles of kingdommanhood thus providing the optimal atmosphere fora kingdom family to thrive.“Your children [shall be] like olive plants around yourtable” (Psalm 128:3).A family runs well when a man recognizes that heNobody should raise your kids butmust be in alignment underneath God before his wifeyou. Anybody else is a bonus. Theycan properly align herself underneath him. To holdare not the essence.a woman accountable to something that the manhimself is not willing to do is a double standard, and An olive plant takes 15 years to mature. The plantis one of the major reasons I have witnessed as causing must be nurtured before it can become a tree andthe breakdown of the family.produce good oil. But once a tree matures, it canTonyEvans.org9

GOD’S PORTRAIT OF A KINGDOM FAMILYproduce oil for numbers of years. We need to nurtureour children around the table. If parents are neverwith their children, then you can’t expect the childrento mature properly.Scan the code above to watch the digitaldevotional. Recommended scanners:NeoReader or QR ScannerOur problem today is not merely a lost generation,but it is the product of a lost generation. We havefathers who never saw their own fathers be a kingdomhusband or a kingdom dad. Or we have mothers whonever saw the same of their fathers or mothers. So wehave children raising themselves. Because of this, ourtables have no olive plants around them.They sit empty.The way God designed a family to be led, particularlyby a father, is around the table. A Jewish father raisedhis family around the table. The table was not just aplace for eating. It was a place for nurturing. Food wassimply the context for discipleship and relationshipbuilding. When a Jewish father sat around the table,he wasn’t just filling his stomach. He was conveningthere to lead. It was there that he poured value andsignificance into the lives of his children by listeningto them and being with them consistently.A Jewish family didn’t sit at the table just to eat. Rather,that was a place for a man to spend substantive timeeach and every day teaching, listening, knowing andleading his family. It is not that there weren’t othertimes for these things to be done but they were alwaysin addition to the family table. This is because fruitfulvines and olive plants need consistent nurturing inorder to produce or to grow. Yet so many of our tablessit empty today. Men’s schedules are full. Women’sschedules are full. Children’s schedules are full.In failing to prioritize the consistency of the familytable – or daily family time wherever you may chooseto spend it, we have failed to lead our families well.As a result, we have a generation of young people whoset their consciences to the culture rather than to thatwhich was given to them at the table.When I go to the airport, I pass through amagnetometer which is designed to register metal.Sometimes when I walk through and forget to takemy keys out, the magnetometer will beep. Yet othertimes, in the same exact situation, it doesn’t. This isbecause a magnetometer has to be set. Some are setvery sensitive and others are not. When a child’s mindhas been set by a culture lacking the values of thekingdom of God, his or her conscience no longer goesoff in light of poor choices they are about to make.The filters no longer work because the father failed toset it according to the kingdom.Engage & RespondRead: 1 Corinthians 11WRite: Husband, are you creating an atmosphereof growth? What specific things have you done thisTonyEvans.org10

GOD’S PORTRAIT OF A KINGDOM FAMILYweek to serve your wife?How much time do you spend with your children?How often do you eat meals together? Pray together?Wife, in respect to time, energy, and passion, howmuch of yourself do you put into your home? Whatactivities could you begin to include that wouldprovide a more intentional engagement with yourhome and the people in your home?TonyEvans.org11

GOD’S PORTRAIT OF A KINGDOM FAMILYThe Christian Family is in theCommunity of BelieversLet’s go back to Psalm 128 and continue with the rest centered around God, and that gathers with God’sof that chapter.people to be affirmed and reaffirmed in the thingsof God, will stay together. In other words, men and“The LORD bless you from Zion, and may you see women, if we are serious about having a long-termthe prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. family, then we have to be equally serious aboutIndeed, may you see your children’s children. Peace be leading our family in worship. My father workedupon Israel!” (Psalm 128:5-6).harder than any man I’ve ever seen.The Christian family is maintained in the communityof believers.He was a longshoreman who lifted heavy boxes dayin and day out. My dad worked so hard that hewould be dead-tired when he came home because heZion was the city of God. It was Jerusalem. It was had to carry stuff on his back all day long. But everythe place where a father would lead his family to the Wednesday night and every Sunday morning, evenworship of God. The author of Hebrews picked this if he had to work all night Saturday, he’d take us toup in Hebrews 12:22: “But you have come to Mount church.Zion and to the city of the living God.”“But, Dad, I’m tired.” I would say. To which he wouldThe reason we see so many brokenreply, “No, son, I’m the one who’s tired. But we arefamilies is that they’re not involvedin a maintenance program. Thatmaintenance program is the peopleof God.What is Mount Zion for us today? It’s not the cityof Jerusalem. It’s the church of the living God. Youremember that old saying, “The family that praystogether, stays together.” It’s true. The family that isScan the code above to watch the digitaldevotional. Recommended scanners:NeoReader or QR ScannerTonyEvans.org12

GOD’S PORTRAIT OF A KINGDOM FAMILYgoing to church, because as for me and my house, wewill serve the Lord.”The church is supposed to be a little bit of heaven along way from home. It is to be the place where thevalues of eternity are made manifest in history. Theplace where the victories in heaven bear fruit on earth.The church does not exist solely for programs,projects, preaching and buildings, but rather it existsas the primary vehicle for preparing believers to By intentionally connecting with a healthy, functioningdisplay God’s glory, impacting the culture, restoring kingdom-minded church – families are nurtured andlives, and advancing the kingdom.fed both through receiving the Word of God andthrough discovering avenues for its application.The primary purpose ofthe church, in view of EngageRespondthe distinctions of thekingdom, is to represent read: Read Psalm 128:5 again.&the socio-ethical andsocio-political aspects Write: What did the psalmist say would comeof God’s rule. It is to from Zion?be a model for theworld operating in theworld while offering analternative to the world.In doing so, it sets itselfapart as a haven, much What is your commitment to your church community?like an embassy.An embassy is a sovereign territory on foreign soilwhere the rules and laws of the representative nationapply. Embassies never belong to the countries thatthey are in. They belong to the country where theyare from. If you were to visit another country as anAmerican citizen and you went to the AmericanEmbassy, you would find that all American laws andprocedures would be carried out there, no matterwhat country you were in. The American Embassyis fundamentally a little bit of America a long wayfrom home.Are you willing to lean on other believers for support,or would you allow yourself to be used of God tominister to others? Have you obeyed God’s Word inleading your family to worship?TonyEvans.org13

GOD’S PORTRAIT OF A KINGDOM FAMILYThe Christian Family isPowerful in its Impact onSocietyWhen families are centered around God, whenhusbands and wives turn to Him to fix their problems,and when children are raised among other believers,the family unit is strengthened. Strong families makestrong churches, and strong churches can have apowerful impact on society.warranty, His guarantee. If you want Him to standbehind you and your family, then you’d better keeptaking it back to Him. If you’ll only do that, yoursatisfaction is guaranteed.Few people would argue today that our communitiesand our country are feeling continual tremors of a“The LORD bless you curse today. Yet the solution of turning that cursefrom Zion, and may into a covenantal blessing doesn’t come through moreyou see prosperity of tax dollars, government programs or building moreJerusalem all the days of prisons.your life. Indeed, mayyou see your children’s The solution is simple: We need more kingdomchildren. Peace Israel!” families.(Psalm 128:5-6).We have a lot of fancy churches in our country todayThere was well-being with a lot of fancy men attending them. We have thein Jerusalem because right architecture, the right equipment, and the rightthis family was right songs. We even have the right-sounding things to say.with God. Fixing our But the true test of Zion does not rest in how goodcommunity starts with Zion looks, rather it is in what kind of impact Zion isour walk with God, then moves to our relationship making in the community at large.with our families and our involvement in the church.Then, suddenly, the city’s not the same. Remember, Not only does God speak about the city improvingGod is the manufacturer of the family, and He will in response to a man who fears God in Psalm 128always stand by His product. He will honor His (Jerusalem), but He also speaks of the entire nationTonyEvans.org14

GOD’S PORTRAIT OF A KINGDOM FAMILYfeeling the impact of this man’s life (Israel.) What isimportant to notice about the progression of Psalm128 is that God starts with the individual, movesto the family, moves to the church, and then movesto the society. That is how His kingdom works.His kingdom works bottom up, not top down. Yeteveryone these days seems to be more concerned withwhat the White House is doing than what their ownhouse is doing, as well as what the church house isdoing. When society functions according to kingdomprinciples, though, it parcels out the responsibilitiesfor maintaining a healthy, functioning society intomore areas than just the government.someone needs to step in as surrogate fathers to raisethe next generation of men and women. And if we inthe body of Christ don’t do it, then it will be music,entertainment, or peers that will fill that void.When God spoke of being a “father to the fatherless”(Psalm 68:5) in Scripture, He wasn’t referring tosome ethereal spirit floating around in never-neverland. He was speaking of His people who are to beHis representation – His hands and His feet – beingsurrogate fathers to those in need. That’s what it meanswhen James writes, “Pure and undefiled religion in thesight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphansand widows in their distress .” (James 1:27)Societal impact isn’t determined on the basis of thehealth of the existing society either. In fact, in thebook of Jeremiah, we find an example of this whenGod tells His people who are living in the midst of apagan land, Babylon, that they are to,“Seek the welfare of theI have sent you intopray to the LORD onfor in its welfare youwelfare.”(Jeremiah 29:7)city whereexile, andits behalf;will haveScan the code above to watch the digitaldevotional. Recommended scanners:NeoReader or QR ScannerThe Israelites were to make the city in which they liveda better place because of their presence. It was in thewelfare of that city where they would discover theirown welfare; however, they were to be an integral partof improving the society in which they lived while notmerely complaining about it and waiting on someoneelse to make a difference.Specifically, with the growing absence of fathers inour land – either spiritually, physically or emotionally,Too frequently, we relegate only those as orphans whohave experienced the death of a parent or of theirparents while overlooking those who are spiritualorphans, or whose parent or parents have abandonedthem either relationally, emotionally or physically. Achild without the positive influence and presence of afather or mother – whether or not that parent is aliveor dead – lacks a parent. That is an orphan. Whatwe need to do is open our eyes to see the multitudeof orphans in front of us. On our very doorsteps areTonyEvans.org15

GOD’S PORTRAIT OF A KINGDOM FAMILYthe lives of those who have been left on their ownwithout anyone to speak life into them, or to raisethem. The boys and girls in need of surrogate fathersand surrogate mothers – in need of mentors – are notjust boys and girls, they are princes and princesses.Through meeting social and community needsthrough things such as mentoring, tutoring, coaching,job-training, technology institutes, and in countlessother ways – we can tame this cultural chaos. We canreclaim our country for Christ.Engage & RespondRead: Jeremiah 29WRite: How can the dynamics of the familyrelationship be used to influence your city?What specific things can you do this week to “outserve” your wife? your husband? your children? yourparents?They are children of the King and we should viewthem as such.Because when we specifically allow fatherlessness tocontinue at the rate that it is and do not take thenecessary steps to change it, our society will continueto reflect it.If you were to die today, how would your childrenremember their home life? Would they rememberbeing raised in the fear of God or they just rememberfighting and unhappiness?Our society’s problem is not solely our government’sproblem. It is the church’s problem. It is our problem.Our mission field is not merely across the sea. It isacross the street – in our own Jerusalem and Judea– in Detroit, Dallas, Baltimore, Miami and in yourcommunity. To look away now may cost us more thanwe can afford. It may even cost us the futures of ourown sons and daughters.Portions of this text was taken fromKingdom Man. Click HeRe to get yourcopy today!TonyEvans.org16

for thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.” (Psalm 128:1-4) Th e fi rst thing the psalmist says in verses 1 and 2 is that the Christian family begins with a personal commitment to God. In verse 3, he begins talking about family. But before he starts talking about the family u