Eddie J. Cornock - Home Life - Powell, Wyoming Convention

The Lord has laid it upon my heart to speak to you a little about your home life. In this family of God, home life and church life are very closely linked together. You might wonder what an old bachelor knows about home life. You say, you don't have any home. That's not right, because we do. We have a lot more homes than you have, thanks to your kindness and grace. We have proved that the Lord's promises are true. We left one home, forsook that to go forth with the Gospel, and God promised us a hundred-fold, and thanks be to God and thanks be to His people, that promise has been abundantly fulfilled. There were times in my earlier days, when out preaching, (and I don't regret them), when we slept beneath the stars, or on the floor of the school room. It was easier then. Our one big concern then was to reach souls. There have been other burdens that have been added since then, which doesn't help us to sleep. I am glad that my love for God's people has increased; glad that my desire for the extension and up-building of His people is something that means a great deal to me. We have learned some things along the way that might help us to give you a little Godly advice. 

 

I appreciated very much what our older sister shared with us the other day in this connection. We are so grateful that, with grey hairs, sometimes comes increasing wisdom and righteousness. Some people can grow old and it doesn't mean much to God; but we are glad as we grow older in God's way we can become a little more gracious, a little more Christ-like. We can possess more of the fruits of the Spirit, which are forever the same: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. We, who have journeyed with the Lord for many years, deeply appreciate these things. The greatest desire of my heart is that, as I have come to you, I might have come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ, that the fruits of the spirit might be in my life, that there might be left in your midst the sweet savour of Christ. We couldn't have a loftier ambition. 

 

In talking to you about your home life, I am not speaking critically. We know that you people have problems. We don't have them all. An old man spoke to me in a joking way and said, "Even a married man with a wife and children has problems!" We have learned that you have problems. Yes, we have shared your hospitality. We love you. How could we do anything but love your boys and girls, your young people, too? And it matters to us, as it does to you, what happens to those boys and girls. And, if by any means we can be of help to you with your problems, we would like to do just that. I don't speak critically, but out of a heart of abundant sympathy. If I was sure I had all the answers it would be easier to speak to you, but I don't. There is One Who does have all the answers, and that is God. He is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. Colossians 3:20, "Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord." There is a promise connected with this, Ephesians 6:l-4. If we do not fulfil the conditions, we do not get the promise. "Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath." There is a right way to take hold of a situation. If we miss the right appeal, we might provoke our children to stubbornness. There may be some who think they have all the answers. I don't, but as I said, God knows. There are some problems to which there is no answer. Not even God has an answer. Eli's sons were vile. God held him responsible for that. We also read about Samuel's sons who went astray. God didn't blame Samuel. There was a difference. I know it grieved Samuel when he saw their inclinations shaping the wrong way. I know he prayed for them. If there had only been a solution. There is no answer when young people take the bit into their teeth and go directly against what God would have them do. God couldn't keep Samuel's sons from doing that. I know it grieves the hearts of parents when this happens. Parents aren't always to blame. 

 

I could tell you of homes where things have happened that grieved. In one home, the parents were Godly parents. Five boys and one girl were born into that home. Four boys, the daughter, and the parents are faithful, and I mean faithful. One boy chose to be a rebel. You say it was lack of consideration, lack of care, lack of training. The parents put more into that boy because early in life they saw that boy's inclination to waywardness. It was not lack of prayer, because they prayed for him more than any of the others. Sometimes I have the answer, sometimes not; but my heart goes out to parents who see their children go astray. We have shared your kindness, your hospitality, your loving care, but we are also glad we can share your sorrows, too. And, when sorrow comes, we would like to be close enough to you to be of help. I hope that this assurance won't ever be forgotten. I could tell you of different homes where this has happened. I know that broken-hearted parents, troubled parents, distressed parents are praying, hoping against hope that something will bring that wayward one back. A prodigal is one that is brought back. A sinner doesn't know the way and goes astray. A prodigal is always blessed because he knows the truth and, when he comes to the end of himself, he knows the way home. If that is true, you say, why mingle your tears with the tears of the parents? Because we are vitally concerned with all that happens. They are your children, but they are ours too. If the prodigal knows the way home, why be concerned? It is because of this: all prodigals don't come home. We are glad some do. It's difficult at best to come home. The way is long, the struggle is hard. It's easy to drift out into the ungodly world; but it is not possible to drift back. Remember that, when you are tempted. Be willing to be guided by your parents' judgment.  

 

Remember that your parents love you and that they are interested in your souls and they want to do you good, to help you. I would encourage with all my heart, "Children, obey your parents." I read in the Scriptures where parents failed, where the people failed, where priests failed the people; I read where God's servants sometimes let people down, where fathers failed their children and children failed their parents. But that never happens until we fail God. Keep close to Him and the word of His grace which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified, Acts 20:32. In Psalm 106, we read of parents who failed their children. They went astray themselves and learned the ways of the heathen round about them. As we heard, they sowed the wind and the children reaped the whirlwind. Fathers and mothers, it is an important thing that you keep close to God. Don't fail your children. Don't fail God, and He won't fail you, and if you are in close touch with God, you won't fail your children, you can be sure of that. Souls are at stake. Deuteronomy 21:18, we read of children who failed their parents, not willing to abide in the advice their parents gave. A death penalty was attached to that. It is a matter of life and death, whether the children do or do not obey their parents in the Lord. 

 

Going back to the home circle, Ephesians 5:22-25, Paul mentions a vital thing, "Husbands, love your wives. Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands." This is vital. Does it make any difference whether there is friction, or whether there is fellowship? I have been in homes where there is friction, and in other homes where there is fellowship. It makes a difference to the children. My parents got along pretty well. My mother was fiery. I remember what it did to me. It hurt me. When things went smoothly, oh how different it was! I suppose little differences will come, but husbands, if you have any arguments with your wife, or you dear women have any criticism, don't do it until in the privacy of a quiet room. Don't do it in the presence of your children. It hurts. Two or three months ago, I was in Southern Colorado. I visited an elderly couple. That home has always been a wonderful home, because love ruled that home. In the hour and a half I was there, I think that man told me three times how much he loved his wife. She was sitting there listening. That was like medicine to me. He said, "When I first found her in Missouri, when I claimed her, I thought I loved her as much as one human being could love another. But now I love her far more, and for many reasons more." They have raised two lovely girls. One spent a few years in the work; her health failed. She was cut down, gone now. These bonds in Adam and in Christ were true. I say, "Husbands, love your wives." He wasn't ashamed to tell you in her presence that he loved her. I hope that you tell your wife that you love her. Surely you do. It wouldn't hurt on other occasions to tell her in other ways. Give her a bouquet of red roses...not a scrub brush. Or give her something else that would remind her that your love hasn't died. 

 

Love in the home--Paul was talking about something that is vital, something that enables children to grow up in the atmosphere of Godly homes. This is Godly advice, left on record for our admonition. Keep it alive, and if it just takes a little token, a little expression of gratitude, if you just tell her that you love her, it might pay dividends. She might even make you an apple pie sometime! And you, wives, it won't hurt if you let your husbands know that you still appreciate them. In Deuteronomy 6 are some verses that have to do with home life. I say I don't know the answers, but God does. He has told us some things that will help, and if your children go astray, I hope that it won't be because of our lack. Latter part of chapter 5 God calls His servant aside and said to Him, "You send the children aside to their tents. But as for thee, stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee." There can't be a Godly home without healthy relationship with God's servants. First of all, God calls His servant aside and prepares him to bring blessing unto God's people. What did he tell him? He was to keep the commandment of the Lord. This was his business. Do it himself first. God was never responsible for sending a "word only" gospel to anyone. He sent men and women that were doing it themselves first. Proving that they had it in an abundant measure in their own lives. This is important. He told him that he was to keep the commandments of the Lord. There wasn't anything to be left out. Don't turn to the right hand or to the left. The only means by which God's servants can be true to God and His people is to obey all the commandments of the Lord. Keeping in the middle of the road. Jesus was a middle of the road preacher. The truth of God will keep you in the middle of the road and keep your feet there. There are many ways whereby we can go astray, where we can turn to the right or to the left. There are rightist and leftists in government today. Then we have a few who try to keep in the middle of the road. God wants to see His people a sensible, God-fearing, plodding people, keeping in the middle of the road so that they can be a blessing to others. 

 

There were those who would modernize God's way, broaden it. They were good, sincere people. You remember when David was preparing to bring the ark back amongst God's people, I Chronicles 13 tells us that he called a multitude and gathered together the captains of hundreds and captains of thousands and talked this over. They decided it would be nice to make a new cart and hitch a yoke of oxen and bring it back this way. Now their intentions were good, but do you know what was wrong with that gathering? They talked things over together, but not with God. You can't change God's way and truth. If it has changed, it is no longer God's way or truth. I don't care if it is to the left hand or to the right hand. Remember what God's servant said, "I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ," 2Corinthians 11:3. There was a safe way. It looked primitive, but if they had taken God's way, there wouldn't have been the stumbling of the oxen; it wouldn't have caused Uzza to reach forth his hand. That ark represented what God's presence will ever mean to His people. Keep human hands off of it! Human fingerprints have never added any lustre! It is not up to us to change God's way to suit ourselves, to modernize it or change it in any way. God smote Uzza dead. Those men were seemingly well-intentioned, but ill-advised, and negligent in that they didn't seek God's guiding. Again, I say, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. Keep close to God. Be guided in these things, my friend, and you won't go astray. 

 

Then there is the "rightist." In the New Testament we read of men who thought they were far more right than Jesus was. You know who they were: the Pharisees. They were good-intentioned, but they had added to God's way, added to God's regulations. Called them the traditions of the elders. Listen, God says, "Don't turn to the right hand or to the left." All we have in Christ is complete perfection. Do we believe in man-made rules today? We do not. We believe in what we have in God's word and that is sufficient. The Pharisees had wanted things done and felt they had to make a rule to govern that situation. Another problem arose and they needed another rule to control that. But the trouble was they cherished those rules until they felt that they were better than Jesus. The law was the schoolmaster to bring them to Christ, but when it was changed, its effect was lost. We are no more at liberty today to add rules than they were. Suppose you saw me doing things which were just not the very best, and you say we will have to make a rule for that. No longer do I go here or there, because you have told me it is wrong. Have you helped me? No, you have done exactly what the Pharisees did, made clean only the outside of the cup. What has it done for me? Made me better on the outside, but what have I done about the inside? The "want to" is still there. God's way is to work in us a willingness to do His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13... Adding to! Or, it could be narrowing down the way, as the Pharisees did. Of whom Paul said, "To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the, gospel might continue with you." They didn't tolerate that kind of thing. That is the kind of people who have plagued God's people down through the ages. I am glad for the few souls who ignored those traditions and were looking for God's truth, when He sent the Redeemer. May God help us to be faithful in using the simple instructions He has given us in Christ. It is not too difficult for any of God's children to know what God wants you to do. If we follow on to know and do God's will, it is by that we will prove it is God's will.  

 

One reason I'm pleading with you young folks today to obey your parents in the Lord is because you don't know how privileged you are. You don't know about the awful distress that can settle down upon a young heart. I wanted to be right with God as a boy, but I didn't know how. I wanted to find God, but I didn't know where to look. I knew that. I was in a desperate condition, and I will never forget it. One of the first things I learned was that God answers prayer. I had been brought up in the confusion and darkness of denominationalism. All I wanted was what God had been to His people in Bible days. I was told, "That won't work now." That left me with a feeling of desperation. I prayed to God, and when I was 19 years old, I came in contact with God's true servants. I will never forget that. They told us about Jesus' way. They told us how they went out to preach in Jesus' way, how they left all to go out in Jesus' way. It begat faith in my heart that, if God could do that much for them, He could do something for me, and when the invitation was given, no matter what it might mean or cost, I wanted it. The first time the invitation was given, I made my choice. No one else did that night. I've since been glad of this because I know I wasn't influenced by anyone else. With the hope in my heart that what God had done for them He would do for me, I set out of that school house with the consciousness of peace and rest.   

 

It was not long before our preacher came. My mother was a good sincere woman in her denomination, and my father a good, sincere man in another denomination. We went to both churches. Perhaps that was what made me question. It was not long before the preacher came to our home and mother told him how glad she was that I had gotten saved. He told her how sorry he was that I had gotten tangled up with that religion! No name, no salary, no college. She told my father, and father felt the same as she. I didn't know anything about the Bible. I only knew one verse, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength." I had been sprinkled as a child and told that by that act I was made a child of God and an inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven. But, even in my younger years, I knew I wasn't able to live up to what I wanted to. I felt I had gotten nothing from church or Sunday school. Then that verse came to me, and the question, "Do you love God?" I had to be honest with God. No, I can't love God, I don't know how to love God; I don't know a thing about it. When life comes, then love comes. Jesus said He came that they might have life and have it more abundantly. Love comes with that new life. This love is just as important in the church as it is in the home, and even more so. You have human love in the home. It is divine love amongst God's children that links them together in the church. Keep these things alive. It is worthwhile. Do your best to be a peacemaker and do your best to keep these things alive. That makes life worth living, and death worth dying.  

 

My mother could out-talk me, and one day when I didn't have anything to say except I knew what God had done in my heart, I went upstairs and did what Howard has told us is good. I knelt before my bed, opened my Bible, and my eyes rested upon those verses, "I am come not to send peace, but rather division. For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three," etc., but in our home it was five against one. I have never forgotten that revelation. I have often thanked God for that since. That is the way God puts these things in our hearts. Deuteronomy 6:4, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord." It is nice to know there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism…the oneness of God's way. Our choice is for the right or wrong; between darkness and light; between death and life. May God help us to make right choices all along the way.  

 

Then God goes on to tell them, "Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind. And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart." This is where it starts. No person can be right with God without this experience in the heart. Then it spreads into their lives. He speaks about it being seen upon their foreheads, being bound between their eyes, upon their hands. Our thinking is being changed by the Word of God, and our lives are then influenced. Then He says, "You will write them upon the posts of your doors." First in the hearts, then your minds, then affecting all of your lives. Then the outward evidence. The outside evidence of God's inward control is always the same, producing the fruits of the Spirit which will always be love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. The noblest ambition any child of God can have. First in the heart life, then the outward life, then the home life and then on the outside, as far as your control goes. That is as far as your control goes, but that is not as far as your influence goes. When the husband goes off to his work, when the girls and boys go off to the school, they are well aware of the fact that the atmosphere is not the same as at home. It might be there is foul language, it might be there is tobacco smoke; those who labour for a living must put up with that. Then when eventide comes and they come home again, as soon as they pass in through the gates and pass through the portals of that home on which the Word of God is written, there is a feeling of great peace. They have come into the sanctuary where God's presence abides and they are at rest always. Your control goes so far, but your influence goes further. It doesn't hurt to give your testimony in an ungodly atmosphere.  

 

There is a man in Denver who loves the Lord. He tried to talk to the engineers when he was a fireman. They cursed him out. He gave it up. He said he wouldn't try to talk to them any more. One day the telephone rang. A voice on the other end saying to his wife, "This is McDonald. I am Frank's engineer. I want to talk to him about God." He came over. He said, "I want to talk about my soul; I want to get right with God. The only person I have confidence in is you." Frank took him to meetings and about the third meeting he made his choice. He gave up his cursing and tobacco. He lived for three years to prove his choice was genuine.  Frank has the joy of knowing that his influence was Godly. 

 

How should you teach your children? When you rise up, when you sit down. There first must be a Godly atmosphere. Children growing up in an atmosphere like that are not likely to miss it. These things are of meaning to us. Our desire is to see your children grow up and press on. So we share your joys, your sorrows, and we would like to be of help wherever we can. Don't preach to them. I don't say it is wrong to read a chapter to your children. When they are little tots at your knees, you can tell them about the Saviour…the same story that has always been told. In the Old Testament days, it was a message of types and shadows, but now you can tell them of Christ and His beauty and saving graces. These little things you can teach them. You can tell them about the infant Christ, how He was born of a virgin, how He came from Heaven's glory to this earth, how He took upon Himself the form of a man because it behooved Him to be made in all things like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God. His brethren are those who have made their choice and consecrated themselves unto His service. He has been over the road. He knows what it means to be oppressed, to suffer, to be in pain. When they put the crown of thorns upon His head, did it hurt? He knew what it was to be hungry. He was weary. He is not asking you and me to face anything that He, Himself, did not face. He was tempted in all points like as we, and yet without sin. He had to be without sin to be the spotless Lamb of God. The unblameable Lamb of God had to be this in order to go to Calvary. Maybe you will talk at the table about this pair of workers and what that pair of workers are doing. "Those that feared the Lord spake often one to the other." They would have been talking about the place where God found them…the desert land, a waste, a howling wilderness, talking of what He had brought them into…the fellowship of God's people, talking about good things…not spending their time in idle gossip. These conversations were conversations that God was listening in on. Malachi 3:16. If your life is wielding an influence like that as you go on from day to day, my good friend, you will not be living in vain. First in your home life, then out in the cold world, you will be a blessing. And, if we can help you in any way to do this, we want to do it.