Salvation Has Come To Your House
Every Christmas, most of us get together with family and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. Therefore, it’s at this time of year when we’re thinking of both family and Jesus at the same time. We can’t help but think and pray about those in our families who do not know Jesus. Do you have members of your immediate or extended family that need to know Jesus? I was eighteen when I became a Christian. I celebrated Christmas for the first time shortly after that at nineteen. I was raised in a church that did not allow Christmas. My mother was led to the truth and accepted Jesus as her savior shortly after I had left home at eighteen.
When she started attending a Christian church every Sunday, her husband (my step dad), her six children (ranging from toddler to adult), many of her extended family, and the majority of her social circle were still attending the church she just left. A church that not only didn’t celebrate Christmas but also didn’t believe in the doctrine of salvation. A church that would tell its members to not have anything to do with anyone who left the church. She was understandably worried about how her new Faith would be viewed and if everyone would reject it and her.
One evening, not too long after her decision to live her life for Christ, no matter what the cost, she attended a Gospel banquet. The speaker prayed for her and while he was praying (even though he did not know her or her situation) said, “Don’t worry, today salvation has come to your house.”
My mother’s heart jumped, the tears began to flow and she started trusting God for her family. Within a year, my step dad, all six of us children, and a number of others in our extended family had all become Christians. I’ll never forget our first family Christmas celebration. We got very carried away because we were so grateful for God’s grace and the gift of salvation that we had all received.
So was this a special family blessing just for my mother and our family, or does God’s Word teach that God reaches out and deals with entire families?
Let’s start by taking a brief look at some highlights of God’s history with families.
When Eve ate the fruit, the Bible says that Adam was right there with her and that he ate as well. (Genesis 3:6) Because of their actions, their kids were born outside the garden.
The first horrific effects of their children’s separation from God happened when one of their sons killed the other. Not only one man, but also one family led us all into sin and darkness.
In the next big world event, although Noah was the one called to build the ark, his family helped and was included in the voyage.
Let’s look at God’s calling of Abraham. What exactly did God call Abraham to do and why?
Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” (Genesis 18:18, 19)
The Lord himself said that Abraham was chosen to direct his children and household after him to follow the Lord by doing what was right and just. God’s purpose for Abraham was for him to lead his family and for that family to become a nation of families that would do the same thing.
Then the story of our salvation begins with God using a family that started with Mary and Joseph. One family was involved in the fall of humankind, one family was involved in bringing it salvation. Remember the Christmas story is not just about the baby, it’s about a family.
In the first Gospel sermon, Peter said that the promise of the Holy Spirit (salvation) was for everyone, everywhere and their children. (Acts 2:39)
Consider the story of the first Gentile converts:
He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’ “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. (Acts 11:13 – 15)
Then read what happened to the jailer who was put in charge of keeping Paul and Silas locked up.
The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God–he and his whole family. (Acts 16:29 – 34 emphasis added)
In our culture we tend to see salvation as such an individual thing, but throughout the Bible, God shows us that his plan is to work with families.
Yes, there are many examples of families that had certain members who refused to hear and obey God. Jesus himself demonstrated that when our natural family tries to draw us away from God then our priority should be God’s family (Matthew 12:46 – 49).
Not all will listen or listen right away, but that does not change the fact that God wills and desires to bring families to himself.
The Apostle Paul wrote about how unsaved members of a family are sanctified by the believing member. (1 Corinthians 7:14) There are many ideas about exactly what Paul meant by this, however, these verses clearly show us that God has a heart for working in the families of Christians, and he does something special to help it along.
Here is a key to helping it happen. Paul admonishes the Christian in the family (Christian wife or Christian husband) to win over their unbelieving mate by living a life that reflects Christ.
The verse that was prayed over my mother is found in Luke 19:1–9. The story is about a tax collector named Zacchaeus, who after hearing Jesus, announced that he would give half of his riches to the poor and repay four times the amount that he had cheated people out of. Then Jesus said, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.”
Jesus knew that Abraham had been called to follow the Lord and to teach his family to do the same, to do ‘what is right and just’. Here he basically supported the idea that when we follow God with all of our hearts, we pave the way for God’s blessing and salvation to arrive in our families.
My mother had made a decision to follow Christ and live that way no matter what happened in our family or what we thought of her. As she did so, God brought salvation to her house. She didn’t push, but her life demonstrated a change and she was ready and willing to share what had happened to her to anyone who asked. Most importantly, she trusted that God would do it because she believed it was God’s will, and he did.
Whether most everyone in your household (immediate and/or extended) is saved or you are the only one, it is God’s will that they all come to him, and if you’re following him, he says to you, “Today, salvation has come to your house.” Trust him, pray and be ready this Christmas to respectfully share through your example and your words what Christ has done for you.
Have a GREAT Christ-centered Christmas and thank you for all of your love, involvement and support this year!
For help with teaching your children about their Faith, check out The Singing Bible.
(RICK OSBORNE / Christian Author, Speaker & Dad – your source for Christian Parenting advice)