You And Your Household Will Be Saved

Posted by on Jun 21, 2012 in Church Planting, Rapid Truth | 0 comments

Individual salvations seem to be the exception not the norm in the New Testament. The norm appears to be whole households accepting Christ together. It is our Western, modern culture that has re-interpreted spiritual principles into our individualistic framework and made it seem that individual salvations are the goal God has in mind. However, Paul’s message was “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” (Acts 16:31) When he said this, he didn’t mean the jailor to be saved and some months or years down the track other members of his family to be saved one by one. The jailor and his whole household were baptised together that same night.

In Cambodia, many people believe that Christians are taught to hate their parents because of the application of individualistic, Western evangelism methods that don’t fit with the family identity of Cambodian culture. Children and youth are the easiest to reach with the gospel, so well-meaning Christians target them through English teaching or schools. When one of the students expresses interest in following Christ, they are led in the sinner’s prayer and encouraged to stand against the pressures of their family. In a society where parents still have a big say in what their kids do after finishing school and who they will marry, the parents view this as ceasing to respect and love them.

What is the alternative? The ideal means of reaching a whole family is to reach the head of the household first, however, even if the first contact is another member of the family, we can still include the whole family on the journey to faith. Let me take you through an unfolding scenario with a family in Baset village.

Before I was involved in Baset, a church planting team had been at work there. They were using storytelling to share the gospel but the focus was gathering as many people as possible rather than multiplying disciples. When the outside team left, things ground to a halt. However, seeds were sown and one in particular sprouted of its own accord some years later.

One day as I was walking through the village on my way to visit a family, a high school girl started walking alongside me and asked if there was still a group of Christians meeting in her village. I said yes, and asked her what her interest was. She said that ever since hearing about Jesus a few years ago, she has loved Jesus and seen him help her in her times of need (particularly when her father is drunk and abusive). She came along to the discipleship group and that evening I asked her to introduce me to her parents. Her father was somewhat inebriated but I took the opportunity to tell them a story about God’s power during that first contact. They said they weren’t opposed to Christianity and were ok about their daughter learning about God.  I continued visiting her parents and sharing stories from God’s Word from time to time.

The daughter was so open to God it wasn’t long before she was born again. I normally go for baptising people as soon as they have made up their mind to follow Jesus sincerely, but this time I wanted to hold off and give her family time to join her on the journey. I asked the daughter to tell her parents that she was wanting to be baptised and would they like to find out more about what that means before she took the step. Turns out, she was too scared to bring it up with her father, so things stalled for a while.

On Sunday, we again discussed the need to baptise. Three others have been holding off being baptised as they didn’t want to leave her out. I explained again how there are 2 options when baptising someone who is the only believer in the family. One option is to just go ahead and baptise them, but that creates a breach in the family that sometimes excludes the rest of the members from being open to hearing the gospel. The other option is to make the impending baptism a means to bring the gospel into the family circle. The fact that they are learning about Jesus because of the interest of one member makes it non-threatening, and all the family have the opportunity to accept or reject him themselves. At a minimum, they will come to understand what their daughter is committing herself to.

God has been working in the hearts of her parents in the last few months and on Sunday, the daughter not only told her father about wanting to be baptised but asked if they were interested in having me teach them about Jesus beforehand. Her parents said yes. Praise the Lord! I have been praying for this to happen for months. The plan is to begin teaching them the 13 Rapid Truth lessons in a few weeks time, after the daughter’s exams.

I don’t know what the outcome will be. I’m holding onto Acts 16:31 as regards this whole family and am glad that God has given me the patience to make this verse a possibility in this situation.

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