‘Purposing Change’ Meditations: 14. Family?
Acts 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved —you and your household.”
I’m going to consider the concept of family in a moment but before that I just want to pick up on a lie that the enemy tries to dump on us – that God doesn’t care for people until they repent and are saved. In a previous series on ‘Watching & Waiting’ I recalled an incident where the Lord gave me words for those in a youth group, both believers and unbelievers and the latter recognised this was beyond me but was God. Many years ago I had the opportunity to pray for a non-Christian woman whose husband was giving her grief. The Lord sorted it to her amazement. A neighbourhood, seriously non-Christian friend passed by when I was working at the font of the house and commented on having a stiff neck. I asked if I could pray for him and he was in such pain he would accept anything. As I prayed the pain disappeared and it so shook him he scuttled off as fast as he could. If you want a biblical example, Naaman is the classic example of God healing an enemy of Israel (2 Kings 5). Brilliant!
So, as a general principle expand your idea of God’s love – it includes unbelievers! All he’s looking for is a little openness. The teens I prophesied over were open. The woman with an uncaring husband was open. The guy with the neck was open. Now note these latter two, for in Study No.12 we considered the opportunities that come from the fallen world, and both these two were that.
Now as we come to our starter verse, we find Paul & Silas with the Philippian jailer. Again there was a crisis in the fallen world apparently – an earthquake and the jailor thinks he’s lost all his prisoners. Paul and Silas reassure him. The jailor, I suspect, is operating more on the natural level when he asks, “What must I do to be saved” because he knows the authorities are going to hold him accountable for a wide open prison. But Paul and Silas look past the practical ordinary and point him to a bigger need that he has – of being right with God; hence, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved —you and your household.”
He has been so shaken by what has just happened that he is wide open to receive the truth and so we read, then immediately “he and all his household 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 household.” (v.33,34) I’m going to suggest the ‘being baptized’ referred to the Spirit (where was the deep water in the prison?) that occurred as he came to belief and was filled. But there is obviously a question here.
The first part is fairly obvious, but it is the second part that raises questions. No, it doesn’t mean that they will be saved by his faith, but it does mean that in that context he is going to be ripe to share the gospel with them and they will respond. I suggest it says that your presence in the home opens the way for the Lord to bring about what he wants to bring about – united couples in Christ. Your presence in the home, in the workplace etc. is to bring salt (enhancing flavor) and light (making things clear). I firmly believe God is saddened by unequal couples AND HE WANTS TO CHANGE THAT! If this is your situation with part of your family, unsaved or prodigal, dare you pray and ask the Lord to show you that – He wants to come and bring unity in Christ; He has families on His heart and He wants your family united. I’m going to say something outrageous: it doesn’t matter if you were disobedient when you married an unbeliever, God’s grace just looks for repentance and you (OK, initially unwisely) have created an opportunity that we’ve been taking about when this, (quite possibly lovely and kind unbeliever) not-yet-believer, finds themselves stuck under the same roof as a religious nut! You’re not a nut, you’re the means through which God can move in a wider way in your family – all of them! Don’t aim small, God loves whole families! Believe it!