“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31)
Almighty God, in His infinite mercy and grace, has graciously provided us fallen, degenerate, sinful human creatures eternal salvation. God’s Salvation is available in God the Son; the Lord Jesus Christ Who is the Saviour of the world. The Holy Bible clearly tells us how to obtain God’s Eternal Salvation. One does so by choosing to repent of his sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and trust in Christ for forgiveness of sin, cleansing from sin, salvation from an eternal Hell of fire and brimstone, and for eternal life in God’s perfect Heaven. God bestows all this as a free gift upon the person who personally makes the decision to repent and to believe on, trust in, and receive Christ as his or her own personal Saviour. That promise is clearly stated in several places in the Bible; one of them here in Acts 16:31.
The ONE thing you must do above all other things in this life is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and receive Him as your own, personal Saviour. You exist because you were created by God as an eternal being who will never cease to exist. To believe on Christ will give you a blissful, perfect life in God’s Heaven that will never end. To not believe on Christ will doom you to the eternal torments of fire and brimstone in a never ending Hell. If you have not yet believed on Christ, please do so now. Please read my sermon, “One Thing Is Needful,” and pray those prayers in that sermon from your heart.
Now looking back again to Acts 16:31, in addition to his or her own personal salvation, this scripture promises more to the Christian believer. God promises that his “house” will also be saved. “House” refers to his family. I believe it particularly refers to your immediate family, the family members who customarily live together with you in one house: your father and mother, your brothers and sisters, and then your husband or wife, and then your children. It is customary for you to live together under one roof with these family members, though typically not with all of them at the same time.
The human family is most precious to our Creator God. In Genesis chapters 1 and 2, upon creating the first 2 human beings, Adam and Eve, God ordained the human family. He ordained it to be close, intimate relationships of love among its members. Therefore it should be a most heart breaking thing for any Christian believer to know that he or she has family members who are lost and undone, not trusting in Christ as their Saviour, and therefore headed for the eternal torments of Hell. God is not desirous that any person perishes in Hell. In particular, God does not want any Christian believer to have family members perish in Hell. Therefore He gives us this most wonderful promise in Acts 16:31. If anyone will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, not only will that believer be saved, but his or her “house” (family) will also be saved. That does not mean that this one believer’s faith is blanket coverage for salvation for the remainder of the family. It means that if he or she will believe this promise and follow God’s leading in being instrumental in bringing the rest of his or her family members to also believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, then God will be faithful to see that that the rest of the family does just that.
“Come thou and all thy house”
Let’s look in the Old Testament to see examples of God saving households, families. The book of Genesis tells of God destroying the whole world with a flood because of mankind’s wickedness. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:8) So God instructed Noah to build an ark to keep him and his family safe from the flood. Let’s read what kind of person Noah was. “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” (Genesis 6:9) Because Noah was that kind of person, God chose to save him from drowning in the great flood. The Bible does not give us any description of the spiritual condition of the rest of Noah’s family at that time. Each of them could have been similar to the above description of Noah, or each of them could have been much less noble than that. So, let’s look at what God does for Noah’s family. “But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.” (6:18) There is a good chance that the remainder of the family was included because of the merit of Noah in God’s eyes. “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” (6:22) Noah’s personal total obedience to God was key to the rest of his family being saved from drowning in the flood.
When Noah and family finish building the ark, look at the invitation God gives to them. “And the Lord said unto Noah, come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” (7:1) Each and every one of God’s words is totally accurate and precise. (“Thee” is a singular pronoun.) Here, Noah is the only one God speaks of as being righteous. Nothing is said, for or against, the righteousness of the rest of his family. Therefore, we do not know how righteous or unrighteous they were. But in this verse God issued all of them an invitation to come into that ark of salvation. And because God, at the time of this invitation, commended Noah for his own, personal righteousness, likely the invitation to the rest of the family hinged upon Noah’s righteousness before God.
“And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him.” (7:5) Again we see Noah’s perfect obedience. “And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.” (7:7) “…and the Lord shut him in.” (7:16) Tho Noah’s entire “house” is now safely inside the ark with him, notice carefully that God again refers to Noah in the singular. Read the entire passage in your Bible to see God sending the great flood. “And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.” (7:23) Again, notice the attention given to Noah, because he was seen righteous before God. I believe the rest of his family was saved because of the righteousness of perfect and upright Noah. “Believe… and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
“Bring them out of this place”
In Genesis 19, we read of Righteous God raining down brimstone and out of heaven upon the wicked, perverted cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and thus completely destroying those cities because the inhabitants’ gross sins had become very grievous to God, especially sodomy and other sins of sexual perversion. At that time, Abraham’s nephew, Lot, lived in Sodom. In II Peter 2:7, God calls Lot a just man. Therefore God made plans to save just Lot, and his family, from the coming destruction. Reading what is recorded in Genesis 19 about the rest of his family, we can readily see they fall far short of being “just.”
“And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? Son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it.” (Genesis 19:12-13) These “men” talking to Lot are actually angels sent from God, and are called angels in verse 1. Because Lot was just, they called on him to bring his entire house out of the path of destruction, which even included the sons-in-law of Lot.
“And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.” (vs. 14) The sons-in-law refused the invitation to escape destruction. And from what is recorded in the next 2 verses, apparently Lot’s sons also refused to flee. “And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.” (verses 15-16) We see God’s abundant mercy here in having the angels take Lot’s family by the hand to “pull” them out of that condemned place. How desirous our Lord is to save. In the next verse the angel commanded them, “look not behind thee…lest thou be consumed.” “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” (vs. 26)
Lot’s sons-in-law and sons perished because they refused the command to flee. His wife perished because she disobeyed a command of God while fleeing. But still, what I want to emphasize here is God’s plan to save Lot’s entire house because Lot was just.
“A lamb for a house”
In Exodus 12, God smote dead all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast, to make Pharaoh let God’s people go. But God prepared salvation for His people, Israel, so that none of them would be smitten dead when God’s death angel passed through Egypt at midnight. And in thus “saving” them, He again dealt with them by households. “And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying…Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house.” (12:1-3) At this time, God ordains the feast of the Passover for His Nation, Israel. This lamb is to be killed as a sacrifice for that feast. Each Israeli family is to prepare a sacrificial lamb for their house.
“And the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.” (Verses 6-7) The family member who applied the blood for each household would take the stick with hyssop tied to the end, dip the hyssop into a bason containing the fresh blood and strike each of the side posts and then the upper post over the door, thus forming a cross with that motion, a foreshadow of the cross our Saviour, the Lamb of God, would die on over 1000 years later. “For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” (Verses 12-13) “And none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.” (Verses 22-23) God clearly warned them not to go outside of their houses, which were covered with the blood of the lamb.
“And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they. And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt…There was not a house where there was not one dead.” (Verses 28-30) Those were the Egyptian houses and they were not covered by the blood of the lamb. But each and every Israeli household was saved by the Lord God Who provided a plan of salvation for their houses.
If you are a Christian believer and there are members of your house (immediate family) who are not Christian believers, they are lost and on their way to an eternal Hell. This is the most tragic condition anyone can be in during this life, and that terrible condition of your beloved family members should constantly weigh on your mind until it is changed. Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the World and therefore is the only Being Who can save them from going to Hell. But God has ordained that you, as a Christian believer, also enter into the role of being a “lesser” savior to your house. God has ordained that you enter into the toil, travail, and labor with our Lord of “birthing” them, bringing your lost family members into the new birth, doing your part to lead them to Christ and His salvation. For a person to receive Christ and thereby be transformed from eternal death to eternal life requires absolutely no toil, travail, and labor on the part of the person who makes the decision to trust in Christ. But to then have the marvelous joy of seeing other lost and doomed souls get saved, it is necessary to enter into the toil and even the suffering of our Saviour.
In Acts 16:31, God promised salvation to your house because you are a Christian believer. Now you must be faithful to do your part to see that promise fulfilled. This is a most wonderful and gracious promise from God to you. Because of it, you do not have to see any member of your immediate family perish in Hell. So, by all means, claim this promise and act upon it. You cannot be lazy, careless, and indifferent and still have faith to see this promise fulfilled. You must get to work in the field of harvest in order to see their precious, eternal souls get saved. A most grave responsibility is included in this wonderful promise in Acts 16:31. You are responsible to do your part, a most important and necessary part, in bringing the members of your house to salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. If you neglect your duty regarding your family’s salvation, God will judge you for that.
“Heavenly Father, please teach me the grave importance of all the things written in that last paragraph. Reveal to me just how important a role Thou hast ordained for me to fulfill in bringing my lost family members to salvation in Christ. And then clearly guide me and help me to do Thy complete will concerning this. I pray this for all other Christian believers also. Amen.
You might ask, “Well, where do I start?” If you have been a Christian for some time, and have not yet read this promise in God’s Holy Bible, or if you have read it and did not take notice of the certainty and the significance of it, then you should repent of that lack of attention to the Bible, God’s Guide for our daily life here on earth.
“Lord God, please forgive me for not having given enough attention to Thy Holy Scriptures to see that Thou hast promised salvation to the rest of my house because I am a Christian believer. Please give me faith now to know without a doubt that I do not have to see any one person of my family die lost and undone and therefore perish in an eternal Hell. Amen.”
You received salvation as a free gift. But you were saved “unto good works.” (Ephesians 2:10) God has ordained many good works for you to do after becoming a Christian. One of the “works” you should immediately start doing is constantly, daily, offering up praise to God for His wonderful gift of salvation that He has so graciously and freely bestowed upon you. You should present your body, your life, a living sacrifice that now totally belongs to God to be used in whatsoever way He desires to use you for His Glory. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans (12:1)
“Heavenly Father, thank Thee for providing salvation for me. Lord Jesus, thank Thee for loving me with the greatest love there is, in that You gave your life for me, suffering that agony and death on the cross in my place, as a sacrificial Lamb for me. Thank You for drawing me to You and saving me from the punishment of my sins in Hell. Thank You for giving me eternal life and a home in Heaven. Please help me to now present my body, my entire being, my entire life, and all my time and resources to Thee as a living sacrifice to be used for Thy Glory in whatsoever way that Thou doest desire. Help me to be holy. Help me to be acceptable unto Thee. Help me to truly believe that all of this is a reasonable service unto Thee Who loves me with the greatest love there is, in that You gave Your Life for me. Help me to know how greatly it behooves me to give my all to Thee because You gave Your life for me. Please help me now, in turn, to give my life for Thee. Amen.”
In order for you to have strong, unwavering faith to believe God’s promise to save your family, you must ask God for that faith, because all good gifts come from above. In your own power, you do not have that faith. So please ask God to increase your faith, as His disciples did in Luke 17:5. Ask Him to give you strong faith and ask Him to show you what is required for you to do on your part in order to increase and strengthen your faith.
“Almighty God, I acknowledge that all things are possible with Thee. Also, our Lord tells us in Mark 9:23 that all things are possible to him that believeth. So please help me to believe, Lord. Please help my unbelief. Please increase my faith. Please give me unwavering, strong faith in Thee. Please show me what You require me to do in order to grow in faith and become a mature believer with strong faith. Amen.”
Ask God to send His Holy Spirit to search your heart and to show you all that is wrong and all that is displeasing in your life to God. One thing that will draw your family members to Christ is for them to see you live your Christian life before them as a perfect testimony. Ask God to show you any ways in which you, as a Christian, have failed your family, by you being disobedient to God. It is important to also ask God to make you aware of all the ways you wronged your family before you became a Christian. Some of those wrongs may have been done in ignorance because you did not yet know the Bible and what God commands us in the Bible. God readily forgives, but you need to confess and ask for forgiveness on any such matter the Holy Spirit brings to light to ensure that it ceases to be any barrier between you and God, and also that it ceases to be any hindrance to you being used by God to help bring your family to salvation.
“Heavenly Father, I fully open my heart to Thy Holy Spirit for Thee to search my heart and to show me any and all things I have done wrong against family members in the past. Please help me to truly repent of and forsake these wrong ways. Guide me about confessing them to family members and give me the courage to do just as You direct me to do concerning that. Amen.”
“Unequally yoked together”
If you were a Christian believer when you married, and you knowingly married a person who was not a Christian, then you sinfully disobeyed God’s commandment in II Corinthians 6:14. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness” When you married a child of the devil, you may have been young, madly in love with stars in your eyes, and therefore living in a fantasy world thinking that everything will work out for the good because “we deeply love each other”. Drunken on such thoughts of living happily ever after, you flippantly brushed aside this most important command of God and sinfully disobeyed it. Now you are no longer young and have not lived happily ever after married to a child of the devil with the devil as your father-in-law. It is time for you to truly repent of knowingly and willingly disobeying God’s command forbidding you to yoke up with an unbeliever. Ask God to have mercy on you, forgive you, and to save your house.
If you are not already doing it, start praying for the salvation of your family, interceding regularly, daily for them to be saved. Each time you pray for them, remind God of His promise to save your house. Tell God plainly and boldly that you believe that promise and believe He is going to save your house. Repeatedly tell God that you offer your life as a living sacrifice to be use in whatever way He deems best to see your family saved. Be faithful to intercede daily for them. A little further on in this sermon, I plan to talk more in detail about intercessory prayer. At this point, I mainly want to say that it is a must for you to do. So please start now and intercede unceasingly until your family members are all saved.
“Heavenly Father, convince me of the great importance of constant, regular intercessory prayer on my part in order to see my lost family members get saved. Teach me what to pray. Give me divine strength to pray powerful prayers. Help me to pray and faint not. Amen.”
“Train up a child”
Your children are members of your house. If you have children who are not in obedience to God, the Bible plainly says that you have failed to train them up in the way they should go. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) Here is another wonderful promise God gives us. A child who is properly trained up in the way he should go will not depart from that way. But the first part of that Scripture is a command of God, commanding parents (and any person who trains up children), to properly train them up in the way they should go.
If you have children who are not living right, this Scripture teaches us that they were not trained up in the way they should go. You may just naturally be reluctant to accept that as being absolutely and certainly true. But still, it is perfectly true. If you believe that you trained them properly by reading the Bible to them, taking them to church, and such, but still they departed from living a “Christian” life, then this Scripture bears out the certainty that you failed in some areas to properly train them. It may be that tho you taught them properly in word, you did not always teach them properly by your deeds. Children will recognize hypocrisy in their parents more readily than other people will recognize it. Seeing certain sins in your life will train them not to believe in the necessity of forsaking sin. Tho you are appalled at them committing sins that you would never commit, God is just as displeased with the “pet” sins you cherished and committed as you trained up your children. If your children’s ungodly lives are a sorrow to you, then likely while you were training them up, there were sins in your life that were just as much of a sorrow to your Creator. In all honesty and sincerity, ask The Holy Spirit to search your heart and show you all the areas in which you failed to properly train up your children in the way they should go. Then, out of a sincere heart, repent of those things to God.
“Heavenly Father, please send Thy Holy Spirit to thoroughly search my heart and show me each and every way I have failed to properly train up my children in the way they should go. Give me a heart to fully acknowledge each and every failure and sin that Thou doest reveal to me, and help me to repent of and forsake all of them. Amen.”
Likely God will also lead you to repent of those things to your children. That may be difficult to do. Sinful pride will have to be forsaken and you may have to ask God for the courage. But making this matter right is necessary if you are going to see those children saved. So call on God to help you overcome any difficulties and to completely do everything that He leads you to do. Much is at stake here, the eternal salvation of members of your house. I cannot emphasize that too much. Considering these high stakes should enable you to, by God’s grace, lay aside all sinful pride and fully obey God’s leading regarding this most important matter. How sad and remorseful it would be, for you to stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ with the blood of your lost children on your hands and you be judged for failing to train them up in the way they should go. If you have children who are not living a Christian life, their salvation should be a first and main priority (above other household members), because God specifically gave you the duty and the command to train up the offspring of your own body in the way they should go. He gave you no such command regarding your parents, siblings, or mate in marriage.
“A living sacrifice”
Now I want to leave off speaking about your children only and talk about any and all household members who are unsaved. As you daily, without ceasing, intercede in prayer for their salvation, ask God to show you what else He would have you to do toward leading them to Christ. If you have blatantly wronged any of them in the past, likely He will lead you to ask them to forgive you. That takes courage, of course. So call on God to give you that courage. God will likely lead you to speak to them about their lost condition. Over all, I believe that doing this in person, talking to them face to face, is best. But if courage is lacking to do it in person, consider writing it in a letter and sending it to them. Likely that is more easy to do. This method also has other advantages. You can write the letter when alone with God, leisurely taking your time to do a good job, listening to what the Holy Spirit tells you to write, and are therefore likely to be able to “compose” a better appeal that way. Also, your family member who receives it can read it alone, away from your presence, and therefore would be more likely to feel no pressure or intimidation from you, which should result in them giving your appeal more careful, unbiased consideration. Whereas, speaking to them in person may result in a tense situation that hinders you from speaking well, or they may just tell you they do not want to hear such and walk away from you.
Ask God to give you the courage to fully offer your life as a living sacrifice to God to allow Him to do anything to you that He wills to do for the purpose of bringing your lost family members to salvation in Christ. Think carefully on what Paul said in Colossians 1:24. “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church.” This verse teaches us that we Christian believers are to know that suffering in the flesh for the sake of Christ, and in particular for the sake of His Body (Christians) will definitely be a part of our life here on this earth. May God help us not to shirk away from this “painful” aspect of being a Christian, but instead help us to rejoice in these sufferings, just as the Apostle Paul rejoiced in them. It will be necessary to do that in order to truly present yourself as a living sacrifice.
“Heavenly Father, please give me the courage to accept the sufferings and afflictions that Thou hast ordained to come my way, knowing that Thy Grace is always sufficient. Please help me to be like Paul and rejoice in these sufferings, knowing the great glory that will come from them. Amen.”
Seeing you victoriously endure any and all afflictions, trials, and suffering that God allows to come your way has Great Power to draw your lost family members to Christ. That is one of the most powerful means God will use to save them. May He help you to not shirk from the fire and water that He will put you through. Expect it and fortify yourself with God’s all-sufficient grace. I think it would be most rare for God to bring on the death of a believer in order to bring lost family members to salvation. Still, He might choose to do that. We should be willing to lay down our physical for any cause of Christ, just as He lay down His Life for us. Always bear in mind that He is a loving God, that He will do nothing without Divine Purpose, and that any and all sufferings that come our way greatly glorify Him. Totally yielding yourself to Him during this life is the one thing you will never regret for all eternity.
“Heavenly Father, please help me to fully commit my life unto Thee without any reservations at all. Help me to always bear in mind that I am in the Hands of a loving God Who only wants the best for me, and for my family, for all eternity. Amen.”
“Do not cease to pray for you”
How faithful Paul was to pray for those people. (Colossians 1:9) One of your main duties regarding the salvation of your household is to intercede in prayer for them without ceasing. “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” (Matthew 6:7) So, if we are to “pray without ceasing,” as commanded in I Thessalonians 5:17, how do we avoid vain repetitions while doing that much praying. I cannot answer that for you. You will have to ask God’s Holy Spirit to always guide your praying and to always make it acceptable to God. One thing to keep in mind is that Christ did not forbid all repetition. He forbad vain repetitions. I believe a lot of repetition can be done in prayer that will not be vain. May God guide each of us in this important matter.
“Lord God, please help me to fulfill the role of intercessor that Thou hast ordained for me. Please help me to pray without ceasing. Also, I ask Thee to keep me from using vain repetitions when I pray. Teach me how to pray, Lord. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
I believe that praying the scriptures is the most powerful praying we can possibly do. We can fully rest assured that we will not go amiss with our praying when we take God’s Holy Scriptures and turn them right back to Him in prayer. Here are a few examples of powerful, purely scriptural prayers you can pray for your lost family members.
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” (John 6:45) “Heavenly Father, please draw my dad to the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19) “Heavenly Father, I praise Thy Name that by Thy Grace I have chosen eternal life in Jesus Christ. I now intercede for my lost mother. Please lead her to choose life and blessing. Please save her from choosing death and cursing. Amen.”
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) “Heavenly Father, send Thy Holy Spirit to convince my brother that Jesus Christ is the only One Who can save him from going to Hell and take him to Heaven. Please lead him to believe on and trust in the Name of Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. Amen.”
“Behold, now is the day of salvation.” (II Corinthians 6:2) “Lord God, please convince my lost sister of the dangerous folly of putting off a decision to trust in Christ. Please remind her that she has no promise of tomorrow and no promise of any future chance to get saved. Convince her that now is the time for her to call on Christ to save her. Amen.”
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31) “Almighty God, please smite my husband’s heart with powerful conviction and show him just what a fearful thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Amen.”
“Prepare to meet thy God.” (Amos 4:12) “Heavenly Father, please lead my wife to prepare to meet her Creator God in Judgment by repenting of her sins and trusting in Christ to save her. Amen.”
“For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29) “Lord God, please smite my son’s heart with powerful conviction and show him that You are not a God to be trifled with. Show him that Thou art a consuming fire and that Thy Holy Wrath is hot and heavy against his sins. Show him the eternal fires of Hell that await him if he rejects Christ. Turn him from his sin and save him now, Lord, please. Amen.”
“Choose you this day whom ye will serve.” (Joshua 24:15) “Heavenly Father, please lead my daughter to choose to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Please deal with her most powerfully right now to make that decision right now. Amen.”
Of course, you would want to call your family members’ names as you offer up such intercessory prayers for their salvation. I kept each of those prayers very short and right to the point of the text I based each one upon. But as the Holy Spirit leads you in your interceding, you can make each of those prayers just as long as you feel led to do. As you daily read your Bible, you can also make that Bible reading time into this kind of intercessory prayer time. If you truly do not want to see your lost family members perish in an eternal Hell that should lead you to pray several Bible chapters each day.
You should forsake worldly pleasures, eating, drinking, socializing, TV, hi-tech excitement, and such. Fasting adds much spiritual power to your prayers. Ask God to help you endure times of fasting to put more power in your prayer life. You should crucify the flesh, and come out of the world by ceasing to live for the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Daily live hours in God’s Holy Bible, turning salient scriptures right back to God in powerful intercessory prayers for your lost family members. When you finish the entire Bible, then start over again at the beginning, doing the same thing over and over till your entire household is brought safely into the Ark of Salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. Such praying would be repetition, but I do not believe that it is vain repetition at all.
I believe there is much more spiritual power in praying aloud than in praying silently in one’s heart and mind. “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.” (Hebrews 5:7) That “strong crying” might refer both to tears and to a loud voice. Tears from a broken heart also add much spiritual power to our prayers. If your heart is not broken over the fact that family members are one heartbeat away from eternal Hell fire, it certainly should be. Ask God to give you a broken heart over their lost and undone condition.
Years ago, I heard a marvelous testimony of a drunkard who got saved. For many years he regularly drank much whiskey because he just loved the drunken effect it gave him. His boisterous drunken escapades were well known to most everyone around him, and likely some Christians who knew him had no faith that such a sinner as him would ever get saved. But a godly Christian man, strong in faith, got a heavy burden for that lost drunkard. When the Christian had the occasion, he spoke to the drunkard about Christ. Also, he earnestly interceded in prayer for the lost man’s salvation. That intercessor prayed the entire Bible through more than 3 times, praying it for that lost man. Praise God that drunkard got saved. By the way, those 2 men were not of the same household. So rest assured that God will save all of your household if only you will just believe His promise to do so, and if you will earnestly intercede in prayer for them as God leads you to do, and do anything and everything God leads you to do concerning their salvation.
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (I Timothy 1:15) Always keep your eyes on this Divine Truth that our Lord Jesus Christ is in the business of saving sinners. Always have a repentant heart because of your evil sin of unbelief, in that you are prone to give in to doubt that God will save all your family tho He clearly promised to do so in Acts 16:31. Paul had previously murdered Christian believers. So he well knew what it is like to be the chief of sinners. Therefore he well knew how rich in grace God is to save the worst of sinners. Just as Paul did, each of us should also regard our own self as the chief of sinners. Doing so will enhance our faith to see any sinful member of our house get saved.
“Heavenly Father, impress upon me the deep meaning of the truth that Christ came into this world to save sinners. Forgive me for doubting Thy wonderful promise to save my lost family members. Amen.”
“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (II Corinthians 4:18) You look at your lost mother who prides herself on, and trusts in, the decent and “good” life she lives, her church attendance, her good deeds, her kindness to everyone, and such, and you think that she will never come to repent and trust in Christ. Ask God to help you to get your eyes off of her and to fix them upon Christ who came into this world to save sinners just like her.
You look upon your husband who is kind and loving in many ways, and a faithful provider for his household, but he has no use for God, the Bible, church, religion, or anything along those lines. He doesn’t want anyone to ever talk about such things to him. If you focus your sight on that determined, adamant attitude of his, it will be easy for the devil to convince you that nothing will ever cause him to change. Don’t do that. Instead, focus your gaze upon the unseen things that are eternal. Gaze upon a loving Saviour Who came into this world just to save sinners just like your husband. Gaze upon Christ pouring out the last drop of His life’s blood just to save your husband. And in faith, believe that God will save all of your house, just as He promised to do in Acts 16:31.
You look upon your son who is steeped in deplorable sins of immorality, liquor and drugs that are rapidly destroying his physical life. The words that flow from his mouth are most filthy and ungodly. He curses you and God when you try to talk to him about God. And as you look on such an adamant sinner, it will be easy for you to sin away all of your faith and to think it impossible for him to ever change. Don’t do that. Repent of your evil heart of unbelief. Focus your eyes upon our All Powerful Saviour Who came into this world to save sinners just like your son.
“Almighty God, do help me to have strong faith to always look on the unseen. Give me a vision of Christ the Saviour most desirous to save all my lost family members. Save me from the sin of looking on my sinful family members and then concluding that they will never change. Keep me from that sin of unbelief. Help me to never forget that all things are possible with Thee. Please give me strong, unwavering, single-minded faith. Increase my faith to believe Thee for my family’s salvation. Amen.”
“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” (Hebrews 3:12) Revival begins with Christian believers and revival is the responsibility of Christian believers. In a sense, the wicked sinners are no factor. Our evil heart of unbelief is a major barrier to seeing many lost people get saved, especially our lost family members. “Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.” (Psalms 78:41) Each and every time that you doubt God’s promise to save all of your household, you are committing the sin of limiting Almighty God Who has already promised to save all your house if only you will believe His promise. What a paradox. Almighty God has unlimited power and has promised us that, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” (Mark 9:23) Whatever we do, we do not want to be an obstacle to God and limit Him in the wonderful things He desires to do for us. God forbid that we limit Him.
“Almighty God, please save me from limiting Thee by unbelief on my part. Please help me to be strong in faith to see Thee work great works of salvation for many people, including my family. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
You have absolutely NO reason to believe that God will not save your lost family members as He so faithfully promised to do. But still, you look on a family member who is a wretched sinner steeped in many, deplorable, abominable sins, and furthermore boasts that he or she will never repent of sin and trust in Christ. And you make the choice to believe that filthy sinner instead of believing a Holy, Almighty God Who never lies and Who promised to save your house. Think seriously on just how foolish you were in choosing whom you believe, and what a grievous sin that is in God’s Sight. Then truly repent of this sin of unbelief that is allowing precious, lost family members to continue on their way to an eternal Hell.
“Heavenly Father, please reveal to me just how awful my sin of unbelief is, in that I am so prone to believe a lost family member’s stubborn rejection of Christ more than I am prone to believe Thy merciful promise to save my house. Forgive me for limiting the Holy One of Israel. Also reveal to me just what a terrible sin that is, and for Thy mercies sake save me from continuing to commit that sin. Give me a heart to always believe Thee in unwavering faith. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
Absolutely refuse to believe that wicked, sinful family member, but instead believe God Who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above that which we ask or think. Always meditate on the fact that Christ came into the world to save sinners. Daily call upon God to keep your faith strong and to block out all doubts and sins of unbelief as you daily intercede in prayer for your family’s salvation.
And then as God enables you to become more and more victorious in these areas, start praising God for saving your family even before they get saved. There is much power in doing that. I cannot emphasize that enough. It is a most bold exercise of faith that honours, glorifies, and pleases God greatly, thanking Him for what He promises to do, tho the deed is not yet done by God. And we can expect God to honour that thanksgiving on your part by saving your lost family members. Offering up that praise in advance is one thing that will keep you from slipping into discouragement, despair, and disbelief. When you speak to lost family members about God, at times they will lash out at you in most cruel and savage ways, verbally and possibly even physically. Satan will eagerly try to use their attacks to drive you to hopeless despair to get you to give up all hope and faith, and cease doing anything toward bringing them to Christ. At times like that, when the enemy brings you to your lowest point, trying to render you totally defeated, the one key to maintaining victory at such times is to offer up praise to God that He is going to save your family. Boldly declare to God that you believe Him instead of believing the enemy and tell Him that you praise His High and Holy Name because He is going to save your family. If lost family members grow stronger in their opposition to you and to God, do not let that bring on discouragement. Do the opposite and just praise God more that He is going to save them. Such faith on your part will be most pleasing to God. Praise is a most powerful weapon in our spiritual warfare. By all means, do not fail to use it. How foolish to be engaged in such important warfare where the eternal fate of your household hangs in the balance, and fail to use the powerful weapons of warfare that God has provided.
As God leads you to do so, declare to your lost family members that you believe that God is going to change them, lead them to repentance and to putting their faith in Christ to save them. If they laugh, mock at you and such, for saying that, just tell them you still believe it and that you believe God and His faithful promises instead of believing them. If they boldly declare that they will definitely not come to Christ, then you just as boldly declare to them that you believe God instead of them. Tell them that God has promised to save your household and that you totally believe Almighty God’s promise. Tell them that, with great joy, you look forward to the day when they will soon be saved. God will be most pleased with you declaring such to the lost sinners of your house. He will honour your declarations of faith by saving your house. Your firm declarations of strong, unwavering faith to your lost family members will be a key tool God will use in bringing them to salvation in Christ. No matter how strong a front of opposition the lost family members put up to you, you firmly standing on God’s promises will allow God to work powerfully in their hearts to convert them.
Pray the Scriptures for Christian believers as well as for lost people. One of the best ways to train up your children in the way they should go is to pray the Scriptures for them. Have your child read a verse at a time, you pray it, and continue that till Heaven comes down and glory fills both your souls. Pray the scriptures for whomsoever you pray. Please pray Ephesians 3:15-20 for me, especially verse 19. “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Oh how I desire that. Please pray that for me.
“Heavenly Father, teach me everything I need to know about faith and intercessory prayer. Teach me all I need to know about offering up praise to Thee, praise for what I look forward to You doing in the future, fulfilling Thy faithful promise to save my house, and many other marvelous, miraculous works for my family. Teach me what a great and powerful weapon praise is. And teach me how to properly offer up praise to Thee from a heart of faith that will make that praise into a powerful weapon against the enemy. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (I John 4:4) Always bear in mind that you are on the victorious side. Almighty God, Who promised to save your house, is your Captain. He is fighting for you. He has all power over Satan and your lost family members. Believe Him fully and totally trust Him to save all of your house. Absolutely refuse to believe the devil and your wicked, sinful, lost family members in their defiance against God. It is no less than your duty and responsibility to do that.
It is most proper to thank God and praise Him in advance that He is going to save your family in His time. It is most likely that thought, “in His time,” will come into your mind. When that happens, think right back to what the Scriptures teach about God’s time to save people. “Behold, now is the day of salvation.” Therefore we should always have a sense of urgency as lost family members continue on in sinful rebellion against God, always only one heartbeat away from eternal Hell fire. They have no promise of a future chance of salvation. We should never be complacent. We should never be at ease in Zion regarding their salvation. Earnestly ask God why He lingers in saving them. Desperately ask Him to show you anything more He desires for you to do toward their salvation. And with God’s Help, always be broken hearted over, and maintain a sense of urgency regarding their tragic, lost condition, knowing assuredly that time is steadily running out.
“Your faith to God-ward is spread abroad”
If there are other members of your house, besides you, who are also Christian believers, then it is important that each and every believer in the family become dead earnest about the salvation of the other family members who are not Christians. As God leads you to do, convey that to the other Christians in your family. Consider asking them to also read this sermon. You bond together with them in agreement for God to save your house. “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:19) Here, Christ promises us that there is extra strength in unity. All of your saved family members should join together in faith, believing God to save the remainder of your house. Also you should join together in doing each and every thing God leads you to do regarding their salvation; interceding in prayer, speaking to the lost loved ones, and such. God gave you an absolute promise in Acts 16:31. Join with your saved family members together claiming that promise absolutely.
Believing that promise and trusting in God to fulfill it will branch out into multiples of souls getting saved. What a blessed thought that is, and how confident we can go forth into the “family” field of harvest, knowing that God has promised to save our house. For instance, you have 1 brother and 2 sisters who are each married with children, and every person in those 3 households is lost and on their way to the eternal torments of Hell. First, you believe God to save your brother and 2 sisters, because they are of your house. Then when God honours your faith and saves those 3 siblings of yours, you tell them everything in this sermon, ask them to read this sermon, and from there teach them how that they are each to be a savior to their own house and believe God to save their houses (their spouses and children). When those 3 spouses get saved, then each of them is to become a savior to each of their houses (parents and siblings). Proclaim that to them and pray that God will get them to work toiling and interceding for the salvation of their houses. When all the family members of those 3 spouses get saved, then that branches out into more in-laws and such additional family members who then can claim this promise for all their house, parents, siblings, spouses, and children. Think seriously on how this saving of souls will spread if each Christian believer will hastily come to be the savior of his or her house, as God has ordained that we do.
“Oh Brother Richard, you are getting ridiculous putting this forth like a magic foolproof formula guaranteeing that so many people will definitely get saved.” Well, if that is the way you feel about it, tell that to Almighty God Who promises to save your house and is soon to judge you regarding what you do with that promise. Time is running out. You need to hastily act on that promise. Immediately upon getting saved, the new Christian believer is assigned a well-defined mission field by God. That mission field is his or her house. God’s promise to save them is definite. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Believe that entire promise. The Judge of the universe holds each of us responsible for working our assigned mission field and for claiming this promise. God forbid that we fail Him or our family in this gravely serious, eternal matter.
As God leads you to do so, ask every Christian around you to read this sermon. Let’s pray that each of them will do as God ordains they do for their lost family members’ salvation. Pastors, evangelists, church teachers, and church leaders, as God leads you regarding this, keep it on the front burner. If you believe this sermon, then preach it and teach it in your church. Likely God will lead you to pray individually with church members, interceding for the salvation of their house. Speak to them the words God gives you to encourage them to have strong faith and to not despair and give up, but rather to toil and travail with Christ until all their house is saved. Each and every Christian believer is assigned a definite mission field, his or her house, and we are given a definite and wonderful promise that the lost ones in that mission field will definitely be saved. God forbid that we allow any precious family member to perish because we failed to do our part.
Millions of Christian believers on this earth have lost family members. Most of those Christians are not aware that the lost people in their household are a mission field specially assigned to them and they are duty bound to act on God’s promise to save their house. Lots of Christians are neglecting their own personal mission field, their lost family members. May God help us to make other Christians aware of this grave responsibility they have and guide them into working their mission field.
Each Christian should have a special burden for his lost family members and should be most desirous to see them get saved. But now let me speak just a short word on an important, related topic. We must be careful not to become selfish and self-centered regarding lost souls. We are not to focus solely on our house and forsake the rest of the lost world around us. We should still be concerned and burdened for all lost people in the world, and therefore do any thing and every thing God leads us to do toward winning them to Christ. If we selfishly center on our family’s salvation only and have no concern for the many other lost souls around us, for whom Christ died, God will be displeased with this and will therefore withhold blessings. While trusting in God’s promise to save our house, let us do all we can to win anyone and everyone to Christ.
“Lord Jesus, help me to truly care about all the lost souls You died for, and do all I can to win any and all people to Thee, knowing that You are not willing that one should perish. Help me to not be selfish, concerned only about my beloved, lost family members. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
One question of doubt might easily come into our minds regarding this promise. “What about the apparent exceptions to that promise in Acts 16:31?” We see godly believers who desperately pray and beg God to save their family, but still a family member dies lost, apparently. “What has gone wrong there, Brother Richard?” I do not know. But I do know one thing for sure. God did not go wrong. His promise did not fail. So first and foremost of all, keep your eyes on that fact and always keep your eyes and all your attention and faith sharply focused upon our Perfect God Who gave us this perfect promise and Who never fails us in any way. Consider my use of the word, “apparently,” a few sentences back. That lost family member may have gotten saved before death overtook him or her. There is always that possibility. Also, among the Christian believers in that house, one or more of them may have failed to do their duty in being the savior of their house. One may have done so out of ignorance. One may have clearly been led of God to intercede in prayer or to speak to the lost family member about salvation, but still willingly refused to fulfill this duty that God clearly led them to do. Therefore it greatly behooves each of us believers to do our part. With fear and trembling, we must keep our eyes sharply focused upon our Saviour and His Promise, and earnestly pray that we will not fail to do our most important part in our family’s salvation.
“Brother Richard, I have already had a family member die who never professed to be a Christian. That loved one died long after I became a Christian. Now, upon reading this sermon, God has showed me that I failed to do my part regarding believing God for their salvation and doing my part working to win them to Christ. What can I do about that now?” Regretfully, we cannot turn the clock back. So I know of only one thing you can do about it now. Repent of it, ask God to have mercy on you for that sinful failure, and ask God to save you from ever again being so neglectful in such weighty, eternal matters.
My pastor friend, such as that is one reason why the Great Shepherd sets pastors over His flock, to teach, lead, and guide them regarding these grave, serious matters of eternal life and eternal death. God forbid that you be neglectful in the heavy responsibility to preach and teach these matters to His flock that He has entrusted into your care. To do so will bring you much remorse on Judgment Day. Pastor, earnestly pray to God asking Him to show you just how much emphasis to put on “Household Salvation” and how often He wants you to remind your flock of it. You have a church house full of Christians who have a specific mission field assigned to them, their lost family members. Pastor, you must do as God leads you to do, in training your flock to each work their mission field.
Pastor, think on all the recreational and social functions and amusements your church regularly carries on. Think on how often you eat, drink, and be merry with your church members in your home, their homes, and every nice restaurant within 30 miles. All the while, they are sinfully neglecting their God assigned mission fields and letting precious, lost family members die and perish in Hell. Christ didn’t set you as a shepherd over His flock for the purpose of you all having all the fun in life you possibly can. He did it for the purpose of you and your church people entering into the travail and toil of bringing more lost sheep into His Fold, especially the lost family members of your church members. What remorse we will have on Judgment Day, if we neglect our duty toward them for earthly and worldly thrills. It behooves us all to get as serious about the tragedy of lost souls as our Lord is.
“Lord Jesus, please help me to be just as serious about the fate of my lost family members as You are. I pray this for all other Christians also. I pray that church pastors will all do Thy Will regarding guiding their church members in their duty to do their part in bringing lost family members to Christ. Amen.”
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” My dear Christian friend, because God put that promise in your Bible, I believe there is only one reason that a member of your house will perish in Hell. You yourself will have to fail that beloved family member in order for them to perish. You do not want that to happen. You do not want to find yourself standing near them with their blood on your hands when they stand before the Great White Throne Judgment condemned to Hell. How tragic it would be to have them look upon you and your bloody hands and sob to you in their hopelessness, “You failed me. You did not believe God’s promise to save your house. As a Christian, you lived in pleasure instead of entering into the toil and travail with Christ to see your family brought safely into the Ark of Salvation. I hope you enjoy eternity in Heaven while I am tormented in flames forever.” You do not want to experience that. Whatever you do in this life, believe on and act upon this wonderful promise. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
“Pass the time of your sojourning here with fear”
Upon trusting in Christ, the immature, newborn Christian spiritual baby is prone to entertain such thoughts as these. “I’ve got it made now. Heaven is my eternal home, so I have no worries and no cares. I can now live to have as much fun (clean fun, of course) as possible while here on the earth.” But God ordained that you do much higher and more noble things during your Christian life on this earth. Therefore it behooves you to obey your Creator by passing your time here on earth with fear. Totally submit yourself to God to completely do His Will. And by all means, do not fail to be the savior to your house that God ordained that you be.
“Heavenly Father, help me to now fully place my life in Thy Hands. Please help me to truly desire for my life here on earth to be exactly what Thou would have it to be. Please sober me up and cause me to pass my time here on earth in fear of Thee. I desire to be the savior to my house that Thou hast ordained that I be. Please help me to do that. Guide me about asking others to read this sermon. By Thy Mercy and Grace, may none of us Christian believers fail to claim and act upon Thy wonderful promise to save our house. Amen.”
(This is the end of the sermon, “Household Salvation.” “Heavenly Father, please use it to bring many entire families into Thy Ark of Eternal Salvation, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”)