“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Acts 16:31
My father was healed of epilepsy, and delivered from gambling, nicotine, and alcohol when he accepted Jesus as his Saviour and Lord at one Sunday evening evangelistic service. It was a miracle worth talking about and he faithfully shared the good news of God’s deliverance to all who crossed his path, especially to his beloved family members.
My father’s family comprised his mother (his father had passed away), his elder brother, and two older sisters who were his captive audience. It was a close-knit family in the traditional worship of their ancestors attending temple celebrations with donations of cash, food and temple accoutrements. Each sibling had married and with children and for their salvation my father adopted the strategy of sharing God’s love with the children first for he reckoned that his siblings were too hardened and steeped in idolatry.
The children would look forward to Christmas celebration as each Christmas after my dad became a Christian, all the siblings and their families were invited to a Christmas feast . With my mother’s support, each one was given a specially chosen gift. My father soon became the favorite uncle as he became like Santa Claus, but only after my mother, (who had been converted and persecuted by him much earlier), illustrated the story of God’s love and grace to all who would listen and who were seated on benches in front of a sparkling lit 12 feet tall Christmas tree each year.
My dad had been offered to the goddess Kwan Yin since birth when he survived a much feared childbirth as he was a ten pounder in breech position. He was made to wear an earring on his left ear, as a symbol for life, of his bondage to the goddess.Through his childhood he was required to abstain from partaking of beef, till one day in his teens, he could no longer resist the temptation of beef satay ( beef grilled on skewers and eaten with spicy sauce)and stealthily bought 10 sticks of satay from a hawker ( vendor on a bicycle) when his mother was not home. From then he found that abstinence from beef was not necessary as he was not punished by the goddess for partaking beef without his mother’s knowledge. That dented his belief in Kwan Yin. Without fear, on his baptism day, he threw away the ear-ring and freed himself of all the goddess’ restrictive requirements for temple visits, sacrifices and offerings of cash, food and temple accoutrements, as his idolatrous and superstitious mother witnessed in horror in fear of retribution.
Being the youngest in the family, my father was closest to the younger of his two sisters and frequently shared his Christian experiences with her , even his healing from epilepsy and freedom from the bondage of idolatry. When she suffered from high blood pressure which seemed uncontrollable medically, he prayed for her healing. She did not accept the Lord until she became pregnant and her life was in danger due to her uncontrollable blood pressure. The rest of the family watched and wondered if she would be healed while she testified she had the peace of God and the hope of eternal life. No more was she fearful of death since she accepted Jesus as her Savior and Lord, with the hope of heaven, and she witnessed to her elder sister and mother. She died in childbirth and her mother grieved the fact they would be eternally separated at death from her Christian daughter.
The Lord convicted my grandmother and softened her heart from being a devout idol worshipper to one who joined my dad in prayer for his sister near the time of her death. Through her grief my grandmother yearned for the peace which her late daughter had until one day, she requested my father to lead her to accept the Lord to receive that peace which passes all understanding. My grandmother was baptised at the age of 78 years old, a stroke patient too weak to go into the waters of baptism by herself but she was determined to let al her idolatrous relatives know that she had converted to be a Christian. She was carried on a sedan chair into the sea, where she was dunked, and rose out of the waters with a remarkable joy on her face in the company of many unsaved witnesses. Praise the Lord.
My dad next turned his focus of witness to his brother and living sister. He claimed the promise that if he dutifully witnessed his whole house would be saved …. and so they were saved. My uncle and aunt both died in the Lord, of cancer and through their witness the rest of their families are Christians and serving the Lord today.
Acts 16:31,32 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.”
If you read these verses carefully you will see that the offer of salvation by faith in Jesus was offered to the jailer, and to his whole household. The message of salvation was proclaimed to the jailer, and his whole household. The message of salvation was believed by the jailer, and his whole household. And as the jailer professed his faith by being baptized, so did the others in his household. The offer was to the jailer and all of his household. The acceptance of this offer was by the jailer and his whole household, but there is no guarantee that this will always be so.
Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Whether you love your family or not, you have the responsibility to share the gospel with them. They are your Jerusalem. Be encouraged to witness to your unsaved family members and loved ones. Persistence pays for if you do your part, the Lord will do His part. Be consistent. Jesus will honor His Word among you to His honor and glory.
Do your duty. No one else can .