Salvation, Extended to Families

We are commanded to teach all that Christ commanded. So, what did Jesus teach? He taught about the validity of God’s law, condemned antinomianism, preached on hell, stressed the doctrines of grace, and touched on the doctrines of the covenant, church discipline, and marriage, etc. In short, Jesus covered the fullness of scriptural teaching. To be faithful to the Great Commission, we must teach everything that Jesus taught — and we must disciple the nations with those truths.

Other Scripture passages stress this comprehensive task. In his closing challenge to the elders at Ephesus, for instance, Paul stresses that he declared to them the “full counsel” of the Word of God. Elsewhere Paul notes the church’s obligation to take “every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ.”

In Acts 16 there is a picture of crisis evangelism. The distraught jailer, preparing to kill himself, asks what he must do to be saved. This was the time, if ever there was one, for a quickie gospel invitation. The response of Paul and Silas was: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved — you and your household.” In addition to the expected exhortation to faith and salvation, the evangelists slip in a teaching about God’s grace to families.

Years ago I heard a fascinating testimony from a woman in northern Minnesota. She and her husband, Swanny, were unsaved and resisted the gospel, though it was faithfully presented by her brother, John.

“Aren’t you afraid of going to hell?” John asked. “No,” Swanny replied carelessly, “I don’t care if I go to hell.” John pointed to the children in the room and asked, “Do you want your children to go to hell?” At this point the woman’s voice cracked and her eyes grew teary. “You know,” she said, “John had us there. We hadn’t thought about the children… and we didn’t want to gamble with their eternal destiny.”

John used an important element of covenantal evangelism. God gives this promise to Abraham — to be a God to him and to his children after him (Acts 17:7). Peter reemphasized that message at Pentecost reminding the people that the promise was for their children (Ac. 2:39). And God gives this promise to the church — that in Christ our seed is holy (I Cor. 7:14). The apostles evangelized this suicidal man by using the doctrine of the covenant — reminding him that God would save both him and his household. They followed up with a good old-fashioned household baptism. And if that approach was good enough for the apostles, it is good enough for me!

The Comprehensive Gospel: Recovering Biblical Evangelism
By Roger Schultz

Household baptism is a promising, if largely untried, way to extend the Kingdom of God.

We should follow the example of the Apostles, and of Jesus Christ Himself.

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