HOME, SWEET HOME: God’s Covenant with the House of His Saints
5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
Every household where the father has totally surrendered all his life to Jesus Christ has the claim of God on every family member. There is no promise in the Bible more definite than this promise. When God made a covenant with Abraham, he included his seed after him as part of that covenant. “And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee.” (Genesis 17:9-10).
Some people dismiss that covenant with Abraham as being Old Testament theology. To end your doubt look at one of the most picturesque conversions in Jesus’ ministry, Zacchaeus the tax collector. He was an unlikely convert, very rich and extremely evil, but something awakened a passion in him to see Jesus. Once he experienced this conviction of Jesus, nothing could stop his effort to get an upfront seat. This rich, little man climbed a tree to get a good view and, with this passion of desire, stopped Jesus in His tracks.
Jesus invited Zacchaeus down from the tree and then proclaimed, “for today I must abide at your house.” (Luke 19:5). That was not a casual decision on Jesus’ part. No man ever decides for Jesus Christ, but that He then goes “home” with that individual. The Lord has no interest in part-time discipleship. The first place Jesus is manifest in a new believer’s life is in their home. When Jesus arrived as Zacchaeus house, He made an eternal proclamation; for everything Jesus said was eternal, “And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:9-10).
Please do not dismiss this incredible truth. Zacchaeus had made a total break with his past; he had committed himself to restitution with everyone he had wronged and he had become a selfless disciple of the eternal Son of God. On that very day, “this day”, said Jesus, the house of Zacchaeus was declared a house of salvation. The claim of God on that house was established and proclaimed by the Son of God.
I have lived by this covenant for over forty years and not one time has Satan won against my family. Remember, we are discussing a claim that must be pursued; Satan will badger every disciple of the Lord and lie about every promise. He will conduct warfare against your family and rob every treasure that is not under the lock and key of the protecting blood of Calvary. The father who has experienced this claim on his family must understand the warfare lifestyle of the saints. We will be back to our responsibility to press this claim after understanding more about the covenant.
The Biblical Covenant
The Bible is a book of covenants. In fact, the Bible is made up of two major covenants, each establishing many additional individuals or corporate covenants. David said, “He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.” (Psalm 105:8). Read carefully: “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.” (Psalm 111:9); “He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant.” (Psalm 111:5); “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” (Psalm 89:34); “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant.” (Psalm 89:3); and “. ..through the blood of the everlasting covenant.” (Hebrews 13:20b). There are many more Scriptures affirming that our God is a “covenant keeping God.” Our Heavenly Father has given us His book of covenants with absolute assurance that nobody can break them but you and me. He has never in all eternity broken one covenant. “God is not a man, that he should lie.” (Numbers 23:19a).
A covenant is a basis of relationship. If one person does certain things then the other party to the covenant promises to do certain things. Grace, by which we are saved and forgiven of sin, is free and without merit. We cannot earn salvation by doing certain things; but immediately upon our acceptance of His grace, He then establishes His covenant with us. The blessings of that covenant are based on obedience and absolute trust of His provisions. There will be individuals saved who will have no reward because they neglected the covenant and promises. (I think I would be miserable in heaven to be one of those.) The covenant that God has made with the house of His saints is only one covenant or a promise of many, but I believe it is one of the primary covenants that has been utterly forsaken in our generation. Why have we ignored this incredible covenant with the family?
10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.
11 (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:
12 Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)
13 So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him,
“When He Is Old, He Will Not Depart From It”
The challenge of training children is probably a matter as close to the heart of God as an individual may experience. Young lives are fragile, innocent, and pliable. Our Heavenly Father has wisely designed the home for their safety. The Creator spoke to Adam at the very moment of his creation. “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion . . .” (Genesis 1:28). First, God blessed the father and mother, charging them to be fruitful, to multiply, replenish, subdue, and take dominion. He put them in charge of their world and to have dominion over their future. We do not follow fate or wishfully hope for the best. We have a covenant with the Creator and should refuse anything but His will.
From the very first hour of creation until the present, there have been literally thousands of parents who have lived by the Creator’s mandate. Solomon expressed this same truth by saying, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6). There is no ambiguity in these Words of God. It is either true or our God cannot be trusted to keep His covenants. The liberal humanists (Many are in the church.) have been brainwashing a multitude of parents in this generation to buy the idea that we raise our children, but do not have control over their future. They go further to even suggest that we should not even try to give them our thoughts. One of the most popular books in our nation right now is Chicken Soup For The Soul. It has been on the top of the New York Religious Bestseller List for months. Here is a primary quote from a short article, entitled On Parenting.
“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls.” (Chicken Soup For The Soul, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, Florida, 1993, p. 119.)
They do not want you to give your children your thoughts because they want to give your children their thoughts. Anybody foolish enough to buy that New Age deception has bought the enemy’s lie.
They know if we instill the biblical values properly then they cannot change our children for their humanistic dream. This mandate named above from Proverbs is a command to the parents. We are to command our children just as our God commands us. That sounds hard until you understand the entire process. It must begin when they are infants by training, dedicating, consecrating and initiating them into a baptism of truth. When they are trained in this fashion, the unity and happiness of dad, mom, and children becomes so interwoven and second nature that departure from truth becomes foreign. Sure there will be times when young lives try out their wings, but if the house has been a little bit of heaven, God’s covenant says they will not depart.
Home: A Man’s Castle
It does not matter if the house is a hut or a mansion; if it has been made a God-appointed house, it is a castle. Man is assigned by His Creator to have a house. This idea has been lost to this unbiblical generation. Paul the apostle confirms this plan. “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” (Hebrews 3:1-6).
Moses was faithful in his house as described above; but the Creator, Jesus Christ, is the One Who is described as the builder of all things. Every house is to be built by the Lord Jesus Christ who also built His church, the household of saints. We are His family and will soon be His bride. Until then every man is assigned a house. Paul said, “Every house is built by some man.” Paul continues this theme in his letters to the household (church) of God. He stated, “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?” (1 Timothy 3:1-5).
A man was not allowed to be a ruler in the early church that did not have his house in order. Please note that last verse, “One that ruleth well his own house.” Our homes should be a mirror example of the church with the father as the minister/pastor. It is the center of society as well as the center of the church. Any organization that divides the family in activity, program, emphasis, or lifestyle is not the work of God.
Four Thousand Year Old Covenant With Abraham’s House
Abraham’s covenant with God was a beautiful example of God’s faithfulness to His promise. We have watched the seed of Abraham return to their promise land four thousand years after this covenant was cut with Abraham himself. This was a covenant of faith 400 years before the law was given. “And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. “He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.” (Genesis 17:9-11;13).
The evidence of this covenant was manifest in Moses and his seeds’ flesh. They were required to confirm the covenant at the birth of every man child or the entrance of any individual male to the house. This same covenant is passed into the church by Jesus Christ and His death for us. Paul said to the Galatians, “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” (Galatians 3:14-17).
The Jewish nation has survived more judgment and atrocities than any culture in history. When they walked in God’s covenant, they prospered and lived in tremendous blessing. When they rebelled, they became subject to judgment always equal to their offenses. The righteous God always judges righteously. Presently, the family of Abraham are preparing for their return to God. The growing expectancy in Israel is “Messiah is coming.” As they return to faith, the covenant will be revisited on them and God will remember His promise to His servant, Abraham.
12 And when ye come into an house, salute it.
13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.
14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
A Covenant With His Saints
There is a marvelous array of men in Scripture who built their houses on indestructible materials. Some examples are also given of those who built on wood, hay, and stubble. Joshua was a faithful man whom God would establish to lead Israel across Jordan into the promise land. As he prepared Israel for her great victories he did so with an affirmation of his faithful house. He called on all Israel to choose. He said, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15).
Cornelius was one of the first Gentile converts to the church in the Book of Acts. He was chosen by God to establish that His church would be a bi-racial institution built on strong families. Notice the family of Cornelius even before his conversion to Jesus Christ. “There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.” (Acts 10:1-2).
When Peter arrived with the gospel, Cornelius, his family and friends were awaiting the message. “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.” (Acts 10:44-48).
This kind of family revival or house revival characterized the Book of Acts. When Paul was delivered from jail at Philippi, a revival occurred. The jailer cried out, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul’s answers were characteristic of that house revival mindset. “. . . Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:30-31). It appears that a man made no decisions in the New Testament without including his family. Life was a family affair. In fact that mindset is still the mindset of an orthodox Jewish family. The liberal Jews have departed from that idea and are paying the consequence.
In Corinth, Paul preached in the synagogue. When many of the Jews blasphemed, Paul shook his raiment and said, “Your blood be on your own heads.” He then departed to the house of Justus where revival continued. The Scripture then states, “And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.” (Acts 18:8). When Crispus was saved, his entire house was saved with him. The effect was powerful, “and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.”
In writing to the Corinthians, Paul stated, “And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.” (1 Corinthians 1:16). According to John’s gospel when Jesus healed the nobleman’s son, the Scripture stated, “So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.” (John 4:53).
The Bible is a book about the families of God’s chosen servants. When the family became dysfunctional, God would put that man on the shelf. It happened to Eli and Samuel because they allowed their families to live undisciplined lives. Study the history of denominations and nations and you find that children who did not follow the principles of their fathers and mothers were the leaders of compromise and apostasy.
1 Timothy 5
8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man.
10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.
Rebuilding And Reclaiming Your Family
You must start at the foundation. It does not matter how old you are or if your family is grown. Go back personally to the foundations of faith and build your life around the Word of God. Repent of any carelessness that you can identify. Let me suggest some areas for you to consider:
- Do you have biblical devotions regularly in your home?
- Do you keep the Lord’s Day holy and hallowed from common activities?
- Do you allow unscriptural lifestyle, dress, conversation, and conduct?
- Is love and understanding prominent in family relationships?
- Do you cherish your wife before your children?
- Is prayer for your family a lifestyle?
As you ponder these and other areas of your life, genuinely repent of any identifiable weakness and disobedience. When you have developed a new and peaceable relationship with your children, ask them to forgive you of areas in which you feel you failed. Do not begin by pushing them to change their lives. Let them see God and His Spirit in you. When you did not build that relationship while they were children, it may take time to repair the walls of understanding and love.
Turn your house into a palace for spiritual living. A man or woman who begins to live for spiritual satisfaction will be surprised at the joy of simple things. Our world has brainwashed us into thinking that pleasure is worldly things, going to many places and living high. It is a lie. Pleasure is the joy of the Lord, living in Holy Revelation from the Scripture and learning to make melody in our hearts to the Lord. Your children and grandchildren will start finding the Family House a peaceable place and will probably ask, “Dad/Paw paw and mom/maw maw, what’s happened to this house?”
If your children are unsaved, you are responsible. That may not be pleasant, but it’s the only place to start. If everything I have said in this article is biblical, and I believe I have proven that it is, then the parents are responsible for unsaved children. I am personally disgusted with hearing parents and grandparents become defensive when they tell you that their children are not serving the Lord. I have heard many people say, “I did my best, I raised them right, etc.” Probably, most of the people who say these words are sincere, and often did do all that they knew to do. Only you and your children can know the truth. What we all can know is that God is ready to keep His promise.
Press This Claim Before God In Intercessory Prayer
If you are saved, your children have the claim of God on them. That is absolute. Start pressing that claim in soul-searching prayer. I remember when my son, Terry, was backslid and headed in the wrong direction. I made me an altar just for his salvation. Satan actually sent an emissary to claim the soul of my son. God’s Holy Spirit enabled me to stand my ground. I literally remember screaming at Satan’s emissary (I thought it was Satan himself.), “You will walk over my dead body before you get my son.” The tide began to turn and a few days later I heard that still sure voice, “I promise you your son.” I remember jumping up and hurrying home to tell Juanita, “God just promised me my son.” There was never another doubt and he was saved just a few weeks later.
Every godly dad has a covenant with God for his family. Obey the covenant commandments and press your claim before the just and holy God. Remember the blood of Jesus is your defense, your authority, and your guarantee. The crown of the man is his wife. Let’s look at, “The glory of a virtuous woman.”