by Dr. Lee Roberson
“Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” —Luke 10:38–42.
Perhaps no better time could be selected for a message on the home than this. Father’s Day is a time when people think about home.
As far as I am concerned, there is nothing beautiful about a home that does not have Jesus in the center. Through the years it has been my privilege to observe hundreds of homes. I have found that a home without Christ is a desolate, dreary, miserable spot. All of the fine furnishings, all of the social gatherings cannot change a Christless home into a beautiful, happy spot.
For a home to be its best, the presence of Christ must hallow each room.
A simple poem came to my desk a few days ago. The title is “Does Jesus Live at Your House?”
“Does Jesus live at your house?”
I heard a child once ask:
Her little brow was furrowed
As she struggled with a task.
I saw her eyes were shadowed,
Her face marked with a tear;
The voice a wee bit wistful
For the answer she might hear.
“He used to live at our house,
With Mamma—Daddy, too.
But now He’s gone away somewhere.
I don’t know what to do;
For Daddy’s not the same today,
And Mamma laughs no more.
They never bother much with me;
They say I’m just a bore.
“It didn’t used to be this way
With Jesus in our home,
For every night my daddy came,
When all my curls were combed,
To help me say my bedtime prayer
(And Mamma helped me, too);
And they’d smile and tuck me in,
But now—they never do.
“Could you tell me where Jesus is,
For everything seems black?
We want Him in our house again;
We want Him to come back.
And when He comes we’ll keep Him,
For we truly need Him so—
If Jesus lives at your house,
Oh, don’t ever let Him go!”
The child then turned and left me
While I pursued my way
And thought of many home fires
That could be bright today.
Does Jesus live at your house?
How much these words portend.
Yea! On this question’s answer
Our hopes—our all—depend.
Yes, there are some homes that were once Christian, but they are no more. Certain things took place, and now the presence of Jesus is no longer felt in the home. In some cases the making of money became paramount, and allegiance to Christ was forgotten. In other cases, the pursuit of pleasure began to take first place, and the home disintegrated. Yes, many homes were once beautiful and happy through the presence of Christ, but not today.
Again, there are some homes that have never known what it means to be Christian. They have never honored Christ; they have never received Him.
The first great essential in the building of a Christian home is to receive Jesus. He must be admitted into the heart of the members of the home. This is not a polite acceptance of the fact that Christ is the Son of God, but it must be the experience of receiving Him as Saviour, which results in the new birth.
We must not at any time deceive ourselves into thinking that a home can be made Christian simply by uniting with the church. The homes of many church members are as hellish and miserable as the homes of out-and-out sinners.
Therefore, the first prerequisite to a Christian home is to receive Christ as Saviour.
After acceptance of Christ, there are still some things to do in order to make your home a Christian home. May I suggest some of them.
I. HONOR THE CHURCH
The Bible gives many good reasons why we should honor the church—a Bible-preaching, soul-winning church.
We cannot ignore the commission of our Saviour. He has given us His command to go into all the world and preach the Gospel.
Therefore, we should honor the church by attending the services. The first step to a backslidden Christian life is to absent oneself from the house of God. I’m sure that one reason for the sinking condition of so many homes is the failure to attend the house of God.
When I say that we ought to attend the services of the church, I speak of all of our specified meetings. All of the Sunday services should be attended and the Wednesday prayer service. Too many people have a Sunday-morning-type religion. You can’t build a Christian home on anything as shallow as that. You cannot tie your home to the church of God by a single service on Sunday morning. There are 168 hours in the week; at least six of these should be given to the Lord, and as much more as we can.
Mothers and fathers, don’t lament the wayward, drifting condition of your children if you persist in staying away from God’s house. I can name a number of homes in our church today where the mother and father used to attend regularly and their children came with them. Today the parents come only occasionally, and the children not at all. Some parents have told me that they do not know what to do with their children, for no amount of persuasion will bring them to church. Parents, you are reaping what you sowed.
Second, we should honor the church by giving our money. I make no apology for saying that every child of God should be a tither, and I say without any fear of contradiction that every home would be blessed materially and spiritually if the tithing plan were adopted and followed. God has had a plan in everything He has done, and He has a financial plan. We cannot prosper if we ignore God’s financial program. I am still ready to give $500.00 to anyone who can produce a consistent tither who is a beggar or is forced to depend upon welfare agencies for his subsistence.
Third, honor the church by giving your talents to the Lord’s work. There is such a desperate need for workers. Even in a church such as ours where scores have enlisted in service, we still have great need. Some phases of our work suffer at all times because of the lack of faithful servants.
If your home is to be a Christian home, then you must honor the church of Jesus Christ.
II. HONOR THE WORD OF GOD
You cannot hope to build a Christian home without daily consultation with God’s Guidebook. Almost every home in America has a Bible, but the Bible is read in few homes.
Here is a rule for your home: The Bible should be read aloud in your home, in the presence of your family, at least once each day. Find the time best suited to the family and establish the rule that the Bible will be read each day at that time. It may be at the breakfast hour, or it may be at the evening meal, or it might be before retiring at night. But if you are willing to pay the price to put first things first, there is a time when your home can be blessed by the reading of the Word of God.
A dusty Bible will never bring blessings to your home. Someone has said:
These hath God married, and no man shall part:
Dust on the Bible and drought in the heart.
A clean, unmarked Bible is not a good testimony. The Bible is to be read, yea, to be worn out with much handling. When one copy is torn up, another can be purchased. But let your home be blessed by the reading of God’s holy Word.
III. GIVE DUE PLACE TO PRAYER
After the reading of the Word should come prayer time. You will find that serious, earnest prayer will put your home in direct contact with Christ. Prayer will drive out bitterness, harshness, yea, and even infidelity.
Prayer is the key to every needed thing.
Prayer is the way to victory. Prayer is the cord which binds us together. The more we pray, the more blessed and happy will be the home.
Children should be taught the meaning of prayer. Prayerless young people come out of prayerless homes.
In my daily visitation, I am astonished to find many homes where people do not know what to do with themselves when I say, “Let us pray.” Ofttimes older children will stand in the middle of the floor in amazement when I drop to my knees and begin to pray. They have never seen anything like it, and they do not know what to make of it. On one or two occasions, small children were frightened into tears when I asked the folks to bow with me in prayer. They could not understand what it was all about.
I do not blame the children but the parents for failing in their responsibility to teach them the meaning of and need for prayer. The little ones need an example on the part of the parents so that to them prayer might be as natural as breathing.
Let there be no lightness nor levity about spiritual matters. It is never good to joke about the Bible or to joke about prayer. Any such action will lessen the reverence of young and old for sacred things.
A critical attitude on the part of adults toward the church, the ministry and the services of the church will reveal itself to the children in later days. They will begin to question the importance of church attendance, Bible reading, and prayer if we criticize or make light of these vital things.
Again, skepticism expressed by adults will reveal itself in the lives of young people.
When I spoke to a young intermediate lad about being a Christian, he replied, “I don’t believe the Bible. There are too many mistakes in it.” When I asked where he got such an idea, he said, “Oh, I just thought of it myself.” I knew at once that this was not true. I learned later that the boy’s father is a snarling, bitter skeptic who delights in ridiculing the Bible and making fun of Christians. That father will doubtless be “privileged” to have the company of his son in Hell for eternity because of his attitude.
Your home needs the family altar. In real earnestness, you need to set aside a time each day for the reading of God’s Word and prayer. Your home must honor the church; and if Christ lives at your house, He will be directing your steps to the place of worship.
I believe you can tell the home where Jesus lives. There is a blessed peace, a happiness, a gentleness and a love not found in the homes of the world.
The storms may beat upon the Christian’s home, but it stands firm and fast. Sorrows, like sea billows, may roll against its walls, but it stands. The sun may refuse to shine for weeks and months and years, but still, the Christian home has comfort and cheer.
Like Martha of old, receive Jesus into your home. Sit at His feet as did Mary, and listen to His words.
America needs Christian homes. As go our homes, so goes the nation. A wise teacher of ancient days said, “Give me a single domestic grace, and I will turn it into a hundred public virtues.”
The Christian home contributes to peaceful living, curbs juvenile delinquency lowers the divorce rate, kills atheism, and builds a wall of security about our nation which no enemy can tear down.
Answer the question today, “Does Jesus live at your house?” If He has never entered, then let Him in today. If He was once there, then open wide the door again, and bid Him enter. Does Jesus live in your heart? If not, receive Him now.
by Lee Roberson