This Is HOW...
Our first stop on this trip was at a maximum security prison, and most of the people are criminals of the worst kind. It has the highest level of security and yet there is a special brother there that we dearly love and…
That relationship—is it even more than our family relationship if the person has been born a second time?
Yes, it is. But when you have relationships based on the Second birth, then other brothers and sisters will help you when you’re not being loving to your family. They’ll help you be a better husband and a better father than you ever could have been apart from the help of other brothers and sisters being daily in your life.
So it’s not that I’m choosing Christians over my own family. It’s that their lives merge with mine, and it all becomes one. For instance, if my wife wasn’t a believer and I was (she was in Christ before I was, by the way, so this is just an example), then she would have sisters that care about her and want to give into her life. They help her clean the house, or bathe the children, or help her put food on the table. They bring clothing and food to her when she needs it. This isn’t because of a program but because these believers are part of my life, and they feel what I feel. They care about me and my unbelieving wife and want to be there. So because of that, the testimony of Jesus comes into my wife’s life.
It isn’t just my words to my unbelieving wife. The believers would be so much a part of my life—men, women, children and all—that she would See Jesus and not just hear my words. Jesus didn’t say, “This is how all men will know you’re my disciples, by ‘how good you talk about things.’”
It’s “by the Love that they see that you have for other believers.” I used to view that verse as, “All men will know you’re my disciples by how loving you are and by how much you love the unbelievers.” That is not what Jesus said! Jesus said, “…they will know you are my disciples by the love they see you have for one another—the love between disciples.” Unbelievers see that Love and it’s irresistible!
So, as we’re intimate with brothers and sisters, the world will know. This is evangelism, right? This is the ultimate “evangelism verse” that Jesus ever spoke. He never spoke a more clear word about how to change the world and bring many sons to Glory. “THIS is how all men will know you’re My disciples…” It is not just one option of many ways that they will know. This is HOW all men will know—by seeing your love for each other because you are so One. That Love they see happening between believers is irresistible and it’s a miracle.
Love is always hoping, always trusting, keeping no records of wrong, and counting none of your possessions as your own. That kind of life is so supernatural! An unbeliever can hear all the words from whomever, whether it’s buddhist, hindu, muslim or atheist and say, “Okay, yeah…whatever,” and walk away. But when they see supernatural life from Heaven and miracles happening, then they step back and say, “Whoa!” They see miracles happening that cannot be excused away and cannot be denied. There is something in their hearts that they are desperate for, and that is to see agape love between brothers and sisters.
So the kind of life I am describing is not neglect of our unbelieving family members at all, but rather it’s more resources than we could ever imagine being poured into them. We don’t have to choose between the two. Instead, we watch God use all of His resources and gifts that I don’t have by myself. I alone don’t have what it takes to love on my children and raise them and to love on my wife and bring her to Jesus. I never could do these things by myself.
This is one of the reasons it’s so important for the children to be with us. They need to see and hear and watch and experience the life of Jesus amongst brothers and sisters. If they’re outside of those times and then you try to tell them stories about it over dinner or at bedtime, they won’t get it. It’s true for our children back home too. This is how all children will know that this is from heaven and not from earth.
This isn’t just mommy and daddy’s belief system, but this is the Glory of God, the heavenly Jerusalem descending on earth as it is in Heaven. It’s the Life of God—the LOVE of God. Do you want them to believe in God? Then let them see your love for one another! God Is Love!
Tell them all the Bible stories you want and you will only win about half of them, maybe. In some countries only about one quarter of the young ones become legitimate followers of Jesus even though they go to every single service. They go to every single program in house churches and cell groups, and still only one quarter is ever even saved. Why? Because Jesus said this is how all men including children will know that this is from Heaven rather than just a bunch of mommies’ and daddies’ words.
The children never get to see the love of God because we’ve always pushed them into another room and told them stories. No wonder they decide, “I’m going to have my own life and sow my wild oats and go find out myself.” The stories they hear might be true and they might be in the Bible, but that isn’t how “all men—including children—will know.” “THIS is HOW all men including children will know—by their Love for one another—God is Love.”
If you want them to see God, they need to hear His Words, for sure. The seed is the Word and nothing will grow without the seeds being planted. They need to hear the seed of the Word, but they also need to See the Love of God. That is how they will know that we’re His disciples. That’s how they will know we aren’t just another part of some smorgasbord, multiple-choice meal of different world religions to choose from. Then, depending on who their friends are or how much they want to give up, they will choose this religion instead of that. It’s so much bigger and so much more powerful than that. You will save three times as many of your children if you LIVE the life together instead of just tell them about a life and attend a life in a house or in a big building.
Does that raise any questions or does anybody have anything you want to add to that?