(Abridged version of a sermon delivered on Lord’s Day morning, 5 November 1871 by C H Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle – extracted from True Life BPC’s weekly dated 24th February 2013)
“And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes, and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house” (Acts 16: 32-34)
3. A Whole Household Baptised
“He was baptized, he and all his straightway.” In almost every case in Scripture where you read of a household baptism, you are distinctly informed that they were also a believing household. First, “he” was baptised – the jailor; he was ready first to submit himself to the ordinance in which he declared himself to be dead to the world, and risen anew in Christ Jesus. Then “all his” followed. No minister has any right to refuse to baptise any person who professes faith in Jesus Christ, unless there be some glaring fact to cast doubt upon the candidate’s sincerity.
“Why say so much about baptism?” says somebody. If this be God’s command – and I solemnly believe it to be so – do not despise it, I beseech you; as you love Christ, do not talk about its being non-essential. If the Lord commands, shall his servant talk about its being non-essential? It is essential in all things to do my Master’s will, and to preach it; for hath He not said, “He that shall break one of the least of these my commandments, and shall teach men so, the same shall be least in the kingdom of heaven”? I hope it may be our privilege here to see whole families baptised.
4. A Whole Household at Work for God
The whole household was astir that night. They had all believed and been baptised, and their very first enquiry is, “What can we do for Jesus?” It was clear to them that they could help the two men who had brought them to Christ, and they did so affectionately.
Is there a lazy church member here? Friend, you miss a great blessing. Is there a mother here whose husband is very diligent in serving God, but she neglects to lead her children in the way of truth? Ah, dear woman, you are losing what would be a great comfort to your own soul. I know you are; for one of the best means for a soul to be built up in Christ is for it to do something for Christ. We cease to grow when we cease either to labour or to suffer for the Lord. Even our children when they are saved can do something for the Master. The little hand that drops its halfpence into the offering box, out of love to Jesus, is accepted of the Lord. The young child trying to tell its brother or sister of the dear Saviour who has loved it is a true missionary of the cross.
5. A Family Rejoicing
Believing obtains the pardon of all sin, and brings Christ’s righteousness into our possession, it declares us to be the sons of God, gives us heirship with Christ, and secures us His blessing here and glory hereafter: who would not rejoice at this? If the family had been left a fortune they would have rejoiced, but they had found more than all the world’s wealth at once in finding a Saviour, therefore were they glad. I have no doubt that their joy was permanent and continued. That household is now in glory: they are all there – the jailer, and his spouse, and his children, and his servants; they are all there, for is it not written, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved”? They were obedient to that word, and they are saved.
“Will my family be there?” Will yours be there? Turn it over in your minds, my brothers and sisters, and if you can give the happy answer, and say, “Yes, by the blessing of God, I believe we shall all be there,” then, I will ask you to serve God very much, for you owe Him very much. You are deep debtors to the mercy of God, you parents who have godly children. You ought to do twice as much; nay, seven times as much for Jesus as any other Christians.