Whatever house you enter, first say, â€œPeace be to this household.â€ If a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.â€ (Luke 10:5-6)
Examples of children of peace
These guidelines apply to workers going to people whom they do not know, as Jesusâ€™ disciples did. Prepare workers to recognize a â€œchild of peaceâ€ whom Jesus said to seek, in towns where the workers proclaim the good news. Review these examples with such workers.
- Acts 10:25, 48. God prepared Cornelius, who sent for Peter. Not only did Cornelius welcome Peter into his house, where he had gathered family members and close friends, he also invited Peter and his co-workers from Joppa to stay for a few days. Cornelius was ready to hear the gospel, but without Godâ€™s special preparation, Peter would have been unwilling to stay in Corneliusâ€™ house, because, as a Jew, Peter would have refused to eat food served by a non-Jew. Despite the instructions that Jesus had given in Luke 10:7-8 to eat what a son of peace offered, Peter still had to learn to accept other races with their customs and their food.
- Acts 16:13-15, 40. Lydia was a â€˜daughter of peaceâ€™ who dwelt at Philippi. When she had believed and invited the church planters to stay at her house, they readily accepted. Before they left that town, a new church was meeting in her house.
- Acts 16:29-34. After a Philippian jailor learned that his prisoners had not escaped following an earthquake, he humbly begged of the apostles to tell him how he could be saved. They promised salvation by faith to him and to his household. He brought them into his house and cared for them. They then spoke the Word of the Lord to the household and baptized them.
- Acts 18:1-3 Aquila and Pricilla ran a small business. They received Paul into their home where he worked with them making tents, until he received some outside financial support. This couple later tutored privately Apollos, a popular public debater, and hosted a Gentile church in their home.
- Acts 18:7 Justus, a devout man whose house was located next door to the synagogue, hosted Paul for a time at Corinth.
Recognize children of peace
Work up your own lessons on recognizing children of peace, that you will teach to your co-workers. As you do so, include insights that you discover, such as the following.
1.Â Â Â God often prepares family leaders to receive the Gospel.
2. Â Such persons are often quite devout in their non-Christian religion.
A child of peace might not be peaceful in the way that one would expect. Cornelius, for example, was a professional soldier, trained to lead troops to kill enemies of Rome. The Philippian jailer, prior to the earthquake, had had Paul and Silas tormented by putting their feet in stocks. Be prepared for Godâ€™s surprises!
3. Â God arranges for praying believers to meet children of peace that he has prepared.
4. Â Such persons will often invite believers to explain the gospel to them.
5. Â Believers must be willing to overcome cultural barriers to share the gospel with them.
It took a special revelation from God for Peter to accept his Christ-given assignment to share the gospel with Gentiles within their own cultural surroundings.
6. Â Believers must be ready to converse spontaneously about the Lord Jesusâ€™ saving work.
7. Â Such new believers can be baptized in their own homes.
8. Â When invited to eat or stay a few days in the home of a new believer, do so.
Christâ€™s servants must be willing to receive hospitality from such seekers, and not feel that they have to offer payment, which in some cultures would be an offence. Church planters in pioneer fields should, if invited, remain in the home of the child of peace following the baptism of the family, like Peter and his helpers from Joppa did in Cesarea, to disciple the new believers and coach their leaders. Often a child of peace, if coached in the way the apostles did it, will likely become a shepherding elder who serves a new church, starting with his own family. You, as a coach, may have to make repeated visits, and coach one or more children of peace together.
9. Â Such new believers can host a church in their home.
In pioneer fields, most new churches are born in homes of children of peace. Do not bring a child of peace and his family into an existing church, unless for some reason it is impossible to start a new church in their home. Bringing them into an existing church usually prevents or stops the process of church multiplication. Although such children of peace may appear rustic in dress and manner, and may lack theological sophistication, yet others respect them. They influence their households and friends. Western coaches must encourage national co-workers to work with children of peace.