Summary: 4 of 6 on family. This message was given on a Baby Dedication Day. Several Sermon Central contributors were used in preparation for this message.

Blessing Kids

“I prayed for this child, and the LORD answered my prayer and gave him to me. Now I give him back to the LORD. He will belong to the LORD all his life...”

Hannah - 1 Samuel 1:27-28a

Question: Have you ever given your children back to God?

(Some of you are thinking, “I’d like to give them back—but I didn’t think God would take them back. I thought He had a ‘no return’ policy on kids! Besides, I lost the receipt!”)

The truth is, there is not a parent here who hasn’t had a few moments or days when they wouldn’t have liked to package up that kid and take him/her back to God’s customer service counter and demand, “I want my money back!”

Little Jacob came to his mom and asked, “Mom, what would you like for your birthday this year?” She said, “I would like 3 well-behaved children!” Jacob said, “Then there would be six of us!”

Well, I’m not suggesting you return your kids to God and try to get your money back.

What I am asking is, have you ever really: Recognized your children are a precious gift from the Lord, and they belong ultimately and always to God first—not to you?

This is what Dedication to God is all about.

Dedication is Your Releasing of Ownership of Your Children to God

“Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work...”

Jeremiah 1:5

It’s about you understanding and acknowledging that God is responsible for the way in which they were imagined, designed, and put together and that he already knows the plan and purpose for their future?

It is about you understanding and acknowledging that God chose you to be the parent of that child… God knew that child before he was born according to the prophet Jeremiah’s teaching. You were carefully selected by God for that child.

Whether your child is disabled physically or developmentally, is a genus intellectually, a goofball and an entertainer; whether they are physically strong and put together for football, soccer, and Lacrosse, or has weak eyesight and loves books…

God choose you to be their parent – And God does not make mistakes – either with creation of a child or with the choosing of a parent.

It is about you understanding and acknowledging that God has left it up to you to show them His way – but that you are only the guide, the teacher, the parent – they belong to God.

It is about you releasing ownership of your child to God.

There are many examples of parents in the Bible who brought their children to God and gave them back to Him:

Abraham gave up Isaac on Mt. Moriah.

Joseph and Mary gave up Jesus in the temple of Jerusalem

This morning we’re going to learn how to give back our children to God – and how this is the greatest blessing you can give your child.

When You Give Your Child Back to God…

"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Matthew 10:37-38

When You Give Your Child Back to God…

When You Give Your Child Back to God You Acknowledge God’s Primacy in Your Life

When you dedicate your children to God you are simply making it clear that He is first in your life. Certainly, your child is your most prized possession…but you must not allow them to take the place of God!

This is exactly what Abraham proved by his willingness to offer Isaac. He was demonstrating that his love and fear of God were supreme in his life above all else.

Abraham loved God above the most prized treasure of his life...his only son Isaac.

Was this not what had to be on Abraham’s mind when he lay Isaac on the altar? Was he not saying, “Lord, this young man belongs to you—not me?” He was saying, “You do with him as you please. He’s yours!”

The critical piece here is “Trust”. When you worship God first you put your trust in God that he will love your children as much – more – than you do. He will do what is best for them.

Many question God. They question His love. They question His power. They question His integrity. They say, “How can God let a child suffer with sickness, hunger, disease, war, disabilities?” How can God allow a school bus full of kids to be in a terrible accident. How can God allow children to be swallowed up in a tsunami, crushed in an earthquake, or murdered by terrorists?

Then they conclude, with righteous indignation, “I reject a God like that” and turn away from him. You may have done that. You may have asked these questions. Indeed, they are hard not to ask when a child of yours is the one who is suffering.

These questions are not new. They are as old as pain and suffering. They are as old as earthquakes, pestilence, war, mental illness and physical deformities.

Job asked these questions when his 10 children were all crushed in an earthquake as his house came crashing down on them.

Why would God do these things? Why would God allow these things?

The answer came in the later part of the book of Job. It goes for chapter upon chapter and it comes in the form of a series of questions – all of which hammered one single point home – who are you to question me? I see what you do not see. I know what you don’t know. I understand what you don’t even know to misunderstand.

What God says to Job and what God says to every one of us is this – Trust me – they are my children – and I have a plan.

Now here it is… Listen… Don’t miss it… When you trust God, when you love God, when you acknowledge God’s primacy in your life you give the greatest blessing of all to your children. You give them hope in a Father God that cares for them with the greatest love of all. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.”

Here is the greatest blessing you can give your kids! Have you heard it said that the best gift a mother and father can give their kids is to love each one another. This is true – but its second best – not first best. First best is to love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, all your strength.

The first thing you are saying when you give that child back to the Lord is simply this...that you love God even more than you love that child. Now that sounds harsh and unloving – but it isn’t. It really is a simple and powerful statement that blesses that child as they begin to understand the love of God for them.

But you cannot give what you do not possess – that’s why you must give God your love and devotion first.

When You Give Your Child Back to God…

God made husbands and wives to become one body and one spirit for his purpose—so they would have children who are true to God.

Malachi 2:15

When You Give Your Child Back to God…

When You Give Your Child Back to God You Commit to Raise Your Kids God’s Way

Your children are not your toys to play with and enjoy life with. They belong to God and when you give your child back to God, you are openly declaring that:

1) This child is a gift from God.

2) This child does not really belong to you.

3) This child belongs to God.

4) You are committing to teaching them the ways of God

Hey listen! That little boy or girl does not really belong to you—they belong to God! They are a precious gift from God, on loan to you. Note: We’d better be careful how we treat and care for God’s property!

Too many people today try to live life vicariously through their children. Create pressure to perform and push them to succeed beyond reason – why? Because they want their kids to have what they didn’t have and to be what they could not be.

Now that’s about them not the kids and it’s based on a false sense of ownership.

Listen, they are not your kids! You have the privilege to love and train this child up in the ways of God!

It is a commitment that you are going to…

Be a Godly parent. (Parent dedication…requires getting right w/ God)

Teach this child of Christ. (They will need to be saved)

Keep this child in church.

Love this child. (Even if loving them means disciplining them/letting God discipline you!)

Pray for this child.

Train this child.

Stay married for this child. (There are other reasons for this too, but this is a great one!)

Make your home a holy place.

Put away worldliness.

Live a righteous life.

What you are saying is “I love you so much that I want the very best for you. If that means giving you to God, spanking you, giving you limitations (holding the line), changing my life for your benefit…I’ll do whatever it takes!

Let me tell you something friend. God did not authorize the state to raise children. And God did not authorize day care centers, schools, and institutions to raise kids. God authorized Mommies and Daddies to raise kids!

When You Give Your Child Back to God…

“…for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

Exodus 20:5-6

When You Give Your Child Back to God… You Claim God’s Promises for Your Child

Sin has consequences – to you and to your children to the third and fourth generation. ILLUSTRATION

But that’s the bad news. God’s blessings are passed on 1000 fold!

Generational Blessings – Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards was a committed Christian who married a godly young lady. Some 1,394 descendants of his were traced through genealogical studies. Family records reveal that of the 295 who graduated from college, 13 became college presidents and 65 became college professors. Three were elected as United States senators and three as governors. There was one who became dean of a law school, 100 were lawyers, and 30 were judges. One hundred were missionaries, preachers, or prominent authors, 80 held some form of public office, of whom three were mayors of large cities. One became the comptroller of the U.S. Treasury, 56 practiced as physicians, and one was the dean of a medical school. One became vice-president of the United States and 75 were officers in the military.

Let me tell you—this little ceremony means nothing—zero—if you are not making a sincere, life-long commitment to raise this child God’s way!

Giving Your Children To God is a CLAIMING of God’s plan and promises for that child’s life.

I like what Joshua told the children of Israel as they settled into their new home, the Promised Land.

Joshua 24:14-15

14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served…and serve ye the LORD.

15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

“I want my family to turn out right, and so, as a parent, I’m going to begin to lead them right!”

Man, that’s the kind of commitment God is looking for in parents today – and it makes a difference.

Give your child to God – today

“Children are a gift from the Lord; babies are a reward. Children who are born to a young man are like arrows in the hand of a warrior. Happy is the man who has his bag full of arrows.”

Ps. 127:3-5

Some of you have teenagers and you are losing your kids… They were never really yours. They belong to God.

Some of you have completed the task of being a parent and you are done. The kids have flown the coop and your work is over – but you carry huge buckets of guilt – one on each arm. It’s time to let go of the guilt and give your children to God.

He loves them and he loves you. Let’s pray...