Summary: Baby Dedication Sermon to remind parents of the ultimate priority in raising children -- lead them to follow God.
A little boy asked his mother where he came from, and also where she had come from as a baby. His mother gave him a tall tale about a beautiful white-feathered bird. The boy asked his grandmother the same question and received a variation on the bird story. Outside to his playmate he said, "You know, there hasn't been a normal birth in our family for three generations." Howard Hendricks, quoted in Homemade, September, 1989
2. Rites of Passage
a. Education of Jewish Children
At about age 3 father starts teaching Psalms; showed temple; priests; services; things of God; at 5 The Mishnah (tractate Avot 5.21) -- describes their formal education -- at 5 years ready for study of scripture (Leviticus); 10 -- study of Mishnah; 13 -- fulfillment of Commandments (Bar Mitzvah); 15 -- Talmud; 18 -- marriage; 20 -- Vocation; 30 -- full vigor (move out in power literally -- why Yeshua waited until 30); 40 -- understanding; 50 -- counsel; 60 -- old age; 70 -- hoary head; 80 -- special strength; 90 -- bent under old age; 100 -- as if already dead
* At age 5 and got to go to school after waiting for all those years - then you reached age 18 and graduated from H.S. and didn't have to go to school any more.
* At age 16 -- when you got your driver's license and your first real taste of freedom and of course your first speeding ticket a month later and your first real taste of the price of freedom
* Age 21 -- when you got to vote and drink and your realization that both can cause a lot of problems.
o Your first job and
o Your first car
o Your first date
o Your first kiss
o Your wedding
o Your Children
o It all repeats -- through their eyes
* Aches and pains of aging
* Dreaded 40th birthday -- nothing worse, except for the 50th; 60th; 70th; etc.
* Your first "senior discount"
I. God Has Great Affection for Children --
3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. 5 Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. Psalm 127.3-5
A. Seen in Jesus' View of Children -- Matthew 18.1-6
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.5 "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
B. Seen in Worldly Contrasts
1. Babies as a burden -- I've got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby." Barack Obama
2. Fear of Pharaoh
And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel.13 So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves 14 and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves. // 22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, "Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live." Exodus 1.12b-14; 22
3. Fear of Herod (Matthew 2.16-18)
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: "A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more."
(From Jeremiah 31.15)
II. God's Great Aim for Parents -- To Return Their Children to Him
["I lost the receipt!"
Hannah and Samuel; Abraham and Isaac; Joseph and Mary