Summary: A sermon for a Child Dedication Sunday
Giving Our Children Back to God
Child Dedication sermon
May 18, 2014
(Basic outline adapted from a sermon by Jerry Shirley.)
(A PowerPoint presentation for this sermon is available upon request at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
TEXT: Please turn in your Bibles to Genesis 22.
I have a question for all of you parents today: Have you ever given your children back to God?
Illus. – I mentioned that to a lady in our church one time and she said, “I’d like to give them back, but I thought God had a ‘no return’ policy on kids! Besides, I lost the receipt!”
The truth is, there’s not a parent here who hasn’t had a few moments or days when they wouldn’t have liked to package up that kiddo and take him or her back to God’s customer service counter and demand, “I want my money back!”
Well, I think you know that’s not what I really mean. What I’m really asking is if you’ve done what these parents did today in this dedication ceremony.
God asks us to put many things on His altar, but today these parents have brought their children and put them on the altar! We saw earlier the biblical basis for this,…
• about how Hannah brought Samuel (the son for whom she had prayed), and presented him to God, and handed young Samuel over to Eli the priest. (1 Samuel 1:27-28)
• about how Joseph and Mary presented Jesus to God in the temple. (Luke 2:22)
But the most dramatic example is the story of Abraham offering Isaac on Mount Moriah.
Let’s read about it in Genesis 22:1-13 – “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt [literally “test” or “prove”] Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. 2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. 3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? 8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. 9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. 12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.”
In this remarkable story, Abraham literally, totally, and irrevocably gave Isaac back to God.
Man!—that had to be hard and painful for Abraham. After all, Abraham loved Isaac. – In verse 2 God says, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest…”
Not only did Abraham love Isaac, but he’d been a “miracle baby.” – He was born when Sarah was 90 and Abraham was 100 years of age.
Just try to put yourself in Abraham’s place. It was incomprehensibly painful for Abraham to strap his dear son on an altar, raise a knife to kill him, cremate the body and watch him disintegrate into a pile of ashes! I don’t know if I could do that…even if God asked!