Summary: The infancy and early years of Jesus are covered in a small number of verses of Scripture. What is given though is significant. In Luke’s Gospel we find Mary and Joseph following the birth of Christ, setting an example of parental rites that ought to be i

Introduction: The infancy and early years of Jesus are covered in a small number of verses of Scripture. Not a great detail of information is afforded to us. What is given though is significant. In Luke’s Gospel we find Mary and Joseph following the birth of Christ, obediently following the law and setting an example of parental rites that provide an example for every Christian home. Let us consider…

I. The Rite of Identification - Circumcision

A. Luke 2:21 "And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb."

B. Genesis 17:10-12 "This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. [11] And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. [12] And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed."

C. Circumcision identified a child with the people of God and the covenantal relationship they shared with God. It was also the time when the child would be given his name.

D. It is imperative that parents bring their children into God’s House early and get them grounded in identifying and fellowshipping with God’s people.

E. 1 Corinthians 15:33 "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners."

F. Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

G. A study once disclosed that if both Mom and Dad attend church regularly, 72 percent of their children remain faithful in attendance. If only Dad attends regularly, 55 percent remain faithful. If only Mom attends regularly, 15 percent remain faithful. If neither attend regularly, only 6 percent remain faithful.

H. One child lost to the faith usually becomes a family lost to the faith, and not many generations later a whole community of unbelief is set in motion because of some earlier neglect of parental duties.

I. Psalms 71:17 "O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works."

II. The Rite of Purification - the Sin Offering and the Burnt Offering

A. Luke 2:24 "And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons."

B. After the birth of a male child a woman was considered unclean for forty days (eighty for a girl). At the end of the forty-day or eighty-day period she was to make as sin offering and burnt offering in the temple.

C. Leviticus 12:6-7 "And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest: Who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female."

D. These offerings expressed awareness of one’s sinfulness and a sense of consecration.

E. It’s hard to train a child in a way the parents don’t go themselves.

F. Titus 2:7 "In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,"

G. The best way for a child to learn to fear God is to know a real Christian. The best way for a child to learn to pray is to live with a father and mother who know a life of friendship with God and who truly pray. – Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827)

H. The religion of a child depends on what its mother and father are, and not on what they say. – Henri Frédéric Amiel (1821-1881)

I. Anthusa lived from c. 330 to 374 A.D. in Antioch. Widowed at the age of 20, she is remembered for her influence in the life of her son, John Chrysostom, one of the greatest preachers and leaders of the 4th-century church. Her contemporaries tell us Anthusa was cultured, attractive, and from a wealthy family. Yet she chose to not remarry after her husband’s death, deciding instead to devote herself to rearing her two children, John and his sister. John later wrote that his mother not only taught her children to know and love the teachings of the Bible, but also that her very life was a model of biblical teaching. A student of law, rhetoric and the Scriptures, John was ordained by Bishop Meletius and later became bishop of Constantinople. A zealous missionary himself, he inspired numerous others to serve as missionaries. And he always emphasized that a crucial factor to effective evangelism is for Christians to be living examples of Christ-centeredness. Surely he learned something of this from his mother Anthusa. - "Women in the Early Church," Christian History, Issue 17.

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