Summary: Considering what kind of dedication a Christian is to have for Jesus Christ
This morning we’ve witnessed the dedication of Anslie. Brent and Natalie brought Anslie and presented her to the Lord dedicating her to His care. I want us to this morning consider what dedication is all about.
What is it that you think of first when I mention the word dedication. You may think of someone who shows perseverence to the task. You may think of something which is set apart (dedicated) for a particular task. My mum always had a pair of sewing scissors which were dedicated to sewing. We were not allowed to use them for anything else which was a problem, because you always knew where they were and they were always sharp. Did we ever yield to the temptation of using them for other things???? Wouldn’t you like to know?
Dedication - what is it all about? The dictionary defines “dedicate” as meaning “to set apart and consecrate to a deity or to a sacred purpose. to give up wholly or earnestly, as to some person or end; to set apart or appropriate”.
To dedicate something (whether it be animate or inanimate) in the general sense means to set it aside for a purpose. This morning I am wanting to focus on things dedicated to God. Things that are set apart for his use. things that are sacred and holy. We sometimes hear the words consecrate, sanctify, hallowed - they all mean similar things.
In the Bible, we read of many things that were dedicated to God. Property, spoils of war, city walls, houses, furniture and even the temple were all dedicated to God. The temple is an interesting example and worth a bit of a look.
A) Dedication of the Temple
Before the temple there was the tabernacle and if you’ve got your bibles there, please open them up to Exodus 40 where God tells Moses how to set up the tabernacle. When everything is in its correct place, God told Moses (vs 9-16) to annoint it - or consecrate it to himself. Let’s read it ...
In this consecration of objects and people, God called for them to be set aside for his purpose. Now notice the result of the consecration (vs 9 & 10). “consecrate it and all its furnishings, and it will be holy. 10 Then anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils; consecrate the altar, and it will be most holy”.
Consecration resulted in holiness. In fact, holiness was both the motivation for consecration and the result of consecration. It was the chicken and the egg if you like. Let me try to explain. Why did the temple and all that was in it need to be holy?
In the Midst of the food laws of Leviticus, God says this ... (Lev 11:44f)
44 I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves about on the ground. 45 I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.
God’s requirement was that his people be holy? It is not an option, but a command. Holiness is sometimes equated to a series of specific prohibitions - a big long list of don’ts. That is not what holiness is essentially about. To be holy is to be morally blameless. It is to be separated from sin - literally to be consecrated to God, because in God, there is no sin. God is holy and demands that anything associated with him be holy also. But why?
If God is perfect in both his actions and his character, then he is unable to ignore or approve of any evil. He can not all of a sudden relax his perfect standard of holiness and say, near enough is good enough, just while I visit the lovely tabernacle. No. if God was going to dwell in the tabernacle, it had to be consecrated - It had to be holy - set apart from all evil. It had to be dedicated to God and his ways alone.
So the need for the dedication of the tabernacle stemmed from the holiness of God and all that it demanded. The result of the consecration was holiness.
When the tabernacle was consecrated to God, he came and dwelt in it. If we turn back to Exodus 40 and read from vs. 34 we read ...
God came to dwell in the tabernacle - not because it was lovely, but because it was holy. It had been set apart for him and he was able therefore to dwell in it and use it. Because God dwelt in the tabernacle there was power in it. What have you got to dedicate to God for his service? You may not have a tabernacle, but you still can dedicate what you have. If we set it apart for God, he can use it for his glory because it becomes holy.