GIVING YOUR CHILDREN BACK TO GOD
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!”
Ex: Kimberly and I: “When first married we had 3 theories on raising kids…now we have 3 kids and no theories!"
Ex: 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?
Released ownership of your children to Him—understanding God is responsible for the way in which they were designed and already knows the plan and purpose for their future?
Realized God has left it up to you to show them His way?
God has been asking us to put many things on His altar recently. And today, He is asking every one of us who are parents to “BRING OUR CHILDREN AND PUT THEM ON THE ALTAR!”
There are many examples of parents in the Bible who brought their children to God and gave them back to Him:
1. There is the classic example of Hannah bringing her son Samuel (the son for whom she had prayed), and presenting him to God, and handing young Samuel over to Eli the priest. (I Sam. 1:27-28).
27 For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: 28 Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD.
2. Of course, you remember Joseph and Mary brought the infant child Jesus to the temple following his circumcision at 8 days. They brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (Lk. 2:22).
But the example of a parent surrendering his child to God that I want us to read about today is that of Abraham offering Isaac on Mt. Moriah.
Genesis 22, -- let’s see what God would have to say to us today about “Giving Your Children Back to God.”
TEXT GENESIS 22:1-13
Abraham literally, totally, irrevocably gave Isaac back to God. Man, that had to be hard and painful for Abraham. After all:
· Abraham loved Isaac. V.2 God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love, and sacrifice him ...”
· Isaac had been a MIRACLE baby. He was born when Sarah was 90 and Abraham was 100 years of age.
· Oh yes, just try to put yourself in Abraham’s place. It was incomprehensibly painful for Abraham to strap his dear son on an altar and a stack of wood, raise a knife to slash open that boy’s chest and throat, cremate the body and sit by as he smelled the stench of the burning flesh of his boy—and then watch that boy literally disintegrate into a pile of ashes!
· Whew! I don’t know if I would do that…even if God asked! But in a very real sense, I know I MUST DO THAT with all 3 of the precious children God has given me.
Do you know—the best thing Abraham ever did for Isaac was to tie him to that altar and to surrender him back to God?
1) Had Abraham refused to give Isaac back to God, he would have forfeited all God’s promises and plans for Isaac. Isaac would have lived and died in obscurity—a nomad, and a nobody.
2) Because Abraham obeyed and gave Isaac back to God, Isaac received the fullness of God’s best plan and promise for his life:
· Isaac became a wealthy man.
· Isaac became the forefather of God’s own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
· Isaac’s life is still having an impact on and blessing millions of people worldwide through his offspring—Jesus Christ.
And so, you and I need to learn from Abraham today. If we refuse and fail to give our children back to God—we may very well be forfeiting God’s best plan and purpose for their lives. And when we entrust our children back to God—we secure for them the covenant of God’s best purpose and plan for their lives.
FOUR ELEMENTS OF GIVING YOUR CHILD BACK TO GOD:
· What does it mean? It means 4 things:
1) Giving your child to God is a CONFIRMATION of your love for God.
· 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. (Your child is a most prized possession…but don’t allow them to take the place of God!) [I love you, child, 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!]
· 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.
"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; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
2) Giving your children to God is a CLARIFICATION of ownership.
--When you give your child back to God, you are openly declaring that:
· This child is a gift from God.
· This child does not really belong to you.
· This child belongs to God.
(You have the privilege to love and train this child.
But this child is not yours—but God’s!)
· 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!”
· 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.
Ps. 127:3 “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” (KJV).
Note: We’d better be careful how we treat and care for God’s property!
Note: Let me tell you something friend. God did not authorize the state to raise children. And God did not authorize day care centers to raise kids. God authorized Mommies and Daddies to raise kids! Listen: Contrary to what Hillary would tell you, it does not take a village to raise a child. It takes a Mom and a Dad!
Not only a Confirmation, Clarification…
3) Giving Your Children to God Is A COMMITMENT to Raise Your Children God’s Way!
Eph. 6:4 says we are to bring our children up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
· LISTEN...To give your child to God is not just a CEREMONY...It is a COMMITMENT. 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. (not on bus, but w/ you!)
· 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.
· I think some people see baby dedication as a magical ceremony. 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!
Ex: I like what Joshua told the children of Israel as they settled into their new home, the Promised Land.
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!”
Get Saved...Get Right...Get into church!
· Man, that’s the kind of commitment God is looking for in parents today!
Not only a Confirmation, Clarification, Commitment…
4) Giving Your Children to God is a CLAIMING of God’s plan and promises for that child’s life.
· Isaac inherited God’s blessings, protection and promises because his dad, Abraham, gave him back to God.
Genesis 22:15-18 (read)
· Your children are blessed by your obedience to God AND cursed by your disobedience to God. (They have a free will, but you stack the odds in their favor or against them by the way YOU live!)
· As you obey God with your life, and as you give that child back to God, you are posturing that child to receive God’s very best for his / her life.
Pr 22:6 -
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
…So, this is what it means to give your children back to God:
1) It is a CONFIRMATION of your supreme love for Christ.
2) It is a CLARIFICATION of ownership (God owns that child).
3) It is a COMMITMENT to raise that child under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
4) It is a CLAIMING of God’s best plan and promises for that child’s life.
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