#191 (8/5/18 morning)

(Source of material:  Rev. B.R. Hicks)

(Sermon given for a baby dedication)

Please read Proverbs 22:6.  The Hebrew word for "train" is defined as dedicate, set apart, sacred use, commit to a course of action, begin instruction in a certain way, filling the hand as to give an offering.  The word "way" is also the same "way" that Jesus used to describe Himself in the gospels as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  So we see, that to dedicate a child to the LORD is to introduce it to Jesus and the Word of God.  Jesus has a plan, a way, that a child should go.  It is the responsibility of the parent (primarily) to help him/her find their "way" in God.  As children, the way is shown through the ministry of the parent with no option of choice.  The choice is made for the child to show them the proper path they should take.  At 18, using the example of the parent throughout childhood, the young person chooses the way or the world (depending on how the parent has taught the child).  There are 3 ways a child learns:  through words, tone, and body language.  Mixed signals can easily be transferred to a young mind if a parent is not faithful and committed to Jesus Christ.  The tone, words and body language of an adult must be convincing and powerful in order to present Christ in a positive way and some day lead him/her to make a choice for Jesus and His Way.  Future choices for Christ depend on the current way Christ is being presented to the child.  Behavior is learned from the parent.  Parental behavior determines the future choices of the child; the absorbent mind is learning and watching.  

Many times in the Old Testament, when a new altar was dedicated, the offering of sacrifices accompanied it.  Dedication involves bringing a sacrifice.  Parents, at a baby dedication, should bring an offering.  This offering should involve a commitment to be a positive example by not being "religious" but displaying a "relationship".  A parent can be religious and have no relationship.  A deep, faithful relationship with Jesus Christ is the best teacher!  Many lessons are learned, silently, as the child observes. 

Please read Genesis 37:1-4.  Notice in verse 2, the Bible refers to "Jacob" and in verse 3, it refers to "Israel".  Jacob is the natural man and Israel is the spiritual man.  Jacob's spiritual man, Israel, loved Joseph because he was the "son of his old age".  Old is the Hebrew word "zaw-kane" which means spiritually mature.  Israel loved Joseph because, at the age of 17, he was spiritually mature.  Jacob loved all his sons, but Israel loved Joseph; a special connection existed between the two because of Joseph's maturity.  The first time Jacob was called Israel can be found in Genesis 32:27-28.  When the nation of Israel exited Egypt, their relationship with God was that of a Son.  After crossing the Red Sea (water baptism), their relationship changed to a Church or an Espoused Bride.  In between Egypt and the Wilderness was a spiritual experience that raised them higher in God; the nation became engaged to the LORD.  It was the experience that moved them to a closer relationship with God.  With Israel and Joseph, it was Joseph's experiences that brought him closer to his father.  He found the LORD in his spiritual experiences which endeared him to Israel.  Jacob did not interfere in the painful circumstances of Joseph, he helped him by showing how to find and see God in his pain.  It is not wise to shelter a child from their pain.  It is better to let them experience the pain and show them how God is the Head of it.  Lead them to find the LORD in the pain! 

The child is an empty canvas upon which the parents and the grandparents paint by example.  Moses was trained by his mother so, later in life, he rejected the Egyptian way and chose the way of God.  Samuel was trained by Hannah for only 5 years before giving him to the sanctuary.  Those 5 years produced a mightly and powerful prophet in Israel.  Parents, grandparents, and the whole church teach the child by relinquishing their own headship and humbly pointing the way to Christ.