Sunday, May 8, 2011

More Than A Ritual – A Mother’s Day Sermon Based on Luke 2:21-40 About the Importance of Dedicating Our Children to the Lord

History of Mother’s Day
• The first North American Mother’s Day was conceptualized with Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870.
• Howe was distraught by the death and carnage of the Civil War so she called on mothers to come together and protest what she saw as the futility of their sons killing the sons of other mothers.
• Howe’s idea never really caught on but it did plant the seed for others who also wanted to honor mothers.
• In 1908 Anna Jarvis petitioned the leaders of the church where her mother had spent over 20 years teaching Sunday School to create a day to honor mothers and to celebrate world peace.
• Her request was granted and on May 10, 1908, the first official Mother's Day celebration took place at Andrew's Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia and at a church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
• After this Anna Jarvis devoted herself full time to the creation of Mother's Day, endlessly petitioning state governments, business leaders, women groups, churches and other institutions and organizations.
• In 1912 West Virginia became the first state to officially recognize Mother's Day, and in 1914 Woodrow Wilson signed it into national observance, declaring the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.

Luke 2:21-40 – Mary and Joseph Dedicate Baby Jesus

Verse 22 - And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were finished, his parents brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord.
• Parents have been dedicating their children to God for centuries.
• It is the obligation of parents to teach their children about the Lord.
• The church should help, but ultimately the responsibility falls to the parents to make sure their children learn spiritual values.
• While no parent can force a child to believe, a parent can create an environment where a child has the opportunity to come to know the Lord.
• This is why dedicating a child to the Lord must be more than a ceremony, it must be a lifestyle.

Verses 25-26 There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel's consolation, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord's Messiah.
• Simeon was a godly man.
• God had told Simeon that he would see the Messiah before he died.

Verse 27 - Guided by the Spirit, he entered the temple complex.
• One day Simeon sensed the Spirit telling him to go to the temple.
• He arrived just as Mary and Joseph were bringing Jesus to be dedicated to God.
• Imagine if Simeon had ignored the Spirit’s leading, or even if he had delayed in obeying.
• He would have missed seeing the Messiah.
• If we want our children to grow up in the faith, we must set an example of being sensitive to the Spirit and obeying God in a timely way.
• Though it is never too late to start setting that example, the earlier we begin to train our children, the easier it will be for them to learn the values of our faith.

Verses 28-30 - Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said: Now, Master, You can dismiss Your servant in peace, according to Your word. For my eyes have seen Your salvation.
• Simeon held baby Jesus in his arms and realized that Jesus was the Messiah even though Jesus was still so small.
• When we hold a small child in our arms, do we grasp all that God may do through the life of that child? Do we pray for God’s blessing on that child’s life?

Verse 33 - His father and mother were amazed at what was being said about Him.
• Mary and Joseph were amazed by Simeon’s words. Though they had heard angels talk about their baby, and had been visited by shepherds and wise men and seen stars pointing to Bethlehem, they were still amazed at what others said about their little boy.
• Parents love their kids and like to think good things about them. But it sure is nice when someone else brags on them too!

Verses 34-35 - Then Simeon blessed them and told His mother Mary: "Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed and a sword will pierce your own soul—that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
• This must have been a challenging blessing to hear prayed over one’s child.
• Simeon said Jesus would cause the “rise and fall” of many people.
• Simeon also said that Mary’s soul would be pierced by what happened in this child’s life.
• Simeon’s blessing was clearly prophetic, because these things happened as Jesus grew.
• Jesus did cause many lowly people to be raised out of despair as they found new faith to sustain them in hard times.
• Jesus still does this today.
• Jesus did cause many arrogant people to get knocked off their pedestal as they repented of their sins and committed their lives to Him.
• Jesus still does this today.
• Mary must have been thrilled when she saw Jesus do miracles.
• But imagine her pain when her son was betrayed and abandoned by friends and unjustly executed in such a cruel way as the cross.
• Parents are always proud of their children’s accomplishments, as they should be.
• Parents always hurt when their children are treated unjustly.
• Parents hurt just as much when their children suffer the consequences of bad choices and experience pain they could have avoided.
• That pierces the soul just as much as anything.

Verses 39-40 - When they had completed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The boy grew up and became strong, filled with wisdom, and God's grace was on Him.
• Joseph and Mary completed the ritual of dedicating their child to God.
• Then they went back home and raised Jesus in a way that helped Him be wise.
• This is the example Christian parents should follow.
• Dedicating our children to God is more than a ritual; it must be a lifestyle if we hope for our children to grow in the wisdom of the Lord.

Conclusion:
• Dedicating children to God has been an important part of faith for centuries.
• Parents should do all they can to create a healthy spiritual environment for their children to grow up in, but we must also keep loving our kids in the painful times of their lives too.
• Dedicating children to God may include a formal ceremony, but it must be more than a ritual, it must be a lifestyle of setting a Christian example for them to follow.

3 comments:

  1. I dedicated Rachel and Joshua to God just minutes after they were born. Children are God's investments to us and we must invest in them. Those precious moments spent praying over them in the hospital are always with me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Pastor Larry Weeks, Montgomery Center, VTMay 9, 2011 at 8:23 AM

    I like this.

    ReplyDelete