Present Your Family to the Lord – Mary and Joseph were a devout young couple. They loved the Lord and were determined to raise their family under God’s covering. They wanted God’s grace and favor not only upon them, but upon their family.
by Pastor Delbert Young
Present Your Family to the Lord (Luke 2:21-40)
Mary and Joseph were a devout young couple. They loved the Lord and were determined to raise their family under God’s covering. They wanted God’s grace and favor not only upon them, but upon their family. Mary and Joseph were poorer than anyone here or anyone you know, yet they got to Jerusalem to worship and they gave a sacrifice in connection with presenting their baby to the Lord. If you want your life and your family blessed this year, you must take a look at your heart, not your giving. How do you present your family?
Present Your Family to the Lord (Luke 2:21-40)
Scriptures: Luke 2:21; Colossians 2:11-12; Luke 2:22-24; Leviticus 12:2-4, 6; Mark 12:42-44; Luke 12:34; Luke 2:25-26; Luke 2:27; Luke 2:29-32; Luke 2:33-35; Luke 2:36-38; Luke 2:39-40
Normally the first sermon I preach for a new year I talk about vision. I will today, but we will look at it from the angle of family. What is your vision for your family this year? I can’t think of a better vision for Life Gate Church than for your family to excel.
Luke 2:21 On the eighth day, WHEN IT WAS TIME to CIRCUMCISE HIM, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
Again we see God is the God of time. He makes things happen at the right time.
Mary and Joseph were a devout young couple. They loved the Lord and were determined to raise their family under God’s covering. They wanted God’s grace and favor not only upon them, but upon their family. They wanted to present their family to the Lord. Do you present your family?
Jesus was circumcised and circumcised exactly when God said he should be circumcised – the eighth day. That’s what you do if you want God’s favor. You do what God says and when God says to do it. Circumcision was a big event. It was the time when a male child was officially named (Lu 1:59) connecting the name with God. It was covenant day – the day the child was named and literally marked with covenant. All of life and several times a day the person was reminded of his covenant with God.
The New Covenant is not circumcision of the flesh made with hands of men, but is a circumcision of the heart done by the Spirit of God (Rom 2:29). New Covenant circumcision is not performed only on males, but on females as well.
Colossians 2:11-12 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. [NIV] (Water baptism scheduled for February 6)
Water baptism expresses the New Testament circumcision. Still, we need to remind ourselves and our children several times a day, not only Sundays, we are in covenant with God. That’s if we want God’s grace and favor upon our families.
Luke 2:22-24 WHEN THE TIME of THEIR PURIFICATION according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to PRESENT HIM TO THE LORD (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice IN KEEPING WITH what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”
We note the “time thought” again. What does their purification mean?
Leviticus 12:2-4 “Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding…
Leviticus 12:6 “‘When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering. He shall offer them before the LORD to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood. “‘These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl. If she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.'”
The sacrifice of the two doves or pigeons was for Mary, not the baby. Mary and Joseph were not only presenting Jesus to the Lord. They were presenting themselves also – their purification. The purification offering was a lamb unless you were poor. Again, we see the peasant life Immanuel came to, but the love and heart for God of Mary and Joseph. They were devoted. They traveled, could not afford a lamb, and so they gave pigeons. What should that teach us? To God it’s not the size of the sacrifice, but the heart of the worshiper that determines the appropriateness of what is given. This is how to present your family to the Lord.
Perhaps you can’t give what you wish you could give, but in God’s eyes you will give something if your heart is right. People tell me they want to tithe and give. My response is, “If you truly want to, you will. You and God will make a way.” I know that’s accurate because it’s the way it happened with me and anyone who gives. You will never “afford” it. You give because you love God and want your life and your family blessed. Giving is always sacrificial, but it’s not the size of the sacrifice. It’s the desire to give to God he is looking for. This is how you present your family to the Lord.
One day Jesus was sitting in the temple watching people give.
Mark 12:42-44 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything — all she had to live on.”
It wasn’t the amount. It was the desire to give Jesus saw. God says anyone, even the poorest of poor, can give a “pigeon.” What’s the degree of desire in your heart? “There you go again Delbert wanting my money.” Yes, you’re so loaded! You’ve got so much money I want and God needs. You’re silly. I’m not talking about your money. I’m talking about your heart. Jesus said,
Luke 12:34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Mary and Joseph were poorer than anyone here or anyone you know, yet they got to Jerusalem to worship and they gave a sacrifice in connection with presenting their baby to the Lord. If you want your life and your family blessed this year, you must take a look at your heart, not your giving. This is present your family to the Lord.
When Lance was born, Judy was emphatic her baby be “christened.” That’s what the denomination we attended called it. Judy tells me how I observed several “christenings” prior, but I honestly don’t remember even one. I believe this “christening” is something special to a mother. I asked Judy how old Lance was when we performed that ceremony. She said, “He was a ‘baby baby’ probably only a few weeks old.” We didn’t know it then, but it was very close to the time God instructed his people to do this presenting in the Bible. It’s probably a desire nearly every godly mother experiences a few weeks after delivery. It’s a part of present your family.
Many of you don’t know Lance and I’m not putting him on a pedestal, but there is something special about Lance. He has served the Lord all his live. He’s had his mess ups, but he always adjusted, repented, corrected and remained close to God. My simple point is something amazing happens when present your family to the Lord.
Years ago, I mean years ago, I taught about presenting our children to the Lord. I taught about how if it was important enough for Jesus to be presented, it’s important enough for us to present our children. I set a date to give people time to make certain their children could be there. The day came. I gave the call to present your family (children) to the Lord. I was shocked to look out at all who came down and see our daughter Bonnie, then about sixteen, standing in the crowd of about thirty people wanting her mother and I to present her to the Lord. I don’t know why we never presented Bonnie to the Lord. It was a powerful moment and wonderful Sunday. There were thirty year old children standing in front of me desiring their parents to present them to the Lord. This is not only something parents want to do for their children. It’s something children expect and desire their parents to do for them. It’s how you present your family to the Lord.
Have you presented your children to the Lord? I continue to say, “If it was necessary for Jesus to be presented to the Lord, it’s necessary for our children to be presented to the Lord.” It’s your responsibility parent. It’s a part of how you present your family to the Lord.
It was an amazing day when Mary brought her baby to the temple. Going to Jerusalem and to the temple was expressed as “ascending.” The terrain is upgrade into Jerusalem and then up many steps into the then amazingly beautiful temple. As people ascended they sang the Psalms of Ascension preparing their hearts for God’s presence. When we sing here that’s what we are doing. We are “ascending” into the heavenly temple preparing our hearts as we come before God.
Hundreds, sometimes thousands, ascended to the temple. It’s moving to be in the presence of hundreds and thousands of people singing to God. It would have been a moving moment for the young mother and adopting father ascending and singing holding their month old baby close to their hearts to present and dedicate him to God. They had already gone through so much with the baby’s birth. Now they held him as they ascended to the temple. They carried in their arms the true Ark of the Covenant. They carried in their arms the fulfillment of the entire sacrificial system. In their arms was THE sacrifice. Joseph and Mary carried in their arms the center of time, life, faith, and worship. All of history led to this epic moment. So is it when you present your family to the Lord.
Luke 2:25-26 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. HE WAS WAITING FOR THE CONSOLATION OF ISRAEL, and THE HOLY SPIRIT was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
Luke is emphatic that we know about and appreciate the Holy Spirit. Over and over Luke tells us of people filled with the Spirit and the Spirit coming upon people. You cannot begin to understand God without realizing the importance of the Holy Spirit.
Simeon, the old prophet, was waiting for the CONSOLATION OF ISRAEL. Paul wrote about the Lord coming in the fullness of time (Gal 4:4). That was when everything perfectly aligned. The “constellations” of the heavenlies were perfect for the “consolation” of Israel to come. God aligned everything and everyone – Herod and the temple, Zechariah, Elizabeth, John, Mary, Joseph, Caesar Augustus, Quirinius, the stable, the shepherds, and now Simeon. God aligns time when you present your family to the Lord.
I want us to see the sovereignty of God in our lives and in the lives of our children. As we allow the Spirit to come upon us as did Mary, listen to the Lord as did Joseph, be devout in our worship, sacrifice to the Lord, and hold our children close to our hearts carrying them ascending into God’s presence, God himself aligns events in our lives exactly as he aligned the constellations.
Simeon realized that epic moment of the coming of the Lord’s Christ.
Luke 2:27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
Simeon is holding God and knows he is holding God’s salvation. How would that feel? How would it feel to know you were holding in your arms the most important person who will ever live? What do you do? Simeon prayed…
Luke 2:29-32 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of ALL PEOPLE, A LIGHT FOR REVELATION TO THE GENTILES and for glory to your people ISRAEL.”
You will never hear me stop saying it. God loves the Jews, but God also loves the Gentiles. God simply loves ALL PEOPLE. Jesus/Immanuel came for ALL PEOPLE. Simeon proclaimed this fact at the temple.
Luke 2:33-35 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon BLESSED THEM and said to Mary, his mother: “THIS CHILD IS DESTINED to cause the falling and risingof many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Not only was the baby blessed, Mary and Joseph were blessed also. Sometimes we think we are the reason for our children’s blessing when in fact sometimes they are the reason God blesses us. God will bless you for your children’s sake.
Simeon prayed over Mary and Joseph. What a job and responsibility that young couple had ahead, but what a job and responsibility all parents have. Simeon said, “THIS CHILD IS DESTINED,” but so are your children. God has a plan for them. They too should affect many hearts. Sometimes because of them a sword will pierce your own soul too. Yet, as parents, we want them to excel and fulfill the plan God has for them even though sometimes it’s like a sword in our heart.
Luke 2:36-38 There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
As if Simeon coming wasn’t enough to astound Mary and Joseph, also there came a prophetess named Anna. She was an amazingly godly woman who fasted and prayed all the time. She too spoke about the child. Mary and Joseph didn’t come seeking a word from God about their child. However, they placed themselves and the child in a position to receive from God. Have you placed your children in a position to receive a word of direction from God? How many people go through life never receiving a prophetic word? That’s one reason with every child we present, Judy and I seek the Lord for a word from God.
Luke 2:39-40 When Joseph and Mary had DONE EVERYTHING REQUIRED by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. AND THE CHILD GREW AND BECAME STRONG; HE WAS FILLED WITH WISDOM, AND THE GRACE OF GOD WAS UPON HIM.
There are some things God requires of parents. Joseph and Mary were a devout righteous young couple determined to raise their family submitted to the ways of the Lord. They did EVERYTHING they could to be pleasing to the Lord and to express their love and devotion to him. Along those lines and in the same context, which we might miss if not pointed out, we read AND (conjunction) THE CHILD GREW AND BECAME STRONG; HE WAS FILLED WITH WISDOM, AND THE GRACE OF GOD WAS UPON HIM. Mary and Joseph put out special effort to do EVERYTHING the Lord REQUIRED – travel to Jerusalem, give their sacrifices, dedicate their child, do EVERYTHING they could AND… (Conjunction – connected with that) the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. How would our families and our children, our nation, and our world be if we connected that conjunction to our lives?
Joseph and Mary were great parents making certain their children ate well, slept well, and were well cared for. Jesus’ mind was filled with wisdom. Joseph and Mary made certain their children were well educated, but wisdom goes beyond education. Jesus studied and filled himself with wisdom, not foolishness and folly. Parent’s train your children to go after wisdom, not only education. God’s grace was upon him. Joseph and Mary made certain their children were in position for God’s grace to come upon them. Position your children so that God’s Spirit can circumcise them. Parents, talk about God’s covenant frequently. God was and remains a daily topic in our home. Our two children love and worship God to this day. God’s grace is upon them. Mary and Joseph did a great job raising Jesus and their at least six other children (Mar 6:3). We know James and Jude became preachers. Their family did well. However, don’t forget the conjunction. It was after JOSEPH AND MARY HAD DONE EVERYTHING REQUIRED.
As we begin our new year, instead of preaching to us a vision for 2011, I want to challenge us concerning our families. A vision we should all have for every year is to make certain our families are positioned to be blessed by God. We want smooth operating families and great children, but we often fail to position our families to help this happen. Can this be a year of PRESENTING OUR FAMILIES TO THE LORD? Can this be a year of increased devotion and placing ourselves in a position for God’s grace and God’s wisdom to come upon us? You may say, “Well Delbert, I’m here every Sunday.” That’s great, but how about some other areas. How’s your prayer life? When was the last time you read through the Bible? When was the last time you fasted? How’s your worship, your giving, or your ministering to people? How many of us would be honest enough to say there is at least one area I could and would like to do better this year to show the Lord my love and devotion for him? If you will, you will have a great year. 2010 has come to an end. Open the windows of heaven in 2011. Present your family to the Lord.
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