*GOD'S UNSPEAKABLE GIFT*
*II Corinthians 9:15*
/ “*Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”*/
Someone described this text as an "eight‑word Christmas hymn."
Handel Brown called it "the theme‑song of Christianity."
It certainly strikes the keynote of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is significant that it is not a command; it is an exclamation, a spontaneous shout, a doxology.
In one verse, Paul moves from the theology of giving to the doxology of grace.
I want to divide the verse into three parts: the Gracious Giver of the Gift, the Glorious Gift itself, and the Glad Gratitude with which we should respond to the Gift.
THE GRACIOUS GIVER*
Think, first, of the /gracious Giver /of this gift.
The gracious giver is actually referred to twice in this brief verse.
"Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift."
This verse concludes one of the great Bible chapters on the subject of giving.
In verse 7, we read, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."
"God loves a hilarious giver," is the actual meaning.
That which God admires and requires in others, He is and does in Himself.
He is the original cheerful Giver.
Think of the* */ability of this Giver/*.*
The Bible tells us that He is rich in goodness, rich in grace, and rich in glory.
If He had given the entire universe wrapped into one package, it would have been pocket change compared to the great gift mentioned here.
Think of the* */awareness of this Giver/*.
* During the Christmas season, many gifts will be given which reveal little awareness of the nature or the need of the recipient.
This is reflected in a song which is sung at Christmas parties each year.
It's a cumulative song, where the list of things to be remembered and repeated gets longer with each stanza, and the singer gets all out of breath and has a grand time.
It's a celebration of the twelve days from Christmas to Epiphany, the supposed date on which Jesus revealed Himself to the wisemen.
It’s actually a coded song, with hidden Christian meanings, which came from an earlier age when overt Christian messages could not be communicated.
But what typical modern radio listener would know that?
You know the song—
/ "On the first day of Christmas/
/ My true love gave to me/
/ A partridge in a pear tree."/
\\ Then it goes on with a list of the most inappropriate and outrageous gifts—two turtledoves, three French hens, six geese laying, seven swans swimming, eight maids milking, ending with twelve drummers drumming.
A partridge in a pear tree—what on earth would you do with that?
Though this is not its intention, the song takes note of a kind of giving that may be observed in any household where gifts are exchanged at Christmas—the giving of inappropriate and useless gifts.
But God's gift is not like that.
It isn't like a round peg in a square hole.
It perfectly fits the nature and the need of the one to whom it is given.
It reflects the perfect awareness of the Giver.
Think also of the* */affection of this Giver/*.*
Many gifts are given every Christmas that are merely part of "an eternal and infernal swapout."
Each person gives only because the other gives to him.
And each season is marked by a guessing game of what to give and how much to spend on it.
But God's gift is given solely and exclusively because He loves us.
God is not a peddler who sells His gift, or a merchant who barters His gift for a matching value.
He is far too rich to sell His gift, and it is an insult to His boundless generosity when we try to buy it.
He is a gracious Giver.
He has been largely unworshipped, unserved, unloved, and deeply and greatly sinned against.
And yet, He has given us this gift!
Note that there are three factors involved in this transaction—a giver, a gift, and a recipient.
And all of them are /persons/!
The giver is a person, the gift is a person, and the recipient is a person.
Is there not a great lesson for us in this?
This suggests that, from God's standpoint, all the great values in this universe are personal values.
From our standpoint, we often regard material values as the most important.
We highly esteem houses and lands, cars and clothes, and often wickedly neglect the greatest values of all.
Let's see if we can recognize this by means of an illustration.
Suppose there is a very, very wealthy man who lives in a large, palatial house on a very large estate.
In that mansion are treasures which match his affluence.
There are beautiful tapestries at the windows, priceless paintings on the walls, exquisite rugs, gorgeous furniture, and gold and silver flatware.
But in the house there is also an infant baby boy that belongs to the owner and his wife.
Suppose that one day, while the man is at work in his extravagant downtown office, the phone rings.
He picks it up to receive the call.
At the other end of the line, his housemaid is excitedly shouting, "Sir, come quickly!
Your house is on fire and is burning down!"
Now, what would he say?
Would he say, "Oh, no, my tapestries!
What about my paintings?
What about my rugs?
What about my furniture?"
He would not give a thought to them until he has settled one all‑important matter.
Is the baby safe?
Is the baby safe?
Is he out of the house and in a safe place?
His first concern would be for the safety of His precious child.
Now, I'm confident that God cares about this vast universe, His "big house."
Hasn't He hung some beautiful tapestries in it?
And covered its walls with priceless paintings?
And put exquisite rugs on the floor, and gorgeous furniture throughout?
But suppose His "house" was going to burn down (and it is!
Read II Peter 3:10); where would His interest lie?
What would be the object of His deepest concern?
What would He give His attention to?
Not to any material value, but to man, of course!
Man is God's highest signature.
All the great values in this universe are personal values.
They have to do with relationships between person and person.
No wonder that our text speaks, then, of a personal giver, a personal gift, and a personal recipient.
This good and great personal God is the gracious Giver of the gift mentioned here.
Glory to His Name!
THE GLORIOUS GIFT*
Let's look, secondly, at the /glorious gift/ specified here.
"Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift."
Note that it is a gift, not a purchase, or a reward, or a thing of merit.
It's necessary for us to /identify the gift/*.*
We said earlier that the gift is a person.
This gift is like a diamond which reflects many, many facets when turned over and over in the sunlight.