Faithlife Sermons

Celebrating God's Gift

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view
Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

Series Review

Our Christmas sermon series has been following the December Sunday School lessons the children are learning this month. The Big Give. On the very first Christmas morning, which we celebrate tonight (and hopefully tomorrow) the mysterious miracle of God taking on human flesh and being born of the virgin Mary in a town called Bethlehem, to save His people from their sins!
This same Jesus eventually gave His life for our sake. This is the basis of our generosity. God loved us so much that he gave. We love God so much that we give. That’s how we demonstrate our love towards God. Giving is a grateful response to what God has given to us.
This month our children have been focusing on a specific verse. Read it with me:
This month our children have been focusing on a specific verse. Read it with me:
1 Timothy 6:18 NIV
Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
Because God has blessed us with riches in glory, we can be rich in good deeds. We can be generous and willing to share.

Sermon Introduction

How can we consider this a gift, and not just an event? How can we consider Christ’s birth a gift
I want us to notice some things about this gift:

The gift is surprising.

Luke 1:34 NIV
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
When Christmas rolls around, you eventually find out if certain people have bought that gift you really wanted. Maybe you already know what they bought, because they didn't hide it very well. Or maybe you uncovered it by “accident.” My parents were hiders and I was a finder. I had not yet mastered the discipline of delayed gratification: I had to know. And then came the shameless acting on Christmas morning. People say you ruin the fun by peeking: No, not really. Twice the thrill.
But every once in a while you get that unexpected gift. It could be the gift you never asked for and you didn’t know you needed. That’s when your acting skills are put to the test.
But then there is that special gift. One of the most special and memorable gifts I’ve ever received at Christmas was not a car, not clothing, but it was a brand new set of chrome toenail clippers. My mom gave them to me. Several years before that, I used to joke with my mom: she would ask what I want, and I would answer, “chrome toenail clippers.” Drove her nuts, I would tell her how badly I needed them and how happy they would make me. Several years later I opened a gift from her, and inside the box was a shiny new set of toenail clippers. Chrome. Just like I wanted.
If one of you were to give me gift like that, I would have to go into acting mode. But these had meaning behind them. There was fond memory behind the gift. There was an enduring relationship behind the gift. There was personal knowledge behind the gift. And it was unexpected.
In a way, the birth of the messiah would have been expected. The Messiah was to come during a time of oppression, he was to be a descendant of King David, and he was to be born in Bethlehem.
In a way, the birth of the messiah would have been expected. The Messiah was supposed to come during a time of oppression, which Jesus was. He supposed to be a descendant of King David: he was. He was even supposed to be born in Bethlehem, which he was.
But then there was the unexpected:
Philippians 2:7 NIV
rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
A Virgin birth. How can this be? God, taking on human flesh and born in abject poverty, born in obscurity. How can this be?
A Virgin birth: he was born of a poor reputation, born out of wedlock. Born in poverty. Born in obscurity. He wouldn’t have been the first hero to have humble origins, but Jesus never left behind his poverty.
Jesus was a gift that came in the humblest of wrappings.
God does not give us the gifts that we expect: God gives us what we need. God is a God of missed expectations. God uses the small, and makes them big. God uses the poor, to shame the rich. God became poor so that we can become rich in God.
Luke
Opening gifts can become routine for adults, getting stuff you want, don’t want, getting something you expected. Every once in a while you get the gift that you didn’t expect, but it is a delight to your soul. The next time you get that gift, remember the unexpected gift that you have in Jesus Christ who was born in a poor city, born to uneducated parents, and born with no power or prestige.
Born in poverty, but God did not raise him up to the highest of heights; He was weak, although there were flashes of power, Jesus did not seek it, or hold on to it;
Philippians 2:7 NIV
rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
He was poor. He was powerless. He was vulnerable. He washed people’s feet.
Opening gifts can become routine for adults, stuff you want, don’t want, expected. Every once in a while you get the gift that you didn’t expect, but it was a delight to your soul.

The gift is undeserved.

The gift is undeserved.

Romans 5:8 NIV
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Sometimes when the church talks about sin, it does so in a shameful way. I remember being in the Pentecostal Church where the pastor preached a scathing sermon condemning marital infidelity. I also remember the couple sitting next to me, who was trying to repair their marriage. They said afterward that this was the last time they would attend a church. That’s law without grace.
The gift is undeserved.
When I say you and I don’t deserve this gift, whenever I talk about sin, I’m not saying we are as bad as we can possibly be. Sinful people accomplish amazing things. Art. Music. Working to alleviate suffering. (hurricane an act of God - the people showing up was an act of God)
But we can swing to the other side of that pendulum, and ignore the reality of sin altogether.
1
But I think we must acknowledge sin
1 John 1:8 NIV
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
1
Sin means missing the mark. Falling short of God’s glory, God’s plan, God’s purpose for our lives. We all fall under that umbrella.
- poverty; weak; non-military
Ex. Every listen to someone complain about what they didn’t get for Christmas? There’s little consolation for that. (maybe next year, lecture about the true meaning of Christmas). God does not give us what we want - that might ruin us. God gives us what we need, and gives us what we can’t earn ourselves.
We can’t appreciate God’s Christmas gift until we appreciate the gravity of our sin. We can’t appreciate a relationship with God until we understand how sin separates us from God. We can’t receive the forgiveness God offers us in Christ unless we can see how sin hurts us and others.
There have been a few Christmases that were tainted by friction in relationships. It’s hard to experience the joy of Christmas when there are wounds in a relationship that need to be healed. I’ve not only experienced that, I’ve been the cause of that experience. I’ve wondered what it was like in those years when someone whom I have harmed, still shopped and gave me a gift. It’s one thing to give a gift to give a gift to someone you adore: it’s another to shop for someone you’re angry at.
God
Romans 5:8 NIV
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
When you open that gift on Christmas morning, remember the gift of Jesus. That gift was undeserved. That gift was given by someone whom we had injured by our sin. We think of sin as something that makes God angry: have you ever thought of sin as something that causes God pain? Despite the pain we have caused God, he placed the most precious gift of all in the manger in Bethlehem.

The gift tells us something about the giver.

Revelation 13:8 NIV
All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.
When you open a gift at Christmastime, how often does the gift reflect the gift giver? Have you ever analyzed a gift in that way? Sometimes a gift will indicate something about the gift giver. The gift giver is cheap. The gift giver was in a hurry. The gift giver waited until Christmas Eve when there was slim pickings.
Or, that gift you open could just mean that the gift giver knows how to read, or has listened to your perpetual asking.
Some gifts might bother us: Cologne: Are they saying I smell bad? Cosmetics? They don’t like the way I look? Membership in a gym? I remember a friend who was really troubled by a gift: it was a book by Dale Carnegie: How To Win Friends and Influence People. What are they saying about me?
What does Christmas say about God? When you really want to give someone a gift, you start thinking about it ahead of time. Hopefully, you try to find what that person wants or needs. This takes relationship. This takes knowledge. This takes time.
mysterious - how can he pray to the father
sacrificial - giving up a son; unique relationship
incomparable - it accomplishes the impossible; it accomplishes more than we knew to ask for
incomparable
eternal
ex. getting tuition for Christmas. I’m spending $30,000 next year for tuition.
we give because god gave to us (forgive because god forgave us, generous because god has been generous with us;
When we give a gift this Christmas, how can it remind us of the gift we received at the 1st Christmas?
When you want to give someone a gift, you start thinking about it ahead of time. Hopefully, you try to find what that person wants or needs.
When God decided to give us the gift of eternal life, it wasn't something that He just thought of on the fly. Long before there was a town called Bethlehem, a garden called Eden, and a planet called Earth, mysteriously and in a way beyond our comprehension, God decided he would send His Son, born facing the same pain and temptation that we do, so that he could redeem people who experience pain and temptation.
The Bible says that He was slain from the foundation of the world (). Make no mistake about it: this gift that God has given to us was the most sacrificial thing He possibly could have offered.God’s gift to us in Jesus is superior to the gifts we have under our trees right now. All of those things will be gone one day. All that will be left after this life is the human soul, and that will live forever.
When we peer down into the manger, we see a gift that was surprising: it did not meet human expectations. We see the gift that was undeserved: our sins separate us from God, but in Christ a bridge has been built. We also see a gift that reflects the gift giver: God who cares about so much more than our temporary needs and wants: God has planned this whole thing out: Christ’s birth in a manger was in the mind of God before the creation of the world.
But Christmas isn't about those gifts that you have your tree right now. All of those things will be gone one day. All that will be left after this life is the human soul, and that will live forever.
But this sermon series is not just about God’s giving to us, it’s about our giving. And because God is a generous God, we can, we must be generous people.
Related Media
Related Sermons