11THE BENEFITS OF BELIEVING (part 11)
THE BENEFITS OF BELIEVING
Grace: The Truth that Transforms - Part 11 of 36
Chapter 5 of Romans is rich with life-changing truth. Paul writes it with an air of excitement. After clearly explaining how we are saved, he now focuses on the results of justification by faith.
I. KEY WORDS
II. THE BENEFITS OF BELIEVING
1. ______________________________ (vs. 1)
2. ______________________________ (vs. 2)
Luke 23:45 Ephesians 2:14 Hebrews 4:14-16 Ephesians 3:12
3. ______________________________ (vs 2b)
"The glory of God"
4. ______________________________ (vs. 3-4)
2 Cor. 4:8-9, 2 Cor. 12:10 I Peter 1:6-7 James 1:2-4
GOD'S PURPOSE FOR MY LIFE:
GOD'S MATURING PROCESS:
1. _______________ 3. _______________
2. _______________ 4. _______________
5. ______________________________ (vs. 5)
The proof of God's love (vs 6-8)
6. ______________________________ (vs. 9-10)
III. HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND TO ALL THAT GOD HAS GIVEN US?
THE BENEFITS OF BELIEVING
Grace: The Truth that Transforms - Part 11 of 36
This next week we're going to celebrate Christmas and I can't think of a passage in Romans that applies more than this one. The timing of the Lord in this was just perfect. The first 11 verses of Romans 5, just imagine as one big gift, wrapped up in a package with the name Jesus Christ on it. In Jesus Christ we have these tremendous benefits.
Romans 5 is rich with life changing truth. Paul is excited. This is an upbeat passage. Three times in the passage he says "rejoice". The word in Greek literally means brag or boast, get excited, tell everybody all about it, be happy. Paul says there are some things we ought to be happy about. He's just explained what it means to be a Christian in this section on salvation now he's going to talk about the results of being a Christian.
"Therefore [anytime you see a "therefore" in the Bible you see what it is there for] since we have been justified through faith..." Paul is summarizing the previous four chapters of Romans. In light of everything he's said about how man is sinful and he can't make it on his own, but God saves us, not because we deserve it, earn it, work hard for it, but simply because of our faith in God's grace -- therefore in light of the fact that God makes us Christians because of what He does, not because of what we do... this is the good news, the benefits of believing, the natural consequences of having faith, of being justified. We've talked about justification -- just-as-if-I'd never sinned. It's more than forgiveness. It means God makes you absolutely perfect in His eyes. Now we'll talk about the natural consequences, the results of a relationship with God.
I. KEY WORDS
There are some key words in these verses. "Peace" is a key word; "access"; "grace", "hope", "love", "saved". The key pronoun in this passage is "we". All through this passage "Therefore since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access into this grace in which we now stand and we rejoice..." He uses this over and over. What Paul says in this passage applies to every believer. This applies as much to you and I as it does to the Romans he was writing to twenty centuries ago.
II. THE BENEFITS OF BELIEVING
1. We have peace with God. "Therefore since we have been justified through faith we have peace with God." The war is over. There is no more struggle. God is not mad at me. I'm not mad at God. I'm not in rebellion. We're not fighting each other. We're in harmony. There's peace between the Lord and I. The amazing thing is that God holds absolutely nothing against you any more, if you're a believer. We have perfect peace. Peace with God, peace of God which is peace of mind. This isn't based on performance but it's through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. It's not my performance, a false peace that I've worked real hard and I'm pleasing God therefore God's at peace with me. No. The only lasting peace comes from the Prince of Peace. So we have peace with God.
2. We have access to God. "Through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace which we now stand." This word "access" is an important word. It's composed of two Greek words. One means "to bring" and another "forward" -- to bring forward. Access means when one person brings another two people together. It was used when one person brought another person in the presence of a third party. It was a word used in history which referred to having an audience before a king. The Romans understood this word. You didn't walk into Caesar's palace and have an impromptu meeting with him. The typical Roman would probably never have a meeting with Caesar. You didn't have access to him. Only a few close people around him could get to him.
The Jews understood this very well. In the Old Testament, the Jews did not have access to God. There was the Temple and the wall around the Temple. The wall around the Temple prevented all Gentiles from getting inside. If a Gentile went inside the Temple he would be killed immediately. Gentiles did not have access. Not only that but the Jews did not have access to God. In the Temple there were three parts. There was the Holy of Holies that no man could enter and there was a veil over the Holy of Holies. The veil separated God from man. The veil in the Temple represented that you are separated from God. And you did not have access to God. In the Old Testament they went through a priest to get access to God.
Luke 23:45 When Jesus Christ died He broke down the barriers. "It was about the sixth hour that Jesus was hanging on the cross and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour and the sun stopped shining and the curtain of the Temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice `Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit.' and when He had said this He breathed His last." When Jesus died the curtain in the Temple was rent. It was torn from top to bottom. God torn the Temple curtain. Because the barrier was broken down. Since Jesus Christ came to earth we now have access to God. We don't go through a priest. You don't have to offer sacrifice. You can talk to God directly. You have 24 hour access to God.
One of the benefits of being a believer is having peace with God. And when we have peace with God we have access with God. We can go to Him at any time.
Romans. We have access by our faith. The result of being at peace with God is access. The door is always open. We can always talk to Him in prayer. He's always available.
In Washington D.C. it's very important to have access to the President. Those are the most privileged people in the entire capital. They can get through to him, they know details. To have access is to have more than money. It's to have power. I heard a story once about during the Civil War a soldier was very discouraged trying to get in to see President Lincoln. He tried for two weeks at the capital steps and nobody would let him in. He didn't have access. President Lincoln's younger son Tad came out, "What's going on?" The soldier said, "I want to see your dad." Tad said, "I can get you in." The son got access for the soldier.
That's what Jesus Christ has done. He's gotten us access into God the Father. Our relationship determines our access to God. When we have a family relationship to God -- you are a child of the king -- then you have access. You can come to God at any point.
I'm spending time on this because Satan likes to keep Christians in the dark about this truth. A lot of people think "I'm not good enough to pray and ask for anything... I don't deserve to ask God for a new job... for better employment. I don't deserve God to hear my prayer." They don't understand this principle of access. When you became a Christian part of the benefits you got was 24-hour access to God. When you start to pray, Satan comes to you saying, "Who do you think you are? You don't deserve to pray to God. Remember what you did today? Remember all those things you've done wrong. You can't expect an answer. The door's closed. You ought to be ashamed of yourself asking God for this." Yet, Paul says we have access by faith.
Hebrews 4:14-16 "Therefore since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus Christ the son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness but we have one who has been tempted in every way just as we are yet without sin." Jesus understands your needs, your motives, your desires because He's been through it all. v. 16 "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need." Because you are a believer you have access to God and you can come to God anytime, anywhere, any place with any request and not feel ashamed. That's what access is. The door is never closed. Once you're in, you're in. You say, "I'm such a miserable failure!" -- Once you're in you're in!
3. v. 2. We have a hope in life. "... and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." In the New Testament hope does not mean wishful thinking. In the New Testament hope means confidence. Hope means "I'm confident it will work out." Hope is essential to living. You can't live without hope. You've got to have it. Doctors will tell you that people in the hospital who don't have hope don't do well. People who have hope get well much quicker. Why are Christians so happy? They have hope. They have a future.
A third benefit of being a believer is we know that no matter what happens, no matter how many problems and trials we go through we know what the ultimate outcome is going to be. We know what the final score is going to be. We've already fast forwarded to the end of the game and we know we're going to win. We've already read the last chapter in the book. So we have hope. Hope is confidence.
The opposite of hope is pessimism. We have a hope and therefore we rejoice. A pessimistic Christian is an insult to God. A pessimistic Christian is saying "I don't have any hope. I don't believe it can work out. I don't believe God's in control." God says we rejoice in hope. The word "rejoice" means to boast. The most hopeful people in the world ought to be Christians.
What is the glory of God? It says we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. The glory of God is two things:
1. It's God's character.
2. It's God's purpose.
One of the most exciting verses in the Bible: Colossians 3:4 Why do we rejoice in the hope of God's glory? When Jesus Christ comes back to earth this is what's going to happen. "When Christ, who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." In the last days, when Christ comes back, we're going to appear with Him and we're going to share God's glory. We will appear in glory with Christ. Not because we deserve it. Again, it's grace. We rejoice in hope because we know, no matter what happens the end is going to be OK eventually. No situation is hopeless. It's easy to rejoice in hope.
"Not only so but we also rejoice in our sufferings." It's one thing to rejoice in hope, but not in suffering! Suffering has a benefit once you become a believer. Suffering has no benefit to the unbeliever. Suffering has great benefit to the believer.
4. Our problems take on a new purpose. This is an exciting principle that is a characteristic of a mark of maturity. You are mature when you understand the purpose of suffering and respond accordingly. V. 3: "Not only so but we also rejoice in our suffering because we know that our suffering produces perseverance and perseverance produces character and character produces hope." Our problems take on a new purpose. They are no longer meaningless, senseless.
The benefit is character development. Problems produce character in our lives. v. 3-4 say that the means to maturity is suffering. You are going to have problems in life whether you benefit from them or not. Wouldn't you rather benefit from your problems? One of the benefits in becoming a Christian: You have the same problems as other people (Christians are not exempt from problems; they have just as many as other people) but now the problems take on a new meaning. Your suffering produces perseverance, produces character, produces hope. It seems illogical to rejoice in suffering. Why should I be happy in suffering? You shouldn't until you understand the purpose. He's not being masochistic here -- a martyr complex. The Roman Christians were under intense persecution. "And we rejoice in our suffering..." circle "in". One of the biggest heresies in Christianity is the misunderstanding of the difference between "in" and "because". We rejoice in suffering, not because of suffering. The Bible says in everything give thanks, not because of everything give thanks. To thank God for evil is an insult to God, to the nature of God. It's attributing all that evil to God. God never tells you to thank God for evil. We rejoice in suffering. We're rejoicing about the purpose behind it. We're rejoicing about the benefits that God can bring out of it. We're not rejoicing for the suffering but for the results it can produce if we respond correctly.
Romans 8:28 "In all things God works together for good." It doesn't say all things are good, but in all things God can bring good out of them even the bad things in life.
I rejoice because there is a purpose in my problem. Circle "suffering". Suffering literally means pressure. Rejoice in pressure? Rejoice in distress? Yes. Because I know that there is a purpose in the pressure. What is that purpose?
2 Cor. 4 If anybody knew the meaning of pressure and suffering and problems, Paul did. 4:16-18 "Therefore we do not lose heart [we don't get discouraged, give up, cop out] though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles [three times shipwrecked, five times beaten, twice left for dead, been without food, clothes, in distress, persecuted -- any one of us would have had a nervous breakdown under the kind of pressure Paul dealt with] are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." God has a purpose behind even the little irritations and problems. I'm not saying that God is the author of those things, but God even takes those things, once you become a believer, and works them for good.
Don't say that God is the author of your problems. Don't blame God for a broken car, maybe you just didn't do good maintenance. But God can even use that for a purpose, for character building.
v. 18 "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal." We don't look at our problems because we know they aren't going to last. We look beyond the problem to the Lord. The Lord is going to last forever. The character He produces in our lives is going to last forever. Only a few things are going to last forever. All the stereos are going to burn up, the homes, the movies, the clothes, eventually all of this is going to be destroyed. There are only a few things that are going to last forever.
The word of God "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of God abides forever." If you build your life around God's word it helps you to have something lasting in your life.
People are going to last forever -- one of two places -- heaven or hell. The character that you build now is going to last forever.
We don't look at the temporary problem but we look at how that problem can build something in our lives that will last forever: integrity, patience, the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self control).
Romans 4. This is a benefit of character development that comes from problems. God's purpose is to make you like Jesus. God's number one purpose in your life is to make you like Jesus Christ. He wants you to think the way Christ thinks, act the way Christ acts, love the way Christ loved, to have the characteristics of Christ. What were those characteristics? The fruit of the Spirit: He was love, He was joy, He was peace, He was patient, He was gentleness, He was goodness, He was meek, He was self controll. How does God produce those characteristics in your life? How does God produce patience in your life? By putting you in situations where you're tempted to be impatient. It's easy to be patient when everything is going your way. God teaches you patience by putting you in traffic jams. God produces patience in your life through trials, crises.
When I first became a Christian I'd pray, "Lord, I need patience." But instead of the trials going away they got worse. "Lord, really give me patience!" and they got really bad!! After six months I realized I was a lot more patient than when I started out. That's how God teaches patience.
Notice the process that God uses to produce Christlike character in our lives.
1. Suffering -- that literally means distress or pressure. One of the ways you know you're a Christian is that you're going through problems. The test of maturity is how well you understand them and respond to those sufferings. Suffering produces perseverance.
2. Perseverance is patience. Endurance. The Bible has a lot to say about endurance. The New Testament particularly has a lot to say about endurance. Because what counts are not those who start but those who finish. There are a lot of great starters in life. What counts are those who make it the long haul and commit themselves. They dig in for the duration and outlast everybody else. There is no other way in the world to learn endurance except through problems. You can't learn it any other way. You can't learn to endure if you don't have anything to endure. You have to learn it through perseverance. Perseverance produces character.
3. Character. This is a rare term in the New Testament. Paul is the only one who uses it and he uses it seven times. It's talking about proven character. It's a word used to describe metals that had been put through the fire to be purified. Proven character. The metal has been tested. I's been put through the fire. It's been put under pressure. Bumper sticker: "Please be patient with me. God is not finished with me yet." God is working and producing character in our lives. Character produces hope.
4. Hope. Trials, rather than destroying our hope, are meant to increase our hope. God allows your problems not to destroy your hope but to increase your hope. It forces us to look beyond ourselves. Hope means confidence in the New Testament. The ultimate level of maturity for Christianity is hope. If you're a hopeful person, you're on your way to maturity. If you give up easily, you're not a mature person. If you give out, give up, drag in, throw in the towel, you're not a mature Christian. But if you keep hoping and hoping... even when everything else looks impossible, you're at the highest level of maturity. Character produces hope.
1 Peter 1:6-7 Peter is also talking about how problems work in our lives to produce character. "In this you greatly rejoice. Though now for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith, of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire, may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Christ is revealed."
James 1:2 "Consider it pure joy my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance." If I never had a problem I'd never know that God could solve them... "Perseverance must finish it's work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." You become mature and complete by going through the fire.
Romans. The six benefits of believing: Peace with God; Access with God; Rejoice because we have a hope to hold onto; We know that even our problems that come have a purpose -- God uses even those things in our life. Nothing is out of the control of God in our life.
5. We are given God's love through the Holy Spirit. v.5 "And hope does not disappoint us. Because God has poured out His love into our heart by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us." You can put your hope in something that will disappoint you -- the word literally means embarrass, ashamed. A lot of people put their hope in something or someone that later their embarrassed by. Like when people invest in something and the guy is a swindler, a crook. How many people put their hope in the Delorian motor company -- including Johnny Carson -- and later were embarrassed because it went upside down, bankrupt. You can put your hope in the wrong thing. But when you put your hope in God you will never be embarrassed. You can count on it. "God pours out His love..." We're continually aware of the presence of love. Williams translation: "God has flooded our hearts with His love." The motive that God does everything He does for you is love. How do we know that love? Through the Holy Spirit. He gives us His Holy spirit to show us His love.
What is the proof of God's love? v. 6-8 "Just at the right time when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man. For a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrated His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." If you want to see if God loves you, look at the cross. The cross proves that God loves you. Most people won't even die for their best friend. Maybe you would die for somebody really close to you. But do you know anyone who would die for their enemy?
"God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." He loves us and the proof of His love is that He loved us even before we were believers. People say, "God helps those who help themselves". This verses says that God helps those who can't help themselves. He makes three references to our past:
v.6 "while we were powerless..."
v. 8 ...while we were still sinners..."
v. 10 "...while we were His enemies..." Christ did for us what we couldn't do for ourselves.
6. We have eternal security. Once you're saved you are always saved. Once you become a believer you cannot become an unbeliever. There are some people who don't believe that but the Bible teaches that very clearly. v. 9 "Since now we have been justified by His blood how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him." "shall we be saved" is that present, past or future tense? Shall is in the future. He's talking about "out there". If we've been justified right now by his blood, don't you think He can keep us saved until "out there." He says "we shall be saved", he doesn't say, "we've been justified now and we might be saved" or "we might be saved if we work for it". He has just proven in four chapters you don't work for your salvation and you don't stay saved by working for it. A lot of people think they're saved by grace and then they live it by works. Obviously, if I were saved by my works then if I stopped working I'd stopped being saved. If you work for it you earn your salvation. If you stop working for it, you lose it. But since I can't work for it then I can't unwork for it. That's what he's talking about, "We will be saved." It's future tense.
"For if when we were God's enemies we were reconciled to Him through the death of His son, how much more having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life." This is what you call an argument moving from greater to lesser. It's like if I gave you a million dollars, don't you think I'd give you a pair of shoes? If I loaned you a million bucks don't you think I'd loan you a dollar? If God has already solved your problem, don't you think He can keep you saved for the rest of your life? We will be saved. You can be sure because your security is not based on your performance. It's not based on your works. If I were saved by works, then the moment I stopped working I would die. I would loose my salvation. We are saved by His life.
Parallel verses that show that once you're saved, you're always saved; you cannot loose it. That's a benefit for becoming a believer. You can be confident that once you're a Christian you're always a Christian.
Jude 1:24 "To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy to the one and only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority through Jesus Christ our Lord before all ages now and forevermore." Who does the keeping? God. Not me. I don't keep myself saved. God does the keeping.
John 10:27, 29 "My sheep listen to My voice and I know them and they follow Me ... and I give them eternal life." When does eternal life begin? It doesn't begin the moment you die. Eternal life begins the moment you're saved. I'm living eternal life right now and it's going to go on forever. How long is eternal? For as long as I keep working for my salvation? It's forever. "... and they shall never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand. My father who's given them to Me is greater than all and no one can snatch them out of My Father's hand." Once you're in God's hand, nobody can snatch you out. Not a cult. What about cults? They loose their reward if they've been saved, but they don't loose their salvation. III John teaches that you loose your reward if you deny what you've first believed. But God says, "They're in My hand, no man can snatch them out." Not even the devil. I've heard people say, Nobody can snatch you out of God's hand; but you can jump out! How big is God's hand? Is it so little you can get to the edge and jump out? No. It's so big you can't even get to the edge of it.
Romans 8 Paul uses an analogy that teaches eternal security in the matter of adoption. When we become a Christian we're born again. When you get into a family there are two ways: You can be born into it or you can be adopted into it. There are two ways we get into God's family: Being born again and by being adopted. Both analogies are used referring to Christians. If you're born can you be unborn? No. Once you're born you can't be unborn. Adoption -- 8:15 "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear but you've received a spirit of sonship [adoption] and we cry `Abba, Father' and the Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." This concept of adoption is taught several times. In Ephesians, and several other times. Why does God use this analogy of adoption? Because in Jewish law you could disown a natural son, but by law you could never disown an adopted child. You could disown a son or daughter of natural birth but you could never disown a son you had adopted. That was a law in Jewish culture. Paul says once we're adopted into God's family, He can't disown us.
But what happens when a Christian sins? You must understand the difference between fellowship and relationship. A fellowship is the joy you share. A relationship is the standing. My children may grow up and reject the Lord and if they became totally opposite of what I believe the fellowship would be broken with my children and it would hurt me and I would grieve. God grieves over believers who live in sin. But nothing my children could ever do could make them not my children. No matter what they do once they are my child, I cannot disown them. I can say "I'm displeased with what you've done" but they will always be my child because of that ."
David in Ps. 51 after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba said "Restore unto me the joy of my salvation." He didn't say "Give me back my salvation" but "restore the joy". When a Christian sins he doesn't lose his salvation. He looses the joy of his salvation. If you could loose your salvation don't you think you could loose it by committing adultery? David committed adultery and murder but he didn't loose his salvation. He lost the joy of his salvation. He lost the relationship. The Bible says in Rev. 20 when you become a believer your name is written in the book of life. Can you imagine if every time you sinned your name was erased? That would be quite a job! You'd need a pretty big eraser for some of us! Paul says, How could you have confidence that you're a believer if you could keep loosing your salvation? Once you're born you can't be unborn. You loose your fellowship but you don't loose the relationship.
Hebrews 6. This passage many people point to. They believe Hebrews teaches you could lose your salvation. It doesn't. 6:4 "It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened who have tasted the heavenly gift who have shared in the Holy Spirit who have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the coming age if they fall away [circle "if"] to be brought back to repentance because to their lose they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace." The key word is "if". Many people say it sounds like it says you could loose your salvation. This is what's caused a conditional clause and it's based on the preposition "if". It is impossible for all of these people who've known the Lord "if they fall away." He doesn't say it's possible -- just "if they could fall away" "to be brought back to repentance." He's not saying you could lose your salvation. He's saying IF you could lose your salvation then you could never be saved again. It would be impossible for you to be saved again. IF they fall away it's impossible to be brought back to repentance because they're crucifying the Son of God all over again. IF you were a Christian and you could lose your salvation, IF that were possible then you could never be saved again. Because for you to be saved again Jesus Christ would have to come back and be crucified again on the cross for that sin and He's not going to do it. So the people who believe they could loose their salvation have no hope at all. Because Paul says if you lose it that's it! It would be impossible for them to be brought back to repentance. They'd be crucifying the Son all over again. He'd have to come back and die again. And that will never happen. It's impossible!
Chapter 7:24-25 "Therefore He is able to save completely." Forever -- from the moment you accept Christ until the time you die. "Those who come to God through Him because He always lives to intercede for them." Jesus Christ is praying for you. For you to loose your salvation Jesus Christ would have to stop praying for you. He's not going to do it. He lives to make intercession. That means, if you lost your salvation, Jesus' prayers would not be answered. And He's God and He always prays the will of God. You cannot lose your salvation. I'll stumble, I'll fall, I'll make mistakes, I may strain the relationship, I may be out of fellowship, I may miss God's blessing here on earth and my reward in heaven, but I do not lose that relationship.
Romans 4:11 "In light of all of this, how do we respond." What should be our response? "Not only is this, but we also rejoice." Paul is on a high. He is excited. He is worked up! Look at all of these benefits. We are to rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Why should a Christian be the most happy person in the world? For these six reasons:
1. You are at peace with God.
2. You have a 24-hour access to God.
3. You have a dependable hope that won't let you down.
4. There is a purpose in my problems.
5. The Holy Spirit fills me with His love.
6. I am eternally secure.
That's the benefit of believing. That's God's Christmas gift to you -- all wrapped up in Jesus Christ. We rejoice in God.
Heavenly Father, we thank You so much for the good news. We thank You that Romans 5 is in the Bible. I thank You that because of Christ and because we've put our faith in Him we are at peace with God. Thank You that we do have a 24-hour access to You. We can come to You with any need and any problem and we can come confidently even thought we've failed and make mistakes and don't deserve it. Thank You that we have a dependable hope, that we know how the world is going to end. We know we're on the winning team and no matter what happens we will make it to heaven. Thank You that there is even a purpose in our problems. Thank You that the Holy Spirit fills us with His love. Thank You that we are eternally secure. Thank You for the gift that is in Jesus Christ and this Christmas help us to celebrate it with real rejoicing. In Jesus' name. Amen.