Summary: A Christian’s Christmas wish for the lost of the world is that they may receive these 3 gifts; but they are not gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
THREE GIFTS FOR CHRISTMAS
INTRO. The text is taken from the prophecy of Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist. [The story of John’s birth; the prophecy of the angel to Zacharias in the Temple (Luke 1:13-17).]
So Zacharias knew that his new born son was to go before the Lord’s Anointed, Lk. 1:76-77. The birth of John the Baptist is excelled only by the birth of the Son of God himself. For at the time of John’s conception, the cousin of Elizabeth - John’s mother, had also been visited by an angel. She, Mary, had been told she would be the earthly mother of Jesus.
So even before the birth of Jesus, the Heavenly powers had begun to move to prepare for the most startling and spectacular event in the history of man -- the birth, life, death, and resurrection of God in the flesh. Nothing has changed history and the lives of men as has the teachings of this itinerant preacher born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth.
What made Jesus so different from all the false messiahs of past history, ... the other gods men have known or created? This same John the Baptist tells us in Jn. 1:29 - "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
Each Christmas we give and exchange gifts and cards. Today I wish to offer to you the original and only genuine Christmas gifts in the world. There are three of them but they are not...gold, frankincense, and myhrr.
I. I PRAY THAT YOU WILL KNOW THE GLADNESS OF CHRISTMAS -- WHICH IS HOPE.
A. We remember and observe Christmas because of the hope it offers us. Both Christians and non-Christians see in this day the Hope of the World.
1. Unfortunately, while the hope of Christmas is offered to all men, not all men will accept it.
a. (Jn. 5:39-40) -- "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life."
b. (Jer. 17:7) -- "Blessed is the man whose hope is in the Lord."
2. All of us possess some kind of hope.
a. Hope for a better job, life, health, a good old age and almost all hold out some hidden hope for a life after death.
b. A funeral at this time of year seems even more bitter than usual. My grandfather died on a Christmas Eve. My Dad passed away just a few days after Christmas in ‘94. But the true meaning and reason of Christmas brings enough joy and hope to override what pain I may feel.
c. Because God came to earth in the form of a man on the very first Christmas. I have the blessed assurance of seeing my loved ones again. For their hope and mine is found in Jesus Christ.
B. This is why I wish for you, the hope of Salvation.
1. Without this hope all else is valueless.
a. We are told in Rom. 8:24, "For we are saved by hope:"
b. (I Tim. 1:1) -- "Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope."
2. Christians are no different from other people in that they too suffer setbacks, common colds, heart failure, and ultimately death. But they have a hope others do not have and that hope sustains them. (Rom. 5:1-5)
C. It is my wish that this Christmas you may come to possess the hope of Heaven. Proverbs 14:32
1. The apostle Paul said that all Christians look for a great hope that can only come AFTER death.
2. So, the first gift is HOPE. In life, in death.
II. I PRAY THAT YOU WILL KNOW THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS -- WHICH IS PEACE.
A. Jesus, the Prince of Peace said, (Jn. 14:27) -- "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
B. Men seek peace with all their hearts but few find it. The peace offered here today is not peace like the world offers,...that phoney peace of wealth, power and prestige but rather it is .......
C. Peace in your heart. (Phil. 4:6-7)
1. Most would say that this is unrealistic. But isn’t this just what the whole world is searching for? The peace of man and with men. Was this not the promise of the angel to the shepherds outside of Bethlehem 2,000 years ago? "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
2. But peace among men can only happen when all men have peace in their hearts and that can only come as a gift from God.