Summary: This sermon encourages the listener to value eternal gifts like love more than temporary gifts like material things or bad gifts that like pride and lust that lead us astray.
This is an exciting phase of my life! In about three weeks I will be marrying the woman whom I love – Selena. As you might image our engagement has been both exciting and at times stressful with all of the details that go into wedding preparation. One of the details was selecting gifts for the wedding registry. This is our opportunity to tell all of our friends and family all of the good gifts we would like to receive at Selena’s bridal shower and our wedding.
Selena is a wonderful lady and she has already been showered with many good gifts at a Bridal Shower in Maryland. This weekend we will be traveling to Connecticut where here family will be giving Selena a bridal shower there as well. As I read this morning text, “Every good and perfect gift is from above” I began to thank God for all the gifts He has already sent our way and those gifts to come. As Christians we must be careful that we do not forget to thank God for all the good gifts in our lives. Sometimes we remember to send “Thank You” cards to the earthen vessels He used to deliver the good gifts but we forget to thank our Father in Heaven who is the One true giver of good gifts. The Bible teaches us that the Earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof.
Question! Who is more important the giver or the gift? One of my dear friends missed Selena’s bridal shower in Maryland. As I was speaking with her a couple of weeks later I inquired as to what had happened since she had previously indicated she would be attending. She said she had just started a new job and that she did not have any money and therefore she could not buy a gift. I told her to take to out a piece of paper and write in big letters, “I will be attending Paul and Selena’s wedding with or without a gift”. Wedding gifts are good things but the cost of a gift is not always a reflection as to how much a person loves you. If we receive an extremely expensive gift from someone who is rich that is a good thing. Yet as Christians we are to give sacrificially and admire those amongst us who give sacrificially. In Mark 12 it is revealed to us how Jesus sat over against the treasury, and watched how the people put money into the treasury: a lot of rich people put in a lot of money. Then came this poor widow, and she threw in two mites. And Jesus called His disciples and said unto them, “Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow has cast more in, than anyone else who cast into the treasury: For everyone else cast in of their abundance; but this widow even though she was poor cast in everything that she had.” My beloved brothers and sisters the giver is always more important than the gift.
Today’s text says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above”. Well what is a good gift? What is a perfect gift? What is the difference between a good gift and a perfect gift? According to John Wesley, “A good gift is whatever tends to holiness” and “A perfect gift is whatever tends to glory.” Albert Barnes put it this way, “The difference between good and perfect here, it is not easy to mark accurately. It may be that the former means that which is benevolent in its character and tendency; the latter that which is entire, where there is nothing even apparently wanting to complete it; where it can be regarded as good as a whole and in all its parts.”
Simply put every good gift is temporary whereas every perfect gift is eternal. The nice cars we drive, the fine homes we live in, the delicious foods we eat, the clothes we wear, the money we acquire and even our spouses are all good gifts. That’s right your spouse is a good gift! Proverbs 18:22, says who so ever findeth a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD. Perfect gifts on the other hand are eternal. Hope, Grace, Peace, Joy and the greatest gift of all Love are all perfect gifts. For if your Hope is built on Jesus Christ and His Righteousness you have a perfect gift. Grace, God’s unmerited favor is a perfect gift. Peace, in the midst of a storm is a perfect gift. If you have Jesus Joy no matter your circumstances you have a perfect gift. Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your LORD and Saviour? If you truly love Jesus then you can know no greater Love.
Well if there are good and perfect gifts surely there must be bad gifts. And if there are bad gifts surely there must be a giver of bad gifts. As Christians we know bad gifts when we see them even if Satan has blinded the world. Winning the lottery, sex outside Holy Matrimony, alcohol and other drugs are all bad gifts. Bad gifts are tricky because whether you are a Christian or not they feel good and are sometimes desirable because of our sinful nature. That’s why as Christians we must crucify our sinful nature daily lest we be drawn away when we face temptation. James said, “Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” Just as God, “The Father of Lights” is ultimately the giver of every good and perfect gift. Satan is ultimately the giver of every bad and evil gift.