Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: 1 of 9 in a series that celebrate the Advent season

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Be Prepared for Christ’s Coming with Love

1. God Showed His Love To Us.

2. We Show Our Love To God.

3. We Show Our Love To Others.

Fellow Christians preparing to celebrate our Savior’s birth:

In the well-known play, “A Christmas Carol,” Charles Dickens used three spirits to help Ebeneezer Scrooge understand what Christmas was all about.

The spirits of Christmas past, present, and future worked a tremendous transformation in Scrooge so that he changed from being the most stingy, hateful man alive to being the most generous, loving man around. From then on, he celebrated Christmas like no one else.

As we enter the season of Advent and start focusing on Christmas, we are reminded that we too have been visited by a Spirit. This Spirit made his initial visit at our baptism as infants or at our conversion as adults. This Spirit has led us to understand what Christmas is all about. Of course, the Spirit we are referring to is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit brought us to faith in the Child whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. The story of the three spirits changing Scrooge is fictitious, but the Holy Spirit has changed us in a real way. We went from being enemies of God to being children of God.

To help us prepare for the celebration of Christmas, we need to remember the work of the Holy Spirit. His work gives Christmas real meaning. Before concentrating on the gifts that we give or receive from others, we need to concentrate on the gifts the Holy Spirit has given us. This is what we will be doing from now through Christmas, as our sermons look at the fruits of the Spirit.

These fruits help us to BE PREPARED FOR CHRIST’S COMING. Today we are to be prepared WITH LOVE.

1. God showed his love to us.

Before looking at love as a fruit of the Spirit, we will find it helpful to remember God’s love shown to us. That leads us right to Christmas. The event of Christ’s birth is wrapped In God’s love for the world.

Let’s think about the connection between Christmas and God’s love. The most important gifts we give at Christmas are the ones we give to those we love. God also gave his gift—the Savior—out of love. As the Bible clearly says, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16). From creation through the first Christmas, God declared his love for the world over and over again. He showed his love through the beautiful world he created as a home for Adam and Eve. He declared his love when he promised to send a Savior for Adam and Eve after they had sinned. He showed his love to Noah and his family as he spared them from the Flood. He repeatedly displayed his love to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and others throughout the Old Testament, when he told about the Savior who would come to save the world lost in sin.

It was because of his love that God kept his promise. As Paul says shortly before our text, “When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law” (Galatians 4:4). The four Gospels are models of effective reporting of how God kept his promise on that first Christmas.

Reporters have a way of gathering their stories around what they call “the five W’s: who, what, why, where, when”; and a careful reporter also adds the “how.”

The answers to these questions with regard to the Christmas account center in God’s love.

WHO? God’s love was so great that the Savior sent into the world was none other than God the Son.

WHY? God’s love was shown so that all could be redeemed—so they could have eternal life through the work of the Savior born that night in Bethlehem.

WHAT? God’s love led to Jesus becoming a man so that he could keep God’s law in our stead and die as our substitute to earn salvation for the world.

WHERE? God’s love caused Jesus to be born in humble surroundings in Bethlehem and to spend his life mingling with lowly sinners in Israel.

WHEN? God’s love brought the Savior into the world at the proper time, a time that allowed this event to be corroborated by eyewitnesses and chronicled by historians.

And finally HOW? God’s love led to Jesus coming to earth through the miracle of the virgin birth. This was necessary so that he could be both God and man, which is what the Savior needed to be.

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