Summary: Christmas message about not rejecting Christ this season. Mainly evangelistic in nature.

Don’t Reject the Gift

Romans 5:15-17

December 23, 2007


Before we get started I wanted to give you the top five most overheard comments regarding bad Christmas gifts…

5. Hey, now there’s a gift.

4. If the dog buries this, I’ll be furious.

3. I love it – but I fear the jealousy it will inspire.

2. To think – I go this on the year that I vowed to give all my gifts to charity.

And the #1 comment regarding a bad Christmas gift…

1. This is a perfect gift, for wearing around the basement.

( Contributed by Andrew Hoover)

I was tempted to not preach at all today, given what I knew about the kids program, but I wanted to take a few moments to take a look at the gift that Jesus brought us.

It won’t be real long, I promise. Besides, the Vikings game isn’t until 7:00 tonight, and the kickoff won’t be until about 7:30 anyway.

We tend to think of Jesus as the gift, and that’s true. But there is way more to it than just a little baby.

What that baby came to give us is what I want to talk about today.

God: Romans 5:15-17 (NLT) –

15 But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ.

16 And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins.

17 For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.

Reasons people reject the gift:

1. They don’t like the wrapping.

They see the outward trappings of religion and not the fact that while the wrapping is imperfect, the gift itself is perfect.

They see imperfect Christians – some of whom are just Christians in name only, but don’t really believe in Him, to love and serve Him, and others who are just stumbling along the best they can – and they think that if this is what I can expect from Jesus, I don’t want it.

They see people who love Jesus on Sundays and treat their customers and employers and co-workers like the devil the rest of the week.

And believe me, I see it, too. In my work outside the church I see things that not only make others and me cringe, but that must make Jesus cringe, too.

All sorts of things can get in the way of seeing the gift through the wrapping, and so because they don’t like the wrapping, they don’t want the gift, even though the gift itself is wonderful beyond description.

A second people turn away from the gift is that…

2. They don’t like the giver.

And I’m not talking about your cousin from across the state who loves to give sculptures he makes from dryer lint.

The giver here is God. And because some people are angry or disappointed with God for any number of reasons, they don’t His gift.

Maybe He didn’t answer a prayer the way the way a person wanted.

Maybe they look around and see all the evil and war in the world and think God is incapable of doing anything about it, so they don’t want any part of a weak God.

Or they think He’s unfair as they see the corrupt person flourishing and the good people suffering.

I’ve had some of the same questions. And yet God is able to help me through those questions and the tough times that come my way.

Folks, let me tell you that in spite of what it looks like through our human eyes and emotions, God is all-loving and all-powerful, and His plan and purpose will ultimately prevail. Jesus – the gift is part of that plan and purpose.

A third reason people don’t want the gift is because…

3. They prejudge the gift.

They have all sorts of ideas of what it means to be a Christian and follow Jesus.

They think it means giving up all their fun, or having to live by a ton of rules and regulations that take away their freedoms.

Or they think that no reasonable person could believe the Bible, so they reject the possibility that it could actually be true, even though the evidence is overwhelming for the reasonable person who actually looks at it.

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