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Summary: In Max Lucado’s book the “Applause of Heaven” reads, Even though by the “book” I’m guilty, by God’s love I get another chance. Even though by the law I’m indicted, by mercy I’m given a fresh start. “For it is by grace you have been saved … not by works,

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Fragrance of The Father VI

“Our Cross for Christ After Christmas”

Script. Philippians 2:1 - 11 (NIV)

Introduction:

In Max Lucado’s book the “Applause of Heaven” reads, Even though by the “book” I’m guilty, by God’s love I get another chance. Even though by the law I’m indicted, by mercy I’m given a fresh start.

“For it is by grace you have been saved … not by works, so that no one can boast.” 9

No other world religion offers such a message. All others demand the right performance, the right sacrifice, the right chant, the right ritual, the right séance or experience. Theirs is a kingdom of trade-offs and barterdom. You do this, and God will give you that.

The result? Either arrogance or fear. Arrogance if you think you’ve achieved it, fear if you think you haven’t.

Christ’s kingdom is just the opposite. It is a kingdom for the poor. A kingdom where membership is granted, not purchased. You are placed into God’s kingdom. You are “adopted.” And this occurs not when you do enough, but when you admit you can’t do enough. You don’t earn it; you simply accept it. As a result, you serve, not out of arrogance or fear, but out of gratitude.

I recently read a story of a woman who for years was married to a harsh husband. Each day he would leave her a list of chores to complete before he returned at the end of the day. “Clean the yard. Stack the firewood. Wash the windows ….”

If she didn’t complete the tasks, she would be greeted with his explosive anger. But even if she did complete the list, he was never satisfied; he would always find inadequacies in her work.

After several years, the husband passed away. Some time later she remarried, this time to a man who lavished her with tenderness and adoration.

One day, while going through a box of old papers, the wife discovered one of her first husband’s lists. And as she read the sheet, a realization caused a tear of joy to splash on the paper.

“I’m still doing all these things, and no one has to tell me. I do it because I love him.”

That is the unique characteristic of the new kingdom. Its subjects don’t work in order to go to heaven; they work because they are going to heaven. Arrogance and fear are replaced with gratitude and joy.

Transitional:

We give and serve one another because of the love that is in our hearts; it is easy to give to the ones we love. In loving Christ it will be easy for us to give out to others.

We give at Christmas time out of a heart of love but should the giving stop after Christmas is over?

I. Let’s talk About The Giving Of Christmas:

1. The giving of Christmas I’m not talking about presents I‘m talking about the giving of ourselves to the ones we love.

2. The sacrifices that we make during this time of the year for those we love.

3. However you might ask how does this tie into God’s word?

4. Boy, I’m so glad you asked!

5. Philip Makari has a little to say about giving which is good, “Here I speak of a special type of giving, the giving of our total selves first to God.

6. It is the giving of body, soul and spirit for God’s use that we may achieve, for ourselves and for others, the higher ends of God.

7. This is not, as you can see, charity giving. This is dedication giving.

8. It is the giving of who and what we are.

9. It is the type of giving expressed in a an engraved picture on one of the ancient cathedrals in Europe where an apostle stands between an altar and a plough, the symbols of dieing and serving, with the inscription, ‘READY FOR EITHER.”

10. This rule of sacrificially giving of ourselves that we might prepare the way of the Lord is like the case in all the experiences of life.

11. It is a common- sense rule that applies to all the situations of life:

12. Without serving that which we need to achieve, we simply can’t achieve it.

13. Life is a series of giving’s that we might gain.

14. Only where there is input can we expect an output.

15. Only when we deposit, can we expect return.

16. Don’t participate, don’t expect. No pain, no gain.

17. Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could.”

18. You might ask what does this has to do with Christmas.

19. At Christmas time we sacrifice what we want for other people.

20. We sacrificially give to those we love.

21. It is fun to give to someone else.

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