Summary: The second in a series of messages called "A Classic Christmas." This sermon uses a short video clip from "It’s a Wonderful Life" and seeks to show people that a life in Christ really is terrific.
A CLASSIC CHRISTMAS
IT REALLY IS A WONDERFUL LIFE
A. The older I get the more amazed I am about how the mind works
1. First of all, I am amazed by the important things that I forget
2. Secondly, I am amazed by the trivial things that I seem to remember.
ILL> Skunk Joke
a. This story does have some spiritual significance
b. "Are you in or are you out?"
ILL> The former baseball great, Yogi Berra, is a prime example of the mind not always working the way you want it to. Many times what he thinks and what he says are 2 different things. Some of his "yogiisms" have become quite popular.
"You should always go to other people’s funerals; otherwise, they won’t come to yours."
"A nickel ain’t worth a dime any more."
"Nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded."
"When you come to a fork in the road, take it!"
And there’s the time that a lady said to him, "Good afternoon, Mr. Berra. My, you look mighty cool today." "Thank you, ma’am," Yogi replied. "You don’t look so hot yourself."
"You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there."
(Bits & Pieces, February 4, 1993, p. 14)
3. When it comes to God’s kingdom are you in or are you out?
a. If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there
4. So, where are you going? Are you part of God’s eternal kingdom?
a. Do you know for sure that when you die that God will be waiting to welcome you into His heaven?
B. In this letter written by John the Apostle, he says that we can know without a doubt that we will spend eternity in heaven
1. John is writing this book to Christians and wants to remind them of the wonderful life that they have with Christ–not just today, but for all eternity
a. A life with Jesus really is a wonderful life!
b. READ: 1 John 5:11-13
I>IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE--IT IS A GIFT FROM GOD (Verse 11a)
A. Christmas and giving go hand in hand
1. Of course, it’s hard NOT to think about the receiving side, especially when you are young (and I’m still young!)
2. We celebrate giving of Christmas--the gift of God’s Son
a. As children many of us memorized that verse which epitomizes this gift of God’s Son to the world
b. John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
c. This one verse is a sermon in and of itself
First, God gave us His love
This led God to give us His Son
Through His Son we have the gift of eternal life
B. As I look at our culture today I see two extreme views
1. The one view says that "I should have it because I earned it."
a. A lot of things that we have in life we have earned it
b. We expect to get a paycheck because we have shown up for work and earned our wages
c. If you want to have a great marriage then you need to be a great spouse
d. If you want good grades in school, then you have to study and do the necessary assignments to earn a good grade
2. There is an alternate view which says, ""I should have it because you owe it to me."
a. Some of the most miserable people in the world are those who think everybody owes them
The government owes them
their neighbors owes them
the church owes them
the school system owes them
even God owes them even though they may have never lifted a finger for God
C. God’s gift doesn’t fit in with either of these philosophies
1. The Bible says that we cannot earn our salvation
a. Titus 3:5-6
he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
b. God does commands us to do certain things in order to accept His gift–such as believe, repent, be baptized–but that in no way means that we have done anything to deserve His gift
ILL> A very rich man’s brother died and he called the local preacher to conduct the funeral. "Here’s the deal. My brother was the most wicked man alive, but if you lie and say he was a saint I"ll give you $100,000."
Now preachers don’t do funerals to earn money, but for $100,000 they would be willing to make an exception. But this all put him in an ethical dilemma. He really wanted to earn that money, but he didn’t want to lie to get it.