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Summary: This sermon uses the moving story of a little boy and his Christmas present to force us to see what Christmas means to many people of the world.

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"JESUS IS THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL!"

John 3:11-18

[11] Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. [12] If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? [13] And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

[14] And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: [15] That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

[16] For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [17] For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

[18] He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Christmas is an exciting time and little Sammy was excited.

He was 15 years old and Christmas was still a time of wonder.

He was a happy child despite his handicap.

You see, Sammy was slightly retarded.

He did the things that most boys do.

He played ball, road his bike, fished, climbed trees.

And for the most part the kids were not too mean.

Sometimes they laughed and called him "stupid Sammy".

But Sammy just didn’t seem to hear them.

He just enjoyed life every part of it.

To him life was full of wonder and amazement.

And Christmas was the most wonderful time of all.

Transition:

On Christmas, we celebrate the fact

that God gave us the gift of His own Son, Jesus Christ.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

This morning, I’d like to make 3 points about this gift,

this incredible, priceless gift.

POINT #1.

The gift is Jesus Christ Himself

The gift God offers us is to know Christ.

To have fellowship with Him.

To have a relationship with Him.

The gift God offers us is to be known and loved by Christ.

John 17:3

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Let me ask you a question: Have you received this gift?

Do you have this kind of relationship with Jesus Christ?

Do you know Him as a friend?

Is He someone you can talk with, confide in, seek counsel from?

If the answer is “no,”…

If you don’t have this kind of relationship with Christ,

the good news is that you can.

All you have to do is ask.

Come to him in prayer!

Confess your sins. Ask His forgiveness!

Ask Him into your heart.

That’s all you have to do.

Perhaps it sounds a little strange

to talk about spending time with Jesus Christ,

as if He were someone you could see and hear and touch.

Well, it isn’t like that.

We don’t claim to see visions or hear voices.

But that doesn’t make our fellowship with him any less real.

Jesus is present with us.

His Spirit lives in us.

He speaks to us through the Bible.

And we speak with him through prayer.

“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” – 1 John 1:3 (NIV)

People sometimes think of Christianity

as nothing but a set of burdensome responsibilities.

Doing things you’d rather not do.

Like going to church,

when you’d rather be home reading the Sunday paper.

Some people see the Christian life as a lot of rules,

a lot of “do’s” and “don’ts” (mainly “don’ts”).

Or if they view Christianity more positively,

they might see it primarily in terms of the benefits it can bring –

improved relationships;

stronger marriages;

guidance in raising children;

emotional strength to deal with difficult circumstances.

And that’s true, but even that misses the mark.

The essence of Christianity isn’t rules, or “do’s and don’t’s.

It isn’t even blessings.

The essence of Christianity is a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Yes, the Christian life brings many benefits – joy, peace, hope.

But they all come through Christ!

They all flow from our relationship with Him.

Your greatest gift to your children

isn’t a few gifts wrapped in pretty Christmas paper.

The most valuable thing you can offer them is a relationship…

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