Summary: One of the gifts Jesus was born to give was the gift of Eternal life. How and when did He give us that gift and how does His birth figure into it?
OPEN: Today is the 200th anniversary of the founding of the state of Indiana. Today we have members of the Cass County bi-centennial group present in worship. (We showed pictures of the group on the screen) We’ve had women dressed up to portray the various walks of life, a Union soldier, a frontiersman, and we even had Chief Logan – considered to be the founder of Logansport.
I’m dressed up as an old time preacher named Barton W. Stone. He was a famous preacher of our brotherhood from early 1800s and was involved in the founding of the Spring Creek Christian church on the north side of Logansport.
The folks we’re representing have several things in common.
They’d all been Indiana.
They’d all been in Logansport.
And they have one more thing in common.
Do you know what it is?
(PAUSE) They’re ALL DEAD.
200 years will do that to a person.
George Bernard Shaw observed "the statistics about death are very impressive—one out of one dies."
Now you may ask: why I’m talking about death this morning?
Well, the reason I’m talking about death is because the Christmas gift from Christ that we’re talking about this morning is the gift of eternal life. And you can’t talk about eternal life… without talking about death.
Jesus was born in a manger over 2000 years ago to give us the gift of eternal life.
As Hebrews 2:14 said: Jesus came to “deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”
People fear death!
• Now one comedian said he wasn’t afraid of death. It’s just that he didn’t want to be there when it happened!
• But Aristotle called death the thing he feared most because it appears to be the end of everything.
• Jean-Paul Sartre (an existentialist philosopher) said death “removes all meaning from life”
One survey I read said that nearly 70% of Americans feared death which leads me to believe the remaining 30% aren’t paying much attention.
Inside of each one of us there is the deep seating feeling that death isn’t right.
That death isn’t natural.
That we weren’t made to die.
The Bible teaches us that that’s true - we were not created to die.
We weren’t made to inhabit a grave.
It’s not natural.
It’s not the way things should have been.
And so because death is not natural it creates all kinds of negative emotions
Sorrow, anxiety, panic, fear, resentment, anger.
• But Jesus said “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has ETERNAL LIFE. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” John 5:24
• Romans 6:23 tells us. “… the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
• And John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have EVERLASTING LIFE.”
You see, the reason Jesus was born was to give us eternal life.
Galatians 4:4-5 SAYS “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to REDEEM THOSE WHO WERE UNDER THE LAW...”
Now I capitalized those last words there to emphasize that Jesus came to redeem us from the Law.
The Law had several purposes.
One was to help us understand the righteousness of God. To help us understand what is right… and what is wrong. Unlike mortal cultures that change their morality from one generation to another, God’s morality was set literally in stone.
And the Law had a penalty for sin… do you know what it was?
That’s right - death!!!
The wages of sin is death.
But all that changed with Jesus.
I Corinthians 15:55-57 “O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?
The sting of death is sin; and the STRENGTH OF SIN IS THE LAW.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The LAW of Moses drove home the seriousness of sin
As Romans 6:23 said: “The wages of sin (under the Law)… is death”
But Jesus took our place.
He took our punishment - He died in our stead.
And because of Jesus I don’t have to be afraid of death anymore.
When the fullness of time had come… Jesus came to give us eternal life.
ILLUS: When I was 5 years old my grandfather died. I loved him dearly and was heartbroken. After the funeral we went out to the grave site… and this was back when you could look right down into the hole. I stood at the edge of the grave and looked down into it for the longest time. Then I looked up at my mother and said “Mom, how’s grandpa ever going to get out of there?”