Summary: Maybe we should forgo the gift wrap, fridge the fruitcake, and let love be our greatest aim for Christmas.
Love Gifts under the Tree
Finished Shopping? What kind of gifts are you looking for? We look for gifts for Christmas that show our love for others.
Joke; one man asked another, “what are you getting your wife?” “I’ll wrap myself.” “I’m not getting my wife much either.”
ILL Little Sammy Williams moved into a new neighborhood in the beginning of December because his dad had been transferred. He was slower than others, they didn’t like him. Day after day mom watched him walk home alone. As party was coming he made gifts, mom made cookies. He probably wouldn’t get a gift. We came running home, “Mommy, I didn’t forget a single one, now they all know that I love them.”
Transition: Read 1 Cor 13:1-3,13. Expound a bit on this verse: This Christmas let’s let everyone know we love them. Let love be your greatest aim.
The sign of a genuine Christian is LOVE!
John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (NIV)
Look back over 200 years of American history. Do we love each other?
The “Status of Global Mission, 2008” done my Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary this year placed the number of Christian Denominations at 39,000
We know by reading the Gospels that Jesus heals at least three blind men differently. In one case, he touches the blind man and he is healed. In a second, he spits on the ground, and makes mud and puts the mud on the blind man’s eyes and he is healed. In this case from Mark, he spits directly into the blind man’s eyes and he is healed. Now let’s suppose these three blind men (who now see) meet one day and begin comparing notes. If they are like some Jesus-followers today, their sharing will degenerate into an argument over the proper method of being healed from blindness. And because each has experienced a different method, they will probably be polarized into three distinct sects.
Out of that meeting will emerge the "touchites," the "mudites," and the "spitites." And three new movements will be born. But they really miss the point. Sometimes we miss the point on equally trivial grounds. The point is that we receive what God is trying to do in our lives.
In what I call “the Lord’s Prayer” --- the other one is The Lord’s Model prayer, The “Lord’s Prayer” is found in John 17 Jesus says, “I pray…for those who will believe in me through their (the apostle’s) message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:20-21 NIV)
When I read this prayer in light of the 39,000 denominations in the world, my heart aches.
How do people perceive Christians?
Watch this word on the street. – Play word on the street video here.
After it’s all over three things remain: faith, hope and love – the greatest of these is love.
The sign of a true Christian follower is not a cross around your neck, fish on your car, WWJD on your wrist, or a Bible in your hand. It is LOVE!
You can do all kinds of great things but if not done in love, you have nothing that will last. If you don’t have love, you don’t know God!
2. The only thing that counts is Faith expressing itself in LOVE! (Gal 5:6)
Faith can be expressed in other ways (humanly speaking)
Christian love loves the unlovable. Who tests you?
Over the past 24 hours have you expressed God’s love to someone else?
I think there are some people in your life this Christmas thinking, “forget the sweater, take back the watch, frig the fruitcake, all I want is your love.
I Jn 4:9-12
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (NIV)
ILL “Grandpa walked into the family room and found his little grandson, Jeffy, standing up in his playpen, crying… Later mom noticed silence; Jeffy nestled on Grandpas arm, both asleep in the playpen.
-- Notice that God’s love required Him to act. V 11, asks us to model this love.