Summary: God offers each of us some amazing gifts: how many of them do we open, utilize, and appreciate?
Christmas Thwarted Plans Series
1. Most of us look forward to giving and receiving Christmas gifts.
2. For Millennia, people of many cultures celebrated festive times by giving and receiving gifts. So it was natural that, when Christians starting celebrating Christmas, they gave and received gifts. Nothing wrong with that.
3. But not all gifts are well received.
According to Daily Mail (UK, adjusted to American English/money),
• On average, we receive eight Christmas presents and hate two of them
• A total of $5.4billion is wasted on 104 million unwanted gifts
• Men most dread receiving gaudy ties and ridiculous Christmas sweaters
• Women dislike diet books, tacky ornaments and plastic surgery vouchers
4. Some gifts seem to be great gifts, but they are unused. People buy exercise equipment for Christmas to be used beginning with the New Year and then sold in June at a garage sale.
5. And sometimes highly valuable things are treated with contempt. Antique Roadshow.
6. God has offered mankind some amazing gifts; some are appreciated, some not. Some are embraced — at first — and then discarded. Others are treated with contempt and totally unwanted. Some remain completely unopened.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Main idea: God offers each of us some amazing gifts: how many of them do we open, utilize, and appreciate?
I. The INEXPRESSIBLE Nature of the Father’s Great Gift: His Son
A. Gifts, by nature, are FREE to recipients.
1. Not a wage (Romans 4:4-5)
2. Not a subsidy
3. Not a loan
B. How can we comprehend God GIVING of Himself?
• The sacrifice of Isaac is a picture of what was to come
C. The Angel said Jesus would SAVE His people from their sins.
D. How can we fully understand the miracle of the ATONEMENT?
• 2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
II. The Many Additional Gifts That Are INCLUDED With the Son
A. The gift of ETERNAL life via forgiveness via the atonement activated by faith (Romans 6:23)
1. Note the chain of events
2. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord
3. God saves us in a way that we are humbled (grace) but not humiliated.
4. My conversion: I thought God graded on a curve, I had to earn heaven…
5. When with other believers, we find ourselves among equals/new society
6. Romans 4:4-5 “Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness…”
• Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
B. The gift of the Holy Spirit’s INDWELLING (Romans 8:9)
1. “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”
2. Do you ever remind yourself that the Spirit lives in you? Do you ever say, “Holy Spirit, control me and guide me?”
C. Spiritual gifts given to help serve in a particular CHURCH (I Corinthians 12:7)
• “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
• Being connected to people in general is a gift; we are not happy or content in life w/out others. Joy is intensified when we connect to believers in a body.
III. With All These Gifts Come Some EXPECTATIONS.
A. Receiving these gifts obligates us to our PATRON.
1. Wikipedia summarizes the relationship of one who was given gifts by a patron in Roman society: “Benefits a patron might confer include legal representation in court, loans of money, influencing business deals or marriages, and supporting a client's candidacy for political office or a priesthood. In return, the clients were expected to offer their services to their patron as needed.”
2. I Corinthians 6:19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
3. Receiving God’s forgiveness obligates us to serve Him. If we think we can receive God’s forgiveness and be done with Him, we don’t understand salvation.
B. God expects us to UTILIZE the gifts He gives us.