Summary: Looking back on 2004, have you received one blessing after another? God would say, "yes!"
John 1:16: WE HAVE ALL RECEIVED ONE BLESSING AFTER ANOTHER.
Can you imagine, going on vacation in the middle of winter, and you’re sitting on the beach somewhere warm, relaxing, enjoying the sun, and suddenly, out of nowhere, a massive tidal wave comes crashing down on top of you and everyone else on the beach? A giant wall of water crashes down on top of all the buildings. Everything is destroyed. And everyone is pulled into the water, and drwoned. It sounds like a scene from a movie, but that’s what really happened last Sunday in southeast Asia. Can you imagine? Over 40,000 people were killed by a giant tidal wave. In our country, we think 9-11 is a big deal – and it is. But this is way bigger than that.
A massive earthquake took place in the middle of the Indian Ocean, sending a wave of water 500 miles per hour toward the shore, and as it traveled, it grew bigger and bigger and bigger. There was no warning system – and everyone was killed. So how was your Christmas weekend compared to that? When you hear things like that, it makes you realize that maybe things aren’t all that bad in your life. Sure, you have your own set of problems. Maybe you didn’t like the weather, or things have been rough on the job. But compared to the destruction in southeast Asia, things here in northwest Indiana are really pretty good.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “count your blessings.” And when disasters happen to other people, it reminds us to count our blessings. As Christians, we have a lot of blessings to count. John 1:16 is the passage that we’re going to be studying this morning: “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.” What a positive statement! Do you realize that every one of you, and every Christian in the world can say, “God has given me one blessing after another”?
We have just finished off another year, and we’re starting a new one. Are you glad 2004 is over? What a year 2004 has been for you, according to this passage of the Bible. During the year 2004, God has given you one blessing after another. This morning, let’s think about what God the Holy Spirit is really saying to us here. You see, there’s more to counting your blessings than just shrugging your shoulders and saying, “Boy, I’m glad I’m not in India right now” – there’s more to counting your blessings than that. Let’s study this passage and see…
John writes that our blessings come from “the fullness of his grace.” In our country, we know what it’s like to experience “fullness.” We eat too much, especially this time of the year. When was the last time you had that “full” feeling – you had one more plate of food than you should have had, and now you feel too full. God says that he is full of grace. God is like a giant warehouse of gracious blessings, and that warehouse never runs out. Every day, the angels pull up in their trucks and load up God’s blessings, and then they take those blessings down into your world and give them to you. And then they go up to heaven again, and the whole thing starts all over, and the blessings never run out. That’s the fullness of God’s grace.
I just read the other day how a man walked into a homeless shelter and started giving away $100 bills. He gave away a total of $35,000. Apparently, he had been homeless at one time in his life, and now he just wanted to give away some joy during the Christmas season. Nobody there deserved that money. That man just wanted to give it away. In a way, that’s how God describes himself in the Bible – he is overflowing with a desire to give you blessings – and these are grace-blessings, undeserved blessings. You and I are the people living in the homeless shelter, and God is giving us one blessing after another. That is the fullness of God’s grace.
Let me ask you this – during the Christmas season, does everyone in the world get everything they want? No. In fact, there are some people who walk away from Christmas empty-handed, because things just didn’t work out for them as they would have liked. TV makes it look like everyone lives happily ever after at Christmastime. But in the real world, there are a lot of people who get absolutely nothing.
But that’s not what happens when God blesses his people. No one is left out. According to the Bible, there is no such thing as a Christian who has not been thoroughly blessed by God. And you can get that from this passage, from one little word – do you see it there in verse 16? What does it say there? From the fullness of his grace we have ALL received one blessing after another. All of us receive a ton of blessings from God. No one is left out.