Summary: Here’s a Christmas sermon urging us to focus on giving rather than receiving gifts.
The Christmas Beatitude
32 So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
33I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel.
34Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me.
35I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ’It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ "
Pat has been busy this past week...
finishing the Christmas shopping.
For the past several years...
Pat and I have no exchanged Christmas gifts.
We tell our kids not to buy us any gifts, too!
Why do you suppose we do that?
We get more joy giving gifts than receiving them.
It’s more fun watching family members open their gifts...
than opening gifts given to us.
I wonder how many of us truly feel that way!
I doubt that many kids feel that way!
My grandkids aren’t worried about buying Christmas gifts.
They’re thinking about what they are getting for Christmas!
"It’s more blessed to give than to receive."
We’ve all heard that phrase many times before.
Those words were spoken by Jesus.
We are supposed to be following Jesus.
Paul said in Acts 20:35:
"And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ’It is more blessed to give than to receive’."
I have 2 questions for you:
1. "Do you believe this?"
Do you really believe that it’s better to give than to receive?"
2. "Are you a giver or a taker?"
In your relationships with others,
do you give as much as you receive?
Are you more concerned with what you can get out of a person
or do you concentrate on what you can give to another person?
What do these words of Jesus say to you?
What is Jesus saying to us here?
Today’s story is about Marcus Houston. He was a clerk at the post office. His job was to sort all the cards and letters that came into the post office and determine which outgoing mail sacks they should be placed in. Just a few days before Christmas, Marcus found an unstamped, handwritten, messy envelope addressed to God. Now this was highly unusual. The Post Office gets many letters addressed to Santa Claus at Christmas time, but letters addressed to God are extremely rare.
More of that story a little later!
Point #1. God favors giving over receiving.
Acts 20:35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ’It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ "
Let’s begin by looking at the word "blessed".
The word translated blessed is the Greek word makariov.
It means, "to have the favor of God".
It literally means that God is in favor of it.
Now if you had the choice between either giving or getting...
which would you choose?
Well, if we were to ask God that same question,
God would be in favor of giving a gift
rather than receiving one.
This is basically what Jesus is saying
when he says, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
Listen to what the scriptures say about God:
Psalm 34:10 says:
The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:11
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
James 1:16-17 says:
Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
Every good gift and every perfect gift comes from God.
Many people are deceived.
They believe when good things happen to them...
it’s the result of good luck.
But the Bible says that’s not true.
The Bible says that when good things happen in your life,
it is because God has given a gift to you.
John the Baptist said in John 3:27
"A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven.
Now, what about people who don’t believe in God?
What about people who don’t go to church?
Does God give good gifts to them?
Jesus says in Matthew 5:45 says:
for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.