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Summary: Each year God sends us the same Christmas card inscribed with His message of love; when we open it and read it we know what His one & only Son did for us.

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Dr. Tom Doubt, Senior Pastor

Four Mile Creek Baptist Church

Richmond, VA

THE CHRISTMAS CARD

BACKGROUND:

A. Sending of Christmas cards is a 163 year old tradition

1. It began in England in 1840

a. The first cards showed people drinking & partying

b. Christns complained, so card companies changed to more religious images

2. This year the entire world will spend about $1 billion on Christmas cards

a. I really enjoy receiving Christmas cards

b. Nearly all of the cards have interesting pictures & words & themes that somehow relate to the season

3. Most cards convey the idea of the birth of Jesus

a. Many speak of noble Christian attributes: love, joy, peace, hope

b. Some even secularize old Christmas legends, like St. Nicholas

4. Most folks would agree with what the cards say

5. This Christmas Eve I want you to reflect on another "C" of Christmas, the Christmas CARD. Among all the cards we get, I want to emphasize THE card.

B. God sends us THE Christmas card each year

1. It is THE Christmas card from heaven [Clarence Sexton, Baptist Vision, Dec. 2003]

2. The inscription on the card is one of most well known verses in all the Bible. It is JOHN 3:16 . Let’s recite it together.

INTRODUCTION:

A. Although well known, the verse is one of hardest to really believe

1. It is difficult to believe God loved us so much that He would send His Son. Send us His Son to bleed & die on a cross for sinners like us.

2. Yet each Christmas this card from heaven reminds us it is true.

a. Of all the cards we get, this one is full of tremendous encouragement & joy.

b. It gives us the complete story from Christmas to Easter written in God’s love.

B. Tonight we again open & read this Christmas card from God, on the eve when we celebrate His Son’s birth.

MESSAGE:

A. FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD

1. “For God” expresses the source of love

2. “So loved” states the fact of love

3. “The world” defines the object of His love, the whole world

4. Though we do not see God, we have learned to love Him (1 Pet 1:8)

a. This belief becomes our joy through this love.

b. Because we are the object of His love , it is for all of us for all of time .

5. Where there is great love, there are always miracles [Willa Cather, quote on a card]

a. Great miracle is that God sent His Son.

b. It was the incarnation of God in flesh, fully God, full man.

B. THAT HE GAVE HIS ONE & ONLY SON

1. “He gave” was an act of love

2. “His one & only Son” describes the perfect gift of love

3. THE Christmas card from heaven was delivered to us in person by Lord Himself. For unto us a child is born, a son is given (Is 9:6. Not given by anything we did, but by hand of God. This child born to us was not ordinary child, but Divine Christ Child.

4. In the beginning was Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). Clearly, the Son is divine.

5. This one & only Son of God was given all authority in heaven and on earth.

a. The government will be on His shoulders.

b. He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlast Father, Prince Peace.

C. THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM

1. “Whovever believes in Him” is a message of love.

2. THE Christmas card from heaven was not printed with idle words. It was inscribed with a message everlasting importance. For you, for me, forever more.

3. To believe in Jesus Christ is not simply knowing of Him. Rather, we are to know Him which means a personal relationship. We live by this faith. We are saved by this faith. And we endure by this faith.

D. SHALL NOT PERISH

1. “Not perish” is the first of 2 fruits of God’s love.

2. THE Christmas card from heaven came so we might be saved, might have peace. The calf, lion & yearling will lie down together (Isaiah 11:6). A little child will lead them, none other than the Divine Christ Child.

3. Illustration: When the Israelites traveled from Mount Hor they complained against God (Num 21:5-7), so the Lord sent venomous snakes. Many died from snake bites; the people pleaded to be forgiven. God told Moses to put one of the snakes on a pole. Anyone who looked at the snake would live.

4. In a similar way God made the sinless Jesus to take on our sins in order that we would not perish.

a. He was put up on cross, like like the snake Moses put on pole.

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