Summary: A two sermon series on our gift from God and what it means in our daily life.
You ever got a gift “just because” – for no special reason – how about an “undeserved” one?
Kindness – perhaps when you weren’t so kind. Respect – when you maybe didn’t act respectable (got a little hot under the collar with the sales clerk). Forgiveness – even though you deserved punishment.
That is the stage our scripture reading sets – God’s gift to man kind didn’t fit the offense.
The bible rightly says, “all have sinned” – if we tried to claim we haven’t well that was our sin – we just lied.
The gift of God was evident in every place Jesus stepped foot – the home of a thieving tax collector – the company of sinful men – or a woman of questionable background – to whom he made this statement in John 4:10
We are taught early on in life via a “rewards” system if we want something we have to earn.
Good grades – study. New toy – chores. Permission to go – show you can behave.
Do the work – get a paycheck.
You see, God works in the reverse, so to speak. He starts with the reward. He gave before we deserved.
Just up from our scripture reading in Romans 5:6-7, Paul writes.
An account in history we have heard from the time we were small – is that of Jesus on the cross. (paraphrase)
In spite of all that was done to Him – Jesus gave and poured the gift of God out for all mankind…
That Friday was only part of the gift…Sunday was coming! (S.M. Lockridge, put it like this:)
“…on that horrible day 2000 years ago, Jesus the Christ, the Lord of glory, the only begotten Son of God, the only perfect man died on the cross of Calvary. Satan thought that he had won the victory. Surely he had destroyed the Son of God. Finally he had disproved the prophecy God had uttered in the Garden and he one who was to crush his head had been destroyed. But that was Friday.
Now it’s Sunday. And just about dawn on that first day of the week, there was a great earthquake. But that wasn’t the only thing that was shaking because now it’s Sunday. And the angel of the Lord is coming down out of heaven and rolling the stone away from the door of the tomb. Yes, it’s Sunday, and the angel of the Lord is sitting on that stone and the guards posted at the tomb to keep the body from disappearing were shaking in their boots because it’s Sunday, and the lamb that was silent before the slaughter is now the resurrected lion from the tribe of Judah, for He is not here, the angel says.
He is risen indeed. It’s Sunday, and the crucified/resurrected Christ has defeated death, hell, sin and the grave. It’s Sunday. And now everything has changed.”
In the first gospel sermon Peter said it like this, Acts 2:22-24:
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.”