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Summary: What did God give us and what does He expect in return. Bel Aire Baptist Church March 3, 2002

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The Greatest Gift

Have you ever had to give a gift to someone, who has everything? It is very hard to find that just right present for my wife, when all she wants is my undying devotion and love.

I am very blessed because she also loves me unconditionally and supports God’s will in our lives. The greatest gift that my children could give me would be their love and for them to love each other and forgiving each other’s faults.

Paul tells us that we are to love our wives as Christ loved the Church. Have you ever thought about how much God really loves us? In terms of gifts, God gave us the greatest gift possible, His Son.

Let’s look at what God gave us and what we give Him in return.

John 3:16

16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

(NIV)

What greater gift can God give than His one and only Son? Could you give your son to someone knowing that he would die a horrible dead because of someone’s bad behavior? God loves us so much that He allowed His Son, Jesus Christ, to be born here on this earth. God didn’t allow His Son to be born in luxurious surroundings or to parents of great wealth. But God told a young virgin girl named Mary that she would bear the Savior of the World. So Christ was born of a humble woman and in humble surroundings. Joseph and Mary even had to leave all that they had to take Jesus to Egypt so that He would not be killed. When Jesus began His ministry He had to suffer reticule and rejection, but He didn’t quit. Jesus continued to teach the Good News and to train His disciples in the will of God. Jesus could have given up and said that we weren’t worth all the bother, but He didn’t, because He loves us too much.

Jesus also gave us the greatest gift that a person could give.

John 15:13-14

13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

14 You are my friends if you do what I command.

(NIV)

Jesus loves us so much that He was willing to suffer and lay down His life for us. For parents, this is easy to understand. Which one of us wouldn’t give our life, to save the life of one of our children? This is true unconditional love. Jesus knew that He would have to suffer and die on the cross so that we might be saved, but Jesus also knew that He would be raised from the dead on the third day.

John 10:17-18

17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life-- only to take it up again.

18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

(NIV)

Think about what Jesus suffered because of us. Yes, it was our sins, yours and mine, that caused the nails to be driven through his hands. First the one hand and then the other. Think what it would feel like to have someone hammer a nail through your hand. And then to have the same thing done to the other hand. Remember all this took place after He was flogged with His back cut and bleeding. A crown of thorns forced on His head causing pain and bleeding. And then having to carry the heavy wooden cross on his back for a long distance. I can’t imagine how much pain Jesus must have been in. We complain and run to the doctor at the slightest pain, but Christ endured more pain in those few hours than any pain that any of us as experienced.

After nailing His hands to the cross bar, they then placed his feet together and hammered a nail through both feet. But Jesus endured all of this pain and never passed out. And then they began to raise the cross up so the bottom would fall into a hole that had been chiseled out of the rock and the cross would stand upright. When the cross was almost vertical, the bottom slipped into the hole with a jarring thump. Can you imagine the pain that shot throughout Jesus’ body when the bottom of the cross fell into that hole? There is no way that any of us could endure such pain. But Christ loves us so much that He endured all of this willingly. He could have come down off the cross at anytime or struck everyone dead, but He didn’t. Why? Christ knew that a perfect sacrifice had to be made for our sins. Jesus is the only one that could and did live a perfect, sinless life here on earth. He knew that for us to be saved, He had to stay on that cross. What amazes me the most is what He said while suffering on that cross.

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