Summary: Accept the greatest gift of all this Christmas a gift that will not break, rust, lose it’s power of fade away - Jesus!
The Greatest Gift of All – Jesus!
Thesis: Accept the greatest gift of all this Christmas a gift that will not break, rust, lose it’s power of fade away - Jesus!
Reference our Modern Day parable read in the service!
38Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
15Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Opening Illustration: THE EMPTY GIFT
"I was enjoying 1st grade to the fullest until one day in December when the little girl behind me set "it" on her desk. It was the tiniest Christmas present imaginable, less than an inch on each side with white glossy paper tied up with a sliver of red cellophane. Immediately I was captivated. I had never seen anything so exquisite. Day after day the tiny gift caught my eye, and my active imagination tried to guess what miniature treasure might be inside. It had to be something wondrous beyond description.
I longed for that object with all the power a 5-year-old can muster. Finally, I became convinced that it should be mine. I deserved it because I desired it. Since I rode an early bus to school, it was a simple matter to slip into the empty classroom one morning. My hands eagerly tore open the tiny present. Inside I found - nothing.
Staring at the destruction in my hand, anticipation dissolved into disappointment and confusion. Gradually my stunned mind grasped the fact that the little package had been nothing more than a hollow decoration. I sat at my desk with the empty paper and an empty feeling, sickened by the knowledge of my guilt.
Little did I know that morning that this scene would repeat itself many times in my life. As I grew up the world enticed me with all sorts of shiny, gaily wrapped "presents" that caught my eye and promised happiness. Too often, when I accepted what the world was offering and tore away the wrappings, my excited expectations were replaced by feelings of emptiness. Over and over I found myself proving the old cliché: "You can’t judge a gift by its wrapping."
Contributed by: SermonCentral PRO
I can relate to this story myself to the times when I anticipated a great Christmas present to only discover after I received it that it was not what I thought. It did not make me happy like I thought it would. There was still something missing even with the present in my hand.
We so often fall into the trap of embracing the empty words of others- Eph. 5:6 which says. “Let no one deceive you with empty words…” Words that push the following taken from Ephesians 5:1-7:
* “It’s okay to be sexual immoral and not worry about establishing a family like God wants - it’s the best way to find out if your right for each other.”
* “You don’t need to be married – God does not mind!”
* “God does not care if I steal a little a Christmas season the business owes me for all that I give any way!”
* “It’s okay to be greedy and strive for all the material toys you can get – because that will bring happiness!”
* “I can buy myself presents and give others the leftovers. I deserve it!”
* “It’s okay to focus on what you want at Christmas the bigger the better- give to those lazy losers no way. They don’t deserve the hard earned money you have fought for.”
* “Focus on Jesus this season why? Besides he died over 2,000 years ago!”
* “Jesus does not care if you are alive or dead!”
* “It’s okay to quit going to church and worshipping God you can do it at home just as well!”