Pastor Barry/ The Gathering Church Christmas Eve: The Perfect Gift To hear this message and others download our free app from the App Store. Search the gathering connect.
The Perfect Gift John 1:1-5, 10-11
What was the most thoughtful gift that you ever gave? Did you save up all you had to purchase it? Did you search long and hard before you found it? Maybe you made it with your own hands. Perhaps it took a long time to create. Who was it for? Why were they so special to you? And most importantly of all, what was their reaction as they received it? Did they receive your gift with joy and appreciation? Did gracious tears fill their eyes?
If there was awkward silence followed by a contemplative look of confusion, a quick “thank you” as they moved on to open their next gift, or a genuine attitude of ungratefulness or even a rude smirk followed by a hurtful comment, then you have some sense of how God felt when He gave His only Son to an undeserving and ungrateful world.
Jesus was the perfect gift for mankind, but mankind did not comprehend it. He came wrapped in swaddling cloths as a gift to those He had created, but “His own” did not receive Him. In the Christmas story we read that “there was no room for Him in the inn.” The inn (lit. the guest room) was full like so many lives. There seems to be enough time for work, school, sports, entertainment, relationships, business, technology and even pets, but what about God? Is there any room for Him in your busy world? On this “night before Christmas” in our decorated homes, do we recognize Jesus and give Him praise?
The fact that you are assembled here with us tonight shows that you, or someone who has great leverage in your life, acknowledge that Jesus is the reason for the season. But God’s gift was to offer more than a pretty crèche (Nativity) at Christmastime. John the Baptist said of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29b) This is why Jesus is the perfect gift. Because man needs a Savior.
God Sent Us A Savior
If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist. If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer. But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior. Author unknown.
Dirty clothes cannot be washed until they are introduced to a washing machine. A broken car cannot be fixed until it is introduced to the mechanic. A person cannot be healed until they are introduced to the doctor. An individual cannot be saved until he or she meets the Savior. That first Christmas was the introduction of God to man. Every Christmas celebration, thereafter, is God’s reminder to mankind that they need a Savior.
To Be Put To Good Use 2 Corinthians 6:1-11, John 1:12-14, Matthew 5:14-16
No perfect gift is meant to be put on a shelf. It is to be put to good use. For those who have not yet unwrapped this gift of salvation from God, you are urged to open in now. As Paul once said to those people in Corinth: “Now is the time for God’s favor!” Many a man can go on all day about how someone, calling themselves a Christian, has discredited Jesus; however, there are many who have exampled true Christianity through all forms of trial. Jesus’ testimony is true. He has never discredited Himself. No more excuses…” Now is the time!”
For those of us who have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have been given the right to be called the children of God. Now that we have been given this right, apart from any merit of our own, we are to share Christ with others. We are to be lights in this dark world. Christian, what good is a flashlight without batteries. We must never forget that apart from Christ, we can do nothing (John 15:5). He is our energizer as well as our Savior. Our regular worship of Him, the reading of His word, and fellowship with His church is our needed recharge. We must continue to be filled with His Spirit in our daily lives (Ephesians 5:18). Then, and only then can we light the path for others.
The Bible…True After All Revelations 21:1-8
From time to time people panic about the end of the world. Remember Y2K (year 2000)? Later, the end was announced according to the Mayan calendar. 12.21.12 was to be the end of the world. Well, the Mayan calendar ended over seven years ago but we are still here! Now those politicking on the left say that global warming will wipe us out in eleven years. Still, others say that the world will go on forever, but that is not what the Bible says. Unlike the techno doomsayers, the Mayan mystics, the far out far left and other non-biblical prophets and scientists, the Bible will be proved true once again. It has an amazing track recorded for accuracy. Jesus alone fulfilled over 300 prophecies! And no prophecy of scripture has ever been refuted no matter what unbelievers want to say or believe. According to the Bible and Jesus, there will come a judgment day for all mankind and an end to this world…but then also a “new heaven and earth” promised for God’s people. Scoffers will undoubtedly find that the Bible is true after all and a Judgment day will come…
Today however, God is waiting to have a relationship with anyone who will open His perfect gift of salvation (a constant reminder to us as we celebrate Christmas and Easter once a year). Those of us who accept this gift and value it will one day celebrate eternally in heaven. Those that reject His gift will be forever regretful of the opportunity they rejected. Have you opened God’s gift of salvation to you? “Now is the time!”
Christians… Let your light so shine that everyone might clearly see the Perfect Gift that is in Christ. Shine on! For you may be the only Bible that some ever read. What will you demonstrate on the pages of your life? Remember Jesus is the reason not only for the season but for the very gift of life.