Title: Eternal Gifts of Christmas
Theme: What Will You Find at Christmas
Series: Grasping the Truths of Christmas
“Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace to men, on whom His favor rests.”
Eternal gifts for those who grasp the truths of Christmas with their hearts
There are eternal gifts for those who grasp the truths of Christmas with their hearts.
Understanding those gifts and walking in the free grace by which these gifts come will completely change a person’s attitude toward the season which we now celebrate.
I would propose to you that there are wonderful benefits for those on whom God’s favor rests.
Most people including church attendees quote only part of the angel’s message from the Lord in Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace to men…” However, the Holy Spirit leads the Children of God to understand the rest of the verse, “…on whom His favor rests.”
It is Christians with a heart after God that are the ones that express a life that walks in the grace and mercy of God.
Pastor Rick Warren was 100% correct when he said, “You are going to find what you are looking for this Christmas.”
For those who have the heart of Pharaoh, He is going to give them that hard heart they so want.
(Exodus 8:15; 9:15; 10:1,20,27; 11:1; 14:8; Joshua 11:20; 2 Chronicles 36:13) For those who want to believe the lies of those brought forth by the devil, the Lord will cause them to believe those lies.
(2 Thessalonians 2:11; 2 Timothy 3:3-4)
However, there is something different for those who have the heart of David after his sin was exposed by the prophet Nathan, who wrote, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (Psalm 51:10-12)
To these types of spiritual hearts God will cast His favor in great amounts.
Those who have the favor of God upon their lives will live a life that expresses God’s forgiveness, peace of mind, and eternal life found in Christ Jesus.
The Holy Spirit has this question for all today, “What will you find this Christmas?
What will be the expression of your life for all to see?”
Forgiveness of sins through His name
There are many benefits for those who grasp the truths of Christmas, one being forgiveness.
Acts 10:43 says, “All the prophets testify about [Jesus] that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name.”
A little boy wrote Santa Claus saying, “Dear Santa, there are three boys who live in our home.
Jeffery is two and he is good some of the time.
David is four and he is good some of the time.
Norman is seven and he is good all the time, I am Norman.”
(Rick Warren, Christmas Message)
The Bible tells one truth that must be grasped there are no Normans in this world.
If we could tap into the brains of Christians and recall all they thought and did this last year and project it upon our big screen there would be some extremely embarrassed Christians.
There are no Normans in this world.
Thus, even today we are in great need of God’s forgiveness and mercy both available in Jesus’ Name.
A Christmas card sent to Pastor Rick Warren said, “If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent an educator.
If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent a scientist.
If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent an economist.
If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent an entertainer.
But our greatest need was forgiveness so He sent a Savior.”
The greatest need for all of mankind is forgiveness and the greatest need for Christians is the continued forgiveness that can be found in Jesus’ Name.
“Forgiveness” (apheseoes) in Acts 10:43 means to release one’s sins from the sinner.
This required Jesus’ coming as man so the sins of the world may be cast upon Him.
Thus He can take on the punishment of sin upon Himself.
He did this because His Father sent Him, and He came voluntarily.
The reason this forgiveness needs to be a continual forgiveness is because the children of God are not delivered from the presence of sin when they get saved.
Thus, Christians will slip into sin.
However, sin will not have dominion over them because the Holy Spirit will convict them of sin and draw them to repentance.
In Jesus’ Name they will be forgiven.
(The Complete Word Study Dictionary; 1 John 1:8; Hebrews 8:24 )
1 John 1:8 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
(1 John 1:8) Christians who think that they no longer sin deceive themselves.
Dr J. Vernon McGee was in Bible College.
When he met his first room mate he had quite a surprise.
His roommate informed him that he had not committed a sin over the last three years.
Dr. McGee was shocked to meet someone who was so sanctified in this life that he no longer slipped into sin.
As time went on, Vernon McGee’s roommate blamed him for everything that went wrong, no matter what.
After the first semester, freshman were able to change roommates.
McGee went to his roommate and informed him that he was moving into another room with someone who was like him.
That is, a sinner saved by grace who God was still doing a work in.
Vernon and his new roommate got along just great.
Two Christians standing in need of much prayer, just two sinners resting in the continued forgiveness of God given to them in Jesus’ name.
The great news of the angel was, “…in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: He is Christ the Lord.”
(Luke 2: 11) “Savior” (soter) is Jesus Christ who delivers and perservers at saving sinners from the danger and destruction of sin, and puts sinners in a state of prosperity and happiness.
Jesus as Messiah, the Savior of men, saves the repentant sinner from the guilt and the power of sin, from eternal death, from punishment, and misery as the consequence of sin.
(The Complete Word Study Dictionary)
Walter B. Knight wrote about an African pagan, Masagr.
He was a man known for lying, stealing, polygamy, slavery, and drunkenness.
After hearing the message of God’s forgiving and saving grace found in Jesus Christ, he surrendered His heart and life to Jesus.
He was very old and so wanted others to hear the good news that was proclaimed by the angels, “A Savior has been born to you.”
He saved every penny he could and even sold his cow to buy a bicycle.
He found a missionary, gave the bicycle to him and encouraged him to find a young person who was full of zeal for the Lord, that he may go and tell his fellow tribesmen about Jesus Christ.
This pagan African became a child of God, forgiven and saved from the sins that once held him in bondage.
He had the Holy Spirit living in him, giving him the same burning desire as the shepherds had on that first Christmas.
He wanted others to hear what has been told them about Jesus.
Christians who find the Christ of Christmas are sinners who are saved by grace.
They depend upon the forgiveness that is given in Jesus’ name.
And this brings them a great peace.
Palm 119:165 says, “Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.”
(Psalm 119:165) “Law” (torah) is used twenty-five times in Psalm 119 in parallel with various other words with the same meaning.
The word in itself is an active verb meaning to love the instructions in a general way from the Lord.
It means loving the ways, customs and directions from God as David so longed to know and love the Lord’s ways.
(The Complete Word Study)
There are those who develop such close relationships in Christian marriages, with Christian parents, with friends, co-workers and spiritual overseers, that they long to be around these Christians for instruction and guidance in the Word of God.
These Christians will deny themselves certain pleasures in life to prayerfully read and study the Word of God.
They pray not only revelation of God’s Word, but illumination of the Word so they can have the Lord’s strength to live it out.
These Christians find themselves getting victory over the flesh, overcoming the world, and exposing the lies of the devil.
They find peace in the way they use the Lord’s provision, talents, and abilities the Lord has given them.
The guidance of the Holy Spirit as He illuminates the Word of God in their lives enables them to walk victoriously rather than stumbling over the temptations and in the trials of life.
Pastor Rick Warren very rightfully observed that there are three things that rob people from enjoying Christmas.
They are guilt, grief, and grudges.
Satan has a way of bringing up past regrets around Christmas time.
He uses family members, co-workers and even those in the church to point out pass sins of people.
The great news is that if the child of God has confessed his sin to the Lord and is producing the fruit of repentance, then those sins are not held against him anymore.
The Holy Spirit wrote through Ezekiel, “But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die.
None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him.
(Ezekiel 18:21-22) The prophet Micah gives this promise of God regarding the sins of the repentant, God will “…hurl all [their] iniquities into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19) (The Expositors Bible Commentary; Matthew Henry)
It is like the Lord takes those sins that have been confessed and turned from, calls them up on the computer screen, highlights them, and pushes the delete button.
The list of sins goes blank.