Philippians 2:5-8 (ESV)
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Welcome to Christmas Day 2022. Hope you’ve opened a gift or two already, and I hope you’ve got a lavish lunch lined up for after church. It’s a day to celebrate and worship God, thanking Him for the gifts He so freely gives us.
The thing I love about God is that He’s not a cheapskate…He lives to lavish gifts upon those He loves. I mentioned a few weeks ago,
Ephesians 3:20 (ESV)
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
HIS ABUNDANT GIFTS
Abundantly is in Greek HYPER-EKPERRISOU, meaning super abundance, lavish, over the top extravagance. The prefix in Greek is HYPER, translated far more or exceedingly. The entire phrase in my language then translates as, to Him who is able to do super, dooper, hyper, mega, over the top, extravagant, beyond comprehension, mind blowing stuff. Our God is generous towards us not just to the Max, but way beyond what we can ask or even think.
So, what does this mean? We give gifts to those we love at Christmas; we talk about God’s great gift at Christmas of His one and only Son, but I want us to realise this morning that our God is beyond extravagant, and the gifts don’t stop with a baby in a manger.
Today, Christmas day, I want to proclaim that the gifts just keep coming!
1. THE GIFT OF HIS SON
John 3:16 (ESV)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Why a baby? Why not a legion of angels to save the world, it would have been more spectacular!
God knew that the only way our sin could be forgiven is for a man to pay the price. God became man because that’s how to get the business done. He not about the spectacular, God became a man as a humble baby.
Philippians 2:5-7 (ESV)
Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
James 1:17 (ESV)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
And you can’t get a more perfect gift than a sinless God becoming a sinless man to save a sinful people for all eternity!
2. THE GIFT OF HIS SACRIFICE
The gifts keep on coming! Jesus didn’t remain a child, He grew into a man and showed us what God the Father is really like.
Philippians 2:8 (ESV)
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Fact is, we cannot save ourselves. No amount of good works, good intentions, religious observance, penitence, or anything else can cleanse us from sin. You might say, I’m a nice person, so God will have to accept me. If you die, you’ll be the nice guy in hell…being nice can’t save you.
Romans 6:23 (ESV)
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The free gift of God is Jesus dying in our place. Not the baby we celebrate today, but the beaten, broken man hanging on a cross we remember at Easter.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
You can’t earn your salvation; you can’t buy it and you can’t be religious enough to get it. God’s forgiveness, the restoration of relationship with God, is simply a free gift. You just must accept it.
3. THE GIFT OF FORGIVENESS OF SIN
The gifts just keep coming. Every human on earth struggles with sin. We all suffer guilt or shame or the consequences of our sin, and the sins of others. That first gift of a humble baby grew into a man, who in obedience to His Father, laid His life down for us, as a gift to us, so that we can be set free from sin, now and forever more.
Romans 5:8 (ESV)
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Psalms 103:12 (ESV)
as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
You can know complete forgiveness of your sin because Jesus has paid the price for it, and you can be set free from sin. What a gift!
4. THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE
But the gifts just keep coming. Not only is your sin forgiven, but your eternal separation from God is overturned. When Jesus died on the cross, He redeemed, which means He bought back, your life. God’s gift of Jesus died in the cross and paid the price of buying your soul back from death. He gives you the gift of Eternal life.
Romans 5:21 (ESV)
so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
John 11:25-26 (ESV)
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
God’s gift of His Son, and what Jesus did on the cross, gives us another gift, the gift of eternity spent with God in heaven. You might not believe in heaven. I don’t care, because I do and I know I will spent eternity there. Will you join me? Will you share this incredible gift or eternal life?
5. THE GIFT OF HIS SPIRIT
The gifts just keep in coming! Not only are we promised eternal life, but we don’t have to wait until we die, suffering through every day of a miserable life. Eternal life is a gift that starts today, right now! You can have heaven starting today, because the Holy Spirit is given to all who receive Christ, a deposit, a slice of heaven in your heart. Jesus said,
John 7:38-39 (ESV)
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive,
As Peter said in his first sermon in Acts 2
Acts 2:32-33 (ESV)
This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.
Acts 2:38 (ESV)
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptised 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.
6. THE GIFT OF POWER TO LIVE TODAY
But the gifts just keep on coming! The gift of the Holy Spirit in your life means you don’t have to live a defeated life. You don’t have to be controlled by sin, addictions, what others think of you, etc. You can be free and live a life of true freedom!
2 Corinthians 3:17 (ESV)
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
You can live a rich, full, wonderful life when the gift of the Holy Spirit lives within you. And when the Holy Spirit lives in you, you also get the gifts of the Holy Spirit, special gifts that enable you not to bless yourself, but to bless others…
1 Corinthians 12:7-10 (ESV)
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
And there are many more…the gifts just keep on coming!
7. THE GIFT OF CONNECTION (SONSHIP)
And the gifts just keep on coming! When you are saved and have the Holy Spirit within you, you also receive the gift of connection. You were cut off from God by your sin, but now the connection to Him is re-established. Now you can pray and confidently expect God to hear your prayer and answer.
You also get connected to people. This church is part of the family of God.
Ephesians 2:19 (ESV)
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
A great gift He gives us when we become a Christian is we become part of His family. You get connected to each other, and to God.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
There are many more gifts that God lavishes, exceedingly abundantly upon His children. His care, provision, guidance, compassion, His miracles, and healing and hope in a world without hope, all these are God’s gifts to us.
So, this Christmas, as you give, or receive a gift, stop and remember the greatest gift giver of them all, God Himself. He gave His Son as that little baby, but didn’t stop there, because the gifts just keep on coming.
He gave His Son as a sacrifice. He’s given His Spirit, eternal life, heaven, power to live for Christ right now, spiritual gifts, being part of His family. And the gifts just keep on coming.
The greatest truth of all is that God, the same God who created the universe, in whom it all holds together, who made the sunsets, who made our bodies, who made families. This same God, this all powerful, all knowing, all present God loves you. He wants to be close to you and has a plan and a destiny for you.
I SURRENDER ALL
He loves you, and the gifts just keep on flowing to those who love and accept the free gift of Jesus Christ. I want to finish with the end part of the verse we started with…
Philippians 2:5-11 (ESV)
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
He came once as a humble baby and died a cruel death. But He rose again, ascended to heaven and one day He is coming back for His own, just as He promised.
When He returns, it will be too late to accept His free gift. Right now, He offers these and many more gifts to you, but it is a limited time offer. When you die, or if He returns, the offer is off the table, and judgement is all that is left.
The wise decision is to accept Jesus Christ now. So, this Christmas, why not say “YES, Lord, I surrender all to You!”