Tuesday, December 25, 2007


The Wonderful Gift

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Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given” (Isa. 9:6). This prediction—most clear in application, most glorious in content, most consolatory in design, most gracious in purpose—points us to the time when God’s Son assumed our nature, entering the world in circumstances of deepest humiliation.

In the birth of Jesus, Heaven and earth meet. Coleridge, speaking of philosophy, said: “In wonder all philosophy began, in wonder all philosophy ends, and admiration fills up the interspace.” Thinking of Jesus’ natal night, of Bethlehem, of the angels, of the inn in which there was no room for the Prince of Glory, of the cattle stall in which He was born, of the fact that He was God held in a woman’s arms, of those who “wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds” (Luke 2:18), we say, in the words of Shakespeare: “O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful! and yet again wonderful.”

1. The Wonderful Gift Is A Person

2 Cor 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: although He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.

Our word grace comes from a family of words charis, largely translated love, mercy, kindness, favor, thanksgiving and pity. They reflect some aspect of "grace." The word charis always means love, charm and beauty. It is a lovely thing. A charming woman is a graceful loving person, the name Karen of course, comes from charis. Charis, grace, describes "a free gift freely given." It is something given in the overflowing love from the heart. The recipient does not deserve it, and could never earn, or achieve the gift. The "grace" is the "unmerited, spontaneous love" of Jesus Christ for the sinner. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is the basis of our salvation, a right relationship with God that comes to the believer as an unearned gift. It is the sheer generosity of the love of God to the believing sinner. Christ gave Himself for us.

He was Rich in His Possessions.

Jesus as the pre-incarnate Son of God had everything.

John 1;1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.

He was Rich in His Personhood.

Hebrews 1:1-3 Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. 2 In these last days, He has spoken to us by [His]Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things and through whom He made the universe. 3 He is the radiance of His glory, the exact expression of His nature, and He sustains all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.

Phil 2:5 Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, 6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. 7 Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, 8 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross.

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above
While mortals sleep the angels keep their watch of wondering love
Oh morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth.
And praises sing to God the king, and peace to men on earth.

Here is an amazing thing : Christ was born of Mary. The eternal one born of a mortal. The infinite one, takes residence in the finite.

He was Rich in His Position

He was rich in glory which He had with the Father (John 17:5). The angels were "constantly bowing down" to worship Him and crying, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts" (Isa. 6:3). As the Son of God, the Second Person of the Godhead, Jesus was rich in "the actual and constant possession of all divine prerogatives" (Charles Hodge). Jesus became poor in the act of becoming man. Paul has in mind the incarnation of Christ, and probably including His death. The greatest of His condescension is in the fact that He should have been born. "Though He shared the Father's glory before the world was created (John 17:5), nevertheless He temporarily laid aside this glory in order to 'be found in fashion as a man'. He did not lay aside His divinity; for there is no doctrine of kenosis, or emptying of His Godhead, to be found here any more than in Philippians 2:7" (R. V. G. Tasker, p. 115). Jesus laid aside the glory of His divine majesty. He did not lay aside His deity. He was fully God; He was fully man; He was God-man. Jesus laid aside the constant use of His divine attributes, not their possession. "He so far laid aside the glory of His divine majesty, that He was to all appearance a man, and even a servant, so that men refused to recognize Him, as God, but despised, persecuted, and at last crucified Him, as a man. He who was rich in the plentitude of all divine attributes and prerogatives thus became poor, "on your account," out of love to you" (Charles Hodge, p. 201).

He was Rich in His Power

He was rich in power. He could do anything with the universe He had created.

Oh little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by
Yet in they dark streets shineth, the everlasting light
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
2. The Wonderful Gift Is Purchased

2 Cor 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: although He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.

The picture here is ogf a guarantor on  a loan.
If you get a mortgage, to buy a house, and your dad goes guarantor he will not be too pleased if you default on the loan.
There is a debt that we all owe.  The sin debt.
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. No matter what language you speak, tjat word all means all.
And as such we are debtors.
Debtors to god’s Law.
God demanded 100% righteousness.
How many of you have lived a 100% righteous life this year? None! We are all debtors
We owe. And the wages of sin is death.
We  don’t have that which we can pay to cancel that debt.
We had a debt we could not pay. He paid a debt he did not owe, We needed someone just to take our sins away! And He did!
Its amazing grace all the way. God graciously has done that because he paid the debt we could not pay.  At the cross He bore our sins.  He took the penalty for our sins so we would never have to bear it.
This gift is purchased. 
There is a demand : 100% righteousness.
There is a Debt: we are sinners.
There is a Guarantor who has paid the debt for you and me.

2 Cor 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: although He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.


3. The Wonderful Gift Is A Present

2 Cor 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: although He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.

He Is A Practical Gift

When we go Christmas shopping for those we love, it doesn’t have to be the best or the most expensive gift, as the old saying goes ‘it’s the thought that counts’. Our gifts should be practical, not as one lady said to her husband, “This year let’s give each other more practical gifts like socks and jewellery.”
Two young boys were discussing the upcoming Christmas season and all of the toys they hoped to receive. One kid explained to the other, “Money can’t buy happiness, you know. To be happy, you have to convert the money into toys.” You know what it’s like to get a gift that you really don’t want or can’t use. You see them in the stores. All of us have got them. Sometimes we just repackage them from Christmas gifts to Birthday presents. If its not perishable, you don’t even have to take the Christmas wrappings off! Sometimes you can just switch the name tags!!

But the Lord Jesus Christ is a gift that is practical gift. He came to save us from our sins. It has to work down here, for us to have any confidence that it will work out for eternity. And it does. When a person receives the Lord Jesus Christ, they receive the most practical gift possible. Forgiveness of sins, peace with God, a joy that continues throughout life whatever the circumstances of life. The presence of God through all life events!

He Is A Pleasing Gift

The gifts that we give should be something that would please the one we are giving the gift to. I wouldn’t want to give my daughter a Bible Commentary because I know that is not a gift that would please her. We all know what happens to gifts that we don’t really care for-they get put on a shelf somewhere. God gave me an unspeakably pleasing gift in Jesus. What more could I ask for? Matthew 7:9-11 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Jam 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father...

Jesus gave it all up. Instead of being worshipped, "He was despised and rejected by men . .. we esteemed Him not-- he was stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted" (Isa. 53:3-4). Jesus was obedient to death. There were "no reserves, no half-measures, no conditions, no holding back."

Jesus held nothing back. He poured out everything He had on the cross at Calvary. All that He could call His own He gave up for you and me. "Having loved His own [disciples], He loved them unto the end" (John 13:1). "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8-10). We were God's enemies, we were helpless sinners and He came to give Himself for us.

He Is A Permanent Gift

The gift that we give should be something that is permanent and of lasting value. Not something cheaply made that will break the first day it is used. A woman kept a very tight lid on the amount of money she spent on Christmas gifts. Each year when her family gathered with other  relatives she always made sure the purchasing cost remained a big secret. This worked fine until her daughter was old enough to start talking. On this particular Christmas the little girl’s uncle started prying for the price. The young niece told her uncle, “I’m not allowed to tell you how much we paid, but I can tell you we got it at the Go Lo.” Also it should be something that will at least keep the interest beyond Christmas day alone. We have all seen children who get all kinds of nice expensive gifts for Christmas and by the end of the day they are playing with the boxes and paper. God gave us the permanent Gift of eternal life (John 10:28-"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”) There is really nothing else that we could ever ask for or desire that is higher than this gift. Jesus laid down His own self so that we could have this permanent gift. He wrapped himself in human flesh and took on man. He bore our sins and took our shame. The King of all Kings was born in a little stable. What a welcome to our earth. He did all this so that we could have this permanent gift.

He is A Personal Gift

The purpose of Jesus' poverty was to make paupers rich.

"Though He was [exceedingly] rich, yet for your sake He became [extremely] poor, so that by His poverty you might become [exceedingly] rich (v. 9b, c). "Believers have become rich in the possession of that glory which Christ laid aside, or concealed" (Hodge). It was by His poverty that we have been made rich. You have become rich.

When we shop our gift should be a personal gift.  We are not shopping for ourselves. I usually head straight to the second hand book shop. But my wife would not appreciate it if I got her a book on theology. The next door neighbour decided to get his wife a mulch bin; she said he if he did, he’d be the first thing in it!

A gift that fits the person you are shopping for.  God gave a personal gift by giving his Son to die for our sins (John 3:16). He came for everyone. He came for you! He did not just come for the rich. He did not just come for the poor. He did not just come for white people or black. He came for everyone. Red, yellow, black & white. He came and died for you personally.

When Jesus came to this earth He became human. He didn’t have to. He was God. When He lived here on earth He was completely human. He felt heartache. He knew loneliness. He was tempted. He felt hunger. He knew what it was like to be tempted. Tho’ 100% God, He was completely human as well. The nails hurt His hands just like they would hurt yours. So why did He do it? He did it because he looked across time and he saw you. He saw your heart, He saw how you needed a Savior. So He gave the gift of Himself.  His gift is personal, for each and every one of us.

How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven
No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin
Where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in.
At this Christmas season, every heart ought to say, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (II Cor. 9:15). You did not ask God for this gift; it was freely bestowed.
At this Christmas season, will you receive presents from earthly friends and reject the gift of God? Base ingratitude! You can commit no greater sin than that of rejecting Jesus Christ. Everything you ever did fades into insignificance in the face of your refusal of the gift of God. Confess your utter worthlessness and simply accept the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s “unspeakable gift.”
At this Christmas season, we may not bring Him as costly a present as the Magi brought, but we can bring to His feet and cradle the frankincense of our joy, the pearls of our tears, the kiss of our love, the prostration of our worship; we can move someone to faith in Him, and give testimony that Jesus, our Saviour, our Lord, is Son of Man without sin, Son of God with power and glory, whose name is ceaseless music at the throne which overlooks the world. 
Oh holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today
We hear the Christmas angels, the great glad tidings tell 
O come to us, abide with us, our lord  Emanuel.

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