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The Best Gift Ever (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
December 25, 2020 7:00 am

The Best Gift Ever (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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December 25, 2020 7:00 am

Four reasons that make the advent of Christ the greatest gift ever given to mankind; based on John 3:16-18 and other passages.

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Jesus came looking for unworthy people.

Hallelujah. And I don't know if you've figured it out about yourself yet, but I was one of those unworthy people that he came to save. And he said the condition isn't that you're worthy or that you're special. No, you desperately need what I have and you're willing to let me bless you by grace. But the condition is a gift, one based on mercy, not merit, on willingness, not wealth. Today, Pastor Paul Shepherd delivers a special Christmas Day message about the greatest gift the world has ever seen, the salvation of Jesus Christ. It's a free gift, an eternal gift, and it's available to anyone who asks for it.

So now here's Pastor Paul with today's Destined for Victory message, The Best Gift Ever. Jesus was willing to give his life and the Father loved you and me so much that he was willing to give his son. Now why is it that Jesus can save us when no one else could?

Glad you asked. It's because the Savior had to be sinless and had to be willing to become sin in exchange for our sins. You know what happened on the cross?

You could call it the great exchange. On the cross, the sinless God-man, Jesus Christ, he who knew no sin became sin for us so that we could become the righteousness of God in him. If you ever read about Jesus on the cross, one of the things you'll notice that he says is, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Never before had Jesus known what it is to be separated from God the Father. But because he loved you so much, he said, I tell you what, I'll take all your sin upon myself and I'll become the sin sacrifice and then in doing that, I'm going to put all of my righteousness on you.

Isn't that marvelous that a perfect God came down to earth, lived a sinless life, and then on the cross, he took all of your sins and mine upon himself so that we would be free to serve him and have a real relationship with him. One of my favorite movies of all time is a movie called Seven Pounds and when that movie came out years ago, it starred Will Smith. The movie was about this character played by Smith who was created through his negligent driving and horrific accident. He's in the car with his girlfriend and they're playing around.

Why don't you put that phone down? They were going to some social event, some special event, but he's still kind of in work mode and so they're laughingly talking about him driving and texting, which is something you should never do. Let me throw that in right now and so the fact of the matter is with his negligent driving, he creates an accident that was so horrific that seven people died in this accident, one of which was his girlfriend, his fiance, who was in the car with him. And so she died, six other people in that accident were killed because of Will Smith's character's poor decision making and negligent driving. And there he is alive and so you don't know this until you get all the way through the movie.

It's well put together. At the beginning, you see signs. You see every now and then flashes of what happened, but you can't put the whole story together until you get through it. What you see most of the movie is this man finding seven people that he wants to give an extraordinary gift to. As the movie develops, you find out that the gift requires him to sacrifice things about himself. He gives away parts of his body that he can give away and still be alive and then at the end of the movie as it moves toward a climax, you see that he has been setting things up. So eventually, he is going to literally give his life and in giving his life, he is going to give the remaining gifts that he couldn't live while staying alive and those are going to be donations after his death. And he looks through the movies looking for seven people to bless. Now here is why I love the movie because you find out at the end that he is a tortured soul.

He lives the rest of his life just tortured with the guilt of having taken seven people's lives and he wants to atone for it and you find out at the end that he was looking for seven people to give seven very precious extraordinary gifts to. But here is the problem. He was looking for people that he thought were worthy of the gift. Now I understand it in its context. You see that this character is looking for people who he considers worthy. Here is the problem.

At a certain point, it dawned on me as I sat in the theater, I almost blurted it out. I didn't but I could have said, oh, this is the antithesis of the gospel. This is the exact opposite of the gospel.

You know what I mean by that? Here was a tortured man, tortured by guilt, trying to find seven worthy people to give an extraordinary gift to. But in the gospel, Jesus didn't come looking for worthy people. Jesus came looking for unworthy people.

Hallelujah. And I don't know if you figured it out about yourself yet but I was one of those unworthy people that he came to save and he said the condition isn't that you're worthy or that you're special, the condition is you know you desperately need what I have and you're willing to let me bless you by grace. Grace means you couldn't earn it if you tried and God gave me and gave you the most expensive gift he could give in giving us his son. It was an essential gift.

It was an expensive gift. Number three, he gave an eternal gift. He gave an eternal gift.

What does the Bible say here in the text? That whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Everlasting, eternal.

I'm so glad he gave me a gift that doesn't have an expiration date on it. Aren't you glad to know your salvation isn't going to run out one of these days? Aren't you glad to know that you're not going to, well, it was good for as long as it lasted but it expired now so I'm back to my sins. No, no, I'm eternally saved by the grace of God. Grace will sustain me throughout eternity. You and I who are in Christ can live with the absolute assurance that one of these days when we leave this earth, and trust me when I tell you, we all check it out of here. The reason why you're doing the right thing, listening to the word of God, the reason why you're right to go to church, the reason why you're right to invest in eternal things is because all of us are on our way into an eternity. The question is are you going into a Christ-filled eternity or are you going into a Christ-less eternity? But all of us are eternal beings. Your spirit will be alive a million years from now. The question is how you going to spend eternity? Well, we don't have to worry about it in Christ because he gave us a gift that is eternal and it will last for all eternity. Oh, I'm so glad to know that I'm saved now and a million years I'm going to be saved in the presence of God and the reason will be the same because of the gift I got on the first Christmas.

It had the ability to carry me all the way through eternity. We'll be right back with more of today's Destined for Victory message from Pastor Paul Shepherd, who is Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. Listen to the broadcast on demand at That's, where you'll also find a host of great resources in our online store. Well, Pastor Paul would join me in the studio after today's message, so stay right here.

But first, let's join him for the rest of his message, The Best Gift Ever. Somebody ought to be excited about the fact that when this earthly house is dissolved, you got another building, a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens. You'll never have to worry. Do you know you're not going to backslide in heaven? You know you're not going to be up there carrying on the way Jesus said, you got to get out of here.

You just too crazy. Oh, I'm glad that salvation is going to have us covered. We're going to be saved by grace through faith. That's why we're going to sing a song that the angels can't sing. We're going to be able to sing some songs in heaven the angels cannot sing because they can't sing about being redeemed. They were created to glorify God. That's all they do is glorify God and do his bidding. So when we get to heaven, we're going to be the first folk there who were first jacked up and then because of the gift, we got eternal leave from the Lord.

We have his life going on inside of us. So it's an eternal gift that outlasts your sin. The Bible says the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. I'm not going to die physically. We're going to die in these bodies, but let's be technical. We're not going to die at all because of Jesus.

The day that you hear pastor Paul's gone, don't believe it. I'm not, well, I'm going from this existence. That's what they'll be talking about, but I'm very much alive.

That moment to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I'm glad that anybody glad that some glad morning when this life is over, I'm going to fly away from here. I'm going to get away from all this crime and terrorism and craziness going on.

You go to the mall and folks shooting all over the place, acting like they got no sense. This world is insane by sin, but thank God that whether you live or die, you belong to the Lord. And one day when you check out of here, folk going to be crying over you. That's why you want to live well enough for folk to cry when you go.

Y'all should be working on that now. Make sure you're doing right by people and blessing people and helping people, ministering the folk and leave some good insurance for your loved ones and all that. You want to do some stuff that'll make them want to cry when you're gone. Don't live so that they say, oh, he gone?

Yeah, good enough for her. I'm working hard so that folk actually miss me. It's practically part of our new members orientation. When the pastor goes, you're supposed to fall out. I won't be around to see it, but I just want to die knowing the saints going to have, they just going to stretch out. I just want to believe it's going to matter when I'm gone. I don't want y'all talking about, oh, Pastor Paul, he died this morning? Oh, well, what y'all want for lunch?

No, no. Ain't no lunch fast the rest of that day. You can't get yourself together.

You'd be sitting up at the restaurant crying anyway, so you're just not even going to eat. You just, I don't believe, pastor's gone. And some of y'all who work me the hardest, I want you to fall out. Pass all the way out. What? He gone. Well, they got put stuff under your nose again.

It's my fantasy. You'll leave me alone, but I'm glad to know some glad morning when this life is over. I'm going to fly away from here.

We will be more alive in our glorified body than we are right now because in this body, you start feeling the fact that this one wasn't built to last forever. Y'all who are in my generation, y'all know we starting to have stuff happen that you say, oh, where'd that pain come from? Come on, some of y'all. Oh, I never felt that. Never felt that crook. You can't make some moves like you used to make.

Come on, some of y'all getting old like me. You got to make arrangements. And for so many years, you just wake up, jump out the bed, bam, you gone. But after a while, you say, wait a minute, hold on. Y'all ever had something hit you, something twist inside of you somewhere?

You can't even find where it is. What? All that is is your body telling you you're not in this one to stay. This house wasn't made for eternity, but we got another one coming because of the goodness of our God. It's an eternal gift. Let me tell you one more thing and I'm done.

Number four, not only is it an essential gift, not only expensive, not only eternal, but number four, it's an exciting gift. You know what I mean by that? Jesus said in John 10, 10, the thief comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly. Not only do you have eternal life in Christ, but before we leave, you're supposed to have abundant life right now. You're supposed to enjoy your life in Christ right now. I don't get these sour saints. You're not supposed to be a sour saint. You're not supposed to be somebody who can't enjoy your life, so that's why you're waiting for heaven because you can't stand life here. That's not supposed to be it.

You're supposed to just look forward to the upgrade. But God will allow heaven to invade some of your life here and now. That's what we're doing when we're believing God for healing, believing God to give us jobs and get us through tough times. You're asking God, just send me a little heaven.

Get me through this crunch I'm going through. Invade my life with the supernatural. I feel sorry for people who don't believe in the supernatural. I believe that a supernatural God will bless me above and beyond that which is normal. And if I walk with him, he will invade my earthly experience with his heavenly truth.

And so you ought to enjoy your life. He said you're supposed to have life to the full, life abundantly. Some Christians, when they greet you, you can tell they don't have any joy. Because Jesus said he was leaving us. Read John chapters 14, 15, and 16. He says a lot of things as he's preparing to depart. One of the things he says to his disciples is he's going to leave us peace, his peace, and his joy.

Now let me ask you a question. If Jesus left you and me his peace and his joy, why aren't we walking in it? I've decided I'm not going to have any unopened, unclaimed blessings. He left me peace and joy. Jesus said I say these things to you that your joy may be full.

I want full joy. Don't be one of these Christians walking around. Praise the Lord. You ever had fun telling you praise the Lord sounded mean?

Praise the Lord. That means you're supposed to be praising him. You're supposed to be excited. You're supposed to be happy.

You're supposed to be joyous. You're supposed to have a peace that passes understanding. You go through tough times and we all go through them.

There ought to be a peace that passes understanding. Lord, I don't know how I'm getting through this without losing my mind. You're so aware that God's carrying you through a bereavement or through a difficult season. You don't even know yourself how God's getting you through it. But somebody here can tell you there's something within me that is holding the reins. There's something within me that banishes pain. There's something within me I cannot explain all that I know.

There is something within. That's part of your heritage as a child of God. Just go on and say I don't know how I'm making it, but I'm making it by the grace of God. I ought to be stark raving mad by now, but somehow I feel God holding on to me. You know, sometimes you don't have to hold on to God. You feel him holding on to you. Sometimes he's carrying you through, just like when your kids were little.

Every now and then they get in a situation they didn't feel comfortable and they would put their arms up, pick me up. Sometimes God sees where you are. He says I'm not going to make you walk by yourself. And he'll scoop you up in his arms. And he'll walk you through what you got to go through.

And he'll make sure that the test doesn't get too much for you. And he'll give you sufficient grace to get you through what you got to go through because what we got on that first Christmas was an exciting gift. I'm excited about Jesus. I'm excited about salvation. I will not be one of these saints who is a secret agent saint. I'm going to tell everybody I know Jesus.

And if you give your life to him, he'll change you forever. Everybody's out the closet. Y'all get out the closet too. Go tell it on the mountain, over the hill, everywhere. Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born. Every day of his life, Jesus laid it down to serve us. And on the last day of his life, he laid it to save us.

Blessed be his holy name. Pastor Paul joins me now from his studio in California to share a special Christmas message with all of us. Pastor, I think Christmas at some level has become much more than just a celebration of the Savior's birth, so many distractions. How do you and your family keep the focus of Christmas in Christ? Well, I think, Wayne, I can truthfully say that keeping focused on Christ has never been a challenge.

And here's why. Because I grew up in a home, and so did my wife, where Christ was the reason for the season. Yes, there was gift giving. Yes, there were good times to be had and enjoyed. But Christ was always at the center. Now, when we had our two children, as they were growing up, we enjoyed sharing with them the fairy tales, you know, "'Twas a Night Before Christmas," and the reindeer and the elves, and of course Santa.

But we made sure that our kids, like we as children, always knew that this season is about Jesus, and we kept him front and center. And even now, in our 60s, my wife and I are seasoned citizens. I don't want to use that word senior yet.

Hey, I like that. I'm going to stay away from it as long as I possibly can, but we're seasoned citizens in our 60s. And these days, we don't give gifts to each other. We give each other cards and all of that. But we decided sometime back, what we'd rather do is give what we would spend on each other. We want to take that money and invest it in the lives of families in need or individuals in our sphere of influence.

We do that every year, and we bless a few folks, and they're always just amazed by that. But we find it just as fulfilling as receiving. In fact, in a lot of ways, it's more. It's kind of what Jesus said. It's more blessed to give than to receive. You can't imagine that when you're a kid, but once you get my age, you realize that it really is true. We do.

We really do. I find that it's not so much keeping our focus on Christ that's a challenge. It's all the activities that get in the way, all the things to do. And you know, as a pastor, all the responsibilities you have. So that's a difficulty to overcome, too.

Yeah, it is. And we just have to make sure that our schedules line up with our priorities. And so if our priority is to worship and if our priority is to spend quality time with family and with the saints of God, then we just have to make that happen.

You know, time is one of those things that if you don't control it, it will manage itself in ways that you don't want it to. So we make sure to keep our priorities firmly in focus and we don't let the busyness drive us crazy. I don't like to see people lose all their sanity and their dignity because they're trying to enjoy the holidays. Take your time, pace your life, enjoy what's important and let God be glorified because Jesus really is the reason for the season. And our prayer is that this is what this day is all about for you and yours. Keep in mind for your best gift this month, we're pleased to offer you a DVD from Pastor Paul called Refocus.

That's Refocus, a message that will help you put the past year in its proper perspective so that you can move ahead in faith into 2021. Request your copy when you make your very best gift to Destin for Victory today. Call 855-339-5500 to give over the phone or visit to make a safe and secure donation online.

You can also mail your gift to Destin for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. Well let me tell you something, all of us have some baggage. There isn't a baggage-free person listening to this message or preaching this message. We all have stuff, stuff, issues, debris that hasn't been fully removed, that hasn't been dealt with. That's next time in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, unpacking our personal baggage. Until then, Merry Christmas to you and yours. And remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are destined for victory.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-11 12:51:30 / 2024-01-11 13:00:38 / 9

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