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“The Gift” (How to Keep Christmas Happy) | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 10, 2023 3:00 am

“The Gift” (How to Keep Christmas Happy) | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 10, 2023 3:00 am

Pastor Greg Laurie points out that we often don’t appreciate the gifts we receive enough—including our God-given gift of salvation. He talks about what this gift brings, and how we should respond.

Notes:

Matthew 2

The gift that God gave to us. The gift that we give to God. The gift we give to others...

The gift that God gave to us.

Christians carry this gift in their hearts.

It is salvation, the gift of eternal life.

“The gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ.”

Romans 6:23

The gift God has given us is more valuable than any earthly gift; it’s called justification.

Romans 5:1–2

The word justify speaks of the forgiveness of our sins. God takes our sin and forgives and forgets them!

“God hurls our sins into the sea where they sink like a stone.”

Micah 7:19

“For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

Jeremiah 31:34

Do not choose to remember what God has chosen to forget.

Justification means, “just as if it never had happened.” Justified means, “to put to one’s account.”

Acts 13:38–39

The gift that we give to God.

There is nothing we could ever give to God that would equal what He gave us.

Read: Matthew 2:9–12

Gold, because Jesus was a King. Frankincense, because Jesus was our high priest. Myrrh, because Jesus came to die for our sin.

“In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.”

Proverbs 23:5

You are sitting in someone else’s sacrifice.

The gift we give to others.

The key to having a happy Christmas is not receiving but, rather, giving.

A 10-Step Solution for Depression:

Step 1: Do something for someone else who has greater needs than you.

Step 2: Repeat Step 1 nine more times.

3 John 1:4

The only real happiness you will find is in Christ, not in Christmas but in Christ.

“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself because it is not there. There is no such thing.” —C.S. Lewis

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Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie, encouraging you.

If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. Okay, who wants to hear a Bible study? Raise your hand. Okay, good. Grab your Bibles and let's all turn to Matthew chapter two.

The title of my message is The Gift, How to Keep Christmas Happy. Well, now that Christmas is well on us, we're all shopping. How many of you have gone down to a mall and gone shopping yet?

Raise your hand if you've been to a mall. Not that many of you. How many of you are shopping online? Okay, more of you. How many of you have not even started shopping?

Raise your hand. That's me, I haven't even started. How many of you have finished your Christmas shopping?

I don't understand you people, but I have to admit I admire you a great deal. Well, I was thinking about this the other day. What is the worst Christmas gift I've ever received?

Think about it for a moment. The worst Christmas gift you ever received. I read an article in the paper where people talked about the worst gifts they'd ever been given. One person said, my sister gave me a bracelet which was already mine and had been gone for a while. A woman named Julie said she received a toilet seat for Christmas. Nothing says Merry Christmas like a new toilet seat, right? Another girl said, I received a sweater that someone had worn, stained, and re-gifted.

Okay, nice. Another person said they received a used spatula. Another one slipper. Maybe they'll get the other slipper next Christmas. And here's the thing that can happen this time of the year is we re-gift. We re-gift. How many of you have ever re-gifted? Which means you received a gift and then you gave that same gift to someone else. You've done it. Admit it. I've done it.

I think most of us have done it. Okay, here's the key to re-gifting. If you're re-gifting, make sure that you don't re-gift back to the person who gave you the gift in the first place.

It's a very awkward moment. Another thing about re-gifting, coming to the fruitcake. How many of you like fruitcake? Come on, seriously, you do not. Do you really like it? I think there's one fruitcake on the face of the earth. No, really. Have you ever seen two fruitcakes side by side?

No, you have not because there's one. And it was made sometime in the 50s and we just keep re-circulating it year after year. We just keep re-gifting it again and again. I was thinking about the worst Christmas gift I ever received and maybe it was on a Christmas morning I asked my mom to get me a Schwinn Stingray bicycle. Do you know what the Schwinn Stingray bicycle is? And this one had what is called a banana seat. It had the little handlebars that were raised up and this one's really cool. It had a stick shift. A stick shift bicycle. And I wanted it in blue. I made it very clear. I took my mom down to a store called See Schwinn Bicycle.

This is the one I want. So Christmas Eve I heard some noise in the front room like something was being assembled. I came out that morning all excited to see my Schwinn Stingray and instead it was some weird red bicycle that they had bought in a drugstore the night before. They may have been drinking as they assembled it.

It was fairly rickety and it had red tires which quickly faded to pink in the sun. Maybe that was the worst gift I ever received. I heard Chuck Swindoll talking about how he told his parents that he wanted a basketball for Christmas. And so like a lot of the little kids he was searching around the house seeing if he could find what they got him and he found a round package with a big bow on it. He was excited. He was getting his basketball. Christmas morning he quickly tore the paper away and it was a world globe, not a basketball.

Globes don't bounce as well as basketballs. Well I want to talk to you about the gift. First of all I want to talk to you about the gift that God has given to us. Then I want to talk about the gift that we can give back to God. And thirdly I want to talk about the gift that we give to each other. So let's start with the gift God has given to us. Do we really appreciate this gift? I heard about an old woman who actually wrote a letter to God and down at the post office they came across it.

There was no stamp on it. Hand-lettered letter to God. So the postman opened it up out of curiosity and here is this old woman that says, Dear God, someone stole my life savings of $200. I am going to have a very hard Christmas.

I have nothing to eat. Could you please provide me with $200? Well his heart was touched. He talked to the other postal workers. They all pitched in. They raised $180. They put the cash in an envelope. They went over to her house and put it in her mailbox.

About a week later they got another letter, again hand-lettered, had written to God. They opened it up and she said, Dear God, thank you for the $200. It made my Christmas a lot better but actually I only received $180 of it and I think one of those thieving postal workers took the other $200.

No good deed goes unpunished. She didn't appreciate the gift she had been given. And I think sometimes we don't fully appreciate the gift that God has given to us which is the gift of Christmas. Now this gift is not under your Christmas tree. This gift cannot be purchased with money. In fact if you're a Christian you already carry this gift in your heart.

And if you don't have this gift I'm going to tell you how to receive it in a few moments. I'm talking about the gift of Christmas which is the gift of eternal life. God has given to every Christian the gift of eternal life.

Romans 6 23 says the gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ. That's the greatest gift you have. Now you'll get certain things under the tree but they'll quickly go out of style or they'll be yesterday's tech.

You know you get the new phone and the moment you get it like a week later they come out with a new updated version and that drone or new outfit will one day be as dated as a beta max or a mood ring right. But then again some gifts become more precious with the passing of time. Maybe it's a family heirloom like your grandfather's watch that he gave to your dad who gave it to you.

And you can pass it on to your son as well. Maybe it's a photograph. Something really precious. Something you would grab if your house was on fire.

Something that has personal meaning to you. Or maybe it's money put into a savings account by your grandparents which you did not appreciate when you were a kid. You wanted toys. We put some money in a little account for you grandma said and that's how grandma sounded which is sad like this.

But then when you hit the age of 18 you looked in that account and found out how much had developed how much more you had with interest and they started making those deposits and you want a new appreciation for it. Some things become more valuable with the passing of time including Star Wars figures and their original packaging. I read the other day that a first generation Star Wars figure in original packaging can sell from $45,000 to $60,000.

Can you believe that? I wish I had saved those things. A Luke Skywalker with a lightsaber just sold for $35,000. So check that out.

You want to know how to spend $35,000? There it is. And Barbie dolls in original packaging have also become extremely valuable. But I am not giving up any of my Barbie dolls. Not even one of them. I am kidding.

I don't have any Barbie dolls. And in the same way this gift that God has given to us, this gift of eternal life will only grow more valuable to you with the passing of time. Now it is already valuable but your appreciation of it is going to grow and especially if you have a better understanding of what it actually is. What does it mean to receive eternal life? What does it mean to receive this gift we are talking about? One of the things that is included in this gift is something called justification.

We hear that word. We may even throw the word around but do we really know what it means to be justified? The Bible says in Romans 5, Therefore we have been justified by faith and we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand. Ok so the word justify has a two fold meaning. First it speaks of the forgiveness of sins.

Let's just start there. When you put your faith in Jesus Christ who died for you on the cross and shed his blood for you and you turn from your sin God forgives you of every sin you have ever committed. Just instantaneously our God has this big eraser and he wipes it away. I love a passage that I came across in Micah recently 719. God hurls our sins into the sea and there they sink like a stone.

That is amazing. And then we are also told in scripture that God forgives our sins and he forgets them. Jeremiah 31-34 God says I will forgive their iniquity and their sin will I remember no more. So God not only forgives your sin he forgets your sin. Sometimes we dredge up old sins and we beat ourselves up over them but God has forgiven you. Why would you choose to remember what God has chosen to forget? So God has forgiven your sin. God has forgotten your sin. As Corrie Tynboom once wrote God has taken our sins.

He has thrown them into the sea of forgetfulness and he has posted a sign that says no fishing allowed. So that is what God has done for you. Go ahead clap. Get it out of your seat.

I love those kind of little types. Well just go. Commit.

Commit. It is ok. So one way to translate the word justification is just as if it never had happened.

Isn't that great? Just as if it never had happened. On my keyboard I have a key that is marked delete.

And when I highlight text and I hit the delete key all of the text immediately disappears. Where does it go to? I have no idea.

I don't care. It probably goes to the same place those single socks go to. Why don't we only lose one sock? My wife told me the other day you have an entire drawer filled with single socks that don't match. Why do you save them? Because one day I might find the other sock.

Are you like that too? But God has forgiven you. But if that was all he did that would be more than enough. But in the place of that he has put his righteousness. Because justification is a positive side. The word justified means to put to one's account. So he puts the righteousness of Christ in your account. Acts 13 38 says brothers listen. In this man Jesus Christ there is forgiveness for your sin.

Everyone who trusts in him is freed from guilt and is declared righteous. Listen I stand before you today as a righteous man. You want to know what a righteous man looks like? Here I am.

You're saying I don't know Greg I saw you drive earlier. I'm not so sure you're. I didn't say I always behaved righteously. But positionally because I've received the gift of eternal life I'm declared righteous as are you.

I'm a righteous man looking at righteous men and righteous women because of what Jesus has done. I'm a living breathing saint. You want to know what a saint looks like? Here I am.

You don't have to. Well you don't have to call me St. Gregory. But I'm looking at saints. You're all saints. Because the word saint is used interchangeably in the New Testament with the word believer.

A believer is a saint and a saint is a believer. So this is something God has done for us through the gift of eternal life. It's like this. Let's say you got carried away with a credit card and you found yourself in debt for 10 million dollars. You would never repay this debt ever. And some billionaire heard about your plight and decided to pay your debt off. You were so thankful. And then that billionaire said why don't you go check your balance.

And he went down to the bank and found he had put 20 million dollars into your account. That's what God has done for you. He's not only removed your sin. He's not only forgotten your sin and of course forgiven your sin. He has put the righteousness of Christ into your account. And then there's a hope for the future because it's the gift of eternal life.

Now when you're younger you may not appreciate this as much as when you get older. Because when you get older you know you're closer to the end of your life than the beginning of it and you're going to enter into the afterlife so knowing that God has given you eternal life, everlasting life. Jesus said I am the resurrection and the life.

He that believes in me though he were dead yet shall he live and whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die. This is truly the gift that keeps on giving. The gift of eternal life. So that's the gift God has given to us. Now let's talk about the gift we give to God. If I were to give you a really nice gift after church you would say thank you. Then you might say oh hey I got a gift for you too.

When you hadn't at all. You open up your trunk and there's something you bought for yourself or someone else. I got this for you Greg.

This is a woman's dress. Oh for your wife. Give it to her. I mean you know but your inclination is to reciprocate if someone gives you something nice. So God gives us this gift of eternal life. We think can I reciprocate.

Short answer no. But there are things I can do for God. Things I can give to God. David wrote in Psalm 116 what shall I give to the Lord for all he has given to me.

I'll offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving and I'll call on the name of the Lord. So hey why don't you just start with thank you. If someone gives you a nice gift say thank you very much.

When we worship the Lord we're saying thank you very much Lord. Thank you for this gift of eternal life. Thank you for my health. Thank you for my family. Thank you for my church. Thank you for my friends. Thank you for everything you've blessed me with.

I give you the glory for it. Listen there are three things every one of us can give to God. Time, treasure, and talent. Time, treasure, and talent. There's your time.

We all have X amount of hours on a given day. You give your time to the Lord. Lord this is yours to use for your glory.

I want to invest it in you. The Bible says redeem the time because the days are evil. The word redeem means make sacred wise and wise use of every opportunity. So give your time to the Lord. Give your talent to the Lord. You have abilities. You have talents.

Everyone does that are given to you by God. Give that talent to God. God how can I serve you and finally your treasure. Lord you bless me with these finances and I want to invest back into your kingdom.

And that's something we all can do. And one thing we can do is open our treasures to the Lord and that brings us to the story before us in scripture. The story of the wise men. Now before we read about them let's dispel some mythology. It has risen about the wise men. First of all we always hear there are three wise men. The Bible never says there are three wise men. It says they offered three gifts. Knowing guys there might have been nine of them and they went in on three gifts.

I don't know. Not only do we say there are three they have a song. We three kings of orient are bearing gifts.

We travel afar. The Bible never says they were kings. Actually the root word of wise men is magi and we translate that word into magician. These were men that looked to the stars for direction. They were both astronomers and astrologers.

You might even call them wizards. They were not kings. They were king makers.

Powerful individuals. But how did God reach them? How did God enter their world? He came into the world of the stargazers with a star. And that star led them to Jesus who had been born. God reaches us right where we are doesn't He? He enters our world and it is such an amazing thing.

And I am so thankful He entered my world and He entered your world as well. And so another thing I would point out is the wise men were not present at the birth of Jesus. I know this messes up your nativity scenes because you probably have your little manger with the baby Jesus. Mary, Joseph, maybe a camel. The Bible never says there were any camels there but you have a camel and you have a sheep or two. And then you have the shepherds of course. They have got their little crooked rods there, their staffs. And then you have the wise men.

Three of them in different colored outfits and that is how it works. But the wise men didn't come until later. As we will discover in a moment they came to the house where the young boy Jesus was. Not the manger where Jesus was born. So if you have wise men in your manger scene you must remove them immediately.

They have to go and time out. You can bring them back in two weeks. That is okay. I am kidding. It doesn't matter. So with this in mind let's read the real biblical story of the wise men. Matthew 2 verse 9. The star which they had seen in the east went before them till it came and stood over where the young child was.

Notice it is not the baby, the young child. This is speaking of Jesus. When they saw the star they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy and when they came to the house, not the manger, the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother and they fell down and worshiped him. And when they opened their treasures they presented gifts to him of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Then being divinely warned in a dream they should not return to Herod they departed for their own country another way.

We will stop there. So they came to worship the newborn king. This is the message of Christmas. Not let it snow nor is it let us shop. It is let us worship. We have come to worship him these wise men, these magi said to king Herod. And they opened their treasures verse 11.

No leftovers. The very best to be given to the king. You know it is interesting that they brought such unusual gifts. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Come on. What about a stuffed camel? A PlayStation? An original Luke Skywalker figure?

I mean something. Weird gifts to give to a little child but they had an insight into the mission of this child who would be the Messiah. Gold because he was a king. Frankincense or incense because he was our high priest that would stand in our stead before God.

And finally myrrh which is an embalming element because this little child would die for the sin of the world. But they opened their treasures and I think when you have had a true conversion it will impact you in every area of your life including your finances. If a person has really met God it should affect everything including their money.

Martin Luther said this and I quote, there are three conversions necessary. The mind, the heart, and the wallet. Some of us have not had the conversion of the wallet yet. But there is a connection because the gifts that God has given to us are not to be hoarded. They are to be shared. And that is why the Bible says don't lay up for yourself treasures on earth where moth and rust corrupt and thieves break in and steal. But rather lay up for yourself treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust can corrupt nor thieves break in and steal. You can't take it with you but you can send it on ahead. So keep this in mind. Do your giving while you are living then you are knowing where it is going. Right?

That is something we all should do. Why? Because wealth comes and goes. Proverbs 23, 35 says in the blink of an eye wealth disappears. It will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle. Have you ever seen that happen? Like wait where did my money go? Just go to Disneyland someday and see how fast your money goes.

I have spent how much on lunch and how much over here? It flies away like a bird. I used to have a parakeet named Popcorn. I don't know why I named him that. But he was the coolest little budgie. And he had his little cage.

And I would open up the door and I would stand on the other side of the room and I would call him by name and he would fly and land on my shoulder. Great little bird. So one day I was walking around on Balboa Island and I saw this salty old dude with a parrot on his shoulder.

He kind of looked like a pirate. And I walked up to him and I said how do you keep that parrot from flying away? He says he won't fly away.

He is tame and his wings are clipped. And I thought I wonder if Popcorn would do that. So I went home to my birdcage and opened it up, stood on the other side of the room, called Popcorn, flew over, landed on my shoulder. I walked around my house a little bit.

I think I am okay. I don't think he will fly away. I walked outside and he flew away.

Just like wealth. And I never saw him again. For the next two weeks I walked down that street yelling Popcorn! Popcorn! People thought that young man is hungry. Throw him a piece of bread or something. Even recently a week ago I was walking down the same street Popcorn!

Popcorn! That is how wealth can be so we want to invest it. And that brings me to point number three. When we have this gift that God has given us we can give it to others. You can re-gift. In fact you should re-gift. The greatest gift you can share in this Christmas season is the gift of eternal life.

And people need to see it and hear it. And this is how you can have a happy Christmas because for some Christmas is not a happy time. Some people find themselves depressed in the Christmas season.

Maybe I am talking to someone that feels down and depressed right now. According to the National Institute of Health Christmas is the time of year that people experience a high incidence of depression. Hospital and police forces report high incidences of suicide and attempted suicide in the holiday time. One North American survey reported that 45 percent of respondents dreaded Christmas.

Why is that? Well for some it is sad because maybe they don't have a home to celebrate in. Their parents are divorced or they themselves have broken up with their husband or wife or they lost a loved one. And that loved one was with them last Christmas and they are not with them this Christmas or something else is going on. Or maybe it is because they are expecting Christmas to make them happy. Christmas cannot make you happy. Only Christ can make you happy. So we have to kind of keep our focus.

Right? It is not presents under a tree. It is His presence in our life. That is the message of Christmas. You will call His name Emmanuel which means God is with us.

You are not alone. So you find your joy and your happiness in Christ Himself. But if you want to have a happy Christmas understand this simple biblical principle from Jesus. When He says it is more blessed to give than it is to receive. And the word blessed is interchangeable with the word happy. So allow me to paraphrase that. Jesus speaking. It is more happy making to give than it is to receive. That is counterintuitive. Oh no it is much better to receive.

No actually it isn't. You will be happier giving than you will be receiving. And the greatest gift we can give is our love and the gospel itself. So I have a ten step solution for depression. If you find yourself depressed ten steps to be free from depression.

You might want to write these down. Step number one. Do something for someone else who has greater needs than you. Who has greater needs than you. Write that down. Do something for someone else who has greater needs than you. Step number two.

Repeat step number one nine more times. Now I know that is over simplified and I know there is a such thing as clinical depression. I am not really dealing with that. But I am just talking about when you get down to the dumps and you wonder what is wrong.

Maybe you need to get your eyes off of yourself and ask yourself the question. How can I do something for someone else? It is a well documented fact that volunteering elevates mood in most people. And this phenomena has actually been dubbed the helpers high. The helpers high. It has been assessed biologically in brain imaging studies. That you will receive a release of endorphins in your life. That brings a sense of well being when you do something for someone else. The helpers high.

That is amazing. I have heard of the runners high. I have never experienced the runners high. Is there an eaters high? I think I have had that.

How about the helpers high? You know what I am talking about. When you do something for someone else. It can be a simple gesture. Holding the door open for someone. It can be giving a meal to someone. Helping out someone else.

And this is why I encourage you all to get involved in serving here at Harvest. Because it will be a blessing and a joy to you. You know if you only come to church and it is all about you and this is what I need and this is what I want. You are going to have something less than what you should be experiencing in church. A mark of maturity in your spiritual life is when you say I have received now I want to give back. I want to find a place where I can serve others. You know when you walk into this church and you are warmly greeted by someone. And someone shows you to your seat or they help you park your car. Or they are ministering to your children while you are here. Or the other things that folks do. These are volunteers. These are people that are doing this because they love it and they want to.

And you know what? They are blessed. There is a blessing in it. And I want all of you to experience that blessing.

Because the helper is high. So you could say to someone, hey you want to come to church with me this Sunday and get high? Well, what kind of church is that? It is a Bible teaching church.

And it is a helper's high. Come and be a part of it. So this is something that sometimes we miss out on. And one of the greatest joys we can have is sharing the gospel. Psalm 126 says those who go weeping carrying seed to sow will return with songs of joy carrying their sheaves with them. The Bible tells us that there is joy in heaven over one sinner that comes to repentance.

You know just reflecting back on this last year and all that God has done. It is just so incredible to realize that we have been able to reach so many. Last year alone through our outreach ministries we were able to see 73,000 people make a profession of faith to follow Christ. Isn't that great? 73,000. You know when after the service is ending and we extend an invitation for people to come to Christ.

And sometimes that may be inconvenient for some because they want to get out and go have lunch or whatever. Did you know that 2,500 people have responded to those invitations this last year alone on Sunday mornings. That is incredible.

2,500 people. And of course we just celebrated 50 years as a ministry and we have conservatively concluded that there have been over one million professions of faith over these 50 years. So there is joy in this and we love this and we are thankful to God for it and there is a joy in sharing our faith and giving to others as well. So it all comes down to this gift that God has given to us. We must fully appreciate it. The gift we give back to God which is our privilege and then the gift that we give to other people. This is where you will find the happiness and joy of Christmas but just in life in general.

Because again as Jesus said it is more blessed to give than it is to receive. 15 years ago our son Christopher died in a tragic automobile accident. It was the worst moment of our life. We were devastated and we entered into a time of deep grief and we mourned for a long time. And I had people say to me and my wife Kathy and our son Jonathan just take a vacation and get away from it all. We actually tried that.

We wanted a vacation. You can't get away from grief. You can't get away from pain. I want to tell you what helped me in that time because this is very important.

No thing helped me. What I needed was God. And one of the things that really encouraged us and lifted us in that difficult time was just coming to church. Well Greg you're a pastor.

Yeah I'm still a Christian too. I needed to hear the word of God. I needed to worship the Lord. And in the immediate aftermath of our son going to heaven we had some guest speakers and we would come to church and we would worship God and it was so helpful to us. And I'll tell you another thing that helped us.

It was helping others. When we were down the road maybe six months or a year and then we heard of somebody else losing a loved one specifically a child. We were able to minister to them because when you lose a child you feel as though your world just ended literally. I'm just telling you how it really is. And you don't know how you're going to survive such a thing.

I don't care how long you've been a Christian. But when you talk to somebody else who's come through it they can really help you. Like let's say that you got cancer and you're a cancer survivor and you've come through in the other end and thankfully to God and then you found out somebody else just found out they got cancer. They feel like their world just ended. The doctor told them they have cancer and you walk into their life and say let me tell you how Jesus was with me and how he helped me through this.

You have a unique quality to minister to that person in a capacity that nobody else has you see. So here's the deal. We're all going to have pain in life. We're all going to have setbacks in life.

We're all going to experience things that don't make sense to us. So here's my word of advice. Don't waste your pain. Use it as a tool.

Use it as a tool to help other people. As Paul said we comfort with the same comfort that we've been comforted with. Because when you preach to hurting people you'll never lack for an audience. And we live in a world full of hurting people. We don't know the back story. We don't know why they're so agitated. Why they're so upset. They're hurting and they need hope and they need help and most of all they need Jesus. And that's the greatest gift we can share with people in this holiday season. To tell them there's hope and a relationship with God and tell them about the gift. The gift of eternal life that God has offered to them. For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son and whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. What greater gift could God Almighty give to you and to me than his own son? What greater sacrifice could a father make than to offer to you his son?

And that's exactly what God did. So what I need to do is receive the gift. When I give a gift to my wife I'll say I got you this.

She'll go oh thank you and she'll set it down and go back to doing what she was doing. Open the gift. Open it now. You give me a gift. I'm opening it the second you give it to me. In fact men and women receive gifts very differently.

Have you ever noticed that? You give a gift to a woman and she will carefully undo the ribbon. Excuse me. First she'll read the card. She'll actually read it. And she might even be visibly moved by what she reads. She's reading it. Thank you.

Thank you so much. Then she undoes the ribbon. I'm going to save this for later. To do what with? I'm saving it. I'll save this paper. Okay.

Nice. You give a gift to a man. He'll open the card. You think he's reading it. He's not reading it. He could care less about your card.

The only reason he opened it was in hopes he would find either money or a gift card in there. So he'll go uh huh. Wow. Thanks. Okay. And then he'll tear the paper away because he wants to get what is in the box.

Right? I don't care how you open the gift. Open it carefully, politely or tear it open. Just take the gift and open it and enjoy it. Listen to this in closing. This gift that God offers us we either accept it or we reject it.

There's no neutral ground. God says I've given you the gift of eternal life. I offer it to you at no charge. Would you like it? You either say yes, thank you very much or no I don't want it.

You say well now Greg I'm not comfortable with either one of those responses. I would say let me think about it. Really? So let's say that I took everything that I had and liquidated it and bought you this amazing gift that cannot be returned and offered it to you. I got this for you because I love you and you said let me think about it.

Seriously? I just offered you this incredible gift and you're saying let me think about it? Can you see how that would be insulting to me? So God says I've given you the ultimate gift. My son died on the cross. He was beaten and tortured for your sin but I want you to have the gift of eternal life. Oh well nice. Let me think about it.

What? That is a rejection. Jesus said you're either for me or against me. Have you received this gift yet? Do you know that when you die you will go to heaven? Is Christ living in your heart? If not he can come in right now. Jesus says behold I stand at the door and I knock and if you hear my voice and open the door I will come in. In a moment we're going to pray and I'm going to give you an opportunity to receive the gift.

It's up to you. Only you can receive it. Someone else cannot receive it for you.

You cannot receive it for someone else. You yourself. Let's say Lord I want you to come into my life. I want you to forgive me of my sin.

I want this relationship with you. If you want Jesus in your life. If you want to receive the gift you can do it right here right now. Let's all bow our heads for a word of prayer. Father thank you for your love for us. Thank you for the gift.

The gift of eternal life you've given to each and every one of us. And all we have to do is reach out and accept it and receive it and enjoy it. And now I pray for every person that is here and every person that is watching wherever they are or listening.

If they've not received this gift that you offer help them to see their need for it. Right now we pray. Now while our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed. If you want Jesus Christ to come into your life. If you want him to forgive you of your sin. If you want to know that when you die you will go to heaven. If you want to receive the gift wherever you are would you just raise your hand up and let me pray for you. Saying I need Jesus today pray for me. God bless you.

Raise your hand up high where I can see it. You want Christ to come into your life. You want this gift of eternal life.

You want to fill that hole in your heart. Raise your hand up and say pray for me. God bless you. God bless you. God bless you.

Anybody else? Raise your hand up where I can see it please. God bless you as well. God bless you too and you. Now some of you are watching this screen.

I can't see you. But the Lord sees you. But you can all pray this little prayer with me right now. Then I'm going to lead you in a simple prayer. Asking Christ to come into your life. So if you want this gift that God offers. If you want Jesus to come into your life. Pray this with me. You can even pray it out loud if you like.

Pray these words. Lord Jesus I know that I'm a sinner. But I know that you're the Savior. Born in that manger in Bethlehem. Crucified on a cross.

Risen from the dead. Come into my life Jesus. I choose to follow you from this moment forward. I receive your gift of eternal life. And I thank you for it. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. God bless you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-10 04:24:59 / 2023-12-10 04:40:53 / 16

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