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The Best Gift Ever

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
December 24, 2020 7:00 am

The Best Gift Ever

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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December 24, 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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I came to tell you in the midst of the feelings of it, there is a truth that undergirds it. That Christmas is really about Christ. You can't even say the word without talking about Christ.

It is Christmas. It is Christ's mass. It is because Jesus came to be the sacrifice for our sins that we have the right to be saved. For God so loved the world that He gave. Hello and welcome to this Christmas Eve edition of Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd, Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California.

Thanks for spending part of this special day here with us. You know God is a giving God. He gives us life. He gives us joy.

And when sin entered the world, He gave us Himself so that as many as believe in Him will not perish but find everlasting life. Today Pastor Paul talks about what the Christmas season means to him and tells us about the best gift God ever gave the world. Visit pastorpaul.net to hear any recent Destined for Victory message on demand. That's pastorpaul.net.

You can also subscribe to or download the podcast at Stitcher or wherever you enjoy your podcasts. Now, here is Pastor Paul with today's Destined for Victory message, the best gift ever. John's Gospel Chapter 3 and let's read verses 16 through 18. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.

He who believes in Him that is in Jesus is not condemned but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This Christmas season I've decided to not preach one of the classic passages that tell us about the birth of Christ. They're all wonderful and over the decades of my pastoral preaching I've certainly covered many of them in doing Advent messages. This year I thought, you know what, I don't need a classic Advent passage to talk about the fact that Jesus came to earth and was in fact born in a manger of all places. He was born in an inconspicuous place. He was born in a less than ideal situation.

He was born into a world troubled and full of sin and strife. Into that world Jesus came because of what we're going to discuss because he came to be and to give the best gift ever and that's what I've decided to entitle this message, The Best Gift Ever. Nothing like getting a good gift especially at Christmas time. I love this time of year for so many of its trappings, so many of the things that make you feel good at Christmas time. Looks like even mean people get a little nice at Christmas time.

Have you ever noticed that some folk that are usually cantankerous, they'll stop long enough to kind of get a little cheerful. It doesn't last long, doesn't last long, but I came to tell you in the midst of the feelings of it there is a truth that undergirds it, that Christmas is really about Christ. You can't even say the word without talking about Christ. It is Christmas. It is Christ's mass.

It is because Jesus came to be the sacrifice for our sins that we have the right to be saved and to be redeemed. I'm going to talk you through that in this message, but you have every right to enjoy yourself during Christmas season. Now there are a lot of people who don't like the trappings. I know a lot of religious folk who are against Christmas trees and they're against so many of the trappings. Unfortunately, some Christians are more known for what they're against than what they're for.

Have you ever met the type? You know clearly what they stand against. There are whole churches, whole denominations that will preach during the Advent season. They'll spend all their time preaching that if you got a Christmas tree, you're wrong. If you got candy canes in your house, you're wrong and all that. Then they'll tie it to some pagan celebration of centuries ago and all that. I have to love everybody so I love them, but I still don't want to be with them.

The kind of people who are just frustrated about things, there's no point in getting frustrated about. The Christmas tree can easily be repurposed in your mind if you think it comes from a negative place. I don't even think Christmas trees and such come from a negative place, but if you did some research and you found some pagan group and they used trees wrongly in a way and so you're against the tree.

Okay, I get it. I can repurpose it because Jesus hung on a tree for my sin. The wood came from a tree. I'm saved because of a tree. He hung on a cross because of a tree. I'm not troubled by the tree, but if you're troubled by the tree then don't look up here on the stage.

Hallelujah. Because the trees work for us. If you're troubled by candy canes, bless your heart, the nice red and white candy canes, I love them. First of all, they taste good and then secondly, you got a red and white. The red stands for the blood as far as I'm concerned, the blood of Jesus and the white stands for the purity of Christ.

He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in him. Now don't send me any emails this week. If you come from that, we shall not celebrate tradition. Don't send me any.

I'm not reading it soon as I see it's about you in the tree or the cane. I'm putting it in the trash. Hallelujah. I don't need you in your screwed spirit.

Let's just agree right now to disagree. You don't believe in it. You don't like that Pastor Paul believes in it. Okay, we're there.

God bless you. But I can celebrate. I love the trappings of the season.

I know some folks say, but it's become so commercial. We've taken Jesus out. Okay, I'm not taking Jesus out. I'm celebrating because of Jesus and I can enjoy shopping and all that in its right moderation. Of course, we're in a season of life. My wife and I started several years ago saying we no need of giving to each other for Christmas. We give each other all year long. We know we love each other all year long. I'm not trying to prove my love in December.

Come on somebody. That's the way I roll. Now some of y'all going to try to talk your spouse into it.

I'm not saying all y'all got to do that. I'm just saying as for me and my marriage, we don't give to each other. We give each other a card. I tell my adult kids now, listen, don't give me anything but a nice card because that way I get to hear the sentiments of your heart. A nice card. You put a little personal note in there. That's pops Christmas present.

Hey master, that works for me. And then what we do is find one or more families that are in need or facing a challenge and we give what we would give to each other. We give to bless one or more families every year. That's what we do. And I mean we hook them up good. I ain't talking about a little trinket.

When passed in first lady said, we want to bless you this year. We come in with it. That's how I roll because I don't give trinkets. I know some of y'all are trinket people.

God bless you. If you're a trinket person, I'm not throwing off on your trinkets. Don't just don't give them to me.

That's all I'm saying. Don't give me trinkets cause I'm not about trinkets. I, you know, some people say, well see, pastor, you need to learn that it's about the, what, what's in somebody's heart. Okay. You gave me cause you have love in your heart for the pastor.

Okay. I get that practically. I'm looking at the trinket saying, okay, this comes from your heart. And that's the way I roll. That's just the way I roll. If you're going to bless a brother, come with it.

So since I get myself what I want, cause I know I have expensive taste and I know what I want. No need of plaguing you with the responsibility of doing that. But if you're determined to bless me, at least do a little research, find out from a wife or somebody nice. That's something, you know, pastor really could use and come correct.

That's all I'm saying. Stay with us. The second half of pastor Paul Shepherd's message is coming right up. We want to thank all of you who support Destin for victory with your prayers and financial support gifts that help pastor Paul share the good news of salvation in Christ with a growing audience. Destin for victory is a listener supportive ministry. And as we find ourselves still walking through this season of uncertainty, your support is even more critical today because in times of crisis, people are looking for a reason to have hope. Well, Jesus is that hope. So please prayerfully consider making a gift to Destin for victory today. Give online safely and securely from our website, pastor paul.net, or give us a call at 855-339-5500.

Again, the number is 855-339-5500. Sometimes we get a gift. We always want it. Other times we get a gift. We really need it in Jesus Christ.

We get both. Here's pastor Paul with the rest of today's Destin for victory message, the best gift ever. But anyway, I love the time of year. I love all the trappings and what have you.

And it's a really, really important thing. And I can think of some of my favorite Christmases. I can think back to childhood and probably many of you can as well.

You think of some of your favorite Christmases somewhere in your past, whether it was childhood or to a teenager or an adult. Y'all remember the days when we would wake up real early on Christmas morning. See, cause we were young and kids and excited. We didn't understand the joy of sleep back in those days. Y'all remember when you didn't know how wonderful it is to sleep. Sleep was a nuisance. Christmas morning, you want to get up as early as possible. I remember running in my parents room early as possible. Come on, it's Christmas morning.

And you wondered why they're so slow. They still turning over. Alright, we'll be there. Alright, be there.

Come on and get there. Even as an adult, I remember the Christmas of 1981 because that was the day I proposed to my wife. Christmas 1981.

I said Merry Christmas, handed her a box with a diamond that I had been working hard. I was working two jobs. Two jobs back then. And I would take one of the checks from one of my jobs and that one went in the bank. The other one was for my living expenses.

In the bank went that other one for quite a while till I could save up. Cause even the first diamond I bought her, I wanted to bless her real good. I didn't want her saying oh look, is there a diamond on that? I didn't want her searching. Is there a diamond or is there not?

I'm sorry brothers if I'm making it tough on y'all but I'm just saying that was my story, that was my song. I wanted her to know and so I went and got her this gorgeous starter diamond. Starter cause it has been upgraded over the years. Hallelujah but even what I started with wasn't ask her when you get a chance. I came right from the jump. From the beginning. But anyway it was joyous to see and that was no doubt her favorite Christmas of all of her life.

I don't know that that's a fact but I'm the one preaching so I'm just going. But the best gift ever was given on the best Christmas ever was the best Christmas because it was the first Christmas. It was when Jesus Christ was born and on that day we got a gift that is clearly the best ever. Why is the first Christmas day the day when we received the best gift ever?

Four reasons and I'll let you go. Number one because on that day we received an essential gift. We received an essential gift. Notice our text told us for God so loved the world that he gave. God is a giver.

This giving stuff started with God himself. He gave us an essential gift. Why is the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ the essential gift?

It is the essential gift because it is a gift we all desperately needed and could not do without. I need you to understand you are listening to this message because my ministry is about preaching the gospel. What is the gospel? It is that when we couldn't help ourselves God gave us the essential gift of salvation. Romans 3 23 helps us understand why it's essential. Romans 3 23 says for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. All of us have sinned.

Why is it essential? Because all of us needed to be saved and none of us had the ability to save ourselves. We've all sinned. Please understand we are sinners on two levels. We are sinners first by nature. That is we're born in sin according to the word of God.

We were born in sin, shapen in iniquity. When you came into this earth you were already alienated from God. Paul said in Ephesians 2 you have he made alive who were dead in trespasses and sins.

How can he say you were dead and didn't even meet you? Because when you got to the planet you came alienated from God. You came with no relationship with God and you came with no capacity to have a relationship with God apart from this essential gift. God saw us knew that we were sinners first by nature. You don't have to start sinning to be a sinner. You are a sinner and then as you grow up you figure out what sins you want to really practice. You start out a sinner. That little cute baby you're holding, grandbaby, whatever it is, when you see a little infant according to the word of God that infant needs the essential gift of salvation.

Why? Because they were born in sin, cute as they are, born in sin. We were all stamped with the stamp of the Adamic nature, we call it in theology.

The Adamic nature, that means the nature that came from our forefather Adam. Born in sin, shaping in iniquity. David said in sin I was conceived in my mother's womb. It doesn't mean the act that produced conception was sin, it simply means the child that comes from that conception is already alienated from God. And so that's why Paul says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Listen to what he says in Romans five verses six and beyond. He says for when we were still without strength in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

I love that language. We were without strength. When we figured out we needed to be saved, we didn't know how to save ourselves.

And so when we were without strength, sometimes you can know you have a problem and don't have the strength to do anything about it. And he says that's the case for all of us who were born in sin. We were without strength to change it, but in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet perhaps for a good man someone might even dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. So please understand that God knew our problem before we knew our problem.

That's why the Bible calls Jesus the lamb slain before the foundation of the world. God knew that we were going to fall into sin and he already had the remedy and in being a giver, he gave his only son. And so the best ever gift was given on the first Christmas day because in Jesus' birth, we received the essential gift. Our savior came into the world. Not only is it an essential gift, but number two, it is an expensive gift.

It is an expensive gift. The fact of the matter is the text, John 3.16 says, for God so loved the world that he gave what? He gave the most expensive gift he could give, his only begotten son. What did it take to save you and me? It took his only begotten son.

Why is that what we needed? Because his only son was the only one who could save us. If you read through redemptive history, everybody else needed salvation just like you needed salvation. When you read your Old Testament, don't think you're seeing folks who live better than you. In fact, your Bible from cover to cover is full of folk just like you and me who were jacked up. Abraham, jacked up. Before Abraham, Noah, jacked up. Before Noah, Cain and Abel, jacked up. Before them, their parents, Adam and Eve, just when you read your Bible, quit looking for perfect people. You won't find any but one, his name is Jesus.

He came because all the rest of the folk in there jacked up. We call them patriarchs and all of that and because of grace, one day you're going to see them in heaven but when you see them, you're not seeing somebody who lived better than you. Abraham, bless his heart, we call him the father of the faithful but if you're not careful, you'll call him some other things when you read about him in the Bible. You read about Abraham? He lied because his wife was fine.

Come on, y'all ever read about that? Sarah was a bad sister. And Abraham said, you know what? If I tell these people where we're traveling, now he's trying to obey God. God said, I'm going to send you to a place that I'll show you and so he's on the journey trying to obey God but on the journey, he came to a place where he said, man, if these folk know this is my wife and she's so fine, they'll kill me and take my wife. He said, so tell them that you're my sister. That's your father of the faithful.

And you know the story. God brought him through that. He's still a covenant man even though he acted out like that. Aren't you glad to know that God looked beyond our faults and he saw our need for the most expensive gift and he gave us the gift of his only begotten son. Everybody, I don't have time to walk you through but when you read your Bible, you're looking at jacked up person after jacked up person, the only difference is the Old Testament jacked up folk were looking forward to the cross and we New Testament jacked up folk look back to the cross but it is at the cross at the cross where I first saw the light and the burden of my heart rolled away. It was there by faith. I received my sight.

Now I'm happy all the day. God is a good God because he was willing to give us an expensive gift. Romans five and seven says that the father gave his only son and the son then in turn gave his life. The gift of Jesus was both essential and expensive but the good news of the gospel is this.

God himself paid the price for that gift so that we wouldn't have to. Thanks so much for being here for today's Destined for Victory message, the best gift ever. You know our highest calling as believers in Christ is to share our faith with others. We can do that through personal relationships, through conversations at work or on an airplane but another great way to help fulfill the Great Commission is by becoming one of our Destined for Victory partners, a group of people who give at least twenty dollars a month to help Pastor Paul advance the gospel all over the world. Your donations really do make a difference so please prayerfully consider becoming our partner today and when you do we'll send you a few thank you gifts including one of Pastor Paul's most popular CDs The Best of Let My People Smile. Call 855-339-5500 to find out more about how to become a Destined for Victory partner and to make your pledge over the phone or mail your gift to Destined for Victory letting us know you wish to become our partner.

Our address post office box 1767 Fremont California 94538. You can also become our partner from our website pastorpaul.net. Now if you can't become a Destined for Victory partner but can make your best year end gift now we'd love to send you Pastor Paul Shepherd's DVD message Refocus, a sermon in which he offers three guidelines to help us work through the challenges we're facing here in 2020 and encourages us to continue fulfilling God's purpose in our lives. Again that's Pastor Paul's DVD message Refocus.

It's our gift to you by request for your most generous gift to Destined for Victory this month. 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. The condition is you know you desperately need what I have and you're willing to let me bless you by grace. That's tomorrow in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message the best gift ever. Until then remember he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ you are Destined for Victory.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-12 01:27:23 / 2024-01-12 01:36:16 / 9

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