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The Best Gift Ever

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
December 20, 2021 7:00 am

The Best Gift Ever

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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December 20, 2021 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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Hello and welcome to Christmas Week here on Destined for Victory. Thanks for stopping by on this busy Monday as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Coming your way next, Pastor Paul Shepherd shares his message, the best gift ever.

But before we get started, he joins me now from his studio in California. Pastor, here we are in the Christmas season. So easy to get distracted, though, with how the world positions Christmas and even the circumstances of the last many months we've been through.

But I thought I'd ask you, what's on your heart this season, Pastor, and how do we center our minds on the real meaning of Christmas? I started the series by asking people to reminisce with me. I said, let's think about some of our most memorable Christmases in years past.

And then, as a true baby boomer, I walked down memory road to places the young people said, what in the world are you talking about? I started in 1978 and talked about a game called Simon that came out. That was the big Christmas game. I remember, yes. 1978. And then I said, 1980, there was the Rubik's Cube. And only a few folks knew what I was talking about then. And then I said, in 1983, there was Cabbage Patch Kids.

Oh, boy. And more folks came alive as I talked about that. And then I talked about 1989. And I said, by then, stuff was becoming more technological.

There was an 8-bit handheld cartridge-based console called Game Boy. Before you know it, more than 118 million units had been sold in America. And then I said, just allow me one more old man memory. I said, in 1996, I was pastoring and I was amazed by this phenomenon called Tickle Me Elmo. I said, it's unbelievable that people lost their minds over Tickle Me Elmo. In fact, I talk about the fact that one of the rumors was that one parent paid $7,100 to someone who had bought an extra one just to make money off of it. And somebody who said, well, I got to get it for my kid. And the guy charged $7,100 and they bought it. Elmo, are you kidding me?

$7,100 for Elmo. And so I just told people, you know, we've been through all kinds of things, but let's always remember at the end of the day, and especially dealing with a worldwide pandemic that hasn't yet gone away. We still got to deal with the rest of this. We've got to remember in the midst of all of this, the one true thing we can rejoice in is the real meaning of Christmas. And it's not about our gifts, not about our toys. It is about what Jesus did and the grace that gave us that blessing of salvation. Pastor Paul, thanks for those words of encouragement about the reason for Christ's coming and the reason we celebrate this Christmas season.

Well, we have a wonderful Christmas gift to share with you today. Introducing Pastor Paul Shepherd's brand new book, Lessons from the Vineyard. You know, even though not all of us are blessed with the same gifts and callings, we can bear the same fruit of the Spirit. In Lessons from the Vineyard, Pastor Paul inspires believers to use their gifts to glorify God and bless others, to become attractive as we bear godly fruit that brings honor to Jesus Christ and leads others to him. That's Lessons from the Vineyard, a book from Pastor Paul and our thank you Christmas gift to you by request for your generous donation of $25 or more to Destined for Victory. So call 855-339-5500 or visit pastorpaul.net to make a safe and secure donation online. You can also mail your gift to Destined for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, CA 94538.

Again, our address is Destined for Victory, Box 1767, Fremont, CA 94538. 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. He gave 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 find eternal life. Today, Pastor Paul Shepherd shares what the Christmas season means to him and tells us about the best gift God ever gave to the world.

With his message, the best gift ever, here's Pastor Paul. 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. And they'll tie it to some pagan celebration of centuries ago and all that. You know, 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 a 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. So 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 and the tree or the cane, I'm putting it in the trash. Hallelujah. I don't need you and 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, hey, 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 don't need to give into each other for Christmas. We give to 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 you all are going to try to talk your spouse into it.

I'm not saying all of you 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 Pop's Christmas present. Amen, that's the way it 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.

The pastor and first lady said, we want to bless you this year. We coming with it. That's how I roll because I don't give trinkets. I know some of you all are trinket people. God bless you if you're a trinket person. I'm not throwing off on your trinkets. Just don't give them to me.

That's all I'm saying. Don't give me trinkets because I'm not about trinkets. Some people say, well, see, pastor, you need to learn that it's about what's in somebody's heart. Okay, you gave me because 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 because I know I have expensive taste and I know what I want, I don't need a plague in 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. Now, is there something, you know, pastor really could use? And come correct. That's all I'm saying. And we'll be right back with more of today's Destined for Victory message from Pastor Paul Shepard. Remember, you can always listen to the broadcast on demand at pastorpaul.net.

That's pastorpaul.net where you'll find a host of great resources at our online store, including books and DVD messages from Pastor Paul. Once again, here's Pastor Paul with the rest of today's 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 a teenager or an adult. You all remember the days when we would wake up real early on Christmas morning? See, because we were young and kids and excited, we didn't understand the joy of sleep back in those days. You 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? All right, we'll be there.

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 until I could save up because 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 there? 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 you 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 because it has been upgraded over the years. Hallelujah, but even what I started with wasn't ask her when you get a chance. See, 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. It 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 receive 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 the 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, grand baby, 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, shapen 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 5 verses 6 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 jacked. Just when you read your Bible, quit looking for perfect people. You won't find any but one. His name is Jesus. Thanks for being here for today's message, the best gift ever. If you'd like more information about Destined for Victory in the ministry or how you can receive a copy of Pastor Paul Shepherd's brand new book, Lessons from the Vineyard, be sure to stop by our website, pastorpaul.net. Once again, that's pastorpaul.net. 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 next time 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 / 2023-07-07 09:27:09 / 2023-07-07 09:36:04 / 9

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