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The Father's Gift

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
December 7, 2022 12:00 am

The Father's Gift

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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December 7, 2022 12:00 am

Behind the carols, productions, sermons, and decorations that fill our churches and brighten our homes every Christmas season, there is a divine mystery that we have only begun to explore.

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For God, the divine giver, so loved the world, the maximum degree, that he gave the utmost proof, his only Son, the supreme gift, that whosoever the broadest invitation believes in him, the simplest response, shall not perish the greatest escape, but have everlasting life the ultimate promise. The gift of salvation is not something we do for God. It is something God has done for us. It is not from man to God.

It is from God to man. Do you remember the story of Jesus being baptized by John in a river? As Jesus came out of the water, God declared with a voice from heaven that he was pleased with Jesus. Jesus is God's gift to us.

He came to make our salvation possible and God delights in his gift. Today on Wisdom for the Heart, Stephen Davey begins a series called Christmas Choices. He'll be examining some of the important choices that were made by key figures in the Christmas story. We begin the series today by looking at God's choice in sending the gift of his Son.

This message is entitled, The Father's Gift. The Christmas season, I have read, is marked by deeper emotional strain, greater anxiety, more acts of violence than any other time of the year. I have read that more people suffer nervous breakdowns at Christmas than any other time of the year. Ironically, the word bedlam itself is an English corruption for the word Bethlehem. In the 1500s, St. Mary's of Bethlehem, a London monastery, served as a hospital and it was turned into a city run insane asylum and was soon filled with many people considered hopeless in their condition.

For a small admission price, you can imagine that people could actually go there to heckle the inmates and it had become a famous tourist attraction in the city. St. Mary's of Bethlehem was shortened over time and simply pronounced bedlam. In time, the word bedlam came to refer to the noise and confusion that symbolize the chaos within that asylum.

It's ironic, isn't it, that these two words would be interwoven and in some way, even today, related. Certainly today, the message of Bethlehem is lost in the bedlam of our culture. In the midst of confusing messages, especially to children, especially to those who are younger and the trappings and the wrappings and the traffic and the lines, it's certainly easy to forget the heart of it all. At the heart of this season, which is an eternal truth, life changing. In fact, it is eternity determining truth.

We discover the perspective of many. As I have sat listening to the Christmas music of this season here in our church and I've been so grateful for it. The great hymn texts that have spoken of our Lord's descent to the manger from heaven. It struck me that at the heart of Christmas is indeed that word choice. Christmas is all about choices. The fact that we receive a presence at all is the choice of some giver, isn't it? And we probably will not deserve half of what we unwrap, will we?

Which fits perfectly with the gospel. The tradition of giving gifts ultimately points to the greatest giver of all time who chose to give fallen humanity a gift and we didn't deserve any of it. The wages of sin is death. The wages, that's what we deserve. That's why it's called wages. It's our paycheck. But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. You deserve your paycheck. You worked for it. You don't deserve gifts.

They're simply given. And in that little text, which we all probably have known by heart for some time, did you know who the giver was? The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. When the New Testament refers to God, the authors are most often referring to the first person of the Godhead, God the Father. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comforts. Second Corinthians 1, 3. Paul wrote further to the Colossians, whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Colossians 3, 17.

To the Thessalonians, Paul distinguished it this way, to the Church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. First Thessalonians 1, verse 2. James clarified further the role of the Father when he said, Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

James 1, 17. The gift was God the Son and through him redemption. The giver was God the Father. The first Christmas, so to speak, then, was the gift of God the Father. The heart of the Christmas Nativity is the choice of God the Father to keep his promise and send the Redeemer who would satisfy the long-standing debt of wrath and judgment due mankind, paving the way for us to freely unwrap even more gifts from the Father, namely the forgiveness of sins and inclusion into the family of God. I want us to take a look at the look at the story of redemption from God the Father's perspective. What did Christmas mean to the Father? We capture the perspective in Heart of God in a number of things.

I'll mention a few of them just to sort of get you started, perhaps on your own study. First, there is joy in the Father's announcement of the Son. Secondly, there is satisfaction in the Father's affirmation of the Son. And thirdly, there is love in the Father's address through the Son. First, in Luke chapter 2, there is joy in the Father's announcement of the Son's birth.

Go back to that familiar text for a moment. We're given the scene outside of Bethlehem. Verse 8 tells us that in this region there were some shepherds staying out of the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.

This isn't, by the way, just any flock. The Mishnah, the code book of Jewish tradition and law, stated that if any animal were found between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, which was six miles south, they were to be available at any time for sacrifice in the temple of Jerusalem. So these sheep mentioned here were destined for the temple. They would be among the tens of thousands that would be sacrificed in the temple system. So here the shepherds are resting this night watching lambs destined ultimately for the altar of sacrifice in the temple. And they are, ironically enough, about to see with their own eyes the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world permanently and finally. Notice verse 9, and an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them and they were terribly frightened. You ought to know, by the way, that the joyful announcement that is about to be made from the Father is coming to ceremonially unclean men.

The shepherd was at the bottom of the religious order. They were ceremonially unclean for touching dead animals, for dealing with blood. They were unable to wash their hands at prescribed times without even the benefit, of course, of purified water for ceremonial cleansing. Furthermore, they worked seven days a week.

The sheep weren't in the habit of taking Saturday off and so the shepherds could neither. So they were literally disqualified from worshiping God in the temple. Yet they will be the first ones the Father invites to worship the Son. To them, the Father delivers through his angels this message of joy. Look at verse 10.

Don't be afraid for behold I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior who is Christ the Lord. Look at verse 13. And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying glory to God in the highest. Skip to verse 20. The shepherds went back then glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen.

Why not when you think about it unto them for unto them that is these unclean ones a Savior had been given the gift of God the Father to them and to the world of unclean mankind. This was the Father's announcement. This was the Father's joy. This was crafted by the Father himself.

I don't know if you've ever gotten one of those e-cards or you're going to get cards in the mail you're going to get all sorts of messages and some of them will be composed by somebody living in New York who may not know anything about you and some will be taken with great care in the crafting of others who will compose their own message. This is the message of the birth of the Son crafted by the Father. This wonderful message of great joy for to you today in the city of David there has been born a Savior who is Christ the Lord. Not only do we observe joy in the Father's announcement of the Son. Secondly we hear satisfaction in the Father's affirmation or authentication of the Son. If you fast forward the tape to Luke chapter 3 a text appears that immediately reveals the heart of God the Father related to the incarnation of the Son the coming of the Savior. And we hear the Father make a rather special announcement. It is the second one that we'll hear only this time it isn't through angels it is with his own voice. Verse 21 records now when all the people were baptized Jesus also was baptized and while he was praying heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove and a voice came out of heaven.

You are my beloved son in you I am well pleased. Here Christ has come to the Old Testament prophet John the baptizer to be baptized by him in the Jordan River. He had nothing to repent of but he purposefully identified with the righteous acts of his people fulfilling what the law required. And with this act Jesus Christ officially begins his ministry. Mark's gospel informs us in chapter one as Jesus was coming up out of the water he saw heaven torn open sort of from his perspective. Matthew gives us the Lord's perspective he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.

Matthew 3 16. John gives us the Baptist's viewpoint. I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.

Since John the Baptist saw it all happen we have every reason to believe everybody else did too. Can you imagine here you have the Trinity the manifestation of the triune God the Son is standing in the water. The Spirit is descending from the sky and the Father is speaking from the heavens. Imagine this unforgettable demonstration of each member of the triune God at the same time. You could touch God the Son. You could see God the Spirit and you can hear God the Father.

And what did the Father say. A voice verse 22 says a voice came out of heaven. You are my beloved son in you.

I am well pleased and I am sure no one on the banks of the Jordan breathed or moved. What a moment. What a moment for Jesus Christ the Son to be ministered to by the Spirit and to hear the voice of his father. What an affirmation.

There are two parts to this affirmation. The first was you are my beloved son. The father wasn't telling Jesus that he was his beloved son because Jesus might have forgotten that fact or he didn't know it. At age 12 all the way back then he had already told Mary and Joseph that he had to be about his father's business right.

It hadn't slipped his mind over the next 17 years. God wasn't saying this for the benefit of Christ. He was saying this for the benefit of the crowd. And the news would travel far and wide that God the Father the voice of God was heard authenticating the validity of Jesus's claim to be the son of God. To have come from the father to be one with the father.

That's just the first phrase. The second phrase wasn't so much for the crowd I believe but specifically for the benefit of Christ where the father said notice in you I am well pleased. What exactly was the father pleased with. Well obviously there wasn't anything to be displeased with.

Right. But what would have brought that signature affirmation from the father. I can imagine the father was pleased with the humble incarnation and earthly conduct of the son. For 30 years the son had humbled himself to live as man walk the dusty paths as a man work with his hands in a carpenter's shop. The way he accomplished it all pleased the father. I can imagine that when nobody was looking were I the son I would you know snap my finger and that table would appear that I was laboring over.

Or that bench or that plow. But he humbled himself and fulfilled all of his duties as a man. It pleased the father one author added the father would have been pleased with his unparalleled communion his unparalleled prayer his unparalleled meditation as he grew in his comprehension of who he was and what he was to do. The spirit had governed the son's progress and the son had submitted and patiently waited all these years in earth bound time and restriction to bring about redemption's plan.

It's well said. The father was pleased I believe with the prospect of Christ's ministry and the work that he would perform. The Holy Trinity is rejoicing at the Jordan as they commemorate and celebrate and authenticate the the beginning work of the royal son of David who will die for mankind. We discover the heart of God the father in his joy at the announcement of Jesus's birth we hear the satisfaction in the voice of God the father as he affirms the son's person and his work both past and future. And finally we revel at the love in the father's address through his son as the gospel is delivered. And I think it's in John 3 of course where the gospel is summarized well enough turn there John chapter 3 verse 16 says it all. Jesus by the way this is often lost on us he is speaking on behalf of the father here. It is the centerpiece of the gospel which is directly related to the giving of God the father through the son. For God so loved the world you want to say with me that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. You like me remember that from the King James Version don't you no matter what translation you use today it's sort of a convoluted combination. Beautiful language indeed. I've outlined it with eight points. We're not gonna have time for all eight today so don't worry about it all right. For God the divine giver so loved the world the maximum degree that he gave the utmost proof his only son the supreme gift that whosoever the broadest invitation believes in him the simplest response shall not perish the greatest escape but have everlasting life the ultimate promise for God he is the divine giver. Don't miss it. Salvation is God given God driven God empowered God originated the gift of salvation is not something we do for God it is something God has done for us it is not from man to God it is from God to man for God the divine giver so loved the world this is the maximum degree the world he loves the Greek word is cosmos it is used 186 times in the Greek New Testament and always with a sinful connotation amazing truth God loves the world of sinners the English text reads for God so loved and every time I read that it reminds me of FB Meyer it's as if there is trouble expressing the breath and the depth of God's love for God so loved the world I'm always reminded of that story that Meyer wrote about where his son came patting into his study one night at bedtime and his father was preparing his sermon and FB Meyer's son climbed into his father's lap and he looked up at him for a moment and then said daddy I love you like a hundred pounds that was the largest weight he could imagine it didn't satisfy him enough and so after some more thought he said daddy I love you like a hundred miles that was the longest distance he could imagine and even that wasn't enough and finally he reached up and he cupped his father's chin in his little hands and he said daddy I love you so much for God how do you describe it how do you explain this maximum degree well you throw in the word so for God so loved the world of sinners that he gave this is the ultimate proof isn't it in truth the love of God is not a feeling it is action I read some time ago of the minister who was counseling a couple who were having marital difficulties and they were at a standstill when the husband in obvious exasperation said to his wife I have given you everything I have given you a beautiful home a new car designer clothing you name it I have given it all to you to which he quietly responded that's true you've given me everything but yourself so God loved the world so what he didn't stop there so that he gave in the person of his son for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten monogamy cults have a wonderful time with that trying to prove that Jesus had a beginning he was always the son begotten monogamy means the only unique he is one of a kind that's what it means and this would be then the supreme gift would it not for God to give himself for Jesus the son to lay aside his equality with God the Father and come to the planet and ultimately die could there be anything like that yet nothing could quite compare this is the supreme gift James Montgomery Boyce tells the story about how in the days of the Great Depression of Missouri man named John Griffith was the controller of a great railroad drawbridge that spanned the Mississippi River one day in the summer of 1937 he decided to take his eight year old son Greg along with him to work at noon John Griffith put the bridge up to allow ships to pass and then sat on the observation deck with his son to eat lunch time passed quickly suddenly he was startled by the shriek of a train whistle in the distance and he quickly looked at his watch and noticed it was 107 the Memphis Express was roaring toward the raised bridge he leapt from the observation deck and ran back to the control tower just before throwing the master levering lever he glanced down for any ships below and there a sight caught his eye that caused his heart to leap into his throat his son Gregory had left the observation deck and had evidently fallen into the massive gears that operated the bridge his left leg was caught in the cogs of the two main gears desperately John's mind whirled to devise a rescue plan but he knew there was no time to do anything for his son the train whistle shrieked again in the air and John could hear the clicking of the locomotive wheels over the tracks this was his son down there yet there were 400 passengers on the Memphis Express he did what he had to do he buried his head in his left arm and he pushed the master switch forward the great massive bridge lowered into place just as the Memphis Express began to roar across the river John Griffith lifted his head with his face covered in tears he looked into the passing windows of the train as it sped by there were businessmen casually reading their afternoon paper there were finely dressed ladies in the dining car sipping coffee he saw children pushing long spoons into their ice cream and with wrenching agony he cried as he said to the cars as they whipped by I sacrificed my son for you the amazing thing about the story of Christmas is that would God the Father there was no hesitation there was no other plan this was the gift his son for us for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever this is the broadest invitation this is the invitation to the world to accept the gift of God to welcome into our hearts as if they were mangers the living Lord whosoever will may come I like the way Dio Moody divided the world of mankind into two parts the whosoever wills and the whosoever won'ts which are you today whoever believes in him this is the simplest response we invite him into our lives but as many as received him John wrote in John 1 12 to them he gave the right to become children of God and when you believe in him you shall not perish this is the greatest escape it's the greatest escape clause ever put into print God doesn't condone our sin nor does he compromise his standard he doesn't ignore our rebellion he doesn't relax his demands rather than dismiss our sin he assumes our sin and he sentences himself to die God's holiness then is honored our sin is punished in Christ and we are allowed to escape what a plane you shall not perish but have everlasting life this is the ultimate promise this is Christmas ladies and gentlemen from the perspective of the father that was a message for you called the father's gift it begins a series called Christmas choices it also begins our season of Christmas messages we hope God will use them to prepare your heart for Christmas in addition to equipping you with these daily Bible lessons we also have a magazine that we publish Stephen deals with a different topic each month for example some of the things that Stevens written about in the past include topics like why is there evil in the world how to have a biblically based marriage how can we find true happiness and what is real happiness how should Christians be involved and engaged in politics and much more the magazine also has a daily devotional guide that you can use to remain grounded in God's Word every day we call the magazine heart-to-heart this is a resource that we developed for two reasons we use it to show our appreciation to all of our wisdom partners we also send three issues of heart-to-heart magazine as a gift to everyone who asks we'd like to send it to you if you haven't seen it yet you can sign up for it on our website as soon as you get to wisdom online org you'll notice a link on that home page that will take you right to the signup form you can also call us today our number is eight six six forty eight Bible that's eight six six four eight two four two five three we'd love to talk with you get to know you and introduce you to this resource heart-to-heart magazine call today and then join us next time here on wisdom for the hearts you
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-07 00:45:36 / 2022-12-07 00:54:47 / 9

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