Calvary Road Baptist Church

ďCHRISTMAS FROM GODíS PERSPECTIVEĒ

 I expect the message this evening to be of quite short duration, unless I spend time making unplanned comments. I will speak to you about that with which you feel you are familiar. However, I will make no attempt to introduce new doctrine, to tickle your fancy, or to surprise you in any way. The one thing I want to do in this message is bring together things that you who are somewhat familiar with the Christmas story and with the Word of God are already familiar with. I expect that the responses to this message will fall to one side or the other, depending upon whether you are saved or lost. If you are saved, you will be blessed. If you are lost, you will not be blessed, particularly. Oh, you might enjoy the message, but it will not do anything for you particularly, unless two factors are present.

First, you must recognize that the things I am going to tell you this evening are carefully thought out, planned, and reviewed for accuracy. Most of all, the things that I will tell you in just a few moments are true. Think about that. They are true. How should you respond, and how will you respond, to these things if they really are true? That is first. Second, even if you think you recognize these things I will tell you to be true, all the while knowing yourself to be lost, it will avail you nothing. When Simon Peter wrote his first epistle, it was addressed to those described as people who were ďelect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.Ē

In Antioch in Pisidia Paul preached the Word of God in a synagogue. The response to his message from Godís Word was negative. Then, a week later, preaching to Gentiles, this is the account given by inspiration of God: ďAnd when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed,Ē Acts 13.48. The word ďelectĒ refers to someone who is chosen. The word ďordainedĒ refers to someone who is appointed. Clearly, the Mover behind the scenes in each of these situations is God. It is true that it seems in Godís Word as though those who strive to enter in at the strait gate seem far more likely to be saved than those who just want to go to heaven, than those who just sit back and wait for God to zap them with a lightning bolt. So, do not approach this issue as a passive observer. Wrestle with the truth. The bottom line is this: No matter how much you may delight in and enjoy the Christmas story and facts related, this is not your boon but your bane unless God, in His infinite mercy, brings you to salvation in Christ.

Here, then, is the Christmas story from Godís perspective.

 First, GOD WRAPPED HIS GIFT

 Christmas has much to do with gifts, does it not? From Godís perspective, Christmas has a great deal to do with a gift, and with the wrapping of that gift. With you and me, there is some attention given to the selection of the gift before it is wrapped. However, with God there was no consideration of the selection of the gift. This is because there has always and forever been only one gift possible to give. That gift, of course, is Jesus Christ. It has ever been in the mind of God and on the heart of God to give His Son. However, before a gift is given it must be wrapped, so let us clarify our understanding of Godís wrapping of His gift. John chapter 1 reaches farther back in time than any other book of the Bible in its consideration of the Lord Jesus Christ. John 1.1-2 speaks of Jesus Christ as the Word, and describes Him back as far as you want to go, even before the creation of the universe:

 1      In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2      The same was in the beginning with God.

 However, this message is about Godís wrapping of His Gift. John 1.14a describes the wrapping of the gift one way: ďAnd the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.Ē The Lord Jesus Himself described it another way in Hebrews 10.5, when He said to the Father, ďa body thou has prepared me.Ē To a young Jewish maiden it was explained this way, Luke 1.26-35:

 26     And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

27     To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virginís name was Mary.

28     And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

29     And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

30     And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

31     And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

32     He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

33     And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

34     Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

35     And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

 My friends, what theologians call the incarnation, the taking upon Himself of human flesh, when Jesus was given a body by being born of the Virgin Mary was, quite simply, God wrapping His Christmas present to you and to me. So wonderful was the gift, however, that with even the best wrapping, what was beneath the wrapping was exposed. It happened on what we call the Mount of Transfiguration. The witnesses were James, John, and Simon Peter. Matthew 17.1-2 records the event:

 1      And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,

2      And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

 Years later, the Apostle John remembered it, John 1.14b: ďwe beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.Ē Yes, God did a good job wrapping His gift. He wrapped His Son, His Eternal Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, in untarnished, undefiled, sinless, humanity.

 THEN, GOD GAVE HIS GIFT

 John 3.16, which is the most famous and frequently recited verse in the Bible, provides for us the clear motive for the giving of Godís Gift. The motive is love: ďFor God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.Ē Many motives lie back of peopleís actions and deeds. Some motives are bad. Some motives are good. Godís motive is best.

You see, the reason God gave His gift is love. However, it is not the kind of love you and I are normally familiar with, where you love someone and he loves you back, or you love someone because you consider him as lovable. Oh, no. There is nothing lovely about you to God. To God, all about you is repulsive, offensive, defiant, and uncommendable. Yet, He loves you still. He loves you so much that He gave His most precious gift. The great tragedy of Godís gift is that it has been rejected. You see, God sought to give His Son in life, but Jesus was despised and rejected of men. He offered Himself to His own people, but the Bible says, ďHe came unto his own, and his own received him not,Ē John 1.11.

Therefore, not giving Him in life, God gave His Son in death. He sent Him to die on the cross for your sins, the Just for the unjust, that Jesus might bring you to God. When He went to that cruel Roman cross, guilty of no sin or offense except loving us, the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all. The result of that was Godís gift, His Son Jesus, being made sin for us, He who knew no sin. His Father punished him as if He had sinned, as if He had rebelled, as if He had mutinied, as if He had blasphemed, as if He had shaken His fist at God, as if He had lied, stolen, cheated, and murdered. Only as if, because Jesus was without sin.

My friends, it all seems so wrong to punish someone who has done nothing wrong. It seems so misguided to subject the Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the valley, the bright and morning Star, the sweetest of ten thousand to my soul, to such agony and wrath and punishment. Why would God do that? Why would Jesus submit to that? There are a number of ways that question can be answered. There are varieties of explanations. However, to the Bible scholar named Nicodemus, to that teacher of Israel, Jesus said that God did it for love. That, then, must be explanation sufficient. It was done for love. When Jesus was given, and when Jesus is offered through the preaching of the gospel, He is a gift who is offered in love.

 Finally, YOU MUST RECEIVE GODíS GIFT

 It is really quite simple. You can clearly see it. It is one thing to wrap a gift. It is one thing to actually offer a gift that has been properly wrapped and prepared for presentation. But the exchange does not take place, the benefit of the giverís labor and love and effort is not received until the gift is actually received. I can walk up to you and offer to you the gift of reconciliation after an argument or disagreement. I can select the gift of apology. I can wrap it in humility. I can offer it in the form of a sincere request for forgiveness and an extended hand to shake. However, until you actually respond to my offer and receive my gift, until you open your hand to receive my offered hand, there has been no reconciliation. The rift still exists. There is still separation until you actually receive my gift. The same is true with Godís gift. His choice of His Son as the gift was a choice He never made. There has never been any other gift God intended to give to you and to me that is quite like the gift of His Son. He then wrapped His Son by sending Him to be born of a virgin named Mary and giving Him sinless humanity to dwell in our midst, letting us look the gift over, feel it, and examine it. Then He gave the gift, Jesus being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. Crucified, buried, risen from the dead the third day, the Lord Jesus Christ has been a gift offered again and again through the preaching of the gospel. Should you be confronted with Godís gift of His Son offered to you, and should you be prepared to respond to Godís gift of His Son by the convicting and preparing work of the Holy Spirit, you can receive Godís gift, His Son Jesus, very simply. John 1.12-13 is very straightforward:

 12     But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13     Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

 Oh, the bliss of sinís forgiven. Oh, the delight of communion with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. Oh, the joy unspeakable and full of glory. It is matchless.

But should you refuse Godís gift, but should you turn up your nose at Him or turn your back on Him, should you treat Godís gift with disdain (instead of as the pearl of great price, which He is), my friend, do not do that. Do not even think about that. That God would send His Son, that Jesus would suffer and bleed and die, and that you would treat lightly your own sin and His sacrifice, is unthinkable. Remember, my friend. These things which I have told you are true. Treat them as true. Do not bring down the judgment of God on your own soul by refusing His gift. Do not incur His wrath. Do not stoke the furnace of hellfire. Do not fan the flames of His rage against you. Do not stir His ire against you for disdaining His Son, the prize of heaven. For if you do, you will be screaming the tortured agony of the damned forever in remembrance of your folly.

 Christmas is a wonderful time of year. It is an event that reminds us of Godís love for us. It is a testimony in remembrance of His great gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. Not the giving of His Son, the gift, but the wrapping of the gift, and our opportunity to examine the gift, to look it over, to scrutinize it. Listen to the Apostle Johnís careful scrutiny of Godís gift, First John 1.1-2:

 1      That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

2      (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

 Later this year, in about four months, we will specifically take time to remember when God actually gave His gift. That was when Jesus was crucified. We celebrate Easter to rejoice in Jesus Christís victory over the death of the cross, when He rose from the dead three days later. Now, Jesus sits at God the Fatherís right hand on high. He is waiting there until God makes His enemies His footstool. He is also waiting there as He is offered through the preaching of the gospel to sinners like you.

So, what are you going to do? The gift is not always offered. There will come a time when the offer of the gift is withdrawn from you. Will you receive Godís gift of His Son? My prayer is that you will. How will it harm you to receive Godís gift of His Son? Isnít this a good gift? Surely, you see that rejecting this gift is an offense and an insult to God that He will not pass by. Consider taking the time to discuss with me Godís gift of His Son Jesus Christ and how you can be saved from your sins.



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org