The GIFT… Christmas Sermon Series.
“G” – God so loved that He gave… HIMSELF!
1 John 4:9-10 NCV – 9 This is how God showed his love to us: He sent his one and only Son into the world so that we could have life through him. 10 This is what real love is: It is not our love for God; it is God’s love for us. He sent his Son to die in our place to take away our sins.
“I” – The Incarnation of Christ. God in the Flesh…. God with us!
John 1:14 NCV – 14 The Word became a human and lived among us. We saw his glory—the glory that belongs to the only Son of the Father—and he was full of grace and truth.
“F” – God’s Forgiveness!
Ephesians 1:7 – In HIM we have the forgiveness of sins…
“T” – The Gift of God in Jesus Christ… Brings Transformation as we Trust and Obey!
When we respond and A.C.T. accepting the gift of God… (Acknowledging Him as Lord, Confessing our sin, Trusting in Him by Faith and Repentance) we are Forgiven and Free in Christ… and the Holy Spirit of God takes up residence in our heart and we experience a new spiritual birth. Jesus said in John 3:3 – “Unless you are born again you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
Born Again = Regeneration. (Churchy Word…)
We’re Saved… from the Wrath of God through what Christ did on the cross. In Him we have the forgiveness of sins, and we are set Free. (Salvation or Justification.)
That’s it right? We’re in! We’re good! Got my ticket!
God accepts us right where we are but he doesn’t leave us there!
In our TRUST and OBEDIENCE we begin the process of being “Transformed” into the image of Christ. (Sanctification) Which is a life-long process.
It’s the Holy Spirit of God in us that Transforms us, helps us, convicts us, encourages and equips us… However, we must choose to Trust and Obey!
Paul said in Phil. 2:12-13 – work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Paul wasn’t suggesting that someone work FOR their Salvation or that they could lose their Salvation! (Salvation is based on the finished work of Jesus Christ and Christ alone!)
He’s simply stating that we must continually Trust, Obey, Learn, Grow, Develop, Disciple, Mentor, Mature, as we Follow Christ in order to be Transformed.
Phil 3: 12-14 NLT – 12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Ephesians 4:21-24 NLT – 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him,22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
How are we Transformed? 5 Areas where we continually TRUST and OBEY…
- Seek God… the things of God… Develop a hunger and thirst for God to know more about this incredible Gift we have in Jesus Christ! WE NEVER STOP SEEKING GOD!
We seek Him through His Word: One of the best ways to seek God is through reading, studying, discussing His word.
Psalm 119:2 NIV – Blessed (Happy, Joyful) are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.
Psalm 119:11 – I have hidden it in my heart, that I may not sin against You.
2 Peter 1:3-4 CSB – 3 His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 By these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.
We seek Him through “Trust and Obedience” to His Word:
Psalm 9:10 NIV – Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 37:5 ESV – Commit your way to the LORD; Trust in Him, and He will act.
John 17:17 – Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
John 14:15 – If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
John 15:10-11 NLT – 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow.
We seek Him through Prayer:
Psalm 145:18-19 – The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them.
Matthew 7:7-8 – “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
We seek Him through Continuous Repentance:
Isaiah 59:2 NLT – It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.
James 4:8 NLT – 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.
We seek Him through Worship: Worship is a Lifestyle, not music, a day of the week or time of day! The greatest expression of worship is give and live my life for Him!
Romans 12:1-2 NCV – So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship. 2 Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.
1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV – So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
- There’s an INCREASING Devotion, Desire, and Dedication to Christ.
- You won’t Trust and Obey someone you don’t know… Relationship!
- The closer we are to the Lord the more we develop a hatred for sin and things that dishonor Him.
Our devotion (love), desire and dedication to the Lord should be so great that by comparison it appears as if we hate the world and things of the world!
Luke 14:26-27 NLT – 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.
- Our World view “Should” change to a “Biblical” World view.
World view = Value system. Our Philosophy, Ideology, Theology about Life, God, Mankind, etc…
George Barna Stats: Only 17% of people who say they are “Born Again” have a “Biblical World View.” (Down 2% from 2009)
17%… That’s like only 50 out of 320 of us here today.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new!
- We develop a greater love for others.
If we don’t love others how can we say we love God? Our love for others proves that we belong to Him!
1 John 4:7-8 CSB – 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
John 13:34-35 NLT – 34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
5. IF we’re in the Family of God… we’re on a Mission for God! We Fulfill or accomplish the Mission!
John 17:18 NLT – Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. MSG – “In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world.”
What is our Mission?
- Love God… heart, mind soul, strength – Worship Him.
- Love others… as ourselves.
- To Serve God and serve others.
- To use my SHAPE [Explain SHAPE] to be his witness, be His ambassador, introduce people to Him, make Disciples who follow Him, and advance His Kingdom!
As we’re TRANSFORMED we are accomplishing, fulfilling the Mission!
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NLT – 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
The veil (Holy of Holies) has been removed (Curtain torn) and not only do we see Him but we get to experience a personal one on one relationship with Him and we are Transformed to be like Him as we Trust and Obey!
Most of the time we are too focused on (and wrapped up in) what we’re doing rather than what we’re becoming!
The Gift of God in Jesus Christ ‘Transforms’ us if we are developing the relationship with Him through Trust and Obedience.
Are we being ‘Transformed?’