Sermon by Rev. Julius A. Harper, Senior Pastor Santa Clarita Christian Fellowship Church
God’s Great Gift
Isaiah 9:6-7a (NKJV)
6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end,
May the Lord add a blessing to the reading and the hearing of HIS holy word.
What an exciting day it is today, the eve upon which we will gather to prepare for the celebration of the birth of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
This week for many there was a press to get to the store and to take care of last minute gifts; in fact I predict that today the malls will be over flowing with folks looking for deals, some who are planning to give gifts to others, or some who will take this opportunity to give a gift to themselves.
Gift giving is the topic that we’d like to discuss this blessed Sunday, speaking to you on the subject of God’s great gift.
We’ve accessed the prophetic writings of Isaiah who penned these words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as Isaiah looked into the future and spoke of the birth of Jesus.
And he spoke about the birth of God’s own Son and the fulfillment of a promise made long ago, to shower mankind with a great gift.
That is the title of the sermon this morning, God’s great gift and today we want to celebrate and thank him for his wonderful gift as outlined in these four brief points.
God’s great gift to humanity is
- A child born to us who is “God’s only begotten Son”
Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)
6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given
Luke 1:35 (NLT)
35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.
John 3:16 (NKJV)
16 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.
Luke 2:11 (KJV)
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
We note in this first point the words of Isaiah 9:6 and the words of the Angel who announces the birth of Jesus to the Shepherds as recorded in Luke 2:11 taking note that the address and good news of the gift of God is given, to US, that is to humanity and to the world.
God’s great gift to humanity is a gift that he did not give to the Angles, nor to the
principalities of heaven, but rather he gave US the gift of HIS only begotten SON.
Think about this for a moment and embrace the massiveness of this thought that God gave his SON to us.
Isaiah said it was unto US, the Angel said for unto YOU is born, this day.
On this Christmas Eve Sunday, one might ask the reason why God would give such a wonderful gift to us.
Earlier in the opening of the sermon, I mentioned that very likely there would be among those shopping at the mall today, a number of shoppers who would be taking advantage of the last minute sales, so that they/we could get something for our selves.
It’s not that we don’t care about our husbands or wives, it’s not that our children or grand babies are not important to us but the way that most people are wired is that there is a tendency to think about ourselves, even in this time of gift giving, in which so much love and good cheer is spread.
You don’t have to raise your hand or even nod your head, if you happened to hook your self up with a little something-something that is hidden in the closet, garage or in back of the trunk of your car, Yes while you were out there getting presents for others, you made sure to take care of yourself.
We are wired to think about ourselves so much…
So when we think about and consider that God would give this incredible gift, how he could be so “self-less” and give such a wonderful gift for US?
John 3:16 said that God so loved the world….
This is kind of difficult to process if you really sit down and think about that and consider this great love in the light of how people in the world today reject and be-little and dismiss God.
On the eve of the celebration of the birth of that great gift, some would never think of taking the time to honor and celebrate the birth of the Christ Child, by attending a gathering at a church service such as this.
I’ll bet if you go over the Salt Creek Grill right now you’ll find the place packed out with people celebrating Christmas.
In fact the idea of going to the Lord’s house to celebrate the gift of HIS Son, never even crosses the minds of most worldly folks.
It’s difficult to process and to make it connect in your mind, why God would love a world like this, that has literally taken the Christ out of Christmas.
John 3:16 said that God so loved the world that he gave.
And this is part of Almighty God’s nature, it is part of how God is wired; because at the core of who he is, God is one who’s very nature is that of a “giver”.
God gave his SON because he was concerned about the sin that effects and infects the lives of people.
God gave his SON because he cares about those who are suffering
God gave his SON because he cares about what SIN has done to the hearts and minds and souls of men.
Christmas time is probably not a time when most people think about Sin, but it is important for me to tell you that Sin is a great concern.
Sin is what makes us selfish even when we try to be gracious and think about others, try as we may; we are still drawn to self.
Sin is what makes us ungrateful.
It’s built into our DNA. It’s the reason why your child, who one minute seems like a joyous gift from heaven, and then like that SNAP they will turn and throw a tantrum, because they didn’t get the toy or game or gadget they demanded for Christmas.
Sin will be at the root of some arguments that burst out at the table tomorrow where hurtful things are said and tongues become deadly, having been loosed by the influence of one too many beers or shots.
Sin is at the heart of what separates man and God and the presence of the sin issue, broke our relationship with the one who created us.
You see SIN has a price and the price or wages of Sin is death.
God gave HIS son, to deal with that.
He sent his SON take our sins upon himself and to sacrifice HIS life on the cross, to pay the price that we should have paid, so that we wouldn’t be condemned to eternal damnation, but rather through faith in HIS Son Jesus, we who believe in him, should not perish but have ever lasting life.
God’s great gift to humanity is secondly…
- A Savior sent to deliver us.
Isaiah 9:6a-b (NKJV)
6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder
Luke 2:11 (NKJV)
11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Matthew 1:21 (NLT)
21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Luke 1:69-70 (NLT)
69 He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David,
70 just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago.
God’s great gift to humanity is that he sent us a great deliverer.
This is a point that may take a little more imagination for us to really embrace and see the power of, because we live in a time of relative freedom and we might not be able to clearly see our need to be delivered.
You see in the Ancient world, government was viewed by many as a burden to be borne upon the backs and shoulders of people.
Most people in the ancient world were extremely poor and over-taxed.
The rich and powerful ruled the masses with great authority and they lorded their power over the weak and helpless.
People were oppressed and over-whelmed by kings and princes and they needed someone to deliver them, not only from the oppressive nature of world government, but people needed to be delivered from the hand of our greatest enemy who’s name is Satan.
Christmas Eve might not seem like a time to talk about Satan, but since he has much of the world blinded to the fact that he has burdened the backs of people with such incredibly destructive weights, I feel compelled to address this.
I told you earlier that it might be hard for us to relate to the idea of needing to be delivered.
But the fact is, that we in the world today, are struggling under the oppressive weight, that comes for the very gates of HELL itself.
- The world is full of hate and hating people who are burdened by a sense of resentment and anger towards their fellow man, that is why you see the alarming rise of hate groups today.
- The world is burdened down by greed and a lust for power that places money and possessions over the lives of human beings.
- The world is burdened down by hypocrisy and hopelessness; our institutions are crumbling under the weight of leaders who lack integrity.
There is fear in the streets and in our homes.
There is crime everywhere.
Folks can’t even get a box delivered to their homes without some thief waiting in the wings to steal their Christmas gifts.
We need to be delivered from the oppressive weight, that is being carried on our backs, but we cannot deliver ourselves.
That is why God gave us the gift of our great deliverer.
On this Christmas Eve morning I am here to tell you that there is only ONE great deliverer and that is Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
Come on a give God some praise !!!!!
God’s great gift to humanity thirdly is….
- A deliverer sent to rescue us.
Matthew 1:21a-b (NKJV)
21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS,
Mark 10:45 (NKJV)
45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Titus 2:14a-b (YLT)
14 who did give himself for us, that he might ransom us from all lawlessness, and might purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works;
Ephesians 1:7 (NKJV)
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
In this 3rd point, I want to spend a little time talking about the name of Jesus.
One of the things that I like about Christmas time is that the name of Jesus is spoken of by many people who never think of him at any other time than this.
Now don’t get me wrong.
I understand that for many business and various organizations, the name of Jesus is spoken or used because it’s good for business.
But on this day, on this Christmas Eve Sunday we want to embrace the gift of God and to see that in the name of God’s only begotten Son.
The name Jesus is an Anglicized form of the Greek name that I cannot pronounce, which is derived from the Hebrew word Yeshua.
Yeshua is a verbal derivative from the word which means” to rescue”, or “to deliver”
In the previous point we talked about God’s great gift to us as sent in the form of Jesus his Son as our deliverer.
Here in this 3rd point, we want to talk about God’s great gift of sending a “deliverer” to “rescue” mankind.
You see this world is in great danger and in dire need of a rescuer.
Man is not only oppressed by the enemy who is Satan, but he is bound and deceived as to the dangers of HELL that hang over his head each day.
Many do not believe nor understand what happens to your eternal soul if one should die in this world without Christ the redeemer.
And no matter how good you may think you are, each one of us is born with a first class ticket, which is marked and headed towards hell without the intervention of Christ.
God sent the gift of HIS Son, to redeem man and to save him and rescue him from a devil’s hell and eternal hellfire.
This was his mission; this was the plan of God who gave us HIS Son as a gift.
Jesus came to this earth as God’s great gift to ransom the souls of human beings and to rescue us from the prison we were held in.
Jesus came set things in order and to rescue us from the stain of sin that separates us from Almighty God.
Jesus came to do exactly what his name means…to rescue us and to give his life as a payment for the sins of many, so that we who were bound in chains and fetters would receive redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
God’s great gift to humanity 4th and finally is….
- A mighty God to be with us forever.
Isaiah 9:6c-7b (NKJV)
6 c And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 b Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end,
Matthew 1:23 (NKJV)
23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
John 14:23 (NKJV)
23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
We close our Christmas Eve sermon today, celebrating God’s desire to be with us.
If you have not already come to the conclusion or recognized it from the previous points, let me make sure that I state it plainly.
God loves us and wants to be with us. He wants to be with you.
This is the message that is contained all through out the bible and it is the reason why he gave us the incredible gift of HIS Son.
To us he was sent and to us he was given and to us he shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
In Matthew’s account of the birth of our Lord he said that they shall call his name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
John records the words of Jesus, who spoke of a relationship that would come together in which The Son and the Father would join with the person who believes in the Son and that these would make a home with that person.
For those of you who know Jesus as your personal Lord, let this day be to you a reminder of the great gift that God bestowed upon an undeserving world.
His grace and his love was so incredible, that he chose us and drew us to the SON before we were born.
To those of you who may be here or are listening on line the invitation on this Christmas Eve Sunday is to come to know God’s great gift for yourself.
Come and get to know HIS only begotten Son for yourself.
Come and embrace by faith the great deliverer, our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
Come into that blessed relationship of cleansing forgiveness and peace with God, though the SON who he sent to rescue you and bring you safely home to him.
While all eyes are closed and heads are bowed…