Gifts at Christmas That Leave You Speechless
DATE: 18 Dec, 2005 AM
PLACE: BBC Ballincollig
DATE: 18 Dec, 2005
PLACE: BBC Mallow
I. Introduction (2Cor 9:15)
A. Although the only person a man usually shops for is his wife, the whole experience is a stressful one. Many a man has felt extreme frigid temperatures in the home based on a poor gift decision. As a veteran of these wars, I’m still not sure what to buy my wife, but I’ll pass on what not to buy her:
1. Don’t buy anything that plugs in. Anything that requires electricity is seen as only practical, and not special.
2. Don’t buy clothing that involves sizes. The chances are actually one in seven thousand that you will get her size right, and your wife will be offended the other 6999 times. "Do I look like a size 16?" she’ll say. Too small a size doesn’t cut it either: "I haven’t worn a size 8 in 20 years!"
3. Avoid all things useful. The new silver polish advertised to save hundreds of hours is not going to win you any brownie points.
4. Don’t buy anything that involves weight loss or self-improvement. She’ll perceive a six-month membership to a diet center as a suggestion that’s she’s overweight.
5. Don’t buy jewelry. The jewelry your wife wants, you can’t afford. And the jewelry you can afford, she doesn’t want.
6. Finally, don’t spend too much. "How do you think we’re going to afford that?" she’ll ask. But don’t spend too little. She won’t say anything, but she’ll think, "Is that all I’m worth?"
B. Let me ask you: What is the best or most surprising Christmas present you have ever received?
C. Did it leave you speechless? Unable to say anything? In a GOOD way? As an amazed, and awed, and overwhelmed.
D. Unspeakable Gifts like that are kind of rare.
E. Here, the apostle Paul reminds of us of an “unspeakable” gift. Not an object, or a thing, or a holiday, or a gift voucher, but a person - the Lord Jesus Himself. I still stand in awe, speechless, when I consider the wonderful gift that came to earth the very first Christmas.
F. Just the Person of Jesus, when pondered, causes great amazement and wonder in the mind and heart of a person.
G. Napoleon said: "I know men; and I tell you that Jesus Christ is not a man. Everything about him amazes me. His spirit over-awes me, and his will confounds me. There is no possible comparison between him and any other being in the world. He is truly a being by himself. His birth, the history of his life, the profoundness of his doctrine, his gospel, his march across the ages-all these are to me a wonder, an insoluble mystery. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I founded empires. But on what did the creations of our genius rest? On force. Jesus Christ alone founded his empire on love; and at this hour millions would die for him. I am at St. Helena, . . . I die before my time; him whom the world called The Great Napoleon! What an abyss between my deep misery and the eternal reign of Christ which is proclaimed, loved, adored, and which is extending over all the earth!” -Rev. Eugene Bersier
H. The unspeakable gift – beyond words, indescribable, beyond description
I. It is speaking of the Person, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God - Emmanuel, God with us. And it speaks of the gift that He purchased for everyone on this planet (Rom 6:23) – the gift of forgiveness that allows us to live forever with Him
J. Let’s go back to that first Christmas, and see just how precious that Unspeakable Gift really was
1. It Was a Surprise Gift (1:18)
2. It Was a Struggle to Accept (1:19,20)
3. It Was a Son (1:21)
4. It Was a Planned Gift (1:22,23)
5. It Was a Life Changing Gift (1:24,25)
II. Message – God’s Unspeakable Gift (Matthew 1:18-25)
A. God’s Unspeakable Gift Was a Surprise Gift (1:18) – at least for Mary and Joseph
1. Think of that first Christmas – a TOTAL surprise!
2. Boy this first Christmas was certainly going to be a real surprise!
3. Mary is getting ready for a wedding. She had waited for the right man, planned and prepared for a beautiful wedding day, only to discover that she is going to have a baby, and she is going to have to explain it to her fiancé - Joseph
4. Joseph is NOT going to handle this news very well
5. How do you explain a virgin birth? It is indescribable – impossible - basically, unbelievable!
6. But that’s what Christmas is – not what we expect, but what God gives! And believe me, He always gives much better than we can ever expect!
7. Aren’t you glad for unexpected gifts at Christmas?
a. My family LOVES finding out what each other got BEFORE Christmas so that on Christmas day, the kids usually say, “I know what is in that box, etc.
b. But “I” love the thrill of the surprise of the gifts on everyone’s faces when a box is opened.
c. I think that is how God is too.
8. Jesus was a surprise gift – He still is!
9. People want heaven and prosperity, and the good life, and plenty of fun, and friends, and money, and toys, and happiness.
10. But surprise! Christmas is about a Gift. A gift we weren’t expecting, but a gift that we needed - desperately
B. God’s Unspeakable Gift Was a Struggle to Accept (1:19,20)
1. Now Mary accepts the whole thing – with only a little struggle (Luke 1:26-38). She goes ahead and allows God to do as He says He will in giving her a son
2. She accepts the Gift of Christmas as the impossible, unspeakable, amazing thing that it was!
3. But to Joseph, the husband to be, it was a different matter altogether
4. He finds it hard to believe all this miracle stuff about Christmas
5. All the talk about Angels, Mary being Hand-picked, a Virgin-birth, Fulfilled Prophecy, birth of the Messiah, miracle of Mary’s cousin Elisabeth’s pregnancy – it all was just too much!
6. Folks, the virgin-birth is STILL an impossibility!
7. It would have been easier to believe in a fat Santa coming down the chimney than the virgin birth!
8. Joseph has a hard time accepting the Gift of God
9. He decides that the wedding is now off – very painful decision
10. He considers privately divorcing this love of his life who seems to have turned out to be an unfaithful woman – at least, that how it seemed to him
11. Many Christmas’ are struggles to just believe in God, and obey God in spite of all the circumstances we put up with and experience
12. For so many people, Christmas is only about:
a. Families apart and hurting – separations, divorces, anger and bitter divisions
b. Financial struggles – only to be compounded by more debt
c. Feelings of failures and depression that comes by seeming to always “miss the true meaning of Christmas” etc.
d. All of it makes for a struggle for many people at Christmas
13. Believe me – you are in good company. That first Christmas was hard! No one ought to think following Jesus today is an easy thing to do either
14. BUT let me tell you, it pays-off best! There is NO better life to live, than the struggling Christian life! Amen
C. God’s Unspeakable Gift Was a Son (1:21)
1. Can you imagine sitting down on Christmas morning, and everyone opening their gifts, and someone bringing a new baby – a brand new baby Boy? Can you imagine how speechless everyone would be? Huh? A Baby? Everyone would drop their packages and gather around that small delicate, pink package!
2. Hey! Now THAT is Christmas!
3. The world has tried its best to replace that baby Boy with expensive gifts, and fancy Christmas Trees, and Drink, and Big meals, and more drink, and Family, and Music, and EVEN MORE DRINK! Our modern Christmas time is composed of mainly Chocolates, and sweets, and movies and games, and toys, and it all pretty well overwhelms the thought of such a Person as this boy in a barn!
4. But it’s still that Boy that makes it Christmas at all
a. Here was a young couple, just about to get married, with no money really, ultimately they will have to travel away from home to Bethlehem, with no place to stay, and yet they lacked nothing with that BOY in their home!
b. For them, Christmas was Complete just with Him arriving!
c. Oh that YOUR Christmas was as good as that first Christmas
5. Nothing else can compare to the reality, and the presence of a Son named Jesus. Not in a nativity scene on the mantle, but in every heart and mind and life in your home!
6. Nothing can compare to that Name!
a. Jesus means “Saviour”
b. And Saviour means more than just friend of sinners (although I like that meaning), or sovereign God, or suffering servant, but Jesus means the Rescuer FROM our Sins
7. Here’s the Gospel truth - Christ wants to save us, rescue us from “SIN”
a. Not from troubles – even though that is mainly why people pray and think they need God
b. Not from bad health
c. Not from debts and disasters
d. Not from loneliness
e. Not from boredom
f. Not from bad TV programmes
g. But from SIN! From it’s pleasure, its power, its penalty, and one day, its presence (we learned all this last week – get the tape)
h. You see, our problem is SIN, and sin is still sending people to HELL
i. But with Jesus, when you get saved from your sin, you can’t go to hell anymore!
j. Great news isn’t it? It is called the Gospel news
k. And it is all because of the Son of God, born in a manger
8. The Son of God (Mt 27:54; John 3:16)
a. He was the only sinless man who has ever lived – because He was the Son of God
b. He was the only sacrifice that could TAKE AWAY sin – because He was the Son of God
c. He is the only Saviour who can take you to heaven – because He was the Son of God
d. And He is the only Satisfaction, the only joy in Christmas that will last – even into eternity! Because He is the perfect Son of God!
D. God’s Unspeakable Gift Was a Planned Gift (1:22,23)
1. Nothing God did was new – it had all been predicted in the Old Testament – that’s what proves this Book is the perfect word of God!
2. The cross reference was to Isaiah 7:14 where not a young lady, but a VIRGIN would have NOT just any baby (girl or boy), but specifically, a BOY, and that THAT boy was going to be GOD right here among us – with us – for us! Emmanuel!
3. Everyone likes to read from Luke 2, and from Matthew 1 and 2, but the Christmas story began much earlier, and was laid out in unmistakable terms in ALL of the Old Testament from Genesis 3 on up to the last Book in the Old Testament, Malachi 4
4. Jesus was no last minute gift. He waited until just the right time (Gal 4:4)
5. God had planned it all out long before He created this universe – He knew that when He created mankind, we would go our own way, and get into trouble, and need someone to get us out of trouble, so he planned to enter this world Himself, and redeem us
6. Praise God for good planning.
7. When someone shows up JUST when you need them, and does something that required incredible planning and preparation, and yet did it all without burdening you, only to give it to you freely – what do you think you will say? You will be speechless for sure!
8. That’s just what God had been doing all along – fulfilling His plan
9. It is just the way God is (Rom 11:33) indescribable – beyond figuring out
E. God’s Unspeakable Gift Was a Life Changing Gift (1:24,25)
1. Look at the faith of Joseph here. Look at how confident he is, how secure he is in his actions!
2. He gets up from the dream, knocks on Mary’s home, and tells her the wedding is back on. Goes ahead and marries the love of his life in spite of all the confusion, and struggle that they were facing, and never looks back
3. That’s what faith will do.
a. It makes you feel safe and secure as you obey God
b. Joseph knew he was going to be alright because he was doing what God wanted done!
c. Faith is trusting God enough to obey Him, especially when things don’t make sense
d. We all love to glory in our accomplishments
e. But a Christian glories in our trials and in our struggles, because:
1) We KNOW all things work together
2) We KNOW this life is only temporary
3) We KNOW where we are going when this life is over
4) We KNOW Jesus, personally, and passionately
f. A Christian’s faith changes every situation, transforms it, because God is allowed to take back control of it, and bring you through it
4. When baby Jesus does get born, Joseph confidently names Him “Jesus” just as God had told him to. No hesitation. No debate. No struggles anymore!
a. That’s what we all need – a kind of security in our relationship with Jesus where HE gives us assurance, stability, confidence
b. It only comes from hearing from God’s word, and believing it
c. If you have no prayer time, no systematic, chapter by chapter reading through your Bible, then you can kiss any confidence good bye!
d. But with every page and every truth of this Book that you take into your life, there comes greater rest, and peace, and victory
A. And so came into this world, the only Saviour, Jesus Christ – the perfect Christmas
1. Oh that every home had a complete Christmas. That every heart was able to see beyond the struggles, and the heartaches of Christmas failures
2. Oh that every person knew that there really is no Christmas without Jesus
3. But with Jesus, there really is nothing else to want!
B. Let me ask you: What is the best or most surprising Christmas present you have ever received?
C. Did it leave you speechless? Unable to say anything? Amazed, awed, overwhelmed? Unspeakable Gifts like that are kind of rare.
D. The most “unspeakable” gift is not an object, or a thing, but a person - the Lord Jesus Himself. Beyond words, indescribable, beyond description
E. I am speaking of the Person, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God - Emmanuel, God with us. And the gift that He purchased for everyone on this planet (Rom 6:23) – the gift of forgiveness that allows us to live forever with Him because of His death on the cross!
1. God’s Unspeakable Gift Was a Surprise Gift (1:18) It is still that way today for so many people. People are looking for all the wrong gifts. It is wonderful to see the surprise on the face of a person who discovers the Gift behind all the other gifts of Christmas!
2. God’s Unspeakable Gift Was a Struggle to Accept (1:19,20) No one finds believing God, and following Jesus as easy. No one. BUT it pays-off the best! There is NO better life to live, than the struggling Christian life!
3. God’s Unspeakable Gift Was a Son (1:21) Nothing else can compare to the reality, and the presence of a Son named Jesus in every heart and mind and life in your home! The Son of God who had come to Rescue us, to Save us FROM our Sins
4. God’s Unspeakable Gift Was a Planned Gift (1:22,23). Planned from the start. Not thrown together, but perfectly prophesied, and then fulfilled so that anyone, absolutely ANYONE could see just how much God loved this world!
5. Lastly, God’s Unspeakable Gift Was a Life Changing Gift (1:24,25). Has he changed your life? Have you ALLOWED Him to change it? To save it, and remake it? You can today!