The Giving of Gifts Must Include Something for the King of Kings!
1 Timothy 1:17
Introduction (1 Chron 21:21-25)
A. It has always been customary to bring a gift when you came to visit royalty. I believe that is where the custom originated that people would bring something when they visited friends or neighbours - honouring the other person.
B. The wise men brought three precious gifts to the newborn King. But is that all He is due? The more I read my Bible, and the more I walk with Him, I discover He is deserving of so many gifts and presents that we just are reluctant to bring to Him these days - too busy getting gifts for everyone else on our list
C. Therein lies the problem - haven't we forgotten Somebody at Christmas? What have we planned to give Him? What is the year 2000 going to be like?
D. Let me give you some "gift" suggestions from the Bible of what He deserves.
Message - Fit
for a King (1
A. What Jesus Deserves are Your Biggest Problems (1 Peter 5:7). They are fit only for Him! The devil wants to get every person into carrying their problems and weighing them down so heavily until they stumble fall, and are crushed. Long before that happens, a person needs to doing some giving away!
1. Casting is usually understood in a negative sense - as in "dumping" them on Him
2. But remember, He expects you to give all your problems to Him - you weren't made to bear-up under all the pressure (Cf Isa 53:4)
3. To "cast" means to give away - give away what? Problems!
4. Problems like:
a. Your toughest questions (Mt 22:19)
b. Your most terrible sins (John 8:3)
c. Your worst health nightmare (Lk 8:43,44)
d. God has the answers - all found in Jesus! That's why multitudes gathered around this man from Galilee - HE could handle problems!
5. The problem in our understanding of how God deals with these "gifts" and the answer to them, stems from our approach to God:
a. Obviously God can and does any of these miracles (Lk 1:37, "For with God, nothing shall be impossible")
b. But, do we bring our problems to Him with no strings attached?
1) That is the key - are we desperate only for Jesus, and dependent only on Him? If we are only willing to "try" Him out, then He is not obligated to respond. He responds sometimes, but not always
2) But, if we have settled that He is whom we rest on, and will obey, then that is another matter altogether (Cf Jn 6:66-68) - that is when our problems get solved - in the hands of Jesus!
B. What Jesus Wants is Your Heaviest Concerns (Mt 19:13) - especially at Christmas - the world pressurizes everyone and we are exhausted with worry! Worry about debt, the future, and especially our families!
1. All those parents were concerned about their children - about their welfare
2. Just like today. Things haven't changed - we still fear our children getting caught-up in the drug and rock music culture, in drink, and bad attitudes - and we still fear them getting abducted, and being harmed, and abused.
3. Being a parent is scary - because a little, vulnerable life is at high risk!
4. When parents begin to have much concern about their families - and we all need more of this - then it is time to give those concerns to Jesus - as a gift - and ask HIM to take the lead in helping you be what your mate needs, and what your children need!
5. What about your concerns for the future? Y2K? The economy? A new job? Sale of your house? Nobody knows what is ahead - scratch that - I know SOMEBODY who does! I will give HIM my concerns about where the next meal will come from even (Mt 6:33)!!!
C. What Jesus Merits is Your Emptiest Heart (Lk 3:8)
1. When people were coming to john the Baptist, John wouldn't even look at them until they had clearly repented of sins in their lives, and proven they were serious in the relationship with God. They had to deal with:
a. Their sin of pride - Being "Abraham's children…"
b. Their sin of "religion," thinking they were good enough for heaven
c. They had all the sins we all face
2. But because of repentance, when John pointed to the Messiah in John 1:29, the people by the thousands flocked to the One called Jesus, with only their now empty hearts, ready to be filled!
3. What Jesus deserves is a heart, a life, like an empty box ready for HIM to occupy - ready for HIM to fill! He cannot fill an already overcrowded life - that is an insult to ask Him "join in!"
4. EX: Any new boss at a company comes into his or her office and does not expect the old boss to still be around, nor all of his or her stuff to still be in place. The office should be "cleaned-out!" THEN the new boss can "set-up shop" and begin to lead! So it is with Jesus!
All this seems to have been negative so far: Biggest problems; heaviest concerns; emptiest hearts. But all that is for a reason - once you give those things away, you find that what you have done is really made an exchange - and you end up with the greatest peace, richest life, and fullest heart ever imaginable! And then, you find that you want to do more!
D. What Jesus Expects is Your Best Efforts (Eph 3:20,21; Ps 29:1,2) - Now we get where most people fear a Bible preacher would tread - where it hurts!
1. God evidently seems to consistently give us HIS best - abundantly above all that we ask or think!
2. What Paul says next is great stuff - UNTO HIM be glory - where? In the church! That is supposed to be a place where people give their BEST back to God! Not their left-overs
3. There is lots of glory to be had in the world:
a. On the Olympic field - up at 4.30am, AMEN!
b. In the business world - sweat and sacrifice for success
c. In politics and peace-making - no sleep, and putting up with people and problems
d. In medical and technology advances - trial and error, and struggle - trying to discover important cures
e. In the movie and music world - hard work - ungodly work, but hard
4. But all those things are corruptible crowns - temporary, shallow, never satisfying, only last less than a lifetime
5. But our best efforts for Jesus last all ages, in a world that has no end!
6. Let me tell you what many "christians" give the Lord: their left-overs - no time, no money, no strength, no glory! (Cf Eccl 12:1)!!!
7. So, what should we all be giving the Lord, this Christmas, and every day?
a. Best effort praying - not half-hearted effort, or no effort - but everyday, for everything - re-commit yourself to praying about every decision, and every need
b. Best effort preaching - do your best to tell a dark world of Jesus
c. Best effort pursuing the will of God - don't be the rogue you naturally are, and instead be a servant of the most high God!
d. Best effort praising - Israel had a hard time praising didn't they?
1) Whinged and murmured and complained
2) They had blinded their own eyes and stuffed their own ears
3) There is no faster or better way out of debt than by giving and rejoicing - I am serious - when you give things away, and rejoice in the current goodness of God, life really does get better and better - guaranteed!
e. And when asked why you do anything in your life, your response should be, "It is a gift back to my Saviour - all for His glory!"
E. What Jesus is Worthy of is Your very best Gifts (Lk 21:1-4)
1. The story is told of a family that at Christmas was going to give some gifts to a special family they knew that were having a very hard time that year. They each were busily scanning their rooms for something to give away. A young lad of about 10 years old was looking around his room and passed over his specially autographed soccer ball, and nintendo game set, and his favourite action man. He finally came upon a small, unused box of old legos, and put them into a bag. Once downstairs, the presents were being wrapped and Dad presented his best drill for wrapping. Mom was busily wrapping a group of her favourite craft books. The young boy listened as they sang and praised God with joy and realised he really was not giving anything - he was only getting rid of something. He quickly ran back and gathered up his special soccer ball, and nintendo and action man and with the biggest smile of them all said to his family, "I just LOVE Christmas!" And that is how to enjoy it best!
2. Give God the gift of your life - available in His hand for Him to use. Is it?
3. The gift of your future - not your own plans anymore (James 4:13-15)
4. The gift of your finances - everyone thinks God is not concerned with money - guess what? He is! He is concerned with anything that takes the place of a god in our lives. If God owns ALL your paycheck, then 10% in tithe to Him is easy - you would be glad to have the other 90%! If YOU own the money, then God will seem like a robber! Think about it!
A. What Jesus Deserves are Your Biggest Problems (1Pet 5:7). Problems like:
1. Your toughest questions (Mt 22:19)
2. Your most terrible sins (John 8:3)
3. Your worst health nightmare (Lk 8:43,44)
4. God has the answers - all found in Jesus! Bring our problems to Him with no strings attached
B. What Jesus Wants is Your Heaviest Concerns for our kids, families, future
C. What Jesus Merits is Your Emptiest Heart. What Jesus deserves is a heart, a life, like an empty box ready for HIM to occupy - ready for HIM to fill! He cannot fill an already overcrowded life - it is an insult to ask Him join in!
D. What Jesus Expects is Your Best Efforts. What should we all be giving the Lord, this Christmas, and every day?
1. Best effort praying - not half-hearted effort, or no effort - but everyday, for everything - re-commit yourself to praying about every decision, and every need
2. Best effort preaching - do your best to tell a dark world of Jesus
3. Best effort pursuing the will of God - don't be the rogue you naturally are, and instead be a servant of the most high God!
4. Best effort praising - Israel had a hard time praising didn't they?
E. What Jesus is Worthy of is Your very best Gifts (Lk 21:1-4)