Have you ever been given a gift, or seen one under the Christmas tree, that needed no card or tag informing you who sent it? Maybe the meticulous wrapping was a clue to who the wrapper was.
I know Christmas is still a few days away, but some of you might need something to preach or teach between now and then. Therefore, please accept as my gift of an outline I prepared, “How We Know Jesus Was a Gift from God.”
Please, feel free to use it 🙂
“How We Know Jesus Was a Gift from God”
I. Because of When THIS Gift Was Given
· Galatians 4:4 “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His son…”
II. Because of How THIS Gift Was Wrapped
· Luke 2:12 “And this shall be a sign unto you, you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
· Philippians 2:7 “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:”
· Hebrews 4:15 KJV – “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin.”
III. Because THIS Gift Was Truly Free
· John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He GAVE…”
· Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace…it is a GIFT of God, NOT of works…”
· Romans 3:24 “Being justified FREELY by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
IV. Because THIS Gift Was Exactly What We Needed
A. To Bring Us Life – Luke 2:11 “Unto you is born, in the city of David, a SAVIOR…”
B. To Bring Us Joy – Lamentations 3:22-23 “His mercies are new every morning”
V. Because of the Love that Went Into It.
· 1 John 4:9 “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”
A. Accept the Gift of Jesus
B. Give Thanks! – 2 Cor. 9:15 “Thanks be to God for this unspeakable Gift!”
In an effort to get a better understanding of the the word, I did what any self-respecting scholar would do: I “googled” it. Well, actually, that’s not correct, I “binged” it.
Anyway, I found several different definitions for nerd. Some of them, quite frankly, seemed a little harsh.
(Noun) a foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious.
(Verb) engage in or discuss a technical field obsessively or with great attention to detail.
A person, especially a man, who is not attractive and is awkward or socially embarrassing.
A person who is extremely interested in one subject, especially computers, and knows a lot of facts about it.
So, to sum it up, a “nerd” is not a good thing until you need one . . . or until one becomes a billionaire and his looks and social skills no longer matter.
On the other hand, being called a “nerd” could be sort of a compliment.
Called Black by the Pot
There’s an old saying about an iron pot and an iron kettle. If you have seen them you know what they look like – they’re both jet black. Well, when a black pot looks at a black kettle and with smug indignation points out said kettle’s blackness, what you have is either hypocrisy or irony.
I R O N y …. see what I did there? 😉
So, when just the other day I was told by gamers and Discord server owners that I was a nerd, well … this kettle had to laugh at the pots.
I’m on Discord!
By the way – and this is important – I am taking part in a brand new mission field!
If you are a gamer, then you are familiar with Discord. Believe it or not, this is one of the greatest mission fields we have seen in our lifetimes. No joke.
If you would like to check out what I’m doing, along with a list of growing content on our server, FaithChatt, then click the link below and join in! Currently I am doing a Bible study through the book of Ephesians every Friday morning at 9 a.m. (Eastern).
Anyway, last Friday morning while teaching in Ephesians on Discord, I began talking about my love for watches. The purpose was illustrate how that when we are really into something, we talk about it. We talk about what we know.
It wasn’t long after I started with the analogy that I heard muffled laughter . . . snickers (not the candy kind) . . . and the hint of a conversation going on in the chat room. That’s when these guys, the ones who know all about “bots” and “bumps” and “boosts,” said, “You’re a nerd.”
That’s when I really got to thinking …. am I a “nerd” about Jesus? Are you?
You see, when it comes to so many things we get excited about, we are quick to tell people all about it. Just a tiny opportunity is all we need.
Are we that way about Jesus?
Can we go on and on about who He is? Can we boast about His stats? Are we so familiar with Him that we can talk for hours about all the quests we’ve been on and the battles we’ve won?
And for all the watch lovers out there like me, you get so excited about those man-made jeweled movements that tell time, but what about the One who created time?
I love good music, especially live music played by the ones singing their own songs. As a matter of fact, as a musician, I respect those who get up on stage and perform, regardless their style. At least they’re not singing to tracks.
Therefore (full disclosure), when I am riding in my car on long trips (anything over an hour) I tend to scan the channels for anything to keep me awake. For the most part, when I listen to the radio or music from Pandora or other sources it’s usually Christian music or talk radio. But sometimes talk radio can put me to sleep, so that’s when I turn to the “worldly music.”
Last night, as I was driving home late from dinner I had with a fellow pastor, I decided to listen to some 1980’s rock on Pandora. That’s when a song I’d never heard before started cranking out a catchy, enticing rhythm. It was a song by Sheryl Crow called “In the End.” Did she do that song in the 80s?
Anyway, Sheryl Crow is an accomplished songwriter as much as she’s ever been a singer. I like her voice and music style, so when when all of that talent comes together the sum is usually something entertaining. This song, “In the End,” is a prime example.
The Jesus Part
So, I started tapping my left foot as I began keeping time with my fingers on the steering wheel. Because “all I want to do” is stay awake, I didn’t really bother paying close attention to the lyrics.
But then the lyrics of the second verse of Sheryl Crow’s song spurred my attention.
There’s a man on the cross with His arms open wide And a tear that can quench the world’s fire But His name is a shield to the ones who would wield Their own power and greed and desire
She didn’t call Him out by name, but I do believe she was referencing Jesus. And on top of that, she was singing about those who use the name of Jesus to become rich and powerful. In other words, she was singing to the ministers who would take advantage of the “believers,” a common theme and stereotype promoted by the left.
Notice that Crow said the name of Jesus is a “shield” for those who want to use Jesus to get what they want. It’s nothing new, either. Remember Simon Magnus from the book of Acts? He actually wanted to purchase the power of the Holy Spirit in order to use God’s power to make a profit.
Have you ever heard it said, “Jesus I like, but I can’t stand his followers”? That’s kinda the idea.
But false prophets, millionaire ministers, and greedy pastors are not the only ones who hide behind a “shield,” a banner, a motif, or an ideal to fleece the sheep. Ever noticed that the most broken, crime-ridden, blood-splattered, poverty-stricken cities have been run by Democrats?
Have you ever noticed that the very same people who have been in charge for so long continue to say they are the ones needed to fix things? Why is there still poverty in black communities? Why is our national debt practically untenable, yet they say we are not spending enough on infrastructure, education, and abortion clinics?
Why is it that every Democrat politician leaves office richer than when they were elected, and by far more than the accumulated wealth from their salaries? To be fair, I could ask the same for the Republicans, too!
In the beginning of Crow’s song she is clearly referring to politicians and their “believers” who blindly accept every promise. The second verse shines light on the greedy preacher or televangelist. Both will eventually get what’s coming to them… in the end.
But what of those who year after year, decade after decade, hide behind the “shield” of the disenfranchised, the poor, the homeless, the hungry, etc., etc., etc.? It’s so easy to label those behind the pulpit, but what about the podium?
In the End,” who are the ones always telling their followers exactly what they want to hear, yet never delivering? Who are the ones hiding behind the “shields” of race, gender, equality, tolerance, benefits, and handouts while accumulating more and more power over those for whom they promise to wipe their tears?
I don’t believe in Karma, but it could explain the increased rat population.
Let me start by saying that I don’t know what the temperature is at this moment, but I am freezing! I’m sitting in a cold, metal chair as a cool/cold and damp wind cuts straight to my bones.
As you can see in the above picture, I’m here in the courthouse square at the farmer’s market in Sandersville, GA. I’ve been coming here most Saturdays for the last couple of months. But, unlike all the other days, this one is cold.
It’s sorta funny, though. I’ve been in colder weather, for sure. The temperature, here, isn’t exactly cold enough to freeze the moisture in your breath. However, I FEEL the cold, and it’s making me feel sickly.
Fortunately, I have a Stanley thermos full of hot coffee. That should at least keep the big dogs with the brandy around their necks away. . . for now.
One may wonder why I come out here every week, especially when I rarely sell any of my artwork. Well, first of all, this isn’t the best time to be doing what I’m doing; the crowds go way, way down when there are no vegetables for sale. But, secondly, it really is more about meeting people than selling paintings (although selling some art would certainly help).
Just this morning I was blessed by a man named Roscoe. Roscoe and his two granddaughters stopped by my table to admire my work, then he began to talk about Jesus. It literally took him no more than 2 minutes to move the conversation into praises to God for his goodness!
I don’t know if I will sell anything today, but I’m still hoping. Nevertheless, I have faith that God will use me to bless someone – or maybe it was meant for me to get the blessing.
I think that my immediate future will include a break from the cold as I sit in my car for a few minutes. There are other people around me, so if anyone wants to buy anything, the other folk will tell them where I am – I hope.
It would be nice to become a world-famous artist, but that’s really up to the Lord. My main goal is to bring glory to God through my art (since He gave me the talent) and make Jesus even more well known.
If uplifting the name of Jesus Christ is my goal, my future looks bright 🙂
Dear friends, now, maybe more now than ever, it is time for those who know the Truth to be bold as lions.
I will not argue over perspectives, for each has his own. I will not sit here and pontificate over another’s life experiences and what fears they have, for each has their own.
However, it is my RESPONSIBILITY to speak out when doctrine, theology, especially the doctrines of Jesus Christ are being attacked and polluted without rebuttal. Folks, the words of Paul to Timothy are just as true today as they were 2,000 years ago.
“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” – 1 Timothy 4:16
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” – 2 Timothy 4:2
So, when the head of the BLM of Greater New York says on national television that Jesus was “…the most famous black radical revolutionary in history…” and uses that false teaching to justify violence, it’s time we say condemn the torpedoes and go full speed ahead.
Bad Theology/Bad Praxeology
Praxeology is the “study of human action and conduct.” What we see being carried out in the streets of America is conduct based on bad theology and fueled by bad Christology (theological interpretation of the person and work of Christ).
I am firmly convinced that our actions as humans, especially how we treat others or respond to their actions towards us, can be traced back to our theological, especially our Christological beliefs – whether we think we have any or not.
As pastors, there can be no greater responsibility than to boldly and unapologetically proclaim the biblical and historical Jesus Christ of Nazareth, His true mission, and our dependency on His atoning work on the Cross.
“Who do men say that I, the Son of man, am?”
That’s the question asked by Jesus of his disciples. The answer Peter gave was, “Thou are the the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
That is what the following sermon I delivered this past Sunday morning was about. I would encourage you to watch and share.
“Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?”
I do apologize for the less-than-HD quality. The internet where we are is so slow that we have to upload at 520p in order to get anything done the same day. We pray for fiber optics!
When God created man, He didn’t create another God.
You might think that’s nothing new, but it is a very, very important truth – one that is rarely unpacked when discussing issues of sin and suffering.
There are people who wonder why God, if He exists and is so powerful and wise, created a free agent who could sin (break God’s law).
Others question why Scripture would suggest that Jesus was slain before the foundations of the world (1 Peter 1:19-20).
The answer to these questions and many more is that God did not create another God, only man.
God has certain characteristics that Man could never have simply because he was created. The most obvious are that he is not eternal, omnipotent, immutable, or omniscient. The most important is that Man, no matter how perfect he was at the moment of creation, was not holy as God is Holy.
If God were to create another like unto Himself, then God would not be God. If Man could be created, he couldn’t be eternal.
No matter what God created, His creation could never be Himself, and therefore not God.
God is eternally immutable, unchanging, therefore He cannot sin. On the other hand, Man is not eternal, nor immutable, so even from the beginning of creation, he had the potential, however remote, to sin. Therefore, even though God did not create sin, nor did He cause Adam to sin, sin was inevitable simply because God created a creature that was not Himself.
Why was it part of God’s plan that Jesus would be crucified, even before Adam even sinned? Because simply creating Man brought with it the inevitable possibility, the inevitable reality, that he would need to be redeemed – because he is Man, not God.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. – 1 John 4:9-10 KJV
Simply put, the only way sin could have been avoided would have been for God to never create any being capable of freely communing with Him. If he had created a robot, a machine, then sin would not have been inevitable. But since Adam was given the freedom to choose, a will, and since he was not God, the inevitable required an Emmanuel.
Last night I was sifting through boxes of stuff in my office and I came across several notebooks in which I’d maintained somewhat of a diary.
I’ll be honest with you, it’s been a pretty difficult time around here, lately. Not only has my faith been tested on an hourly basis, but my own brokenness has been made clear over and over again. When I took a few minutes to flip through the pages of those old notebooks, all from over a decade ago, the truth that my broken condition is chronic became obvious.
But there was one page I found where I had written some encouraging words. However, they weren’t words of affirmation meant to build up my ego or make me feel better about myself; they were attestations to the fact that Jesus is more, so much more, than a crutch to me.
Below is a copy of the text…
You say you don’t need Jesus because you don’t need a crutch. If you don’t think you need him, then maybe you’re crippled to high for crutches.
Jesus is more than a crutch!
Throw away Jesus and take the Devil, but I choose Jesus.
Just think about it:
The Devil tries to burden me down -Jesus says, “Cast your cares on me.”
“Forgiven” by Thomas Blackshear
The Devil wants me to sin. -Jesus bore my sin.
Satan will try to weaken me. -Jesus is my strength.
When Satan fires his arrows at me, -Jesus is my Shield.
In the midst of the storm -Jesus hides me in his hand.
Satan would see me defeated. -Jesus fights my battles.
Satan would have me fall into despair. -Jesus lifts me from the pit.
Satan would harm me. -Jesus will heal me.
When darkness is all around and Satan would blind me, -Jesus is my Light.
When Satan says, “There is no way,” -Jesus says, “I AM THE WAY”
When Satan says I’m guilty, -Jesus paid my debt.
When the Devil would lead me astray, -Jesus is my Shepherd.
When the Devil would watch me fall, -Jesus carries me.
“Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on, help me stand. I am tired, I am weak, I am worn. Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light: Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.” – Thomas A. Dorsey
He leads; He goes before; He walks beside; He holds me; He carries me; He helps me to stand; He gives me a race to run: He’s so much more than a “crutch” to me.