Monday, December 18, 2017
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Our family opens our gifts on Christmas Eve, and I've got to tell you, it's usually one amazing outpouring of love. There's not a member of our family who just runs out to some mall and says, "Oh, I've gotta get something for her or for him." No, there seems to be this almost scientific process where with each person they're buying for they say, "Now what do I know about this person? What do they really need? What do they really like?" I think we've even got a couple of sons who evaluate their gift-giving success on the basis of how touched the recipient is. Yeah, they don't mind a few tears actually; it's that touching. And there are always some neat, touching moments at our Christmas Eve.
Everyone really seems to like giving a gift more than receiving in our family honestly. And though none of us has a lot of money to spend, folks seem to sacrifice, if necessary, to buy or make a gift that's really a gift of love. Now here's a way I could ruin this beautiful scene. One of the kids gives me the gift that they've carefully thought about and maybe sacrificially paid for. And I get up, I walk over to that family member, I pull out my wallet and say, "So what do I owe you?" They would say, "Nothing." And I would just keep pushing, "Look, I want to pay for this gift, man. Come on! Here, take my money!" They'd be pretty hurt; they'd be pretty ticked. I'm trying to buy what they already paid for and they're trying to give me as a gift.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "A Gift With Your Name On It."
There is an awesome gift with your name on it this Christmas. Where the little sticker says "From," the name there is "God." And where it says "To," there's your name. God knows exactly what you need, and although it was very expensive, He loves you enough to go ahead and buy it. There's only one huge problem here. The gift isn't yours yet, because you won't take it for what it is - it's a gift.
When I say this is the gift you need the most, I'm not sure what you think of: I need a raise, or a job, or some peace in my family, or physical healing, or emotional healing, or I need a house, or I need someone to love me. Those are great needs, but they're not the greatest; because those needs are, well, maybe about 70 years here on earth.
Here's the gift you need the most - the one with your name on it this very Christmas season. Our word for today from the Word of God, Romans 6:23, "The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Eternal life - that's what God wants to give you. If you know you've got that, the fear of death is gone, you know when you die you'll go to heaven, you no longer have that awful nagging fear that you could be in hell for all eternity, and you know your eternal destination. You're ready to die, wherever your appointment with God comes, and you're ready to live.
Most everybody wants to go to heaven, and most everyone is going about it the wrong way. Yeah, we think we can pay for the gift ourselves; we can earn that gift by being a good person, helping people, believing the right beliefs, and going through the right religious exercises. But the first part of this verse tells us the only thing we can earn is eternal death! "The wages of sin is death" - that's what you earn - "but the gift of God is eternal life."
We deserve the death penalty that God has put on anyone who has disobeyed His laws and run their own life, and that's all of us. We don't deserve the gift of eternal life. We can't deserve that gift. Someone else had to pay for it, and someone else did. "In Christ Jesus our Lord" it says. Why? Because the sinless Son of God carried the death penalty for your sin and my sin when He died on that awful cross.
The gift becomes yours when you reach out to Jesus and accept Him and His gift in faith. If you've never taken this gift of life that He paid so much for you to have, why not now, as we celebrate His coming to rescue us. You can tell Him right where you are, "Jesus, I abandon all hope of getting the gift of eternal life with my own efforts. You are my only hope."
Our website is a great place to go to make sure you belong to Him. It's ANewStory.com, and I urge you to go there today.
The gift you need most is the one you could never pay for. Jesus did with everything He had. So, it's Christmas season. Why don't you make that gift yours now?