Friday, December 22, 2006
Our family opens our Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve, and I've got to tell you, it's usually one amazing outpouring of love. There is not a member of our family who just runs out to some mall and says, "Oh boy, I gotta get something for her or for him." No, there seems to be this almost scientific process where they say about each person they're buying for, "Now what do I know about what 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 - you know, the tear test. And there are always some neat, touching moments.
Everybody really seems to like giving a gift more than receiving it. 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. My wife or one of the kids gives me the gift that they've carefully thought about and maybe sacrificially paid for. And I get up, walk over to that family member, 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. Here, take this money!" They'd be pretty hurt; they'd be pretty ticked. I'm trying to buy what they already paid for 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's 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 - a gift.
When I say this is the gift you need the most, I'm not sure what you think of: a raise, a job, some peace in my family, physical healing, emotional healing, a house, someone to love me? Those are great needs, but not the greatest; because those needs are only about your 70 years here on earth.
Here's the gift you need the most - the one with your name on it this very Christmas season. 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, whenever 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. We think we can pay for the gift ourselves - earn the gift by being a good person, helping people, believing the right beliefs, 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, 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 - that's all of us. We don't deserve the gift of eternal life. We can't deserve the gift of eternal life. 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 mine 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're my only hope."
If that's what you want, I hope you'll visit our website today and let us help you make sure you belong to Him. It's yoursforlife.net. Or call with no obligation and just order my little booklet called "Yours For Life." It's 877-741-1200.
The gift you need most is one you could never pay for. Jesus did with everything He had. Why don't you make that gift yours?