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What is the Greatest Gift of All
Recently on my hour-long commute home after work, I was listening to a podcast by John MacArthur about the birth of Christ at Christmas. He repeated a story that radio host Paul Harvey had told on his radio show. The story was about a family where everyone except the husband was a Christian. The husband was home alone on Christmas Eve because the rest of the family had gone to church. It was snowing and blowing outside. The husband was sitting by the fire and here this pounding on the side of the house. He thought it was at the door, but no one was there. He looked out the window and it was a flock of birds that was searching for shelter from the storm. If the birds did not find shelter they would freeze to death. The husband put on his coat and ran out to the barn and opened the door and turned the light on trying to attract the birds into the warmth of the barn. He tried to leave a trail of seed to get them to follow it into the bard, but he had no luck. He wished he could communicate with them. He wished he could become one of them to tell that they he would not hurt him. Then it struck him. God becoming one of us is what Christmas is all about.
The Gift of Jesus
The Greatest Gift of All
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Let us look more closely at why Jesus is the greatest gift ever given.
We Have Offended a Holy God
We have all offended a holy God who requires complete perfection. All of us are guilty of breaking His law. Here is a little checklist to see if you meet God’s standards:
- Have you ever told a lie?
- Have you eve stolen anything?
- Have you been unjustly angry with someone?
- Have you lusted after someone?
- Have you coveted something that your neighbor has?
- Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vein?
- Have you ever dishonored your parents?
These were only seven of the Ten Commandments and if you answer honestly, you will admit to breaking at least one of these. The Bible says that we are all sinners.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
The Bible says that the penalty of sin is death (hell). Our sin eternally separates us from God and there is nothing we can do (works) to become acceptable to God.
God Loves Us
As we discussed in the last section, our sin eternally separates us from God. He could have justly decided to wipe us all out and start over. Thankfully He chose a different option. He chose to leave his throne in heaven and to live as one of His creation. He chose to feel things that He had never felt before such as cold, pain, fatigue, sickness, thirst, and hunger. Take some time to think about that for awhile. Almighty God, who created everything, was thirsty, hungry, and tired, just as we are. He was tempted and lonely, just as we are. He learned what it felt like to have one of your friends betray you. He also learned how it felt when your own family questions who you are. The biggest thing that God felt was the weight of the sin being laid upon Him while He was hanging on the cross. God the Father, turned his face away from his sin covered Son until the sacrifice was complete. Jesus lived a perfect life and gave it for you and me, that is how much He loves us.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
Eternity is at Stake
The greatest gift ever given was given by God to us, that gift is salvation. It cost God his only Son. Jesus met God’s holy standard by living a life of perfection. He laid down his life and paid the penalty for our sins when He died on the cross and was raised again three days later. God offers to save us if we will repent of our sins, ask God to forgive us, and place our trust in Christ and Christ alone to save us.
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which me must be saved.” Acts 4:12
You Must Decide Whether to Accept or Reject the Gift
There are two facts of life that we need to consider: life is short and death is certain for all of us. We need to decide to either accept or reject the gift of salvation that God is offering to us through Jesus Christ. Where we spend eternity depends upon our decision. Accept the gift of salvation and you will spend eternity in heaven, reject it and you will spend eternity in hell.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
I urge you to open the door and invite Jesus in while there is still time. None of us knows when we will die. If you want to trust Christ as your Savior, you need to:
- Admit you are a sinner.
- Believe that Jesus was raised from the Dead.
- Confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
- Repent and ask for forgiveness of your sins.
- Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
If you are ready to trust Christ as your Savior, pray a prayer like this and mean it with all of your heart:
God's Plan of Salvation
I confess that I am a sinner. I repent of all my sins and ask you to forgive me. I believe that Jesus lived a perfect life that he was crucified for my sins and he raised again three days later. Please come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior. Save me I pray. I accept your free gift of salvation. Help me to begin to grow closer to you and to live for you today.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.