This is a summarized version of a message I preached on Christmas Day, 2001. It was entitled “The Gift of God.” The message came from the most familiar verse in the Bible, John 3:16. It is a message that is still pertinent today. I pray it is a blessing:
The Giver: For God. We all enjoy receiving gifts from others. If we would be honest, some gifts mean more to us because they come from “that” special person in our lives. The gift I speak of this morning, this special gift, comes from the greatest giver – Jehovah Himself. I pray you will receive gifts from others this Christmas and I truly hope that you enjoy them and the precious people who gave them to you, but no gift could ever come from anyone more precious than God!
The Grace: so loved. I call this grace because grace could be defined as receiving something you do not deserve. We did not deserve Jesus: His birth, His life, or His death. God was motivated by love. While we were yet sinners (Rom 5:8), God demonstrated His love for us by sending His only begotten son to suffer, bleed, die, and then rise from the dead for our sin. Love caused the greatest giver to give the greatest gift.
The Gift: His only begotten Son. Soon the media will announce what the #1 gift of this Christmas season was (in their eyes). I want to remind you this morning that the greatest gift that has ever been given was given on Calvary’s cross. The words “only begotten” in our text come from the Greek word (monogenes). This word is a compound word: mono, which means single or singular and genes, which is where we get our gene structure (DNA). In other words, Jesus was only person ever born with God’s DNA. I jokingly say that He had blood type “G.” He was born like no other. He came directly from God, through Mary (not Joseph).
The Recipients: the world. God gave His gift for the entire world. Unlike many of us, God is not prejudice. We will gladly tell someone about Jesus if they look like we look or act like we act, but we oftentimes shun from unfamiliar or uncommon people. God gave His gift for everyone; regardless of race, color, creed, or gender. He gave His gift for the person you cannot get along with and the family member that you have never forgiven. He gave, period! It is our responsibility to perpetuate this gift throughout a dying and decaying world. Salvation is for everyone!
The Requirement: whosoever believeth. You should know by now what it means to believe in Jesus. The text says “whosoever;” meaning that any person who opens up themselves to the possibility of believing that Jesus was God’s Son and that He died for the sin of humanity is in a position to release the faith required to receive Him as their Lord and Savior. This is a free gift, but you cannot receive it if you don’t believe.
The Reward: should not perish, but have everlasting life. The reward is two fold. First, the recipients of this gift have been exonerated from the condemnation of hell. They will never taste eternal death; they will not perish. Second, the recipients of this gift – in addition to escaping hell – receive God’s abundant and overflowing life; a life that will last forever. Everlasting life is the second greatest gift and it comes by receiving Jesus – the Greatest Gift of all.
The giver is God, the grace is love, the gift is Jesus, the recipients are the world, the requirement is belief and faith, the rewards are not perishing and everlasting life; the choice is yours!