Pastor Tullian has given me the privilege of filling the pulpit for him this Sunday. The title of the sermon is “The Gift That Keeps On Giving!” The text under consideration for this message is Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given . . . ”
It’s not uncommon during the mad rush of Christmas shopping to hear sellers proclaim that their product is “the gift that keeps on giving.” Here are a few of the more common promoters of a “gift that keeps on giving.”
Triple AAA Auto Club membership
Newspaper and magazine subscriptions
The list could be much longer! In reality, however, there is only one Gift that keeps on giving—and His name is Jesus Christ. You see, the Bible tells us that Jesus not only freely offers Himself to us as the gift of eternal life; He also gives Himself to us as the gift of everyday life. This is the Gospel as it was given to us by God the Father, through God the Son, by the power of God the Holy Spirit.
Sadly, many in the church only see this Gospel as a one-time gift which graciously bequeathed us with eternal life. They miss the power of the Gospel to keep on giving throughout life, moment by moment. They believe they are saved by grace, but they also believe they are kept in God’s grace by their own good works. If such people were completely candid, they might say that Jesus made the down payment on eternal life, but it’s up to us to make the installment payments! Like Job’s friends, those “miserable comforters” who came to him in his time of grief and trial, they think that their good days merit God’s blessings and their bad days call down His curses. This false “gospel” smells like smoke and comes from the pit of hell.
The same grace that saves is the grace that sanctifies us throughout this life. God does not save us and then expect us to live the Christian life in our own strength. He continually pours out His grace into our lives day by day. The Gospel is the only gift that truly keeps on giving, because it never breaks down, expires, or wears out. And God’s Gospel promises are never revoked, for “The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). The Gospel keeps on giving us the grace we need to live the life God has called us to live.
Grace grows us up into Christ. Grace gives us strength to weather the storms of life. Grace frees us from a broken past. Grace empowers us to forgive. Grace encourages us to rise and get back into the game every time we fall. And grace grants that we will spend all eternity in the presence of our loving Savior. It is all of grace, and it is a gift from beginning to end; Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, is the one who began a good work in us and will certainly complete it (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6).
What Jesus starts He finishes . . . and that includes you! That is why we must preach the Gospel to ourselves each day. We need to keep before us this gift that keeps on giving for the courage, strength, and motivation to keep pressing on toward the prize . . . even when we would rather not.
That indescribable gift was announced to a group of shepherds just over two thousand years ago: “Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . MERRY CHRISTMAS!