Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category
The IMPERISHABLE crown
The crown of EXULTATION
The crown of RIGHTEOUSNESS
The crown of LIFE
The fifth and final crown that God has available for us as a reward is…
5. THE CROWN OF GLORY
1 Peter 5:2-4 Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. 4And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (NAU)
This crown is different from the others in that it is for those who serve in a pastoral position and faithfully shepherd the flock of God according to the requirements listed in verses 2 and 3. This could refer to both ordained pastors as well as lay pastors who shepherd God’s flock as helpers.
Three things can be seen in these verses concerning the ministry of a pastor or shepherd.
1) He is to feed the church – “shepherd” means “to feed”.
2) He is to exercise oversight over the church.
3) He is to be an example to the church.
Notice also four qualities that should characterize his ministry.
1) Willingness – “not under compulsion, but voluntarily.”
2) Obedience – “according to the will of God.”
3) Right Motivation – “not for sordid gain, but with eagerness.”
4) Servant’s Attitude – “nor yet lording it over those allotted to your charge.”
These are the eternal rewards that a servant of the Lord can receive.
What are we going to do with these crowns if God gives us one of them?
Revelation 4:5-11 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. 6 Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” 9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (NIV)
We will not show them off and brag about them to one another. But rather, we will bow in worship to God and cast our crowns before him, giving him all honor, glory, and praise.
Are you serving God?
Are you influencing those around you to serve the Lord?
Are you going to receive one of these rewards, or will you stand before God empty-handed?
1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.
An elderly missionary couple who had served God for 50 years in a remote African village returned to the United States for a well-earned retirement. When they arrived, however, no one was there to greet them because of some confusion at the mission office. They had no one to help them with their suitcases and trunks, and no one to move them into their home. The old gentleman complained to his wife, “We’ve come home after all these years and there’s no one who cares.”
The man’s bitterness grew as they settled into their new home. His wife, a bit fed up with his complaining, suggested that he take up the matter with God. So the man went to his bedroom and spent time in prayer. When he came out he had a new look on his face, which prompted his wife to ask what had happened.
“Well,” he replied, “I told God that I’ve come home and no one cares.” “And what did God say?” she asked. “He said, ‘You’re not home yet.’”
You too may serve for years in a place where no one notices you or cares what you’ve done. But God sees and cares. One day, when we reach our eternal home, “each one’s praise will come from God” (1 Corinthians 4:5). In the meantime, let’s be faithful.
The world rewards success; but God rewards faithfulness!
[buzzsprout episode='46632' player='true']
The IMPERISHABLE crown
The crown of EXULTATION
The crown of RIGHTEOUSNESS
The fourth crown that is available as a reward from God is…
4. THE CROWN OF LIFE
James 1:12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (NASB)
While every child of God has eternal life, this doesn’t mean that every child of God is going to receive the crown of life. James tells us that this is a crown will be given to those servants who persevere under trial.
Many times when people go through severe intense trials, they turn away from the Lord, His Church and His Word. Jesus tells us to be faithful until death and we shall receive the crown of life.
Revelation 2:10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. (NIV)
This crown is promised not only to those who persevere under trial, but to those who persevere and love the Lord at the same time.
Sometimes when people go through trials they become so bitter and critical that they blame God and begin to hate and despise Him. One of the reasons why many people have a hard time dealing with their trials is because they don’t look at them the right way.
There is a story told about a pastor who went to comfort a woman in his church who was going through some severe trials. Unable to make her feel any better, he took some embroidery she had been working on and looked at it and said, “This sure is confusing, why waste your time on it?” The woman took the embroidery from him and turned it over and said, “Now look at it. You were looking at it from the wrong side.” The preacher said, “That’s it exactly. You’re looking at your trials from the wrong side also. Turn them over and look at them from the right side – God’s side.
It’s one thing to just make it through a trial, it’s something else to make it through with the right attitude and learn something from them. To persevere under trials doesn’t just mean to “make it through them.” It also means that your attitude perseveres, your faith perseveres, and your love and devotion for God perseveres! And those who truly persevere under trials will receive the crown of life as a reward from God.
The fifth crown we can receive as a reward from God is called… You’ll find out tomorrow!
[buzzsprout episode='46562' player='true']
For the past few days we’ve been looking at the five crowns mentioned in the Bible. The first crown available to us from God as a reward is the IMPERISHABLE crown. The second crown is the crown of EXULTATION. The third way that God can reward you is with…
3. THE CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. (NAU)
Today there are some who might confuse this with the righteousness which is a gift from God.
The “crown of righteousness” however, is not a gift but a reward which the servant of the Lord can earn if, like Paul, we live each day anticipating the coming of Jesus Christ.
The reward of righteousness is based upon right living as we wait for Jesus to return.
If He should come today
And find my hands so full
Of future plans, however fair,
In which my Savior has no share,
What would He say?
If He should come today
And find my love so cold,
My faith so very weak and dim
I had not looked for Him.
What would He say?
If He should come today
And find that I had not told
One soul about my Heavenly Friend
Whose blessings all my way attend,
What would He say?
If He should come today
Would I be glad, quite glad?
Remembering that He died for all
And none through me had heard His call,
What would He say?
If Jesus should come today, what would He say about your service to Him?
Would He be happy with the way you have served Him… would you receive the crown of righteousness?
If we, as servants of Christ, look for and love the second coming of Jesus, it will affect our lives three ways as seen in verse 7:
1) We will fight the good fight.
2) We will finish the course.
3) We will keep the faith.
Have you ever received one of those sweepstakes letters in the mail? Like the one that says you are an instant millionaire! Sounds exciting doesn’t it? Yet, if you read the fine print you will discover that by law the people who sent you the letter are required to disclose that the chances of you actually winning the said amount are astronomical. One such letter says your chances are 1 in 80 million. Now that’s remote!
Contrast that with Paul’s anticipation of what awaited him in heaven: “There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8). Note his assurance: “There is laid up for me.” Not “there might be” or “there’s a slight chance,” but rather, “there is.”
J. Oswald Sanders writes, “This crown is awarded to those who have completed the Christian race with integrity, with eyes fixed on the coming Lord. It is the reward for fulfilling the ministry entrusted to us.”
If you have welcomed Christ into your life, long for His appearing, and are faithfully running your race, then the crown of righteousness awaits you. Count on it, plan on it, anticipate it! It’s a promise from God.
The fourth crown that is available to us is.. Come back tomorrow and you will learn what it is.
[buzzsprout episode='46398' player='true']
2. THE CROWN OF EXULTATION
To the church in Philippi Paul said:
Philippians 4:1a So, brothers and sisters, I love you and miss you. You are my joy and my crown… (GW)
The crown of exultation is also referred to as the “crown of rejoicing” or, “the soul winners crown”.
A missionary was once asked about his salary. The person knew it couldn’t be much, and he wanted to know why the missionary would give so generously of himself to help total strangers, yet be paid so little.
The missionary pulled out a letter and read these words: “If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t know Jesus Christ as my Savior. Every morning I kneel in prayer, thanking God for everything you’ve done for me.”
“That’s my pay!” said the missionary.
The apostle Paul must have had something similar in mind when he wrote to the believers in Thessalonica. Listen to how Paul refers to the Christians in the church in Thessalonica.
1 Thessalonians 2:19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? (NASB)
In a day when there is so much emphasis on acquiring material wealth, how refreshing it is to hear of Christians whose greatest reward is to see people accept Christ and grow in spiritual maturity.
Are you making it a practice to share the gospel with others? If you are, you’ll be rewarded with the best pay of all. You’ll enjoy thrilling satisfaction here on earth, and you can look forward to an even greater reward in heaven!
God does not pay as others pay,
In goods that perish and decay;
But this is sure, let come what may,
Who does God’s work will get God’s pay. –Anon.
We should work for the Lord because the retirement plan is out of this world!
One of the greatest, if not the greatest, services we can do as servants of the Lord is to help someone learn about being saved through Jesus Christ. Plus, it is also a great source of joy to see someone accept Jesus as their Savior.
Psalm 126:5-6 Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. 6He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. (NIV)
Luke 15:10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (NIV)
The degree of our joy here on earth is determined, in part, by the souls we have had a part in leading to the Lord. Those who will receive this crown are those Christians who are faithful to declare the gospel and lead souls to Christ.
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NIV)
D.L. Moody a famous evangelist once said concerning witnessing: “I believe that if an angel were to wing his way from earth to Heaven, and were to say that there was one poor, ragged boy, without father or mother, with no one to care for him and teach him the way of life; and if God were to ask who among them were willing to come down to this earth and live here for fifty years and lead that one to Jesus Christ, every angel in Heaven would volunteer to go. Even Gabriel, who stands in the presence of the Almighty, would say, ‘Let me leave my high and lofty position, and let me have the luxury of leading one soul to Jesus Christ.’ There is no greater honor than to be the instrument in God’s hands of leading one person out of the kingdom of Satan into the glorious light of Heaven.”
The third crown mentioned in the Bible is… Come back tomorrow and you will see!
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Serving Jesus Christ is the most rewarding thing you can do. It not only has its temporal rewards here on earth, but also its eternal rewards in heaven.
Here in our text we find Paul speaking to the church in Corinth on the topic of eternal rewards. I would like us to notice four biblical facts about rewards that Paul mentions in this passage.
First, we are told that rewards are given on the basis of an individual’s work – (vs 13a) “each man’s work”.
Second, he says that rewards are given in heaven, not on earth – (vs 13b) “will become evident” (vs 14b) “he shall receive a reward”.
Third, rewards are given on the basis of the quality of an individual’s work, and not on the quantity. – (vs 13d) “the quality of each man’s work”.
And fourth we are told that rewards can be lost – (vs 15). Since rewards are earned on the basis of a person’s work, it only stands to reason that they can also be lost if a person does not serve Christ properly.
Revelation 3:11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. (NIV)
2 John 1:7-8 Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. (NIV)
Today we’re going to look at five eternal rewards that we as children of God can receive if we serve the Lord properly.
1. The IMPERISHABLE crown
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. (NAU)
In order to receive this crown, Paul tells us that we must exercise self-control in all things.
Self-control is something that we are to add to our faith – 2 Peter 1:5-6
Self-control is also a characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23
And, self-control is something that Gos gives to us – 2 Timothy 1:7
The second crown available to us is… Come back tomorrow and you will see.
[buzzsprout episode="37947" player="true"]
Today I’m going to finish our Christmas devotional. I really appreciate you following along with me. Without the decorations that adorn our Christmas trees, they would just be another pine tree. But because of the decorations, they are Christmas trees.
Without the decorations of love, grace, peace and forgiveness, the cross of Calvary would be no different from any other cross that was used to crucify criminals. But because of the person who hung on the cross and what He did for all mankind, it can change your life forever.
Many people today are satisfied to celebrate Christmas as long as Jesus remains a baby in a manger.
In an Orange County Register article titled, “Bloody Jesus In Parade Outrages Townsfolk,” it describes how a church in Illinois entered a float in their town’s Christmas parade and many were outraged because of the point it illustrated. The float featured a young man depicting the crucifixion of Jesus wearing a loin cloth and blood-like makeup all over his face and body. The pastor of the church stated, “We weren’t out there trying to stir controversy. We were out there trying to identify the whole meaning of Christmas, and the ultimate meaning is Jesus did give His life, God gave a gift.” The pastor went on to say that no one had made any complaints about the float to him or his church, but the parade coordinator said she had received plenty of complaints and stated, “I’m not saying this was an inappropriate float, but it certainly was perceived that way by a lot of people.”
If Jesus had not died on the cross of Calvary to provide love, grace, peace and forgiveness, Christmas would be meaningless. Even Christians can miss the point of the Christmas story if they aren’t careful.
The great question for us is this: Is our Christmas still only a story about a baby, or is it more, a story about a Person into whom the baby grew, who can redeem the world from it’s sins, and who calls us to have a relationship with Him.
It is only as we see the birth of Jesus in light of His crucifixion and resurrection that we are able to grasp the full meaning of Christ’s coming. If Jesus had not died on the cross and rose again, he would have been just one out of billions upon billions of babies who have ever been born. But because he died and rose from the dead, he is much more than just an ordinary child or person.
With your eyes wide open this Christmas, respond to God with love and commitment for the gift of His Son. Focus your thoughts and actions and motivations toward honoring the Baby who grew up and died for all our sins.
After all, on that first Christmas the angel did not declare, “Christ the baby is born” but rather the angel said, “Christ the Savior is born!” Jesus went from the cradle to the cross.
Thank you for following this Christmas blog and listening. I pray that you will have a wonderful Christmas this year. May God bless you.
[buzzsprout episode="37946" player="true"]
Merry Christmas everyone! Welcome back to our 25 day Christmas devotional. Today is Christmas Eve. We’ve been looking at the decorations of Christmas and admiring the beautiful decorations of the cross which is also referred to by many as “Calvary’s tree.”
Today I’d like us to consider the decoration of forgiveness. The very reason why Jesus was born was to forgive us of our sins. Look at what the angel told Jospeh…
Matthew 1:21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
1 John 3:5 And you know that he became a man so that he could take away our sins… (LB)
That’s the very reason why Jesus was born. The forgiveness of God that comes through Jesus Christ is complete forgiveness because it is provided for every sinner.
Acts 10:43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
God’s forgiveness is also complete because it is provided for every sin.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
When it comes to forgiving us of our sins God is not like people. Many times we say we have forgiven each other but we sometimes still hold bitterness and resentment in our hearts toward the person for what they have done.
We tell them they are forgiven but then remind them from time to time of what they have done to us. On the other hand, God forgives us completely and forever.
Micah 7:18 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.
When people hurt us and then apologize, we may say that we forgive them. But like a dog that won’t give up its bone, we may let our mind continue to chew on past insults.
In 1 Corinthians 13:5, Paul declared that love “thinks no evil.” He was using an accountant’s term that described the recording of figures in a book. Love does the opposite–it does not keep a record of wrongs. Instead, love forgives and refuses to keep it on the books.
If you want to remember something, you go over it again and again. The child reviews his spelling words; the actress rehearses her lines; you review people’s names that you want to remember. But love deliberately and consciously lets go of past hurts and gives them to God.
Some people might bury the hatchet for a time, but they gave the impression of always marking the spot.
Lord, help me be kind and forgiving–
Your loving forgiveness You’ve shown
To me for the sins I’ve committed;
Lord, grant me a love like Your own. –Anon
So, we need to remember to forgive and then remember to forget. Don’t let the way people have hurt you ruin your Christmas. Forgive them just as Jesus has forgiven you.
[buzzsprout episode="37945" player="true"]
Welcome back to our Christmas devotional. There are only three days left until Christmas. No during the last few days we’ve been looking at the comparison of a Christmas tree decorated with beautiful physical ornaments to the cross of Calvary which is decorated with beautiful spiritual ornaments.
So far we have seen how God has decorated the cross with the ornaments of love and grace. Today we’re going to look at how he decorated it with the ornament of peace.
When Jesus was born, the angels in heaven sang praises to God in Luke 2:14 saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
According to tradition, a Christmas song once brought peace to a battlefield. It happened on Christmas Eve during the Franco-German War (1870-1871) as the two sides faced each other in their trenches.
A French soldier jumped up and began singing “O Holy Night.” The surprised German soldiers did not fire. Instead, one of them stepped forward to sing “From Heaven Above To Earth I Come.”
For a brief time at least, peace on earth prevailed and goodwill was shared among men whose job it was to kill each other.
Think about the words of “O Holy Night” and see how they can bring hostilities to a end. “Long lay the world in sin and error pining.” Who knows about the world’s ills better than soldiers who are facing the consequences of war, killing, and death?
“A thrill of hope” is what those men needed in the darkness of that winter night. Hope is what “the dear Savior’s birth” provides. Because of Him the “weary world rejoices.”
Even though we may not be engaged in physical combat, we all face the battles of everyday life. We can let the peace of that holy night—the night of our dear Savior’s birth—reign in our hearts the whole year through.
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Without first having peace with God through Jesus, we can not experience the peace of God in our hearts on a daily basis.
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
It is difficult to put into words and describe the peace that a Christian has because it is a divine peace, not a worldly one.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
The kind of peace that people experience based upon their circumstances in life is temporary in nature at best because circumstances are always changing.
One day your life might be floating along on cloud nine and you are thinking that life couldn’t get any better. But in just a matter of seconds the bottom could fall out and your entire life could be turned upside down. That has happened to me on several occasions. How about to you?
During those times it is the peace of God that you need more than anything else. During those times it is the peace of God that remains with you when everything else has left.
That my friends is why this decoration of peace is so important.
[buzzsprout episode="37943" player="true"]
Welcome back to our Christmas devotional. Yesterday we started taking a look at the decorations of Calvary by learning how Jesus died for us because of his love. Today we’re going to look at the decoration of GRACE.
The grace of God that decorates the cross of Calvary is an amazing grace.
When I first saw the twisted Christmas tree, I wished my grandpa were alive to fix it. He could make any tree beautiful. No matter how bad it looked when we gave it to him, it was beautiful when he gave it back.
He would get out his saws and clippers and begin cutting and shaping. When he was done, the tree looked as if it had been grown in a greenhouse where a caring gardener had watered, pruned, and protected it from storms, drought, and nasty bugs.
Then grandpa would turn the tree over to the rest of the family to finish the job. We added lights, ornaments, and garland, and the imperfect tree was ready for a perfect celebration. What a transformation!
Life is like that crooked conifer. Each of us comes to God bent and misshaped from the effects of sin. But when we put our faith in Christ as Savior, God lovingly begins His work in us, transforming us from the inside out. Then He puts us into the care of His family, the church, and they continue His work by adding the lights of truth, the ornaments of patient rebuke, and the garland of love.
The message of Grandpa’s tree is this: Under God’s loving care, a life marred by sin can become beautiful!
God sees in us a masterpiece
That one day will be done;
His Spirit works in all our lives
To make us like His Son. —Sper
What sin has twisted, God’s grace can straighten. Grace is God’s unmerited favor toward man. It is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
Ephesians 2:4-5 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.
God’s grace is so great that it’s able to reach the best as well as the worst of us. From the thief on the cross who was a criminal to the Apostle Paul who was a religious zealot.
1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
The grace of God that decorates the cross is an abounding grace.
John 1:14-17 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ” 16From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
God’s grace is available to the sinner.
Romans 5:20 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.
God’s grace is available to each one of us in every situation or circumstance we may go through.
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
God’s love and grace are two of the most beautiful decorations on that tree that stood on top of Mount Calvary.
[buzzsprout episode="37891" player="true"]
Just about everything on our Christmas tree is connected in some way with a family tradition or has something to do with someone in our family. For instance, one of the bulbs on our tree was made by me when I was a child.
A Christmas tree without decorations is just another pine tree. The decorations are what make it so special.
When I think of a Christmas tree I also think about the cross of Calvary. By itself, the cross is just a piece of wood. It isn’t special at all. What makes the cross so special is the person who hung on it. What makes the cross significant is that Jesus died on it for all mankind.
The cross of Calvary was decorated with some very special ornaments. Over the next few days we’re going to consider four decorations that make the cross of Calvary so significant to our lives today.
The first decoration is LOVE.
Nothing exemplifies the spirit of love at Christmas more than the gifts that we give to one another. But in our giving to one another we should never forget the wonderful gift of God to the entire world. God gave His only begotten Son out of love.
By nature God is love and one of the characteristics of His love is that it is sacrificial.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
During this time of year many people are searching for love. That’s because by nature we all want and need to be loved by someone. But often times we don’t find love because we are looking in all the wrong places for it.
The love of God can satisfy both the saint and the sinner alike.
Romans 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
The fighting was fierce in the days before Christmas during the first World War. A German soldier emerged from his trench and tried to advance, but he was hit by gunfire and severely wounded. As he tried to crawl back to safety, he became caught in barbed wire. After his screams turned to moans, an American climbed out of his trench and inched his way to the injured man.
When the two opposing commanders saw what was happening, they ordered their troops to cease-fire. In the eerie silence, the American comforted and freed the wounded German, then carried him to the waiting arms of his comrades. The guns remained silent until he returned to his trench.
This is an inspiring story, but I know one that is even more dramatic. Jesus, because of God’s love, crossed into “enemy territory” to rescue us from spiritual death. Even though we deserved to die, He unselfishly accepted the humiliation, pain, and death of the cross to pay the price for our sin.
Romans 5:6 When we were unable to help ourselves, at the moment of our need, Christ died for us, although we were living against God. (NCV)
Hark! The herald angels sing,”Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild–
God and sinners reconciled!” – Wesley
While Christ’s birth brought God to man; Christ’s death brings man to God.
So, during this busy Christmas season, let’s take time to remember in awe and wonder what Jesus did for us. He was born that we might be rescued from eternal death.