The Greatest Christmas Gift of All II Corinthians 9:15 (NKJV)

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1 Message for WEDNESDAY NIGHT, December 20, 2017 A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE Christian Hope Church of Christ, Plymouth, North Carolina by Reggie A. Braziel, Minister TOPIC: Christmas The Greatest Christmas Gift of All II Corinthians 9:15 (NKJV) Please turn with me to II CORINTHIANS chapter nine. And let's read verse 15. II Corinthians 9:15 (NKJV) Thanks be to GOD for His indescribable gift. ************************************************************************ I n t r o d u c t i o n Have you ever received a Christmas gift or a birthday gift that left you totally speechless? ILLUSTRATION: Back in the early 1980's I was preaching at the Harvey's Point Christian Church near Salem, Illinois. There was a young couple in the Church that was very odd to say the least...sweet...but VERY ODD! Well just before Christmas one year, this young couple came up to me one Sunday after Church and handed me a present and they wanted me to go ahead and open it. Judging by their excitement and the huge smiles on their faces I thought they were giving me a check for $100,000...or...the keys to a brand new Chevy pickup truck.

2 So get the picture here: I'm smiling real big as I remove the ribbon and the wrapping paper. My heart is pounding and I'm all excited as I slowly lift the lid off the box. And inside I see the most indescribable gift anyone has ever given to me. It was a piece of 1 x 4 board about a foot long with the words Oh really hand-painted on it. Ironically, those were exactly the first two words that came to my mind when I opened the box. I thought, Oh really... you gave me a board for Christmas? Gifts Can Be Indescribable For One of Two Reasons: -Some gifts are INDESCRIBABLY BAD because they are unwanted...impractical...or useless, like that piece of 1 x 4 board I got from that young couple...or... a battery operated nose-hair remover...or...that ugly Christmas sweater you wouldn't be caught dead in out in public. -But then there are gifts that are INDESCRIBABLY GOOD because its exactly what we had hoped for or perhaps far greater than what we had hoped for; like a beautiful 14 karat diamond ring...or...a new ipad...or a new hunting rifle.

3 In our scripture text this evening, the apostle Paul tells us about The Greatest Christmas Gift of All and that is our LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST! I love the various ways this verse is translated... -Here in the NEW KING JAMES VERSION and in the NIV and NASB it reads: Thanks be to GOD for His INDESCRIBABLE gift. -The KING JAMES VERSION reads: Thanks be to GOD for His UNSPEAKABLE gift. - THE NEW LIVING TRANSLATION says, Thank God for this GIFT TOO WONDERFUL FOR WORDS. - THE ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION reads: Thanks be to God for His INEXPRESSIBLE gift. INDESCRIBABLE...UNSPEAKABLE...WONDERFUL...INEXPRESSIBLE THAT IS THE CHRIST OF CHRISTMAS! It has been said II Corinthians 9:15 takes us from Thanksgiving to Christmas in eight short words. It begins with THANKSGIVING, Thanks be to GOD! And it ends with CHRISTMAS, For His indescribable gift. For a few minutes this evening let's see what great riches we can gleans from this wonderful verse of scripture.

4 First of all, let's consider... I. The Gift Was Given By The Greatest GIVER (v.15a) v.15a Thanks be to GOD In our English language we have a word for those who are great givers. We call them philanthropist. A philanthropist is someone who advances the well-being of his fellow human beings through generous donations of money, material goods, or endowments. It should come as no great surprise that America's greatest philanthropists just happen to be some of America's wealthiest citizens. Warren Buffet has given over $30 billion to fight poverty and to advance healthcare and education. Bill Gates has given $29 billion to AIDS prevention and to advance healthcare and education. Chuck Feeney has given over $6 billion to programs for young people as well as for the elderly. Each of these men made a fortune selling a product and in turn each of them has given away a fortune to help others. 2. But when it comes to giving, the Greatest Giver of all is Almighty God! While all other great givers have given money, only GOD gave His only begotten Son.

5 3. Did it ever occur to you that GOD has NOTHING to sell? -He doesn't sell SALVATION. -He doesn't sell GRACE. -He doesn't sell MERCY. -He doesn't sell FORGIVENESS. -He doesn't sell ETERNAL LIFE. If GOD were to put any of these things up for sale you and I wouldn't have enough money to buy any of them. If GOD were to put a price tag on these things equal to their value, you and I could never afford them. God's salvation is a FREE GIFT! God's grace is a FREE GIFT! God's mercy is a FREE GIFT! God's forgiveness is a FREE GIFT! God's eternal eternal life is a FREE GIFT! But while these GREAT GIFTS costs us NOTHING we must never forget these GREAT GIFTS cost GOD EVERYTHING! For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have ever-lasting life. (John 3:16 NKJV) But God demonstrated His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NKJV) 4. Yes, Thanks be to GOD, the Greatest Giver!

6 Now let's turn our thoughts to the latter part of verse 15 as we think about... II. Jesus Is The Greatest GIFT (v. 15) v.15 Thanks be to GOD for His indescribable gift. 1. Webster defines indescribable as something beyond description or explanation. 2. Perhaps John Wesley was thinking of God's Indescribable Gift when he penned these words to that great hymn... O for a thousand tongues to sing, My Great Redeemer's praise, The glories of my God and King, The triumphs of His grace. 3. For generations, songwriters and poets and preachers and authors have tried to describe God's Indescribable Gift and yet there are no human words to adequately describe God's Indescribable Gift! (A) Jesus Christ is the most PERFECT gift ever given. Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV) For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. If you will think back over all the Christmas gifts and birthday gifts you have received over the course of your lifetime, no doubt you received some gifts you wanted and some gifts you asked for, but none of them were perfect gifts. The only PERFECT GIFT you have ever received is Jesus Christ.

7 (B) Jesus Christ is the most PRECIOUS gift ever given. Romans 8:31,32 (NKJV) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Illustration: Years ago when I was preaching in Virginia there was a man who lived a mile up the road from the Church who was dying of cancer. His name was Ed Rankin. Ed never darkened the doors of the Church, but his wife Elizabeth never missed a Sunday. I was visiting Ed one day not long before he died. By that time he was confined to a hospital bed that had been set up in his house. Before I left there that day, Ed asked me, Preacher, do you hunt? I told him I did. He said, What kind of hunting rifle do you have? I told him I didn't own one and that my hunting buddy let me borrow one of his. He looked at his wife and said, Elizabeth, get that Winchester 30/30 down off the rack and give it to the preacher. I stood there in stunned disbelief. Ed told me that the Winchester had always been his favorite hunting rifle and he had killed many a deer with it. I said, Ed I can't take your rifle, but I will gladly pay you for it. He said, No, I insist...i want you to have it...its a gift. Ed Rankin had given me the gift of one of his most PRECIOUS POSSESSIONS. GOD GAVE US HIS MOST PRECIOUS POSSESSION. Seeing that we were hopelessly lost in SIN and could do nothing to save ourselves, GOD gave us THE INDESCRIBABLE GIFT of His only begotten Son.

8 But not only is Jesus Christ THE MOST PERFECT GIFT ever given and THE MOST PRECIOUS GIFT ever given. (C) Jesus Christ is the most PERMANENT gift ever given. John 1:1,2 (NKJV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. ILLUSTRATION: One Christmas my dad bought my brother Rick and I a nice set of Midland walkie talkies. At that stage in our lives, Rick and I loved to play soldiers, so those walkie talkies were an ideal gift. I remember there was a lot of snow on the ground that Christmas, so Rick and I built snow forts quite a distance apart and we were talking back and forth on our new walkie talkies just having a good old time. But then RICHARD PAUL, the neighborhood bully showed up to see what we got for Christmas. I handed Richard my walkie talkie and told him to talk to my brother, who was still in his snow fort. So get the picture here: Richard Paul is walking around in the snow talking to my brother on my walkie talkie, when for some unknown reason he decides to go inside our garage. As Richard was walking through the garage door he snags the walkie talkie antenna on the door jam and snaps it right off, and as they say, that was all she wrote! In the blink of an eye the crystal clear sound of my brother's voice became faint and staticky on my brand new walkie talkie with the broken off antenna. Richard Paul handed my broken walkie talkie back to me and got on his bicycle and went home. Here's my point: As nice a gift as those walkie talkies were, they weren't a permanent gift. In fact, they didn't even make it through Christmas Day. JESUS CHRIST IS A PERMANENT GIFT! Hebrews 13:8 tells us, Jesus Christ is the same YESTERDAY...TODAY...and FOREVER!

9 C O N C L U S I O N At the Church's annual Christmas Eve Service, the preacher rose and walked to the pulpit. He said to his congregation, Tonight I have invited a very special guest to say a few words. This man has been a dear friend of mine since I was a boy. Please give him your attention. The elderly guest slowly walked over to the pulpit and began to tell this story: A father...his son...and his son's friend were sailing on the sea when a fast approaching storm made it impossible to get back to the shore. The waves were so high and the wind so fierce that the father, though an experienced sailor, could not keep the boat upright. A wave came crashing down on the boat sweeping the two boys overboard into the raging sea. The father quickly grabbed the life -line and at that point he had to make the most difficult decision of his life and that was to which of the two boys would he throw the other end of the life-line? He had just a precious few seconds to make his decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian, but his son's friend wasn't. And so the father shouted to his son, Son, I love you very, very much! as he threw the life-line to his son's friend. By the time the father pulled his son's friend into the boat, his son had disappeared beneath the huge waves and his body was never recovered. The elderly man asked the congregation, Do you know why the father chose to let his own son die and rescue his son's friend? Because the father knew his son would step into eternity with JESUS, and he couldn't bear the thought that his son's friend would step into eternity without JESUS.

10 When the service was over that evening, a teenage boy walked up to the elderly man and said, Mister, that was a nice story you told, but with all due respect, I can't believe that a father would actually let his own son die just to save his son's friend. The elderly man said, Young man, you're probably right; it does sound too hard to believe, but you see, I was that FATHER...and your preacher was my son's friend. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes on Him should not perish but have eternal life. Thanks be to GOD for His indescribable gift!

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