Charles Stanley - A Gift From The Father
Of all the gifts that you've ever received, which one stands out above all the rest? Is it something of great value to you today? Has it brought you lots of pleasure? How would you really compare it with all the rest of the gifts? Well, what I've discovered is this. Sometimes the gift that we think is so very important, something comes along and we realize there's something more important, something more valuable. And as you think about all the gifts that you've received, is there anything that you have treasured down through the years? Or have most of those gifts just been something that's come along and you've passed them along and somewhere along the way you sorta lost your thrill about it all?
Well, what I've discovered is this. People who know how to give joyfully and abundantly; and abundance isn't the same to everybody's mind. But people who learn how to give and know how to give and give joyfully and freely are the happiest people I know. There's something about learning to give because you see that's what life's all about. Life's all about giving and receiving and loving. And people who are real genuine givers know how to love someone. And if you don't know how to love someone, I doubt if you really know how to give them. And so when I think about the greatest giver of all, I think about God, that He is a continuous giver in our life. Always giving. Doesn't really ask for a whole lot comparatively, but He's always giving.
And the one thing that He's given us above all the rest is what I want to talk about in this message. And I want to title this message simply this: "Jesus: A Gift from the Father". And I want you to turn to the most familiar verse in all the Bible. What is it? Quote it for me. "For God"... Amen. You did it good. The most familiar passage in all the Scripture, John three, sixteen. And oftentimes we look at that verse and sort of limit it to talking about salvation. What I want us to do is I want us to look at that verse and I want us to think about the greatest gift that our Heavenly Father has ever given us and that's Jesus. And I want us to look at the gift. I want to look at many aspects of the gift. Because I want you to appreciate having and experiencing and having a relationship with the most important gift that you'll ever receive, no matter how long you live.
And when I think about that gift, I think about what a tiny gift it was in its original giving. And that is it came, or He came as a baby, a tiny babe, transported in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Born in a very simple kind of place, out in a stable or a barn or a cave, whatever it may have been that they used in those days. And so there did not appear to be anything very significant about this gift. But you see, you have to look beyond what you see with the naked eye and recognize that lying there in a trough, which they fed the animals from was the Son of God. This was the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords lying there in the form of a babe. Because you see, the greatest gift that has ever been given was given as a tiny baby. That's one characteristic of this awesome gift that our Heavenly Father's given us.
But a second thing I want you to notice about this gift is this gift came from Heaven. Jesus said, "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me". Jesus did not begin His life here on this earth. He didn't begin His life in the womb of the Virgin Mary. But rather He did not begin His life at all, because He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He did have no beginning and He has no end. And lying there in that little crib was the Son of God, God Himself, a gift from Heaven. And you see to all of those who looked at Him, He looked like any other baby, but only Mary and Joseph knew where He really came from. They knew that He came from Heaven. The gift of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only gift you and I have ever received that came straight down from Heaven, without a maker, without a beginning, without an end; a most unusual gift. A tiny gift, a gift that came from Heaven, but also a very needed gift. Because you see, you have never received a gift so practical, nor have you ever received a gift so needful.
Remember this: God gave His Son, Jesus Christ, as a gift to you and to me because He knew we were in desperate need. Sin had wrecked and ruined humanity. Every single one of us has sinned against God. Every single one of us has lived at some point in our life under the condemnation of God, under the wrath of God, under the threat of that wrath. And yet when we trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, when we received that gift we didn't just receive a gift, we received a very needed gift. Because you see the Father sent Him to meet a specific need in your life and mine. In fact, we've all had many needs. We've had the need of the forgiveness of our sin. We've had the need of being delivered from the sense of guilt. We've had the need of having emotional as well as physical healing. We've had material needs, we've had all kind of needs. And God the Father sent His only begotten Son into your life and my life to meet very specific needs that we have.
And so He didn't just come to be a healer and a teacher, He came to meet a specific need in your life and my life, and the life of every single person who's ever lived. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life". We were threatened with perishing and He sent One, the only one who could deal with that. He sent Him because we were and are and the whole world is needy. There is only one gift only from one person who can fill the greatest need of your life. And listen, once that need is met, somehow it seems that all these other things we think we need and we really think we desire, seemingly just fade into oblivion. Because there's something very satisfying, very completing, very fulfilling about the Son of God when He comes into our life. So, He was a tiny gift. A gift from Heaven and a gift that every single one of us need. And He was a sacrificial gift.
Listen. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son. And often times we think about Jesus dying on the cross and we don't think about the fact that God the Father sacrificed His only begotten Son. In eternity past, this decision was made. The world would be created. It would be populated with human beings. They would sin, they would rebel against the Father. And so the plan was already set and the Father chose to sacrifice His Son. And the Son chose to sacrifice His life. And so God gave His Son, His only begotten Son. And the Son gave His life in order that you and I may have the gift of eternal life. And so when you think about the gift of the Lord Jesus Christ, you cannot even think about that gift apart from thinking about the cross. Because He says, "I came to seek and to save that which is lost". He said, "I didn't come to be served but to serve and to give my life a ransom for many".
This was a gift of sacrifice that was given to be sacrificed in order that every single one of us would have the privilege of having a personal relationship with God. Have you ever accepted that gift? Have you thought about it, planned on it, but you've never accepted the greatest gift that has ever been given. By the one person who loves you above every single person on the face of this earth. He is God's substitute for your sin and mine. He relieves the guilt and the penalty and the pain of our sin. He gives us a hope and an assurance and a confidence. He's the greatest gift.
And when we sing about all the things about Jesus's life at Christmas time and all the carols, often times we still have Him in the manger. We still have Him as a little child. And we still think about all the presents and all the gifts and things. But the greatest gift ever given was the forgiveness that comes to you and me through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, who went to the cross and paid our sin-debt in full. He was an awesome sacrificial gift. He became the Lamb of God in order that you and I may become the child of God, the children of God. A sacrificial gift, a very small gift. A gift that came from Heaven, a very needed gift, a sacrificial gift, but also a perfect gift. When you think about all the gifts that have been given you. And how many times have you received things, maybe at Christmastime, and they didn't fit? You had to take them back. Or something that didn't work and you had to take it back.
Here is one gift, once you receive Him you never have to worry about it because He is the only perfect gift ever received. There's not anything about Him that's imperfect. Because you see, the One who gave Him is perfect. And because you see, the truth is who He is perfect. He is God walking among men in human flesh. Can you think of anything imperfect about Jesus? Well, what about His height? We don't know that. What about His eyes? We don't know the color. What about His skin? We don't really know all about that. How did He dress? Well, we can just sorta visualize possibly. How long was His hair? Some artists paint it, some artists paint it short and some paint it long. There are lots and lots of things about Him we don't know about, but one thing about Him we know absolutely: His character is perfect. His heart is perfect. His love is perfect. And everything He does is perfect. Everything He's ever done is perfect. Everything He's ever thought is perfect.
And you know what? Everything He's ever done for you is perfect. Every gift He's ever given is perfect. Everything He's ever tried to do for you, in your life, to help you, strengthen you, enable you to become the person He wants you to be and to do the work He's called you to do. Every single act by this gift, the Lord Jesus Christ, has been absolutely perfect.
You say, "Well, if it's so perfect why don't I feel better than I feel? Why can't I accomplish more than I accomplish? Why can't I do what I need to do"? When you surrender to His perfect will, you know what'll happen? Everything about your life's gonna change. You're gonna begin to experience perfect love, the perfect expressions of God's love in your heart. And here's what you'll discover. Even the tough times, the difficult times, the trying times in your life, you know what you'll learn? That God is doing what? In His perfection He's perfecting who you and I are. That is, He's conforming us to the likeness of His Son. So, He's a perfect gift and His goals in your life and my life are to perfect us into the likeness of His Son. But He's also a very precious gift.
You think about all the things that you've received and probably all of us have those things in our life that we think are the, this is the most valuable. No, this is the most valuable. Here's the most perfect thing I've ever received, the most precious thing that I own. Let me ask you a question. What is the most precious thing that you own? What is the most precious gift you've ever received? And you see, by precious I mean those things that you highly esteem, that which you place the greatest value on. What is the most valuable gift you ever received?
You say, "Well, my husband or my wife". Well, that's commendable. "Or my children". But you know, that's not really true. The most valuable precious gift you've ever received is Jesus Christ, because He is the perfect gift from the Father, who can do for you what no one else in all the world can possibly do. There is nothing and no one so highly esteemed in all the earth. Because you see, the Father esteems Him as highest above all. What does He say? He says one of these days every knee is going to bow. One of these days, He says that every tongue is going to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. There is no more precious gift in all of life. And yet sometimes people highly evaluate, highly value those things in their life that they own. In fact, they value them so highly that they come between them and the precious gift of Jesus. They put more time on those things. They give more thought to those things, those ideas, those things that bring them pleasure or comfort in life.
When the most precious most powerful gift, the gift that is above every other possibility is the gift of the person of Jesus Christ because think about this. Here's one gift with whom you can have an intimate personal relationship. More intimate, more personal than your relationship with your husband or your wife. There is no intimacy in all the earth, no intimacy in an entire world, no intimacy in any generation that can make, that can meet, measure or compare to the intimate relationship you can have with Jesus. That's why He is so precious above every other single gift. Nothing as perfect as He; nothing as precious as He. Once you begin to understand who He is, you'll agree He's the most perfect and most precious gift of all.
And I'd simply ask you this. Since you have received the greatest, most precious, perfect gift of all, to whom have you shared it? To whom have you given it? Have you been enjoying the gift by yourself, to yourself and sorta thinking, "Well, I have Jesus in my life and that's what matters". That's only part of what matters. What fully matters is this. To whom have you given Him? To whom have you sat down or stood or walked with or lived with? And you've said I want you to understand who Jesus Christ is. I want you to understand that He can forgive you of sin. I want you to understand that He can give you the gift of eternal life. Here is one gift you and I cannot possibly keep to ourselves. Because He said, Jesus said it, "As My Father sent Me to give Myself away, so send I you to give yourself away". And in giving ourselves to Him, He is able to use every single one of us to give ourselves to other people.
So, at this Christmas season, as you think about all the gifts that you're going to give. And you know what? You don't have to look for somebody to give. I did something this week I don't usually do and I went to the mall and just sat down out in one of those courts and got myself something to eat. I was trying to find something sorta decent to eat and I sat down about five minutes and a fellow walked up and sat down, start talking. He said, "You remember me"? That's a bad question. Because then he said, "Ten years ago". And then he told me something. And so we talked a few minutes and he was excited. And so, probably five minutes later a young lady walked up and she sat down. And I didn't know why she sat down and so realized that they just met two days ago.
And so, they began to talk and we began to talk and this gal began to talk about all the things that she was doing and what was happening in her life and she was so excited and I turned to her and I said, "Have you ever trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior"? Just right out in the open. She looked at me, she said, "When I was twelve years of age, I gave my life to God". We had the most interesting conversation sitting there, the three of us, and they'd only known each other two days, and I didn't know them from Adam. But you know what? Within about ten minutes we were talking about Jesus. We were talking about the world's greatest gift and how they each had found Christ. And he was talking about his grandmother. His grandmother had the greatest influence on his life and how God was blessing him. Her father had the greatest influence on her life and how God was blessing her. You know what? You have to give it away.
Listen, if you keep this gift to yourself when it's a universal gift given by God to every single culture. He intends and desires that every single person on the face of this earth know about this gift. How can you keep it to yourself? So, I want to ask you a question. When is the last time you ever gave away the most precious gift you'll ever receive? When is the last time you gave this gift to someone you know who desperately needs Jesus Christ? You wouldn't go this whole Christmas season and not give any gifts away. Some of you've already gotten yourself in debt buying a lot of presents in order to do what? To give to your friends and your family. Or maybe you've not indebted yourself, but you've spent a lot of time looking and purchasing this and wrapping it up and putting their names on it and you're so excited because you want to be there when they open it. You're excited about watching them open it.
Do you know how excited you'll be when you open the gift of the Son of God to someone and you watch them take the gift? You'll never be the same. You know why? Because they'll never be the same. And you'll realize that God used you to give them something that changed their whole eternal destiny. A universal gift that He intends for us to share with the entire world. But likewise, it's a personal gift. Listen to what he said. For God so loved the world, listen, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever, not whosoevers, but whosoever individually, singular. How does He give this gift? He doesn't fling it to the world, He gives it to a person individual, one at a time. You see, that's the only way you get this gift. It can be offered and you can reject it. It is offered and, but it'll never be forced upon you.
When people say, "Well, you're trying to force this religion on me". You know what? We would never try to force Jesus on anybody, because all you have to do is to recognize the Father offers you Jesus. And the Father has never forced His Son upon anyone. We wouldn't try to force Him upon you. We offer Him, we explain Him, we desire Him to be your gift. We would not force Him upon you, because you see, that's not the way it works. It is the result of the confession of your sins. It is a result of your inviting, your receiving. How many people at this Christmas season are you gonna take a gift and shove it at 'em and say, "You must have this". Neither would God the Father shove the most important, precious, priceless, eternal gift in your face and force it upon you. He offers it. Jesus never forced Himself upon anybody when He walked on this earth. Many of them turned and walked away. They ended up crucifying Him. He never forced Himself. He was a personal gift offered to every single person who will, who will yield to Him.
And I would simply say to you if you have never personally trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, He's God's greatest gift. He is the most esteemed, most precious perfect gift in all the world, but you have to desire Him, you have to want Him. If you don't want Him, you don't have to take Him. What a tragedy to reject the most important, the most awesome gift ever offered to mankind. And the Scripture says, Jesus said He was sent. Listen. He was sent by the Father to do what? Sent by the Father to seek and to save that which was lost. So, to seek and to save but not to force Himself upon him. If you reject the Lord Jesus Christ, let me ask you this. What gift are you gonna receive that's gonna take His place? There is no substitute for the perfect, priceless Son of the Living God.
Now listen very carefully. Here's the key question. With a gift so awesome as I've tried to describe so feebly. A gift I have tried to describe, listen to this. How do you get it? How can I have that kind of gift? Well, you say, "Well, can I just ask for it"? No, that's not quite adequate. "Well, I can certainly work for it". No, you can't work for it. "Well, why can't I work for it"? Well, let me ask you this. How much work would you have to do? Can't answer that. How long would you have to work? Can't answer that. But even more so, listen. You can't receive a gift as a result of work, because if you receive a gift as a result of work, it's no longer a gift but it's a reward. And He says, "Not by works of righteousness which we've done but according to His mercy, His grace, His love, His goodness He saves us".
So, if it's a gift, can't be a reward for works. If it's works, can't be a gift. The only way for you to receive this gift, listen, is to ask Him, confessing your sins and your unworthiness to Him. Telling Him that you do believe that His death at the cross paid your sin-debt in full. And that by faith you are accepting Him as your personal Savior based on what Jesus did in dying a substitutionary sacrificial death for your sins. And that you're accepting Jesus as your personal Savior. Because He offered Him, you're taking the gift. That's what it takes. Your being willing to receive what He's offered, listen, the perfect priceless eternal gift of love. How could you ever turn that down?
Father, how grateful we are for Your love, Your goodness, Your mercy, Your kindness. And as we think about all the gifts that'll be given this Christmas, I pray the Holy Spirit will speak to the hearts of those who hear this message, to recognize up until now they've rejected the best gift of all. And that by faith they can receive that gift simply the way we described it, by asking, confessing, surrendering, yielding, trusting Jesus Christ by faith as their Savior. I pray, Father, for those who are looking at their life at this season of the year empty, lonely, frustrated, anxious, angry, maybe bitter, maybe hostile, maybe just full of depression and despair. Would You help them to understand this gift is better than a physician. This gift heals all hurts. And I pray this in Jesus's name, amen.