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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Jentezen Franklin » Jentezen Franklin - The Power of the Gift

Jentezen Franklin - The Power of the Gift

Jentezen Franklin - The Power of the Gift
Jentezen Franklin - The Power of the Gift
TOPICS: Christmas

I wanna talk to you about how there's a gift that is promised that is so pertinent to the story of Christmas that is completely overlooked. If the king of Israel invited you to come and you came without a gift, it was considered to be an insult. So important was this gift, even though the king was immeasurably wealthy, and you could be extremely poor. It was never acceptable for a person to come into Hebrew culture before the king of the Hebrew people and not bring with them a gift. So important was gift giving in the Hebrew culture that the Hebrew language contains no less than 15 expressions that explain or give ways of giving, it was so important. It was true in the nation and in the culture of Israel, but it was also true in the kingdom of God under the Old Testament. Everyone, anytime they approached the tabernacle was required to bring a gift.

In Leviticus 5 it said, "If a person sin that they would bring a lamb as a gift. And if they couldn't afford a lamb then they could bring a turtledove. And if they couldn't afford a turtledove, they could bring fine flour". But no one was to appear empty handed before the God of the Old Testament, Jehovah. If you wanted to interact with Him, you had to bring a gift for Him. Some gifts were given voluntarily, but they were also involuntarily expected gifts from God. No gift, no access under the old covenant. It was a high insult to not bring a gift to God. The Bible calls the Holy Spirit, "The gift of the Father". It's amazing that I can choose not to receive a gift, there's three choices really, you have if someone offers you a gift, number one you can receive it and enjoy it.

Or number two you can take it and throw it in the trash when they walk away. Or number three, and I just learned about this one in preparing this message, there's something called re-gifting. I had never heard of it in my life, I was not aware. There are entire websites, can you believe it, on re-gifting. It's when someone gives you a gift that you don't like, and you turn around and when they leave, you package it back up and you give it to somebody that you don't like much either. And that's called re-gifting, it's a real thing. A website on this, I read from it because I was considering it. I get a lot of gifts and I'm, let's keep moving. Here's what they said, "Here's rules for re-gifting, when you're going to re-gift a gift don't use the wrapping paper that you tore open. The Scotch tape is a dead giveaway that you are re-using or re-gifting that gift. Be careful that you don't re-gift the gift to the same person who gave it to you".

That's very important, and Cherise and I are always very careful when we re-give, I'm kidding. The difference that I want you to understand and I'm preaching about tonight is the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a gift, He really is and He's available to us tonight. A gift under the New Testament something miraculous happened. Under the Old Covenant it was man giving gifts to God, man giving gifts to God, but something powerful happens as you move and, you know, when they would bring the gift, they would almost hold their breath and they would hope, "I hope it's acceptable. I hope it's good enough. I hope the lamb is good enough. I hope the turtledove is clean enough. I hope. I hope". And it was always not quite measuring up. Always wondering, "Will I, through what I'm doing, measure up to this holy, powerful God".

But in the New Testament something shocking and surprising happened that first Christmas, instead of gifts being given by men going upward, the gift that God gave came downward to men. It's God in the New Testament that gives us the gifts, not us that gives Him the gifts. That's the amazing thing, the gift giving is in a whole new way under the New Covenant. First time in human history God gave a gift was in Bethlehem. Psalms 68:18 in the Old Covenant says this, "Thou hast ascended on high". So, he didn't even know what he was talking about, but he saw a vision and he said, "There's a God, His name is Jehovah and I see Him ascending on high and thou has led captivity captive and thou hast," listen to the words, "received gifts from men".

For men and from men, that's what that means. From men, you received the gifts, that's God under the Old Covenant and then it goes on to say, "Blessed be the Lord God, who daily loads us down with benefits, even the God of our salvation". Under the Old Covenant you brought a gift, and if God accepted it, He loaded you down with benefits daily. But then in Ephesians 4 under the New Covenant, the New Testament, the apostle Paul says something profound, and he quotes from that Old Testament verse and here's what he says, "But unto every one of you He has given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ". Watch this, "Wherefore He saith, when He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and He gave gifts unto men". He said, "Under the Old Testament Jehovah God received gifts. That's the only way that you could get access. But under the New Covenant," the very same verse Paul changed it and he said, "He gave gifts unto men".

He who ascended, who is that? Jesus when He went down into the grave and into hell has now ascended. He descended, now He has ascended, and He who ascended from the grave. Well, I wanna ask you a question, who ascended from the grave? Who came up out of the grave? The Old Testament Jehovah is the New Testament Jesus Christ. That is who was born into human form in Bethlehem, it was the same God Jehovah in the Old Testament is Jesus in the New Covenant. Let me tell you why I know Jesus was God because in Ezekiel 37:13 this is what God said, He said, "You shall know that I am the Lord," here's what you look for if you're looking for God to show up on planet Earth, "When I opened your graves, O My people, and I bring people out of the graves". The people that are in the grave.

Well, I wanna ask you a question, who opened the graves? There's one who said, "Lazarus come forth". There is one who raised the dead over, and over, and over in the New Testament His name was Jesus. And then in Job 9:8 He said, "Who alone," Job saw a vision and he saw God and he said, "I see one God who's the creator and He's spreading out the heavens," listen, "And God alone treads upon the waves of the sea". Job didn't know what he was seeing but the oldest book of the Bible, but he saw a vision of a God walking on the water. And I ask you again, who walked on the water in the New Testament? Who came in the middle of a storm when the disciples were going under and said, "Peace be still". And the winds and the waves obeyed His will, and He walked on the water back to the boat? His name is Jesus.

And then 600 years before Bethlehem in Isaiah 35:4 he says, "Say to them that are of fearful heart, be strong, God will come," He's coming, God's coming, "He's coming in vengeance, and He will come and save you". And then he makes this, and you will know that He has come then, that word them means this is how you'll know, "When you start seeing the eyes, the blinded eyes begin to be opened, the ears of the deaf unstopped and the lame will leap," next verse, "The lame will leap as a deer and the tongue of the dumb will sing". When you start seeing blind people's eyes open. Well, who is the New Testament opened blind eyes? Blind Bartimaeus said, "I couldn't see, but now I can see".

Who did that? Jesus did it. Who caused the lame to leap like a deer? Who caused the deaf ear to hear? Who caused the man who could not speak all of his life, the Bible said, "Jesus loosed the string off of his tongue and he spoke plainly and glorified God". Who did that? His name is Jesus, and we ought to realize He is the gift. Give Him a mighty praise right now if you love Him. You can do better than that on Christmas Eve. Thank Him for the gift. Sometimes we make like the whole New Testament is about you giving your life, and giving your past, and giving your present, and giving your future to Jesus. I'm sorry to tell you that the whole Gospel is not about you. It's not about what you give God. That's important, give Him your life, but boy you won't have problems giving Him your life if you ever realize it, God is the giver not you. He will load you down if you would just honor Him, and love Him, and serve Him.

I'm trying to be good, but I feel like we take for granted the most ultimate gift. His name is Jesus and it's not common, it's a spectacular, unspeakable, unbelievable, unimaginable gift that we have been given in Jesus Christ. And I wanna finish with this and I want you to lean in. In Luke 11:13 it talks about gifts, and it says, "If you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children". Question, how many of you intend on making sure your children have some gifts in the morning when they wake up on Christmas morning? Raise your hand and say, "It's me". Right now. And let me see your hand, the rest of you are not telling the truth. If you have children you want 'em to have gifts and that's why it said, "If you being evil". It's not a put down, He's saying, "Compared to God none of us measure up". But he said, "If you, in a flawed state compared to God, have the heart to really wanna give gifts to your children and grandchildren. How much more will your Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him"!

He didn't say, "He'll give you forgiveness". Why didn't He say, "Mercy". Why didn't He say, "Grace". He understood that when I give you the Holy Spirit, I give you me. The real purpose of Christmas was not just a baby born in Bethlehem, that was one time He came, and it was beautiful, and we celebrate it. But the real message of Christmas is, He's not Emmanuel until you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and He lives with you continually. Countless times today the Holy Spirit has spoken to you. Countless times today the Holy Spirit has watched over you. Countless times today the Holy Spirit has noticed you, your attitude, everything about you. He's with us. We cannot... David said, "If I go to hell the spirit is there. I can't get away from it". When I'm good, when I'm bad, when I'm naughty, it's not like Santa Claus, He won't leave me alone. He loves me. He comforts me. He lifts me. He encourages me.

And I couldn't have made it without the precious Holy Spirit, the gift of the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord somebody. No, I mean really praise Him. I don't care if you brought your best friend, praise Him. Praise Him. I'm thankful for the Holy Spirit. Woo! There are three times in the New Testament where the apostles use the word unspeakable. Unspeakable. The first time is when Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 is caught up into Heaven, and he was taken on a tour of Heaven. And the things that he saw in particularly he said, "The words that I heard were unspeakable words that I cannot repeat. It was so overwhelming, the sounds and the words that I heard". I don't know who he bumped into. I don't know if he bumped into Abraham, Isaac, Jes... I don't know who he bumped into, but whoever he bumped into he said, "The words that I heard when I was in the third Heaven were unspeakable".

And then the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 1:8 he said, "When I saw the resurrected Savior, now even you who love Him, though now you see Him not, yet believing, I saw Him and one day you're gonna see Him," if you read the lead up to that, and he says, "You will when you see Him rejoice with joy unspeakable". But we don't have much joy down here, it just feels like, these are some, this has been a rough year. But one of these days we're going to see Him and we're gonna rejoice with joy ahead of us. I hear the Lord saying, "Next year's going to be better". Well, hallelujah! And it's gonna be joy, everybody say, "unspeakable". Shout it out loud, "Joy unspeakable and full of glory".

Clap your hands in expectation. Clap your hands in faith. Clap your hands saying, "I'm believing for unspeakable joy". Can't even put it, the word unspeakable means unimaginable. Unexplainable. Undefinable. Unspeakable. And there's one more time it's found, 2 Corinthians 9:15. The apostle Paul when he thought about the gift that you and I have been given through Jesus Christ. But listen folks, Jesus was one man, the baby was one baby born in Bethlehem. Grew up, became a man, at 33 carried a cross to Golgotha. Took my sin, my sickness, your sin, your shame, nailed it to the cross, died a brutal death, rose three days later. And then 40 days later went up on a cloudy elevator and sits in the seat of authority and all power is given unto His name. But listen, He said, "It's expedient that I go away, for if I don't leave you".

The story really is not just a story of Bethlehem, the cradle, and calvary, the cross. "But I'll send the Holy Spirit, I'll send the gift". And this is what Paul said about that gift in 2 Corinthians. Everybody read this out loud and say it from your heart, "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift". Does that go off inside of you? That I have an unspeakable gift this Christmas and I can't even put into words that when I felt like giving up, He won't let me give up. And when I feel discouraged, He'll let me wallow there for a minute, but it's not long before I feel Him nudging me saying, "I'm not through, better days are coming. Hold on, I'm the God of breakthrough".

And I want you right now, one more time to shout, "Thanks be unto God". No, we don't come out here to fold our arms and burn a candle, "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift". What is His name? Jesus Christ. And would you welcome that unspeakable gift called the Holy Spirit into your heart, into your life? The only way that He is in you, Emmanuel, is if you receive Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit coming into your life. And tonight, you may have never recognized it, but there is one who is here called the Holy Spirit. He's Jesus' spirit and when you accept Jesus, you receive His Holy Spirit. And He says, "I'll never let you go. I'll never leave you alone, I am Emmanuel, God with you".

Everybody pray this prayer:
Lord Jesus I repent. I receive the gift that is unspeakable, indescribable, unexplainable. I don't know how to explain it, but I'm forgiven, I'm clean, I believe, I believe in you Jesus. I've never seen you, but I believe in you, and I'm willing to give my life to you. Take my mind, take my body, take my spirit, and I wanna live for you because you are my unspeakable gift, Jesus Christ. Everybody say, "Amen".

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