EXCHANGING GIFTS WITH THE LORD
Sunday Morning Sermon
December 20, 1998
Fair Ave Baptist Church
In just a few days we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Christmas holidays are special. Most of my fondest memories are of Christmas.
This past Tuesday at the Senior Saints Christmas Party the question was asked about our best Christmas memory. After a few moments of thought, and I only had a few moments of thought because I had to go first, I thought of Rachael’s second Christmas.
She was only two months old that first Christmas but the second Christmas she was almost 15 months old and plenty old enough to enjoy the Christmas season.
There is nothing to compare with the first Christmas with that first child. I don’t think it was until that moment that I really understood what it meant to be a parent.
Then a few years later, when Rachael was about five or six, she wanted to start getting gifts for other people.
To this day she has a heart for giving to others. She is one of the most giving people I know. She has her mother’s giving heart. Actually, she has her great-grandmother’s giving and loving heart.
My grandmother Webb, or as we affectionately called her, “Mamaw,” was a very loving and giving person.
My grandmother, my “Mamaw,” was one of those rare people who truly and genuinely enjoyed GIVING rather than receiving.
“Mamaw,” in her poverty, would always find a way to give each and every one of us a Christmas gift, even when the family reached numbers over 30.
She would wait until everyone had opened their gifts before she started with hers.
She would watch each of us open our gifts and her eyes would light up and she would just beam.
As I got older, I would watch her as she watched everyone else.
The exchanging of gifts would bring out the smile and joy in my grandmother.
And I see the same thing in my daughter. She gets more excitement watching you open your gifts than she does opening her own.
There is just something about the exchanging of gifts at Christmas time.
Don’t you enjoy it?
It made me think about the passage there in Matthew 2 where the wise men brought gifts to the Saviour.
They realized the significance of giving gifts to the Saviour.
And here in Matthew 2 we find the principle for exchanging gifts at Christmas time.
We often casually say, “Christ was the greatest gift,”
or “My salvation was the greatest gift I could have received,”
or “The birth of Christ was God’s gift to us.”
If that be true, and it is,
If Christ is the greatest gift, and He was,
If Christ was God’s gift to us, and He was,
What gift have we given Him?
In just a few days, and maybe sooner, family and friends will sit around the house, sit around the Christmas tree, and exchange gifts.
I wonder if now that Jesus ever feels slighted?
The wise men brought Him gifts to celebrate His birth, but what do we bring Him?
In this time of celebrating the birth of Jesus, what gift did we give Him?
How often do you celebrate someone’s birthday and give gifts to someone other than the person who is celebrating the birthday?
We’ve never thought of that, have we?
We celebrate the Jesus’ birthday and give gifts to our kids.
It is His birthday, and we give gifts to our co-workers.
It is the birthday celebration of our Lord and Saviour, and we give gifts to our wives.
Does that really make sense?
How would you and I feel if we had a birthday party and didn’t get any gifts,
and to make matters worse,
the people who were celebrating our birthday gave gifts to one another?
But isn’t that exactly what happens in most every home during Christmas?
I’m sure that there are a few homes that make some form of attempt to give Jesus something on His birthday.
But the truth is that most Christians today celebrate Christmas and never give Jesus anything.
Think about it.
What did you give Jesus last year during the Christmas season, the celebration of His birth?
If we were honest, most would have to admit that Jesus received nothing from them.
I can hear someone thinking, “What in the world would you give Jesus?”
“What can I give Jesus?”
Let me be brief this morning and give you something to think about as a Christmas present for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
One word, “FAITHFULNESS”
We often wonder what it is that makes Windsor Hills Baptist Church such a great church, a church that gave over $950,000.00 to missions last year.
We often wonder what it is that makes Northwest Bible Baptist Church such a great church, a church that saved up over $4,000,000.00 in an eight year period to build a beautiful facility - debt free.
We often wonder what it is that makes First Baptist Church of Hammond such a great church, the largest church in America, the largest Baptist church in the world.
The Faith Baptist Church of Bourbonnais, Illinois, and Dr. Terry Angela,
The North Valley Baptist Church of Santa Clara, California and Dr. Jack Trieber,
The Landmark Baptist Church of Haines City, Florida and Dr. Mickey Carter,
The Fair Havens Baptist Church of San Diego, California and Dr. Preston Bunnell,
and the list goes on and on,
churches that are seeing tremendous growth,
churches that are busting at the seems,
churches that are seeing God work miracles,
and we often wonder what it is that makes some churches great and some not-so-great.
The number one difference is summed up in that one word - FAITHFULNESS.
There are no secrets,
There are no gimmicks,
There are no special programs,
There is nothing new under the sun,
It just boils down to one thing - FAITHFULNESS!
The truth is that not everyone can teach a Sunday School class, and we certainly need more dedicated and consecrated Sunday School teachers, BUT EVERYONE CAN BE FAITHFUL.
Not everyone will be able to teach a Childrens Church class with 45-50 kids, BUT EVERYONE CAN BE FAITHFUL.
Most people are just not cut out to get on a bus on a Sunday morning and pick up 25-30-35 boys and girls, sing songs, have games and activities, and then take them home and still keep their sanity, BUT EVERYONE CAN BE FAITHFUL.
Not everyone is going to be able to get up in front of the congregation and sing a special, or get up in front of the congregation and lead the singing, BUT EVERYONE CAN BE FAITHFUL.
When I say FAITHFUL, I mean faithful.
Sunday Morning Service,
Sunday Night Service,
Wednesday Night Service,
Thursday Night Soul Winning Visitation,
Mens Saturday Night Prayer Meeting,
Ladies Fellowship Meetings,
Senior Saints Meetings,
Special Friday Night Services,
Special Monday and Tuesday Night Services,
Any and every service and activity,
EVERYONE CAN BE FAITHFUL!
Now, you might not be able to drive a bus and pick up boys and girls, and thank God for our bus drivers, BUT EVERYONE CAN BE FAITHFUL.
And you might not be able to sing in the choir, and we could really use some help in the choir, BUT EVERYONE CAN BE FAITHFUL.
And I realize that not everyone can work in the sound room and mess with the recorder and duplicator and sound board and control the microphones, BUT EVERYONE CAN BE FAITHFUL.
And I certainly realize that not everyone can stay in the nursery and keep the little ones, BUT EVERYONE CAN BE FAITHFUL.
Faithful to your church,
Faithful to your church activities,
Faithful to your church services,
Faithful every time the doors are opened.
I’m talking about being here on time for Sunday School every Sunday - 49-50 out of 52 weeks a year. EVERYONE CAN BE FAITHFUL!
I’m talking about being here for the Sunday Morning Preaching Service every Sunday - 49-50 out of 52 weeks a year. EVERYONE CAN BE FAITHFUL!
Any night that the church gathers together,
Any time that the church assembles together,
Whether for a preaching service,
Or for a prayer meeting,
Or for an activity,
It’s time to get rid of Sunday Sickness - where a person is too sick on Sunday for church and yet well enough on Monday to go to work.
Baptists are the world’s worst at having the 24 hour flu, where it starts late Saturday night and ends on Sunday night, in time for them to go to work Monday morning.
It’s time for Christians to be just that - followers of Jesus Christ, not followers of the whims of the world.
By the time we miss a Sunday here and there because we truly are sick,
By the time we miss a Sunday here and there for some family get-together,
By the time we miss a Sunday here and there for work,
By the time we miss a Sunday here and there for a hunting trip,
By the time we miss a Sunday here and there for some out-of-town trip,
Before we know it, we have missed far too many times,
And we have deceived ourselves into thinking we are faithful.
James 1:22, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
The best gift we could possibly give our Lord and Saviour this Christmas is the gift of faithfulness.