Monday, December 16, 2019 1:13 PM

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Monday, December 16, 2019 1:13 PM
Monday, December 16, 2019 1:13 PM

The Gift That Keeps on Giving
Pastor Stephen Hayes
December 15, 2019

 

Main Idea – Just as Jesus is placed at the center of the traditional Christmas manger scene, so too should you place Him at the center of your life.  You will have peace and happiness when you place Jesus at the center of your marriage, your job, and in the use of all your resources.

 

Project an image of Jesus

  • It is normal for a person to think about his or her appearance. Many people spend much time and money on their external images.
  • The Bible tells us not to worship external appearances. 1 Corinthians 5:16-17 – Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh.  Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (NKJV)
  • Rather than working to project an image you have created, let God express Himself through you.
  • An image of Jesus, projected through you, is the most meaningful of anything.
  • The book Science Speaks by Peter W. Stoner and Robert C. Newman calculated the statistical probability that any one random person could fulfill all the 300 Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah. The chance was beyond comprehension – it couldn’t happen.  Yet, Jesus did fulfill each one of them.
  • Jesus’ arrival on earth in human form was a momentous event. Luke 2:10-14 – Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest.  And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

 

You are God’s image

  • God created you in His image. That means He intends to do His work through you.  He intends to project Himself through you.
    • Genesis 1:26 – Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (NKJV)
    • Romans 8:29 – For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (NKJV)
  • Jesus promised that the power of God that is in Him can also be in you. That power comes through the Holy Spirit.  John 16:7 – Nevertheless I tell you the truth.  It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. (NKJV)
  • When we are doing God’s work, it is the group effort of the Body of Christ that stands out; not one or two individuals. This requires that the Body works to stay united, and not divided into factions.  It also necessitates that individuals do not seek to stand out from the group.
  • Projecting God’s image to others is a sequential process that takes time. It rarely happens all at once.  2 Corinthians 3:18 – But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (NASB)

 

Jesus at the center

  • The first live Christmas manger scene is said to have been arranged by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1223, to encourage people to better relate to Jesus as a human, and to worship Him.
  • In that first manger scene – and with most every manger scene since – the figure of Jesus is at the center of the scene; not off to one side as a peripheral character.
  • In the same way, you should place Jesus at the center of your life.
  • It is easy to unintentionally place other things at the center of your life: spouse, other relationships, pets, money, time, etc.
  • If you place God at the center of your life, the other things that are important to you will also prosper. If God can answer your spiritual needs, He can – and will – easily provide for the other significant areas of your life.  Matthew 6: 33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

 

Determine if Jesus is at the center in your life

  • Take an accounting of your life. What are the things you think about the most?  What are the activities on which you spend the most time?  On what do you spend the most money?
  • Jesus was here from before time began. He knew you before time began.  How could one think to place any temporal thing in a place of greater importance?
  • Colossians 1: 15-17 – He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.  All things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (NKJV)
  • John 1:1-5 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

 

Three steps to putting Jesus at the center of your life

  1. Invite Him to take His place at the center of your life. That is the place He desires.  Revelation 3:20 – Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (NKJV)
  2. Involve Him in every area of your life.
  3. Ignite a fresh passion to know Him more. There is always more and more to learn about Jesus and your relationship with Him.  As you continue to learn more about Him you will become a better and better person.

 

Your best image

  • Your best image is the one where God is reflected through you.
  • When you put Jesus at the center of your life, God’s image will begin to show through you.
  • A believer’s real identity is reflected through how his or her life is lived. When Jesus is at the center, others will see God through the individual’s life.

 

Reflective Questions for The Gift That Keeps on Giving  

  1. Pastor Stephen suggested you ask yourself three questions: What do you think the most about?  On what do you spend most of your time?  On what do you spend most of your money?   What is your evaluation of your answers to those questions?
  2. If you were to invite Jesus into the central position in your life what – if any - preparations for His arrival do you first need to make?
  3. What does it mean to “involve” Jesus with your finances? Your relationships?  Your time?
  4. How can one light the spark that will “ignite a fresh passion to know Jesus more”?

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