Thursday 7 December 2010 -- #209
He has done great things for me
I have preached many Christmas sermons in my 50+ years as a minister. Many times I have wondered what I can talk about that is different and interesting to my hearers. Of course, few ministers stay in the one local church for life, so some recycling goes on! The son of a minister went with his father to a distant church where his dad had been asked to preach. On the way home he asked his father whether he had preached that message before, and the father answered "Yes." The son said, "So it was a re-bore then!"
The truth is there are plenty of great themes circulating around the birth of Jesus. Take this short verse from Mary's song of praise in Luke 1:49, "For He who is mighty has done great things for me..." (ESV). That statement should get your attention. It is just as true for every believer as it was for Mary. You can truly say it out aloud, "He has done great things for me." The word translated "great things" means magnificent, a conspicuous favor, and is also translated "wonderful works."
[+] The first great thing God did for you was to provide a Savior. The helpless Babe in the manger was the Son of God, born of a virgin, destined to be a sin-offering for you. "He paid a debt He did not owe; I owed a debt I could not pay. I needed Someone to wash my sins away..." Hebrews 2:3 terms it a "great salvation" -- and so it is.
[+] When you accepted Christ as your Savior, God placed you "in Christ", a position of safety and security in a hostile world. He transported you out of the realm of darkness and placed you in the kingdom of His Son (Colossians 1:13). At the same time God accepted you into His family as His son or daughter, so we can truly say, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God..." (I John 3:1-2). Are you starting to see something here?
[+] Not only are you in Christ and part of God's forever family, He also placed Christ in you (Galatians 2:20). Now you are a container of the living Christ, and you can show forth His love and power in your daily life. Isn't that a "great thing"? As E. Stanley Jones wrote, that means creativity and adventure! Jesus is no longer in a manger or on a cross -- the Bible says "Christ lives in me."
[+] As a member of God's family, you have siblings all over the world! Wow! And that means down the street on which you reside. Find some like-minded believers and have a conversation with them. They are family. Yes, and like a human family, some are more friendly than others. "God loves you and I'm trying" is the saying on the front of a card I have in my drawer, and I've often been tempted to send it to my extended family!
[+] And there's more! We could talk about God's constant care and provision, His healing power, His guidance. So this Christmas, "Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done!"