The Gift That Lasts

Bible Book: Isaiah  9 : 6
Subject: Christmas; Stewardship; Gift Of God

The Gift That Lasts

J. Mike Minnix

Isaiah 9:6

Writing 700 years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah nonetheless prophesied that a child would be born - that a Son would be given. By stating the prophecy in this way, Isaiah revealed the unique duality of the boy that was to be born. He said ...

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given."

In the Hebrew language, the term "child" speaks of human birth. On the other hand, the word "son" can be seen as speaking of a relationship to a father.  As a child, Jesus was born to a human mother. As a Son, Jesus was linked to His divine Father.

A child is born - that speaks of humanity

A son is given - that speaks of divinity

A child is born - that speaks of impotence

A son is given - that speaks of omnipotence

A child is born - that speaks of the terrestrial

A son is given - that speaks of the celestial

A child is born - that speaks of the earthly

A son is given - that speaks of the heavenly

A child is born - that speaks of the son of man

A son is given - that speaks of the Son of God

Isaiah caught the duality of Jesus' nature in the profound words he used to describe the marvelous gift that was to be given.

Jesus had an earthly mother but no earthly father.

Jesus had an heavenly Father but no heavenly mother

He is the most special child ever born.

He is the gift of God to you and to me, and to all who repent of sin and trust Him by faith.

Christmas is more than just a special feeling in the air; more than goodwill and love among people. Christmas is special because God entered into the world in human flesh to become the greatest gift the world has or ever will experience. Jesus is the gift that keeps on giving - the gift that lasts. I want you to see why we can rightly make such a claim about the Son that was given!

I. This is a Gift that we Needed

Every Christmas we receive gifts that we do not need and gifts that we will not use. Like a necktie that went out of style in 1990, or something strange - like an electric fork. Actually, I eat too fast as it is, so I don't need an electric fork.

A report was issued by a consumers council which stated that people place a great deal more value on the things they give people than the gifts they receive. In fact, this council estimated that Americans spend a billion dollars annually on Christmas gifts that people do not want or need (And that figure comes from several years ago.)

Also, we often don't want things we need; we most often want something that we actually do not need.  I remember watching a television commercial a few years ago that offered an exercise device. It was called a Belly Burner. How many of you have ever seen one? No, it is not a gadget for branding large people. It is a contraption for reducing the size of your stomach through tension related sit-ups. I started to order one and then I said to myself, "You don't want that thing. What you want is another piece of fruitcake." So, instead of dialing the toll-free number on the screen, I went to the kitchen and cut a piece of fruitcake. Believe it or not, I love fruitcake. Let me tell you what hurt my feelings. That same Christmas someone in my family gave me a Belly Burner as a gift. What does that tell you about being uncouth? Thankfully, a few years after that I started jogging and the results of running took care of the problem.

When God sent His Son into our world, He gave us a gift that we desperately need. Many people have not accepted this gift because they do not want what they need. But that does not change the reality of the situation. God looked down on a world that was stained with sin and bound for eternal judgment, and then gave us the best heaven had to give.

A. We needed Love

Only love and grace could help us in our sinful, lost condition. The Bible states, "In that while we were yet sinners Christ died for our sins." We did not receive the gift of God's Son because we deserved Him, but we received this gift as an act of God's love toward us.

People give the most expensive gifts to the people they love the most. God must have loved us very much to send His only begotten Son into human form to suffer and die in our place.

B. We needed Light

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light."

Our world was in the grip of terrible, spiritual darkness. When Christ was born, the Father hung a star in the sky above Bethlehem to symbolize the light- giving ministry that Jesus came to fulfill, for Jesus came to be the Light of the World.

There was an artist who painted a dark and foreboding picture. He painted black hills, a dark forest and in the midst of it a little, bleak cabin. Then, he took his brush and dipped it in yellow paint. He moved to the canvas and simply touched the window panes of the small, dark cottage with the yellow pigment. Everyone who saw it said that it was a picture of comfort and peace. There in the dark woods, was a cabin with light in the windows. One could almost imagine a family sitting around a warm fire enjoying fellowship together.

That is exactly what Jesus did for us. He came into the dark woods of our world to be born in a small village called Bethlehem. God splashed the saffron yellow hue of heaven on the dark foreboding landscape of earth. All who have come to enter into that light enjoy the warmth and glow of God's Spirit found only in Jesus Christ.

C. We needed Life

Isaiah said that those dwelling in the shadow of death have experienced the dawn.

Death! The word chills us to the bone. This world has been described as one great whirling orb of death. The landscape of earth is dotted with graves. But, Jesus came to give us eternal life. He came to provide victory of sin, hell, death and the grave.

Yes, the gift of Bethlehem is a gift we definitely needed!

II. This is a Gift that Works

Most of us receive gifts each Christmas that will not work. That gadget that does not work is often bought on sale and cannot be returned. So, you are stuck with it.

God made a promise and fulfilled the promise with the divine provision. This gift, His Son, is real and He never fail to accomplish exactly that which He promises.

Two little boys were playing one day in December when one of them noticed that the Christmas tree of the other was artificial. He said to his friend, "We have a real tree at our house, but your's is artificial. Doesn't it bother you that your tree is not real?"

The other little boy replied, "Oh no, it does not bother me that the tree is not real, just as long as the present under it on Christmas Day are real!"

Dear friend, God's Son is a present that is real. So much about Christmas is artificial, but Jesus is real thing. He really saves, really forgives, really takes His children to heaven, and really becomes sweeter everyday the believer lives on this earth. There are two ways by which Isaiah describes the effectiveness of this Gift.

A. We See in this the Display of His Power

"The government shall be upon his shoulders."

He, who bore our sins on His back at Calvary, bears our souls as well. He bore the cross and conquered death, now nothing can defeat Him. He has the shoulders to carry us into eternity. We are the lost sheep that was laid upon the shoulder of the loving Shepherd in Luke 15:5 and brought back to the safety of the fold.

B. We See in this the Definition of His Person

He is our guide, for He is the Wonderful Counselor.

He is our God, for He is the Mighty God.

He is our Father, for He is the Everlasting Father.

He is our Peace, for He is the Prince of Peace.

Years ago in the United States a car company made a television commercial that was fascinating and funny. A fast talking salesman appeared on television beside a gleaming new car. He made outlandish promises. He said, "If you buy this car in the next 30 days, we will give you a lifetime warranty. As long as you live, we will fix this car free of charge".

Underneath the advertisers voice a crawl line of text appeared which read, "You can't believe this man, he is lying".

We live in a cynical ag, when it seems all promises of humans are futile and useless. But God's promises in Christ are real and true. He is the promise you can believe and trust.

"That night when shepherds heard the song Of hosts angelic singing near,

A deaf man lay in slumber spell And dreamed that he could hear.

"That night when in a cattle stall

Slept mother and child in humble fold, A crippled turned his twisted limbs And dreamed that he was whole.

"That night when o'er the babe, A tender mother rose to lean,

A loathsome leper smiled in sleep And dreamed that he was clean.

"That night when to his mother's breast The little king was help secure,

A harlot dreamed a happy sleep And dreamed that she was pure.

"That night when in a manger lay

The Son of God who had come to save, A man turned in the sleep of death

And dreamed there was no grave." (Author Unknown)

I read somewhere about a submarine that sank in Boston Harbor some years ago. Divers went down to rescue the occupants, and as they arrived at the submarine they heard Morse Code being tapped out by sailors on the inside. They listened for the complete message and this is what they heard: "Is there any hope? Is there any hope?"

The divers tapped in response, "Yes, there is hope, we are here to save you."

That was the message of Jesus to our lost world. There is hope and He is here to save you.

III. This is a Gift that Lasts

Most of the gifts you received last year probably cannot be located now. They have been used up or worn out or simply tossed aside. But God sent a gift that lasts - the Gift that lasts forever. In a world where most warranties are about 90 days in duration, it is good to know there is something that lasts - FOREVER.

When all the food has run out,
When all the money has been spent out,
When all the candles have burned out,
When all the Christmas trees have dried out,
Thank God that Jesus will never give out!

A little child saw some men putting away the manger scene at the church on the day after Christmas. She said, "Look, daddy, they are putting Jesus away."

We can put away the plastic Jesus from the manger scene, but no one put away the Jesus who sits enthroned in heaven. He is a Savior that lasts!

A printer prepared a program for presentation of Handel's Messiah. At one place, he was to have printed a line that stated, "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth." By mistake he printed, "The Lord God omnipotent resigneth."

Thank God, Jesus never resigns. He rules, reigns, but He never resigns!

There is one thing He asks you to gife to Him - give Him your heart!

Christina Rossette penned,

"What shall I give him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would give him a Lamb.

If I were a wise man, I'd do my part.

What shall I give? Give him my heart."