What God Has Done ~ 20151224 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

12/24 Come and See What God has Done; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20151224_what-god-has-done.mp3

Scripture Readings:

Emmanuel, God's Gift of Himself

Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

God's Gift of Reconciliation

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

God's Gift of Love

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

God's Gift of Grace

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

God's Gift of Redemption

Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

God's Gift of Propitiation

1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

God's Gift of Sanctification

Hebrews 10:14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

Come and see what God has done!

God has given us the greatest of all gifts! Christmas is about giving, and God is the giver. God has initiated all giving, because before there was anything, God gave existence to all that is. Everything God made was good and beautiful and right. As pinnacle of God's creation, designed to exercise dominion under God, over all else in God's good earth, God made mankind in his own image. God gave to all men life and breath and everything.

But we chose to rebel. We chose to go our own way. God gave us life, but we chose the way of death. God could have left us to endure the consequences of our willful disobedience, but instead he gave us a promise. He gave us the promise that he would one day send a rescuer who would undo the wrong we had done. He would set us free from the slavery we had chosen.

God has given us an immeasurably great gift. God has redeemed us. When we were sold as slaves to sin, and under sin's power, he bought us out from under the cruel taskmaster we had bound ourselves to. He set us free to be who we were created to be, to belong to him, to give him the worship and service that is due. Look what God has done!

God's gift was infinitely costly. God does not give cheap gifts. God is just and cannot simply ignore our sin or let it go unpunished. God is holy and cannot allow his name to be maligned. We spat in the face of our good Creator and elevated our own will to the place of God. This rash insubordination must be punished. God is rightly angry at our arrogance and pride. He must demonstrate that he is indeed just. He must pour out the full fury of his wrath against sin. That is the gift of propitiation. God's just wrath against our rebellion and pride was fully satisfied. Jesus took our sins for his own. He became sin for us. And God's wrath was poured out on Jesus in our stead. What a costly gift!

God's gift did not stop with removing our guilt and shame. God's gift goes above and beyond. We gave a gift to Christ; our sin, our debt. Not only did he pay our debt in full, but he gives to us his own perfect record of righteousness. He makes us perfect. We stand before God sanctified, made holy, clothed in a righteousness not our own; we are clothed in the perfect record of Jesus' obedience. What a gift!

God's gift was infinitely costly for him, but it is absolutely free to us. That is what a gift is. That is what grace means. Grace is undeserved blessings freely given. We did nothing to earn the gift, we cannot be worthy of the gift, and we can do nothing to pay back the gift. It is a gift, it is grace, God intends it as a gift, not a debt, to be received freely, never to be repaid. We simply take him at his word, we have faith, we believe. We receive. Come and see what God has done!

God's gift is rooted in his love for us. God is good and he desires to bless us, to give us good gifts. He wants to give us what we need, what is best for us, what will make us truly happy. God so loved that he gave.

Our relationship with God could be characterized by shame and guilt and fear, or even apathy on our side, and righteous anger and indignation on his side, the relationship of a just judge and a willful transgressor. We were his enemies, but we have been reconciled to God by the death of his Son. Our relationship can be healed, restored, made right and good. This is the gift of reconciliation.

God's gift to us is not something that will wear out, get old, break, run out of batteries, go out of style or lose our interest after a while. God's gift to us is himself. 'The virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means God with us)' God's gift to us is himself! An infinitely fulfilling relationship with the God who created us, who sustains us, who rescued us, who loves us!

Come and see what God has done! Come and experience what God has done! Have you received his undeserved gift? Do you belong to him as his own treasured possession? Have you experienced a healed restored relationship with God? Do you know what it is to have God look at you and see, not your filth and sin, for that is taken away, but to look at you and see his own perfect righteousness? To look at you and say 'this is my beloved son or daughter, in whom I am well pleased? Are you experiencing his love for you? Are you enjoying his presence with you today?

Candle Lighting; The Light of the World

Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org