Saturday, December 22, 2007

Here's a Gift Idea!

Everywhere I look I get input - ads, commercials, billboards, fliers, etc. - telling me what people need for Christmas. But what do we really need, anyway?

Consider these thoughts from Oswald Chambers. He points out that Jesus came to Earth with a gift - but not quite what people think of these days. And this particular gift addresses our greatest need. Jesus came with this:

"I came not to send peace, but a sword." Matthew 10:34

Jesus came to make things wrong. He came to cause trouble. He came to create a problem.

Let me say it this way: Christmas is popularly viewed as a time to recognize the basic goodness of all men. Think A Christmas Carol or It's A Wonderful Life... they make us feel good about man's goodness, which sometimes gets hidden in the business of life. But Christmas ought not be that at all! It's a time to remember how desperately bad we are - so much so that we need a Savior, and the only one who would do is the God of the Universe Himself! Jesus didn't come to comfort us, but to stir us out of our comfort - into the painful realization that we have an unbelievable problem in that we are sinful, separated from God and eternally lost!

When we've received that gift - the gift of the truth about ourselves - then (and ONLY then) is the Gospel of Jesus' atoning work and sacrifice really "good news".

Perhaps you're spending time this season with people you love who don't know Jesus... in a season when the whole American culture turns its attention (however briefly) to Jesus, consider asking the Holy Spirit to give this uncomfortable gift to those you really love. Oswald Chambers said it this way:

"...There must be a sense of need before your message is of any use. Thousands of people are happy without God in this world. If I was happy and moral till Jesus came, why did He come? Because that kind of happiness and peace is on a wrong level; Jesus Christ came to send a sword through every peace that is not based on a personal relationship to Himself."
We can participate in giving the greatest gift of all to those we love... the gift of an eternal relationship with the God of the Universe through His Son. But be a faithful messenger in the process - tell people the truth. All of it. Don't give "peace" to those apart from Christ... give the a sword. Make it hurt! Show them the reality of the problem, and the Holy Spirit will make the solution the most wonderful news in the world to them.
"...If God has had His way with you, your message as His servant is merciless insistence on the one line, cut down to the very root, otherwise there will be no healing. Drive home the message until there is no possible refuge from its application. Begin to get at people where they are until you get them to realize what they lack, and then erect the standard of Jesus Christ for their lives - 'We never can be that.' Then drive it home - 'Jesus Christ says you must.' "But how can we be?' "You cannot, unless you have a new Spirit." (Luke 11:13.)
It is the "poor in spirit" - those who realize they are lost and have nothing within themselves to bring to God - those whose eyes have been opened to the truth of their sinful and lost condition - those are the people who are drawn by the Holy Spirit the Son, for the Glory of God.

What do people need for Christmas? Apart from Christ, we all need the business end of a sword. If you need help understanding this truth, see (just for example)Romans 1-3.

The gift of the Truth about ourselves: It's a painful thing... and it's not peace, but a sword. It's what people REALLY need this season, and always. Merry (ouch) Christmas!

Quotes from Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, "WHAT TO CONCENTRATE ON" (December 19)

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