Giving Away Immanuel Part 1
#1 - When God gave the baby Jesus, He was giving __________________ .
“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel' (which means 'God with us').” Matthew 1:22-23 NIV
Before this it wasn't like God was absent from the scene. The entire Old Testament is filled with stories of God's interactions with mankind. But now His involvement with men was going to be on a whole new level. God Himself became a man! Now the Creator walks and talks among men. Knows personally what it's like to be a man. To hurt. To be alone. To want. To need. To be helpless instead of powerful. To learn and grow instead of knowing all and being all.
This was only the beginning of God giving Himself away, not the end. 33 years later we read about Jesus - the Son of God - giving away the Holy Spirit - the 3rd person of the Trinitarian Godhead. Now the gift was not just that God became a man, but now God could live inside ALL MEN! This gift of God was complete and available to all. Not limited to gender, race, even religion! Don't you love the WHOEVER verses in the Bible? The Gospel writer John explains Christmas in a sentence:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 NIV
This is the real GIFT of Christmas. God giving Himself away. No limits. No exclusions. No sales. One precious Son. All - whoever - believes!
Christmas was not a one-time thing. God continues to give Himself...
#2 - When God gives Himself to people, He uses ________________ as the gift givers .
This is the marvelous miracle of Christmas that I want to talk to you about this week and next,
1st - that God continues to give Himself away to men and women every day, so literally Christmas continues each day so long as God reveals Himself and men accept Him! Each person can have their own angels singing "Glory in the Highest" moment! Every man and woman can marvel, "Lord how can this be?"
2nd and perhaps even more marvelous miracle is that God gives Himself away NOT ONLY TO men and women, BUT ALSO THROUGH THEM! It's like God has this most amazing and beautifully wrapped gift you have ever seen or imagined, then hands it to you to give away!
"How can they hear about [Jesus] unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent?" Rom. 10:14b-15a NLT
So in a very real way Christmas is a 365-day-event not only from a God-giving perspective, but also from a human-giving perspective. Your every day Christmas mission is to give God away to everyone you meet!
So how is this possible? What does this mean to the way you live your life?
#3 - God has been preparing for your gift giving for _______________________ .
One of the interesting things about Jesus coming was the planning...
"All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah." Matthew 1:17 NLT
For generation upon generation everything worked out to bring about the virgin birth of Jesus! Here is another marvelous miracle to consider - if Christmas is not just a one-day occurrence but an everyday one, and IF God planned so carefully both for Joseph and for Mary to bring Jesus to mankind - THEN God has been carefully preparing for you as gift giver!
"Before I shaped you in the womb I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you." Jeremiah 1:5 MSG
God knew you before your parents did! God not only knew you but knew what you were capable of. God has HOLY plans for you! That means that you are SET APART for his use! Your whole life! Every single day of it!
"You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." Psalm 139:16 NLT
This same God who planned carefully for the giving away of Himself through Jesus, who planned carefully for the giving away of Himself through Christ's Holy Spirit... this SAME GOD has been planning for the giving away of Himself THROUGH YOU!!! God has not just given Himself TO you FOR you. God has also given Himself away TO you FOR YOU to give away TO OTHERS! You do that by being the best you that you are capable of, not just in your own power, but in your cooperation with God Immanuel living inside you WITH you, and in HIS POWER!
Now I know what some of you are thinking... Mark, you don't know me. My past. My mistakes. My sins. My failures. I have not lived up to my potential. I have made wrong choices. I am not that perfect person God had in mind when He created me. Don't be so sure about that...
#4 - When I give myself away with God inside I give the __________________ ... (... because God don't make no junk!)
When you say or think to yourself that you are not good enough or able to give God away, you are not selling yourself short... you are selling God short! You are - in essence - saying, "I don't believe God." No faith! Why?
"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10 NLT
Consider that when God says that you are His masterpiece, it's not just you alone by yourself with your sins, mistakes, flaws, and poor choices. You are God's masterpiece as a new creation in Christ. "He has created [you] anew." This is another way of saying that He has reinvented you.
Remember the 6 million dollar man? "Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world's first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better...stronger...faster."
God has done that with you! Instead of bionics, God has given you S.H.A.P.E. Spiritual gifts, Heart, Ability, Personality, and Experiences. God has created you perfectly to give Himself away to other people you meet! YOU are the giver of God's Immanuel to others!
How can you do this? How does this happen? Come back next week!