The Perfect Gift

 

Scripture: (James 1:17 KJV)  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

 

            Heavenly Father; We come to you with thanks and expectation. Thank you for everything good that has taken place in our lives. Thank you for helping us through the rough times. Thank you for never leaving us alone. We look to you now with expectation for a new thing. We know that your mercies are new every morning and your love endures forever. Father God bless this message today. Holy Spirit, anoint these words that we may see Jesus. For it is in His name we Pray; Amen.

 

            God is Good! All the time. Last week I made a mistake in my introduction and for that I apologize. I was writing about the above scripture but mistakenly said that it was from 1st Timothy rather then James. I realized my error only seconds after hitting the preverbal send button. It was too late. Well, that mistake grated on me all week and now I know why. God has a lot more to say to us in that passage of scripture than just a short little introduction will allow. So the lesson that I learned from my mistake is to always double check my scripture references. I give you my word, I will from now on. The lesson I hope that you will get from my error is to check out for yourself, in the word of God, the truth about what is being taught to you. I thank you for your forgiveness and I praise God for the gift that He has given me this morning of being able to not only undo something that I did wrong but in so doing bring Him all the Glory.

            The first thing I want to discuss about this passage is the fact that it is found in the book of James. James is such a controversial book. There are at least two things that get different people confused about this wonderful book. The first is James Himself. OK, I say this in all love. I realize that I have both Catholic and Lutheran readers as well as many other denominations. Please, do not be offended by this teaching. I am searching for the truth and hope that you are also. The Bible teaches that James was the half brother of Jesus. Paul gives us mention of James being the Lords brother in the letter to the Galatians: (Gal 1:19 KJV)  “But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.” We also can read in the book of Matthew how Jesus had brothers; (Mat 12:46 KJV)  “While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.” Now this should not shake your faith at all. I know that many are taught that the mother of our Lord is ever virgin. The important point to remember is that the conception of Jesus was immaculate. Jesus is the one true son of the living God. It should not make any difference to us how many brothers or sisters Jesus did or did not have. In fact He Himself in the passage of scripture mentioned in Matthew answers this very question for us: (Mat 12:50 KJV)  “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

            The second thing that often has people side step the book of James is his teaching on “works.” We know as Christians that we are saved by grace alone. There is nothing that we can do to earn our salvation. We read this familiar verse of scripture in the book of Ephesians: (Eph 2:8,9 KJV)  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” James teaches us in no uncertain terms that “faith without works is not faith at all. (James 2:17 KJV)  “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

Now, none of this has anything to do with today’s message but I think it important for us all to know that God’s word is perfect and there is no error at all in it. There is balance and peace within its passages. It is time that we break down denominational walls and come together as people who love the Lord and desire to please God. It is God’s will for us that we love one another. So as we look deeper into the perfect gift of God let us all remember that it is the love of God that is drawing us closer to the truth that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

            The first thing I want us to notice in today’s scripture is the word “gift.” There are two Greek words translated as gift. The first is the one used above which is “dosis.” This word denotes not the thing given but rather the act of giving.  I found that so interesting because of the spiritual truth behind it. I remember how when I was young I use to love Christmas because of all the wonderful gifts I might receive. Now, granted way back then if we got just one or two things it was a lot. Kids today get rooms full of gifts and sleep late not excited at all about Christmas morning. Man, we were up before the sun. We could not wait to wake up Mom and Dad and get to those wonderful gifts under the tree. I still remember my father climbing up on a snow-covered roof with pots and pans, clanging them together and shouting “Ho, Ho, Ho.” We thought it was really Santa Clause. Well, my younger sisters thought it was Santa, I didn’t. Ok, I did think, well, maybe. Anyway it was exciting. Christmas morning. What a wonderful experience. My wife wrote a little prose entitled “Christmas Morning” I would like to share it with you.

 

Christmas Morning

 

      The still of the sunrise, creeps in quietly, with all the dreams of Christmas morning, motionless, fast a sleep in the minds of all the children. Wafting smells of cinnamon and cloves fills the air from the pies baked last night. The lights on the tree dancing with the excitement of the morning to come. Coffee just beginning to take over the wonderful smells of the morning. So much to do today, but just the calmness of the morning, renders peace to my soul.

     What a different story on that first Christmas morning. A stall, full of animals belonging to  the people who had rooms at the owners inn. The family gratefully staying there, because of no where else to go.  The smell and the noise from the animals breaking the silence and, a tiny newborn baby wrapped in rags and huddled in his mother’s arms, just to keep him warm. No cinnamon buns for breakfast or any twinkling lights on the tree, just a BIRTH OF A KING. 

     

            What a difference Christmas has become to me now that I have children of my own. And not my children only but I have discovered the real meaning of Christmas and how true it is when the Bible teaches that it is better to give than to receive.

            Let me try to wind today’s message up with a story that one of my readers e-mailed me. I have to confess that I do not always read all the forwarded e-mail stories but I am glad that I read this one.

            There was this Pastor who stood before his congregation one Sunday morning and introduced a quest speaker. The quest speaker was an older gentleman and he told a story about a man and his son on a fishing trip. While the guest speaker talked he could not help notice some of young men and woman sitting in the pews with their arms crossed looking a hundred miles away.

            The man told about one day how this father and his son went out fishing on their boat with one of the son’s friends. Everything was going well until a storm suddenly came up and the man’s son and his friend were thrown overboard. The man only had time to save one of them. This father knew that his son was a Christian and loved the Lord. He also knew that his son’s friend was not. The father did not have much time to think so he throw the life line and yelled, “I love you son.” That father then pulled his son’s friend into the boat and never saw his son again. The speaker, at the end of his sermon gave an invitation and some people came forward but the men and woman that he had noticed earlier sat looking uninterested in the invitation.

            After church that day the old man found the people that he noticed in the church and started a friendly conversation with them. They told him what a nice story he told but that they could in no way believe it. The man then let them know that He was that father and his son’s friend was none other then their Pastor.

            My friends, God has given us the most wonderful gift imaginable. Not only does He give us the gift of eternal life. He gives us His very Spirit that we may be able to give this wonderful gift to others. The ultimate gift is the love of God manifested in our hearts to one another in the name of Jesus. Give and it will be given unto you: (Luke 6:38 KJV)  “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

            God has a special gift for each of us today and we should be excitedly expecting it. God came to ths earth and gave his very life so that we could share with Him all the riches of heaven. Eternal life full of glory awaits us. All you have to do is accept it. Ask Jesus to come into your heart afresh. Let Him renew within you the true meaning of Christmas. Let God work through you to give others His joy unspeakable and full of glory.

 

            Will you pray with me?

                        Father God; forgive me of all my sins. Come into my heart and life Lord Jesus. I accept you as my Lord and savior. I repent of all my past sins and turn my life over to you. Change me Lord. Use me Father to somehow, anyhow, bring you glory. Holy Spirit, fall upon me giving me the power to overcome trials and temptations. Make me an instrument to be used by the Father to call others to His Christmas feast. Thank you Jesus for giving me life. Thank you Father for giving me a second and third and forth chance. Thank you for never giving up on me but changing me gently by the loving power of your Spirit into the person you have called me to be. I put my trust in you and know that all things are possible now that you are in me. Let me shine your truth and love into the world letting all know the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus Christ the savior is born and He lives within my heart. Amen and amen.