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Galatians 4:4-7


Intro: We all know that the Bible tells us that it is "more blessed to give than to receive.", Acts 20:25. However, at this time of year, in the midst of all the giving and the receiving, even the biggest Scrooge among us likes to receive a gift. For many, including myself, one of the best parts of receiving a gift is the anticipation and the excitement that accompanies the unwrapping of that gift. We are thinking, "I wonder what it is?"; "Is it what I want?"; "I hope I won't look disappointed if it isn't!". Everyone in this room knows exactly what I am talking about!

Well, regardless of whether you get a new tie, a new set of bunny slippers, or that new car you have been dreaming of, nothing you will receive this Christmas will come close to measuring up to the gift God gave the world on that first Christmas. Paul put it this way in 1 Cor. 9:15, "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." He said that the gift God gave the world was great beyond description! What was the gift that God gave to the world 2,000 years ago? It was His Own darling Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, John 3:16. He gave His Son to this world so that sinners like you and me might be saved from our sins and from the wages of those sins, death in Hell forever, Rom. 6:23.

In this passage, Paul writes about the great, unspeakable gift of God. He helps us to understand Jesus, His mission and His ministry a little bit more clearly. In effect, he helps us to unwrap Heaven's gift. I would like for us to take some time today to look into this passage. I want us to see what the Lord gave us when He gave us His Son. I want us to be excited about His gift and I want us to fully appreciate who Jesus is and what He has done for you and me. I want to preach for a few minutes on this thought: Unwrapping Heaven's Gift.


A. The Origin Of His Mission - His mission was conceived in Heaven and carried out on this earth. Contrary to popular belief, Jesus Christ did not have His beginning in Bethlehem! He was born there as an infant, but He has been around for all eternity. In fact, He is the great "I AM"! He is the agent behind creation, Col. 1:15-17. His mission was planned before the world was created, Rev. 13:8; but it was carried out on this earth some 2,000 years ago, 1 Pet. 1:18-21! (Note: This wasn't man's plan or religion's plan. It was a plan born in the heart of God - Rom. 5:8, born in His love for you!) (Note: The "fulness of time". The time was right Religiously: The Jews were free from idolatry, they were looking for Messiah, they had finished their Old Testament, and they had created a system of synagogues and religious schools. All of this made the propagation of the message of the Messiah much easier. The time was right Culturally: The common language of the day was Greek. A very expressive language, know around the world. The time was right Politically: The Roman empire was the dominate power in that day. They provided three tremendous assets to the spread of the Gospel message. 1.) Pax Romana - The Roman peace provided social, economic and political stability. This allowed the early missionaries and preachers to travel freely throughout the Roman Empire. 2.) Lex Romana - The Roman Law gave the citizens living in the Empire many rights that also helped spread the Gospel. 3.) Rio Romana - The Roman roads. These highways, many of which are still in use today, served to aid in the spreading of the Gospel message.)

B. The Objective Of His Mission - Verse 5 tells us that He came to "redeem them that were under the law". The word "redeem" means "to buy in the slave market through the payment of the redemption price. To buy for oneself and to forever remove from the sale." Jesus Christ came to this world for one purpose: to die for the sins of humanity! This was His clear statement and the sole passion of His life, Luke 19:10; John 18:37. Even the prophet Isaiah saw that this would be the ministry of the Messiah, Isa. 53:1-12. (Note: He did not come to this world as a great teacher or leader of men. He did not come as an example for us to follow. He came "to give His life a ransom for many", Mark 10:45! Praise His Name!)

C. The Outcome Of His Mission - If you don't know Jesus as your personal Savior, then you might not know this but, His ministry was a resounding success! When He went to the cross for the lost, He paid a price that no one else could have ever paid. He was able to declare from that cross: "It is finished!", John 19:30. According to Hebrews, the work Jesus did on the cross was sufficient for all men for all time, Heb. 9:12; Heb. 10:10-14. (Note: His sacrifice on the cross was and is sufficient to save you and keep you saved forever! Have you experienced the power of His redemptive work in your own heart and life?)


A. It Was A Personal Ministry - Notice the use of the words "we, ye, our, your, thou" in verses 5-7. This lets us in on the truth that the ministry of Heaven's gift was very personal in nature. He did what He did for people He knew. He did what He did for people He loved. He did what He did as a personal ministry! (Note: I know that His death on the cross was sufficient to save anyone who will trust Him by faith, Rev. 22:17. However, when He went to the cross, He knew that Alan Carr would come to faith in Jesus in May of 1983. He knew what I would be before and after that eventful date and when He went to the cross, He died with me on His mind! His death was very personal in nature! Ill. His interaction with the dying thief, Luke 23:39-43.) (Note: People get hung up on "limited atonement" and "universal atonement". We have to get past that debate and come to the place where we know that He died for us as individuals! I know that He died for me!)

B. It Was A Peculiar Ministry - Jesus did what no other Person could have ever done! Any of the billions of people who have ever lived could have been nailed to that cross and not a single sin would have been paid for, not even their own! However, when Jesus went to that cross and died, He was able to pay for the sin debt of the whole world. Why? Because He was different than any man that had ever lived before or have ever lived since: He was sinless and He was God in the flesh! (John 1:1; 14; Phil. 2:5-8) (Note: What He did can and never will be duplicated! Ill. The French mathematician Auguste Comte was talking about religion one day with the Scottish essayist Thomas Carlyle. Comte suggested they start a new religion to replace Christianity, based on positive thinking and mathematical principles. Carlyle thought about it a moment and replied, "Very good, Mr. Comte, very good. All you will need to do will be to speak as never a man spoke, and live as never a man lived, and be crucified, and rise again the third day, and get the world to believe that you are still alive. Then your religion will have a chance to get on.")

C. It Was A Powerful Ministry - According to verse 5, the ministry of Heaven's gift accomplished two great things for you and me. 1.) It delivered us from the authority of a Law we could never keep, James 2:10; Rom. 6:14 and 2.) It reconciled us to and placed us in the family of God, Eph. 2:12-22. That is something religion and human effort could never achieve! This powerful ministry of Christ is available only by grace through faith, Eph. 2:8-9.


A. A Message About Our Father - The phrase "Abba, Father" could roughly be translated, "Daddy, Father". It is a phrase that expresses the intimacy God's children can enjoy with Him. This speaks of a relationship that allows us to enter the presence of God at any time to worship, to seek His help, etc, Heb. 4:16. The Lord has literally become our Father! We can be as intimate with Him as we desire to be! (Note: This was a new idea, particularly to the Jews. They had many names for God. He was Jehovah-Jireh; Jehovah-Rohi; Jehovah-Shammah; Jehovah-Rapha, etc. When they prayed to God, they used whatever name they felt was appropriate for their current circumstances. When the disciples came to Jesus to ask Him about praying to God and how to approach Him, Jesus told them to pray, "Our Father....", Luke 11:1. We don't have to memorize lots of names for God, we just need to remember that regardless of what we face in life, He is our Father! And, as our Father, He longs to be a blessing to His children - Luke 12:32.) (Note: We are no longer servants to sin and death, but by grace and through the blood of Jesus, we are the son's of God, v. 7. The Prodigal son wanted to return home a servant, Luke 15:18-21, but his Father had other ideas for him, Luke 15:22-24; 20. It is amazing but true, God saved us to be His sons, 1 John 3:1-3!)

B. A Message About Our Family - Notice what verse 6 says. It tells us that we are in this thing together. Notice "ye are sons" and "into your hearts crying, Abba, Father." The idea here is this: God has done a work of grace in us that has made us one family in Him! We are a people saved by the same blood, headed to the same heaven and indwelt by the same Spirit. In other words, there is a common thread that runs though our lives. This makes us one in Him! No big "I's" and little "You's"; just us, the redeemed children of God, in love with Jesus because of what He has done for us. Serving together and loving one another as we head toward glory! (Note: "In your hearts" reminds us that there is something powerful about our common love for Him! That love in our hearts never gets tired of hearing about Him. That love never tires of worshiping Him! That love binds us together in a way more profound that the bonds of flesh and blood. Because He lives in you and He lives in me, we are capable of fellowship that transcends time, space and difficulty. There is truly something very special about the family of the Lord! Something so special that words cannot declare it nor human minds comprehend it. Something that brings opposites together in Him!)

C. A Message About Our Future - We are reminded here that we are His "heirs". What belongs to our Father belongs to us as well! This is what Paul told us in Romans 8:17. We are heirs of the greatest estate that has ever existed. Now, when we think of being an heir, our "spiritual" minds always think of money first. We think of all our Father possesses and how He will move heaven and earth if necessary to meet the need of His child. I am glad that this is true, Phil. 4:19; Psa. 37:25, but what we have in Him is far deeper than just the financial and the material. Think about it! We serve a God Who is eternal and immortal. We will inherit that - John 10:28; 1 Cor. 15:49. We serve a God Who is infinitely holy. We will inherit that also some day - 1 Cor. 15:53; 1 John 3:2. What God has for us is far beyond our comprehension today! (Note: If you are in love with this world and what it can give you financially speaking, then what I have just said may not mean much to you. However, if you are sick and tired of sin, heartache and pain, then you are looking forward to that day when the saints will have their tears dried away by the Father in that city we are destined to inherit someday, Rev. 21:4!)

Conc: As I think about unwrapping Heaven's gift, I get excited to think about all Jesus is and all He has done for us. I just want to bless His Name for thinking about a worthless old worm like me! Hallelujah!

But, I wonder about you! Are you saved? You know, before a gift can become what it was designed to be, it must first be given, then it must be received. God has given His gift to the world. We have tried to unwrap Him just a bit this morning. God has given the gift. Have you received His gift for yourself? If not, there would be no better time to do that than right now.

Some of us have received the gift, but we don't really seem very thankful for it. Don't you hate giving someone something and they respond with ingratitude? I wonder how God must feel when He sees how we treat His gracious, priceless and perfect gift. Maybe you need to come and thank Him for His "unspeakable gift". Maybe you need to come before Him and get back to the place in your life where you lived like His gift meant something to you.

Only you and the Lord know your heart today. You do what He is telling you right now.

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