After making His bodily resurrection abundantly clear, Jesus ascended back to heaven. And now we await His second advent. But here’s an important question: If Jesus ascended back into heaven, where is our Gift now? Quite simply: If you have invited Jesus into your heart, YOU are the gift!
Remember on Good Friday I talked about what Jesus perfectly completed when He said, “It is finished!” It was an inside job. He came to change us at our core—we have been brought into at-onement with God and we stand in His presence just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned.
But there is one more step, an ongoing process called sanctification or as I like to say it, “saint-ification.”
Even as we are in this process, Jesus commissioned all of His disciples to Go…preach (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:18-20). That means “as you are going” or “wherever you go” tell everyone the good news of the greatest Gift ever.
Jesus also told us that the Holy Spirit would empower us to be effective at this preaching (Acts 1:4-5, 8). Notice that in Acts 1:8 Jesus said, “You will BE My witnesses,” not you will do witnessing. The Holy Spirit empowers us to BE God’s gift to the world, and to use Christ’s authority properly.
The apostle Paul echos this. He tells us how everyone can receive the Gift of Jesus. Paul then notes that people hear about this Gift because those who have received the Gift are preaching to them (Romans 10:8-15).
We are all preachers or proclaimers of the Greatest Gift. Don’t confuse preaching with being a pastor. Preaching is a lifestyle for all Christians, whereas pastoring is an office that only some Christians are called to. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach always; if necessary, use words.”
Here are three things that I think preach unmistakably.
(1) Loving, practical service to those in need (John 13:34-35; Matthew 25:34-40)
Jesus said it pretty simply: If someone is hungry, give them something to eat. This practical love is an unmistakable sermon.
(2) Loving, practical service to those you dislike—or who dislike you (Luke 6:27-36)
Anyone can do loving things for people they like, but when you bless people who are mean to you, another unmistakable sermon is being preached.
(3) Jesus-exalting fruitfulness (Galatians 5:19-25)
Paul contrasts the fruit of those who haven’t invited Jesus into their hearts with those who have. Our fruits of kindness in an unkind world, or self-control in a hedonistic world also preach an unmistakable sermon.
If the Gift of Jesus is in you, then your life IS the sermon. Preach it well!
You are God’s gift to the world IF you are revealing God’s Gift to the world in everything you say and do.
If you’ve missed any of the messages in our series Christmas Unwrapped At Easter, you can find all of them listed here.
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