The Greatest Gift

As we are being challenged to read and study the book of John, I wanted to share some of my personal sermon notes with you to help you understand the book. I preached through the entire book over the course of 1 year when I pastored First Baptist Church Del Rio. Enjoy!

Introduction—What would you consider the greatest gift you have ever received other that Jesus? For some a spouse, for some a child, for others a home, a car, or for others, a job. Gifts are one of those things that can really brighten up your day, especially when there are no strings attached. Giving gifts can be a lot of fun as well. Many times we are on the receiving end of the gift giving, but to be able to be in a position in order to give a gift is a real joy. Gifts come in all different sizes, shapes, and can be very inexpensive or be very elaborate. Just for the record, men, inexpensive only works for a few times for the ladies. They may not tell you but you know they like elaborate gifts. You may have to save up for awhile, but your spouse is worth it. 

I didn’t come here to talk about gift giving between us, I want to preach about the greatest gift that has ever been given. God knew at just the right time, what we needed. He comes into our life at the perfect, ripe, most exacting circumstance. That is just like God isn’t it? 

Read: John 3:22-35 22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” 27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.” 31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

Pray

  1. The greatest gift to mankind has been announced—vs. 22-29
  2. Announcements are intended to grab our attention
  3. They explain to us what is coming up or what has already happened
  4. We had announcements this morning both verbally and in written form in our bulletin
  5. In our text there is an argument over who should they go to. Jesus or John for our baptism? Everyone seems to be going to Jesus.
  6. One thing that stands out is that this group remembers the announcement that John the Baptist made.
  7. They said the One you testified about, or the One you announced that was coming. 
  8. Back in John 1, John the Baptist announced Jesus’ coming, if you can recall. 
  9. John 1:15—This was He of whom I said, “He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.”
  10. John 1:20—I am not the Christ
  11. John 1:23—I am the voice of one calling in the desert, Make straight the way for the Lord”
  12. John 1:26-27—I baptize with water, but among you stands One you do not know. He is the One who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie 
  13. John 1:29—Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”
  14. John 1:34—I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of Man
  15. Announcement after announcement after announcement after announcement. How much more do we need to hear that Jesus Christ is the greatest gift ever given?
  16. What will it take for you to believe that it has been announced!
  17. In our passage this morning, John 3:27 says that a person can only receive what is given from heaven. God alone gives out good gifts. 
  18. James 1:17—Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
  19. God is generous and He allows us to receive His gifts.
  20. The Word of God is our gift from God Himself, and to believe in Jesus is to know that this gift is from heaven

Illustration—Jesus birth announced, Luke 2:8-15

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Application—Have you heard the announcement today? He has come to offer life and to offer life to it’s fullest.  

  • The greatest gift is for Jesus to become greater—vs. 30
  • Many of us have too much of certain things in our life that somehow have overshadowed other things so all we or others see is the one thing that has become a big hairy monster
  • Here is a list that you might be able to find yourself in: Too much media, too much texting, too much work, too much couch, too much talking on the phone, too much football, too much basketball, too much Barbie, too much girlfriend, too much boyfriend, too much home renovation, too much credit card spending, too much of friends, too much toys, too much reading, too much drinking, too much Facebook, too much iphone, too much, too much, and too much.
  • If you have too much of something, you can be in jeopardy of missing out of what Jesus called the full life. John 10:10
  • You may not even be aware of it. Too much of one thing or another can cause spiritual blindness. 
  • God wants your attention, but He would get in the way of your too much fun. He can be a real party crasher, if your view on God is this way. 
  • He wants you too put away your excess and allow your selfishness to decrease.
  • God wants to increase, so that He can shine through your life, in order that others would see your good work and give God all the glory!
  • How can we do that? How does Jesus become greater? How does God increase in our lives?
  • It takes discipline. Discipline to make a conscious effort to lay aside all that overtaken your life. 
  • You know how you can tell if something is more important that God in your life? By the power it has over your life. You can’t get along without it.
  • That, my friends, is called idol worship.
  • God forbids us to replace Him with other things. You cannot worship other things or a person in the place of God. Only God can receive the worship as number one in your life.
  • We need more Jesus, and less us
  • More of God, more of His Word, more worship, more prayer time, more devotion, more discipline, more God, more God, more God.
  • No other gift will satisfy you this Christmas. Only Jesus can do that.

IllustrationLyrics to More Love, More Power

More love, more power, more of You in my life.
More love, more power,
more of You in my life

I will worship You with all of my heart,
and I will worship You with all of my mind.
and I will worship You with all of my strength,
for You are my Lord

More faith, more passion,
more of You in my life.
More faith, more passion
more of You in my life

I will worship You with all of my heart,
and I will worship You with all of my mind.
and I will worship You with all of my strength,
for You are my Lord

Application—Have you disciplined yourself to have more Jesus in your life? Have made the preparations for that? Many times we say we want more Jesus, but our actions prove otherwise. 

  • The greatest gift can be received—vs. 31-36
  • The best thing about this gift is that it is attainable. You can actually receive it. God has made it available.
  • In verse 35 God says that He loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 
  • When you receive the Lord you are placed in the hand of God. What a beautiful picture of security and peace. 
  • This Christmas if you want peace, then receive the gift of eternal life. 
  • In the all the turmoil that Christmas brings, with shopping, parties, family, money, food preparation, travel, and on and on, you can really have peace.
  • In verse 36 of our text John closes out chapter 3 with this: Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life for God’s wrath remains on Him
  • Choose Life today. Choose Jesus. Do not turn Him away. If you leave today without knowing Jesus as your King, then you have chosen to reject God! 
  • Rejecting God brings about the judgment of God. 
  • Living and eternity with God is bad enough in itself, but knowing that you are eternally separated from God has got to be one of the most convincing reasons to receive the Gift of Jesus to me. 

Illustration—Certification (verse 33) is essential for many occupations in today’s market. The reason is to ensure that you can be trusted to have gone through the training it takes to perform the job according to a certain standard. In order for me to perform a wedding in the state of Texas I must be a licensed or ordained minister. A church congregation authenticates this process and signs off on a document that I must keep to prove my certification. Jesus has been certified as the Savior of the world. God has placed His stamp of approval on Him. When you accept Him as your Lord, you believe in that certification and that He is the Truth! 

Application—Have you received the greatest gift ever? You can do that this morning. Christmas will never be the same for you. You will know the true meaning of Christmas.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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