Christmas Eve sermon on 1 John 3:1
Text: See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
The birth of a child is something that people look forward to. You have baby showers to make sure that the little one has everything that they need. Once the child has arrived into the world, we celebrate. Thanks to technology, such as texting, Facebook, and Skype, pictures of the child go around the world. Instantly you can rejoice with the proud parents. Grandparents can instantly show off their new grandchild to anyone who will look. The birth of a child is a wondrous thing. It is another example of God’s work in our world. We know that Christmas is also about the birth of a Child, Jesus Christ. His birth was also anticipated for a long time by many people. His birth was announced to all, not by technology, but by angels. This evening, as we remember his birth, we are reminded that it was because of his birth that we have been born, as well. JESUS’ BIRTH GIVES US OUR BIRTH.
To appreciate Jesus’ birth, it is necessary for us to remind ourselves of our birth. King David reminds us of the state in which we are born in Psalm 51. There he writes, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” We are born outside of the family of God. As a matter of fact, we were not just born outside of the family of God. We were born as the enemies of God. We still see evidences of that sinful nature in which we were born every day. Every single time that we have been angry with someone, that was a sin. Every time that we were selfish, that was a sin. There are many words that have come out of our mouths that should not have. There are the times when we have torn others down, rather than defending them and speaking well of them. The list of our sins is endless. This is because we have been born outside of the family of God. We could not change that situation on our own, and we did not even want to. Paul reminds us in Romans 8:7, “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” The results of being in rebellion against God are spending our eternity apart from God in hell.
Once we see this, then we can appreciate this birth that we focus in on this evening. We see that Jesus, who is the Son of God, left his throne in heaven to be born that night in Bethlehem. He came to the earth to do everything necessary to rescue us from our situation. He became a human being so that he could serve as our Substitute. Throughout his life, he continually followed his Father’s will. He was perfectly loving. He showed care and concern for those who were in need. He spoke the truth in love to all. He did all of this in our place.
We also know that the story of Jesus does not end in the manger in Bethlehem. We look beyond the manger to the cross. It was on that cross that Jesus suffered and died to pay for all of our sins. He paid for your sins. He paid for my sins. He paid for the sins of the entire world. He suffered the punishment that we deserved. We also look beyond the cross to an empty tomb. Jesus did not stay dead. He rose again to show us that he had done everything necessary for our salvation. The birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus all happened so that we might become the children of God.
This is what John is speaking about in our text for this evening. He says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” When you hear the Christmas story, you know that it is a story of God’s amazing love. When you hear about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, you cannot help but be in awe of God’s love. God loved you so much, he lavished his love on you, that you are called a child of God. John almost seems to be anticipating shock, because he continues, “And that is what we are!” You are not just an acquaintance of God. You are not just a friend of God. You are not even a distant cousin. You, through the faith that he creates in your heart, are a part of God’s family. You are God’s own child.
Because we are the children of God, we have many blessings that are ours. For instance, we have the assurance that God will give us everything that we need for our daily lives. We are reminded of this in Matthew 7:11. There, after Jesus notes that our fathers, though not perfect, did their best to provide for us, he continues, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Our heavenly Father will continue to provide us with all that we need for our lives, from the clothes on our back to the food in our stomachs, from our homes to the country in which we live, from the ability to earn a living to the gifts that we receive. The list goes on oan don of the ways in which our heavenly Father blesses us and takes care of us.
We also have his protection. We read in Psalm 91:9&10, “If you say, ‘The LORD is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.” God continues to keep bad things from happening to us. We are not even aware of all the times that God has kept evil from us. He even send his holy angels to guard and protect us. However, you may ask, then why do bad things still happen to me, since I am God’s child? We have the assurance in Romans 8:28, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” There we have the assurance that, though we may not see it or understand it at the moment, God makes everything, both good and bad work out for our benefit. You can have the assurance, because God loved you so much that he made you his child.
Another benefit of being God’s child is that we have the ability to come to him in prayer. What an awesome thing it is to come to the Creator of the universe and know that, as our loving Father, he will hear every one of our prayers. We come to him to thank him for all that he has given to us. We can come to him with things that cause us sadness. We can come to him with those things that are concerning to us. He tells us, “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” There he promises that he will hear our prayers and will always answer them in the way that is the best for us. Sometimes, it might be exactly what we were thinking. At other times, his answer will be completely different for what we were expecting. Whatever the answer might be, we know that it is just what our loving Father wants for us.
Children also are heirs of their fathers. You and I, as the children of God, stand to receive a great inheritance. We know that, because of the work of Jesus, we have heaven to look forward to. There we will be away from everything that makes life so difficult here. There will be no more pain. There will be no more sadness. There will be no more frustration about the way that things turn out. As a matter of fact, we know that our Brother, Jesus, is already getting things ready for us. He says in John 14:2, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” There you will be with your heavenly Father for all eternity. You will be safe in his arms. Nothing can get to you there. You will feel his love without end. All of this is yours because you are a child of God. All of this is yours because Jesus became a child some 2,000 years ago.
How appropriate it is to come to church this evening. We get to leave the hustle and bustle of the world outside the doors. We come to see the Christ Child lying in the manger. We sing, “Sleep in heavenly peace.” This peace that we see in the face of that sleeping baby is a picture of the peace that is ours because we have become the children of God. For that reason, we, too, have peace. Amen.
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