The Gifts That Keep On Giving
|John 17 (NKJV™)|
|1||Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,|
|2||"as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.|
|3||"And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.|
|4||"I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.|
|5||"And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.|
New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.
It's possible to give without loving but it's impossible to love without giving— Richard Braunstein. Part of God's nature is that He shows His love by His generous gifts. "For God so loved the world that He gave..." (John 3: 16). Here, in the opening lines of Jesus' prayer to His Father, He requests a gift from His Father and acknowledges three other gifts—two given to the Son by the Father, and one given by the Son to us. These are the gifts that keep on giving!
"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" John 20:31.
Believe:879 is an epic journey through the book of John led by Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary of Albuquerque. As we explore each of the 879 verses of this gospel, we'll grow in grace and in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. From His pre-incarnate existence, to His public ministry, through His death and His resurrection we'll traverse familiar territory and embark on new adventures of faith.
FREE - Download Entire Series (MP3) (Help) | Buy series
Pondering the Principles:
Greek Terms: αìώνιον; aiōnion-eternal; ζωὴν; zōēn-life
Figures Referenced: Herb Forst; Edmond Stanton; Henry David Thoreau
Publications Referenced: Invictus by William Henley
Topic: Deity of Jesus
Keywords: glory, authority, humanity, eternity, gifts, when God prays
Why don't we pray and then we'll get started? Father we do thank you, for the way you have showered so many blessings upon us, gifts that you've given to us. Lord as we're about to enter a season that we will call Thanksgiving, we pause this morning and we thank You just for the way You've treated us as Your children. We honor You in this service of worship, this is about You. The songs are about You, the giving that we give is about You. We do Lord, anticipate that You will also give to us as well but we're here because we love You. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Jesus said, "It's more blessed to give than it is to receive." We know that to be true but we also know that giving can sometimes be stressful, dangerous even. If you're a husband trying to find for your find for your wife the perfect gift, let me explain. A man, by the name of Herd Foster from New York, submitted this little piece to the Reader's Digest, the things not to buy your wife.
Number one; don't buy anything that plugs in. Anything that requires electricity is same as utilitarian. Number 2; don't buy a clothes that involved sizes. The chances are one in 7,000 that you will get her size right and your wife will be offended the other 6,999 times. "Do I look like a size 16?" She might say, too smaller size won't cut it either. I haven't worn that size in 20 years.
Number three; avoid all things useful. The new Silver Polish advertise to save 100 of hours is not going to win you any points. Number four; don't buy any thing that involves weight loss or self improvement, she'll precede a six-month membership to a diet center or a health club as a suggestion that she is overweight. Number five; don't buy jewelry. The jewelry your wife wants, you can't afford.
And the jewelry you can afford, she doesn't want. Number six; don't spend too much. "How do you think we're going to afford that?" She'll ask. Number seven; don't spend too little. She won't say anything but she's going to think, "Is all that I'm worth?
I also came across something put up by American Express Corporation. They did a survey asking people, what is the worst Christmas gift you could ever receive? I was amused; I was interested to discover that what tops the list as the worst Christmas gift is a fruitcake. In fact, it is higher as the worst gift that even the category called, "No gift at all."
It's worst to get a fruitcake than no gift at all. In the survey American Express said, "What do you do with a bad gift? How do you dispose a bad gift?" 30% said, "Hide it in the closet." 21% said, "Return it." 90% said, "Give it away."
So now I'm thinking back to the fruitcake, there's a good chance that if you get a fruitcake this Christmas, it's recycled which explains why those things tastes so bad. I'm just putting it all together. It's not easy for us to find the perfect gift. It's no problem for God to find the perfect gift. God knows exactly what we need.
Now, all of that is an introduction for what we're about to look at in John 17 because in this chapter, the word give or given in one of those two forms is found no less than 17 times in this single chapter so it is a major theme. We're going to look at the first five verses. We just touched on verse one last week, I mentioned we could spend a year, I will spare you that going through this chapter but we will spend some weeks on it.
In the first five verses, Jesus asks for a gift, requests something from the Father. And then He mentions three other gifts that are given, two from the Father to the son, one from the son to you and I. So these are gifts that keep on giving. But just notice that word and how often it is used. Let's just look at the first eight verses, we won't go to the chapter but I want you to observe with me. Jesus spoke these words.
Lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come. Glorify your son that your son may also glorify You. As You have given him authority over all flesh that he should give eternal life to as many as You have given him and this is eternal life that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. I have glorified you on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given me to do. And now, oh Father, glorify me together with Yourself with the glory which I had with You before the world was. I have manifested Your name to the man that you have given me out the world. They were Yours, You gave them to me. And they have kept Your word."
"Now they have known that all things which you have given me are from you for I have given to them the words which you have given me and they have received them and they have known surely that I came forth from you and they believe that you sent me." And on and on and on it goes through the chapter. By the way, it's okay to pray for yourself. Jesus did it, it is not unspiritual. Jesus' entire life was marked by prayer generally as well as specifically.
Generally, we know that he prayed on one occasion all night. On another occasion, they got up early in the morning. So His whole life was marked generally by dependence upon the Father prayer. His life was also marked by prayer specifically. Here He gets very specific. And I think when we pray, we ought to be specific. I don't think a prayer like, "Well Lord, you know every need spoken and unspoken, so just bless everyone everywhere with everything." We'll cut, we'll cut it, it won't really do much good, be specific.
What of you were to try that at a restaurant, what if you walked into a restaurant and said, "I have a general food need, bless me." It would know what to give to you. You are specific, you point to a menu and you say "This and I'll have that."
Jesus is specific. And verses 1-5 he prays for himself. I mentioned, He request one gift and he mentions three others. Let's go through them. First of all, the gift of glory, verse one. Father the hour has come, here's the request. Glorify your son that your son may also glorify you. Now, tie that verse together with verse five and now, oh Father, glorify me together with yourself with the glory which I had with you before the world was. Now, we have a couple things going on here. Jesus prays for glory and when he does, he has two different things in mind. Number one; he has the glory of the cross, I'll explain. Number two; he has the glory that will come after the cross, heaven. That's verse five.
The glory of the cross, I think is mentioned in verse one. Glorify me Father. The hour has come, glorify your son that your son may glorify you. He is thinking and we touched on this last week. The glory moment of the cross has come. Father, we plan this since the beginning of time and now we're here. This is it, its glory hour; it's the time for the countdown. Let's get on with it because he knows that he's dying on the cross will open the door to the salvation of millions of people for the next few thousand years. So he prays for the glory of the cross.
Now you might be thinking, how is the death of Jesus Christ glorious? Well that's not really hard to understand even from a human view point is it? Some men are not appreciated until after they die. They're not appreciated in life but if they give their life as a soldier of for some cause, once they die, they are nobler in death than they ever imagine being in life.
Abraham Lincoln had lots of enemies, very vocal enemies. One was his minister of war Edwin Stanton who made no bones about criticizing the president publicly on many occasions, called him a crude and an uncouth man. But when Lincoln was shot and Edwin Stanton stood over the body of Abraham Lincoln.
With tears in his eyes, he looked down and said, "there lies, the greatest leader of men, this world has ever seen." What Stanton did not acknowledge in life, he now acknowledged in Lincoln's death.
When Jesus died on the cross, there was a Centurion who watched the whole thing and as soon as Jesus was dead, he said, "Surely, this man was the son of God." He didn't say that while he was alive he didn't see that while he was alive but now he sees it.
So that's not hard to understand how a person in death can be seen as more glorious. But that's not really the glory of the cross that Jesus is speaking of. What he was speaking of is the fact that this will bring God ultimate glory because it will demonstrate once and for all that there's no limit to which God would go in demonstrating his love. That his mercy, his kindness, his grace, his love will even go to the nth degree.
If Jesus would've just come to this earth and stop short of the cross, let's say he would've come to this earth and just smiled a lot in pep little kids on the head and said a few nice words and lived an exemplary life and did not die on a cross, then we could say, "Aha! There is a level of love to which God will not go for us. He will not die, he will not give his life, he will not sacrifice his son but now it's different. Now we can see the Father who would look down and his son as he's on a cross bleeding, covered with the spit of the man he came to save and we go, his love knows no limit.
And truly we would say what Paul the apostle said in Romans chapter 8, "If God did not spare his only son but gave him up for us. How will the not then freely give us all things?" If he will give us that gift, sky is the limit. Glorify your son, that's the first meaning of the gift of glory. The second is different. Look at verse five a little more carefully. Now Father, glorify me together with yourself with the glory which I had with you before the world was. He's talking now about a prehistoric, preexistent glory that he shared with the Father.
It's hard for us to imagine, we can only dimly imagine what it's like to leave heaven and come to earth. The closest I ever came is the time I went to India; I have never been to a third world country. I've been to other places, I've never been to a third world country and India is as third world as they get. When we were flying into Mumbai which used to be called then Bombay, I remember as we are flying in, I said to a passenger, I said, "Now we're way up in the air." we're still circling I said, "What is that smell?" We're up in the sky he said, "You are smelling the city of Mumbai." I said, "You've got to be kidding." Because there's the slum down there with over 1 million people just in the slam, not the city was millions in the city. Just the slum of the city has over a million people, I did a little research. It's so congested that's slum there in some places there's 18,000 people per acre.
Living in on top of each other and little plastic bag walls and cardboard walls and the squalor and the and the fizzes in the streets next to their water supply and it's just -- it's unbelievable to touch down and then to walk and I walk through those slums. And I thought, this is their daily existence, it's only my temporary inconvenience but it's their daily existence. And I thought I cannot wait to leave this place. I want to go back home, I've never know -- all I knew was America.
Okay, so now, that's just a dim little insight into leaving the glories of heaven and coming to a feeding trough that's where the manger is a feeding trough of animals in Bethlehem to go from glory from the throne to the manger. And it's much more than just that. It's what Jesus had to put up with for 33 years. What he had to see in terms of rebellion and sin and hatred against God and his ways and certainly against himself is God's son. Jesus came unto his own, the bible says. His own people and his own did not receive him.
So here is Jesus longing for that glory back, longing to go back to where he had come from the glories of heaven. That's what he knew, that was home turf. Sometimes we get a little glimpse into the glory of Jesus while he was on earth. Think back to the transfiguration of Mathew 17. Remember the story of Jesus takes a few of these disciples and on top of a high mountain he has transfigured with Moses and Elijah, that's what the bible says.
"Jesus' appearance changed so that his face shown like the sun and his clothing became dazzling white." We read that and go, "Wow! That's a miracle. How cool would that be to see the miracle?" I look at it differently; I don't think it was a miracle that he shined then. I think it was a miracle that he didn't shine all the time. But it just leaked out every now and again like here. That's the glory he longed for in verse five.
Question, did the Father answer his prayer? Oh, yes he did. Jesus died, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and Paul the apostle said in Philippians 2, "God has highly exalted him and given him a name that is above every name. That if the name of Jesus every name should bow in every tongue should confess. The first murderer, Steven when he was about to be stoned, the bible says, he looked up and he saw heaven open and said, "Look, I see Jesus standing at the right hand of God." He saw him in his glorified state not the serving state.
And when we get to heaven, in Revelation chapter 5 tells us what the anthem of heaven will be like, worthy is the land, here's the glory, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing." In every creature in heaven, on earth and under the earth and as such as are on the see all that is in them I heard saying blessing and honor and glory and power be to him who sits on the thrown and to the lamb, forever and ever.
Now, put verse five, couch verse five now in that. "Give me the glory that I had with you before the world ever was." Fast forward. There's coming a day in heaven when the New Jerusalem will be the capital city and John said, "That city has no need of sun or moon for the glory of God illuminates it and the lamb is its light."
So why is Jesus longing for that glory? Because that's home man, that's his home turf, that's his environment, that what he knew that's why he refer -- we call it heaven, he refer to it as my Father's house. In my Father's house there are many mansions. God, I want to glorify you and then I want to go home, that's what he's praying. And today, that's where he is, he's back home. And he's made a promise to you, he said, "I am going to prepare a place for you." That is what I want you to just think of. If Jesus Christ who had come from glory to the earth for 33 years in a temporary situation long to go back to glory, long to go back to heaven.
Just think about that. If you have a loved one who has died or is dying who was a believer. That's where they're going to. If Jesus knew it was what it was like in it long for with that kind of death, how cool it must be. That's why I believe I've said it before but I believe that that the last breath on earth as labored as it might be as painful as it might be and I've watched my own family take those last breaths.
I'm convinced that they know Christ immediately their next breath is "Wow!" something like that. I've heard people saying, oh, heaven it's going to be so boring, I don't want to sit on the cloud and play a harp.
But guess what, I don't either. A guitar maybe, a harp no, a ukulele I can do that but not a harp. It's not going to be boring it's going to be glorious, that's why when people who know Christ die, I am sad, not for them I'm sad for the family, I'm sad for us, I'm sad for the loss.
But for that person who is in the presence of God, I envy them. I don't go, "that poor person, he died, he's in heaven". Oh yeah, I'm real sad for that. I cannot be sad. The worse thing that happened to them had turned out to be the best thing. They're in glory.
We suffer. I'm not minimizing that but not that person. The gift to glory to Jesus Christ for he mentions three others here's the second the gift of the authority, verse two. "As you have given Him that is you Father have given the Son, Him authority over all flesh". Now stop right there. This is a gift Jesus in prayer acknowledges the Father has given him authority over all flesh. How much authority did Jesus have over all flesh? Good answer, all. Because before he leaves the earth, Matthew 28, he says to his disciples these words, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth." That covers it all every bit of it.
Think of the authority that was displayed in Jesus' life. First of all when Jesus taught people, he taught with authority. He gave the Sermon on the Mount, and on Matthew chapter seven at the very end, it says these words, "And the crowds were amazed at his teaching because he taught them as one having authority and not as describes. His voice had to be something to command thousands of people without a PA system. No I cheat, I have microphone and a speaker system, that's very helpful.
But Jesus had thousands of people outdoors with ambient noise and his voice had to command them and there must have been a certainty and the persuasiveness and the power to the tone of his voice when he spoke and I can imagine that when I read Jesus' saying anything. He spoke with authority, not as the scribe. In other words, he didn't hide behind the opinions of the scribes, he'd say things like you've heard that it was said by those of old, but I say unto you and he mailed it. He spoke with authority.
Second, he forgave people with authority. He never said, "Well I hope you can get forgiven for that". He said to a paralyzed man one day, "Your sins are forgiven you. Be of good cheer." And people around heard them, they said, "Who does this guy think he is? God?" Only God can forgive sins. And Jesus said, "How come you guys are thinking evil thoughts just so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" and he said to the paralytic, "You're healed, rise, take up your bed and walk".
I want to show you that I have power on this spiritual realm by making it as well as the physical realm that nobody else could do. So when Jesus said, "I forgive you", or "You are forgiven", there was that air of certitude in his voice that caused the persons to walk with their heads raised and walk away, I'm forgiven.
Also Jesus had authority over the natural world. If you read any of the gospels you will come across miracles. He will heal the sick, he will raise the dead, on one occasion he spoke to a storm and said, "Peace, be still" and it just calm right down. Remember the disciples said, "What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" Ever thought what it was like to be a disciple, as you are learning, you're coming the grips with, it's dawning on you. I'm dealing here with God in a human body the kind of power and authority that he displayed.
Not only that but he showed that he had authority not only over the natural world but over the supernatural world. People who were oppressed by demons, he would cast them out. One day he was in a synagogue and a guy there in the worship service was possessed. And Jesus cast the demon out, the people there said, "What a word is this for with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits and they come out."
They knew about dark forces, they just didn't know what to do with them. And here comes this guy with one sentence and taken care of. Power, authority now only that, but Jesus had power over life and death.
Not just other people but his own. Jesus on one occasion after telling the fact that he's going to go to be crucified and that he arise from the dead. Then he explained that he himself has sovereign authority and control over his own life and death. Listen to these words to John chapter 10. "I laid down my life only to take it up again. No one takes it from me but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again, this command I have received from my Father."
So he has all authority. Oh I left one out. He has authority over judgment. Jesus said in John 5, "The Father judges no one but he has entrusted all judgment to his Son." Now in hearing those words, after noting that Jesus had authority over every other realm, natural world, supernatural world, et cetera, et cetera, now when Jesus says, "Oh by the way, I also have authority over judgment." He would be who've the person listening to those words to get right with Jesus. It would be who've of the person listening to those words to say not how can I escape his authority because you can't.
All authority means all authority. No, rather you should say, "How should I respond to it?" And I'll give you the answer. You should respond to it willingly, voluntarily. If he has all power and all authority and will ultimately be your judge and the bible says, "One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess", why not do it willingly now, instead of by force later?
When I was preparing this message, a line came to my mind from William Henley's famous poem called "Invictus" which says, "It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul". Yeah right. You might feel that way temporarily, but Jesus says "I have authority over all flesh". It was a gift that he acknowledged the Father has given him.
So we covered two, the gift of glory he asked for. The gift of authority, he acknowledges that he has. Here's the third, the "Gift of Humanity". Oh, this is a good one. Look at verse two again, "As you Father, have given him Jesus the Son, authority over all flesh that he should give eternal life", now watch this, "to as many as you have given him".
I went through this chapter and I found that phrase seven times here as many as you have given him. I don't want to dig all seven up because of time but I want you to notice a few. Look at verse 6, "I have manifested your name to the men you have given me out of the world. They were yours, you gave them to me. They have kept your word".
Verse 9 "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those you have given me for they are yours". Verse 11, "I'm no longer in the world but these are in the world and I come to you holy Father, keep through your name those whom you have given me."
May I ask you something, fellow Christians, if you are a Christian? Have you ever though of yourself as being a love gift from the Father given to the Son that is exactly what you are? Now from an earthly perspective, when we come to Christ, when we received Christ, we say it this way. "I've given my life to God, that's not how God sees it". God sees it? No. I the Father have given your life to my Son. You see God the Father knew that his Son needed a group, a people. Jesus called it the Church. "Upon this rock, He said, I will build my church", means called out ones, called out from humanity to be the micro cost of humanity, a believing ones.
You are a love gift; give your life to Christ. God gives you the Christ. That's from heaven's perspective, you are a love gift. Jesus gave this parable. "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field when a man has found it, he hides it.
And then in his joy, he sells of that he has and he buys that field". And what is that a parable about, I've heard people say, "Oh that's a parable of us finding God, and we get word of everything to have God. He's worth us giving worth of everything to have him". I don't think that's the meaning of the parable. First of all, you can never buy God. Second of all you don't have enough worth anything to sell to get him. Third, when Jesus unlocks the meaning of the parable, he said this, "The field is the world." The field is-- you don't buy the world to get God. Here is a picture of God not you and me, it's a picture of God buying the world through his Son's blood on the cross so that he can find the treasure in the field which he says, it's you and I.
We are the treasure, it's his people, it's his church, it's the treasure. It's worth it for the joy that was set before on and the bible says, "Jesus endured the cross despising the pain. He saw you and he thought, "Is this worth the pain, they will be mine". The Father gave you to the Son as the gift of humanity.
Here's the fourth and final gift. It's the "Gift of Eternity". Now this one's different from the previous three. The first one is the gift Jesus asked for from the father, the second two are simply acknowledgments that the father has given authority and humanity to Jesus, but this fourth gift is the gift that we get from Jesus. Verse 2 "As you have given authority over all flesh that he should give eternal life to as many as you have given him" and then in verse 3, it's explained, "and this is eternal life that they may know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent".
So do you see the difference here, this is the gift we received from Jesus, "Oh, there are many more gifts than this, but this is the first one, others follow". The first one, the most important one is we get the gift of eternal life. Now let's put it all together, let's connect all these dots of what we've been talking about this morning. Jesus says, "Father I want my glory back so that that would bring ultimate glory to you". How? How will that work?
Simply by Jesus exercising his authority that came from the Father, he'll raise himself from the dead then taking the humanity called the Church that he's going to work with and with his authority and with the humanity that God has given him, he's going to take that into eternity. And that would be theme that runs throughout this chapter.
That he would give eternal life to his many as the father has given to him and a word about that term, Eternal Life. When we hear about eternal life, you know what we typically think of? We think about life that goes on and on and on and on and sort of like the eveready bunny, just keeps going and going and going and going that's eternal life, it's life that just keeps going and going and going, it's longevity. That really doesn't quite cut it. The word in Greek the two words "aionia zoi", I like to look at it better than saying eternal life age abiding life. It is a quality of life that begins now. And it does go on and on and on but it's the quality that begins now and continues forever.
And you need to see it that way. Because technically, every person on earth even the most wicked person has eternal life, their life would go and on and on and on, but not in heaven. This is something different. This is a quality of life that begins now and carries all throughout eternity. And I think I would tie this phrase eternal life with something Jesus said in John Chapter 10. "I have come", he said "that they might have life and have it more abundantly," I like to say, "to the max". One translation says "to the brim and overflowing".
I've come that you might have life that means now, to the brim and overflowing. Henry David Thoreau said, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation". Jesus said, "but my plan is that they would have life to the brim and overflowing". I wonder if you live in Thoreau's camp or Jesus' camp.
Eternal life. Now notice something in verse 3. Jesus describes eternal life not chronologically, not expansively, but relationally. Look at how he defines it. And this is eternal life that they may know you. Se that's something now, not that they will know but that they may know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sinned, when the bible here talks about knowing God it does not mean knowing information about God or having an awareness of God, it means a personal experiential relationship with God.
Eternal life begins now by knowing God through Jesus Christ and it lasts forever and ever and ever. It's when you receive the gift and then there's more to follow. By the way, a gift is only worth something if you receive it, am I right? If somebody says, "Here's a gift", and you go "huh" and you don't grab it, receive it, open it, use it, so what?
So Jesus is willing to give, verse 2 eternal life. And he will give it to all those the Father has given to him. That's election. The gift has to be received and then there's more to follow. I want to close to the little story I came across. It was about a man who went shopping, it's Christmas time, not now but when the story took place few days before Christmas and this guy recognizes that there's some people in his Christmas list that he didn't buy for and so now he's a little bit guilty and he thinks, "Okay I have to go to the store and pick up that last minute gift", you know that's like.
Okay, the malls are crowded the store he goes is super crowded, he can't find the parking space, finally finds one, as he is walking he's thinking, "My feet are tired, why did I pick this day? Why am I doing this?" The lines are long, he stands in a long cashier line and as he was standing there. There's two little kids in front of him. He guesses the boy is about 10 and the little girl probably a sister is about 5. And what he notice is, is just how filthy they are. Disheveled, her hair is messed up, there's remnants of whatever meal they last ate on their mouths, their clothes don't fit, they're dirty, so obviously they haven't had new ones for a while.
And finally the line moved towards the cashier now waits on these two children. Here's the story. That would be $6.09 the cashier said. The boy laid his crumpled dollars on top of the stand while he emptied his pockets. He finally came up with $3.12. "I guess we'll have to put them back", he bravely said, "we will come back some other maybe tomorrow". With that statement, a soft sob broke from the little girl "but Jesus would have loved those shoes", she cried. "Well, we'll go home and work some more, don't cry, we'll come back", he said.
Well quickly, I handed $3 to the cashier, these children had been in line a long time and after all it was Christmas. Suddenly, pair of arm comes around me and a small voice said, "Thank you, sir". I looked down. "What did you mean when you said, Jesus would like the shoes?" I asked. The small boy answered, "Our mommy is sick and going to heaven. Daddy said she might go before Christmas to be with Jesus". Then the girl spoke, "My Sunday school teacher said the streets in heaven are shiny gold like these shoes, won't Mommy be beautiful walking on those streets to match these shoes?" My eyes flooded as I looked into her tear-streaked face. "Yes, I said, I'm sure she will".
Finally, I thank God for using these children to remind me of the true spirit of giving. God gave the greatest gift. It's the gift that keeps on giving. It's the gift of his Son on a cross that allows him to give eternal life and many more follow. It begins now but enables us to walk the streets of heaven forever. Lord, thank you for the gift.
Thank you for your Son. And thank you for that most famous of all verses that some said of so perfectly, "For God so loved the world, that He gave his Son". Here Jesus acknowledges that Father, here we are talking to you even as Jesus was talking to you 2000 years ago. As he was asking for that gift of glory, acknowledging the gift of authority and humanity, we're thankful for the gift of eternity. For eternal life, age abiding life begins now and carries us all the way to those streets of gold that that little boy and girl spoke of. Lord I do pray, we do pray for anyone with us this morning who doesn't know Jesus.
That that information they know about you, they know about him, they have an awareness of a historical figure by that name, but that knowledge is not personal, it is not experiential. I pray Lord that that would be changed that some would receive the gift of eternal life. Open the package, delight in its content, live the life as a follower of Christ. I pray Father that people who come here will not be content with just coming to church but be content with nothing less than walking with Christ and knowing God and knowing Christ. In Jesus' name. Amen.