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1 JOHN 5.1–12 NLT
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. And Jesus Christ was revealed as God’s Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross —not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony. So we have these three witnesses — the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and all three agree. Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. And God has testified about his Son. All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son. And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.”
The theme this Advent season is on God’s love for us. This morning we’re looking at God’s love through what He gave. This season and today’s scripture are about God’s gift of His Son, Who gives us life.
As Christians, we believe that sin has paralyzed creation from reaching its full potential. We realize that Jesus has come to breathe new life into a world that needs restoration. The restorative work of Jesus places the life of God within us when we have faith in Jesus. Then our faith enables us to overcome the burdens of this world; to be victorious because Christ has been victorious. The life of Jesus in us associates us with His victory.
Now the season of Advent and Christmas is our celebratory preparation for this reality I’ve just spelled out—the coming of God in Jesus Christ. The arrival of God in the flesh means that what is Eternal desires to commune and partner with that which is temporal and make it ready for glory. And I believe that we forget that we were made for glory. But that is what sin does. It distorts our understanding and attempts to re-write God’s narrative in our lives.
But here is the good news: the kingdom of God has come to destroy the poverty of our souls. God sees us as fit for salvation and living holy. God gave His Son, that we would have eternal life. And that life is found only in Jesus. Therefore, to accept what God gave—which is, life through His Son, Jesus—we then have safety and security through faith. And faith is our acceptance of God’s gift. We are saying by having faith, “I trust you God. I trust, that in your Son, Jesus, there is forgiveness and life for me. I believe.”
This is what our text today is all about, and this is what the season in front of us is all about. We will witness trees and lights, ciders and celebrations, gifts and songs. But ultimately, this season is ALL about receiving Jesus. Whether the Holy Spirit resides in our hearts or we’re hearing about this Spirit for the very first time, we are being called receive what He gave.
For me, personally, I focus a whole lot on Mary the mother of Jesus this season. Jesus is the Son of God but He is the Son of the blessed Mary, who’s charge has been to step out in faith and let the impossible be possible in her life. And this seeming impossibility, of having a child conceived in her from God, is not the end of accepting something difficult. It’s the beginning, as she is charged with raising a son whom she will ultimately be a daughter to. What a responsibility, to raise the One who will raise her throughout it all. What an act of trust, what an act of faith.
So, what will this season be for you? How will you prepare for Christmas? I know you’ll cross off names from the long gift list you’ve constructed, but what strides of faith will you accomplish?
- Will you witness to others during this season, as the focus really is on salvation?
- Will you take up new habits starting today that will draw you closer to the gift of God’s Son?
- How will you welcome Christmas into your own heart and into your family’s celebration?
- Will you understand that what is before you is a season of faith and of deep belief?
Here is your challenge, to enter one of the most marketable, material holidays of the year and tell the world about Jesus! Its a, “Go, tell it on the mountain,” moment and I pray that you do. Amen.