The Indescribable Gift

The Indescribable Gift

In a few days, we will be frequently asked, “What did you get for Christmas?” In response, we usually describe the presents we received, but could you describe the greatest gift we received?

2 Corinthians 9:15. "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" The gift is Jesus Christ. It is what we tell the world we are celebrating—“the reason for the season”.

Why does Paul call Jesus "indescribable?" First of all, Jesus is "indescribable" because of His nature. After all, how would you describe Jesus? What words would you choose? Here is an attempt taken from a portion of a song written by: Kyle Matthews and Pete Carlson and sung by CeCe Winans in 1999:

How shall I begin

To speak about a God that I will

Never comprehend,

So high and mighty

And yet closer than a friend,

The Beginning and the End.

The mystery of His Holiness,

The wonders of His humanness are

One, one and the same.

 

I scarcely understand

How a simple servant can be called

‘The great I AM’,

How the Son of God

Is still the Son of man,

Both the Shepherd and the Lamb,

The Healer and the Wounded One,

The Father and the only Son are

One, one and the same.

 

I can’t do Him justice with any one name,

The Holy God of heaven

And the humble Man who bore my shame

Are one, one and the same.

 

The Christian revelation is not that Jesus Christ represents God to me, but that He is God! If Jesus Christ is not God, then we have no God, because Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are One and the Same.

Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Immanuel means "God with us." Jesus Christ is not a man who became Divine; He is God who became a man! He emptied Himself of His glory to become one of us, born of a virgin.  So, how do you describe Almighty God, who is spirit, now in flesh as a weak baby in a manger—how do you explain that to people and make sense? His nature is indescribable!

Secondly, Jesus is indescribable because of His unique purpose in coming to earth. No one else has this purpose. Jesus Christ became Man to atone for sin and bring the whole human race back into oneness with God by dying on the cross. Never separate the birth of Jesus from the Atonement on the Cross! Jesus Christ is God Incarnate for one purpose, to bring back the whole human race into oneness with Himself. Can you describe how that is done?

Jesus is God and Man in one body. God is brought down to man in Christ, and Man is lifted up to God in Christ. The two, God and man, are made one flesh in Jesus Christ. That is the mystery of the New Covenant—man’s oneness with God through Jesus Christ! We are in Him and He is in us! The closest example of this mystery is a marriage between a man and a woman. God makes them one flesh. Meditate on this, for it is indescribable!

Phil 2:6-8 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to deatheven death on a cross!

In the Incarnation, Jesus Christ came to the earth where Adam was created, and He lived in our world in order to show what God’s normal man was like before he sinned. Then He did what no man could ever do—He made the way for man to get back to the position he had lost. By His obedience and the sheer power of the Atonement, we can be reinstated in God’s favor like Adam had before he sinned. Jesus gave us His righteousness - by becoming our sin - and sacrificing Himself to God, the Father.

2 Cor 5:21 God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

How do we explain this Gift of righteousness to sinful people? How do we describe to them Truth, which is spirit, when all they have ever known is that which is either physical or material? How do we describe God who has all knowledge when all we have is limited knowledge? How do we describe God who is all powerful and eternal when we have no concept of omnipotence and eternity? How do we describe the indescribable? Paul says that we can’t. Words aren’t adequate. Therefore, faith is required to understand the indescribable.

Heb 11:1-6 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

The angels announced to the shepherds, Luke 2:11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. They were announcing the birth of the Messiah.

The angels also declared peace on earth. The peace declared by the angels is peace that Jesus restored between God and man. There will never be peace between men until men are lifted out of their sin, their hearts and minds changed, because the Savior has come into their lives. Then we become one with Jesus Christ and one with each other, like Jesus is one with the Father.

Jesus, God’s gift, is indescribable because of His nature, because of His purpose in coming to earth, and thirdly, because of the grace by which Jesus is given.

You know, almost every gift that we give this Christmas is given because the recipient of that gift has some claim on us. Now you might not like that idea, but let us be honest. We buy a gift for our wife because she is our wife. We buy gifts for our children because they are our children. We buy gifts for our grandchildren because they’re our grandchildren. We buy gifts for family members because they are family. I’m not saying that is wrong, but God’s gift is different. He doesn’t owe us anything. Indeed, we are in constant rebellion against Him.

With that in mind, Paul says something remarkable in Rom 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God gives a gift, not because He feels obligated to give a gift, but because His love is so overwhelming. Jesus is a gift of grace. We don’t deserve it and we didn’t earn it. And there are no words adequate to describe God’s grace towards us in Jesus.

Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

When we are saved by God’s grace and born again by His Spirit, our minds and eyes are opened. Then we understand the Scriptures and the absolute Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. We realize Christianity is not a creed or a religion, but a relationship with God that illuminates us—“I see Who Jesus is! I know Him! And He knows me! I can’t describe Him, but I know Him!”

This brings us to the fourth reason Jesus is indescribable. What happens to us when we receive God’s gift?

Before you answer that, consider this: when you open your gifts this Christmas will your life be different? When you receive the gifts purchased for you by loved ones, will they change your life and make you different, or will you be the same as you have always been?

When we accept Jesus—the indescribable gift of God—we will never be the same again, because of the effects He has on our life. Psychologists may try to change people’s behavior, but only God can change a person’s personality so that he behaves differently.

The first effect of Jesus coming into our life is that we are forgiven of our sin. Now, that may be so old and so elementary that you think, "So what else is new?" However, if you have ears to hear, hear what I am about to say!

Because Jesus Christ came to atone for our sin and dwell with us, any man can be made a son of God according to the pattern of Jesus Christ.  This is the Christian revelation and it is indescribable. Those who believe and are baptized will become like Jesus by the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Jesus simply says, “Come unto Me.” When a man does come to Jesus, he is born into another domain and the effect is his whole outlook is altered. Deliverance from sin is only part of the meaning of being born from above. The reason it is so important to us is that we are sinners; but the meaning of the new birth from God’s side is that a man becomes like Jesus! God took on the life of a man, so that, man can take on the life of God! That is indescribable!

The second effect is: when we accept Jesus, we are born again into His family and we are guaranteed citizenship in His kingdom. Before Jesus came, we were foreigners and aliens, separated from God. But now, because we have accepted Him, we are children of Almighty God. Everything that belongs to Jesus also belongs to us! We are privileged children in God’s family because we accepted His indescribable gift. We did not earn it or deserve it.

Jesus Christ declares that He is the exclusive way to the Father. John 14:6, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Therefore, Jesus Christ is the name, not only for God and Man in one body, but for the Savior who is The Way for every man to get into a personal relationship with God—to become a child of God!

Thirdly, when we accept Jesus, we receive the gift of His Holy Spirit, the fullness of Christ, to live within us. The Holy Spirit guides us, counsels us, convicts us, corrects us, protects us, and empowers us to be like Jesus Christ. God, living in our flesh, has become possible for any person based on the Redemption.

Col 2:9-10 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.

Fourthly, we are given His peace—not the peace of the world, but the peace that passes all understanding. It is indescribable. It is peace with God that allows us to cope with everyday situations.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Fifthly, because of Jesus, we have an indescribable dwelling place in Heaven with God that is eternal.

John 14:1-2 Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.

I knew when I started this sermon that I would fail in my attempt to describe Jesus because Paul failed before me. Only by the grace of the Holy Spirit can we understand what we cannot describe—Jesus Christ.  The apostle Paul looked at Jesus and said, "I can’t describe Him. All I can do is fall on my knees and thank God for His indescribable gift." But the good news is that we don’t have to describe Jesus to accept Him!

Today, the Holy Spirit is extending to each of us the opportunity to see with eyes of faith the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is not in a manger, nor is He on a cross on Calvary, neither is He lying in a grave. Today, He sits at the right hand of the throne of God, interceding for us, and awaiting His Father’s command to return to earth to bring judgment and gather His Bride.

You see, the incarnation of Christ, His birth in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, was only the first of two visits Christ will make to earth. On that first visit, He came to purchase our salvation and reconcile us to the Father. He came to live, and die, and rise from the grave to pay for our sin. He came to offer all of mankind eternal life through a second birth of His Spirit.

Gal 4:19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,

Just as Our Lord came into human history from the outside, so He must come into us from the outside. Have we allowed our bodies to become a ‘Bethlehem’ for the Son of God—a temple of the Holy Spirit? Has Jesus been born in us? We cannot enter the realm of the Kingdom of God unless we are born from above by a birth totally unlike natural birth. It is an indescribable birth!

Jesus said, John 3:5-8 "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

“You must be born again” is not a command; it is a foundational fact. You cannot do it; it is the work of God, the Holy Spirit. How it happens is indescribable, but you can, by faith, believe in Jesus Christ, put your old life to death through baptism, and be raised unto a new life by the power of the Holy Spirit. What happens next is indescribable.

The characteristic of the new birth is that you yield yourself so completely to God that Christ is formed in you from one degree of glory to another. His character and personality begin to work through you by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is God living in your flesh—it is indescribable, but it is made possible—for you and me, by the Gift of Jesus Christ.

One Pastor performed a baptism service in a special way. He told the people before they came up to the platform to be baptized to take a piece of paper, write down the sins they’ve committed, and fold the paper. When they came up to the platform, there was a large wooden cross on the stage, much like we have here. They were to take that piece of paper along with a nail, and nail it to the cross, to symbolize their sin being nailed to the cross with Jesus Christ, and fully paid for by His death. Then they were baptized. I want to share the story of a woman who was baptized in one of those services.

She said, “I remember my fear. In fact, it was the most fear I remember in my life. I wrote as tiny as I could on that piece of paper the word “abortion”. I was so scared someone would open the paper and read it and find out it was me. I wanted to get up and walk out of the auditorium during the service, the guilt and fear were that strong.

However, when my turn came, something enabled me to walk toward the cross, and nail the paper there. Then I walked to the pastor to be baptized and I feared he was going to read this terrible secret I kept from everybody for so long. But instead, he looked me straight in the eyes and I felt God’s love for me, a terrible sinner. I felt like God was telling me, ‘I love you. It’s okay. You’ve been forgiven.’ As I came out of the water, I felt like my sin was washed away, I felt clean, brand new—born-again! It’s the first time I ever really felt forgiveness and unconditional love. It was unbelievable, it was indescribable.”

We offer Jesus, God’s gift, to you this morning. His invitation is for you to be reconciled to God by repenting of your sin, self-will, self-righteous, and trusting in the work that Jesus did on the cross. Put your old life to death in baptism and be born again by the Holy Spirit!

  December 2017  
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