Thursday, December 22, 2005

What God Wants for Christmas

What God Wants for Christmas
& All Year Round

Kerry S. Doyal -

Talk about trying to buy for Someone who truly does have everything! It is hard enough to shop for parents – if they need it, they buy it. How do you pick out something for the One who owns it all already?

Yet, God has a "Wish List," things He wants that are not yet His. Want to know what and who is on it? Want to help fulfill it?

Actually, there are lots of things on His list: His desire that we be holy, as He is holy, that we pray, love Him, love others, serve as He did… and the list goes on (see Gal. 5:18-22).

Also on His list are people: for His people to be fully committed to Him (Rom. 12:1-2), and those who are not His people to be offered to Him, by us, His priests (Rom. 15:15-16).

Priests were to present clean, acceptable offerings (gifts) to God. They represented the people to God and God to the people. We, as God’s holy nation of Priests (1 Pet. 2:4-10), are called on to present ourselves and other people to God as a gift, seeing them come to faith and maturity (Col. 1:27-29).

Find the gift "suggestions" in these two portions of Paul’s letter to the Romans: "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship" (Rom. 12:1 - NASV).

"…Ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable… For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed…" (Rom. 15:16, 18).

First and foremost, if you are one of His, He wants all of you. Not select parts, not certain days and ways – but unreservedly, unabashedly all of you. He finds such gifts quite acceptable, in fact, pleasing. All of you to Him is the perfect gift.

Partial gifts in this arena are not nice gestures, or good starts - they are insults to the Almighty. You are –as Paul reminded the hold-out Corinthians – not your own any more. You have been bought with a price – Jesus’ blood (1 Corin. 6:18-20). We have no right to hold back on God.

Gentiles (non-Jews) were defiled outcasts, unacceptable offerings. Thankfully, God has a heart not just for His chosen people, but for outsiders as well. They – we– of all people, are on His list (Rom. 1:16, 17). Do we have a heart for the left out, over-looked, and life-losers? Do they matter to us like they matter to God?

Here are some shopping tips for presenting people to God as a priestly offering:

First, seeking to bring people to God as a gift requires a measure of pluck & passion – courage and care. Evangelism can be scary, but love conquers fear. Paul was so passionate about gifting the lost to God that he was willing to swap his own salvation for that of others – his fellow kinsmen, Jews (Rom. 9:1-5; 10:1). Oh for such concern about such eternal matters.

To have any hope of giving people to God, also requires persistent pursuit. Lost people are sometimes deep in the woods, hard to find, if I may. We need not just a desire, but a drive, one that is in gear (Rom. 1:8-17; 15:7-24). Mere wanting and whimpering does little to get ‘er done (sorry).

As missionaries reach Europeans by going to Europe, so too we reach our community by getting off our duffs. It is not the responsibility of the spiritually needy to come to us, or even come to church. "As you are going," Jesus said, "make disciples" (Matt. 28:18-20).

Pleading prayer is another part of an effective Priest’s life (Rom. 10:1-4). Funny thing, we can ask God to help us in getting Him a gift. Far from keeping this a surprise, we are to enlist His help in the process of bringing people to Jesus.

Finally, persuasive proclamation of Jesus is part of the process too (Col. 1:27-29; Rom. 10:13-5). If they do not hear about Him, they cannot believe or call out to Him. How will they hear without some one to proclaim Him? Live the gospel well, and tell it too.

Remember: "God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27).

Since God wants people for Christmas, and all year long, let’s make the same pledge Paul did: "We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me" (Col. 1:28-29).

For such grand and awesome gifts for God – that of ourselves and of others who need Him - we have God’s blessing to shop until we drop.


Vicki A. Davis said...

The spammer needs to get off of this great post!

Kerry --

This is so like what I studied in my quiet time a couple of days a go. When Saul lost favor with God -- it wasn't for outright disobedience it was for seemingly partial obedience. (1 Samuel 13).

In fact, God makes it clear that he views partial obedience as no obedience at all.

"And Samuel said to Saul, "You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you." 1 Samuel 13:13-14

Wow! What a great post. Merry Christmas!

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John Frye said...

Another good teaching and with its appealing draw toward the Father's heart. Keep it up! Peace.

Ted Gossard said...

Kerry, good penetrating words about our call to evangelize. Thanks.

blessings, Ted