MANY of us have thought a great deal about gifts during the last few weeks. Some of us have experienced much joy in giving, others have found a measure of delight, but not nearly so much as we possibly expected, through receiving gifts. It is still true that “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” and I dare say the happiest people are not those who have received the most, but those who have given the most. Particularly is this true if your gifts have been largely to those in less comfortable circumstances than yourself, and if you have sought to minister to the needs, to brighten the homes of those in poverty, to bring a happy smile to the children’s faces, and to cheer weary and distressed mothers and fathers. It is a very blessed and beautiful thing to make gifts in this way.
This is one of the by-products of Christianity. It is because our Lord Jesus Christ has Himself taught us the lesson that “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” that we delight to make gifts in His name. Even the world itself has caught the blessed infection, and unconverted people find a great deal of joy in sharing with others. And so as we think of gifts, our minds naturally go to the Supreme Gift which God in His marvellous grace has lavished upon a guilty world. “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.”
There are four things about which I would like to speak. First, I want to occupy you with the Giver; second, with the excellency of the gift; third, with the reception of the gift; and then a word of warning against refusing the gift.
I. The Giver
“Who is the GIVER?” You remember when addressing the poor woman at the well, our Lord Jesus Christ said, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, give me to drink; thou wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water” (John 4:10). God is the Giver. I wish we could get that clearly in our minds.
A great many people think of God as a merchantman; they think that He has something to sell; that He is going about offering His salvation
to people if they are rich enough to purchase it. Thank God, He is too rich to sell His salvation. But if He were to put it up for sale; if He were to set a price on it in any sense commensurate with its value, neither you nor I could ever purchase it.
The parable in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew is one that is generally turned upside down. A merchantman came seeking goodly pearls, and “when he found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all he had and bought it.” Almost invariably people makethe merchantman the poor sinner, and the pearl God’s salvation. But God’s salvation is a free gift, and the pearl had to be purchased, so that interpretation is contrary to fact. We have nothing with which to buy God’s salvation.
The real meaning of that parable surely is that our Lord Jesus Christ came from Heaven as the Merchantman with infinite riches at His disposal, and here in this poor dark world He found one pearl of great price, that vast company of men and women who were sunk in sin and iniquity, but who are to be made into the Body and Bride of the Lamb; and having fixed His love upon that pearl, He went and sold all that He had and bought it. Where did He make that great exchange? At Calvary’s Cross. There on the Cross He sold all that He had and He shed His own most precious Blood, laid down His life in order that He might purchase the pearl which is to adorn His crown for eternity.
God is a GIVER; He is not selling to people. Take all the great blessings that we enjoy. We get them freely from God; we cannot buy them. You cannot buy the fresh air that you breathe; you cannot buy the water from the rippling brook. Yes, men can bottle and sell it, but God gives it freely. All the blessings that He lavishes upon men are “without money and without price,” and the great gift spoken of here is the expression of His infinite love.
People do not like to hear of judgment to come. They would rather listen to smooth things, and hear sweet and eloquent discourses on the love and the goodness of God. But it is because He loves us that He so solemnly warns us of the fearful consequences of refusing His unspeakable gift, the reception of which will save from unspeakable misery, both in time and in eternity.
“To-night may be thy latest breath, Thy little moment here be done.
Eternal woe, the second death— Awaits the grace-neglecting one;
Thine awful destiny foresee. Time ends and then—Eternity. “Eternity! but Jesus died,
Yes, Jesus died on Calvary;
Behold Him, thorn-crowned, crucified,
The sinless One made sin for thee. O sinner haste, for refuge flee,
He saves and for eternity.”
We invite to join us for worship at Grace Missionary Baptist Church Sunday School 11 a.m. Worship Noon Evening Service 6 p.m. Bible Study Wednesday 6 p.m.