UNWRAPPING THE GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS SERMON SERIES
THE GIFT OF NO-LIMIT LIVING
(1 Corinthians 1:3-9)
I had a person tell me how much God was blessing his life. How things were going so well with him and his family. Then he capped off the conversation by saying, "I guess I better get ready; something bad is bound to happen before too long."
Many people live their lives as if that statement were true. They feel uncomfortable if they experience too much success. They believe that the scales of life have a way of balancing out our experiences.
If things are on the upswing today, they are certain that it won't be long before the pendulum moves the other direction and evens the score.
The problem with thinking this way is that we tend to view life in terms of limitations:
There is only so much joy we can experience,
only so much love we can have in a relationship,
only so much mercy we can obtain before we reach our limit and have to wait for something bad to come along and balance the scales.
Have you ever known anyone like that?
Today we are beginning a series of messages related to Christmas. I’ve titled This series of sermons “Unwrapping the Gifts of Christmas”.
As we examine the birth of Christ and all that it means to us, we see that Christmas truly is an incredible gift. It threw the scales of life out of balance forever, and if we'll just allow ourselves to enjoy this gift that has been given to us, we will experience life without limits.
Jesus spoke a lot about living without limits. He was constantly challenging His listeners to stretch beyond their old way of thinking and embrace a new and living way. He promised that His followers would experience a fullness of life that few could imagine.
Listen to the kind of no-limit lifestyle he promised:
I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10)
He who believes in me...from his innermost being shall flow rivers of living of water. (John 7:38)
And all things you ask in prayer believing, you shall receive. (Matthew 21:22)
You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. (John 8:32)
He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12)
Jesus promised the best for His followers. He never pretended that life would always be easy, but He gave us His word that life with Him would be wonderful.
He promised us life without limits.
Because of Jesus
Because of the gift of Christmas we can have it all.Today,
We're going to look at a passage of scripture that teaches the principle of no-limit living, and tells us about everything that is ours in Christ.
READ (1 Corinthians 1:3-9)
Paul uses a phrase that’s hard to ignore. He tells us that we have been "made rich" by Christ. There are three ways in which Christ makes it possible for us to experience life without limits. First of all, we have been given...
I. UNLIMITED RESOURCES
(1 Corinthians 1:7) Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.
Later in this letter, Paul discusses the spiritual gifts in detail. The truth of the matter was that the Corinthians had been abusing some of the gifts, and Paul had to correct them. At this point, however, he rejoices with them that they have spiritual gifts, because gifts of the Spirit are the sign of the presence of God.
Paul says, Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:7)
Every person in the body of Christ has been given a spiritual gift. In fact, we are not limited to one gift-we are given as many gifts as we need in order to do God's will in our lives. Whatever God calls us to do, He equips us to do.
When a person is committed to doing God's will, They don't have to wonder if they have what it takes to do it-God makes available the unlimited resources of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
We have been given every spiritual gift; we have all that we need.
This also applies to churches. When a congregation dedicates itself to doing the work that God has called the church to do, they don't have to wonder if they have the right kind of leaders, or the right kind of staff, or the right kind of people-God has already given them every spiritual gift they'll need.
There is no reason for a Christian or a church not to succeed in their Christian duties. They have been equipped with the Unlimited Resources of God's Gifts and Grace.
A lady once told me, “Our church can't grow!” “We don't have what it takes to grow!” “We don't have the right leaders!” This lady failed to take into consideration that we have everything we need in God to succeed.
She failed to realize the leadership of the Holy Spirit or the gifts that the Spirit given to the Church. After talking with her for a while it was obvious to me why she said those things. She had no vision or desire to work with or cooperate with the leadership of the church. Her and several other people in her little group did not want to grow if that meant change.
Let me say again we have unlimited resources for the job if we desire (sun night) to do the job.
(Eph 2:3) we all formerly lived in the desires of our flesh, doing the will of the flesh and of the mind, and we were children of wrath by nature, as also the rest of them were.
(Psalm 37:4) Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
When Paul says "you've been blessed with every spiritual gift" he is saying that God gives us the ability--to rise to the occasion when the situation demands. Remember the saying, "Where God Guides, He Always Provides." When He calls us to a task, He also equips us to do it.
This eliminates any limitations we might think we have in life. In Christ, we have been given unlimited resources. Whatever we need to do, we can do, because God's resources are available to us. Before moving on let me give you one more scripture from Paul:
(Ephesians 1:3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
We have been blessed with ALL Spiritual Blessings. We need to start using what God has given us for the glory of God and the benefit of His kingdom. We are a blessed people.
The second principle of "no-limit living" is that we have been given...
II. UNLIMITED STRENGTH
(1 Corinthians 12:8) He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We spend to much time arguing this doctrine (OSAS) rather then relying upon the strength that God will give us if we will trust Him.
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
When we spend too much time arguing this doctrine we miss a central part of the Christian life.
The point is not "How much sin can I get away with and still be a Christian?" Don't get me wrong. I do not believe nor will I ever believe that people can continue to live deliberately, willfully and continuously in sin and call themselves Christians.
I like what Adrian Rodgers say's, “If your religion doesn't change you then you need to change your religion.
The point I want to make is that Jesus can keep us from sin, and keep us strong and faithful to Him until the end.
It is through God's Mighty power that we are able to stand. Most of us are more aware of our ability to fall than we are of God's ability to keep us strong. This lack of faith in God's strength is what is preventing many of us from doing more with our lives.
What causes most people who are in poor physical shape to remain that way?
What prevents most alcoholics from getting sober?
What prevents smokers from kicking the habit?
What keeps people from starting a daily devotional time, or getting involved in a Bible study group?
It is the belief that says "I can not permanently change my habits. No doubt they've tried in the past and didn't sucseed. Many people fear that they won't be able to stick with it. They know they can get started, they just don't believe they can keep going.
A Church member who quit smoking once said to me, "I always believed I didn't have the strength to quit. Then it finally dawned on me that whatever strength we need is available when we need it.
Jesus came into the world for us. He lived for us, and died for us and He was raised for us. As a result, we can experience His unlimited strength. This is all the assurance we need to remain faithful until the very end. There's a third principle of no-limit living. We have been given...
III. UNLIMITED ACCESS
(1 Corinthians 12:9) God, who has called you into fellowship with His son our Lord Jesus Christ, is faithful.
Many people relate to the kind of father that’s busy, stressed, involved with his own problems, and basically unavailable.
In the TV show The Wonder Years, Kevin's father was like that. He wasn't a deadbeat Dad--he provided for his family all the material things of life--but he wasn't available emotionally. And most of all, he wasn't always approachable.
Many people think this is how God is: distant, detached, and disagreeable. Jesus has done all that He can to destroy that concept. In the story of the Prodigal Son, Jesus tells of a father who is heartbroken over his son's defiance, who joyfully restores his son when he comes home. Jesus assured us that our Father was a loving, generous Father who wants to give good gifts to His children.
(Heb 4:15-16) I like what the New Living Translation say's, “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.
We can come into God's presence anytime during the day or night. He has given us unlimited access into His presence. Therefore we can boldly come with confidence to Him and receive help.
Jesus constantly reminded us that God is approachable. He is not a God that we have to wait in line to see. (waiting in line story)
We have instant access to Him through Jesus Christ.
John 14:6 I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.
When Jesus came into the world, one of the gifts He brought to us was the gift of no-limit living. He removed the limitations that holds us back, and now
we can enjoy the Unlimited Resources of the gifts of His Holy Spirit;
We experience His Unlimited Strength in our lives;
And we have Unlimited Access to His presence.
God is always there for us. He has a vested interest in seeing our lives work, so He gives us all that we need, when we need it. And through His presence in our lives, we experience no-limit living.
You can begin today by receiving Jesus into your heart as Lord and Savior. Jesus came so that you and I might have life and have it more abundantly.