One week to go before we can open presents.
What happens to the presents we receive? Some are well used; some are broken; some re-gifted.
Some get put away… forget about them. "Ah I got that for Christmas 3 years ago, is that where it is." Never used it. Maybe some go out of fashion, no longer the in thing and so gets cast aside… no longer wanted.
Christmas is about gifts - speaking about the first Christmas - the gift of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ
He came into this world to be the pioneer of salvation- leader, author, he makes salvation a reality.
For this to happen "but we Jesus who was made lower than the angels”. Lets put this in context as it is an astounding statement.
In Hebrews 1, we have the Son of God radiance of God’s glory, created the world, upholds/sustains the universe by the word of his power.
“You Lord laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands, they will perish but you remain…"
Then in Hebrews 2:9 we read this Son was for a little while made lower than the angels- this began when the glorious radiant powerful superior Son of God became one of us, born as a baby in a manger born to be the pioneer of salvation.
Hebrews 2:3 talks about a great salvation we have because of Jesus - but it warns us not to neglect it. Not to treat salvation in the same way we can with presents. Not to drift away from the truth of all that we have been given in Christ Jesus.
So today is an opportunity for us to be reminded of the gifts of Christmas – to ask ourselves have we forgotten what we have received from Jesus, have we put them away, are we neglecting what he has given.
There are three that these few verses mention- so not an exhaustive list.
Holiness - we have been made holy.
Family - we have been gifted with belonging to the family of God.
Glory - we are destined to dwell in the glorious presence of God for eternity.
Gift of holiness
Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family.
Great gift!! We need this gift of holiness. Why is holiness such an important gift- not to be forgotten about.
Without holiness no one will see the LORD.
Remember Isaiah when sees the Lord God Almighty sitting on a throne high and lifted up-angels covering their faces, “Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty the whole earth is full of his glory.”
What was Isaiah's response? "Great. I’m pleased to be here seeing the Lord." NO!! "Woe is me, I’m ruined, I’m unclean". I’m in big trouble for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.
Without holiness no one can see the Lord.
We need to agree with God “I’m not holy, my heart is not pure- I want to see You.” Holiness is certainly not something we achieve for ourselves, No amount of human effort will generate holiness that we need to see God.
God must intervene. For Isaiah, an angel took a coal touched his lips – "your guilt is taken away, your sin atoned for."
That was a symbol- Jesus is the reality- Jesus became a man, made lower than angels - to make us holy.
Angel said to Mary Luke 1:35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God."
Hebrews 2:16–17 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
We can stand before God – Holy as he is Holy…What a gift!! Praise God for sending Jesus to become
If we forget this- we can be in despair over our lack of saintliness.
If we forget this we can become casual about God’s command to us “Be holy even as I am holy”
Holiness is important to God. Do we give it much thought?
Gift of Family
We are given the specific gift of being in God’s family. We see that in verses Hebrews 2:11. He is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters
This is The Family above all families- even if your family is the best on earth.
Jesus asked, who are my mother and brothers? His response, whoever does the will of God , is my brother, sister and mother.
God’s family is the super-family. So if you have great family or broken family, distant, disconnected family, in Christ, God has brought you into his forever family.
Christmas is repeatedly spoken of as time for getting together with family. But that is pretty difficult and disheartening if family for some people is highly dysfunctional to non-existent.
God does want us to take joy and confidence that in belonging to Christ you are a child of God. We have a heavenly Father who loves us like no parent on earth can love a child-
The Son of God became a man so that in Jesus we have an older brother – like no other. He laid down his life and suffered death for us.
Knowing who we are, what we do and think and say – Where others might be ashamed- the Lord of Glory he is not ashamed to call us brother and sister. That is an astounding gift.
Gift of Glory- We are Destined for Glory
Hebrews 2:10 "In bringing many sons to glory”
This is the ultimate goal, the gift of gifts - this is gift that is yet to come, when Christ returns.
When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
If we belong to Christ- we are destined for glory. We look at the world - it's a mess We look at our lives – it's a mess. We marvel at the truth that God is leading us to his dwelling place.
This is the gift we don’t want to forget as we live out our days. Our future is far greater than our present
2 Corinthians 4:17–18
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
A perspective of eternal glory as we live life – with various troubles, afflictions.
Faith is looking to the things unseen- assurance of hope - the glory that awaits us, so that we do not lose heart.
The greatest gift came from greatest act of humility. Leaving the glory of heaven- Stooping down to our level. The One who is rich became poor, radiant Son of God made himself nothing became a servant. The humble are exalted. We are holy, we are God children, Christ our older brother, destined for glory, we too can lower ourselves to help.
Jesus made lower than the angels in that he also suffered as one of us, and suffered death on our behalf. He is the gift. Holiness.
And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood.
Because he suffered death, as our older brother; he is exalted to the highest place, we see Jesus who is now crowned with glory and honour. We will share in his glory.
When we open presents next week:
Have we received the gift of salvation?
Have we received holiness, adoption into God family, destined for glory.
Let us not forget or put aside these wonderful gifts from Jesus, all that this great salvation includes.