Christmas and the Wonder of the Gospel
An exposition of Romans 4:1-12. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, December 20, 2009.
Sermon Outline »
It was really frustrating. We could never surprise him. He always had it figured out. He would shake the box. He would ask questions. He lied, cheated, schemed and deceived. But dad always knew what he was getting for Christmas. My mother was infuriated. Not once had she ever managed to surprise him until that year. I really didn’t know my mother was capable of such deviant behavior. She got my dad a pair of boots. But she used an unusually large box and weighted it with bricks! She also stuffed it with paper so there was no movement or sound. His questions yielded nothing useful in fact she mislead him! She managed operation deception with the skill and expertise of a senior operative in the CIA. Christmas morning, as we were opening gifts, dad kept putting his off as he said, “I’m looking forward to opening that drill.” Later, “I’m going to get all kinds of use out of that saw.” “Music is going to sound great through that stereo.” Mom just smiled. My brothers and I began to look at mom a little differently that year. She had become a force to be reckoned with. Finally with a great deal of satisfaction she placed his gift in front of him and said, “Well, you better go ahead and open those boots!” She came so close but she managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. We looked at each other and shook our heads. Undefeated. Dad knew what he got for Christmas before opening his gift.
There’s just something wonderful about being surprised. The joy of the unexpected is beyond comparison. When you give a gift and it is followed by wide eyes, an open mouth and stunned silence – you know you have done something good. When a gift is described by words such as surprised, stunned or staggered you know you are in the presence of greatness. The most surprising and wonderful gift of all is the gift of Christmas. It is the coming of Christ to save His people from their sins. I worry that in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of the season, in the business of the parties, dinners and get-togethers we lose a sense of the wonder. I’m not talking about the “pagans” out there. I’m not talking about those folks who think Christmas is about Santa Claus, Jingle Bells and decking the halls – I mean us. I mean church folks who too often fail to remember and to reflect on why He came. I worry that we fail to remember that…
Thesis: The joy of Christmas is found in the wonder of the Gospel.
Text: Romans 4:1-12
Paul has just made the case that we are all under sin. We are dominated or controlled by sin. Sin touches, affects every area of our lives. Meaning that even the good we do is marred by sin. Therefore we cannot save ourselves. We need a Savior. We need a righteousness that is outside of us, an alien righteousness that enables us to stand before God accepted and loved. Such a righteousness is received by faith and made possible by the work of Christ.
Now he is going to take that argument a bit further by emphasizing righteousness by faith alone and not by works of the Law.
This is God’s gift to us.
I want you to note three things from our text.
- Surprised by the extent of Gospel grace. (4:1-5)
- Stunned by the effects of Gospel grace. (4:6-8)
- We are staggered by the scope of Gospel grace. (4:9-12)
Surprised, stunned, and staggered we stand wide-eyed and speechless by God’s good and gracious gift bound up in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now that’s a Christmas present.
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