return home

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

January 2nd 2011 by Joel Schultz

Christmas has come and gone but the gifts God give keep on giving. Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, describe the many spiritual blessing that shine down on us and fill our lives with joy and peace.

Click here to download the audio

Epiphany — Ephesians 3:1-12 — “The Gift That Keeps On Giving” — January 2, 2011

Now that Christmas is over, what’s happened to those presents you so carefully picked out? Are they being used? Are they still working? A good present is probably one that the person is going to use over and over again – one which gives lasting enjoyment – one that doesn’t break in a day or two – one that keeps on working.

Our Gospel lesson talks about gifts given. Often, on Epiphany, we focus on those gifts of the Magi – gold, frankincense, and myrrh. We also, at times, focus on the gifts we bring to the Christ Child. However, the real focus of Epiphany is how the Magi, led by the star, had come to see and receive God’s gift to mankind – A gift revealed not only to Jewish shepherds but also to the Gentiles. In this Christ Child is a gift which is the mystery of God’s grace revealed in the “unsearchable riches of Christ” as Ephesians 3 says. That is what Epiphany is all about – the revelation of God’s Son and the gifts He brings to mankind.

As I considered the unsearchable riches of Christ, I looked at the chapters around our Epistle lesson today and noticed that in Ephesians 1 Paul lists all sorts of spiritual blessings/ gifts we have received from God in the gift of the Christ child. Paul begins his letter by telling us that God has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph 1:3). He has not held back anything. Every spiritual blessing is ours. Every good gift in the heavenly realm is given freely. They are gifts from heaven and will last forever.

What are these spiritual blessings? Well, let’s take a few minutes this morning to review these gifts that are revealed in Ephesians. The first and chief spiritual blessing is, of course, forgiveness. God makes us holy and blameless in His sight (Eph. 1:4). Paul writes in Ephesians 5 how God gives us this cleansing present. “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (5:25-27). In Christ, there is forgiveness to cover all our unholiness and guilt so that God looks at us as holy and blameless.

Another present is that He adopts us as His children (Eph. 1:5). We are no longer excluded from His family because of our disobedience to His Fatherly commands. In Christ, we are welcomed into His household. We are made brothers and sisters to one another in the church and are children of the heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.

Still another gift, is that He gives us the faith to accept these blessings from heaven (Eph. 1:15). Our faith in the Lord Jesus is created by Him. Again, later in Ephesians Paul is explicit about the gift of faith. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (2:8-9). The very faith necessary to accept the forgiveness and adoption offered in Christ is created in us as a gift of God’s grace in Christ Jesus.

The book of Ephesians also talks of our love, a love which is a gift from God (Eph. 1:15). Paul says that we live a life of love because we are dearly loved children. We love because “Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (5:1-2). Even our love, something we often think as coming from inside of ourselves, has been given from God so that we can love others as God Himself loves us – unselfishly and sacrificially.

That’s not all. We’ve also been given the Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds (Eph. 1:17). We get to know Jesus better because the Holy Spirit is present to instruct us. The Spirit is that gift who reveals to our otherwise uncomprehending minds all the tremendous gifts we receive in Jesus.

And then there’s our inheritance (Eph. 1:18). Eternal life is ours. We receive entrance into heaven itself. Not because we deserve it, but because Jesus has given it to us when He made our adoption as God’s children possible. What was once not ours due to our exclusion from God’s family is now ours because we have been brought into the household of God.

These are just some of the gifts we have been given. There are many, many more from heaven that are bestowed on us in Jesus. But hearing again about forgiveness, adoption, faith, love and heaven is enough to show us the kind of presents we have received.

Now the question, What have we done with these gifts? Do we use them, or do we all too often forget about them as soon as we leave church and go back to our everyday lives? Do we keep them as precious gifts, close to our hearts, or do we break them in disobedience and rebellion? Do we make diligent use of these spiritual gifts or do we take them for granted and place them in the periphery of our lives?

Certainly, we’ve failed to use them. Our lives do not always demonstrate to others that we have received such wonderful gifts. Many times we hide who we are and what we have received from God so that we don’t appear too different from the people we live by or work with. Many times we do and say and think what is wrong and begin to wreck these precious gifts we have been given.

However, Christmas and Epiphany are the seasons to remember that Jesus is the one gift who keeps on giving. All those other gifts – forgiveness, adoption, faith, love, eternal life – the one thing they all have in common is Jesus, whose revelation we celebrate this Epiphany season. Every heavenly gift comes from Him and through Him and in Him – in this infant who grew up to die for us.

Yes, that baby in Bethlehem is also the Savior on the cross. Indeed, only because He shed His blood on that cursed tree does God lavish on us again and again and again the forgiveness of sins. On the cross Jesus’ body is broken for all the gifts of God we have broken in our lives. In His death, Jesus is forgotten by His friends and the Father in heaven so that we could be remembered always by our heavenly Father.

Yes, Jesus is the gift who keeps on giving. He gave Himself to be born of human flesh. He gave of Himself as He lived among us sinful human beings. And He gave Himself on the cross. He gave His all for us, to give us every spiritual blessing from the heavenly realms. That is the mystery God has made known to us in His Word. That is what has happened in us because of Jesus. That is what we can continue to enjoy as Jesus remains forever the gift who keeps on giving.

Comments

1 1:12 p.m. on September 17, 2014

travel. And though in effect at the Saami troupe who makes the modify just now, who requirements to sound property up the organic process and suppresses craving to cause your [HTML_REMOVED]a [HTML_REMOVED]href=http://robsonbutler.com[HTML_REMOVED][HTML_REMOVED] pure garcinia cambogia francais quebec[HTML_REMOVED]/a[HTML_REMOVED] a fitter send off to buy up substances that were coupled to unfavourable personal property which are inevitable for hoi polloi who get laid utilised Hoodia for centuries. all one [HTML_REMOVED]a href=[HTML_REMOVED]http://robsonbutler.com[HTML_REMOVED][HTML_REMOVED]pure garcinia cambogia extract 1000mg[HTML_REMOVED]/a[HTML_REMOVED] some saintly inquiry earlier it reaches 90 or high; that[HTML_REMOVED]s why they get the difficulty point in time they get the [HTML_REMOVED]http://robsonbutler.com[HTML_REMOVED] be wont to to a deathly respiratory organ condition renowned as the USDA certificate to let the dealer to meaning the fare and a playing period indefinite quantity of

2 10:09 a.m. on February 7, 2017

Great write-up, I am normal visitor of one[HTML_REMOVED]s blog, maintain up the excellent operate, and It[HTML_REMOVED]s going to be a regular visitor for a long time.

3 5:25 a.m. on February 28, 2017

Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn[HTML_REMOVED]t appear. Grrrr... well I[HTML_REMOVED]m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say superb blog!

4 3:21 p.m. on March 3, 2017

I always was concerned in this subject and stock still am, thanks for putting up.

5 11 a.m. on March 7, 2017

Hi my family member! I want to say that this post is awesome, nice written and come with approximately all important infos. I[HTML_REMOVED]d like to peer extra posts like this.

6 2:53 p.m. on March 11, 2017

I am impressed with this internet site, rattling I am a fan.

7 6:38 a.m. on March 20, 2017

You can definitely see your skills in the paintings you write. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. All the time go after your heart.

8 12:48 p.m. on March 29, 2017

I like this web blog very much so much superb information.

9 8:48 p.m. on April 26, 2017

Thank you for all your efforts on this web page.

My niece takes pleasure in participating in investigations and it[HTML_REMOVED]s really easy to understand why. We know all of the powerful way you render useful strategies through the website and therefore strongly encourage participation from other individuals about this point so our favorite daughter is always studying a lot of things. Take pleasure in the rest of the new year. You are doing a wonderful job.

10 6:04 a.m. on May 20, 2017

I think this internet site has got some very wonderful info for everyone :D.

11 8:07 p.m. on May 20, 2017

I used to be able to find good info from your articles.

12 4:08 p.m. on May 26, 2017

I really like your writing style, great information, appreciate it for posting : D.

13 8:12 p.m. on May 28, 2017

I really like your writing style, fantastic information, appreciate it for putting up :D.

14 6:37 p.m. on June 1, 2017

Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thanks, However I am going through troubles with your RSS. I don[HTML_REMOVED]t understand the reason why I can[HTML_REMOVED]t subscribe to it. Is there anybody having the same RSS issues? Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanks!!

15 10:20 p.m. on June 1, 2017

I[HTML_REMOVED]m really inspired with your writing talents as well as with the format for your weblog. Is that this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway stay up the nice quality writing, it[HTML_REMOVED]s uncommon to look a nice blog like this one today.

16 2:49 a.m. on June 3, 2017

Hi! I could have sworn I[HTML_REMOVED]ve been to your blog before but after browsing through some of the articles I realized it[HTML_REMOVED]s new to me. Anyhow, I[HTML_REMOVED]m definitely delighted I discovered it and I[HTML_REMOVED]ll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!

17 3:09 p.m. on June 4, 2017

hi!,I like your writing very a lot! proportion we be in contact extra approximately your post on AOL? I need an expert on this area to resolve my problem. May be that[HTML_REMOVED]s you! Taking a look ahead to peer you.

18 4:17 p.m. on June 17, 2017

Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all of us you really realize what you are speaking about!

Bookmarked. Please also talk over with my web site =). We will have a link trade contract among us!

19 10:41 p.m. on June 18, 2017

wonderful post, very informative. I wonder why the other specialists of this sector do not understand this. You should proceed your writing. I[HTML_REMOVED]m sure, you[HTML_REMOVED]ve a huge readers[HTML_REMOVED] base already!

20 7:37 p.m. on June 22, 2017

Real great information can be found on website.

21 12:31 a.m. on June 25, 2017

Some genuinely prime posts on this site, saved to bookmarks.

22 1:22 a.m. on June 29, 2017

I loved as much as you[HTML_REMOVED]ll receive carried out right here. The sketch is tasteful, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an nervousness over that you wish be delivering the following.

unwell unquestionably come further formerly again as exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this hike.

23 3:14 p.m. on July 1, 2017

I am impressed with this website, rattling I am a big fan.

24 12:04 a.m. on July 13, 2017

I like what you guys are up too. This sort of clever work and coverage! Keep up the superb works guys I[HTML_REMOVED]ve you guys to blogroll.

25 3:20 p.m. on July 14, 2017

Thankfulness to my father who informed me concerning this weblog, this website is in fact amazing.

26 3:22 p.m. on July 18, 2017

After looking at a handful of the articles on your site, I truly appreciate your technique of writing a blog. I book-marked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my web site as well and tell me how you feel.

27 10:05 p.m. on July 18, 2017

We still can not quite think I could possibly be one of those reading the important points found on your website. My family and I are seriously thankful for your generosity and for providing me the chance to pursue our chosen career path. Many thanks for the important information I acquired from your blog.

28 9:38 a.m. on July 28, 2017

I really like what you guys tend to be up too. This kind of clever work and coverage! Keep up the good works guys I[HTML_REMOVED]ve incorporated you guys to my personal blogroll.

29 1:53 a.m. on July 29, 2017

Excellent weblog here! Additionally your web site rather a lot up fast! What host are you the usage of? Can I am getting your associate link to your host? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol.

30 3:21 p.m. on August 1, 2017

It is appropriate time to make a few plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I have learn this submit and if I may I desire to recommend you some attention-grabbing issues or suggestions. Perhaps you can write subsequent articles relating to this article. I want to read even more things approximately it!

31 10:58 a.m. on August 4, 2017

I like the valuable info you supply on your articles. I[HTML_REMOVED]ll bookmark your blog and check again right here regularly. I[HTML_REMOVED]m slightly certain I[HTML_REMOVED]ll learn lots of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

32 9:26 p.m. on August 5, 2017

Undeniably believe that that you said. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the internet the easiest factor to have in mind of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people think about concerns that they just don[HTML_REMOVED]t understand about. You managed to hit the nail upon the highest and outlined out the whole thing with no need side effect , other folks can take a signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thanks

33 6:38 p.m. on August 6, 2017

Some truly great articles on this web site, thanks for contribution.

34 4:17 p.m. on August 8, 2017

Really no matter if someone doesn[HTML_REMOVED]t know afterward its up to other people that they will help, so here it happens.

35 1:08 a.m. on August 10, 2017

I[HTML_REMOVED]m really inspired together with your writing talents and also with the structure on your blog. Is this a paid topic or did you modify it yourself? Anyway stay up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a great weblog like this one today.

36 9:30 p.m. on August 12, 2017

Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your article seem to be running off the screen in Ie. I[HTML_REMOVED]m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I figured I[HTML_REMOVED]d post to let you know. The design look great though! Hope you get the problem solved soon. Thanks

37 4:47 p.m. on August 18, 2017

Wonderful, what a blog it is! This webpage provides useful information to us, keep it up.

38 2:55 p.m. on August 20, 2017

Hiya, I[HTML_REMOVED]m really glad I have found this info. Nowadays bloggers publish only about gossips and net and this is actually annoying. A good site with interesting content, this is what I need. Thanks for keeping this web-site, I[HTML_REMOVED]ll be visiting it.

Do you do newsletters? Cant find it.

39 3:57 p.m. on August 22, 2017

Real nice design and great written content, nothing at all else we need :D.

40 5:28 a.m. on September 6, 2017

I create a leave a response whenever I especially enjoy a article on a website or if I have something to contribute to the discussion. It is a result of the passion displayed in the post I read. And after this article The Gift That Keeps on Giving. I was moved enough to drop a thought ;-) I do have a few questions for you if you do not mind. Is it simply me or does it give the impression like a few of the remarks come across like they are coming from brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are writing on other social sites, I would like to keep up with you. Could you make a list all of all your social pages like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

41 4:07 p.m. on September 14, 2017

Good answers in return of this difficulty with genuine arguments and describing everything about that.

42 11:24 p.m. on September 19, 2017

You have mentioned very interesting points! ps nice website.

43 11:56 p.m. on September 26, 2017

I am glad to be a visitant of this perfect weblog, appreciate it for this rare info!

44 10:20 a.m. on September 29, 2017

When someone writes an post he/she retains the idea of a user in his/her brain that how a user can understand it. So that[HTML_REMOVED]s why this post is perfect. Thanks!

45 4:41 p.m. on October 2, 2017

Right here is the perfect blog for everyone who wants to understand this topic.

You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally will need to?HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a topic that has been discussed for ages. Wonderful stuff, just great!

46 12:10 p.m. on October 15, 2017

Great delivery. Great arguments. Keep up the amazing effort.

47 12:48 p.m. on November 8, 2017

Hiya, I[HTML_REMOVED]m really glad I have found this information. Today bloggers publish just about gossips and internet and this is actually frustrating. A good blog with interesting content, this is what I need. Thanks for keeping this web site, I[HTML_REMOVED]ll be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Cant find it.

Debug parameters