Methodist logo

Dr. Jay P. Cook, Pastor

Home
Meetings
Weekly Bible Reading
Sermons
Events
Links & Tools
Youth Info
Contact Info


 

Storing Up Christmas Treasures

Matthew 1:18-25

Intro

What would be the ultimate Christmas gift?


The coming of Jesus Christ stands in stark contrast to the present day emphasis on spending and getting. The concern that we ought to have is not how much we spend but that we have not spent enough:


Scrooge is finally getting the message. True riches aren’t found in the stingy accumulation of wealth, but in the extravagant investment of love.


  1. Now that sounds really great but isn’t that a little romantic in nature and don’t we need to be a little more practical? Well I’m not talking about a warm-fuzzy here – l am talking about rolling up our sleeves and working diligently on making our relationships wholesome and good. Not an easy process.


  1. Sure love is the warm smile, the friendly card, the touch of hands, the fellowship of believers and the warm acceptance by God brought to us through Christ.


  1. Don’t get me wrong – it is important for us to realize and feel the warmth of love.

a. It is good to have the warm-fuzzy feeling, the soft music, and candlelight.

b. The singing of Christmas carols

c. Handing out candy canes

d. Listening to people in the community to come together for a Christmas cantata

  1. But the Scripture also says "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

  1. What is communicated here is death and agony. The holy sweat, blood and tears of our Lord are seen in this verse. Let’s never make this totally a warm fuzzy. God gave His Son so that we might live.


  1. This is the deepest form of love that you can have. This is sacrificial love for you and me.

Jesus said, There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 (NLT)


  1. Scrooge will eventually experience this transforming love which will free him from his self-imposed prison. The Ghost of Christmas Present reveals the poverty of Scrooge’s cold heart and gives his a true example of love. Let me set the stage for you.

  1. This is what happens before the video clip that we are going to watch that reveals the reveals the Cratchit’s home and Christmas dinner.

  1. A few wealthy men came to enlist Scrooge’s help for the poor.

  1. He turned them down and reminded them that he gave through taxes so that the poor could survive.

  2. He told them that his taxes paid for the orphanages and poor houses – so quit bothering him. He was doing his part.

  3. The gentlemen responded, “many would rather die than go to those places.” Scrooge’s answer was cold and hard – “Then let them die and decrease the excess population.”

  1. What kind of man would say such a thing? The Cratchits will show him the riches found in relationships. Video Clip


  1. Most of the time when we look at the birth of Jesus we center our thoughts on the fulfillment of prophecy. It is also a love story – revealing relationships. The value of relationships is at the heart of the story of the very first Christmas. Joseph and Mary demonstrate the treasures of love for each other and for the Lord.


  1. First consider that Joseph chose love for the Lord and for Mary over the culturally right thing to do – divorce Mary and publically disgrace her. You got to admire Joseph’s courage and faith.


  1. In choosing to fulfilled his marriage promise to Mary he was also committing himself to raising and caring for Christ. He was to raise Jesus as his firstborn Son.


  1. He wasn’t wealthy in fact he was a rather average type wage earner, a simple tradesman meeting his family’s needs.


B. After the scholars from the East visited in Bethlehem they had to escape Herod’s wrath and went to Egypt where there was no family, no employment, no insurance, nothing that they were accustomed to.


C. The reason behind Joseph getting a warning by an angel to flee to Egypt was because he had a close relationship with God. Message like this come to those that are in a close relationship with God.


C. They had each other and their Lord. The Scripture doesn’t say much about their relationship but read between the lines and see the holy family had a blessed / holy loving relationship.


  1. Dickens gives us a picture of what it means to be poor in body and rich in soul. He does it through the Cratchits’ and especially Tiny Tim.


  1. The heart of this part of the story is Tiny Tim – though his body is broken his soul is whole. The same can not be said about Scrooge.

1. Though tiny Tim’s body is crippled his spirit is alive and free.

2. Though poor in things Tiny Tim is rich in faith.

3. Though he has nothing we see him being thankful for he is thankful for everything.


B. Scrooge’s heart is what is crippled - unable to walk freely in love and fellowship.

1. His faith is impoverished and he knows no gratitude and refuses to give encouragement and assistance to anyone.

2. He is miserable.


  1. The lesson is rather simple. We become really wealthy as we invest in lives. We store up treasures that last forever by the giving of ourselves.


  1. True riches are never found in the accumulation of things, but in the investment of love.


  1. The first investment that needs to be made has already been taken care of through Jesus Christ – we can be in relationship with God through Him.


  1. The ongoing investment of Christmas is found in Christ life, death, and resurrection which was and is made for us. God gave His wonderful grace to us. He invested in us by giving us His Son.


2. The second investment is to value our relationships with others. Like the Cratchits we ought to say “I will value and care for those that God brings into my life.”


IV. Stop for a moment and take inventory of your relationships. Where have we neglected to invest our time, our resources, our energy, and our Lord? And where do we need to invest more? How do we rebuild relationships? Let me give you some practical relationship suggestions.


A. Take a family picture (most don’t have a recent one) and pray for each of the family members daily. Then pray for the family of God.

1. I don’t want you to think that I am skeptical but how many of us really spend time in prayer for our family members and our brothers and sisters in Christ.


2. Do we earnestly pray for one another? I email a prayer list out weekly do you print it out and pray for one another? Do you pray for the ministry of Faith Church?


B. Try doing something this Christmas season for someone who can do nothing in return for you.

1. Who can we spend time with during the holiday that we haven’t spent time with recently.


2. Are we going to be home for Christmas? Invite a neighbor to celebrate Christmas dinner with you that you know will be alone for Christmas. If they can’t get out go to them.


C. Do something that helps build or restore relationships.

1. Reconnect with a friend or relative.

2. That is what that Christmas card is for that is in your bulletin.


D. Or is there someone who has helped you in the past that you never really thanked. Invite them over for dinner or bake them some Christmas cookies.

1. How about dropping a college kid or a military person a note.

2. But even better than that – put one of those gift cards for meal at an Applebee’s or other restaurant – and tell them to take a friend. There are some wonderful two-for dinners for $20 to $25.

Conclusion:

Let me close with a story of relationships – what do you think of when a police car pulls you over. When a Lowell, Michigan, woman rolled down the window after a routine traffic violation, she expected a ticket. Instead, a police officer made her Christmas shopping a little bit easier.

“Got all your Christmas shopping done?” he asks in a YouTube video released Tuesday.

“No, haven’t even started,” They talked a bit and the officer found out what her kids wanted - Lego Friends, an electric scooter — Scot VanSolkema, the officer who pulled her over, radioed her children’s holiday wishes to a team in a local department store, who bought the items. Officer VanSolkema returned to the car with the gifts, and the woman was at first skeptical but realized this was for real and gave the office a huge hug.

He calls surprising would-be ticket recipients “awesome,” especially because many are very anxious as they interact with police. “They don’t know how to react, especially if they’ve never been encountered by police before,” he says.

When they expect a ticket and receive an iPad, he says, “that blows them away.”

UP, an entertainment network that distributes inspirational videos, paid for the gifts and filmed the video in late November as part of its #upliftsomeone campaign. Officers pulled over 50 drivers for the video, WZZM reported.

“Relationships are more important than accomplishments.” Rick Warren

And the ultimate relationship is with Christ then others.


Please click here for slides to accompany the sermon.