25 Dec 2022

Greatest Gift – “The Son Of God” [Isaiah 9:1-7]


Jesus is the greatest gift of all. "But why? I'm not even looking for Him. I don't need Him!" you may say. There are 3 reasons why He is the greatest gift: 1. Greatest Satisfaction. Perhaps you are thinking that if only you have the car, or the condo, or the baby, or the wife. . . you'll be happy. But the question is "will you be absolutely satisfied forever with that car or condo? " The reality is that you won't. We are created by God, and created for God. Nothing but God can fill the chasm in your heart. People struggle in guilt, shame, fear, emptiness and an endless search for happiness today, because they are cut off from God. Sin has separated man from His creator. Enter Jesus! He came to give abundant life. He came to bring eternal life. He came to save us from our sins, so that we may be restored to our God and Creator. Knowing God is what truly satisfies! Jesus alone gives the greatest satisfaction.  2. Greatest Savior-King. Jesus is not just a weak, helpless and vulnerable baby in a manger. He is the Greatest Savior-King. Isaiah 9 shows that He alone brings hope, light, joy and freedom to a people sitting in darkness, gloom, anguish & contempt. He is the great savior-king who is named "Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!" The gift of Jesus Christ is the gift of the Greatest Savior-King ever. 3. Greatest Sacrifice. God grace His obly begotten Son to suffer and die for our sins. This is a most costly gift. This shows the generous heart of the Father for undeserving sinners. Jesus is the Greatest gift, because He represents the greatest sacrifice. In conclusion, you and I are presented with this greatest gift. He is the only way to God (John 14:6). And you have a choice today to turn away from Jesus, or to repent and believe in Him. John 3:16 says whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. I pray you'll receive the greatest gift today! Here's wishing you a truly blessed Christmas!



Sermon Transcript

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Christmas is a time for festivities, for celebration, for gifts and for exchange of gifts. So my son asked my wife some time back, what will I have for Christmas? My wife answered almost immediately, you have Jesus Christ.

I don't think my son was looking forward to that answer. And maybe some of you would say, that's very cliché, that's something you say for the sake of saying. But no, I… I think my wife really means it. She believes that the best gift for my son is the Lord Jesus Christ. And I absolutely agree with her.

So why do we say Jesus is the ultimate gift, the best gift, the gift of Christmas? Why is the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, the best gift you and I can have today? You, you might disagree, you say, I don't think so. So I want to spend this time with you, I appreciate your time together with us this Sunday morning. And I just want to explain why my wife and I, and perhaps many here at Gospel Light and across the world would say Jesus, indeed, is the greatest gift of all.

[1] The Greatest Satisfaction
First of all, I’d like to tell you that Jesus is the greatest gift because He alone gives us the greatest satisfaction.

I was with our youth group this week, they had a youth camp. I joined them for a kind of a game session and they played this game: name three things in five seconds. So, within five seconds, you're supposed to come up with three responses to the question the game master asked. For example, name us three friends you have. So within five seconds, you're supposed to give the three answers. Ah… Name three kinds of milk - cow milk, goat milk, human milk, huh, hah whatever that may be. Or name three countries that start with the letter U.

So as you are thinking about the three countries, there are; but as you're thinking about the three countries, there was this question - name three things you cannot live without.

Oh, Matthias say water and food. Very good! That was what I thought. Maybe some who are more godly here or more holy, you'll say Father, Son, Holy Spirit. But almost immediately, the boy who was asked this question responded: TV, handphone, computer! Different generation we live in.

That goes to show people value things very differently. To some of us, these things are indispensable. To others, these things bring us the greatest satisfaction. So how can you say Jesus is the greatest satisfaction? To me, you would say, it's not Jesus, it's a car. That would bring me ultimate satisfaction. It's a house, it's a LV bag. It's a laptop, it's a phone, it's a wife, it's a baby. These things will give me ultimate satisfaction, it's not Jesus. I don't agree with you, Jason!

Now, let me ask you then. Suppose you have your car, your LV bag, your puppy, your baby, your house. Is that satisfaction ultimate and complete in that you will never want anything else anymore and that you will be completely satisfied? Wah so fast ah, the answer no.

Let me illustrate this. Before we went on a trip to US, my father gave my sons a certain amount of money. To me, too much. But he gave them a certain amount of money so that they can buy whatever they want. And of course my sons would reminded, would be repeatedly reminding us, I have this sum of money you know.

So along the journey, along the trip, buy and not, not all but one of them, I won't name who, would buy and buy and buy. Now to…to be fair, he was really, I think quite self-controlled. He didn't buy the expensive stuff; he buys small stuff. Little things that do not maybe cost as much, but he'll buy and buy and buy, because to him, if I have this, I'll be satisfied. But after he got this, to the next stop, to the next souvenir store, to the next tourist attraction, not so satisfying anymore; I need another one.

So throughout the trip, he bought eight things. And when we got home, he said, Daddy, can you go to Shopee and buy for me some more. He's not satisfied! We buy and I mean, the money is still not used up yet. So I.. I'm sure I'm going to hear more from him. But it goes to show, the human heart is very difficult to satisfy. Ten things and still he's asking for more.

But it's not him alone. He's just showing me who we are. In reality, we all are always looking for the next thing that will satisfy us. But let me tell you, there's nothing in this world that can satisfy the cavernous longing in your human heart.

The reason is because we are created by God and we are created for God. The human heart is made to adore and to know and to worship and to relate with God and nothing else can fill this heart. It was Augustine, a Christian who lived a long time ago who famously said the human heart is restless until it finds its rest in God.

There is no ultimate satisfaction in the things of this world. You can only, let me say this, you can only be satisfied in God. But the reason why we are not able to find that joy and peace and satisfaction is because you and I today, in reality are cut off from God.

We don't know God. We don't have a right relationship with Him. And that's all because of our sin. The Bible begins with this tragic story in paradise, man chose to rebel against God, man chose to go his own way, and therefore he's evicted from the Garden of Eden, he’s evicted from the presence of God, that tells us we are cut off from Him.

Therefore today you and I struggle with guilt and shame and fear. And left to ourselves, we have a sense of emptiness, we're always searching for meaning and purpose because we are cut off from God because of our sin. Enter Jesus Christ. He came so that we, you and I can be restored to a right relationship with God. That's why He can say, I came that they might, they may have life and have it abundantly.

Now Jesus did not come promising you that you’ll have a car or condo or a beautiful mansion; He didn't promise any of these things. These things do not ultimately matter. What matters is knowing God because that is what abundant life consists of. Elsewhere, He said, You have given Him, that is His prayer to God the Father; You, God the Father, have given Him, that is the Son, referring to Himself, authority over all flesh, to give eternal life.

Jesus came to give you abundant life, Jesus came to give us eternal life. You say what's eternal life - just merely existing forever. No, eternal life is about knowing God. You, the only true God and Jesus Christ to whom You have sent. See, you and I are made to know God, but we are cut off from God because of our sin and Jesus comes to restore that relationship with Him.

So, 2,000 years ago, there lived a woman, who was struggling with guilt and shame and fear because she was an adulteress. She has had many men in her life, many husbands; she knew that was not right. She was searching, waiting for someone who would save her from her sins. And on a day that she did not expect, in the noon day when nobody will go out to draw water because it's too hot, she being an adulteress, had to be there at that time so that no one would see her.

She met with this man, he's, she's never met before and she asked for water. The man then said to her, everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.

She met with Jesus. In fact, I say Jesus went to Samaria to look for her. And Jesus said to her, you know the water I drink, I.. I draw for you to drink from the well. You drink it and you'll be thirsty, it never completely satisfies. But I am going to give you something that will satisfy you forever. The water that I will give to you and if you will drink it, you will never be thirsty again.

What's the water you're talking about, Jesus? The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. Jesus is saying, knowing the Father and knowing the Son, being in a right relationship with the Father and the Son is what ultimately satisfies.

So, why do we talk about Christmas? Because Christmas is about this great news that God has sent His Son Jesus, through the womb of the virgin Mary, to be born into this world so that He will save His people from their sins. So that you and I will no more be evicted from the presence of God but we can be reconciled with Him. That's why Christmas is about Jesus. Jesus is the greatest gift of all because He's the Only One who can bring us the greatest satisfaction to fill that chasm in our hearts.

[2] The Greatest Saviour-King
Let me share with you why Jesus is the greatest gift. Not only is He the greatest satisfaction, He is our greatest Saviour-King. When we think about Christmas, we think about the manger, we think about a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes: very weak, very small, very humble, very vulnerable. And to many people's mind, Jesus is just a weak little baby. Oh, but don't forget, the Bible tells us that this little Baby is also the great Saviour-King.

And that's what we read of in Isaiah; I know you read that chapter and you say what in the world is it all about? Well, it's about a great Saviour-King. It speaks of a time when Isaiah was speaking to the nation of Judah. They were facing invasion from foreign powers. And Isaiah is kind of telling them - the people, you don't have to fear.

Yes, there is gloom and anguish and contempt in the northern part of that territory. They have been captured. Zebulun and Naphtali have been captured or will be captured. They will be no more like what they used to be. They will be a people living in anguish and contempt and gloom and darkness and pain. But that's not going to last because in the latter time, He will make this glorious, this place glorious.

This place that was first invaded will also be the place of light and glory and joy as he goes on to explain. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. Goes on to say in verse 3, You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you with as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. The yoke of his burden, the imprisonment, the slavery; the objects that are pictured here: yoke, staff, rod, they will all be broken.

As in the day of Midian, now to us Midian means nothing but to the Jews, they're very familiar. It reminds them of a time during Gideon's leadership. Gideon was used by God to free Israel from the bondage of the Midianites.

So Isaiah is saying just as God had delivered Israel during Gideon's time, there will come a time where God will deliver Naphtali and Zebulun. There will be joy, there will be peace, there will be light. There will be the end of all wars. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. Finally, there will be beautiful peace.

So there will be a time of great difficulty for the people of Israel. But then after that, there will be a great time of light and joy and peace forevermore. And all that is because a son, a child is born, a son is given for because all these things will come to pass. By the way, if you have noticed, it’s spoken of as if it has already come to pass. Even though it's in the future, Isaiah is speaking of that event in such certainty that he writes it as if it is already come to pass.

And its certainty is rooted in the person of Jesus Christ. Now we, today, if you see in Christmas cards and shopping malls, you will see Isaiah 9:6 and 7, and everybody understands this is about Jesus. Jesus is that Child who is born, the Son who is given; this part speaks of His nativity, His birth, and Jesus is the One who will deliver us from our sins.

We know this is Jesus, because Matthew later on, in his book - the book of Matthew, wrote in Chapter 4: He, that is Jesus, went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali. Interesting, these two geographical locations that we read earlier, and Matthew immediately says, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah (Chapter 9) might be fulfilled: The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light.

Ah… Matthew is helping us interpret that Isaiah Chapter 9 is referring to Jesus Christ. So that when Jesus entered Capernaum, he says, the fulfilment is coming soon. So we see the Nativity of this Special Person, this Saviour-King. He’s a child who is given to us, a Son who is given. It is speaks of His maleness, it speaks of His humanity. But not just the Nativity, we also read of His nation. The government shall be upon His shoulder. He will be a King, He will be a Ruler, He will be a Leader.

And then we read of His Name. His Name is special. His Name is in four parts. His Name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Wonderful Counselor - the word could be translated Supernatural Counselor. He's the One with infinite wisdom; not all kings are smart uh. At least not all kings are wise but our King is infinitely wise. He's the Supernatural Counselor.

He's the Mighty God. He's not just the Son of God but He's God the Son. He's all Powerful One. He's the Everlasting Father. Now to Christians here, you might confuse, hah, are you saying Jesus is God the Father? No, no, no, no, no, no. But in a sense of His Creatorship, in a sense of His Protectorship, in a sense that He is our Provider, He is the Everlasting Father. He’s the One we owe our allegiance and reverence to.

He is the Prince of Peace; He’s the Only One who can lead us to real peace - peace in our hearts, peace in this world, but most importantly, peace with God the Father who has wrath against our sins.

Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end. He will be an Ultimate King. There'll be no limits to His Rulership, on the throne of David and over His Kingdom. Now, this is the Davidic promise, right? For those who have been here last week, you will recall that God made a promise to David that from one of his descendants, there will be an Everlasting King. And Isaiah is saying, this… this Child, He is the One, He will be the King - the King promised to David.

So He will sit on the throne of David and over His Kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness. That kingdom that Jesus will rule over is one with perfect justice and righteousness. You don't have to need, you don't you will not need scam alert. You will not need to have alarm bells. There will be no need for policemen because it will be a kingdom of perfect justice and righteousness. No need for lawyers. How wonderful is that? From this time forth and forevermore, He is the Everlasting King.

So Isaiah 9 and verse 6 tells us about the Christmas promise - this Child will be born. Today we know that day as Christmas, that Son will be given; not just a weak, helpless, vulnerable baby but He will be King. The government will be upon His shoulders and His Name is this fourfold wonder: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. This is Jesus, the great Saviour-King.

So when Jesus was born, there were men who came from afar, a…a.. a faraway land. They journeyed thousands of miles probably. And when they came to Jerusalem, they asked, where is this Child who is born King of the Jews? They knew that this child is that Child who would rule like Isaiah has promised. This is the great Saviour-King.

Today, we celebrate Christmas, not just because a weak little boy is born into this world, but this weak little boy seemingly is going to be the great Saviour-King for you and for me.

So there are many songs that we sing about, like Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. Eh…… may not be as popular or familiar as Joy To The World or Silent Night but when the tune is sung, you would later on we would sing, I will not sing. I'll spare you Christmas Day alright. But when we sing it later on, you'll realise, Oh, this is actually very familiar. But the lyrics are what I would love for you to focus on, when we sing it.

Come, thou - that is you, old English way of saying you. You long expected Jesus, born to set Your people free; the Saviour-King motif is being mentioned here. From our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in You. Israel's strength and consolation, hope of all the earth You are; dear dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart. What we have, what I've spoken about, it's summarized here, it's captured here.

Born Your people to deliver, born a Child and yet a King, born to reign in us forever, now Your gracious Kingdom bring. By Your own eternal Spirit rule in all our hearts alone; by Your all sufficient merit, raise us to Your glorious throne.

So you see, Christmas is about Jesus and Jesus is the greatest gift. Why? Because Jesus brings us greatest satisfaction. He alone brings us back to God. And our hearts can only find our rest in God. Jesus is the greatest gift because He is the greatest Saviour-King.

There has, there have been many kings in human history. Great kings, famous kings - Napoleon, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan. Who, whoever you have known but no one rules over all the world in perfect justice and righteousness and peace and no one reigns forever but Jesus will. He is the greatest gift.

[3] The Greatest Sacrifice
Finally, may I suggest to you Jesus is the greatest gift because He represents the greatest sacrifice. I read that a Malaysian man complains about getting RM20 for ang pow from the wedding guest. I suppose you can translate to inviting someone for your wedding dinner and he pows a $20 ang pow. I checked ah, the market rate nowadays is above $100 already. Uh… So, this man is complaining, why he is so stingy!

Then, if you think this is jialat ah, I.. I read another, I'm not sure whether this is true but I just read it. It says couple received newspapers in wedding ang bao - even better. Now you wouldn't call this a great gift because it costs almost nothing to the giver.

But the gift of God to us is not newspaper in an ang pow. The gift of God to us is extremely costly because the Bible reminds us He gave us His Son. He gave us Jesus. And He gave us Jesus, what did Jesus do, in what way did God give His Son? To make Him King immediately? No. Because the same prophet Isaiah who spoke about Isaiah 7, which we looked at last week and Isaiah 9 today, he's the same prophet who tells us that this Son would suffer immeasurably.

He was pierced, He was crushed; on Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, with His wounds, it speaks of His immeasurable suffering. This Son would have to suffer and die so that we may be saved from our transgressions, our iniquity, different words for our sin.

Imagine today, as a father, I'll say to my son, Shawn or Matthias, I want you to die. I want you to die so that our enemy could be saved. See, you must be very radical to say something like that, Jason.

But you see that's who our God is. People think of God as very harsh, very fierce, very unapproachable. In a sense, yes! He's holy and He’s wrathful towards human sin. But let's not forget, this is the same God who said - a Son is given. And He will be wounded and crushed and pierced for their transgressions. Our God of amazing love!

So the birth of Jesus, we celebrate it because it means God is with man. Isaiah 7 - His Name is Immanuel, God with us. But God with us, it's not the end of the story because we also read about the death of Jesus, so that man can now be brought back to God. That's what Christmas is all about. And there is no one else in this world who can bring you back to God.

There are thousands and even millions of religions throughout history. But there is no one who has died to bring you back to God. Jesus Himself said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me. His disciples affirmed that saying, there is no name given under heaven whereby man can be saved, except Jesus Christ.

So my dear friends, Christmas is the greatest gift because there's nothing like it. There's no one who can bring you to ultimate satisfaction and joy and peace and reconciliation with God. No one, no other gift could say, you are justified before God on the last day of judgement. But Jesus went to the cross and He said, It is finished. Your debt of sin is fully paid.

Jesus brings us the greatest satisfaction. And He doesn't just save us so that we can come kind of float in a vacuum, but He will be our Saviour-King. He will lead us, He will rule over us in perfect justice and righteousness. We will have a glorious society and community in a heavenly kingdom to come. It's all because of Jesus.

And my friends, today I hope you would think about His sacrifice for you. This is the greatest gift. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son to the cross, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

I have a gift for you; God has a gift for you. I want to tell you about God's gift for you. But you know, when someone gives you something, you can say I don't want it. Keep it for yourself, or you can gratefully accept and say, thank you very much. I pray today you would turn from your sin, believe in Jesus Christ, that you will be saved. This is what Christmas is all about. And I wish you a very blessed Christmas indeed. Let's bow for a word of prayer together.

It's so easy to be distracted during Christmas, isn't it? To be thinking about Santa Claus and Christmas trees and turkeys and hams and family gatherings. Now I don't think these things are necessarily bad. But we need to find the Christ of Christmas. We need to be clear about the reason for the season. It's about God's Son. It's about how He came, so that He might go to the cross, to suffer and die, to save you from your sins.

Regardless of who you are and what you're going through in life, the Bible reveals that the deepest need of your heart today is eternal life, knowing God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Maybe today you are living in shame and guilt and fear. Maybe today you're living, searching for the meaning of purpose of life. I say to you, the search is ended when you come to Jesus Christ. Because He will save you from your sin, He will lead you back to Himself and to the Father. He will grant abundant life indeed.

Friends, turn from your sin. Humble yourself, admit today that you are sinful, you are rebellious, you have turned your back against your Creator. Turn and look to Jesus on the cross. For He is the Lamb sent of God to take away the sin of the world. Humble yourself and follow Jesus today. And may you find eternal life, abundant life forevermore.

To all my brothers and sisters in Christ, thank you for hearing this Christmas message together with me. I pray you’ll never get tired of the wonder of the Gospel. I pray today as you reflect on the greatest gift of all, you will present yourselves a living sacrifice, to serve God and to fulfill the Great Commission, that we will go out and share the Gospel and lead others to a life changing relationship with Jesus.

Yes, give Christmas gifts by all means. But the greatest gift you can give is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Maybe we all are living in some sin and some rebellion today. May this Christmas be a beautiful time for you to turn back to Him.

Father, thank You so much for the message of Christmas. Thank You for the long expected Messiah who came some 2000 years ago to pay the price for eternal life. But He has yet to claim that and so we look forward to the day when we can sing ‘Joy to the world, the Lord is come’, when Jesus will return to rule and to reign. O Lord, we pray, everybody in this auditorium will be ready for that day when they repent and believe in Jesus Christ. So grant salvation to one and all. We thank You. We pray all these in Jesus’ Name, Amen. God bless.

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