• Korede Akintunde
  • December 27, 2023

People of God and wonderful citizens of Nigeria, I bring you greetings in the name of our Lord and our Saviour Jesus Christ. And on this Christmas day, I bring you the message from the throne of mercy. The text is from John chapter 3:16-17.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.
The Christmas message for this year is the gift of God that changes the world.

I give thanks and praise to God Almighty for preserving our lives through this year 2023. Through the year we have seen so many challenges in our individual and family life.

But in them all, God has helped us. The year 2023 Christmas celebration is being done in a time of great stress, both in our nation Nigeria, and the world. We see this politically and socially, we hear of wars all around the world, we see great nations trying to subdue weak and vulnerable nations, we see violence and insecurity all around us. Economically our people are under great stress, even spiritually we are under much pressure. The poor, the vulnerable, and the young people are mostly impacted.

Corruption and selfish greed have become endemic in our country, we see this in governance, in the legislature, the judiciary, the law enforcement agencies and other parts and organs of the government.
The costs of running our government, both at the federal and state levels, are growing every day. The dead burden of our nation is so alarming that our future generation, our children, will continue to carry the burden of the recklessness of our leaders.
The religious leadership, both Christians and Muslims, have not fared better because we can see the commercialization of religion, the exploitation of religion for political and selfish gains, which has resulted in the weaponization of religious identity.

Indeed, we are ripe for God’s judgment. But the good news of great joy is what we see in the scripture. In Luke 2:10-11, and the word of God says, God has shown us mercy and compassion and as we see in Malachi 3: 6, and in Lamentation 3: 22-25, God has declared that because of him, we shall not be consumed. And because of his selflessness and mercy, he will preserve us, the gift of God to a dying world.

In the text, John 3, we see that it is all about God’s gift of his son, Jesus Christ to the world, the world here is most undeserving of this gift of God. The world system and humanity do not merit this precious gift.

This is an act of divine magnanimity and indeed a demonstration of the love of God. The basis of God’s gift to us is his love.

Christmas, as we know, is the season of joy, the season of peace and love. Everything around us is expressing joy, which is shown in the hymns, songs, carols, and concerts that have been featured in different parts of the church and our nation in preparation for this Christmas day. This has been shown in giving praise to God and in expressing our goodwill to people around us. And I know all of us individually and collectively have either given gifts or received gifts and goodwill from other people around us.

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. It is the celebration of the most powerful, transforming gift of God, the gift of his beloved son, the only begotten of the Father.

If we may ask, what is a gift? A gift is something that is given to another voluntarily without any charge. Gift is also something that is gained incidentally without any effort. Ordinarily, when people give gifts, it may be in appreciation of somebody or for something done for them or received. A gift can also be an expression of sympathy or to give help and support to other people who are in need.

But we must also note that it can also have a hidden plan or purpose which may not be ordinarily known at the time of the giving of the gift, just as when we see the gift of Satan the enemy. As against the gift of Satan or man, the gift of God is always different. As the scripture says, the gift of God makes it rich, it does not bring any sorrow.

The text says, for God so loved the world and therefore the basis of God’s gift is love.
When we talk of love, there are different types of love; 1 Corinthians 13:1 -13 gives us a description of the nature of God’s love, and the characteristics of God’s love.

The love of God is what the New Testament calls agape, which is a pure and selfless love, It is the love that seeks the good of others, it seeks the best for them.
The depth of God’s love can also be seen in Matthew 5:43-48; Jesus goes on to say love your enemy, pray for those who persecute you and those who use you despitefully, this kind of love cannot be ordinary or human.

Again, this was demonstrated by God in his son Jesus Christ, Romans 5:6 -8 makes it clear that God demonstrated his love towards us, while we were yet sinners, Jesus Christ died for us.

Up until now and especially today, God is still seeking the best for his world which he created even when human systems and human beings and the world’s organs and environment are all in rebellion against God, even though God created them good.

We can see from Genesis 3:13 -19 that sin and Satan have distorted and corrupted the good creations of God.

Therefore, the systems and attitudes of the world which the Bible says God so much loved are all against the purposes of God, that is why 1 John 2: 15 -17, James 1:27, and also James 4:4, made it clear that if we love and be in friendship with the world, we will make ourselves enemies of God.
Another thing we can see of the world that people love is money and materialism which the world has cherished and promoted, these stand against God’s purpose.

No wonder at the temptation of Jesus Christ, Satan showed him all the kingdoms of the world and said I will give you this only if you will bow down to worship me.
Again, in Matthew 6:24, the Bible makes it clear that we cannot serve two masters at the same time. If we want to follow the material things of the world, the mammon, we will not indeed serve God with our whole heart and the commitment that he deserves.

Our world is taken captive by two fundamental enemies or weapons of the wicked, adultery and immorality and idolatry or sorcery. These are strong weapons of the world and indeed the expression of the spirit of Babylon which is the dominant spirit in our modern world and generation, therefore bringing the world into bondage and rebellion.

The situation in the world is that of darkness and bondage. It is to this world that God sent his only son Jesus Christ. And no wonder the Bible says in Isaiah 9:2, the people who are in great darkness, the light has shone upon them. This light is brought to us by the son of God, the one who is given to us. Galatians 4:47 shows us that in the fullness of time, God sent his son born of a woman born under the law to redeem those that are under the law, through faith in Jesus Christ, we are delivered from every bondage and power of sin that we may be sons and daughters of the living God and therefore become inheritors of the promises of God. And if we are inheritors, we are no longer slaves, but free sons and daughters of God. This is only possible through faith in Jesus Christ.

Therefore, Jesus Christ is the reason for this season, He is the one who has demonstrated and fulfilled the promises and prophecies of the scripture. Jesus is the seed of the woman, as we see in Genesis 3:15. He is the seed of Abraham through whom the whole world will be blessed.

He is the son of David whose kingdom shall be forever. He is the son of the virgin, as Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah chapter 7, the word that became man and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. As we see in John chapter 1 verse 14, he is the son of God.

Luke 1:26 – 38 Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and brought forth a son, Jesus Christ. His birth was prophesied by the prophets, including the place of his birth at Bethlehem Ephrathah. His birth brought joy to the earth. He came bringing the light shining in the darkness of this world. Indeed, Herod was frightened by that, but the wise men who saw the star came and worshipped him.

And this day, as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour, we pray that like the wise men we will worship him. And make room for him in our hearts and in our lives. The gift of God can transform our lives.

The reason for this Christmas can change our eternal destiny, as we put our faith and hope in him if we look up to him believe and trust in him, and surrender our lives to him. Salvation is assured to us. He came not to condemn us, but that we might be saved by believing in him. He came to give us assurance of our eternal destiny and anyone who believes in him.

This Christmas should be a time of being built up in faith, a time to strive to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.

This season is a season for us to show love to one another and all around us, especially to the needy, the hungry, the strangers, the poor, the widows, and the orphans.
This is a season of joy, let us bring joy to all around us, visit and care for our family members and all around us, especially those who are lonely.
As we celebrate Christmas, may we remain heavenly-focused; May we be diligent to make our call in Christ and our election of God’s children and people to be a sure experience, may we be conscious of the fact that this same Jesus is coming back again in his glory and in the majesty of heaven.
Jesus was born that every one of us should have the life of God through faith in him and thereby live forever and not perish. Receive this precious gift of God, the gift of his son.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son to the world that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

On this note and message, I wish you a very happy Christmas and a glorious and a blessed new year 2024.

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