"To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen." (Jude 1.25). This word of glory which recognizes the rightful and eternal place of God is just what the phrase implies – a word of glory. Jude’s entire epistle revolves around the need to recognize God’s authority, but to recognize it in word AND in deed. This message also revolves around the need to honor God in deed and not merely in word.
We stand on the eve of the day which is styled Christmas. In millions of homes during this season, words will be uttered which seem to honor Christ. However, if we examine the deeds which accompany these words, we will find all too often that there is no substance to the words; they are mere words! In many Holiday parties, drunkenness and debauchery rule; to many the Holiday Spirit resides in a bottle and Christmas is merely an excuse to let those spirits out!
During this season, the giving of gifts is a tradition firmly rooted in many cultures. Certainly giving typified the life and work of Jesus upon this earth; that must never be denied. However, when we compare the giving done by Jesus with that which is typical of the Holiday season, there are many disparities. For instance, much of this season’s giving is done with the direct expectation of receiving something of like value in return; Jesus’ gifts were never given with a view toward being repaid in kind! In point of fact, Jesus taught to give without any expectation of receiving in return (see Luke 6.34-35). Secondly, how much of our giving is directed towards those who have no real needs but is intended merely to satisfy selfish appetites? Jesus gave to meet the needs of people and I find it hard to imagine Him feeding someone’s selfish desires while allowing others with real needs to go unfulfilled. This is not to say that there is never a time for giving gifts of honor and tribute, but consider the primary focus of Jesus’ giving and see if you don’t conclude that the vast majority was done to meet needs and not satisfy appetites.
Now we turn to the positive. Glory belongs to God forever and ever and not just during the Christmas season! It was not the babe in a manger that saved the world; it was the obedient and selfless God-man on the Cross. His willingness to give the ultimate sacrifice was a conscious and willful act. He gave to those who had given Him nothing and who in fact wished only to take from Him. He gave knowing that the majority of people would refuse to honor His sacrifice, loving their own wills more than the will of their Creator. This attitude, the attitude of giving in spite of the attitude of the recipient, is the attitude of Christ; this attitude ought to be the attitude of the Christmas season and every other season!
"To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen." Find a way to honor Him this season and continue honoring Him in that way as long as you live!
1. What does it mean to "love… in deed and in truth" (see 1 John 3.18)? What does that scripture have to do with the way we give? The way we honor Christ?
2. Do we truly give when we expect to receive in return?
3. What is the difference in giving to meet real needs and giving to satisfy fleshly appetites?
4. Discuss the attitude of giving that typified Jesus’ life. How does that differ from the attitude of giving only to our friends and those from whom we expect to receive something in return?
Focus Text: Jude 1.25
NOTICE – This message was first published just prior to December 25th, 2006. Read it with that background.
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