What do we do with the best gift?

Zephaniah 3:14-20   Isaiah 12:1-6  Philippians 4:4-7       Luke 3:7-18

I’m sorry.

How many times have we heard these words said? How many times has one person said these words to us? How many times have we said these words to someone else?

It is not in the repetition of these words that we find ourselves justified. For when we keep saying, “I’m sorry” to God and to everyone else, they can tell if we mean what we say. When we are apologizing to God, we can realize some truths about God. When we are apologizing to everyone else, we know they are looking for more than, “I’m sorry.”

A. When we apologize to God, we realize God is with us (Zephaniah 3:14-20; Isaiah 12:1-6)
+++1. God has judgment coming our way
+++2. Yet, God alone can decide not to give us the full blow of his wrath
+++3. God will remove all the disaster from us, even if we created the disaster
+++4. God is going to change our shame into praise
+++5. So, we give thanks to God for turning away from his anger
+++6. We can trust him
+++7. We sing about the good things God has done
+++8. So, even before we say, “I’m sorry,” God is prepared to forgive us. Knowing that God is willing and ready to forgive us, we can own up to our wrongdoing. It is not that we justify our actions, speech, or thought. For then we would be lying to ourselves. Owning our sins, our wrongdoing, gives us a chance to see what God is ready to do in our lives. How do own our sins?

B. When we turn from our ways, we realize there are expectations for us (Luke 3:7-18)
+++1. Making ourselves ready for baptism means we don’t want to be left out of Jesus’ kingdom
+++2. Yet, we need to act like a bunch of snakes only looking to save our own hide!
+++3. Show that you are repentant! Show that you are sorry!
+++4. What then shall we do?
++++++a. You have extra clothes and food? Give it to someone who does not have
++++++b. You have access to money? Only receive your wages or salary
++++++c. You are in a position of power? Be satisfied with what you have
+++5. Jesus is coming back!
+++6. When we say, “I’m sorry,” will we be those who are burned with unquenchable fire because we only said, “I’m sorry”? Or when we say, “I’m sorry,” will be gathered up to Jesus because we lived the expectations God has for us? It is when we realize the importance of bearing fruit which shows our repentance that we can find joy. For when the Lord is near, we want to get as close to Jesus as possible.

C. There is a depth to our joy when we live the expectations God has for us (Philippians 4:4-7)
+++1. It is by bearing fruits worthy of our repentance that we can be gentle
+++2. For being gentle with others is how we rejoice
+++3. Being honest and bearing fruit worthy of our repentance helps us to not worry
+++4. Then we actually feel/desire to make our requests known to God
+++5. Because we have owned our sins and done what God requires that we can have the peace of God, which passes all understanding

The next time you want to say, “I’m sorry,” make sure your actions back up what you are saying. The best gift we have from God is realized when we own our sin. The best gift we have from God is only realized when our actions are the opposite of our sin.

We have to hear that God is willing and able to forgive us. God does not want us suffer for our sin. For when we suffer for our sin we will be away from God. It is my understanding that when we are away from God we have no joy. Yet, God desires us to have joy!

God is ready to forgive you. Are you ready to own your sin? Then bear fruit worthy of your repentance. Joy will come to you when you do. You can have a peace with God that surpasses all understanding when you live out your “I’m sorry.”

Will you receive the best gift God has for you? What will you do know that you know the best gift God has for you is your being in Jesus’ presence? I hope today is the day you turn to God, turn away from your sin, and live your repentance.

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