Un-wrapping the Gift of Salvation: The Gift of Knowing God (Matthew 2/Luke 1). “The greatest thing in all my life is knowing You.” Those are the words of a simple chorus from the 1980’s. But they reflect the third and greatest of all the gifts that God has offered to mankind.
The birth of Jesus Christ as God in human flesh, as the incarnation of the invisible God, has become the doorway to knowing God. We have been looking at and un-wrapping the gifts God gave at Christmas, and have already seen:
The First Two Gifts
First, in Matthew 1:21, we un-wrapped the truth attached to “the One who will save His people from their sins”. At the moment of our salvation, all our sins were forgiven, instantly, by the gracious work of Christ on the cross.
Second, in Matthew 1:23, we un-wrapped another truth as we learned that the One Who saves us is Emmanuel, or “God with us”! So salvation means that—we get all of God! We have all the fullness of God in the Person of Christ, who dwells in us!
Thirdly, this week we are going to unwrap the truth that salvation opens to us the wonder of Knowing God. To do so we need to turn to Matthew 5-7. As we examine this account of Christ applying the wonder of God with us birth, we learn that knowing God is a gift that so many hear about, talk about, even get involved with, but sometimes never personally experience.
Jesus Describes Knowing God
In Matthew 1, Christ is born. In Matthew 2, He is visited, moves to Egypt, then moves to Nazareth. Thirty years pass, and in Matthew 3 He is baptized.
In Matthew 4, Jesus is tempted, and afterwards starts His public ministry.
The words of Matthew 4:17 are Christ’s first recorded words for public consumption, a message given in public for all to hear and respond to. Amazingly His first posting of words on the “wall” of His public life is: “Repent”. Then He calls His first disciples in v. 18-22; and starts preaching and healing until vast multitudes follow Him.
The “great multitudes” following Him is the scene for Matthew 5. Now, we hear the message of the baby of Bethlehem, born to save people from their sins; and to be God with us. So in Matthew 5, we see the beginning of the single longest message of Christ’s ministry. We know this message as the: Sermon on the Mount.
It may be that Christ delivered this message, written down as over three chapters in our New Testaments, all at once. That would have been the most amazing 16 ½ minute message ever. But however Jesus Christ delivered these words, they were a very public, very powerful explanation of who He was and what His Birth had brought to mankind.
Jesus Warned about Not Knowing God