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THANKING GOD FOR THE UNSPEAKABLE GIFT

November 20, 2011

MORNING MESSAGE  11-20-11
THANK GOD FOR THIS UNSPEAKABLE GIFT

II Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

Introduction:    This week we will all sit around a dinner table and celebrate a holiday we call Thanksgiving.  There are many things we can be thankful for, but there is no greater thing that we can praise the Lord for than our salvation and the redemption that our Lord provided through His propitiation for our sins.

Many of the blessings we enjoy in this life even unsaved people have enjoyed:  food … homes … family … a wonderful nation … blessings that abound. We all can be thankful for these (and praise the Lord for these), but we need to remember that these are all temporary and certainly not unspeakable.  Some day when will are ushered into eternity and die, they will be no longer.  The Bible is clear for Hebrews 9:27 says, “… it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”   When we die, all the comforts and blessings we have experienced in this life will not matter, because in that day we will have to give an account for our lives, and there is not one of us who is perfect and sinless before God.   The Bible says Rom. 3:23 all have sinned and come short of the glory of God…”  Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.  There is none of us who are going to be able to say before God, “I deserve your blessings!  I deserve heaven!”

Our text declares what it is that we should be most thankful for and    Paul said it this way..  “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” I Cor. 9:15.  He calls it an unspeakable gift because words cannot do it justice.  We cannot utter how great it is.  It cannot be properly described or given adequate praise.

I.    CONSIDER WHY IT IS CALLED AN UNSPEAKABLE GIFT …

A gift that is unspeakable is so great–so grand that words cannot describe how great it is.

Why is it that mankind and even church people do not view Christ’s gift and atonement that He offers to mankind as an unspeakable gift?

A.    The reason is simple:  they do not realize how badly they need it.

Consider the following passage of Scripture..

Luke 7:36  And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.
Luke 7:37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that [Jesus] sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
Luke 7:38 And stood at his feet behind [him] weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe [them] with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed [them] with the ointment.
Luke 7:39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw [it], he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman [this is] that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
Luke 7:40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
Luke 7:41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
Luke 7:42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
Luke 7:43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that [he], to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
Luke 7:44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped [them] with the hairs of her head.
Luke 7:45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
Luke 7:46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
Luke 7:47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, [the same] loveth little.
Luke 7:48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.

The reason people do not appreciate this gift is because they do not realize how badly they need it.   If we could ever get a vision or even a taste of the righteouness and holiness of God, we soon would realize just how bad we are.

The average person just has no idea how rotten they are in comparison to the standard that God requires of us.  If we did, we would fall down on our knees like Isaiah of old and say, “Woe is me for I am undone … for I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell with a people of unclean lips… Isa. 6:5”  Remember the one who said this was none other than Isaiah, a great prophet of God.  But people who are filled with vices, bad habits and sinful inclinations–they think nothing of this gift called Salvation.  Ho Hum.   Ho Hum..  They see no need for it.

For the average person in this world,  the gift of salvation would be like a hog appreciating a beautiful diamond ring.  The hog would snort and sniff it, then stomp it in the mud and head for the feeding trough.  All people care about in this world are things that appeal to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

Unless a person really gets a hold on how desperate their situation is apart from God, they will never appreciate what Jesus did for them on the cross.  In the parable given above, Jesus told this Pharisee he didn’t love Him because he thought he was all right without Christ.  The immoral woman knew how badly she needed salvation and wept and cried and begged God for mercy!

B.    The reason people do not know how sinful they are is because they are not being exposed to the Word of God that exposes our sinful condition.

So brazen have we become  in sin, that adultery and homosexuality are no longer sins … Using God’s name in vain is just an expression of speech … Covetousness and greed is just the American way.

We don’t even know what the word idolatry means.
In fact, the only curse words in the English language are the words,

SIN AND HELL !!

God help the preacher who preaches on the either of these two subjects.

JESUS APPRAISED THE PROBLEM COMPLETELY AND ACCURATELY.

THE PHARISEE DID NOT VIEW HIMSELF AS A SINNER AND THEREFORE COULD NOT THANK GOD FOR THIS UNSPEAKABLE GIFT!!  HE HAD NO NEED OF IT.  YET THE IMMORAL WOMAN KNEW SHE NEEDED IT AND WAS THANKFUL FOR IT!

II.      CONSIDER THAT SALVATION MUST BE RECOGNIZED AS A GIFT THAT IS BEYOND OUR MEANS..  We cannot earn it or deserve it and therefore Paul said it is an unspeakably precious gift that words cannot describe.

Any illustration I give concerning this is going to fall short.  The Bible says that what God has done for us is a gift.

Romans 3:23  – For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of  God.  (Have you ever gone somewhere to buy something, and when you look in your wallet you come up short?)

SOME PEOPLE STILL THINK THEY CAN EARN HEAVEN.

That’s what happens when we look at the righteous standard of God’s Word.  We come up short.  BUT JUST HOW SHORT?

The reason people do not view the work that Jesus did for them on the cross as an unspeakable gift is because they think it is within their grasp to understand it, or earn it, or attain it.  Something I have a handle on, I do not describe as unspeakable.  Soon Christmas will be upon us, and on Black Friday a shopping frenzy will take place.  No one goes out and buys unspeakable gifts.  They are advertised gifts.  Word reaches the ear of the shopper, and they go out and buy gifts. But salvation is a gift that cannot be purchased with any amount of money.

IT IS NOT AN UNSPEAKABLE GIFT IF IT CAN BE PURCHASED WITH MONEY.
IT IS NOT AN UNSPEAKABLE GIFT IF IT CAN BE EARNED WITH GOOD WORKS.
IT IS NOT AN UNSPEAKABLE GIFT IF IT CAN BE ATTAINED THROUGH DEEDS.

People really think they can earn their way into heaven.

We need to recognize that heaven is a gift:  you can’t earn it or deserve it.  The only way you get it is by receiving God’s gift.

And the reason it is an unspeakable gift is that we fall so far short that we can’t even understand how far short we are from earning it!

III.      CONSIDER THAT SO GREAT A GIFT IS THIS SALVATION THAT OUR LORD OFFERS THAT IT CANNOT BE UNDERSTOOD AND PROPERLY ARTICULATED IN HUMAN LANGUAGE …

The Greek word unspeakable means it is indescribable; it defies words, it cannot be expounded.

Now here is the dilemma I face: I am trying to communicate something that words cannot communicate.  No one can be talked into heaven–nor can preaching alone do it.  Preaching and our witness is like water off a duck’s back to sinners unless the power of the Holy Spirit convicts their heart. Unless God convicts a sinner, no sinner is going to get saved.  Consider the following verses:

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Romans 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Unless God touches the heart of a sinner and convicts him, he cannot be saved.

NO WORDS PRAYED OR SPOKEN WILL SAVE YOU.  SALVATION IS NOT PRAYING A PRAYER, GETTING BAPTIZED,  WALKING AN AISLE,  OR ANY OF THAT.   SALVATION ONLY COMES WHEN A SINNER RESPONDS TO THE CONVICTING POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, RESPONDS IN FAITH, TRUSTS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND RECEIVES THIS UNSPEAKABLE GIFT.

In 1973 a friend shared with me for the first time in my life the clear message of salvation.  I understood it, but didn’t get saved.  The reason I didn’t get saved is because it is not just understanding the message that saves anyone.

When we say it is an unspeakable gift, we are saying it goes beyond words (and mind) and enters into the realm of the heart and emotions.  WE MUST BELIEVE IN OUR HEARTS TO BE SAVED.   It took one year after I heard the message for the message to penetrate my heart!

Women are good at feeling something in their hearts but are often unable to communicate it with their mouths.  How often it is (men) that your wives have said to you that something is wrong.  And when you asked what is wrong, they cannot tell you.  Then you look at them in bewilderment and try to get them to articulate what is wrong.  They are not able to put it into words. Some things defy words and go into the realm of the emotions and heart.   There are a lot of people who have come short of heaven by 18 inches.  This is the distance between the head and the heart!

It is an unspeakable gift because the things of the heart often cannot be described with words–they can only be experienced!

IV.    CONSIDER THAT WE NEED TO RECOGNIZE THAT THE ONLY WAY WE CAN RECEIVE THIS GIFT IS BY HUMBLING OURSELVES BEFORE GOD AND ASKING FOR IT.

Jesus gave a great parable to illustrate how a person receives this unspeakable gift called salvation.

Luke 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
Luke 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
Luke 18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
Luke 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
Luke 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

This gift is Unspeakable.
This gift is unfathomable.

Add an infinite amount of zeros to the equation because we are not able to obtain it at all. Our good works fall short of it.  All our righteousness is but filthy rags!

Do we think that, by doing what this Pharisee said he did, we could earn our way into heaven?

Luke 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
Luke 18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
Luke 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
Luke 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

This Jewish fellow proud as a peacock–coming to buy his salvation with his cookie jar money–all the righteousness he set aside.

The other account our Lord gave was the Pharisee that looked down his nose at the woman who kissed our Lord’s feet and anointed Him with precious ointment!

Luke 7:47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, [the same] loveth little.

To whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.  So it is that to the one whose sins were few, they think salvation of Jesus is not an unspeakable gift!

1.    Here is a Pharisee who was doing something for the Lord. He invited him to his house.  He was footing the bill for the dinner. He certainly thought the Lord would be indebted to him.

He had the wrong attitude toward salvation and forgiveness of sin.

2.    There are two types of gifts you can receive: There is one that if you wanted to, you could easily buy or pay for it yourself;  or, there is the other–that the only way you could get it would be by receiving it as a gift (there being no way you could ever afford it).

Salvation can only be gotten as a gift.

Do you recognize salvation as a GIFT?
Have you recognized it as an Unspeakable Gift?
Have you humbled yourself by asking for that Gift?

THIS IS WHY IT IS AN UNSPEAKABLE GIFT!

Unless the gospel message penetrates the heart of the hearer, salvation is not an unspeakable gift.  It is not unspeakable until it penetrates the heart, and the issues of the heart are unspeakable.  It goes beyond words, reason, and human understanding.  IT ENTERS THE REALM OF THE UNSPEAKABLE!

Here are some other verses that talk about spiritual things as transcending the human mind, language and speech.   When we enter into the realm of the Spirit, our words cannot describe the things we see and hear.

II Corinthians 12:4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

V.       CONSIDER THE END RESULT OF THE RECEPTION OF THIS GIFT: A CHANGED LIFE WHICH WILL BE REFLECTED IN OUR WORSHIP AND LIFE OF SERVICE FOR THE LORD.

In the context of this passage Paul is talking about the sacrifices that God’s people made in supporting his preachers and ministers.  At the conclusion of his writing he says …

II Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

When we receive this unspeakable gift into our hearts, we will want to serve the Lord, and we will want to support His work.  We will want to do good works.

CONCERNING THIS TEXT JOHN GILL WROTE

…. none can tell how great this gift is, which is so suitable and seasonable, so large and comprehensive, nor declare the love both of the Father and the Son, expressed in it. Thankful we should be for it; and our thankfulness should be shown by highly prizing and valuing this gift; by laying the whole stress of our salvation on Christ; by ascribing all the glory of it to him; by giving up ourselves to him, and to his interest; by walking worthy of him in all well pleasing, and by communicating to the support of his cause, and the supply of his poor ministers and members. And thus the apostle tacitly suggests one of the strongest arguments that can be used, to stir up the saints to generosity and liberality, taken from the wonderful grace of God in the gift of his Son; for if he of his free grace, and unmerited love, has given his Son to, and for his people, and with him all things freely, both the riches of grace and glory, then they ought freely and bountifully to communicate temporal good things to the poor members of Christ, for whom God and Christ have an equal love, as for themselves…..

II Corinthians 9:15 Thanks [be] unto God for his unspeakable gift.

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