by Joe Alain

This content is part of a series.

The Gift of Love (4 of 4)
Series: The Gifts of Christmas
Joe Alain
Romans 5:5

The fourth message in a series of four Advent sermons (''The Gifts of Christmas'') based on the blessings of salvation that the believer receives as described in Romans 5:1-5.

''And hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.'' Romans 5:5, NRSV

As if you needed a reminder, you have _____ shopping days until Christmas. Christmas is the season of ''gift-giving'' which reminds us of the greatest gift given, the gift of Jesus Himself! We've been looking at some of the blessings that we have because Christ came, because of Christmas. According to Romans 5:1-5, believers, those Paul describes as ''justified by faith'' have been given some wonderful gifts. We have the gift of peace, of access, of joy, and today we unwrap the gift of love. Read Romans 5:5. One of our less familiar hymns tells us that ''Love came down at Christmas . . . love was born at Christmas'' (''Love Came Down at Christmas''). Romans 5:5 would agree with that truth and take it one step further.

Life Application: ''Because love came down to us at (Christmas), God has poured His love into us.''

''When the time had fully come, God sent His Son . . . to redeem'' (Gal. 4:4-5a). We begin looking at the gift of love far from the shepherd's fields and the humble manger in Bethlehem, far from the angel's song and the wise men's gifts to a simple but central teaching Jesus gave during His earthly ministry. We call it the Great Commandment.

1. The Great Commandment
The Pharisees tested Jesus. At one point, they sent a teacher of the law, a scribe to ask Jesus, ''What is the most important or first commandment?'' In response, Jesus said . . .
37 ''Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: Love your ne ...

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