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James 1:12-18



Intro:  Have you ever met a philanthropist?  You say, “What is a philanthropist?”  Well, the word “philanthropy” means “Having a desire to improve the material, social and spiritual welfare of humanity, especially through charitable activities.”  Therefore, a philanthropist is someone who gives their time, talents and money to others in an effort to improve the condition of their life. 

      In our day, there are several prominent philanthropists.  Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, who is worth some 60 billion dollars, has vowed to give away every dime before he dies!  He actually paid to have all the children in the country of Rhodesia vaccinated for small pox.  Bill Cosby has given tens of millions of dollars to African-American colleges, to help educate young blacks.  We hear these stories and we applaud the generosity of that kind of people.

      Today, I want to introduce you to another philanthropist.  But, He is not just any philanthropist.  He is the greatest philanthropist!  As James tells us in these verses, God has given the greatest of all gifts to the greatest number of people.  I would like to take a few minutes today to share with you just a few of the great gifts given to mankind by the greatest philanthropist.  I hope you will see today that God has been good to you, that He loves you dearly and that He has a wonderful plan for your life.  Let’s turn our attention to these verses, especially verses 17-18 as we think together about The Greatest Philanthropist.


  I.                                    THE GIFT OF HIS SON

(“The Father of lights”)

A.  When God is called “the Father of lights,” it speaks of His identity as the Creator.  The ancient pagans believed the lights in heaven, the sun, the moon, and the stars were gods.  James tells us that God Himself is the Creator of the stars above.  They are not gods, but were made by God, our Father.  But, God gave man more than just the lights in the sky!

            When God sent His Son, Jesus into the world, He gave man His greatest gift.  Heaven’s light was sent into the world to illuminate our darkness, John 8:12.

B.  God, in His love for lost humanity, sent His Son into this world to die for our sins on the cross, John 3:16; Rom. 5:8.  Ill. The brutal nature of the life He lived and the death He died, John 1:11; Matt. 8:20; Isa. 53:1-12, Isa. 52:14!  Jesus, by coming into this world as a man was forever altered by His incarnation and His death, Phil. 2:5-11!

C.  What grace that God would send His darling Son to die for us that we might be delivered from darkness, death and damnation, Col. 1:12-14!

D.  Thank God for the gift of His Son – 2 Cor. 9:15!  Do you know Him?  If you do, then you know what I am talking about.  If you do not, then you need to meet Him and you can by coming to Him in faith.


 II.                             THE GIFT OF HIS SALVATION

(“Of His Own will begat He us with the word of truth…”)

A.  The word “begat” refers to the new birth.  It speaks about that moment of time when a lost sinner humbles himself before a holy God and trusts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  It is the event Jesus talked to Nicodemus about, John 3:3, 7.  It is that event that stirred the heart of Paul, 1 Tim. 1:12-17; Titus 3:5.  It is the event that Peter refers to in 1 Pet. 1:23.

B.  The Bible says that this “new birth” comes about from “the word of truth.”  This refers to the Gospel message.  What is the Gospel?  Simply put, “it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek,” Romans 1:16.

            The message of the Gospel is this: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:,” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.  That’s all there is to it!

            It doesn’t have anything to do with church membership, baptism, good works, turning over a new leaf, etc.  It is all about accepting by faith the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is all about your coming to the place where you realize that you have no hope of salvation apart from His death, His resurrection and His shed blood!  It is about moving away from “do” to rest in “done.”  Have you done that?  Salvation is God’s gift to a lost and dying world, 1 John 1:12; Rom. 6:23; Acts 11:17; Rom. 5:15.

C.  For those who know Him, the plan of salvation is a precious truth and powerful blessing, 1 Cor. 1:18.  Just the thoughts of what He did for us when He reached into our sins, saved us by His grace and delivered us from death into life is a glory too great for words, Ill. Eph. 2:1-10; John 5:24!


III.                                THE GIFT OF HIS SUPPLY

(“cometh down from the Father…”)

A.  God is called our “Father.”  The word means “generator, or male ancestor.”  There are many other definitions and uses for this word, but the one that sums up the idea James is trying to get across is this: “one who stands in a father's place and looks after another in a paternal way.”  As our Father, God has our needs on His heart!

B.  If you have trusted Jesus as your personal Savior, then you have been brought into a special relationship with God the Father.  When you were saved, you were adopted into His family.  He has claimed you as a son or a daughter and He has assumed responsibility for your every need.

C.  This truth is seen in Romans 8:15.  This verse tells us that we have been delivered from the bondage of fear and that we have been adopted into the family of God. In our society, adopted children often feel, and are perceived to be, second class members of the family. That is sad, but true for many. They are forever reminded of the fact that they were not born in to the adoptive family.  However, in ancient Rome, things were vastly different. To be adopted was considered a great privilege.


      (Ill. Adoption - The word "adoption" means “to place as a son.” The picture of adoption is a beautiful picture of what God does for the Christian. In the ancient world the family was based on a Roman law called "patria potestas," or “the father's power.” The law gave the father absolute authority over his children so long as the father lived. He could work, enslave, sell, and if he wished, he could pronounce the death penalty. Regardless of the child's adult age, the father held all power over personal and property rights.

            Therefore, adoption was a serious matter. Yet, it was a common practice to ensure that a family would not become extinct by having no male children. And when a child was adopted, three legal steps were taken.

      1. The adopted son was adopted permanently. He could not be adopted today and disinherited tomorrow. He became a son of the father--forever. He was eternally secure as a son.

      2. The adopted son immediately had all the rights of a legitimate son in the new family.

      3. The adopted son completely lost all rights in his old family. The adopted son was looked upon as a new person -- so new that old debts and obligations connected with his former family were cancelled out and abolished as if they never existed.)

            (Ill. When we came to Jesus, we were taken out of Adam and adopted into Jesus. We have a new Father!)

D.  By virtue of your adoption into God’s family, you are brought into a new and precious relationship with Him.  Would you agree with me today that God loves everyone?  Most of us would agree with that statement based on verses like Jer 31:3 and John 3:16.  But, have you ever considered this thought: God doesn’t love all people the same?  When Jesus was here, His Father called Him “My beloved Son…”, Matt. 3:17; 17:5.  This designation speaks of the special relationship Jesus had with His Father.  But, did you know that when you and I were saved, we entered into that same type of relationship?  Here is what Paul says in Romans 1:7, “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints…” Friend, if you are saved, you are near and dear to the Father’s heart!

D.  Since that is true, listen to the Father’s promises to His children concerning their needs: Matt. 6:25-33; Phil. 4:14; Luke 12:32.  Friend, I am just trying to remind you that God will take care of you!


IV.                         THE GIFT OF HIS SATISFACTION

(“Every good gift and every perfect gift…”)

A.  We are told that God’s gifts are “good and perfect.”  This has the idea of their being “desirable and complete.”  God gives us things that we desire to have and He gives us things that are complete in every detail.

            When Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, he tried to tell her that God was holding out on her, Gen. 3:5.  He even tried to imply that Jesus getting less than He deserved since He was the Son of God, Matt. 4:4.  Friend, if you and I aren’t careful, he will try the same tactic with us.  Satan will tell us that God really isn’t good to us.  He will tell us that we don’t deserve the trouble we are having; that God should be giving us greater and bigger things, that God isn’t fair.

B.  The truth of the matter is that God is far better to us than we ever deserved!  He has blessed us with every possible spiritual blessing, Eph. 1:3.  He has promised us complete satisfaction, Psa. 107:9.  He gives, and when He does, He always gives the best that He has, and He always gives all that He has! (Ill. Think of all the things God has given to His children: Jesus, salvation, Bible, Spirit, Heaven, hope, life, forgiveness, eternal life, etc!)

            Ill. God is contrasted with the sun in the sky.  The sun gives its light, but that light can be obscured by clouds and it can even be eclipsed by another heavenly body.  The gift of light from the sun waxes and wanes with the seasons.  However, the gracious gifts of our Father are constant and unchanging!  He never wavers.  His light never fails.  He is constant and consistent, always pouring out His greatest and best gifts upon the lives of His children!

C.  The Psalmist said, “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him,” Psalm 34:8.  No one who ever trusted God for salvation; has held His hand by faith and has walked with Him down the pathway of life has ever come away dissatisfied!  He is a gracious, precious Father and He always gives His children those things which satisfy the heart!


Conc: Have you met the great gift giver?  He has so much that He wants to give to you.  If you are sensing His call to come to Him, why don’t you just do that today?  Come to Him and experience all that God has to give you.

      Many of you have already received God’s great and gracious gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.  But, you are not walking as close to Him as you should be.  This would be a great time to renew those vows.



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