Welcome to this week's ToGather.church! While some of our world is focused on things related to darkness and evil, we get to focus on God and his loving gift of grace that brings light to all of life.

James, the half-brother of Jesus, declared the glorious truth when he wrote the following message to first-century disciples who were struggling with their faith:

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17).

Our focus for ToGather comes from our expanded Verse of the Day in Ephesians 2:8-10:

It is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Paul's powerful declaration to those early believers — and us today — is that God's gift is the grace that brings us salvation through our faith in Jesus — something many of us believe is the greatest gift ever given and summarizes what our response is to be

Phil's Message for This Week

God is the greatest gift giver of all time. He continually lavishes his gracious gifts upon us daily. Still, his greatest gift was coming to the world as Immanuel (meaning "God with us"! — Matthew 1:23), living among us as one of us in Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, and Christ of God. Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection defeated Satan's power to hold us in fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-18) and bring us the eternal victory (Romans 8:31-39) of a resurrected life with Jesus in glory (1 Corinthians 15:50-58). Let's join Phil as he shares several important thoughts about God's grace:

Today's video message reminds us of four essential truths:

  1. We are in no position to expect salvation on our own merits or righteousness.
  2. God's gift to us means that he lavishes his grace on us and gives us salvation as a gift.
  3. Salvation is not something we can earn or do enough good things to deserve.
  4. We receive God's grace through our faith in Jesus.

God's gift is the grace that brings us salvation!
We respond to God's gift of grace by sharing in Jesus' saving death, burial, and resurrection through baptism as we trust in God's provision of grace (1 Corinthians 15:3-7; Romans 6:3-7). We also respond to God's gift of grace by doing good things that he made us and equipped us to do (Ephesians 2:10, 4:7, 11-16). We do not respond in these ways to earn or deserve our salvation, but to live out our faith in the salvation God has given us in Jesus (1 Thessalonians 1:3; James 2:14-26). True faith will demonstrate itself in a life that is lived to thank and praise God for his indescribable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15).

Full ToGather Worship Video

Today's full worship video leads us to open our hearts to God and his grace for us in Jesus. Because we recognize God's amazing grace, we sing, share the Lord's Supper, obey his word, and live in his blessing!

Special thanks for the use of images related to Jesus' ministry from The Lumo Project and Free Bible Images for use in both ToGather videos.