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The True Christmas Spirit

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
November 6, 2020 3:00 am

The True Christmas Spirit

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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November 6, 2020 3:00 am

Grace To You
John MacArthur
Grace To You
John MacArthur
Grace To You
John MacArthur
Grace To You
John MacArthur

What is the attitude then of worship, a deep heart felt inner spring of intense gratitude and joy bursts forth habitually from a humble soul knows it's harder on spending time with family exchanging presents watching a classic holiday film, getting into the Christmas spirit. But the truth is, you can spend hundreds even thousands of dollars on presents for others. You can decorate every inch of your home, you can attend every holiday event in your community and still not have the true Christmas spirit to make sure you understand what the Christmas spirit really is before the busyness of the holiday season begins. Stay here for grace to you as John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary continues his study called the best of Christmas turn in your Bible or open the study Bible app to the gospel of Luke and here's John, one of the phrases that you hear a lot is the Christmas spirit. We need to have the Christmas spirit. Just what is the Christmas spirit. Luke 146 and Mary said my soul exalts the Lord, my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior, for he has had regard for the humble state of his bondslave. For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. The mighty one has done great things for me, and holy is his name and his mercy is upon generation after generation. Toward those who fear him.

He has done mighty deeds with his arm. He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent away the rich empty-handed. He is given help to Israel his servant in remembrance of his mercy as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his offspring forever.

I just want us to look at the elements that are in this Psalm that speak of the significance and the meaning of worship first point and I'll give you three first point we see in her the attitude of worship and I want to give you for comments about number one is internal is internal.

The true worshipers, the one whose heart is devoted, the one whose heart is overflowing. It comes from deep down inside, and it it therefore goes on all the time and it takes me to the second point is intense. It is not only internal, it is intense. Notice my soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. And when you read that in English maybe doesn't grab you.

The word exalts or magnifies is the word mega loony and what she is doing here is not just exalting but it is a mega exaltation is a large one. It it literally the word mega Luna means to cause to swell or to cause to grow order crescendo as if starting at some point and extending and becoming larger and larger and when Mary came to grips with what was going on and literally captured her mind, her mind transferred it to her emotions got every part of our interbeing moving and it just erupted in intensity. That's the stuff of which worship is made, but it starts with revelation to the mind doesn't. This is what's going to happen.

Here are the facts, and then the explosion in response. This is sincere intense worship. Not at all shallow, not at all superficial. Not at all temporary worship then is the right attitude is internal and it is intense. The third thing about praise is habitual.

It is habitual. My soul exalts or magnifies continuous action present tense isn't that it's just related to an event or a moment, particularly an event or moment like this that has eternal consequences goes on and on and on. It isn't just that you rejoiced when you were saved is that you started rejoicing then and never will stop fluctuating circumstances do not say that again fluctuating circumstances do not impact true worship. They don't affect it. True worship becomes a way of life because it's fixed on something that never changes. God never changes. Christ never changes.

Salvation never changes his promises never change his covenant never changes our future never changes. The spirit never leaves that never changes. So why should worship rise and fall. Why should it have been slow true worship doesn't. If worship for you. Only happens on a Sunday morning when it's hard to get pumped up or only happens around the Christmas season are other special events. You're kidding yourself about whether you're a true worshiper. If worship only happens when things are going well in your life and you can whistle a tune because you got what you wanted, or because you're happy about the current events in your life or because your measure of comfort has been that if worship is connected to that, then you don't understand the real stuff because true worship is unaffected by fluctuating circumstance, it doesn't rise and it doesn't fall is the constant praise that comes from deep within the soul because that which is spiritually true is unchanging, unchanging. It doesn't matter what goes on in life and when you begin to abend flow in your attitude and your demeanor and your joy comes and goes.

It is because you have attached your self to another priority than the unchanging work of God in the unchanging presence of Christ you have attached your joy to the changing circumstances of life which means your focuses in on him. Your focus is on you. You can tell a true worshiper because they go through the circumstances of life with an unmitigated contentment and in unchanging joy. And that leads me to 1/4 element in the attitude, the attitude of worship is internal, intense, habitual, and fourthly, and here's really the key.

One is humble is humble. True worship only comes from a humble heart only from a humble heart of what is a humble heart a humble heart is a heart that has no thought for itself. No thought for itself. Pride is the worship of self. That's what it is and it competes with God and if you're not thankful, it's not because God hasn't fulfilled his promises because your comfort level is where you want it and that's because you're focused on you, it's because you didn't get what you deserve it didn't didn't get what you counted on hold for prayed for. Thought you deserved pride remembers all wrongs done to it.

Pride wants to strike back when it is offended. Pride wants to retaliate. It is not filled with praise because it fixes itself on the ebb and flow of life's issues.

Humility cares nothing for those humility isn't going around all the time beating on your chest bemoaning your iniquity. That's a component of humility is being so focused on God that what may or may not be yours is of little consequence.

You don't focus on you. You're not the issue. God hates pride and God hates the proud. The Bible says God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. And anyone who comes to worship must come in humility because that's being lost in God and that means that you are not an issue. Now we see this in Mary. Look at verse 48 for he has regard has had regard for the humble condition of his handmade, his bondservant, the thing that strikes Mary about this whole deal is.

It's just incomprehensible that God would have had such regard for such a humble common girl that's what's amazing Jesus is saying about herself. Nothing spontaneously. She burst forth my soul exalts the Lord. She doesn't have a thought like this well.

I think you made a pretty good choice for well I certainly know a lot of women who aren't as godly as me. Not a thought that almost is unfair to even mention such a possibility, you know that's part of being fallen creatures, but we are rather anxious to spread our successes to all who will listen and to some who have to listen even our smallest successes.

Turning to tall tales don't. And if we have achieved some great thing, or if we have received some great blessing or met some great person or had some distinction or some position, we tend to speak of our success in our initial response might be my soul doth magnify myself and we stick the plaque on the wall.

Will Mary didn't have such a thought. She didn't even think to pick up the telephone. If there had been one in or that would be a tough temptation. If you just were told you going to be the mother of God to stay away from the phone amid her immediate thought was directed heavenward, from whom all goodness comes in all gifts and all graces and all blessings and all benedictions, she just was over what she didn't even respond. Elizabeth should even say thanks to Elizabeth for Elizabeth made a gracious benediction. There, in verses 42 to 45.

I mean it was a beautiful thing she she couldn't even think of what Elizabeth was saying. Her focus was not on Elizabeth. Her focus was not on her except for the fact that you couldn't comprehend how God could possibly do this with somebody so absolutely common as she that's the kind of attitude out of which worship rises.

You see, it is characteristic of humility that has no thought for itself and that it is surprised by any commendation if not shocked when she says that God regarded her low estate literally fuses a term that means you that she was in a humiliated state of being.

She was a nobody. She was a nobody socially and culturally. She was just a handmade capable of nothing and worthy of nothing. A simple wife of a village carpenter an unlikely mother, for God and Joseph.

He was a made yolks plows, tables, chairs and perhaps doors and maybe a few buildings, but there was one very unique thing about Mary. She was bearing in her veins. The royal blood of David now we are sure she was a pure and a godly woman but you know something about the pure in the godly never see themselves that way. Those who are truly pure truly godly and truly righteous. Don't think they are in fact they know they're not because one of the functions of godliness in purity and righteousness is to be able to search out every nook and cranny of your iniquity, and they can do more godly you are, the less godly you believe yourself to be and so there's a certain brokenness and humility. The essence of true spirituality is not the thinking you have it, but humility is at the heart of true worship, a sense of unworthiness, a sense of sinfulness, a lack of qualification for anything for any blessing for any goodness for any gift from God.

And when it comes you're just absolutely overwhelmed. Worship is internal, intense habitual and humble if Mary was exalted above all woman.

She might've been the humblest of all woman. I mean, if God lifted her to the highest it must've been because she was the lowest she may have been the godly assist young woman in that whole country.

Isaiah 5715 puts it all in perspective.

Thus, set the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy and this all elevating God higher and higher those words. I dwell in the high and holy place really anybody else up there with you. Yes, those who are of a humble spirit. What is the attitude then of worship, a deep heart felt inner spring of intense gratitude and joy that bursts forth habitually from a humble soul who knows it's utter unworthiness. That's worship and that's the spirit of Christian who are we, but we should be so highly favored as to be made, not the mother of God but the children of God. Who are we that she should come to die for us such overwhelming grace undeserved okay. Secondly, the object of worship, so we never miss this and it's obvious Mary said my soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. The object of worship is God all the glory goes to him all the honor goes to him all the worship goes to him.

Worship is very central in that sense, very simple, very focused, very one-dimensional. We worship God in Luke 48 Jesus said it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God and serve him only worship is limited to one being in the universe and that is God, and Mary knew it. First Timothy 117 to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.

Amen. That is the center and circumference of worship. It is all directed right at God, and most particularly the heart of worship is that God is our Savior and she says that God my Savior know. In all honesty, if I wasn't saved if God hadn't saved me through Jesus Christ. I would have a hard time getting into worshiping him just for the rest of the stuff that's true about. I can honestly say that I get real excited about his incommunicable attributes like omniscience that he knows everything on my present that is everywhere at the same time omnipotence.

That is all powerful and almighty and there is nothing you can do and that is immutable.

That is, he never changes. Those are all true about God, but I got it can honestly say that I would be the first guy to write to him about all of that up I was on my way to eternal hell to be destroyed. There I really couldn't get into worshiping him for his other attributes. If it weren't that he was my Savior. You understand that, in fact, I don't see people who don't know, I'm a Savior writing hymns to him as a judge.

I don't know any hymns about hell and judgment and damnation.

Condemnation and punishment wrath here if you weren't a Savior. None of us would be worshiping him we would be hiding in fear when we cowering and probably cursing the worship, all of it every bit of it no matter what attribute of God to matter what dimension of his person and work you're talking about all of worship is basically set loose in the great reality that we are saved from our sins, and thus from Judge mean the whole thing is that the Son of Man is come to seek and save that which was lost. The whole reason he came it was said when they gave him his name shall call his name Jesus, for he shall what save his people from their sins as would Jesus mean Savior Savior. If it weren't for the fact that he was Savior. Nothing else would mean anything Savior, so she worship God the Savior.

He is called God our Savior number of times in first Timothy and in Titus God is a saving God. He sent his son into the world to save us from our sin he was manifested to save us to deliver us from sin. So the object is God who is a Savior at the pleading bag with God like you do pagan deities to be nice. God is a saving God by nature, and he initiated the whole thing.

The spirit of worship is internal, intense habitual and humble.

That is the attitude of it. The object of worship is the God who saves. Thirdly, and lastly the cause of worship because it works. What makes it happen.

What motivates well three things.

First, what God does for me, person look at verse 48 middle of the verse four behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.

Why Mary because the mighty one has done great things for me, and holy is his name is as if she sang. Can you believe that a holy God would do this for me, a sinner. That's where worship starts that an absolutely holy God would do this for a sinful me from this time on all generations are going to Me blessed because of what God in his holiness is done for a sinner. That's where worship starts in Amitai something friend. It doesn't mean anything. That God is a Savior, unless you've experienced his salvation right it has to come down to you and Mary knew she was a sinner and she knew God was holy and she knew she needed a Savior and she was worshiping because the Savior had come, and she knew that that meant her sins were to be dealt with. She, like everybody else who was saved from their sins always all to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

She offered soul felt praise because the Redeemer was coming.

The one who would bear her send the one who would fill all the fulfill all of the sacrificial imagery and that's where worship starts. That's what motivates that's what causes it.

When you personally experience the saving reality of Jesus Christ. Jesus didn't change or social status didn't change at all.

Her whole life. She never became some earthly queen. Though she was the mother of God. She maintained the same social status. She had the same friends. She even had to be given over to John the apostle to be cared for, because she needed someone to take care of her after Jesus left, or social status never changed what her spiritual status changed just like all whoever believed before and after Christ, his death was her death for sin, and so she knew it she knew the Redeemer was coming. Her praise comes out of pure gratitude for salvation. And that's where it always starts. It has to start with what the Lord is done for you and anything less is sort of meaningless and superficial mighty one is done great things for me and what I need is to be safe for my sins. Secondly, praise rises, not only from what the Lord has done for her.

But for what he has done for others.

Verse 50. And she doesn't want to single herself out so she quotes from the Old Testament here from Psalm 101103. Rather, verse 17, and his mercy is upon generation after generation.

Toward those who fear him immediately. Her humility's comes into play again and she doesn't want think anybody to think that it's just her.

This is going to happen from generation to generation.

To those who fear him. She realizes that the Lord is going to do the same for others and that brings joy to work hard. Why because she has spiritual priorities because she's concerned about what is spiritual and eternal and soul saving. She was absolutely overwhelmed what the Lord was doing for her and what the Lord would do for generation after generation of June after generation.

That's the stuff that elicits praise her own salvation and the salvation of others and then the third element she worship because of what God does for his own. This is marvelous and I wish we had time to go into detail. We don't look at verse 51 and let me just read this a recitation of all that God historically had done for his own people he has done mighty deeds with his arm that is he showing them strength and power. He is scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. In contrast, he doesn't do good things for those who rejected is brought down rulers from their thrones, and on the other hand, each of these kind of reverses and has exalted those who were humble. He's taken his own were humble and lifted them up. He's taken his own who were weak and given them power. Verse 53. He has filled the hungry with good things he's taken his own who were hungry and who had need. And met that need that to comes out of Psalm 107 and on the other had sent the rich empty-handed is given help to Israel his servant. He is remember his mercy and as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his offspring forever.

He is kept his covenants. That's cause for worship salvation. Personally, salvation of generation after generation after generation and the faithfulness of God to meet every need of his own beloved people, by the way, verse 5155 terrorist verbs are used describe the recitation of what God does for his own only because the mighty God has done mighty things, is there good news to tell only because God is saved does save and remains faithful is there worship and praise and glory and adoration. What is the spirit of Christmas worship in word worship the humble attitude of worship. That's what John MacArthur calls the true Christmas spirit. The lesson you've just heard on Grace to you is part of a collection of some of the most beloved Christmas messages from five decades of John MacArthur's pulpit ministry.

The series is titled the best of Christmas as we draw this study to a close.

John take a minute to give our listeners some practical ways they can cultivate that attitude of worship the true Christmas spirit as you've described it today. Generating an attitude comes from what what you're thinking about and it's the sudden mystery as a man thinks in his heart so is he. The Bible says so what we try to do in our ministry is to bring to you those kinds of biblical resources that set your mind on the things of God. The apostle Paul, some that up Disney in Philippians 48. Anything is good anything is pure, think on these things. Sanctification is the byproduct of thinking on the word of God. David said your word I've hid in my heart that I might not sin against you.

So the ministry of grace to you whether it's radio, television, German downloads books commentaries study Bibles really all has the same goal in mind and that is to help control your thoughts so that your thinking about things that are sanctifying truth so I would suggest as you think about generating the attitude that you should have a Christmas you would be able to get a hold of some of the best resources and that would start with this study that you've been listening to. I hope you been with us every day.

It is available from our ministry can download it any time from the website and you can get other people to do the same and you can pass around the truth that you been hearing. Also the book that we talked about God's gift of Christmas God's gift of Christmas that is very very direct look at the meaning of Christmas.

Why the Lord Jesus came into the world to save sinners for limited time.

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It's a great resource to read with your family.

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It's another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on Grace to you

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