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December 24, 2020 3:00 am
The good news is this good news is there's a proclamation of salvation. The good news is the pervasiveness of that salvation reaches to everybody and anybody the good news is the person of that salvation is none other than the anointed king, priest and prophet of God is none other than God himself have an opportunity to understand for the first time. One of the easier parts of God's word misunderstand is that portion of Luke two that says on earth peace, goodwill toward men stay here for John study titled the promise of Christmas. So again, it's Christmas Eve and it's a day that's filled with so much anticipation for children particularly, but John talked to the parents and grandparents who are listening you want to help the younger members of their families in their Christmas celebrations focus on the most important part of Christmas is maybe something you and Patricia have found helpful with your family over the years will I think obviously we've been aided immensely by the life of the church, as is our children grew up in our grandchildren grow up in the church. They were exposed to Christmas and a very prepared and thoughtful way for weeks leading up to Christmas the curriculum.
The children's ministries were always driving at the birth of Christ.
The significance of Christmas and that's been aided.
This also in our church life because there are special events around Christmas we have Christmas concerts and those are always family events and there the word of God and the story of Christmas is told again and we also find ourselves having little more free time, so we wrought wind up collecting in various segments of our family and so Christmas is just it's really a month rather than a day or even a week of focusing on the coming of our Lord. We always get together on Christmas and read the story again so that we make sure that on that very day that we celebrate were reminded that this is not about us. This is about expressing our great love and gratitude to the Lord for the gift of his son, Patricia and I have always focused away from anything artificial Santa Claus doesn't play any role in our Christmas and never really has no not anti-that I think you know that's the fantasy as long as people know it's a fantasy story but it's always about kind of clearing that away. I would have to say we don't talk about Easter bunnies at Easter either right mean you know we want them to focus on the reality of this day and the honor of our Lord Jesus Christ and we want to direct their thoughts toward him, and we've used a lot of means to do that singing Christmas carols always takes us in that direction. In fact, one of my sorrows is that we wanted to sing those anytime but around Christmas, but it's a great time to refresh our commitment to the glories of the birth of Christ. That's right. And thank you John and friend to see the glories of Christ's birth in a fresh and powerful way stay here for a look at the salvation Christ brought into the world from a perspective you may never have considered your again is John MacArthur continuing his study on the promise of Christmas beautiful Christmas Carol asked the question what child is this who laid to rest on Mary's lap is sleeping. Who is this child who determines the eternal destiny of every human who has ever or will ever be born. Who is this child the angel says a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Me talk a little further about that. The selection of the word curiosity here for Lord that's a very important selection. There were two words in the Greek language still are.
I think that could be used to refer to Lord our master one is curiosity and the other is despot tests and if you study in the background of those two words and even how they sort of come down to us. We have a word in English despot when we think of the word despot. We think of someone who's in authority and someone who's in power, but with a certain level of high handedness, don't we, or a certain kind of illegitimacy or abuse or on earned undeserved power to say someone is despotic or a despot is to assume that they have somehow garnered power that they don't really deserve. And that doesn't belong to them and has somehow been gained not by the will of the people or those who have the right to give it but it's been illegitimately usurped with the word curiosity just the opposite of that curiosity means supreme power and authority with legitimacy is a word that expresses an authority that is valid, lawful and legitimate and curiosities used here Jesus is legitimately validly Lord he is Lord lawfully. He is Lord. Legally he is Lord by virtue of nature who he is, so that the root idea. Curiosity is a legitimate sovereignty, legitimate authority, and of course the ultimate legitimate authority in the universe is God. That's why in the Old Testament, the Greek translation of the Old Testament that that helps us to understand word usages in the Greek translation. The original Old Testament Hebrew, but if you look at a Greek translation, you would find that where Lord is used in the Old Testament, the Greek Old Testament uses the word Cory Yost 6156 times so that and that to represent Yahweh to represent God. So 6156 times Greek translators of the Old Testament, translated the tetra graviton that is to say, Yahweh, Lord Cory's so they would understand that curiosity in the Old Testament refers to God. It's a proper name for God, affirming his legitimate sovereign power and authority you coming to the New Testament, the writers of the New Testament years. Cory also all the time. It has become in the Greek language. Of course the name for God. So when it says Jesus is Lord, when it says you must confess Jesus as Lord you're confessing him as God with all that that implies that implies authority that implies sovereignty so the good news is this the good news is there's a proclamation of salvation. The good news is the pervasiveness of that salvation reaches to everybody and anybody.
The good news is the person of that salvation is none other than the anointed king and priest and prophet of God who is none other than God himself.
That's why when Isaiah the prophet was talking about this and prophesying about it. He said child is born as a 96. A son is given, his name is going to be called wonderful Counselor, what's the next one, the mighty God and then the eternal father and then the Prince of peace. There is no question as to who the child is the child is the anointed one, of God, prophet, priest and king who is himself God is, who was born that day.
Savior King, priest, prophet, who is God. Now you understand who Jesus is. Anything less and that is sub Christianity amazing titles given to a one day old lying in a feed trough and the wealth of those titles and the grandeur of those titles and the majesty of those title stands in stark contrast to the conditions in a stinking stall verse 12 takes us then the next statement by the angel. The angel doesn't tell them to go look for the child soon as they will, though, which is another indicator that they were probably devout really believed in the true and living God and were looking for the Messiah. That's why they were selected for this announcement even though they were the humblest of the humble and the lowest people in the socioeconomic ladder were shepherds but the angel says to them. This will be a sign for you. You'll find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger, no king of royal blood and right never had such a birth in Israel. This is just so much contrasting the glory of who he was. This will be a sign for you. Don't get too mystical about the word scientist means a plane will sign just a physical sign. Nothing spiritual, nothing supernatural about the sign it using very plain way sign #'s for signs point to somewhere sign is to identify something and that's exactly what he saying you going to have a sign here's what you can look for. You have to find a baby wrapped in class while any baby born to be wrapped in cloths. They did that with all of them in fact not to wrap a baby in class was was the worst imaginable treatment to go back to Ezekiel 16 is an interesting analogy. There is a description of the prophet Ezekiel gives any pictures of baby coming out of its mother's womb spray graphic. One was graphic chapters in the Bible the baby comes out of the mother's womb, and it's all bloodied and the court is still attached and the baby is just thrown out in the field and God makes that baby analogous to Israel and he says when I found you. Nobody had cut your umbilical cord. Nobody had washed you with water. Nobody had rubbed you with salt which was used in antiseptic in case there were any wounds and in the birth of the child and says nobody had wrapped you in cloths way back then. Ezekiel's time hundreds of years before this.
It was tradition among the Jews and still at the time of Jesus, to wrap babies. As I told you they would wrap each limb separately little legs and the little arms be wrapped and then the body would be wrapped tightly as well providing the child warmth and security and protection and also they believe that this this help the limbs to grow straight because they were wrapped so tightly together in that fashion. That was what any caring parent would do to a child.
So the angel tells the shepherd you not.
You have to look for a baby that's been wrapped in class. In the traditional way. Well, that would be assigned to some degree, but any baby they found would be wrapped like that and there might've been more than one so there's a further indicator that will really narrow it down.
You'll find this baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger to feed trough for animals that would limit it to the right baby so they were going to have to go looking to find the baby who is the Savior of the world, who is the anointed king and priest and prophet of God who is God himself. Yahweh in human flesh and they would find him wrapped like any other baby without any distinguishing marks with the exception that he was lying in a feature. This is a very normal-looking baby nothing to distinguish this baby from any other baby except the place it's laying so the person of the good news is introduced to us in starkly contrasting terms. And that leads us to the fourth point. The purpose of the good news. I'll just wrap up with this. The purpose of the good news is this good news unfold.
It has a purpose and frankly as we come to this in verses 13 and 14. We come to the transcendent pinnacle of all thought and action.
I mean I mean you can't get any higher than this. Folks here you're going to get as high as you can get right here. This is the highest of all truths. This is the reason for everything. Verse 13 says, and suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased. He said what are you talking about. We've come to the pinnacle we come to the transcendent high point, we come to the highest point of thought and action, the highest truth of all truths, what is it it's the glory of God. What you see here is the highest thing that can occur in the universe. The created universe. The highest thing that can hurt the currently in the created universe is that God is glorified by his creatures and that's exactly what you see the Angels doing this is the purpose of the good news you say was the good news to save sinners. The good news is to save sinners so they can join Angels and giving glory to God the ultimate is is is always to glorify God, the highest transcendent pinnacle of all thought and action. The reason for everything to glorify God comes pretty suddenly the scenario here. Minutes shaken them just to have an angel there just to have an angel from God there and hear this incredible message.
That alone is a startling and shocking event.
But verse 13 suddenly and God occasionally does things suddenly Malachi 31 says the Messiah will suddenly come to his temple, and if you read Mark 1336 first Thessalonians 53 there suddenness and the return of Jesus Christ going to come in a sudden fashion. There times when God invades human the human realm with great suddenness. This is one suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host now up.
I don't know how many there were the heavenly host really can be translated in Army multitude of the handle heavenly army. These are angels.
How many is a multitude I don't how many is a multitude how many angels are there.
I don't how many angels there are, but according to a Revelation there 10,000×10,000 thousands of thousands now 10,000×10,000 is at an actual mathematical number. You could multiply that and add a few thousand. You got half 100 million+ angels well.
The word Murray on which is 10,000 is the is the highest number for which there's a word in the Greek language so there is no word for any higher number.
It may just be that the John in writing Murray on times Murray on and thousands of thousands is just using sort of hyperbole and and it we don't know how many angels there are not sure you can just multiply and add their thousands and thousands to get to the number let's just say there are hundreds of millions of angels leave it at that. This is not all of them. This is a representative group.
Obviously, it's not all of them in visible form, but a representative group, a large group multitude refers to a large group and not even to speculate as to how many but it wouldn't be a handful of wouldn't be a few. It wouldn't be a small group.
It would be a large group, a multitude large group. Whenever you see the word multitude used in the New Testament about Jesus. It says he was surrounded by multitude. Talk about a large crowd hundreds and and maybe in some cases thousand I think about it. Those shepherds never seen an angel and they saw an angel. Now they see a who knows how many angels and manifest visible form. This just didn't happen. It just didn't happen. You can find a place in first Kings 22 where there was a vision into heaven of the throne of God and angels there. Go to Revelation 4 and five, and John had a vision of heaven, and he could see in heaven the throne of God and angels there but angels on earth, not a division but they are really there.
Who had seen this many angels.
This is pretty remarkable. There were occasions in the Old Testament when an angel came and an angel went, but to have a huge multitude of angels out in this field with these nondescript shepherds incredible to me they were going to verse nine.
They were panicked, they were literally in phobic reaction. The Greek word full back home I use their wits as they were terribly frightened.
One angel scared the daylights out of you can imagine what this group did to them in the angels appeared in over they doing what they were doing what angels always do, praising God, praising God, that's all they do is praise God praise God praise God praise God, what were they praising God about what they were saying, glory to God, glory to God, glory to God, glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased over they praising God for their praising God because Jesus was born there praising God because the Savior, they were praising God for the Savior, who is Christ the Lord to see. They knew what was going on.
They knew Jesus as the second member of the Trinity. They knew Christ before the incarnation. They had been associated with Christ in heaven before the incarnation.
They knew of his glory. They knew of his riches. They knew of his Majesty. They were also aware of the fall of man.
They understood the fall of man. They knew about that they had been informed.
Also, the God provided a way of salvation for man. They knew about that. They knew the prophecies had been made that a Messiah would come Savior would come a sacrifice to be made that they understood the sacrificial system of the Old Testament to some degree they understood all those animals had to be offered the couldn't take away sin, but they would picture one who would come and Diane would they understood that the they had given the report to Joseph you shall call his name Jesus will save his people from their sins. They knew what was going on.
They knew the work of saving man. They knew there would come a Savior, who while maintaining perfect righteousness and holiness would also bear sin. They knew that God would not spare his own son, but give them up for sinners.
They knew that the son, the rich would become poor for the sake of undeserving sinners.
They knew that he would vicariously bear their curse and take their punishment. They knew that the Holy Spirit would condescend to convict sinners and bring them to salvation regenerate them in and take up residence in that sinners heart they understood the birth of Christ. They understood that he would enter into a condition of poverty that he would become poor so that sinners could become rich. They understood this. There were praising God because they were seeing God's grace on display. They were seeing God's mercy they were seeing the salvation plan come to its glorious fruition.
They were thanking God for his indescribable gift they were looking into the things that Peter says angels desire to look into, but cannot fully comprehend because they can't experience grace and mercy and forgiveness because holy angels are sinless, they were doing what angels always do. They were praising God. If you turn Revelation 4 and Revelation 5. You see them doing it.
There, that's what they do. They were saying, glory to God in the highest, highest is heaven highest is heaven and this is contrasted language. Glory to God in the highest and on earth.
That's the lowest glory to God in heaven on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased on earth peace. What kind of peace, salvation, peace is not talking about the comfort of the mind rest of the Spirit is talking about salvation. Peace with God.
The war is over. The battle has ended. No longer is God our enemy and are we, his enemy, but reconciliation has come in the highest is glory to God in the lowest on earth is peace among men there praising God for that praising God giving him glory in heaven because he's brought salvation to earth.
Glory to God in the highest. The adoration of the Angels over the good news of the Savior's birth. This is pure, perfect holy praise given to God alone because he is supremely worthy because he has sent Jesus to save sinners you sent Jesus to bring peace among men on earth in the highest place. Glory to God in the lowest place salvation to sinners and then verse 14 ends with an interesting statement with whom he is pleased that can be very misleading.
Very misleading if you're not careful. Sounds like he's going to give salvation to those who earn it to those who earn it. The King James Bible says on earth peace and goodwill toward men.
That also sounds like God is going to bring peace and goodwill toward those who earn it. Those who deserve it, but the Greek literally says men of his good pleasure. Men of his good pleasure.
It's a genitive there's an alternative reading here, but the best reading would be peace among men of his good pleasure or put another way, peace among men of his goodwill. It's not men who've earned it.
It's God who's given it because it's his pleasure to give it salvation. Peace belongs to those whom God is pleased to give it to. That's what say same words in chapter 3 verse 22, where the father says about the son at his baptism.
You're my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. There are some in whom God chooses, in whom he wills salvation is not the result of what good men of done angels are not rejoicing and glorifying God for what men have done or will do angels not rejoicing that some men will merit salvation there glorifying God because, though none can merit salvation God is pleased to give it by his own good pleasure. And there will be salvation. Peace among men of his good pleasure. If you are a person who has been given the gift of salvation. You are a person of his good pleasure, credible, credible truth men to whom he extends his good pleasure. He gets all the credit he gets all the glory. We can devise a plan of salvation we could earn salvation. So if were saved, it's because God designed it and God was pleased to give it sing another way, there is salvation. Peace. Peace between man and God.
Among those whom God has chosen to delight in. So the Angels are praising God because he is chosen to delight in bringing salvation.
Peace to sinners. I know that's what's going on in heaven forever and ever and ever.
Both the Angels and redeemed souls and glorified bodies of men and women are going to spend forever and ever and ever and ever glorifying God in the highest, which is heaven because he brought peace to the lowest which is earth and granted it to those in whom he chose to delight, he gets all the credit.
Revelation 4 and five have the Angels starting out to glorify God for salvation and then you have all of redeemed humanity chiming in my be a good place to end the four living creatures.
24 elders representing the church, fell down before the Lamb. It says in verse nine. They sang a new song worthy art thou to take the book and break it seals, for you were slain, and did purchase for God with your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You made him to be a kingdom and priests to our God, they will reign over the earth. Other words that's that's praising God for salvation praising the Lamb for salvation.
When I looked verse 11. I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, living creatures, the elders, it's all that everybody, the redeemed Saints, the Angels, the number was there's the Murray on times Murray on thousands of thousands all the Angels they're all same worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing in every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them. I heard saying to him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever. And the four living creatures who are angels kept saying amen and the elders fell down and worship. And that's heaven, that's what will be doing and what we saw that multitude of heavenly host doing there in the field. Bethlehem was just a foretaste of that preoccupation of eternal heaven purpose of everything. Then is that God will be glorified forever and ever and ever. We will glorify could sum it up by saying the purpose of salvation was to bring glory to God in heaven, from Angels and from Saints. We will see that and participate get. This is grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us. Today's Christmas eve message looked at how words spoken thousands of years ago.
Peace among men with whom he is will pleased those words can change your worship this holiday season. It's part of John's current study from the Gospel of Luke titled the promise of Christmas and out friend if I can ask a favor if you're grateful for today's lesson on the birth of Christ, or if you can point to some specific ways you benefited from grace to you this year. We would love to hear your story.
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