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The Ugliness of Christmas

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
December 22, 2021 3:00 am

The Ugliness of Christmas

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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December 22, 2021 3:00 am

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The heart of Christmas is this Christ came into the world to save sinners, Christ was manifest to take away soon. You shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sin and the real beauty of Christmas is to understand the ugliness that it cures yet than the miraculous circumstances of Christ's birth is the reason that he came so stay here as John MacArthur focuses your thoughts on that amazing truth today on grace to you before today's lesson John talk a little bit about what a great privilege and a great responsibility it is to teach God's word on the radio.

Certainly, grace to you is not a church but we do provide spiritual nourishment for lots of people. So how would you describe our commitment to those men and women who listen and learn and grow along with us as we study God's word together. Well, I think, as you said, it's not the church but it supplements the church and that's not anything unusual. As far back as you can go in Christian history there were always Bible teachers who who would teach the word of God and even you take John Calvin, for example it in when he was in Geneva he would preach Sunday and he retreats multiple times on Sunday but he would teach in the little auditorium next to the Geneva Cathedral QTs virtually every single day.

The Bible supplementing what was what was happening on Sunday and there would be other men in in the group of reformers who would also be teaching the word of God.

He had some some guys with him that were teaching the word of God and so there's always been kind of the focus of the church as it meets together in worship and the word of God is proclaimed and preached. But there's always been supplemental resources, whether they were preachers and teachers, or whether when you get into the period of time when you have a printing press and you can print books books exploded and nobody questions the validity of books we've all basically built our life ministries by reading the books of the great books that of change our lives, so we just want to be in that flow would we want to be those supplemental preachers we we want to be in a verbal sense offering books want to build your library and and it's it's preaching on the Internet it's preaching on CDs or is through the books that we write. This is not the church but this is intended to supplement the church have to say in all honesty it's also intended to protect the church because there are people who are in bad situations and they're not hearing the truth and they need to hear it. We do have a polemic aspect to our ministry were trying to correct error were trying to help people understand the truth so we want to come alongside.

We don't want to be the church. We can't ever be that and there's no such thing as a Internet church.

You need to be there face-to-face and life to life, but we want to supplement that you help us to do that you make this possible, and I can just tell you this, people who love the word of God never get enough. They never get enough for the so they want more. The more you get, the more you want and I will keep doing it.

As long as you keep supporting us. Yes, we will and friend. I can't thank you enough for your generosity for your partnership that helps us strengthen Christians all over the world. If you benefited from our Bible teaching and you'd like to help others benefit express your support@gty.org but first take a look at an aspect of Christ's birth. You may never have considered the ugliness of Christmas. I suppose the most famous popular song about Christmases white Christmas. I'm dreaming of a white Christmas. But if we may, I'd like us to talk about the blackness of Christmas, the other side, and I suppose that most people when they think of this time of year. Think only of the beauty of it and were surrounded by that beauty lovely trees with bright lights and decorations colorful ornaments beautiful candles, wreaths, snow scenes, warm fireplaces in the hearth in a family home beautifully wrapped presents. Everything is bright and light cheery and happy and I guess that all of that symbolism is conveyed to us most significantly in the Christmas cards that we receive which present to us almost a world of fantasy beauty, wonder, loveliness, and that is one side of Christmas without question, but there's also another side there's a very ugly side, and there are a lot of ways we could approach that I mean we could talk about a dark cold night in a small, nondescript village in Palestine where a lovely young woman gave birth to a baby in the most unsanitary wretched conditions imaginable. Standing in the filth and manure of a stable, we could talk about the ugliness of a man named Herod, who, because he feared the loss of his control and power massacred all the babies in that region. Christmas does have some ugly aspects.

We could talk about an indifferent population. Jerusalem, but there's something even beyond those things. There is lurking behind every beautiful scene on every Christmas card every lovely sentiment of Christmas. Somewhere behind all of that is something very violent, very ugly.

The most wretched heinous hideous reality in all the universe and I really believe that to have a proper understanding of the beauty of Christmas. You must have a proper understanding of the ugliness of Christmas we see if I can help you focus in on what I'm referring to in Matthew chapter 1 and verse 21 we read very familiar words and she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sin. First John 35 says, and he no that he was manifested to take away our sin. First John 414 and we have seen and do testify that the father sent the son to be the Savior of the world. And then I want us to focus on one very specific text. First Timothy 115, where Paul says this is a faithful saying a true word. A trustworthy word and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners the dark and ugly side of Christmas is sin. Sin, the heart of Christmas is this Christ came into the world to save sinners, Christ was manifested take away sin, you shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sin and the real beauty of Christmas is to understand the ugliness that it cures and that is my concern today to demonstrate the power of sin to demonstrate the power of Christ's living and dying and rising again to deal with that which blights all of human life sin. The phenomenon that damns every soul to hell sin, that which pervades the entire world because of sin. There are tears and pain in war and fighting and anxiety and discord and unrest in fear and worry and sickness and death and famine, and earthquakes, and pollution. All those things which mar our existence are the direct result of sin. Sin disturbs and disrupts every human relationship where the between man and man man in creation or man and God.

Thomas Watson, the great Puritan writer said sin has turned beauty into deformity and the wicked takes more care to have his sin covered then cured. Men are much more prone to excuse their sin in the art of examining so it's fitting that at this time of the year when men would cover their sin with all the beauty of Christmas that the covering be torn off. If, but for a brief moment to reveal the ugliness that is behind it all.

You see, the reason that Christ was born, was to be the Savior who came to deliver men from sin. If there were no sin, there would need to be no Christmas, so we cannot divorce the two.

We cannot hide behind the fantasy. We cannot hide behind the smokescreen of Christmas cards and all the rest. Sin must come to the forefront is that which generates cosmic chaos is that from which no one escapes and all who die in childbirth or from heart disease or cancer or war or murder or accidents or old age or whatever else. All are dying and all are dying because of sin. Bible says the wages of sin is death, and every person on the globe will die, and therefore has been affected by sin. But the Bible says that Jesus Christ came into the world to save us from sin. That's the reason for his coming. Sin is the ugliness of Christmas. It is the degenerative power in the human stream that makes men susceptible to disease, disaster, illness, death and hell, and it is the reason for Christmas every broken marriage, every disrupted home every shattered friendship every argument, every disagreement, every evil thought evil word evil deed. Every good deed undone good thought unthought good word on said can be attributed to sin and that is why in Joshua 713.

It is called the accursed thing is compared in Scripture to the venom of snakes and the stench of a grave and anything that is that sinister and that powerful and that totally debilitating for the whole human race must be dealt with if God was infinitely holy is to bring man to himself.

Thus Christ came into the world to deal with sin so you cannot look at Christmas and celebrated peripheral elements.

You must understand that the heart of it is the ugliness of sin many years ago Thomas Guthrie wrote of sin. Some provocative words, who is the painted temptress that steals our virtue, who was the murderous that destroys our life. Who is this sorceress that first deceives and then damns our souls sin, who with icy breath blights the fair blossoms of youth who breaks the hearts of parents who brings old men gray hairs with sorrow to the grave sin, who by a more hideous metamorphosis than all of it even fancied changes, gentle children into snakes, tender mothers and the monsters and their fathers and do worse than Herod's the murderers of their own innocence. Sin who cast the apple of discord on household hearts who lights the torch of war and bears it blazing over trembling lands Hubei division in the church rends Christ's seamless robe sin. Who is this Delilah that sings the Nazirite asleep and delivers up the strength of God into the hands of the uncircumcised who winning smiles on her face honey flattery on her tongue stands in the door to offer the sacred rights of hospitality and when suspicion sleeps treacherously pierces our temples with a nail. What fair siren is this who seated on a rock by a deadly pool smiles to deceives things to lure kisses to betray and flings her arm around our neck to leap with us into perdition sin who turns the soft and gentlest heart to stone who hurls reason from her lofty throne and impels sinners Madison Gadarene swine down the precipice into a lake of fire.

Sin" sin is the ugliness of Christmas. It stands behind the scene and is the reason the Savior came. This is a true statement and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. That's the issue. Now I want you to face five questions regarding sin, question number one what is sin what is it, of which we speak. That has so blighted the world John Bunyan prosaically said, sin is the deer of God's justice.

Sin is the rape of God's mercy. It is the jeer of his patients. The slight of his power and the contempt of his love, but more than that. What is sin. In simple terms, I believe the definition of first John 34 puts it as clearly as any sin is the transgression of the law sin is breaking God's law. Any violation of God's law in the Greek text of that verse.

Sin equals lawlessness lawlessness equals sin is living as if there were no God and no law, no authority, no standard, just like people live today and have always wanted to live. It denies the reality of God's law. It says God is not in charge and cannot put on me a binding rule is living beyond the boundaries God has set is thinking that is unacceptable to God speaking that is unacceptable to God behavior that is unacceptable to God violation of his law, God has given his law.

He has written his law in our hearts. The Bible says in Romans two he has written his law on the pages of holy Scripture and the law according to Romans 712 is wholly just and good in it. There is nothing impure, nothing unfair and nothing wrong. It is wholly just and good, and there is no saying reason to violate God's law other than the fact that men desire to run their own lives to do what they will and they deny God's rightful place all of God's laws for man's blessing. All of God's laws for man's good wall of law. God's laws for man's happiness man's salvation man's eternal joy, but man is a fool and while like a horse who has a beautiful pasture to graze in and leaves the fence only to land in the mud man has defied the beauty of what God is provided within the framework of obedience to his law, he is leap the fence, overstepped the boundaries and landed deep in the quagmire and muck of his own sin and cannot extricate himself. Therefore, so that we can look through Scripture and find many different kinds of sin in many different terms to express what it is the simplest definition is that it is a violation of God's law that leads us to a second question, what is sin like what is the nature of sin. What are the properties of sin. One of the characteristics of this which has caused the Christ to be born as a savior.

First of all, sin is defiling. We need to understand that it's nature is that it defiles, it is not only a defection that is it is not only a rebellion is not only a transgressing of God's law, or stepping over the boundaries but it is a pollution is a defiling is to precious metal. What rust is it is what scars are to a lovely face.

What stain is to silk cloth what smog is to an azure sky is a defiling thing.

It makes the soul red with guilt and black with evil in first Kings 838. The sin of man's heart is compared to losing sores of a deadly plague in Zachariah 33 compared to filthy garments is a defiling polluting staining thing.

It sustains the soul and blots out the image of God and according to Zachariah 11 eight it makes God move that the sinner and according to Ezekiel chapter 20 verse 43 when the sinner sees his own sin.

It makes him blow themselves. Sin pollutes into files and stains in Mars everything it touches and it touches everything in the human room in second Corinthians 71. It's little wonder that Paul calls it filthiness of the flesh and spirit, Thomas Goodwin. The Puritan wrote sin is called poison sinners, serpents, sin is called vomit sinners, dogs, sin is called the stench of graves, sinners, rotten sepulchers. Sin is called Meyer, sinners, pigs, and all of that that biblical concept speaks of its pollution, its defilement, its ugliness, so sin is defiling. Second, sin is also defiant is defiant. As to its nature. In Leviticus 26, 27 God speaks of those who choose to walk in opposition to meet is defiling God is clenching your fist and striking a blow in the face of Jesus Christ. No matter what homage you may want to pay to him at Christmas. Sin strikes a blow in his face.

Sin drives a nail in his hand. Sin precious crown of the crown of thorns on his head sin and jammed the spear into his side.

Sin spits on him. Sin mocks him sin says I will do what I will do. I don't care what your claims are who you are. In Psalm 12, for it says our lips, RR own who is lord over us. We will say exactly what we want to say is the application of that passage were not accepting you as any authority.

We don't believe that you are binding on us will say whatever we want Jeremiah when he was indicting the people of Israel for their evil against God says in chapter 2, verse 31 that the people say we are lords we will come no more to be and that is the statement of every center we are lords we come no more than they were not interested in your sovereignty in your rule. We rule where a charge in the very word + Hebrew for sin signifies rebellion. It is the heart of defiance that is in the heart of every sinner. Jeremiah 4417 says we will certainly do whatsoever thing goes forth out of our own mouths. In other words, it is the characteristic of the sinner that he does exactly what he's desiring to do is see sin is God's would-be murderer sin. Not only would on the throne. God, it would on God, God, if the sinner had his way, there is no God, and the sinner is God. That's the defiance of sin no matter what kind of a homage and attempts to pay to God.

It strikes a blow against God, and spits on the Savior.

It defines God and demands to do its own will. So sin is defiling and sin is defiant. Thirdly, sin is ingratitude. Sin is ingratitude. You see, according to acts 1728. The Bible says in him that is in God we live and move and have our very being, you know, of course, that without God you wouldn't be here.

You were created by God, you live and breathe because God made you as he made the whole world and whatever it is in this world that you have and whatever it is that you enjoy whatever it is that you possess.

You have because of God. And because he is a merciful God and providentially kind and gracious is create a good world for us and blessed us with his favor, and we have another breath because there's God and he gives that breath to us in Matthew five chapter 5 verse 45 it says of God, he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and he makes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. In other words, he has bless the world a world of sinful man with his kindness and his favor is God. It was provided all the food the sinner eats every delicacy, every taste you enjoy every beautiful scene you've ever seen every good feeling you've ever felt God gave you that it is God who is granted every beauty is God. It was given wisdom to our minds. Coordination to our bodies to allow us to think and feel and work into play in the rest the life might be full and useful. It is God who made love. It is God who made laughter is God. Of course, who gives us joys in life, little children, friends, it is God who made man to have a basic care for himself and each other so that life is filled with those kinds of good things that we all enjoy.

It is God who preserves us from getting every disease and dying every death. God literally surrounds the ungrateful sinner with his providential care and when we continue in sin, we defy that goodness, and we express in gratitude for that kindness like Absalom who is soon as David his father had kissed him and taken him to his heart went right out and plotted treason against his own beloved father. So the sinner will gladly take into his arms. All the good that God will give and strike a blow in God's face in return we find ourselves asking the same question that was asked in second Samuel 1617, is this guy kindness to thy friend. Sin is such gross ingratitude. It seeks to dethrone and destroy the one who gave us all we have unbelievable.

That's the nature of sin.

You wouldn't think to render evil to someone who had saved your life in a great and heroic act, and yet you will strike your defiant blows in the face of God is given you everything you have. Sin is defiling and sin is defiant and sin is ingratitude listed.

Sin brings the worst things in life. It exposes men to all the ultimate misery. The final result of sin is that it damns people to hell.

In Revelation chapter 20 it says in the end of the great white throne judgment. The Lord will gather all the unbelieving and cast them into the lake of fire that burns forever.

Jesus taught the doctrine of hell, he was the one who framed and articulated in the Gospels, the apostles picked it up and it's repeated throughout the New Testament and we need to know this. Dear friends, 50 million people will die this year hundred and 36,986 die every day in hell awaits the vast majority of people. Spurgeon said man is hanging over the mouth of hell by a solitary plank in the plank is right and that is the fatality of sin no. What a horrible thing is this is grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us today. John showed you a neglected and unexpected aspect of the Christmas story but it's one that's critical to understand.

We titled it the ugliness of Christmas and friend. Keep in mind messages like today's are heard every day on stations like this one because of the support of listeners like you to partner with us in taking God's word to spiritually hungry listeners. Contact us today. You can mail your gift to Grace to you.

Box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412 or you can donate online@tty.org the end of the year is a crucial time for our ministry and with about 25% of our annual budget needs met by listener gifts during these last few weeks. We need to hear from your gift now will help us connect God's people with clear verse by verse Bible teaching in 2022.

Thanks for helping us start the year on solid financial footing and keep in mind that to make it tax deductible donation for 2021. Your check must be postmarked by December 31 or your credit card donation must be received on our website by 11:59 PM on December 31 our website. Again, TTY.org and our mailing address box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412 now for John MacArthur and the entire grace to use staff. I'm Phil Johnson reminding you to watch Grace to you television this Sunday on DirecTV channel 378 or check your local listings for channel in times and listen again tomorrow 30 minutes that can help you put your focus where it needs to be this Christmas. It's another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to


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