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The Ugliness of Christmas

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
December 23, 2021 3:00 am

The Ugliness of Christmas

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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December 23, 2021 3:00 am

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Christmas is this Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.

There is no other way is no other. Sin is a disease cured only by one thing that is the divine physician.

Perhaps you recall fond memories from childhood time with family and friends. With so much happiness associated with Christmas.

What could possibly be ugly about it. Find out today as John looks at a hard truth at the heart of the Christmas story. The truth that can strengthen and energize your worship not only a Christmas but every day of the year. It's part of a lesson titled the ugliness of Christmas John before the lesson was so many of our listeners scattering to their Christmas celebrations. If they haven't already headed out. What would your prayer be for those dear family members are Grace to you family well. I think this is a wonderful time for us to sort of elevate the personal worship. I mean I'm just sort of extrapolating out of my own experience Christmas for us is a busy day big family lots of kids, grandkids, great grandkids, but the focus is always been on the person of Christ, and I think you you you have to sort of clear the clutter a little bit and get to that end, in its most effectively determine if you do it before dinner because everything starts to disintegrate at the table when every possible conversation gets generated so we always tried to have a time on Christmas day when when we look at the person of Christ and express our faith and our joy in all that he is done for us and I don't know that there's anything more that you need to do than that I don't have a problem with them Christmas trees are presence, and we were not working. Worshiping those things like they were pagan gods. I don't have any problem with the traditions that make wonderful memories for a family in a home but II do think Christ needs to be a dominant reality in the middle of all of it so you need to find a way to do that. Maybe some testimonies from folks as to what the Lord is meant to them through this year what they have to anticipate in the future, but make him the center of things. Thanks John, that is helpful advice and friend, focusing your mind on Christ, making him the center of all things. That's what today's message is all about. So if you have your Bible turn to the book of first Timothy and here's John 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 manifest to 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 no 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 seen 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 and 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 sin pollutants into files and stains in Mars everything it touches and it touches everything in the human room. Second, sin is also defiant is defiant. As to its nature. Leviticus 26, 27 God speaks of those who choose to walk in opposition to meet is defiling God. Thirdly, sin is ingratitude. It seeks to dethrone and destroy the one who gave us all we have unbelievable.

That's the nature of sin. Sin also is incurable human sin is humanly incurable. In Jeremiah 1323 the prophet said.

Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots answer to that rhetorical question is no Ethiopian can change his skin, the leopard by thinking by doing something cannot change his spots and then the prophet says then may you also do good, that are accustomed to do evil as the Ethiopian cannot change the color of his skin and the leopard can't change the color of his spots, nor can you do good who are bent to do evil. There is nothing humanly that can change that not all the resolution in the world. Not all the self effort, not all the religion sin is humanly incurable in Isaiah 1 we read in verse four, sinful nation of people laden with iniquity loaded with it. A seed of evildoers another were you just keep begetting evildoers, children that are corrupters.

They have forsaken the Lord there provoked the holy one of Israel to anger there gone away backward. Why should you be stricken anymore. You will revolt more and more the whole head is sick the whole heart is faint from the soul of the foot to the head. There is no soundness nothing but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores. That's how God describes the center total sickness. Sin is the incurable leprosy of the soul, it can't be legislated out. It can't be philosophized out. It can't be psychology eyes out.

It can't be wished out. It can't be pushed out by self effort John Slagle once said that all the tears of a penitent sinner. Should he shed as many as there have been raindrops since the creation of the world couldn't wash away by his own tears one sin and then he went on to say, the everlasting burning of hell couldn't purify the flaming conscience from one sin, because sorrow can't cure one sin and punishment can't cure one sin only Christ can cures it and so Christmas is this Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.

There is no other way.

There's no other cure. Sin is a disease cured only by one thing and that is the blood of the divine physician himself further in understanding what sin is like we ought to say that sin is also hated by God. It is detestable to God. This must be obvious to us, but let me pursue your thinking a little further.

Sin is the only thing that God has eternal antagonism against he damns no one except a sinner that's that's the very narrow category in which God has eternal hatred, God does not resist a man because he is poor. God does not resist a person because they are ignorant or crippled or ill or despised by the world or limited in ability or because they seem to have little to offer know there's only one thing that alienates a person from God, and that is soon that is it God is antagonistic only to the sinner. Jeremiah 44 four. God says oh, do not. This abominable thing that I hate. That's God's word to wayward, rebellious, defiant, defiled sinners, see our God is holy, all holy only holy altogether holy and always holy and the sinner is sinful. All sinful only sinful altogether sinful and always sinful and how the two can be brought together only one sin is eliminated and that is done by the work of Jesus Christ came to save sinners, so sin is defiling and defiant and ingratitude. It is humanly incurable, is hated by God and listen sin. If I can add this is hard work is the character of sin that is hard work. Have you noticed all that causes pain and yet people go through pain to do it. The strange compulsion. Our nature gives to us in Jeremiah 95. The Bible says they weary themselves committing iniquity in Psalm 714 behold, he travails in pain with iniquity, describing Kush the enemy of David was chasing David. He's in pain trying to bring forth evil and it says of Jerusalem in Ezekiel 2412. She is wearing herself with sin.

Sin is hard work and people go after it with a vengeance.

I'm reminded of Genesis 19 where those perverted, twisted in the city of Sodom came to the house of lot because two beautiful angelic creatures that come to his house God, and they saw those magnificent creatures, and they wanted to come and molest them in their file. Perverted way and they wanted them to come out of the house so they could do that to them.

Of course they would not allow that to happen in the Bible says in divine judgment, God struck those perverse blind and you know what shatters my understanding when they went blind. They didn't fall on the ground and crawl around. They didn't run and cry out for mercy.

They date with greater intensity trying to beat the door down and get into the house anyway they could actually going stone blind on the spot was not enough to overpower the incredible impulses of their lust. They ignored their blindness and went to extreme effort to reach the goal.

Their lust drove them toward.

That is the essence of sin is so perverse that ignoring the pain and the consequences men go after evil and weary themselves in the process. People go to hell, sweating what is sin like it's defiling it's defiant. It's ingratitude it's incurable, is hated by God.

It's hard all of that for men to violate the law of God, what a wretched day.

How many people to sin affect that's our third question, I received letters of the years from people who said to me, I don't know what you're so worked up about. I've never sin. I have how many people to sin affect the answers in Romans three for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, for there is none righteous, no not one that's just for you think you're the one know not what sin of the world through one man, Adam, and by Adam then came a whole civilization of sinners like produces like Job said it Job 14 for he said, who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean. Not one. No one in Psalm 58.

Three. The wicked are strange from the womb Psalm 51, five and send it my mother conceived me ever since Adam it's been sinners and sinners and sinners and nothing but sinners.

The only non-sinner was Jesus Christ, and him was no sin. First John 356 not only the guilt of Adam's sin, but the depravity, corruption and pollution of the has been transmitted to us. We drink from the same poison well we inherit the same falling genetics Adam sin clings to us as Naaman's leprosy clings to get Hayes I and second Kings five with the flesh. Paul says in Romans 725 I serve the law of sin. Original Sin and Adam contaminated the entire human stream and if you have a question about her.

It's very simple answer. The wages of sin is death. And if you die, you die because of sin that is simple and clear. If you look at your life and you want to know whether you're a sinner. Ask yourself if you ever been ill. If you're growing older, if you will die. The answer is yes.

And sin is the reason you cannot deny that in the roots of sin are so deep they are so deep that even after salvation.

Sin remains a problem for the Christian.

Paul cries out things I want to do. I don't do the things I don't want to do I do I see the sin that is in me, and even when it was forgiven and even when the Lord had put the righteousness of Christ over that sin, because Christ had paid the penalty for that sin it still there. The roots of sin are so deep all of us are affected by us even when we are Christians.

Sin is still a reality. And if you say you have no sin, you make God what a liar and then a vital question.

One of the results of sin.

One of the results. What does sin cause me share this with first sin causes evil to overpower us. Sin turns a person into a victim of evil. Evil dominates the mind. It says in Jeremiah 17. Nine. At the heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. It says in Ephesians 4 that the mind is direct that the mind is alienated that the life of God's absence. It says in first Corinthians 2 that we cannot understand the things of God in Romans one that the mind is reprobate. In other words, sin has dominated the mind so that it's thinking process is overpowered with evil. It thinks evil. It plans evil and conceives evil.

And then we know to that that evil also dominates the will cry mentioned earlier, quoting from Jeremiah 4417 but we will do, whatsoever things proceed out of our mouths. The will is also dominated by the evil that overpowers the center. He is a total victim and if his thinking is overpowered by evil so will is willing be for he will will do what he conceives and what he conceives is dominated by evil and then evil dominates the affections. Men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. Their loans their affections their wishes, their wants their desires, their longings are toward those things which are not right so man is overpowered by evil. As Paul says sin that dwells in me.

It hangs like blackness hangs tonight. Sin is in the nature even of the of a Christian it's in the essence of a Christian it's in the person of a Christian like a sleeping lion in the least thinking and rage is an overpowering thing.

It smolders sometimes hi like a flame sometimes low. The slightest wind of temptation fans it to fury. Secondly, and thinking about this matter of sin and the results of it. Sin brings us under the dominance of Satan. People think that they are free and all their free you're really free to do whatever they want, we say their free spirits less. The only free person is one is headed sin covered and is free to do what's right.

Sinners not free. He is under the total domination of sin and the control of Satan.

Ephesians 2 to the apostle Paul says in Scripture that the sinner walks that his daily conduct. According to the prince of the power of the air's spirit working in the children of disobedience. Satan is at work he's in control. They bear the prime mature of Satan. They bear on their face is the image of their father and Jesus said in John 844. You are of your father the devil, it was obvious they were visibly the devil's children because they were manifest.

That way they bore the mark of satanic control man is a slave to Satan. He is not free. He is totally controlled. Satan works in him to accomplish his own will.

Only Jesus said if the son makes you free are your free for the results of sin. Sin overpowers and brings into the control of Satan.

Thirdly, sin makes a person or an object of God's wrath is sin that causes us to be condemned and damned. It is sin that sends men to hell we are exposed. Ephesians 273 says to the wrath of God and the psalmist said in Psalm 9011 who know us the power of God's wrath. That's why we don't want to mock swipe Proverbs 14 nine.

I think it is, says only fools mock sin, because when you mock sin you mock the wrath of God. God's wrath is not some momentary whimsical passion. It is a holy hatred is an active is pure and holy will.

Against that which is evil and unacceptable and he will destroy it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God of a mighty God of adjudging wrathful, vengeful God and so sin makes men the heirs of God's wrath.

And while they think they're feasting like Damocles banquet.

There's a sword hanging over their head held by a thread. And someday the thread will snap and judgment will fall, and then another thought about the results of sin.

It's very important.

Sin subjects a person to all the miseries of life.

Sin brings the worst of all, there is on the individual.

Job said in chapter 5 or seven man is born of the trouble and trouble becomes his name. Trouble is everywhere. Paul says the sin of Adam, has subjected the creature to vanity subject of the creature to emptiness to uselessness there is that there's something missing there is an un-satisfaction so much trouble and its nothingness. You live a life of sin and you get trouble and nothing else. Emptiness Solomon said vanity of vanities, emptiness of emptiness all is nothing wrong is nothing.

What a conundrum.

What a paradox a man enters the world with a cry and leaves with a groan and nothing in between. Only emptiness, sin is torn man down from the place of honor is lost his dignity. He is robbed of PC knows no lasting joy, no hope, no meaning, no values, there is no peace says my God, to the wicked, the wicked, rather I like the troubled sea when a tenant rasters waters cast up mire and dirt in the wicked, says Proverbs 28 one flee when nobody pursues they are hounded with the nothingness and the meaninglessness and the guilt and the absence of peace in their lives. Judas so terrified Judas so wrought with guilt and horror hanged himself to quiet his screaming conscience and even hell proves no rest. Listen. 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 old. What a horrible thing. It is why all of this because this dear friends, is the ugliness of Christmas that brings us to the point of its beauty you see the beauty of Christmas is that Christ came into the world to what saves sinners is that the beauty of Christmas and who can understand the beauty of Christmas without the ugliness of the cars in the trees and the lights in the presence and the fantasies in the snow scenes of the warm fires. The beauty of Christmas is that Christ came to cure the ugliness of the world and Ezekiel Hopkins many years ago said it is not man's cannot's but his well not is not impotency but obstinacy but destroys men well not obstinately will not come to the Christ, who came to save God determined to send his son into the world.

The brightness of his glory and the express image of his person, partaker of the divine perfection to die for us. That's Christmas that's the meaning of Christmas. And no matter what you may think, and what sentiments you may have and what warm feelings you might have about Christmas unless you understand the ugliness of your own sin and embrace Jesus Christ to alone by his death and resurrection can save you from that sin you don't have any connection with crisp Joseph Hart wrote, come ye sinners cooler and needy, weak and wounded, sick and sore Jesus ready stands to save you full of pitting love and power. He is able he is able he is willing doubt no more he is able he is more able he is willing doubt no more come, ye weary, heavy laden, bruised and mangled by the fall, if you tarry till your battery will never come at all, not the righteous not the righteous sinners. Jesus came to call not the righteous not the righteous sinners. Jesus came to call Joey.

Indeed, our Lord, we know that this is the truth.

This is a trustworthy word and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Yes, that is the beauty of Christmas that is the glory of Christmas, the wonder, the beauty is not a tree decoration relates or scenery beauty that the ugliness can be cured by the coming of the Savior you're listening to Grace to you with John MacArthur along with being the featured Bible teacher on this broadcast John is a pastor, author and Chancellor of the Masters University and seminary in Southern California. Today's lesson looked at the ugliness of Christmas and our friend.

If I could 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.

Would love to hear your story. When you have time, just drop us a note and send it our way.

You can email us at letters@tty.org that's our email address letters@tty.org or if you prefer regular mail. You can write to us at Grace to you. Box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412 also in a few days when the dizziness of your Christmas celebration winds down and perhaps have more time to meditate on biblical truth. Let me encourage you to download our study Bible to free app that gives you the full text of Scripture in multiple translations and it lets you quickly link to study guides, blog articles and sermons from John MacArthur, all of them related to whatever particular passage you're studying and for a nominal price. You can add the notes from the MacArthur study Bible about 25,000 detailed explanations that help you understand and apply the truth of Scripture to download the study Bible visit TTY.org now for John MacArthur.

I'm Phil Johnson encouraging you to be here for the Christmas eve addition of Grace to you for a compelling look at the true spirit of Christmas.

That's the title of John's lesson coming your way tomorrow. Tune in for 30 minutes of unleashing Christmas truth one verse at a time on Grace to you and


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