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Infancy Hymns

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
December 16, 2021 12:01 am

Infancy Hymns

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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December 16, 2021 12:01 am

The gospel of Luke opens with three songs that celebrate the coming of the Messiah. Today, R.C. Sproul shows how these songs of Mary, Zechariah, and Simeon point back to the covenant promises God gave to His people about Christ's arrival.

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For centuries in the Old Testament tradition one ever God would perform a particularly significant work of deliverance. That action of God in behalf of his people would be celebrated in song and Old Testament tradition that carries over into the pages of the New Testament celebrating the incarnation next on Renewing Your Mind over a week and 1/2 away for Christmas and the sun was sitting during the season bring a sense of nostalgia. They remind us of the joys of Christmas is passed.

They also remind us of the coming of the Messiah, Jesus is born in Bethlehem today on Renewing Your Mind. We are pleased to share a message from Dr. RC Sproul series.

What did Jesus do this lesson reminds us of three important New Testament songs the proclaim the coming of Christ.

I want to look at today is a portion of the biblical record of Jesus birth and aspects about it. We know that in Matthew's gospel and in Luke's gospel we got an account of the birth of Jesus. But before he was born. First of all, there is the record of what we call the Annunciation.

That is the announcement that the angel Gabriel makes to Mary of the pregnancy that she will undergo as she is being overshadowed by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Now in Luke's gospel we have as part of the record. The account of three song's that are given under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. And I think that's a very significant aspect is often overlooked. With respect to the work of Christ for centuries in the Old Testament tradition one ever God would perform a particularly significant work of deliverance or rescue of redemption that action of God in behalf of his people would be celebrated in song. The song of Moses, the song of Miriam, the song of Deborah and so on to the very end of the New Testament were in the book of Revelation we are told that at some point the Lord will give his people a new song as our redemption is completed, but Luke records for us three songs that are composed celebrating the incarnation. One is the song of Mary.

One is the song of Zechariah's whom the angel appeared and announced the birth of John the Baptist and the third song is the song of Simeon that occurs when the baby Jesus is brought for dedication into the temple. I want to look briefly at the songs because their content reveals significant dimensions to us of the work of Jesus.

Let's start with the song of Mary. Perhaps the most famous of the three and by the way these songs in our tradition are known by the first word of the song in Latin. And so the first opening words of Mary song in Latin are the worst Magnificat where she says my soul.magnify the Lord in my spirit doth rejoice in God my Savior now cease singing this song after she has contemplated the significance of the visitation that she experienced from Gabriel and also from her encounter with her cousin Elizabeth. Now why is she magnifying God of the first thing she says is this for he has regarded the lowly state of his mates are you can sense how Mary is over well that of all of the women in the history of the world. This peasant girl has been selected by God to be the mother of the Messiah and it's like she's saying I can't get over this. He's noticed me. He has regarded me in my low estate. This is the original Cinderella story where Cinderella is discovered. Finally, as the one who so won the heart of the Prince and Mary sings the song under the Holy Spirit's guidance. He says behold. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for he was mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. It's the holy one who noticed me. It's the holy one who is given me this unspeakable privilege. It is the holy one in all of his power and majesty.

Remember when the angel told her that she was going to conceive this baby and she said how is this possible one. I don't know a man in the angel replied Mary with God all things are possible. The one who brings life and universes out of nothing life out of death can bring life in your womb, just as the spirit of God hovered over the waters in the early dawn of creation so that same spirit will hover over you, so that what you will conceive in your womb will be regarded as holy, so she celebrating the breathtaking power of God and his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm. He scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts is put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted the lowly. I think of a table were all the weapons of the world are placed in opposition to God and God with the strength of his right arm to simply sweep them away with one gesture.

That's the way Mary season. He scattered the mighty pull down the mighty and the proud from their seats of power strip them of their power and exalted the lowly is filled the hungry with good thing. But the rich she is sent away empty and he has helped his servant Israel will notice that at the end of this song. She ties together what she has heard from the angel and from Elizabeth with the nation of Israel.

She understands that this baby that is been conceived in her womb is not for an isolated purpose in history, but is tied to the whole of the Old Testament to the whole expectation of the nation of Israel. And she mentions that the Berean as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever. When the New Testament speaks of Jesus birth. It speaks of his being born in the play Roma and that is a Greek word that excuse the pun, is filled with meaning.

The play Roma refers and is translated by the statement, the fullness of time that the incarnation of Christ into this world was not an afterthought or an impulse that God had and had him born de novo like nothing out of the head of Zeus now this was God's plan and he had promised his people of redemption, all tied up together with the covenant that he made with the patriarch Abraham and the play. Roma suggests that Jesus was born in the fullness of time, and when we see people in our lives who become pregnant women who become pregnant and they countdown the months in the weeks and the days until that time is reached for the baby to be delivered. I remember our first born child was 10 days past the delivery date given to us by her doctor and I was about to lose my mind because I was ready for that time to be finished in to see our child but there's a sense in which the whole of history has been waiting and groaning and looking for the birth of this child so that when this child comes the child comes when time has been filled to its capacity. The idea play Roma I like to think of a glass and you try to fill a glass with water and you don't fill it to the total tip of the glass, because then you can't lift it or carry it because it will spell it and so we always leave a little empty space at the top of the glass. But that's not play Roma play Roma is not even when the glass is completely full.

I like to think of putting the glass under the spigot and turning the spigot on and you fill the glass and as the water reaches the top and begins to flow over because the glass cannot contain another drop of it and that's the idea here that history has been so prepared by God, that at the exact moment that he has to create the perfect moment the play Roma the fullness of time. Jesus is born of the virgin Mary there similar themes found in the prophecy of Zechariah's who was the father of John the Baptist when he was filled with the Holy Spirit & the Benedictus listen to the words of the Benedictus blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets who have been since the world began, women just pause at that point here. The focal point of this celebration and song by Zacharias in the Benedictus focuses on the visitation. The visitation of God. And if you look at the language of that it is based upon a verb from which we get them now that is the Greek word for Bishop Piscopo's rehire of the Episcopalian church is called that because it's government involves the rule by bishops, but in the ancient world what the bishop was was the Piscopo smell the root word scope. It's is the word we get the English word scope from telescope microscope cystoscope all kinds of scopes that we have and the scope is something that you look through to see something what you normally would not be able to see with the naked eye. The microscope looks at tiny things that you can't see through the naked eye. The telescope looks far into the distance to see the stars in the sky, and so on and so the scope is something that you look through that when you put that prefix appy PPI on what that does is it intensifies the meaning of the root and so and at the scope is something that looks intently forcibly and fully at what is being examined in the ancient Greek world. The Piscopo's was the general of the Army's who would come to the military bases and review the troops they would inspect them to say if they were battle ready if they had been adequately prepared to carry on warfare and if the troops were not ready. Then there would be punishments imposed if they were ready. During the review, then praise and benefits would be given to the troops by the episcopate's New Testament later refers to geniuses, as the bishop of our soul that he is our super visor he looks or envisions in his super way at all that is taking place in the midst of his people and so the Jews on for the day of the Lord. When the Lord himself would visit this planet. They feared that the visit could be a day of darkness.

If he came and his people weren't ready and the time of crisis, and a time of judgment, but there was also the hope of the visit of God, that is, people to redeem them and here in the language of Zacharias. He says he has visited and redeemed his people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David. So now he's celebrating not the bad news of impending judgment, but the great news of of redeeming visit by God member Jesus is given the name Emmanuelle God with us. And so this him celebrates the visitation of God in the incarnation, and he goes on to say that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us to perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant. The oath which he swore to our father Abraham to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life to see again how just as in the Magnificat. The Benedictus ties the coming of Christ to the covenant that God made with Abraham, the people waited, century after century after century and Mary recognize and she said that weight is over, God has remembered. He didn't forget it.

He never forgets his promises. He never forgets his covenants. That's the basis upon which we live is the basis of God's making promises to us never forgets the we forget that he doesn't so both of these hymns celebrate the fulfillment of that covenant that was made to Abraham and then he speaks of John the Baptist the new child will be called the prophet of the highest you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare his weights to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the remission of their sins now are getting a clue as to how this work of salvation is going to be accomplished that, whatever else it involves. It will include a remission of sins ascending of our sins away from us and removing our transgressions from us as far as the east is from the west and is done through the tender mercy of our God with which the dayspring from on high has visited us this is another title for Jesus the dayspring from on high. The star that brightens the non-he has visited us in Christ to give light to those who sat in darkness and the shadow of death into the guide our feet into the way of peace. One more him. I want to look at before we close today and that is the very brief him that we find by Simeon when Simeon sees Joseph and Mary bring the baby Jesus into the temple for consecration. According to the tax.

This venerable man Simeon had been promised by the Holy Ghost, that he would not die until he saw the Lord's anointed, he would not die until he personally view the Christ who would come we don't know how he lived out his days in about the temple, but I suspect that he came every day looking for the Messiah. But the promise was unfulfilled day in day out, week in, week out, month year-by-year every day. Simeon was there. He doesn't see the Messiah but God had promised that he wouldn't die until he saw the Lord's anointed is getting older and older and feebler and feebler and and finally he came by the Spirit in the temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him.

According to the cost and the law. He took them up in his arms. Simeon lifted up the baby can imagine Joseph and Mary coming into the temple and they see Simeon this old man he comes over and takes their baby and he starts the saying, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost than the minutes now left by servant depart in peace, according to your word for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared before the face of all peoples alight to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel. He has seen with his own eyes as were told in verse 25 the one who is described as the consolation of Israel.

Israel had grown in pain and in war and strife subjection and they looked to God for their consolation in the consolation that God had prepared for his people was the Messiah.

And this is another title for Jesus, the consolation of Israel. The one who will bring peace. The one who will bring in his own work.

The tender mercy of God that all of the hopes all of the dreams all the promises that have been given to and through the prophets would meet in him the tremendous celebration, but it hence a foreboding footnote attached to it because also that day there was the prophetess Anna and when Simeon was busy blessing the child and Joseph was said to Mary. Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that will be spoken against the a sword will pierce through your own soul, but the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

And so, together with Anna and Simeon. This mixed message is given that this child is been set for the rising in the following many in Israel but to Mary it was said, but a sword will pierce your own soul said that Mary contemplated. I'm sure many times in her life she would look at her son with that they mean.

How is it that he's going to be the Messiah.

My soul, the message of each song we've learned about today is beautiful and moving as an attend. Yet they also remind us of the sorrow that was ahead for the little baby in the manger.

Thanks for listening to Renewing Your Mind on this Thursday as we continue Dr. RC Sproul series.

What did Jesus do in 12 lessons RC shows is that the life of Jesus. Those 33 years word just as important as his death on the cross. Most Christians understand the importance of his sacrifice and his resurrection but his life of perfect obedience is just as significant. We like to send you this to DVD set. Just contact us today with your donation of any amount to leader ministries.

You'll find us or you can simply call us with your gift at 800-435-4343 and before we go today like to remind you about table talk at leaders monthly magazine is been published never more than 40 years. It provides helpful articles from trusted pastors and theologians blessed to provide you with daily Bible studies throughout the month and table talk searchable website gives you the opportunity to look through a growing library of back issues for articles by topic scripture verse and author that if you are already a table talk subscriber.

Let me suggest that you give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. This Christmas web address is give table Let me repeat that the web address is give table Even when he was a boy. Jesus displayed the wisdom which pointed to the fact that indeed he was the son of God. I hope you join us tomorrow for another message from Dr. RC spell series. What did Jesus do here on Renewing Your Mind

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