The following is an excerpt from a message that was delivered at Grace
Community Church in Panorama City, California, By John MacArthur Jr. It was
transcribed from the tape, GC 80-76, titled “A Son to Make Many Sons.” A
copy of the tape can be obtained by writing, Word of Grace, P.O. Box 4000,
Panorama City, CA 91412.
I have made every effort to ensure that an accurate transcription of the
original tape was made. Please note that at times sentence structure may
appear to vary from accepted English conventions. This is due primarily to
the techniques involved in preaching and the obvious choices I had to make in
placing the correct punctuation in the article.
It is my intent and prayer that the Holy Spirit will use this transcription,
of the portion of the tape, to strengthen and encourage the true Church of
Scriptures quoted in this message are from the New American Standard Bible.
The message speaks to the issue of “Santa Claus” as it pertains to Christians
and their children.
What a false, fake substitute the world puts forth at this time [Christmas
1990] for that true message. Do you remember these words?
“You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I’m
telling you why; Santa Claus is coming to town.
He’s making a list and he’s checking it twice; gonna find out whose
naughty and nice. Santa Claus is coming to town.
He sees you when you’re sleeping; he knows when you’re awake. He
knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sakes.
You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I’m
telling you why; Santa Claus is coming to town.”
Now does that threaten you? That is a very threatening poem. That is
intended to scare children. Now listen, if you look at the letters of Santa,
you will see that Satan is hidden in Santa. When we teach a child to sing
this song, we are teaching him a false theology. We are teaching him a false
set of doctrine. Let me see if I can explain it to you.
First, that song teaches that Santa is a transcendent being. He lives on a
higher plane. He lives on another level. He transcends time and space. He
has powers equal to whom? God! Not only that, he knows everything. He’s
omniscient. “He knows when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He
knows when you’re naughty. He knows when you’re nice.” He knows everything.
Not only that, he’s everywhere. “He sees you when you’re sleeping.” He’s
not only omniscient, he’s omnipresent. And he is watching to see whether you
have been good or bad. And not only that, but he bestows favors. Now on
what basis does Santa give his favors? What must I do to receive good things
from this transcendent being, called Santa. Well it is very simple, I have
to be what? Good. I can “earn” Santa’s favor. If I am good, Santa will
give me gifts. After all, he’s making a list and he is checking it twice to
make sure that we’ve been either naughty of nice. And on the basis on how
we’ve been, he’ll deal with us.
And if I’m not nice and good, I won’t get any gifts. So I better be good for
goodness sake, not to mention for my own sake or anybody else’s sake. But
do you want to know something about Santa? He may be transcendent, and he
may be omniscient, and he may be omnipotent, and he may be omnipresent. He
may be dispensing all of the good things, but you know what? You can’t trust
him. You can’t trust him. You say, “What do you mean by that?”
It says, “He’s checking to see if you are naughty or nice.” And you better
be good for goodness sake, because if you aren’t good, you won’t what? You
won’t get anything. You want to know something? That’s not true. Plenty of
times I haven’t been good and I get something anyway. Every year I get
something. And you want to know the truth of it? There are a lot of naughty
people that get a lot and there are a lot of nice people that don’t get
Do you know what about Santa Claus? You can’t trust him. He doesn’t even
stay true to his own word. He’s blustering around and warning everybody to
mind your manners and be good all the time; be nice and not naughty and good
and not bad. And then you know what? When Christmas comes he caves in, and
even when we have been naughty he gives us all that stuff. And sometimes he
overlooks people that are nice. He really can’t be trusted. His threats are
meaningless and so are his promises. But that’s good because it takes the
sting out of him.
And there is another good thing about Santa; you only have to worry about him
once a year. He only shows up once and you know when it is; it’s always on
Dec 25th, so you can get your act together just a few days before. You say,
“Well where is he the rest of the time?” Oh, he’s in the North Pole. Could
that be heaven in Satan’s little scheme? “What’s he doing?” Oh, he has all
these elfs around him. “What are they doing?” Whatever he tells them.
Mostly, meaningless things like make toys. He is sort of inane isn’t he? He
threatens but never fulfills his threats. He promises but doesn’t always
fulfill his promises.
Is it any wonder that if I believe all that as a child, when I come to be an
adult, I might have a hard time believing in a Transcendent God who does know
everything, who is everywhere, who does have all power, who does keep his
promises and his threats, and who does not save me and give me good gifts on
the basis of my works but on the basis of His grace. If Santa has been my
understanding of God, then I am in trouble. That’s why I say, hidden in the
letters of Santa is Satan.
I am glad for a God who is absolutely dependable. I can trust His promises.
I can trust His threats. He is everywhere at all times and He doesn’t just
show up once a year. He is here all of the time. And He gives His great
gift, not on the basis of our works but on the basis of His grace through
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