Summary: Advent 4(C) -- When we look to Bethlehem we marvel at Jesus’ humble birth and rejoice at Jesus’ royal majesty.
LOOK TO LITTLE BETHLEHEM (Outline)
December 21, 2008 --
ADVENT 4 --
INTRO: Sometimes mankind looks for all the wrong things in all the wrong places. Mankind likes to boast about his own wisdom and the ability to have an answer for everything. But human wisdom and thinking will not always reasonably explain or completely comprehend the profound depth of all the mysteries of God. All too often people expect the strength of God to be revealed in the powerful things of this world. This is not always the case. Our human wisdom, reasoning, and thinking often is not the mind of God. "He (God) chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him" (1 CORINTHIANS 1:28,29). This is the point the prophet Micah makes in our text today. We consider the theme:
LOOK TO LITTLE BETHLEHEM.
I. Marvel at Jesus’ humble birth.
II. Rejoice at Jesus’ royal majesty.
I. MARVEL AT JESUS’ HUMBLE BIRTH
A. Verse 2a. Bethlehem was clearly an insignificant, little town. It sat in the region of Naphtali.
1. It was considered small among the people of Judah. Yet this little town would become great.
2. It already had been the birthplace of one king – David. David started out as a shepherd boy.
B. Micah speaks of another ruler coming from this town, verse 2b.
1. This ruler had been promised from long ago. This ruler would be eternal.
2. This ruler would rule over Israel. This ruler was to be the baby Jesus born in Bethlehem.
C. Verse 3a. Israel was not abandoned. But Israel was considered insignificant in the eyes of the world.
1. Israel was not considered a great earthly empire. Mary would give birth everything changed.
2. Verse 3b. Israel’s brothers that return are all believers from all the ends of the earth.
D. Jesus was born in a stone manger in the little town of Bethlehem. Jesus was much more than the son of Mary and Joseph. Jesus came as Savior for all of mankind. Today Israel includes all those who look to the infant Jesus as the word of God, yes the very Son of God, made flesh. By God’s grace all those once outside God’s kingdom are now brought in as members of God’s chosen family. God is far more con-cerned more with the spiritual hearts of men than any physical boundaries of a nation. "Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham…. So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith"(GALATIANS 3:7, 9). Look to little Bethlehem and see Jesus’ humble birth.
E. Jesus was God and yet took upon himself human flesh and blood. With this body Jesus lived, walked, talked, and taught among his creation physically. Time and again Satan tempted Jesus. Satan wanted Jesus to sin – but he did not. The humble birth of Jesus is truly an amazing miracle of God’s plan of salvation of all of mankind. "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness"(PHILIPPIANS 2:6,7). The One who created all things became like his creation (but was sinless).
F. At the birth of Jesus God’s promise and plan of salvation was being fulfilled. Adam and Eve sinned. God promised them a Savior to crush the head of Satan. Thousands of years later that promise finds its fulfillment in little Bethlehem. For generations believers brought their sacrifices to they synagogue. These sacrifices pointed ahead to the one promised to Adam and Eve. Jesus’ earthly life began as a social outcast. But the purpose for his birth was far from insignificant or unimportant. Jesus was the only person ever born for the singular purpose of being put to death. There was a divine reason for what the world thought was weakness. Jesus was born to carry out his Father’s will – for us. "And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (HEBREWS 10:10).
LOOK TO LITTLE BETHLEHEM.
Marvel at Jesus’ humble, human birth.
II. REJOICE AT JESUS’ ROYAL MAJESTY
A. It was hard for the people of Micah’s to understand that a ruler would come from Bethlehem.
1. All their leaders and important people came from Jerusalem, certainly not Bethlehem.
2. Jesus would come as a different, special ruler, verse 4a. Jesus would rule as a Shepherd.
B. Jesus would rule as a powerful Shepherd over God’s flock, verse 4b.
1. Jesus would have the strength of the Lord always with him.
2. Jesus possessed the very power and authority and majesty of God’s name in his divine nature.