Summary: A PORTRAIT OF CHRIST THROUGH THE EYES OF MICAH THE PROPHET. ESPECIALLY SUITED FOR CHRISTMAS.
THE ENDURING LEGACY OF BETHLEHEM’S BABY
I. THE IMPORTANCE OF CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS
A. There are many Christians who do not feel we should celebrate Christmas
-they point to it’s pagan origins and how the early church associated it with the birth of Jesus
B. It is important that the church continue celebrating Christmas.
-it brings to the forefront of human thought a reminder of Christ
-it provides the opportunity to share the gospel
-more people go to church at Christmas and Easter than any other time of the year
C. If it wasn’t for the church’s celebration of these holidays, the world would forget the importance of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection
-today our society is trying to disassociate itself from the Christian celebration of these events by forbidding the mention of Christ, banning the public display of nativity scenes and prohibiting the use of the words "Christmas" or Easter" and encouraging the use of the word "Holiday" in state and government institutions and property
D. We must be careful not to get overly consumed with the materialistic emphasis and world view society places on Christmas but there is nothing wrong with celebrating the birth of Christ at Christmas
II. O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM (2a)
A. Usually we look to the gospel accounts of Jesus’ birth and the events that took place
B. In our text, the O.T. prophet Micah, gives us a prophetical glimpse into God’s plan of salvation and redemption for lost humanity and ties it in with the town of Bethlehem
C. There were two places called Bethlehem in the Bible, here God is letting us know exactly which Bethlehem is being spoken of. When the Magi went to Herod seeking "The one born King of the Jews", Herod demanded to know the location .The chief priests and scribes quoted Micah 5:2 as a reference and Herod sent to Bethlehem to kill all the male children two years old and under
D. Let us look at some things this prophet reveals to us about Christ
III. THE ETERNAL EXISTENCE OF CHRIST (2b)
A. To this day there are many people who see the existence of Christ starting as a baby in Bethlehem. When they think of Jesus they think of a baby in a manger.
B. Micah says "His goings forth were of old, from everlasting"
-In eternity past, Jesus Christ was the eternal Son of God who chose to lay aside his glory till his work here was over.
-He was before all things
-In the beginning was the word...and the Word was made flesh
-John 17:5 ...O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
C. There can be no doubt, that Bethlehem’s most famous baby was the eternal Son of God and chose to come to this earth to fulfill God’s plan of redemption
IV. THE SHEPHERD HOOD OF CHRIST (4a)
A. Jesus’ ministry took on the role of a shepherd
He is called the "Good Shepherd", the "Great Shepherd" and the "Chief Shepherd"
-O.T. prophecies refer to Him as a shepherd
B. Jesus fed Israel in the strength and majesty of the name of God
C. Jesus identified Himself not only as the Shepherd but also as the "Bread of Life"
-John 6:32-35 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
D. Jesus, Bethlehem’s baby, beautifully fulfilled this prophecy - Jesus, "The Bread of Life" was born in Bethlehem, "The House of Bread".
V. THE GREATNESS OF CHRIST (4b)
A. There are many who want to do away with Jesus, dethrone Him, strip Him of His deity and toss Him out of society
B. There are many opinions as to who Jesus was and is
C. One thing we cannot deny is that Jesus has impacted this world greater than any other person.
-This is amazing considering that His public ministry only lasted 3 1/2 years
-His death was the most shameful and disgraceful of any man who ever lived
-He was not a great military leader, politician. Just a carpenter from Galilee
D. Jesus cannot and will not be stopped. He will continue to be "Great to the ends of the earth"
-seen today by the millions of people all around the world who have accepted Him as Savior
-seen in the future as He returns to this earth and His kingdom fills all the earth
-remember Nebuchadnezzar’s dream - Dan 2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.