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O Little Town

Christmas 2017 part 1  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
Micah 5:2 NIV
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
Micah 5:2 NIV
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Quoted in Matthew:
Quoted in Matthew:
whose origins are from of old,
f
Quoted in Matthew:
Matthew 2:5–6 NIV
“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
6 “ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Illustration:
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Illustration:
Have you ever thought of it, that only the smaller birds sing? You never heard a note from the eagle in all your life, nor from the turkey, nor from the ostrich. But you have heard from the canary, the wren, and the lark. The sweetest music comes from those Christians who are small in their own estimation and before the Lord.
Bethlehem is an interesting town-and it is highly symbolic.
Bethlehem is an interesting town-and it is highly symbolic.
Bethlehem is an interesting town-and it is highly symbolic.
Bethlehem is an interesting town-and it is highly symbolic.
That God chose this small place as the birthplace for Christ means it is worth exploring.
Bethlehem was a real town, it still is-you can go there now, its in the same place it was 2000 years ago.
The Father sent him-Jesus obeyed, the Holy Spirit caused the birth.
The Trinity acting in concert together.
Who picked Bethlehem of all places?

Bethlehem in History

History:

Rachel died there giving birth to Benjamin.

"Son of my sorrows"
Jesus called "Man of sorrows."

Naomi came there with Ruth

She was blessed by God but had her own sorrows- widowed, sons died.
Naomi means pleasant.
Naomi means pleasent.
Mara means bitter
Mara means bitter

David was born there

We will sometimes suffer bitter pain-it is not useful to try to avoid this.
Out of this pain comes great blessings
Out of this pain comes great blessings.
Ruth-Obed-Jesse-David
Ruth-Obed-Jesse-David
Ruth-Obed-Jesse-David
Bethlehem becomes a Royal City the birthplace of Kings.
King David anointed there

David anointed as king there

Anointed King of Israel by Samuel the prophet.

Jesus born there

Born here as prophesied by Micah
Born here as prophesied by Micah
Herod
Herod

Herod commited mass-murder there

Jealous of the power of Jesus and angry at being fooled by ther wise men, decreed all males two years and younger born in Bethlehem to be killed.
Jealous of the power of Jesus and angry at being fooled by ther wise men, decreed all males two years and younger born in Bethlehem to be killed.
We will sometimes suffer bitter pain-it is not useful to try to avoid this.
Bethlehem stands as a reminder that God uses the small and disrespected to accomplish His plans.
We will sometimes suffer bitter pain-it is not useful to try to avoid this.
We will sometimes suffer bitter pain-it is not useful to try to avoid this.
Out of this pain comes great blessings.

Bethlehem by Name

“Bethlehem” has two meanings:
"the house of bread"
"the house of war"

Jesus is the bread of life:

John 6:35 NIV
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Jesus is the bread of life:
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
John 6:51 NIV
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Jesus is a man of war:

Matthew 10:32–34 NIV
“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
Matthew 10:32–36 NIV
“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
Matthew 10:33–36 NIV
But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
Jesus is a man of war:
Matt 32-36
Jesus is a man of war:

Which will you choose?

Which will you choose?

Which will you choose?

Which will you choose?
Which will you choose?
Jesus will either be our Savior or our enemy.
Jesus automatically brings every person to a place of decision: He is either who he said he was or he is not.
Jesus automatically brings every person to a place of decision: He is either who he said he was or he is not.
It is a simple yet profound crossroads every person must choose on their own. There is no indecision possible-only an affirmative choice for Jesus leads to Salvation.
It is a simple yet profound crossroads every person must choose on their own. There is no indecision possible-only an affirmative choice for Jesus leads to Salvation.

Bethlehem in Importance

5 miles southeast of the capital city, Jerusalem.
But might as well been 500 miles-Israel is such a small place.
Today it is a city of 10,000 still in existence.
Constantine founded the Church of the Nativity over the historical sight of the birth of Jesus.
Constantine founded the Church of the Nativity over the historical sight of the birth of Jesus.
The church with a crossed-shaped roof still stands.

Bethlehem was a good sized city in the old testament, but shrunk to a village in the days of Jesus' birth.

Bethlehem was not very significant to most people, but God used it for world-changing events.
Why was Jesus born is a a small, unimpressive village?
Why not Jerusalem, the capital city?
There were thousands of small villages in Israel at the time.
Bethlehem was said to be the little among the thousands in Jerusalem.
Jesus always goes among the little ones.
Jesus always goes among the little ones.
Quote:
Constantine founded the Church of the Nativity over the historical sight of the birth of Jesus.
The church with a crossed-shaped roof still stands.
1 Corinthians 1:27 NIV
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
Quote:
You are one of the little ones. Well, Christ is always born in Bethlehem among the little ones. Big hearts never get Christ inside of them; Christ lieth not in great hearts, but in little ones. Mighty and proud spirits never have Jesus Christ, for he cometh in at low doors, but he will not come in at high ones. -Charles Spurgeon
You are one of the little ones. Well, Christ is always born in Bethlehem among the little ones. Big hearts never get Christ inside of them; Christ lieth not in great hearts, but in little ones. Mighty and proud spirits never have Jesus Christ, for he cometh in at low doors, but he will not come in at high ones.

God shows His power by using the “insignificant.

Charles Spurgeon
1 Corinthians 1:27 NIV
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
Paul speaking of himself, said:
2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
2 Corinthians 10:10 NIV
For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.”
Illustration:
The New International Version. (2011). (). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
The story is told of two brothers who grew up on a farm. One went away to college, earned a law degree, and became a partner in a prominent law firm in the state capital. The other brother stayed on the family farm. One day the lawyer came and visited his brother, the farmer. He asked, “Why don’t you go out and make a name for yourself and hold your head up high in the world like me?” The brother pointed and said, “See that field of wheat over there? Look closely. Only the empty heads stand up. Those that are well filled always bow low.”
Quote:
There are no such things as prominent service and obscure service; it is all the same with God. —Oswald Chambers
Said differently, “The branch that bears the most fruit is bent the lowest to the ground.”

God shows His power by using kings and rulers.

—Oswald Chambers
What brought Mary to this tiny village anyway?
Why couldn’t the taxes be paid where the people lived?
God used these evil people to fulfill the prophecy He gave to Micah some 400 years earlier.
God used the unbelieving and powerful (Caesar Augustus) and even the hostile (King Herod)to accomplish His plan.

Take this with you...

Quote:
There are no such things as prominent service and obscure service; it is all the same with God. —Oswald Chambers
Your past may have some issues.
Your history (past) may have some issues.
Your name may not promote respect or popularity.
You might consider yourself unimportant, a “nobody.”
But take comfort and be encouraged because God can do amazing things through you.
Illustration:
The story is told of two brothers who grew up on a farm. One went away to college, earned a law degree, and became a partner in a prominent law firm in the state capital. The other brother stayed on the family farm. One day the lawyer came and visited his brother, the farmer. He asked, “Why don’t you go out and make a name for yourself and hold your head up high in the world like me?” The brother pointed and said, “See that field of wheat over there? Look closely. Only the empty heads stand up. Those that are well filled always bow low.”
Said differently, “The branch that bears the most fruit is bent the lowest to the ground.”
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