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O Come, O Come Emanuel: Jesus Prophesied

Salem Baptist Church / Pastor Kivett Hicks
The Truth Network Radio
December 19, 2021 5:00 am

O Come, O Come Emanuel: Jesus Prophesied

Salem Baptist Church / Pastor Kivett Hicks

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The Bible's answer to Micah chapter 5 Micah chapter 5 this morning really continue our series here in the month of December. Really looking at the Christmas Carol specific Christmas carols how these carols point us to the gospel how to point us to the story of Christmas how the points to God's big picture is is overall picture for the world, if you know of a person who when they give a gift they go big and really big.

In fact, often times they make some really big promises for Christmas within the greatly under deliver.

Here's an example of this okay is not necessarily specifically Christmas, but as an example and nonetheless 1990 4 September 1994. There is elections taken place in the country of Denmark. In these elections are for parliaments and there's one man he's actually a standup comedian which right off the bat you know that you be good, right, is a standup comedian and he ran for Parliament six times and lost six times but the seventh time he won.

Now politicians are known for making all kinds of campaign promises are year this and this and this and this all do this and sometimes you think there's no way that God can do this will hear some of what this guy promised again.

He promised such things as good weather you like me and I promise there'll be good weather or something else better Christmas parent presence better Christmas presents, as opposed to what I don't know there's something else he promised, guaranteed tailwinds for all cyclist wars he can affect that right and then he also promised and is my favorite standard size dust bags in vacuum cleaners and he was annoyed with the different size bags in vacuum cleaners again. I'm pretty sure he should've been run for Congress in United States rather than Parliament in Denmark pretty consistent with some of the promises we think that we get nowadays but to find today is that God makes really big promises. The difference is he always always delivers on his promises, your promises from other people. Sometimes you know without a doubt right off can count on that.

That's not God's will really see today. As we look through this phase, Carol Christmas Carol is a little town of Bethlehem a little ton about them. Is this anybody's favorite Christmas Carol rights got a couple throughout here a little town of Bethlehem will tell you the story behind the song in order to jump into singing it together here in a few moments is 18 below the 1800s, and there was a minister by the name of Phillips Brooks.

He was educated at Harvard. He was a beloved and respected evangelist and after serving several Episcopal churches in Philadelphia and Boston. He was actually appointed Bishop of that whole area. The sky was huge he was. He was 6'8" tall, just a mountain of a man you but he also had a really really big heart for kids and there were toys constantly in his office and instead of adults visiting he would have kids visit and they would play in the floor and many times people walk by his office and they would look again and they would see him down the floor playing with the kids when he was ministering all throughout the Civil War and the end of the Civil War just absolutely left him weary and he needed a break so he wasn't he wasn't married. He never married. Throughout his entire life that the made this pilgrimage to the holy land at this time the nation of Israel was not a nation it was simply known as the holy land. So he decided he was going to spend some time in the holy land and he goes in December okay so Christmastime effect. Christmas Eve he's in Jerusalem and this and he decides that he's gonna rent a horse. He's going of ride out to Bethlehem is to see some of these things that the Angels would've were the Angels would've come in and where the shepherds would've seen the Angels and see the place in which Jesus was born, so he rides out from Jerusalem to Bethlehem by nightfall he was in that field, where according to tradition, the shepherds heard the angelic announcement that night. He visited the Christmas Eve service at the church of the Nativity there in Bethlehem.

There's something about the simplicity and the beauty of that visit that stayed with Phillips Brooks. Even after he returned several years later he wanted a new song for Christmas for the kids to sing in the Christmas Eve service as he reached back in his memory for inspiration from the holy land visit and he wrote a poem that we now know as O Little town of Bethlehem and it it really captured the sights and the sounds of that little town of Bethlehem that he experienced a little town of Bethlehem house.

Still, we see the lie above thy deep and dreamless sleep. The silent stars go by just a poem at this point, so he asked his organist church organist man by the name of Louis Radner to compose a simple he said simple melody to go with the poem service to render set down the piano just to find the right soon to carry on the descriptive words that have been written but nothing that he wrote no music. He wrote seem to fit the night before the Christmas Eve service. He goes to bed frustrated and easily defeated. He tells a story later that during his fretful sleep is seem like he heard music sweep jumped up right away and he wrote down the melody. Just as we sing it today and this is how we get our melody to a little town of Bethlehem within the next day, the children said sounded like a choir of angels as they sang the new Carol was written just for them. Song was later published in 1874. Sing the first verse together all the so she and see your first two starting at verse to read through verse five first part of her six but you will Bethlehem Africa who are too little to be among the clans of Judah from you shall come forth for me, one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from old, from ancient days.

Therefore, he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth than the rest of his brother shall return to the people of Israel, and he shall stand, and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God, and they shall dwell secure for now, he shall be great to the ends of the earth.

The first part of verse six and he shall be there. Peace sounded Bethlehem was is a really significant town in the history of Jerusalem. But if you look at the sound of Bethlehem all throughout biblical times affect all way up until about the last hundred years is a really really small town we wanted to.

The last hundred years or so it became a suburb of Jerusalem, where mass transportation could really make a big town that it became a city. But before this it was just known as it is an insignificant insignificant little town here.

Some of the things that Bethlehem is known for. Okay, first of all we see in the Old Testament that it is the burial place of Rachel's the burial place of Rachel, Jacob is obeying God anything. His family over to the city of the town of Bethel and on the way to Bethel.

Rachel goes into childbirth with Benjamin is really tough childbirth.

In fact, she dies from the childbirth Benjamin lives, but she dies and Jacob buries his beloved Rachel. There near Bethlehem. We know that Boaz and Ruth met in Bethlehem remember Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth come to the nation of Israel River Ruth saying your people shall be my people, your God shall be my goddess succumb specifically to the town of Bethlehem and it's in Bethlehem that Ruth and Boaz meet and date later get married and they have the grandson who is David King David brings me to David. David grew up in Bethlehem, he tended sheep in Bethlehem. It was Bethlehem and the surrounding areas in which David's character was really developed to prepare him for what God had later in life, we see that Micah prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, we read that passage just a moment ago, but Micah is what is known as one of the minor prophets get the major prophets like Isaiah, you got the minor prophets, but he had a really really big prophecy about the Messiah, he foretold that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem and listen. This is crucial because if you look at the whole story of the birth of Jesus.

There's a lot of dominoes that have to fall into place in order for Jesus to be born in the right place at the right time, but Micah through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit prophesied way back 700 years before Jesus actually came that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem Bethlehem means house of bread.

House of bread the area all around. Bethlehem is a really fruitful area is perfect for growing crops.

Bread is symbolic in Scripture of provision of blessing you think about the children of Israel as their traveling from Egypt to the promised land. What does God bless them with manna he provides for them bread from heaven, but Bethlehem is that house of bread.

Now here's one of the really cool things about the way the Lord operates. Okay, if you jump way ahead to Jesus ministry he's just begun his ministry.

John chapter 6 verse 35 Jesus refers to himself as the bread of life. He says this he says that anyone who comes to him as the bread of life will never go hungry. Nice talking there about spiritual bread is not talking about physical bread.

But think about the significance of this. Okay, the bread of life. Jesus is born in the house of bread. Bethlehem your made that connection before the bread of life.

Jesus is born in the house of bread. Bethlehem.

My opinion is that God did that just because God can do that. The significance of it is really cool for us to think about and enter dwell on Jesus is born in the in the place whose very name means plenty provision fruitfulness and Jesus supersedes that meeting and he himself is the ultimate bread of life is like.

It is this is all culminated coming together in a special way, but you will Bethlehem Africa who are too little to be among the clans of Judah from you shall come forth for me, one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. In other words, prophesied even way back to God's plan way back in the very beginning that this would be the case when Jesus was born. Bethlehem was on the main highway from Egypt heading up to Jerusalem is a Very Good Well Traveled Hwy., Bethlehem is a farming town with the town of Giddens for travelers to stay in his or traveling through.

There's no real significance in Bethlehem, except that it was the city in which David was born.

That's what it was known as the city of David. Nothing about a farming town. I can think about a town that starts to shut down was a good start. That's the town I grew up in. Okay there's not a whole lot to do once it gets dark in the evenings. It's peaceful.

It's quiet yet New York City this the city that never sleeps that you drive through much of rural America and what you're going to find is that as the evenings wind down.

It is peaceful.

It is quiet. That's Bethlehem Beth damask is quiet.

It's peaceful Jerusalem is that booming metropolis were so much is happening but Bethlehem is that outside town that why number significance to the town itself, but God chooses to use this quiet little town in a really big way to bring the Savior of the world. The king of Israel into the world. God specializes in bringing much out of little oftentimes we anticipate the least is in that least that God works in a much much bigger way I think about first Corinthians chapter 1 verse 27 where we read, but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, with the wise have chosen Bethlehem. No, probably not.

Continues God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. What a strong person chosen Mary and Joseph. No, probably not.

God chose what is low and despised in the world with a normal person choose a Jew over a Roman no continues, even things that are not to bring to nothing things that are so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. That's how God works. He works in a big way in the things that we see as insignificant and of no value whatsoever, and he does that. So there's no doubt that he's the only one who deserves glory for what happens. Think about Bethlehem. He is the only one worthy of the glory for what has taken place here in Bethlehem when Jesus was born, he chose to bring the Savior of the world into the world to the most insignificant little town will sing the second verse together for her eyes still is for will see he is all think about was turned Isaiah chapter 9 now in Micah chapter 5 negative Isaiah chapter 9 we just talked about that landless talking for a few moments about God's much bigger plan than just Bethlehem. When Micah gives that prophecy that we read a few moments ago, the nation of Israel is about to go through hundreds of years of some really really nasty stuff. In fact there to find themselves under the rule of Assyria of Babylon of Persia, and of role in a 700 year. After Micah gives us prophecy under the rule of those nations, the Jews were killed and their tortured relentlessly. The Jews are hated there looked on as as people to be taken advantage of the nations of Judah and Israel may have at times occupied the promised land, but instead sure felt like a godless place. They were impoverished to the point of you have the steel from other Jews in order to survive a different point alter this time. They died of disease and malnourishment by the thousands. Most of them had no home and no land to call their own. So they simply occupied whatever space they could find that provided them a level of safety. There is no freedom to worship their God even if they wanted to what was often clear is that they would rather worship the gods of other nations, rather than the one true God, which got them in that mess to start with even middle of their heartache.

They still turn to these other gods they were demoralized they were hated they were taken advantage of, and in many cases they had nothing to provide society except for the free and very cheap labor, or very cheap labor that was needed for other countries, provision and prosperity they needed help they needed something to hold onto and what they held onto was this promise is found in Isaiah chapter 9 we read Isaiah chapter 9 verse two. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, those who dwell in the land of deep darkness on the field and has light shone nudge of Denver six for to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called wonderful Counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of peace of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forever more. Get this, the seal of the Lord of hosts will do this us the promises they held onto first two promise was you were in darkness, but now you've seen a great light verse six the government will be on the shoulder of this Messiah, he will be called wonderful Counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, Prince of peace verse seven. This Messiah's government will be strong and peace will last forever. Where before there was no justice for the Jew, the Messiah will now reign with justice and with righteousness himself, but you like it is here, the people in the middle of their bondage saying we just hang on for a little while longer. It's all to be okay once more, can be restored to our place of prosperity. Wealth will again be a part of our DNA. Great health will take place the grade of the that will take the place of great sickness.

Our lives are to be easier to live better lives.

Once the Messiah comes the crying out for the Messiah come Messiah, God's word, and history tells us that the people were convinced they were to get a Messiah who would make their social and their political lives better. But then comes a baby born in Bethlehem of all places place. It was one of the lowliest towns in the whole nation and this baby comes the oncoming splendor or majesty with royalty of any kind becomes doing no name Virgin and a carpenter who is just as poor as the next person is the hard ask of the Israelites were you expecting will we know what they were expecting their expecting someone who would make their lives easier. But Jesus there Messiah fell far short in their expectations and we know what happened.

They rejected him as the Messiah. Don't you look at the third verse of the song.

Okay, I was gonna read this verse works, how silently, how silently this wondrous gift is given. So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven. No ear may hear is coming, but in this world of sin where meek souls will receive him still the dear Christ enters in Jesus didn't come to make our social or political lives easier.

He came with a far greater purpose. He came to this world of sin, to save us from our sin is a doctrine that we call imputation. The doctrine of imputation and really this teaching comes from the fact that Adam and it teaches that Adam imputed to the rest of mankind. Sin nature is so Adam passed down the sin nature to the point where we were all born with the sin nature, and that is backed up over and over again all throughout Scripture, but imputation is not just Adam, imputed to mankind's sin in the doctor imputation also speaks to the fact that God through Jesus imparts his righteousness on anyone who accept Jesus as their Savior.

That's imputation okay. We were born with this sin nature that came from Adam, but something happened. Something great happened that allows us now to not be known by our sin to have the sin nature know we now have the righteousness of Jesus imputed to us for support. Listing this together of the room and the will is December year 1903 and after many attempts. The Wright brothers finally were successful in getting their flying machine up off the ground there thrilled the telegraph their sister Catherine.

They say we've actually flown 120 feet long way in and they said will be home for Christmas so Catherine hurries down to the editor of the local newspaper and she shows him the message and he glanced that he read it and he said how nice the boys will be home for Christmas completely missed the fact that man had flown virtually all was was to fly before this right no man had finally flown. It is entirely possible for us to celebrate Christmas and miss the big news of Christmas. The big news is that Jesus is calm and in his coming.

He has brought us the offer of peace with God as we find Matt Micah chapter 5 verse six you want to turn their lives quoted for years really really simple is the first part of verse six is says this and he Jesus shall be there. Peace the book of Ephesians tells us that Jesus himself is our peace. He breaks down that wall of hostility between God and man.

Jesus himself is our peace, but there's something that's got to happen in order for that piece to come about in the way that this song O Little town of Bethlehem describes it is with these words. Okay all holy Child of Bethlehem descended to us. We pray cast out our sin and enter in, be born get this us today be born in us today. And here's the deal we can believe in Jesus birth we can believe in this child of Bethlehem, we can believe that the second person of the Trinity came down from heaven to enter the realm of humanity. We can believe that he was sinless and that he died on the cross for our sinful lives we can believe that the resurrection happened. We can believe all of these things and good for us for doing so.

But the real point of the birth of Jesus is that he came to save us from our sins. That's the point. He came to regenerate us by breathing life into our dead souls to bring us into a relationship with God. That is why he came. That's the wine for the birth of Jesus. Thus, the wife or the setting of Bethlehem. That's the wife or his sinless life as the wife or his undeserving death for his victorious resurrection. That is the why is because we need a salvation. The prayer of this Christmas Carol, is that Jesus would not simply be the one who's out there somewhere or up there somewhere, but that instead he would indwell us through the Holy Spirit that he would be born in us today.

That's the prayer of this Christmas Carol that we will have truly allowed him to transform us from the domain of darkness into his marvelous light Sobieski something.

How do you know Jesus today. How do you know Jesus today. Do you know him, is that baby born in Bethlehem cool story is that man who lived a good life. It was a good teacher.

Good for you.

How do you know him, though. Do you know him as your Lord and personal Savior is a big difference.

Your 1850 January 6, 1850. It's a snowy day in London, a 15-year-old boy enters into a primitive Methodist Church. As the evening service and there's only a handful of people there. In fact, that the preacher who was scheduled to preach to show up. So this man is not really even a preacher result is a lay member stands up to preach a sermon afterwards. This 15-year-old boy said that really what much of a sermon, but this man repeated over and over and over and over again these words he said look unto me, all the ends of the earth and be saved look unto Jesus, all the ends of the earth and be saved look unto Jesus, all the ends of the earth and be saved look unto Jesus all the hands of the earth and be saved.

That was a sermon look at Jesus. Everyone and be saved that night. Charles Haddon Spurgeon came to know Jesus is Lord and personal Savior. He went on to be the greatest pastor on the other side of the Atlantic in the 19th century. He says that before he walked in that room.

Jesus was a great historical figure in his mind when he walked out of that room. Jesus was born of personal Savior. As we come to another Christmas season here. Do you know Jesus not talk about know about Jesus, no cool facts about Bethlehem. Do you know Jesus you really know you know that your sins are forgiven. Do you know that you have peace with God remote to sing the song of O Little town of Bethlehem. If you don't know. Come find me, either during the song or after the services overcome findings.

I would love to show you what it looks like for you to know Jesus but in for the Christian listen as we sing this song reflect on and praise the Lord that he has been born in view. His spirit indwells you that there's been regeneration that you move from the death to the life and that God shows the insignificant little setting of Bethlehem to do this whole thing and was story what God right father, thank you for the town of Bethlehem and father. It is insignificant. It's small, but you did a great thing. There is not that Bethlehem is all that special because it's really not what special is that you sent Jesus for the very purpose of saving mankind from their sin. That is what is special father for those who don't know you in a personal way may today be the day that they come to know you father for those who do which you have been born in them.

Father maybe celebrate that and praise you because you alone are worthy of the glory and the honor for that fatherly love. Thank you for loving us and sending Jesus to that little town of Bethlehem to live and die Jesus name I pray

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