Today on Word Alive we have a really particular message to assist us acquire ready for Christmas non merely physically and emotionally but spiritually every bit good.

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I ‘m Brenda Critchley, and thank you for fall ining us, we do appreciate you taking clip out right now – and I hope that you ‘ll be able to remain with us for a few minutes as we explore the first of a bipartite series Before And After Christmas.

Dr Derek Stringer is with us to steer our ideas and merely possibly to state something that will give a particular approval to you at this particular season of the twelvemonth.



Brenda – many thanks for acquiring Word Alive under manner and do come back and assist me out with some Bible readings and a few remarks – that will be appreciate.

By the manner, Word Alive is a Good News Broadcasting production – merely one of many bible based programmes we produce from our studios in Ranskill, Nottinghamshire here in England. If you could take the clip to allow us cognize that you are listening that will be a enormous aid to us as we seek to utilize wireless to do the message of the Bible known around the universe. Brenda will give you our contact inside informations later in the programme.


I ‘ll besides state you how you can acquire free transcripts of our broadcasts, every bit good as CD series of Bible learning – these are all fantastic resources to assist us populate our Christian life good.


Let ‘s acquire to today ‘s capable –

I do n’t cognize about you but I love how kids enjoy Christmas, but sometimes I wonder how much they truly understand. I heard about a immature miss who came place from Church. She was reasonably pumped when she ran up to her Dendranthema grandifloruom and said, “ Mummy, my instructor said that I drew the most unusual Christmas image she has of all time seen! ”

The female parent studied the image for a piece and agreed with the instructor – it was instead unusual. The female parent, desiring to understand the art work, but besides non desiring to pique her girl, asked really gently: “ This is great, but who are all these people siting on the dorsum of the aeroplane? ”

“ That ‘s the flight into Egypt. ”

“ Oh, ” the female parent said carefully, “ Well, who is this mean-looking adult male at the forepart of the plane? ”

“ That ‘s Pontius, the Pilot! ” the miss responded.

“ I see. And here you have Mary and Joseph and the babe. ” As the female parent studied the image some more, she summoned up the bravery to inquire, “ But who is this big adult male sitting behind Mary? ”

The small miss sighed. “ Ca n’t you state, Mum? That ‘s Round John Virgin. ”

Is n’t it great hearing Christmas music? I know most of the words to many carols but battle to acquire them to sound right when they come out my oral cavity. Many kids, on the other manus, do n’t cognize all the words. No 1 can fracture a Christmas carol better than a child – unless it ‘s me!

This is how a Christmas vocal sounded to one kid:

Deck the Halls with Buddy Holly

But now it ‘s your bend. Let ‘s see how good you do on this Christmas Carol Quiz. It ‘s a brainteaser so you ‘re traveling to hold to listen carefully. Brenda will rapidly give the reply –

Here ‘s the first 1:

Give Attention to the Melodious Celestial Beings – What ‘s the carol?


“ Hark! The Herald Angels Singing! ”


Following one – Embroider the Entryways –


The reply is – “ Deck the Halls ”


Try another – Nocturnal Noiselessness –


That ‘s a favorite – Nocturnal Noislessness is – “ Silent Night ”


Try this one – Leave and Broadcast From On High –


That ‘s – “ Travel Tell it On the Mountain ”


A twosome more – Exultation to the Entire Terrestrial Orb –


“ Joy to the World ”


And the last 1 is – Alas, Diminutive Settlement in Israel –


And that ‘s another favorite – Alas, Diminutive Settlement In Israel is – “ Oh, Small Town of Bethlehem ”


Well now – Today we ‘re traveling to concentrate on that small town of Bethlehem as the PLACE of Jesus ‘ birth.

Did you know that if you listen closely, you can hear the sounds of Christmas in the Old Testament?

Written over a 1,000-year period, the first portion of the Bible contains about 300 mentions to the Messiah that were fulfilled in Christ. The Old Testament is full with images and anticipations of Christ. These prognostications are so precise that you and I can hold great assurance that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be. It besides gives us the confidence that the Word of God can be to the full trusted.

The chance of merely eight prognostications being fulfilled is one opportunity in one hundred million billion. That figure is 1000000s of times greater than the entire figure of people who ‘ve of all time walked on the planet!

Mathematician Peter Stoner who calculated that the chance of carry throughing 48 prognostications was one opportunity in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion!

You know something – that truly gives us assurance.

Because these Old Testament prognostications were fulfilled so wholly in Christ, the Bible must be divinely divine and hence important for our lives today.

The prophesier Micah recorded an amazing prognostic prognostication 700 old ages before the birth of Jesus.


Turn in your Christian bibles if you can to the Book of Micah. You ‘ll happen it near the terminal of the Old Testament. If you find the book of Matthew, travel back 7 books.


Before we jump into this transition, allow ‘s put the scene.

Merely like its hard to happen this little book of 7 chapters, so excessively, Micah himself is dwarfed by his modern-day Isaiah.

His name means, “ Who is like Yahweh? ” and he ministered during the eighth Century B.C. Judah and Israel had risen to highs of economic richness but had fallen to the deepnesss of moral and ethical degeneracy. Sounds really similar to our universe today, does n’t it?

Micah was a state male child called by God to talk to the state – I guess he was merely known as ‘Mike ‘ to his friends. Well – Microphone ‘s message was like a refreshing zephyr in the waterless clime of religious ignorance and noncompliance.

He had two primary messages.

First, he warned the people about the evil influence of heathen faiths.

Second, he spoke strongly against societal unfairnesss.


All of his discourses were given in the context of the impending menace from the state of Assyria, who would finally destruct Israel in 721 B.C.


Micah wanted the people to cognize that their wickednesss would do the state to be demolished. While most people blew him off, there was a leftover of people who listened and responded to his message.

His message can be summarised like this: “ God ‘s people will endure the shame of licking and expatriate. But, that ‘s non the terminal, for victory and glorification are in front, non for the whole state, but for the believing leftover. The Messiah, the Lord, who embodies power and might, will one twenty-four hours come to carry through all of the prognostic prognostications written about Him. ”

This is seen in 7:18 to 20, the really last poetries of the book:


“ Who is a God like you, who pardons wickedness and forgives the evildoing of the leftover of his heritage? You do non remain angry everlastingly but delight to demo clemency. You will once more hold compassion on us ; you will step our wickednesss underfoot and hurtle all our wickednesss into the deepnesss of the sea. You will be true to Abraham, as you pledged on curse to our male parents in yearss long ago. ”


One of Micah ‘s most celebrated citations is found in 6:8:


“ He has showed you, O adult male, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To move rightly and to love clemency and to walk meekly with your God. ”


The transition for which he is peculiarly known is found in chapter 5. Let ‘s work our manner through it.

Thingss are get downing to fall apart in Israel. Take a expression at verse 1:


“ Marshal your military personnels, O metropolis of military personnels, for a besieging is laid against us. They will strike Israel ‘s swayer on the cheek with a rod. ”


Micah seems personally involved in this state of affairs as he uses the word “ us. ”

The context of this prognostication takes topographic point shortly after the mighty Assyrian ground forces defeated the capital of Israel and took the 10 northern folks into expatriate. The message besides applies to the southern land, which was destroyed by the Babylonians 135 old ages subsequently. In both state of affairss, the male monarchs were humiliated when they were hit in the face.


In Isaiah 10 the Assyrian ground forces is referred to as a rod.


When a male monarch is struck on the “ cheek with a rod, ” it represents the worst abuse possible. The leader will be treated every bit disgracefully as the remainder of the population.

Chapter 5 Verse 1 is truly a continuance of what Micah has been stating as he describes the torment and befoulment of the coming imprisonment. They are told to “ marshal your military personnels, ” which is a biddings to acquire ready to support themselves for the ‘mother of all conflicts ‘ is about to get down.


Jerusalem is referred to as the “ metropolis of military personnels. ”


Like today, Jerusalem has frequently known struggle and war.

I ‘m traveling to split verse 2 into three parts to assist us understand what is written here.


Micah ministered during the reigns of four male monarchs in Israel and three male monarchs in Judah. He likely wondered, as he watched the parade of sovereign ‘ base on balls by during his life-time, whether any disposal would last. It was to this low state prophet that God sent a prognostication of the place of birth of a Ruler whose land would ne’er vanish.

Look now at verse 2:


“ But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the kins of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose beginnings are from of old, from ancient times. ”


Verse 2 Begins with the words, “ But youaˆ¦ ” In the Hebrew, there is an accent grade over this phrase, which serves as a grammatical intermission. He ‘s puting up a contrast between the licking in Jerusalem and the coming triumph in Bethlehem. While large things are traveling to go on to Jerusalem, even bigger events are traveling to take topographic point in the small town of Bethlehem.

“ Ephrathah ” is the ancient name of Bethlehem and was used to separate it from other towns of the same name. For illustration – I could state, “ I passed by Washington the other twenty-four hours. ” Most people will believe of the USA Capital metropolis – some will believe of a topographic point in the North East of England. You would necessitate to indicate that out for people to understand. Just so with Bethlehem because there were topographic points far more of import than Ephrathah.

You know, there are at least five analogues between this small town and the babe who was born within its environments.


Number 1:


Rachel gave birth to Benjamin in Bethlehem.

Before she died, she called the name of her infant boy “ Benoni, ” which means “ the boy of sorrow. ” But his male parent, Jacob, called him “ Benjamin, ” which means “ the boy of the right manus. ” Jesus Christ was genuinely the adult male of “ sorrows ” and the Son of the Father ‘s right manus.


Number 2:


Boaz redeemed Ruth from her poorness in Bethlehem.

Jesus, our Jesus, came to earth at Bethlehem to deliver us from the depredations of wickedness.


Number 3:


That ‘s the fact that King David was born in Bethlehem.

Our King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who counted David in his family tree, was born in Bethlehem ‘s barn.


Traveling on to Number 4:


“ Bethlehem ” means “ house of staff of life ” and “ Ephrathah ” means “ fruitfulness. ”

The inclines environing it were filled with figs, Prunus dulciss, grapes and olives. What a adjustment name for the One who is the “ Bread of Life, ” who came so that we might bear religious fruit.


And now Number 5:


Bethlehem is little among the kins of Judah.

Each folk was divided into its 1000s but those topographic points that were excessively little to acquire a thousand people together were put into other folks. Bethlehem was so lowly that it was non even counted among the ownerships of Judah. In fact, in the division under Joshua, it was omitted wholly. It was a small town that was despised because it was little. Jesus spent clip with those the universe considered little and undistinguished.

John Chrysostom, one of the early church male parents, said this about Jesus: “ The whole universe came together to see Bethlehem, where, being born, Jesus was laid, on no other land than this lone. O Bethlehem, small, but now made great by the Lord, He hath made thee great, who, being great, was in thee made small. ”





“ aˆ¦out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel. ”

The prophesier combines the first and 2nd approachs of the Messiah in these words.

Bethlehem was excessively little to be included among the movers and Shakerss of Judah, and yet out of her was to come away one who will be Ruler.

The phrase, “ for me, ” includes the thought “ of me ” which indicates that the coming swayer would come from God himself. It ‘s similar to the phrase when Abraham said that “ God himself will supply the lamb ” – The lamb would come from God, merely like the Ruler will come from Him. That ‘s truly the enigma of the embodiment, that God the Father would direct God the Son to go a adult male.

I merely want to pull your attending to the word “ Immanuel. ” The nazarene is called Immanuel, which means, “ God with us. ”

Philippians 2 gives us some more item of what happened when the babe was born in Bethlehem:


“ Who, being in really nature God, did non see equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nil, taking the really nature of a retainer, being made in human similitude. ”


And Romans 8 adds,


“ aˆ¦God did by directing His ain Son in the similitude of iniquitous adult male to be a sin offering. ”


There are at least three things that were accomplished when Jesus was born, when Immanuel came to be with us:

One: God was revealed.

God was inexplicable to human apprehension until the Lord Jesus Christ made Him cognize. As John puts it: “ The Word became flesh and made His home among usaˆ¦ ”

Two: We were exposed.

The nazarene reveals the Black Marias of all of us. We see how far short we fall when we compare ourselves with His sinless flawlessness. 1 Corinthians 4:5 says, “ He will convey to illume what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motivations of work forces ‘s Black Marias. ”

Three: The nazarene was given a organic structure so that He could go a forfeit for wickedness.

It was non possible for wickednesss to be taken off by the sacrificial system of the Old Testament.

The substitutionary forfeit of animate beings was ne’er designed to be full payment for wickedness as Hebrews 10 makes clear:


“ Because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and caprine animals to take away wickednesss. ”


These forfeits were images of what merely Jesus could make when He died on the cross. We see this in Hebrews 9,


“ aˆ¦But now He has appeared one time for all at the terminal of the ages to make away with wickedness by the forfeit of Himself. ”


The Babe came to Bethlehem ‘s cradle so that He could stop up on Calvary ‘s Cross. He was literally born to decease.

The promised programme announced by Micah with the words, “ one who will be ruler over Israel, ” is still waiting to be fulfilled. Jesus will make this at His 2nd approach.

The trumpeter angel announced that this was to be in the hereafter when he declared in Luke, “ aˆ¦The Lord God will give Him the throne of his male parent David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever ; His land will ne’er stop. ”

And now – Micah the prophesier concludes his olympian anticipation of the place of birth by concentrating on a 3rd component: A PROFOUND PERSON.

We see this in the last portion of verse 2:


“ whose beginnings are from of old, from ancient times. ” This phrase literally means, “ From the yearss of infinity. ”


The word translated “ from of old ” is used elsewhere to depict the infinity of God. In fact, this look in Hebrew is used merely to depict God.

Let ‘s look at merely one illustration in Habakkuk, “ O Lord, are you non from everlasting? ” There is no uncertainty that the coming Ruler who will be born in Bethlehem is no ordinary person. He will be human, yet He is to the full godly. He is everlasting.

Micah was anticipating a profound individual, a supernatural figure who would be physically born in Bethlehem, but who in actuality, has existed for all infinity as the 2nd individual of the Trinity. He has ever been.

The nazarene Himself made this clear when he stated: “ I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am! ”

I love how Isaiah describes Jesus –


“ For to us a kid is born, to us a boy is given, and the authorities shall be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, EVERLASTING FATHER, Prince of Peace. ”


The Babe from Bethlehem is fantastic and mighty and will convey peace because He is everlasting.

Before we “ fast forward ” 700 old ages to the marvelous events environing the birth of Christ, I want to indicate out a few things from Micah 5:3 to 5:

There ‘s a mention to the birth of Jesus in poetry 3.


“ Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the clip when she who is in labour gives birth. ”

When Jesus was born, He began garnering those who are Abraham ‘s true kids, which are those who put their religion in Him for redemption as Galatians makes clear: “ Understand, so, that those who believe are kids of Abraham. ”


He will be a shepherd to his flock.


“ He will stand and shepherd his flock. ”


The Lamb of God is besides the Good Shepherd who tenderly attentions for sheep who frequently go astray. In John 10, Jesus refers to Himself this manner: “ I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. ”

He will convey peace – what people are truly looking for. . .


“ And He will be their peace. ”


Jesus came to convey peace between God and us and to supply each of us with that interior peace that is beyond comprehension. As Isaiah says, He is the “ Prince of Peace. ”

All this brings us to a cardinal affair – We come now to another small small town that was n’t really good known or respected. It ‘s the town of Nazareth.

A adult female is pregnant and her fiance is seeking to calculate out how it happened. An angel is sent to assist him understand.

Matthew 1:20,


“ Joseph, boy of David, do non be afraid to take Mary place as your married woman, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a boy, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will salvage his people from their wickednesss. ”


Nazareth is located about 80 stat mis north of Bethlehem. In order for Micah ‘s prophetic prognostication to be fulfilled, Mary had to somehow acquire from this northern small town to the small town of Bethlehem, located about 5 stat mis from Jerusalem.

And now over to the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2. Let ‘s look at verse 1:


“ In those yearss Caesar Augustus issued a edict that a nose count should be taken of the full Roman universe. ”

Verse 3 Tells us that everyone went to his ain hometown to register.

Poetries 4 to 6 fill in the inside informations: “ So Joseph besides went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went at that place to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was anticipating a kid. While they were at that place, the clip came for the babe to be born, and she gave birth to her eldest, a sonaˆ¦ ”


After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Matthew 2 Tells us that a group of astrologists from the E came to Jerusalem because they wanted to happen the 1 who was born male monarch of the Jews. They had followed a star but now they needed more specific waies. They knew when he was born but they did n’t cognize precisely where. They knew the clip but non the topographic point. Interestingly, these astrologists came from the land that was one time called Assyria, the really topographic point that had invaded Israel centuries earlier. Alternatively of coming as vanquishers, these work forces come as searchers of truth.

It ‘s intriguing to me that they ‘re directed by the adult male Micah, who survived the decease blows of the Assyrians, to a topographic point where they will happen what they are looking for.

Herod, who was the male monarch in Judea, was really disturbed and threatened by this intelligence so he called together all the main priests and the instructors of the jurisprudence. These cats were the experts in all manners spiritual and civil. They were the Sanhedrin Supremes. He had one really specific inquiry for these experts: “ Where is the Christ supposed to be born? ”

I want you to detect how rapidly they answered his inquiry. They did n’t hold to speak about it, or even confer with their official paperss. It was n’t a 5 to 4 determination. It was consentaneous. No one even needed to open the Old Testament.

They knew the reply because the prophesier Micah had already given it 7 centuries earlier. In his prognostication both the topographic point of his birth and the character of the Messiah are set Forth:


“ In Bethlehem in Judeaaˆ¦for this is what the prophesier has written: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no agencies least among the swayers of Judah ; for out of you will come a swayer who will be the shepherd of my people Israel. ”


Neither King Herod nor the spiritual professionals doubted for a minute that Micah 5:2 was a mention to the birth of the Saviour. They knew it in their caputs but they did n’t cognize Him in their Black Marias. It ‘s rather possible to be so close to the truth and still be far off from its impact. They held the truth but they did n’t let the truth to keep them!

You know, this is singular to me.

An about disregarded adult male named Micah was moved by the Holy Spirit to enter a prognostic prognostication which stated that the Messiah had to be birthed in Bethlehem. 700 old ages travel by until one twenty-four hours God explodes into human history by directing His Son to be carried in the uterus of a adult female named Mary.

God so moves in the bosom of a heathen Roman emperor, who lived 1500 stat mis from Israel, to declare that a nose count had to be taken of the full universe. Oh, and non merely any nose count. Peoples had to go back to their household ‘s hometown in order to be counted. It merely so happened that Joseph was from the household of David and that meant he had to travel to Bethlehem.

I want you to detect how exactly God orchestrated everything that first Christmas. Mary was close to her bringing day of the month and so Joseph decided to convey her along on the 80-mile journey to the metropolis of Bread. Technically, he could hold gone by himself.

When they eventually arrive, Mary is ready to give birth and Jesus is born in the topographic point that Micah foretold. What would hold happened if their journey had taken place 4 hebdomads before? 3 hebdomads before? 2 hebdomads subsequently? It would n’t hold worked, would it? In his sovereignty, God made certain that they were in the right topographic point at merely the right clip.

I ‘m a house truster that God puts each of us in merely the right topographic point at merely the right clip so that we ‘ll come face-to-face with the detonation of the embodiment.

I came to salvaging religion through the influence of friends. God put us together at merely the right clip in merely the right topographic point.

It ‘s non accident that you ‘re listening today. God has put you in this topographic point at this clip so that you can hear the message of Micah and believe in the Baby born in Bethlehem.

It ‘s rather possible that some of you know all the right replies merely like the spiritual experts, but you ‘re non in the right topographic point spiritually. They knew what the Bible said, but they were unwilling to do a short journey to see the Ruler who is besides Shepherd. Make you cognize what? Wise work forces, and wise adult females, still seek Him. Are you ready right now to take the following measure on your religious journey?

It ‘s interesting how many Christmas Carols have to make with angels, is n’t it? The angels were really involved in the Christmas narrative. We besides know that they marvel when a adult male or adult female or adolescent or child eventually understands the true significance of Christmas and puts their religion in Christ for forgiveness of wickednesss. The Bible says that the angels have a party when person is converted by the Christ of Christmas. I picture them holding mince pies and listening to our vocalizing. Luke 15:10 says, “ There is joying in the presence of the angels of God over one evildoer who repents. ”

Do you desire to give the angels an chance to observe? Repent and set your religion in Jesus. Find your topographic point in this universe by giving Jesus His topographic point in your life.


And Dr Stringer will be back in merely a minute to round off today ‘s edition of Word Alive. Has n’t it helped us believe justly about Christmas? Has n’t it helped us acquire ready spiritually for Christmas and all that will follow.

To obtain your transcript of today ‘s message we are doing a Cadmium entering available merely for our managing charge. Transcript are free to an electronic mail reference. I ‘ll be back in a minute with our contact inside informations. Derek!


Brenda – thank you.

One Saturday afternoon a male parent was watching his kids while his married woman went Christmas shopping. He was snoozing in the lair, half-watching a football game, when one of his girls came in and said, “ Daddy, dada, we made a drama. Do you desire to see it? ” He did n’t particularly desire to but he went into the life room, a one-person audience. He saw rapidly that it was to be a Christmas drama.

At the pes of the piano stool was a torch. It was turned on, wrapped in swathing apparels and lying in a shoebox. Then Rex, age 6, came in have oning pa ‘s bathrobe, transporting a swab grip. He was followed by Nancy, age 10, who declared, “ I ‘m Mary and this is Joseph. ” Then Trudy, age 4, entered with slips over her weaponries, which she waved around stating, “ I ‘m an angel. ”

Finally, in came Ann, age 8, siting on a camel. At least she moved as though she was siting a camel because she had on her female parent ‘s high heeled places. She was bedecked with all the jewellery she could happen in the house. And she carried a pillow on which were three Christmas nowadayss. She went over and bowed before Joseph, the Virgin and the Light and announced in a loud voice, “ I am all three wise work forces. I bring gifts of gold, circumstance and clay. ”

That was all. The drama was over but dadas did non laugh. He did non rectify his girl. But instead he cried and so prayed because he realized how close to the truth she had come. As she mixed up the words, she had captured the nucleus message of Christmas.

The nazarene wants us to convey Him everything that is of import to us. He besides invites us to give Him all of our fortunes, the good 1s and the bad 1s. And, He waits for us to give Him the clay in our lives.

Will you make that right now?


‘Before And After Christmas ‘ is the rubric for this bipartite series – and following clip it will of class be the ‘After ‘ portion – what to make when life is acquiring a spot overpowering ( to state the least ) . That ‘s following clip.

Thank you for listening to Word Alive. Good pass and God bless you.

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