‘The Ruler from Bethlehem (House of Bread)

Text: Micah 5:2-6
Proposition: Why do we need a Ruler from Bethlehem?
Micah prophecies of the coming destruction of Israel and Judah. They were corrupt and immoral and idolatrous. Assyria was going to take Israel into captivity and Babylon would take Judah into captivity. Samaria and Jerusalem would be destroyed. Micah mourns for his people, but he also has great hope for his people because a ruler is going to be born in Bethlehem. 
Bethlehem was just a little village. After the return from Babylon there were only 188 (Nehemiah 7:26) men in the village, that is why it says, too little to be numbered among the thousands of Judah. It didn’t have very many people before the captivity and it didn’t have very many after the captivity.
Two great men were from this town. David lived there, I Samuel 17:12. His family had been there for several generations. David’s great grandparents lived there, Boaz and Ruth. This is why Joseph and Mary return to Bethlehem during the census, Luke 2:4. The greatest man from the city is Jesus.
I. To bring Justice (Who will this ruler bring justice to?)
            A. Those who work out evil on their beds
1.      Micah 2:1-3
2.      The Scribes and Pharisees did this.
3.      Matthew 23:14, they took widows houses. They had no mercy. Seymour’s mother had to pay for her husband’s funeral. She had 5 young boys. The mortician took all her farm equipment because she couldn’t pay for the funeral. 
4.      Dwight L. Moody’s mother owed money on her house. Her husband had borrowed money against the house to help a neighbor. Ezra Purple held the mortgage. Dwight’s father died. She had seven children when he died and she was pregnant. After his death she gave birth to twins. Ezra tried to take the house, but she knew the laws and it was illegal for him to take the house from a widow, but he could legally take everything inside and out. That is what he did. Dishes and all. The neighbors heard what had happened and they helped her out. I don’t know what happened to Ezra Purple, but God was against him. Someday he will stand before the ruler from Bethlehem and be judged.
            C. To the rulers
1.      Micah 3:1-4
2.      Micah is writing as a satire. Jonathan Swift wrote a satire called A Modest Proposal. My ninth grade English teacher handed this essay to us. It was about breeding and selling poor Irish children when they were one year old to be eaten by the wealthy British. Here is a quote from his essay:
I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection. 
I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout.
It was one of the most disgusting pieces of literature I had ever read. I had never knowingly read a satire. I thought the Mr. Swift was serious. My teacher later explained a satire. Mr. Swift was saying the British are so oppressive and without compassion to the poor Irish they might as well be eating them. This is the same as Micah writes. They weren’t really cannibals, but they were just they same as cannibals. They oppressed the poor and became rich by oppression. The rulers took everything from the people. They taxed them. They regulated everything. They debased their money. They passed laws to keep the power in the hands of the rulers instead of the people. The people had no chance to get out of poverty. When the oppressors cried to the Lord he didn’t hear them.
3.      Proverbs 21:13
4.      Micah 3:11 the rulers took bribes to decide the way they would judge. If you have enough money you can buy your way out of trouble. A society that operates this way will not last. A nation must be run by the rule of law. If you break the law you pay the consequences. If you do the crime you must do the time, no exceptions. 
5.      God is no respecter of persons. President Obama will stand before the ruler from Bethlehem just as you and I will. Warren Buffet, one of the wealthiest men, in the world will not be able to buy his way into heaven.
            D. To the Prophets
1.      Micah 3:5-7, these prophets preached the health, wealth and good happiness gospel for those who supported them. But they wanted those who opposed them destroyed.
2.      We have prophets today who preach false doctrine. They preach all you have to do to be save is pray the sinner’s prayer and you are saved. They don’t mention being baptized for the forgiveness of your sins. They may suggest that you should be baptized in a church somewhere at some point in time, but they will tell you that you are saved without being baptized.
3.      Peter said in Acts 2:38, “Repent and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Every time people are saved in the book of Acts they are baptized right away. Not at some later date when it is convenient for them. The time to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins is right now.
4.      Some of the false prophets say, “Homosexuality is okay. The bible says nothing against homosexuality.”
5.      Micah 3:11, Micah the prophets divine for money. They will tell you the future or some dark secrets if you pay them.
6.      Philippians 3:17-19, their God is their belly.
            E. To Israel’s enemies
1.      Micah 4:11-13, Israel’s enemies thought they would destroy Zion, but God was going to bring His people back from captivity.
2.      Micah 5:5-9, God was going to rescue his people from Assyria and Babylon.
3.      God will bring justice to the enemies of Christianity. God brought justice to the Jews in Jerusalem. They were the first to persecute Christians. They wanted Jesus crucified. Forty years after Jesus was crucified Jerusalem was destroyed. They told Pilate, “Let blood of Jesus be on us and on our children.” (Matthew 27:25) God doesn’t let shedding innocent blood go unpunished.
4.      God will bring justice to the enemies of Christianity.  Islam is an enemy of Christianity. Of all the false Prophets there is none greater than Mohammed. 
5.      Revelation 16:13-14
6.      Revelation 20:10
7.      God will bring an end to Mohammed and his false teaching. He teaches that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God and that he didn’t die.
8.      A Muslim man asked me if I believed that Mohammed was a prophet. I said, “I believe that Mohammed was a prophet.” He then asked me, “What kind of prophet a true prophet or a false prophet.” I said, “A false prophet.”
9.      Having Muslims in the middle of the United States concerns me. I don’t know what is coming in the future. Possibly God is going to discipline the Western World using Islam. I don’t know, but I do know that as much as Islam would like to they will never destroy Christianity. Also with Muslims being here it gives them an opportunity to hear the gospel. Otherwise the chances of them hearing the gospel would be very slim. Somalia is 99.9% Muslim, and an extremely dangerous place to live. A missionary would have a hard time spreading the gospel there. So God sent some Muslims to the rest of the world to give them the chance to hear the truth of the gospel.
            F. To corrupt businessmen
1.      Micah 6:10-16
2.      God hates businesses that are dishonest. God will take away their dishonest gain.
3.      Proverbs 19:22, what does a man profit if he gains the world and loses his soul. Liars spend eternity in Hell. Don’t lie about your identity. Stealing someone’s identity and then saying you’re someone else to make more money will not find favor with God.
II. To send the word of The Lord from Jerusalem
            A. The Word of the Lord began from Jerusalem.
1.      Micah 4:1-5
2.      Luke 24:45-47
3.      Acts 1:8
4.      The apostles did as Jesus instructed them. On the day of Pentecost men from every nation under heaven were there to hear the gospel preached. From Jerusalem Christianity has spread all over the world.
            B. The Word of the Lord went from Zion to bring peace to nations.
1.      Jesus was not a violent man. He didn’t train his apostles for war. They were ready to fight for Him. Peter had his sword when the chief priests came to arrest Jesus with swords and clubs. Peter drew his sword and cut off the high priest’s slave’s ear. Jesus said, “Stop no more of this, put your sword back into its place, for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)
2.      His followers are peaceful also. They hammer their swords into plowshare and their spears into pruning hooks. They don’t live by the sword. Taking what is not theirs from their conquered enemies. Christianity brings peace to nations.
III. To bring salvation (Who will he save?)(Micah 7:7)
             A. The lame and outcasts
1.      Micah 4:6-7
2.      Luke 14:16-24, Jesus brought salvation to the tax collectors, harlots and to gentiles. These are the people that Jesus has made a strong nation of and brought salvation to.
            B. His own people
1.      Micah 4:8-9
2.      Even though his own people had rejected time after time God still offers them salvation.
            C. Those who do what he requires.
1.      Micah 6:6-8
2.      Salvation will not be for those who continue living wicked lives.
3.      Humble yourself to what he requires and put your trust in Him.
Micah 7:18-20
God pardons our iniquities and has cast our sins into the depth of the sea because of the ruler from Bethlehem. He shed his blood so that we can have forgiveness of sins. The word of the Lord has gone forth from Zion.
Mar 16:15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
Mar 16:16 "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.
Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem Pg 82 Favorite Hymns of Praise