Sunday, December 28, 2014

Today´s Sermon

                      Acts 15:36- 41, Acts 16:1-5
              Paul´s Second Missionary journey
Good morning everyone…. I hope that you have had a good Christmas celebration…… Our children are very happy about the snow…… How about you?
As most of you know…. We teach through the Bible verse by verse…… We are studying the Book of Acts…… We are witnessing the early days of the church….. We’re continuing our study this morning in the fifteenth chapter of Acts……
God´s grace in our lives is the main difference between all religion and genuine Christianity….. Genuine believers know that they are sinners….. Sinners who have been forgiven…… Ordinary people like you and me….. whose hearts and lives have been transformed by the Lord Himself!.... It is God who reaches inside and takes out our hearts of stone and gives us hearts of flesh!
In our Christian life we are free from the very severe and legalistic requirements of the law….. We can now as genuine believers serve and Love the Lord from a thankful and grateful heart…. we can…. With the Lord´s help…. Love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves….
Because the Lord Jesus has changed our hearts….. We can live the law of love…. When we do we are fulfilling all the law….. we are demonstrating that we belong to Jesus….  that he has transformed and saved us…. It´s good News…. He is at work in us and he is working through us…. So that we can love and serve our families and care for all of the people that the Lord puts in our lives….. We can even love our enemies…. Luke 6: 35…
God´s grace is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions….. Because All other religious systems in the world are based upon the deeds and works of men……. The Good News of the Gospel is that although we are by nature sinners and very wicked…….. There is hope for us! His name is Jesus! He took our sins and died in our place! The Good News is that the Grace of God has appeared…… He is ready to forgive and save all who cry out to him for mercy!.....
As we study the 15th chapter….. The early church has exploded with growth….. Many Jews have repented and believed the good news…. through the ministry of first Peter and then later…. The ministry of Paul and Barnabas….. Many Gentiles have also believed the Good News of the Gospel… Paul proclaimed the Good News that salvation is by grace through faith alone.... When he did he was quoting the OT Hab 2:4....
Paul said the same thing over and over.... I think he said it to believers in every church everywhere he went….. It is the good news…They needed to hear it…… We need to hear it too....  because we feel that we need to do something to earn God´s love and blessing in our lives…… You will remember that earlier in the 15th chapter there was a dispute……. about whether the Gentiles must become Jewish before they could become followers of the Lord Jesus….. as a condition of salvation….. The legalists wanted to force submission the circumcision and the law….. They were enemies of the truth of the Gospel… They tried to bring these Gentile believers under the law of Moses….. They demanded circumcision….. and that the Gentiles the follow all of the laws of   Moses….
The Good News of the Gospel is that we are saved by grace through faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus on the cross….
Look at what Paul wrote to the Galatians in ch2…..v.16…
Galatians 2: 16                                NLT    Neues Leben
16 Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”

16 Und doch wissen wir, dass der Mensch vor Gott nicht durch das Halten des Gesetzes gerecht gesprochen wird, sondern durch den Glauben an Jesus Christus. Wir sind zum Glauben an ihn gekommen, damit wir durch diesen Glauben von Gott angenommen werden, und nicht etwa, weil wir dem Gesetz gehorcht haben. Denn durch das Befolgen des Gesetzes wird niemand vor Gott gerecht.«
Paul not only evangelized the region of Galatia….. but he went back there over and over through the years to strengthen and disciple these believers…… Paul fought for the truth of the grace of God…. 
By the way the area of Galatia was very special to the Apostle Paul…. each of his first three missionary journeys included going through Galatia to strengthen the disciples there…..
He fought hard to make sure that they never forgot…… that Salvation is by grace through faith…… You cannot add to grace…. There is nothing more…. God´s abundant grace poured out on our lives…. It changes every relationship that we have….
Over and over he said it…. We are saved by grace through faith….. In our text today…. Paul and Barnabas are in Antioch….. they stayed there for some time teaching and strengthening the disciples…. let´s pick up the text in Acts 15…v.36…
Acts 15: 36- 41                                NLT  
36 After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are doing.” 37 Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. 38 But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work. 39 Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus. 40 Paul chose Silas, and as he left, the believers entrusted him to the Lord’s gracious care. 41 Then he traveled throughout Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches there.
Acts 15: 36- 41                                   Neues Leben
36 Nach einiger Zeit sagte Paulus zu Barnabas: »Lass uns in die Städte zurückkehren, in denen wir vor einiger Zeit das Wort des Herrn verkündet haben, und sehen, wie die neuen Gläubigen zurechtkommen.«
37 Barnabas willigte ein und wollte Johannes Markus mitnehmen.
38 Paulus widersprach jedoch, weil Johannes Markus sie in Pamphylien im Stich gelassen und nicht mit ihnen weitergearbeitet hatte.
39 Ihre Uneinigkeit in dieser Frage führte dazu, dass sie sich trennten. Barnabas segelte mit Johannes Markus nach Zypern.
40 Paulus wählte Silas als Begleiter. Die Gläubigen sandten ihn aus und vertrauten ihn der Gnade des Herrn an.
41 So zog er durch Syrien und Zilizien, um die Gemeinden zu stärken.
v36….  And see how they are doing…… This shows Paul had a real pastor's heart….. He was not content to merely plant churches…… He is obeying the command of the Lord Jesus to make disciples….. He knows that he is not finished until he sees the believers growing strong in the faith…..
v37-41…. Paul and Barnabas divided over the issue of taking John Mark with them…… Paul was unwilling to take John Mark along again… Because John Mark had previously left the missionary team….. Acts 13:13
But Barnabas…. The son of encouragement was not willing to give up on this young man….. We need to display the grace and patience of Barnabas with each other……
By the way…. Barnabas was also John Mark's cousin (Colossians 4:10)….. He was determined to take him along….. Paul refused to take him and so they split up and went into 2 different areas…. Luke does not give us a clue as to who was "right" and who was "wrong" between Paul and Barnabas…… But it is never good when personal disputes flare up among those serving in the ministry…… Wherever there is sharp contention…. someone is wrong….. and usually there is wrong on both sides……. There can be no way both Paul and Barnabas were each walking in the Spirit on this issue!
It is hard to know how long their personal relationship was strained….. As Christians….. we are commanded to resolve relationship problems with others….  Matthew 5:23-24)…..
There is no doubt God used this division for His own good purposes….. Two teams going two directions…. But that is because the Lord uses us in spite of ourselves…. Not because he wants us to argue or fight….
 Of course…. Paul and Barnabas worked out their differences….. They will work together in the future…. And later….. John Mark came to minister with Paul again….   And Paul highly valued Mark and his contributions to the work of God (Colossians 4:10; Philemon 1:24; 2 Timothy 4:11)……
We don't know if it was Mark who changed….. or Paul who changed…… Probably God had a work to do in both of them!.....
v41….  Strengthening the churches….. This was Paul's ministry…. in addition to evangelism….. Paul was constantly teaching and encouraging the pastors and Elders to make well discipled and deeply committed Christians…. New Christians needed strong churches to grow and mature in….. Paul was a great Evangelist….. He turned entire cities upside down with the Word of God….. But he was even better at teaching and making dedicated disciples…..  Let’s go on into ch16…. Acts 16….v1….
Acts 16:1- 5                                  NLT 
1 Paul went first to Derbe and then to Lystra, where there was a young disciple named Timothy. His mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 Timothy was well thought of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium, 3 so Paul wanted him to join them on their journey. In deference to the Jews of the area, he arranged for Timothy to be circumcised before they left, for everyone knew that his father was a Greek. 4 Then they went from town to town, instructing the believers to follow the decisions made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in their faith and grew larger every day.
Acts 16:1- 5                               Neues Leben
1 Paulus ging zuerst nach Derbe und von da aus weiter nach Lystra. Dort traf er Timotheus, einen Jünger, dessen Mutter eine jüdische Gläubige, dessen Vater aber ein Grieche war.
2 Timotheus war bei den Gläubigen1 in Lystra und Ikonion hoch angesehen,
3 deshalb wollte Paulus, dass er ihn auf seiner Reise begleitete. Mit Rücksicht auf die Juden in dieser Region ließ Paulus Timotheus vor ihrer Abreise beschneiden, denn alle wussten, dass sein Vater ein Grieche war.
4 Dann zogen sie von Ort zu Ort und erklärten den Menschen, was die Apostel und Ältesten in Jerusalem im Blick auf die Gebote für die Nichtjuden beschlossen hatten.
5 So wurden die Gemeinden im Glauben gestärkt, und die Zahl der Gläubigen wurde von Tag zu Tag größer.
v1… Then he came to Derbe and Lystra….. This is the area of Galatia…… Paul and Barnabas are back in this very difficult place of ministry….. They see the need and they go to serve…… There is something for us to learn as we look at Paul´s work…..
1 Paul´s Passion was to make disciples….
2 Paul´s Priority was making disciples….
These things are clear in this text because it was dangerous for him to go back there….. they had tried to kill him….. Do you remember what happened in Lystra?.... turn with me to acts 1v…19
Acts 14: 19-22                                    NLT  
19 Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowds to their side. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of town, thinking he was dead. 20 But as the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.
21 After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, 22 where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.
Acts 14: 19-22                        Neues Leben
19 Da kamen einige Juden aus Antiochia und Ikonion und hetzten die Menge so sehr auf, dass sie Paulus steinigten und ihn vor die Stadt schleppten. Dort ließen sie ihn liegen, denn sie dachten, er sei tot.
20 Doch als die Gläubigen ihn umringten, stand er auf und kehrte in die Stadt zurück. Am nächsten Tag zog er mit Barnabas weiter nach Derbe.
21 Nachdem sie die Botschaft in Derbe verkündet und viele Menschen zu Jüngern gemacht hatten, kehrten Paulus und Barnabas wieder nach Lystra, Ikonion und Antiochia in Pisidien zurück.
22 Sie stärkten und ermutigten die Gläubigen, am Glauben festzuhalten, und erklärten ihnen noch einmal, dass wir alle durch viele Bedrängnisse in das Reich Gottes kommen müssen.
Paul went back to encourage and disciple the believers …. And to prepare them for hard times….
22b reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God….
Back to acts 16……. Paul and Silas are sent out from Antioch again…..
v1… Now in this second missionary journey Paul is back in Galatia again….. this is already the third time that he has been in Lystra…..
It is about five years since he first went to Galatia….  Paul was anxious to see for himself how the work of the Lord continued among these churches he founded five years before……

A certain disciple was there, named Timothy….. In the time since Paul had been to Lystra….. a young man named Timothy had been serving the Lord….. Timothy had a believing mother with a Jewish background (son of a certain Jewish woman who believed….. but an unbelieving Greek father…….
v2…. It is very likely that as a very young man… Timothy witnessed the revival that swept through Lystra…… It is even possible that he witnessed the persecution and stoning of Paul….. Paul was impressed with Timothy´s heart to serve the LORD….  Paul wanted to have him go with him…… This shows God's provision….. because John Mark and Barnabas just left Paul (Acts 15:36-41)…… here we learn something…. No single worker in God's kingdom is irreplaceable…… When a Barnabas is not available…. God has a Timothy to go instead of  him…..
v3… Paul he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews in that region: Paul had Timothy circumcised….. It says he circumcised him because of what? The Jews in those quarters…… Did Paul fall under the influence of the Legalists?    No…. he was making sure not to be a stumbling block to the Jewish believers….
Timothy was Jewish…. But because of his Gentile father he was not circumcised…. To be uncircumcised as a Jew was considered apostasy…… It could cause the Jewish brethren to reject listening to them…. circumcision was the mark of Judaism…... Timothy was circumcised so that it wouldn't hinder his work among the gentiles…… And so it was for expediency's sake….. it was not for salvation's sake…… It was just to allow the ministry to function more smoothly……
Let´s read what Paul said In 1 Corinthians 9….v19…
1 Cor 9: 19-22                      NKJV   sch 2000
19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ, that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
1 Cor 9: 19-22                      NKJV   sch 2000
19 Denn obwohl ich frei bin von allen, habe ich mich doch allen zum Knecht gemacht, um desto mehr [Menschen] zu gewinnen.
20 Den Juden bin ich wie ein Jude geworden, damit ich die Juden gewinne; denen, die unter dem Gesetz sind, bin ich geworden, als wäre ich unter dem Gesetz, damit ich die unter dem Gesetz gewinne;
21 denen, die ohne Gesetz sind, bin ich geworden, als wäre ich ohne Gesetz — obwohl ich vor Gott nicht ohne Gesetz bin, sondern Christus gesetzmäßig unterworfen —, damit ich die gewinne, die ohne Gesetz sind.
22 Den Schwachen bin ich wie ein Schwacher geworden, damit ich die Schwachen gewinne; ich bin allen alles geworden, damit ich auf alle Weise etliche rette.
Paul is being very practical….. He is  avoiding making people stumble…. It has nothing to do with legalism….. He fought against legalism at every opportunity….
Rather….. Timothy by being circumcised is confirming his Jewish identity…. Later when Titus came along…..  Paul forbid Titus from being  circumcised….. Because  Titus was a gentile…...
To circumcise a gentile would have been to impose legalism….. but to circumcise a Jew already a Jew was simply to allow him the liberty to be more effective…... He would have been wrong to circumcise Titus….. He would have been wrong not to circumcise Timothy for the sake of effectiveness…..

In Acts 15…..  Paul argued strongly that it was not necessary for converts to come under the Law of Moses for salvation…...   Paul would have never told Timothy to become circumcised for the sake of legalism……. But Paul would do things for the sake of love……
v5….  So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily…….Paul's work was successful because his first interest was in strengthening the churches……
Paul taught the Word of God at every opportunity….. It is the Word of God that the Holy Spirit uses to make believers….. And to make new believers into committed disciples…. Committed disciples make strong churches…. Strong churches will naturally increase in number…… without relying on marketing and other manipulative methods….. I would like to let Paul´s letter to the Colossians close our study today…. Turn with me to Col v10….
Colossians 3:10-17            NLT   Neues Leben
10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:10-17            NLT   Neues Leben
10 und seid neue Menschen geworden, die ständig erneuert werden. Dies geschieht, indem ihr Christus immer ähnlicher werdet, so wie Gott es sich gedacht hat.
11 Es kommt in diesem neuen Leben nicht darauf an, ob ihr Jude oder Grieche, beschnitten oder unbeschnitten seid, ob euer Volk zivilisiert oder primitiv ist2, ob ihr versklavt oder frei seid, sondern es kommt in allem nur auf Christus an und darauf, dass er in uns allen lebt!
12 Da Gott euch erwählt hat, zu seinen Heiligen und Geliebten zu gehören, seid voll Mitleid und Erbarmen, Freundlichkeit, Demut, Sanftheit und Geduld.
13 Seid nachsichtig mit den Fehlern der anderen und vergebt denen, die euch gekränkt haben. Vergesst nicht, dass der Herr euch vergeben hat und dass ihr deshalb auch anderen vergeben müsst.
14 Das Wichtigste aber ist die Liebe. Sie ist das Band, das uns alle in vollkommener Einheit verbindet.
15 Euren Herzen wünschen wir den Frieden, der von Christus kommt. Denn als Glieder des einen Leibes seid ihr alle berufen, im Frieden miteinander zu leben. Und seid immer dankbar!
16 Gebt den Worten von Christus viel Raum3 in euren Herzen. Gebraucht seine Worte weise, um einander zu lehren und zu ermahnen. Singt Gott aus ganzem Herzen Psalmen, Lobgesänge und geistliche Lieder.
17 Doch alles, was auch immer ihr tut oder sagt, soll im Namen von Jesus, dem Herrn, geschehen, durch den ihr Gott, dem Vater, danken sollt!

Warning! Danger!
1 Cor 11: 27-34                 NKJV   
27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
33 Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.

1 Cor 11:27-34          sch 2000
 27 Wer also unwürdig dieses Brot ißt oder den Kelch des Herrn trinkt, der ist schuldig am Leib und Blut des Herrn.
28 Der Mensch prüfe aber sich selbst, und so soll er von dem Brot essen und aus dem Kelch trinken;
29 denn wer unwürdig ißt und trinkt, der ißt und trinkt sich selbst ein Gericht, weil er den Leib des Herrn nicht unterscheidet.
30 Deshalb sind unter euch viele Schwache und Kranke, und eine beträchtliche Zahl sind entschlafen.
31 Denn wenn wir uns selbst richteten, würden wir nicht gerichtet werden;
32 wenn wir aber gerichtet werden, so werden wir vom Herrn gezüchtigt, damit wir nicht samt der Welt verurteilt werden.
33 Darum, meine Brüder, wenn ihr zum Essen zusammenkommt, so wartet aufeinander!
34 Wenn aber jemand hungrig ist, so esse er daheim, damit ihr nicht zum Gericht zusammenkommt. Das übrige will ich anordnen, sobald ich komme.

1 Cor 11:23- 26    NLT

23 For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread 24 and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” 25 In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.” 26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.

1 Cor 11:23- 26    Neues Leben
23 Das Folgende hat der Herr selbst gesagt, und ich gebe es euch so weiter, wie ich es empfangen habe: In der Nacht, als er verraten wurde, nahm Jesus, der Herr, einen Laib Brot,
24 und nachdem er Dank gesagt hatte, brach er ihn und sprach: »Das ist mein Leib, der für euch hingegeben wird6. Tut das zur Erinnerung an mich.«
25 Ebenso nahm er nach dem Abendmahl den Weinkelch und sprach: »Dieser Kelch ist der neue Bund zwischen Gott und euch, besiegelt durch mein Blut. Wann immer ihr daraus trinkt, tut es zur Erinnerung an mich.«
26 Denn jedes Mal, wenn ihr dieses Brot esst und aus diesem Kelch trinkt, verkündet ihr den Tod des Herrn, bis er wiederkommt.

Let´s pray….

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Isaiah 7:14

2014.12.24                                 Christmas Eve

Good Evening and a Blessed Christmas Eve to all of you….... We want you to know that we thank the LORD for everyone of you…..

Most of us spend Christmas Eve with Family.... We have been coming to Germany for the holidays for many years.....and it is a wonderful time of good food and remembering God´s great mercy and unfailing Love.....

It is fitting that we spend some time worshipping our Lord Jesus as a church family too! We are celebrating the miracle of Jesus birth…… Turn with me to Isaiah 7….v14…

Isaiah 7:14                 NKJV   sch 2000

14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

14 Darum wird euch der Herr selbst ein Zeichen4 geben: Siehe, die Jungfrau5 wird schwanger werden und einen Sohn gebären und wird ihm den Namen Immanuel geben.

A virgin shall have a baby…. A miracle for sure…. But there is much more to the miracle than the virgin birth…. You shall call his Name…..

Immanuel….. This name can be  translated “God with us”….
God in the flesh come down to live here with us…… That´s the meaning of the word Immanuel….. God with us…..
This name for the Messiah tells us how truly incredible is this child that we worship….. Yes…. he is the Messiah….. Yes….. he is the redeemer…. As the shepherds were told by the Heavenly messenger…. The Savior is born…..
His name shall be called Immanuel….. describes the fantastic truth that God has keep His promise to dwell with men….. That is why He has received a name above every name….. In Heaven and in earth…. Turn with me again to Isaiah….ch9…v6…

Isaiah 9: 6,7                NKJV

6 ​​For unto us a Child is born,
​​Unto us a Son is given;
​​And the government will be upon His shoulder.
​​And His name will be called
​​Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
​​Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 ​​Of the increase of His government and peace
​​There will be no end,
​​Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
​​To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
​​From that time forward, even forever.
​​The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Isaiah 9: 5, 6                Schlachter 2000

5 Denn ein Kind ist uns geboren, ein Sohn ist uns gegeben; und die Herrschaft ruht auf seiner Schulter; und man nennt seinen Namen: Wunderbarer, Ratgeber, starker Gott, Ewig-Vater, Friedefürst.
6 Die Mehrung der Herrschaft und der Friede werden kein Ende haben auf dem Thron Davids und über seinem Königreich, daß er es gründe und festige mit Recht und Gerechtigkeit von nun an bis in Ewigkeit. Der Eifer des Herrn der Heerscharen wird dies tun!

What a fantastic prophesy…… It reminds us of this very important truth…… God is by nature a Savior…..
God´s plan of redemption continues perfectly…… A long promised Savior is born…..v6 In his names we come to understand that this baby boy is the very incarnation of God…..
This Advent season…. We have been studying the birth of the Lord Jesus in the Gospel of Luke…. We have met many of the ordinary people that God revealed the Messiah to..... at his birth and during his earthly ministry as the son of man……

In our text from Luke…. We see the Saviors birth announced to Shepherds…… Shepherds….
Shepherds were necessary……. Sheep and goats were the main source of food and clothing for the Children of Israel…..
But there was something special about these shepherds…….. You see this is Bethlehem……the City of David and the place……. It is just outside of   Jerusalem…. It was also called the tower of the Flock….. Migdal Eder……
Migdal Eder is where the Prophet Micah said that the Messiah would be revealed…. Turn with me to Micah 4…..

Micah 4: 6-8     ESV

6 In that day, declares the LORD,
I will assemble the lame
and gather those who have been driven away
and those whom I have afflicted;
7 and the lame I will make the remnant,
and those who were cast off, a strong nation;
and the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion
from this time forth and forevermore.
8 And you, O tower of the flock,     ( Midgal Eder)
hill of the daughter of Zion,
to you shall it come,
the former dominion shall come,
kingship for the daughter of Jerusalem.

Micah 4: 6-8    Neues Leben

6 Der Herr verspricht: »Der Tag wird kommen, an dem ich alle, die zerschunden sind, und alle, die ich in meinem Zorn verstoßen habe, sammeln werde. Und ich werde alle, denen ich Böses zugefügt habe, zusammenholen.
7 Ich will dafür sorgen, dass die Zerschundenen als heiliger Rest erhalten bleiben und die, die sich weit verlaufen haben, werde ich zu einem starken Volk machen. Dann wird der Herr vom Berg Zion als König über sie herrschen bis in Ewigkeit.
8 Und du, Wachturm auf dem Hügel von Jerusalem, wirst deine frühere Herrschaft wieder erlangen.

These shepherds were in the right place at the right time………to be the first to hear the Good News……… The Savoir…… The Messiah….. The hope……. The Light of the World……. they saw it with their own eyes they heard the Good News from the mouths of Angels……
There´s even more to this story…….You see these shepherds worked for the Temple……. The flocks that they cared for were special….. They were set apart…… destined for the temple as sacrifices…… sacrifices for sin and for thanksgiving to the LORD GOD……

At the base of the tower was a special place for the ewes that were about to give birth were taken to protect them and their new babies….. they must be protected from any injury………lambs for sacrifice had to be perfect…. Spotless……

What a fantastic place for the Lamb of God to be Born…….. The spotless lamb of God…… seen first by the shepherds whose entire life was to care for the lambs to be sacrificed…..
Remember….. When they saw Jesus…… they went and told everyone……. They were the first missionaries…… And even though they were shepherds….. The people listened and believed them…. And all who heard were astonished…..
These simple shepherds worshipped and praised God!

Ordinary people with a special assignment…….. Just like us…… We are ordinary people with a special assignment….

As the prophet Micah said…. Jesus was born in Bethlehem….. turn with me to Micah 5…v…2…

Micah 5:2                    NKJV  sch2000

2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.”
1 Und du, Bethlehem-Ephrata, du bist zwar gering unter den Hauptorten von Juda1; aber aus dir soll mir hervorkommen, der Herrscher über Israel werden soll, dessen Hervorgehen 2 von Anfang, von den Tagen der Ewigkeit her gewesen ist.

Bethlehem was no ordinary place…..……
Let´s talk about Bethlehem…..  

The Name Bethlehem….. "Bethlehem Ephratah."

Bethlehem Ephratah
The word Bethlehem   means "the house of bread,"

Ephratah….. Means….  "fruitfulness," or "abundance."
Jesus was born in the house of abundant bread…..   Twice in the Gospel of John…. Jesus said… I am the bread of life…. John6: 35,48… Jesus is that bread from heaven that gives eternal life….
Wonderful and Glorious!
Bethlehem Ephratah! House of abundant bread….   

Bethlehem is called "little among the thousands of Judah." Why?
Jesus was not born  in Jerusalem's palaces…… but the humble, village of Bethlehem…… In a stable… What humble beginnings for the King of Kings and the LORD of LORDS…..

We are celebrating the birth of the Savior....Jesus the Messiah!!!
but we must remember ..... The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the Whole world was born to die.....

To die....... to redeem us.....He came to die so that we could live with Him forever......What unfailing LOVE..... What Mercy......

David understood this so very well..... He was a real person…. totally ordinary.....not perfect... a sinner saved by grace.... let´s remember this babe in a manger came for us...... to take the punishment for our sins.... to die for our sins.... so that we could be forgiven.... He came to Redeem us and to give us everlasting peace and Joy..... to wash us white as snow....

Let´s pray......