|Why Little Bethlehem?
PHOENIX.AZ SATURDAY 63-1214
SC-1 Nice to be here this morning. And now I believe we're going to have a special, Brother Williams was telling me, by someone from his church. [A sister sings, "Fill My Cup, Lord."--Ed.] That's what we're here for this morning, raising up our cups, "Fill it, Lord." This is the only time that we'll have the opportunity to ask this. There'll come a time where we'll be on the other side and then we won't have that opportunity. So while we do have it, and in our right mind, I think one of the most sensible things that anyone can do while God has given us the opportunity to do so, is to do it, get our cups filled now with His love and mercy.
SC-2 There is one who set with us long ago, not too long ago, neither, and he's passed on. And it's a great sorrow in our hearts for Brother Williams. It's Brother Williams, our chapter president here, his father. How old was your father, Brother Williams? Eighty-eight. That'd be about eighteen years, I guess, past the--the... no, it'd be, yeah, eighteen years past the promised time. A gallant man. It hasn't been too long ago since, sitting in the meeting, I said to him, and no disregards to Brother Williams, I said, "You look younger than your son, Carl." It just goes to show that we're here today and tomorrow we're not here. We don't know when that time comes, when it is coming, but we know it's coming. I was thinking, but life is a great thing, it's, life is an opportunity.
SC-3 We just had a great tragedy, of one that come to our church so long, from Chicago, was killed the other day coming home, a mother. She was close, I guess close to seventy, and she and her husband riding along and up Kansas, Missouri, one, a blizzard going through. A man driving, car out of control, her neck was broke instantly. And we just don't know when this is coming. When I... they called me to tell me about it and I called up all the children around across the nation, telling them. Course, being their pastor, like, I was the one to notify them. Thinking of how quick we can go, and then there set a box of candy setting before me that she made me about a week ago, and gave to me. Just to see how quickly we can be snapped out. But, if that, if this life only was where we had our hopes, we'd be a miserable people. Job said, in the 14th chapter, "Oh, that Thou would hide me in the grave and keep me in the secret place."
SC-4 Have you ever noticed how nature testifies of God? We find the trees, the leaves go off the trees, and the life in the tree goes down into the ground, like the grave, and stays there until the wrath of the winter is past, then comes back again, bringing forth new life. It's a testimony that we live again. The sun rises of a morning, just a little baby, it's weak; after a while it's this time it's in school, high school; then at noon it's in its strength; then the afternoon it begins to turn to the other side; then in the evening it gets weak again and dies. But, that's not the end of the sun, it comes up again the next morning to testify to another generation, that there is a life, death, burial, and resurrection.
SC-5 Even nature everywhere speaks of Him. And nature is a great testimony in another way, that is, that we cannot have this resurrection Life unless it serves God's purpose. Now, if a seed is planted, and that seed is germitized, it brings forth a new flower. But if it isn't germitized, it will not bring forth a new flower, if it doesn't serve God's purpose. Yet, not just because it's a flower it rises, because it serves God's purpose. That's the reason the sun rises, is because it serves God's purpose. And we rise when we serve God's purpose.
SC-6 I believe that Brother Williams served God's purpose in life, a real father. And I see his darling companion, Mrs. Williams, sitting here. A real husband, that's one of God's purposes. A father, one of God's purposes. And he was germitized to God, by the Holy Spirit, God's main purpose. So, to say that Brother Williams will not rise and be with us again, we'd have to say there's no--there's no going down of the sap, there's no rising of the sun. Everything speaks of his resurrection again, to be with us again, everything. First, the sun, the flowers, the nature, botany life, everything speaks of it. And then the Word of God speaks for him. And, besides that, the very faith that's in our heart pulsates that we'll see him again. God rest his soul. Just as a little salute to him that once set with us, let us stand to our feet just a moment.
SC-7 Heavenly Father, we have never tried to make a gathering like this a purpose just to be seen or heard. We have come together each time, for the edification of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, and to give testimony to those who are without Him, that they might find Him. We are, our hearts are burdened for those who are left behind from the parting of our brother, one that set with us not long ago, has many times set right in this same chapter. But we believe that You let him live out a good, full round life, and his soul is with You today. Rest him, O God, until that day when we shall see him again. Bless his son here, his other children, his darling wife, and those who loved him, and that's all of us, Father. And may we take notice to this, that we too are frail and we must go someday, so let us prepare ourselves for that great hour. And if there should be some here this morning who has not prepared for this same event, may this be the day that they'll say "yes" to the Lord Jesus, and also be germitized to Him by the Holy Spirit. For we ask it in Jesus' Name. Amen. Be seated.
SC-8 Now, we want to announce a--a few announcements. My wife sitting back there this morning, I told her, I said, "Honey, I'm going to be out of the breakfast..." We had to go downtown and do some things. And I said, "I'm going to be out at ten o'clock." She looked at me. I said, "If I'm not out by ten o'clock, I'll buy you three new dresses of your choice." So I--I know what's going to happen, I owe three dresses right now, 'cause it's twenty till ten now. But I will try to hurry as quick as possible.
SC-9 We're glad to be here in Jericho with you brethren this morning, and we invite you, Monday night, up to Jerusalem, at Tucson, to at the banquet down there. See, Phoenix is in the valley, like Jericho. Tucson, where I live, is on the mountain, that's--that's Jerusalem. Where you at, Tony? Why don't somebody say "amen" around here. Here, now I'm in a trap, Tony didn't even show up. Well, tomorrow, or Monday night, is the banquet at--at Tucson, and we certainly would be glad if you're around that way, would drop in and see us. My subject that night, if the Lord willing, is, We Have Seen His Star In The East And Have Come To Worship Him.
SC-10 And now the nineteenth of this month, or next month, rather, nineteenth of--of January, I start a revival here, right in this room, the Ramada Inn here, and the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first. And then the twenty-second, I believe, starts the... twenty-third, I have four nights here, and as a revival. Many of you minister brothers, we're certainly happy to have you with us this morning, and we cordially invite you out to bring your people. The ones especially, that's, that you know here in the city that doesn't know Jesus as their Saviour. And then, secondarily, to those who are sick and--and believes that God answers prayer, we aim to pray for the sick during this time just prior to the great National Convention is to be held here beginning the twenty-second. And I'm sure you want to hear that, because there's many outstanding speakers come, and I'm sure you'll have a great time.
SC-11 Now, this morning, I have thought about speaking here to this chapter, which Phoenix has always been a place on my heart. I like Phoenix. I was here when I was a little boy, out here at Wickenburg just above. And lived down here at Sixteenth and Henshaw. It was a desert then. But I see it's right in the metropolitan, and, well, really in the heart of the city. Goes to show that there's a changing time, changing. But there's one thing I want to speak on this morning, is the unchanging One, that's God. God, in His program, His Word, It never changes. Times change, men change, systems change. But God never changes, He ever remains the same.
SC-12 And I thought, being that we were facing the Christmas time, that we would... maybe I'd speak on a--a Christmas message. And now if you have your Bibles, and like to read, sometimes people do, behind evangelists or speaker, I want to read from Saint Matthew's Gospel, the 2nd chapter, for a portion of the Word.
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
Saying, Where is he that's born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
When Herod the king... heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
And when he had gathered all the chief priests and the scribes of the people together, he demanded... them where Christ should be born.
... they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophets,
And thou Bethlehem, of the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: but out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
SC-13 May the Lord add His blessings to the reading of His Word. And now with some notes here, and some Scriptures to refer to. I like to have your undivided attention for a little while on the subject of: Why Little Bethlehem.
SC-14 You know, at Christmas, I think we all, too many of us, I wouldn't say all, but too many of us lose the real value of what Christmas is. As I notice out here, even the palm trees are decorated; and in the East it's always the fir tree, or the evergreen. And months, or weeks, rather, maybe a month or six weeks before Christmas ever begins, it's always the tinsel and--and the great... They made it a commercial in the stead of what it really means.
SC-15 I don't believe that Christ was born on the twenty-fifth day of December. I--I do not believe that at all. It would be impossible for the things to happen. The hills of Judea are snowier than, why, snow is waist-deep in there in the month of--of December, up in Judea. But we realize in studying history, Christ was probably born in the spring, along maybe April or May, somewhere like that. But when it was changed, this, they brought it, when Christianity was converted into Romanism, they made the sun-god's birthday, which was the solar at the twenty-fifth, from the twenty-first to the twenty-fifth of December, the sun setting, like, almost hardly changes at all. And then that was the sun-god's birthday, so they changed it to the Son of God.
SC-16 But, remember, what ever what day it might be, we still doesn't take away the sacredness of what its supposed to be. Where Satan has robbed us of this, has made the great commercial, and Santa Claus stole all of the worship. And it's become a--a day like Easter, like bunny rabbits and pink ducks. And--and then what's that got to do with Easter? What's that got to do with the resurrection of Christ?
SC-17 It's just like the world today, they, the kids on the street can tell you more about Davey Crockett than they could about Jesus Christ. They can tell you more about some outlaw, some criminal of days gone by, than they can the Prince of Life that--that was born nineteen hundred years ago. But that doesn't take the real thing away from we Christians.
SC-18 You see, always light shines its best in the darkness. The forked lightning in the black cloudy skies at night, shows there can be light in darkness. And when the light is shining, you don't see... If the sun's shining, you don't need the lights too much. But darker, the smaller the light, greater it will shine in the darkness. Darker, the better, shows itself better. And that's more the less that... We Christians ought to be testifying to the glory of God giving His Son to us. This Christmas ought to be an outstanding thing. We Christians ought... No matter how much it looks, it'll make it shine that much better. The whole world's got tinsel. We've got Christ, and that's what we ought to be letting shine in this dark hour that we're now living in.
SC-19 We think of how God does things in unusual ways, because He is unusual Himself. God is unusual. He's--He's the Supernatural, the Infinite, unto we finite. So, anything He does is--is so unusual. And God is so--so great, till He takes the unidentified things of the earth to identify Himself by it.
SC-20 We notice here in my subject, of Why Little Bethlehem, that smallest of all of Judaea, the princes of the other cities of Judaea, why did God choose to send His Son to that place? That's what we want to talk on. God taking the things of the world, I believe the Scripture says, "By the foolishness of preaching, it pleased God to take the unidentified things." What we make great, God calls foolish. What we put so much glory to, God says it's--it's--it's no good. And what we think is no good, God glorifies it.
SC-21 Was thinking of just before the birth of our Lord, when all the prophets, and so forth, had spoke of the forerunner coming, "how every mountain would be brought low and the low places brought high, and the mountains would skip like little rams, and the leaves would clap their hands." And it was a--a minister, a prophet by the name of John, came forth out of the wilderness, not from even a theological school, whiskers all over his face, and a piece of sheepskin, not in a clergy clothes, come out and announce, "The Kingdom of God is at hand!" And the people could hardly understand such an outfit as that coming, with no identification of any--any system, anything that he belonged to, any fellowship card, or any denominational that he was backing him up. The--the Message was too great, he couldn't take man, God schooled him out in the wilderness. His Message was not on some kind of a--a theological terms. He spoke of serpents and axes and trees, and that's what he was used to, nature, watching how it worked. And that was the--the way he approached. Not as a clergyman, but as--as a man of nature.
SC-22 And the people could hardly understand him. Didn't even have a pulpit, and probably wasn't welcome in any, but he preached on the banks of the Jordan, probably standing in mud up half to his knees. But the people come out to hear it, those who were honest in heart. They wanted to hear because it was something different, it had a ring of Truth to it.
SC-23 Today we ought to be at this, at the approaching of the birth of Christ, our Message, it ought to have a ring of Truth to it that would make people thirst to find Him.
SC-24 God took that simple man, without education, not one day in school, and yet said he was the greatest among all the prophets that ever lived, because God identifies Himself in unidentified things.
SC-25 When Jesus chose His disciples, it was. There were many men better qualified for the job than those disciples, they were clergymen, He never called one. There were clergymen in them days, great men, priests, men of education, renowned men, but He never called them. He took fishermen and tax collectors, and so forth, to--to send His Message out. He always does that.
SC-26 In the days of Noah, He chose a farmer, just a common farmer, to announce the destruction of that age. Just a common farmer, not a clergyman, just a farmer! In the days of Noah, He took a--a... Pardon me.
SC-27 The days of Moses, He took a runaway slave, not a clergyman. And He let him get out till He was satisfied, out in the backside of the desert, and lose his education, and appeared to him in a burning bush, and sent him down with a crooked stick in his hand, to take over a nation that had... that He had run him from.
SC-28 See, God takes the simple things to identify Himself through. See, taking His, It's just His Word. He made the world out of the things that--that does... has not appeared.
SC-29 A few days ago I was at the Morris Auditorium, one of our great New York campaigns, and I was hearing a lecture on Einstein speaking of this galaxy, that said take a hundred and fifty million years of--of light time, to go out to it, and a hundred and fifty million years to get back. And then, just think, a hundred and fifty million light years, that would be three hundred million light years. And then when you got back here, you'd only been gone fifty years. Think, why, how fast light travels, a hundred eighty-six thousand miles per minute, and think of how many billions and trillions of years it would take to go out there and come back. A hundred and twenty... three hundred million light years. And that's just to a galaxy in the constellation that God just blew from His hands, and He made the aeons of time in light years beyond that, and there looking down upon them.
SC-30 Then this Russian said that's he was about a hundred and fifty, two hundred miles, up in the air, and said he never seen no God or Angels. How simple can man get? And then think of all them billions and trillions of years; and only fifty years from here, what did he do, broke into Eternity.
SC-31 They say this astronaut that just went up, was up so many hours, went so many, seventeen times around the world, or whatever it was, they said it never even... it wasn't one second in his life. He was traveling with the time. So, you see, you break into Eternity. That's the greatness of God.
SC-32 Our minds cannot fathom how great He is. And yet when He gets ready to reveal Himself, He makes it so simple, takes the simple things to do it, the simplicity of it.
SC-33 David, he seemed to be the--the... All Jesse's seven sons, he was the last one to be brought before the prophet. Why, even his own folks could have laughed, they couldn't imagine a little ruddy-looking David, a little stoop-shouldered, ruddy-looking man to be the man that would be the king of Israel. He might not have looked like a king to those people, but he sure must have looked like it to God, 'cause they... He anointed him king, anyhow. See, He took the simple of David's family, or Jesse's family, to--to make kings. Something that the world had turned down, the... he had turned, sent him back to take care of the sheep. He brought forth his--forth his first son, a great strong stately-looking man, probably could stand erect and look like a king of Israel, and that's the one they thought would look good with a crown on his head, that's the one with the... wear the--the kingly garment and could pack the staff, and whatever must be done to a king. He--he looked good to the eyes of the people.
SC-34 But the prophet, with the anointing oil in his hand, said, "Haven't you got another one?" And he brought them, one by one, until finally he said, "Haven't you got another one?"
SC-35 He said, "I've got one, but perhaps he wouldn't be nothing. He's just a little dried up sort of a fellow, we got him out there herding sheep."
SC-36 He said, "Go get him." And as soon as he fell in the eyes of the anointed prophet, he poured the oil upon his head--head, and run to meet him. Said, "This is the one God chose." See? See, it's not tinsel always, of the world. It's God's choosing.
SC-37 And by grace He chose us, so we're grateful for that this morning. And it doesn't take those great tinsel things of the world. The humblest can be a servant of Christ, takes somebody who's willing.
SC-38 God anointed him, see, takes the little things. Now, why did He take little Bethlehem? Seemed like there would have been greater places that the King, great King of kings could been born.
SC-39 Usually when we fix up an event here on earth, we try to get it in the highest, most glittering thing that we can think of, we take it to the biggest places and spend the most money, and the most elaborate things. That's the way we do it.
SC-40 But God don't do it that way. He takes something that's nothing, so He can show Himself to be mighty, that He can. If He'd have took a high priest or a well-trained man, in the days when He was calling the apostles, if He'd have took that instead of an ignorant, unlearned fisherman who couldn't even write his own name, they could have said, "Oh, that, see, your education pays off." But God took a man who couldn't even write his name, that He could take something He could get in His hand, something that He could make something out of, to show that He's God. We get to a place that we realize that we're nothing, then get in God's hands, and He can mold you and make you the way He wants you to be. But as long as we feel that we're important, then you'll never get nowhere. You can't even get in the hands of God until we realize that we're not important.
SC-41 One of my little girls was asking the other day about importancy. I said... Well, talking about some important man. Well, it was the President that was just assassinated, and our hearts was grieved over it. And I said, "Well, he was an important man." The papers played it up, and the television shot it, billions and billions of dollars it cost the government to broadcast that. Which, that's all right, that's their business. But I said... This little Pentecostal preacher up there in Carolina, that a man walked in, a drunk with a shotgun, called for his wife and shot the man plumb out of the pulpit, then shot his wife, and shot himself, a little piece in the back of the paper about that big. Let me tell you, brother, no matter who we are, "You want to know how important you are," I said to my little girl, "stick your finger in a bucket of water and pull it out, and try to find the hole." We're nothing. There's only One important, that's God. We must remember, He's the One.
SC-42 Looked like that if they wanted to... man had been fixing a place for the King to be born, there was more greater religious places and historical places for the King instead of this little Bethlehem. Places, for instance, like Shiloh. Shiloh was where the ark was pitched first, we know, as we come across where... come across the Jordan to this side in Palestine, and where the ark was set up for its first worship place. Or Gilgal; Zion, Zion a great place; Gilgal, also.
SC-43 Or the proud great capitol, of Jerusalem, where the heads of all the organizations gathered at, their headquarters, looked like they'd have fixed a place up there at Jerusalem for the great King to be born, if they wanted a place, a historical place or a grand outstanding place. That's where the religious headquarters was, of their religion to which the King came to. He came to represent their religion. And He... and when He did, instead of them fixing Him a place at Jerusalem or one of those great historical spots, He was borned in Bethlehem, the smallest of all the cities. "Art thou not least among the princes of Judaea? But out of thee shall come a--a Governor that shall rule My people." And this great proud Jerusalem and all the other cities was rejected.
SC-44 Or maybe they could took some of the places of refuge, the great place like Hebron, Kadesh, or Ramoth-gilead, one of those great refuge cities, because He was to be our Refuge. If we would try to fix in our own mind, we might have took, say, "Well, now, if this great King's coming, which will be our Refuge, He should be born in one of these great memorial places of a refuge, like Ramoth-Gilead, or Kadesh, or one of those." We would have tried to fix it like that in our minds.