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You Reap What You Sow | Does God Notice Your Actions?

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
June 14, 2022 3:00 am

You Reap What You Sow | Does God Notice Your Actions?

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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June 14, 2022 3:00 am

Some do many great things, but talk very little about them. Some do few great things, but talk a lot about them. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie presents a contrast between Mordecai and another man named Haaman. They both appear in the story of Esther. One is a good man and gets little recognition – the other, an evil man who’s angling for great recognition. But today, as the story continues, the winds of change blow, and these men get their “just desserts.”

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. The Bible says, your Father who sees you in secret will reward you openly. Listen, you will be rewarded for every act of kindness and every word of testimony you've given for the Lord over your life.

God does not forget. Some do many great things but talk very little about them. Some do few great things but talk a lot about them. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie presents a contrast between Mordecai and another man named Haman. They both appear in the story of Esther. One is a good man and gets little recognition.

The other an evil man who is angling for great recognition. But today, as the story continues, the winds of change blow and these men get their just desserts. My wife came home from the market a while back and she asked me to unload the car. Now I don't know about you but I'm one of those guys that wants to get as many bags of my arms as humanly possible.

I don't want to make multiple trips. So I've got all these bags in my arms and I'm carrying them in. Many bags and many groceries in these bags.

Bread and canned goods and some vegetables and some eggs. And I dropped one bag. Which bag did I drop?

Of course. Why? Why of all those bags did I drop the bag of eggs? Because there is a law of the universe. It's called Murphy's law.

Heard of it? Murphy's law is if anything can go wrong it will and usually at the most inopportune moments. Well we sort of joke that's not a real law. But there are real laws that govern our universe. There is a law of gravity which basically was discovered by Newton that says things tend to go downward or a simpler way to put it. What goes up must come down. There is a law of thermodynamics that tells us all things are breaking down. Or another way to put it.

You will have aged a lot more before the end of this service. And finally there is a law of sowing and reaping. And that one is in the Bible. Galatians 6 7-8. And just as surely as there is a law of gravity and a law of thermodynamics you better bet there is a law of sowing and reaping. Here is what the Bible says. Be not deceived.

God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap. If he sows to the flesh he will reap corruption. But if he sows to the spirit he will reap life everlasting. Now we tend to think of the law of sowing and reaping in a negative sense.

Oh man if you do that watch out. You will reap what you sow. And that is true. But the law of sowing and reaping is both positive and negative. Again if you sow to the flesh you will reap corruption or deadness.

That is negative. But if you sow to the spirit you will reap life everlasting. Now we see that played out in the story before us. Haman the villain in our story reaped what he sowed and he reaped corruption. But then Esther and her cousin Mordecai reaped life everlasting.

Let's see how it played out. Let's sort of pick up where we last left off. And by the way if you haven't been a part of this Esther series here is sort of a flyover of what we have seen so far. King Xerxes is ruling Persia. He decides to throw a giant feast so he invites all of his lords and leaders and government officials into town. And by the way this feast, this party lasted for six months. The king provided all the food, all the wine, everything. I think he was sort of buttering them up for an invasion. He was going to mount against Greece on the heels of this feast which did not go all that well. And so the king is sort of showing all of his cool stuff.

Guys tend to do that don't they? They want to show you all their cool stuff. And so he is bringing out all the things he owns and his beautiful palace and all the goblets and things that the wine is served in. But now he is going to bring out his crown jewel. The beautiful Queen Vashti. So he gives the order to bring Queen Vashti in and tell her to come in wearing her crown. I want her to parade right through here and I want all those guys to see what an awesome wife I have. Well Vashti wanted no part of it.

Now we don't know exactly why. Some commentators think that when the text says bring her in wearing her crown that King Xerxes meant only her crown. Obviously she wouldn't like that idea.

But even if that wasn't it the idea was he was sort of objectifying his wife. Treating her more like a possession than the wife she was so she flat out refuses and it is a scandal in the kingdom. The King's aides say you cannot let Vashti act that way because if she gets away with this none of our wives will ever do what we tell them to do again.

You have got to get rid of her. So Vashti is out. And now they effectively have a beauty contest. The Miss Purge a beauty contest if you will. And the winner will become the next queen of the kingdom.

So all of these girls apply and one girl kind of makes her way to the top. She was a young girl. An orphan. Her parents had died. She had been raised by her cousin Mordecai. He was about 15 years older than her. Her name was Hadassah. We know her better as Esther and she had extraordinary beauty.

The king laid his eyes on her and he chose her and she became the queen of the kingdom. If this was a fairy tale it would have ended right there with the words and they lived happily ever after. But this is not a fairy tale. This is a Bible story and it is a piece of history as well. Enter the villain of the story Haman who hatches a plot to exterminate Mordecai and the Jews. Now this was a blood feud that went back a long ways because the Bible tells us that Haman was an Agagite. That doesn't mean a lot to us. Try even saying that word.

Say it with me. Agagite. Don't ever name your child Agagite or Agag. That meant he was a descendant of King Agag who was an avowed enemy of Israel. And the Lord directed King Saul to destroy King Agag and Saul disobeyed. And so now here is one of his blood descendants who hates the Jewish people.

And here is Mordecai also a blood descendant. A Jewish man. So Haman was elevated to be the second most powerful man in the kingdom.

He is the prime minister. He comes walking by and the order is given. Everyone bows. When Haman comes by Mordecai won't bow. And that just ticked Haman off. And he wanted to kill Mordecai. And then he decided he was going to kill the people of Mordecai. So he goes to the king and gets the king to agree to sign a decree that all the Jewish people across the entire kingdom of Persia will be put to death. And they posted these signs.

In one year you will all die. It is very similar to what happened later in Germany. Remember when the Nazi party came into power. And the way they treated the Jewish people. They would go to their shops and stores and they would have to put a Star of David there identifying themselves as Jews. And then they began to destroy the stores and the property of the Jews. And then the Jews were wearing these little yellow armbands to identify themselves. And soon the Nazis were shipping the Jewish people off to concentration camps like Treblinka and Auschwitz and others. So it is a similar thing.

I am going to have you all wiped off the face of the earth. Well Mordecai found out about this and there is only one person who can help. It is Esther who is a Jew. And she is there in the palace. Maybe she can influence the king.

So he stands outside the palace dressed in sackcloth and ashes mourning this horrible thing. Esther didn't even know about it. And Esther heard about her cousin out there not dressed very well.

She said, here send him some new clothes. Talk about missing the point. Girl I am trying to communicate something to you. Your people are in trouble and you are living in the lap of luxury up there in the palace.

And you don't even know what is going on. And then Mordecai says to Esther in Esther 4. And this is a signature passage from the book. Don't think for a moment you will escape there in the palace. Because if the other Jews are killed and you keep quiet deliverance will arise from the Jews from some other place.

But you and your relatives will die. But who knows that God does not place you where you are for such a time as this. Now interestingly Esther had not revealed to the king she was a Jew up to this point.

Because Mordecai told her not to. Now he is saying it is time to play your hand. It is time to declare yourself a Jew.

It is time to appeal for your people. And so Esther says to Mordecai, ok I am going to go to the king. By the way if you go to the king when you are not summoned you might be put to death. But I will go to the king.

I will put it all on the line. And she says there in Esther chapter 4 I want you to be fasting for me. And I want you to be praying for me. And I will die if I have to die. If I must die I will die. So she says be in prayer for me effectively.

She says fasting but it is really another way of saying be praying for me. So now Esther is showing her true colors. I mean without question she was extraordinarily beautiful.

Drop dead gorgeous beautiful. But she had inner qualities to match. And that character was about to be revealed. It has been said character is not made in crisis.

It is only exhibited. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey I don't know if you know about this but we have a weekend service called Harvest at Home exclusively for people that are tuning in literally from around the world.

Listen to this. We even have Harvest groups where you can get into a small group with folks from all around this planet of ours and study the Word of God. So join us this weekend Saturday and Sunday for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org Well we are digging into a critical point in the story of Esther, Mordecai, and Haman.

Pastor Greg is presenting a message today called You Reap What You Sow. Now the true character of Esther is going to shine but she is waiting for the right time and the right place with the right words to appeal to the king. So our story begins in Esther chapter 5 verse 1.

Let's read together. Three days later Esther put on her royal robes and entered the inner court of the palace just across from the king's hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne facing the entrance and when he saw Queen Esther standing there in the inner court he welcomed her holding out the gold scepter to her.

So Esther approached and touched its tip. Then the king asked her, What do you want Queen Esther? What is your request? I will give it to you up to half of the kingdom. She said, Well if it pleases your majesty let the king and Haman come today to a banquet. I prepared for the king. So the king turned to his attendants and said, Tell Haman to come quickly to a banquet as Esther has requested. So the king and Haman went to Esther's banquet and they are drinking wine and the king said to Esther, Tell me what you really want. What is your request? I will give it to you even up to half of my kingdom. Esther replied, This is my request and deepest wish if your majesty is pleased with me and wants to grant my request come back with Haman tomorrow. We will stop there.

This is amazing. Seems like she would have just closed the deal right there. Outed Haman and his plot revealed that she was a Jewish girl and this was an attack against her and her people. But she is waiting. She is waiting for the right time. Do you know timing is everything? Because a lot of times we are impatient. Are you an impatient person? I can be. The other day we had our grandkids and they were going to school and they had eaten something but my granddaughter Ali was still hungry and my wife Kathy said, Can you make Ali some eggs?

I said sure. I kind of pride myself on my scrambled eggs. And so Kathy sets the heat really low. She says that is the key to cooking scrambled eggs.

So they are fluffy. Well the heat was low and I poured the eggs in the little pan and nothing is happening. And the kids have got to go to school so I crank up the heat and now they are finally forming and I put them on a plate and I realize they are a little on the rubbery side. And Ali took one bite and she said, I am not hungry anymore.

That was her nice way of saying, Papa your eggs are horrible. But see I didn't do it right. I was too impatient.

And we can do that in life. Well I don't want to wait for this person to believe. I am going to pressure them to believe. I don't want to wait for this to happen. I am going to make it happen.

I am going to take things into my own hands. But we need to understand there is a time for every event under heaven the Bible says. A time to be silent and a time to speak. And you know we all may have a king in our life. And by that I mean there is some person like the king that maybe intimidates us. There might be an authority over us. It might be a boss. It might be a professor.

It might be that person that seems to have it so together. So above you. So tough you think they would never listen to the gospel.

Listen to this. No one is beyond the reach of God. Think of someone right now you think, oh they would never listen to me. They would never be open to the gospel.

How do you know that? Why don't you start praying for them. Think of young Stephen as he stood before the Jewish Sanhedrin which was sort of like the Supreme Court of the day. He had been charged with preaching the gospel. And he stood before these gentlemen and he began to share his faith and their anger began to grow and they were so mad at him and they finally gave the decree that he should be put to death and he prayed for them as he was dying. He said, Lord don't lay this sin against their charge.

He was the first martyr of the early church. But among those men in that Jewish Sanhedrin was the notorious Saul of Tarsus. And right on the heels of this event Saul of Tarsus began to hunt down, arrest, and prosecute Christians.

Men, women, and children. Well you know the rest of the story. Saul of Tarsus ended up meeting Jesus on the Damascus road. He was converted and he became the apostle Paul. But I suggest to you that seed was initially sown in Saul's heart by young Stephen who did not back down from his faith because he thought God could reach that guy.

Maybe he even prayed for Saul. So now the moment has come Esther can approach the king. It says in verse 3, the king says, What do you want Queen Esther?

What is your request? I will give it to you up to half of my kingdom. That is a good day when the king offers that by the way.

So she has been waiting on the Lord. And she says, Well if it please your majesty, Esther 5-3, let the king and Haman come to a banquet today that I prepared for the king. Now Haman is so excited. He is thinking everything is going my way. All of my scheming, my plotting, my undermining is finally coming to fruition. The queen has invited me to a banquet with the king. Verse 9, What a happy man Haman was as he left the banquet.

He thinks everything is going my way. I am going to wipe out the Jews. I am powerful.

Oh it is awesome. So now going back a little bit in the book. There was a threat against the king. Two of his bodyguards wanted to kill him. This became known to Mordecai who was named to the king. He told the king. The plot was foiled. The bodyguards were executed. But Mordecai was never rewarded for this wonderful act of sacrifice. So one night the king can't get to sleep.

We have all had nights like that. And so you try counting sheep or drinking warm milk and sometimes reading will help put you to sleep. So the king had something read to him. When you are the king people read to you. And he says pull out that book, The History of the Persian Empire, just start reading. So they are reading to him and they come across the story of the averted plot against his life. He goes wait, wait, go back over that again. What happened? Yeah I remember that.

Who was the guy who helped me there? That was Mordecai. Was he ever rewarded for that? No king.

He wasn't. Really. Well we need to right that wrong. And this just reminds us that there are times in our lives when we did something for someone else and we weren't recognized. But the Bible says your father who sees you in secret will reward you openly. Listen, you will be rewarded for every act of kindness and every word of testimony you've given for the Lord over your life. Hebrews 6 10 says God is not unjust. He will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help him. So listen, God does not forget. And so now Mordecai is gonna be rewarded. And here's the story, I love it, it's classic. So the next morning, the king wakes up, all right, listen, we gotta do something about this guy that saved my life.

Who's out on the court right now? Haman is, okay, bring him in here. So Haman is brought into the presence of the king. The king says, Haman, I have a question for you. What should I do if I really wanna honor someone?

If I really wanna show them how much I appreciate what they've done, what is the best thing that I could do? Haman was so narcissistic and wicked, he thought the king was talking about him and he says, well, if I were in your shoes, what I would do is I would put him on your royal seat, I would put royal robes on him, and I would have him led through the kingdom. This is what happens to the man that the king wants to honor.

The king says, excellent idea. Do that for Mordecai, Kai, Kai, Kai, Kai, Kai. What?

Not for me. No. Mordecai, oh. This is like he's dying inside. So he, Mordecai, get on the horse, put on the robes, let's go. He's walking through the kingdom.

This is what would be done for the man that the king wants to honor. Mordecai is sitting up there, all right, very nice. And Haman is burning up inside. Talk about poetic justice. Well, as you know, we're only part of the way through the story.

Mordecai is reaping the fruits of his good character. But when the story continues here on The New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how Haman is about to reap what he has sown. And then perhaps you've heard, Pastor Greg has just released his brand new book called Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus.

Pastor Greg, it's very balanced in its look at artists who flamed out and artists whose career caught fire and artists who became on fire for Christ. You mentioned Bob Dylan, who released three albums with Christian content but has been sort of an enigma that no one can quite figure out. Yes, Bob Dylan is surely an enigma.

He always has been, and I suspect he always will be. Dylan is beyond just a musician. Dylan is iconic. He influenced so many other artists, most notably The Beatles. John Lennon admitted that a number of the songs he wrote were handled after Bob Dylan songs. Jimi Hendrix recorded Bob Dylan.

The Byrds recorded Bob Dylan. He was such a man of influence, and that's why it was such a shock to everyone when Bob Dylan came out with a record that was called Slow Train Coming and spoke boldly about his faith in Jesus Christ. I believe that Bob Dylan had a genuine conversion. And for many fans of rock, it was the rock version of the conversion of Paul on the Damascus Road.

Dylan went on to record three beautiful gospel records, and I happen to think that Slow Train Coming was some of the finest work he had ever done. But anyway, in his concerts, he started talking about his faith in Jesus Christ. Effectively, Dylan was preaching.

I witnessed this firsthand. Kathy, my wife and I, went down to Santa Monica, saw him there in concert. It was not a full room, and there were people yelling out at him, play the old songs, we don't wanna hear this. And Dylan was actually trying to articulate his faith. So after his third gospel record, he just stopped talking about it.

So some people concluded he didn't believe it anymore and that he had walked away from it and in fact returned to his Jewish roots because they could not believe that he could be a Jewish man following Jesus Christ. Well, I don't see any indication in my deep dive into the life and career of Dylan that would indicate to me that he has abandoned his faith. One of his more recent records, which was a collection of Christmas songs, somebody interviewing him said, it almost sounds like you believe the words of these songs and the way you sing them.

And Dylan's response was, well, I do. So I think that Bob Dylan is what I would call a work in progress. You know, there are people that curse God, rebel against God, never acknowledge God, and you can pretty safely say that as a non-believer, but they're not beyond hope and you should keep praying for them. But then there are some who've made a profession of faith, they seem to have had a lapse or they've fallen, but don't write them off so quickly.

I call them a work in progress. Then there are others who have made a profession of faith and are still walking with the Lord, case in point. Dan DeMucci made a commitment to Christ years ago and he's still walking with Jesus Christ today.

Alice Cooper was really addicted to drugs and alcohol and his life was going downhill fast. He could have so easily been another statistic of a rock star dying of an overdose, but he made a commitment to Christ, he got clean and sober, and he has been walking with the Lord for well over 30 years now. So I explore many more stories of rock stars and we get into some of the current artists today who've made professions of faith as well, like Kanye West and Justin Bieber and others. And so we need to be praying for these iconic rock stars who have had so much success and pray that God gets hold of them and also pray that the Lord would cause them to use their massive platforms for his glory and talk about Jesus Christ. But I wrote this book to show you sort of a behind the scenes look at what it's like to have that kind of success, also to show you the challenges they face, the temptations they have to deal with, but also the power of God to transform people that have hit rock bottom. Yeah, it's really a message of hope. Maybe you know someone who needs that lifeline right now, maybe a friend or loved one who's going down the same path that some of these music icons have traveled and you wanna show them where it leads. We'll send Pastor Greg's new book your way to thank you for your investment so that these daily studies can continue.

Again, it's called Lenin, Dylan, Alice and Jesus. Ask for it when you make your donation today. Our phone number is 1-800-821-3300 and we can take your call anytime. That's 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California 92514.

Or go online to harvest.org. Well, next time as we continue our study of the story of Esther, Haman and Mordecai, we'll see how Haman finally reaps what he sows. More from this fascinating account. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie.

This is the day, the day when life begins. Hey everybody, thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-05 12:11:18 / 2023-04-05 12:21:55 / 11

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