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July 12, 2021 10:00 pm
You know when it comes to good guy bad guy batch jobs well. There been some pretty classic ones, haven't there. I think for example of Robin Hood versus Prince John and then I think of Rocky versus club or line, no, and I think of roadrunner versus Wiley Coyote and then I think of Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader, and finally, how about Jack Bauer against everybody how Zach yeah well today we want to look at one of these classic good guy bad guy batch jobs. One that comes right out of the Bible. One that comes right out of the book of Esther is a matter of fact, remember during a four-part series in the book of Esther and last week in part one we talked about how God got Esther to the throne of Persia and about how God knew exactly what he was doing in Esther's life.
The whole time and about how God knows exactly what he's doing in our lives as followers of Christ. The whole time as well as you missed last week, I encourage you to get the CD from the bookstore or to go online and download the message but today in part two we want to go back 2500 years and we want to look at this battle that begin shaping up between the good guy Mordechai and the bad guy came in and we want to look at the heroic part that Queen Esther play in saving her Jewish people and once we done all that were going to bring it all forward and were going to talk about. Well, what differences that make for you and me. So that's our plan and just before we dig in.
Let's go back and do a little bit of review. If you remember last week we saw that the book of Esther takes place during the reign of the Persian King Xerxes and at the time the Persian Empire was the largest empire on earth. We also learned last week that virtually every Jew alive live inside the Persian Empire, and we saw that in King Xerxes. Seventh year he had invaded Greece, but he got whacked by the Greeks at the battle of Salamis, and in 480 BC had to retire back to Persia and when he came back to his capital city of Susa. He came back well feeling sorry for himself and he came back wanting some female companionship and so we fell in love with this young beautiful girl named Esther, a young Jewish girl living there in the city.
City of Susa with her uncle Mordechai and suddenly Esther becomes the queen of the entire Persian Empire, but Xerxes doesn't know yet that she's Jewish because her uncle Mordechai had advised her to keep this little detail to herself for the time being. So that's what we been ready now to launch into Esther chapter 3.
So here we go.
Verse one and after these events. Xerxes promoted Haman and theirs are bad guy and advanced him and established his authority over all the other nobles and all the royal officials at the Kingsgate would bow down and pay honor to Haman for the King had commanded this concerning him, but Mordechai would neither bow down nor pay him honor now you say why would Mordechai bow down to this guy. Well, it's because of commandment number one and commandment number two in the 10 Commandments. Deuteronomy chapter 5 verse seven.
Here they are. You shall have no other gods before me. God says you shall not make for yourself an idol look or bow down to them or serve them, or I am a jealous God and the Jews believed that the bow down to anything or to bow down to anyone other than God himself was a sin of the absolute worst kind. And that's why Mordechai wouldn't do it. Verse five when Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor Haman was enraged and yet when he learned who Mordecai's people work that is the Jews. Haman scorned the idea of killing only Mordechai instead. Haman began looking for a way to destroy all Mordechai's people, the Jews throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes. So what did he do well. Haman went to Xerxes and said there's a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples of your kingdom whose customs are different and who do not observe the Kings laws.
It is not in the king's best interest to tolerate these people.
So, if it pleases the king, Haman said, let a decree be issued to destroy them.
Xerxes took a signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman and said to Haman do with these people as you please and so here we have Haman heading out to exterminate all the Jewish people from the entire Persian Empire. But remember what we said we said earlier that this represented for all practical purposes, every Jewish person in the whole world would've been exterminated. Now we need to stop here for a moment and understand that this was no random event. We need to understand that Satan himself was behind Haman's effort to say why would you say that. Well friends think for a moment, God had promised that the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ was going to be Jewish, that he was going to be a direct descendent of King David. But of all the Jews were killed by Haman in 480 BC folks.
Then there are no Jewish people. Five centuries later to give birth to the Lord Jesus Christ. And hey, if there is no Christ, if there's no Messiah, then there's no cross and if there is no cross. Then there is no resurrection, and if there is no cross and no resurrection, there is no plan of salvation for the human race. Make no mistake about it, my friends, Satan was in this thing up to his elbows, verse 13 so Haman sent dispatchers to all the king's provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews. I think that covers it. Don't you destroy, kill, annihilate.
I think the points clear, don't you yeah okay well anyway when Mordechai learned of this chapter 4 verse one. He put on sackcloth and ashes of a sign of deep mourning and anguish and he went out into the city, weeping loudly. Then Queen Esther heard about it and sent one of her units to find out what was troubling. Mordechai and why so Mordechai told the unit everything that it happened. He also gave the eunuch a copy of the king's edict to show Esther and he told the unit to urge Esther to go into the king's presence and plead with him for her people. Okay so far so good. Mordechai has gotten the king's edict into the Queen's hands now. He says to her okay Esther tonight at dinner. You need to talk to your husband the king about this, or even better yet, you need to march right down the hall to the Oval Office right this afternoon and knock on the door and go in and talk to Xerxes about this, but Esther writes in back and says you know Mordechai, it's just not quite that simple verse 11. She says that all the kings officials know that if any man or woman approaches the king and his inner court without being summoned by him. That person is put to death. The only exception she says is if the king extends his golden scepter for his golden Rwanda to that person and spares their life and Esther says to Mordechai and oh by the way Mordechai, you should know that it's been over 30 days since I was summoned to go into the Kings presence.
Esther says hey Mordechai, you just can't pop in on Xerxes, even the Queen herself has to be summoned and if anybody violates this protocol. They cut thereat.
All while love Mordechai's response, he said to her do not think that because you are in the king's palace, you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time deliverance for the Jews will arise from some other place but you will certainly perish. Mordechai says hey Esther God's going to preserve the Jewish people because the promises of God cannot fail. But you know what if you don't do anything a whole lot of Jewish people are going to die in the process and you're going to be one of them. Don't you dare think that Haman is not coming after you first. As soon as he finds out you're Jewish and then he says to her log he says and who knows Esther but that you have come to your royal position. You're the queen for just such a time as this water causes don't you get it. Esther don't you see that the whole reason God allowed you to become the Queen, the whole reason God allowed Xerxes to fall in love with you. The whole reason that you're on the throne of Persia was for this very moment for this very crisis that God knew was coming. Can't you see that girl now. What an amazing spiritual insight. Mordechai has here and you know as followers of Christ. Today this insight that he had is just as true for us that in any given moment, and at every given moment. God puts us exactly where we are in life for spiritual reasons, which means that we must always be asking ourselves the question why why did God put me here. Why has God promoted me the way he has. Why has God given me the position of influence that he's given me, and how now does he want me to take this position of influence and use it not to exalt myself not to advance myself, but to use it to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ and to use it to advance the kingdom of God and the gospel.
That's the question we should always be asking out of any of you guys keep up with PGA golf, but if you do you know the name KJ Choi Mr. Troy won the top players championship several weeks ago, in a sudden death playoff with David Thompson after the. The tournament was over, the interviewer on NBC got Mr. Choi inside and out, tried to getting the he said you know I want you to tell me, tell me about how great you played and tell me about you know how tenacious you were and hung on, you know, in the playoff and how unflappable you were under the pressure and and I love the first thing that came out of Mr. Joy's mouth. The first thing he said and I quote is I want to thank God and Jesus, who was with me all day."
And I was sitting there watching that and I said wow this is great here now is a follower of Christ who gets it. Here is a follower of Christ who understands yes Jesus was with him all day. And yes Jesus helped him win the tournament.
But God did all of this so that Mr. Choi could use his moment on worldwide television not to exalt himself not to talk about what a great golfer. He is not to talk about how wonderful he did under the pressure. But so that he could use that moment that God granted him to exalt Christ and to advance the gospel and to point people to Jesus Christ a friends praise God for Mr. KJ Choi pay praise God for this man and listen.
Many of us here. Listen to me as followers of Christ here in Washington have been granted positions of power.
Many of us here at been granted positions of fame and fortune. Many of us here at been granted positions of influence that go beyond anything we ever dreamed we would have and if we haven't already. Many of us young people are going to have those, positions one of these days, but we must never forget the key question and that is how can I use this position of influence that the Lord has graciously given me not to exalt myself but to exalt Jesus Christ to put the spotlight on Jesus Christ to turn people's attention to Jesus Christ and to advance the gospel of Jesus cries this is what Mordechai said Esther Esther, you are where you are not because a you you are there because God needs you to be there to serve God and to advance the kingdom and friends. That's true for us. That's true for us as well as get back to our story. Verse 16 and Esther sent a message to Mordechai saying gather together all the Jews entering Susa and fast for me I my maids will fast as well. She said, and when this is done I will go to the king, even though it is against the law and if I perish, I perish. Esther writes back and says you know Mordechai, you're right, God made me queen for exactly this moment God made me queen so that I could go appeal to the king, on behalf of my people, and this is indeed God's will for my life and I'm in a do it regardless of the cost.
So as we end our passage for today. We need to understand that these words Esther spoke. If I perish, I perish. These were not words of despair. These were not words of cynicism.
These were not words of pessimism know no, these were words of humble submission to the will of God in her life.
Now that's as far as were going to go in the passage because now were going to stop and were going to ask a most important question so all of our friends at Bethesda and all of our friends allowed in all of our friends on the Internet and all of our friends at Prince William and in the generic prizes already is your heart. Come on now come on here we go on to say is a Launcelot say this a great story. I really appreciate Esther you know with the king and the whole wall on the scepter thing and all that I want to present any of this make to me.
I don't see the slightest connection to my life here. Well, let's talk about that you know friends here in Esther chapter 4 when Esther says if I perish, I perish. I'm going to see the King she illustrates one of the key tenants of what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus. A true disciple of Jesus is a person who puts God's will first in their life, regardless of the cost. Their motto and live is if I perish doing God's will that I perish but I'm going to do God's will and you know Esther wasn't the only man or woman of God to ever live this way every great man or woman of God has lived this way.
For example, the apostle Paul asked chapter 20 after the end of his third missionary journey. He's headed to Jerusalem. Here's what he says.
He says, and now compelled him by the Holy Spirit, meaning I know this is God's will for me. I'm on my way to Jerusalem. Not knowing what will happen to me there except that in every city.
The Holy Spirit testifies to me that prison and affliction await me there. Now look what Paul says, he says, verse 24. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me. If only I can finish the race and complete the ministry that the Lord Jesus has given me. He says in acts 2113. What are you doing weeping and breaking my heart.
He says, for I am ready not only to be bound up.
But even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. What Paul say here Paul says what Esther says Paul says if I perish, I perish, but if I perish, I'm going to perish doing God's will for my life. This is the code I live by. Since Paul and friends. This is the code that every man or woman of God. Every true disciple of Christ lives by the code says obeying God's will is the highest issue in my life and I'm going to do its regardless of what it cost me. You know in the early 1950s, there were five college students who were all going to school together and who became convinced that God was calling them to be missionaries. One of them was named Jim Elliott. Another one was named Nate saints and there were three other of their friends and as they prayed as about where God would have them go. They develop this huge burden for reaching the Auckland Indians in central Ecuador. Now the articles were a truly unreached tribal group and contact with the outside world had been very disturbing when they happen with these people. They had already killed a number of Shell Oil workers that were there in Ecuador working at an escaped talker girl even said and I quote, they are killers never, never trust them. They'll appear friendly at first.
Then they'll turn around and kill you. But Jim Elliott and Nate saints, and his three friends were convinced that God's will for their life was to go and try to reach the arc of people. Nate saints said and I quote as we way the future and seek the will of God doesn't seem right that we should hazard our lives for just a few savages. Here's his answer. During the last war World War II. We were taught to recognize that in order to obtain our objective.
We had to be willing to be expendable. Yet, when the Lord Jesus asks us to pay this price for world evangelization. We often do not answer him a word. Jim Elliott said and I quote, if that's the way God wants it to be. I am ready to die for the salvation of the Arcos and then he made his famous quote he is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep meaning his own earthly life to gain in heaven. What he cannot lose. So the five of them went on January 8, 1956. Jim Elliott, Nate St. and their three friends were all killed by the Auckland Indians that they had gone to hell. Search teams found their bodies floating in the river near their camp.
They had all been lanced or to death, and the Arcos had even tied gospel tracts that these men had brought with them to the lances that they had use to kill them. However, that's not the end of the story because Jim Elliott's wife Elizabeth after praying for about a for just a couple weeks became convinced that God's will was for her to go back to the Auckland Indians, the very people he killed her husband and be a missionary to and the other four wives agreed to go with her and so these five women went back to the Auckland Indians after they killed all five of their husbands, and the all because were so blown away that these women would come and do this that instead of killing them. They listen to them and today 56 years later, the Auckland Indians are one of the most spiritually committed the most thoroughly evangelized Indian tribes and all of South America friends. These are the kind of people that God is looking for he's looking for believers who don't think in terms of the cost they think in terms of obedience to God. That's who God is looking for and so as we close, I got a question that I'd like to leave us with today. Here's my question. Where is God asking me to obey him, and I'm hesitating maybe he's asking you to return something that you stole. Or maybe he's asking us to seek forgiveness from somebody we know we've wrong or maybe he's asking us to oppose some on ethical practice or behavior that's going on in our workplace. Or maybe God is asking us to share Christ with a friend or relative or coworker or neighbor that we know is not going to particularly like it the first time we share with them is a lot I gotta tell you men you've gone from preaching the metal and now buddy, you know will listen friends you can't talk about obedience to God in the abstract obedience to God. He is a concrete thing and it has to be talked about in concrete terms. Maybe God is asking us to become a non-sexually active single person or maybe God is asking us to go back and correct the lie we told her to go back and pay a debt that we owe, or to file an amended tax return. Maybe God is asking us to put a porn filter on our computer or to stop worshiping our career and go home early and be the husband and the father. The God called us to be looked friends. I don't know what God is asking you to do, but if he's asking you to do something in your hesitating.
I can promise you I know why your hesitating is always the same reason. It's because we know if we do what God is asking us to do is going cost to some we know, if we do what God is asking us to do will pay a price for the price may be our boyfriend.
Price may be our girlfriend. The price may be our job. The price may be our popularity at work or at school. The price may be a promotion or the loss of a friendship or being alienated from a family member. The truth is obedience to God might cost you and me this much friends and might cost us more.
But remember who God's looking for friends and remember the promise you make such people here it is. Second Chronicles chapter 16 verse nine for the eyes of the Lord moved to an fro throughout the whole earth.
I love this Lords up there scanning the earth you get this and what you looking for looking for those people whose hearts are completely his. Why is the promise that he might show himself mighty on their behalf. While friends and how does God identify who these people are, whose hearts are completely his, Jesus said it. John 1415 if you love me you will obey what I command. That's how Jesus tells whose heart is completely his. So let's go back second Chronicles 69 for the eyes of the Lord moved to and fro throughout the whole earth looking for those people whose hearts are completely. Here's why I love this so that he might show himself mighty on those people's behalf, a friends, may we aspire to be such people, and may we take the actions necessary to prove to God that we are passionate about be in such people spray together with our heads bowed in our eyes closed. I want to give you just a moment. Maybe there's some area in your life where God is been asking you to obey him and you been hesitating because frankly you know there's going to be a cost and you just don't want to pay well. I understand that the question we have to answer today is whether or not were willing to obey you regardless of the cost.
So if you need to tell the Lord today that you're willing to do that you need his help, but you're going to do if you perish, you perish, but you're going to go obeying God than this is the moment to have the conversation, Lord Jesus. As you know, obeying God's heart.
It's hard because it always cost us something. But it also forces us to decide who's number one in our life us or you so Lord today. I pray that you would challenge each one of us here that the answer to that question has to be that you are first in our life and we will prove it to you by obeying you regardless of the cost that if we perish, we perish, but we're going to perish, obeying God so Lord speak to our hearts deeply today and for those of us here who need to take some actions we need to go back into do some things you been asking us to do and frankly, we just been unwilling. I pray that you would give courage to us and give assistance to us more this week.
If were able help us take care of or thanks for talking to us today because people like Esther and we pray these things in Jesus name. What are God's people say