Sermons

Summary: 1. Get impassioned (vs. 1-4). 2. Get informed (vs. 5-11). 3. Get insight (vs. 12-14). 4. Get inspired (vs. 14). 5. Get involved (vs. 14-17).

For Such a Time as This

Part 4: How Can We Help?

Esther 4:1-17

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - June 10, 2012

BACKGROUND:

*Three weeks ago, we began to look at this story that took place almost 500 years before Jesus was born. The Jews had begun to go home after 70 years of Babylonian captivity, but many of them remained in Persia. It was the greatest empire of its day, stretching all the way from Ethiopia to India.

*At the time, Persia was ruled by a carnal and often cruel king named Ahasuerus or Xerxes. The Book of Esther begins with a huge feast put on by the king. At the end of this 6-month drunken celebration, the king commanded that the queen be brought before that crowd. He wanted to put his queen, Vashti, on display in an ungodly and indecent way, but the queen refused. So in a drunken rage, King Xerxes agreed to a plan to take the crown away from Vashti and give it to another.

*In the Providence of God, and against incredible odds, Esther the orphan and secret Jew, was chosen to be the new queen. And like so many other Godly wives, she seems to have been a very good influence on the king.

*Esther’s selection as the new queen turned out to be a matter of life and death for the whole Jewish people. That’s because Haman, the new Prime Minister, was an arrogant man who hated the Jews and convinced the king to issue a nonreversible decree that all of the Jews would be killed.

*Esther 3:13 gave this report about the king’s decree: “And the letters were sent by couriers into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their possessions.”

*The Jews were in a desperate situation 2,500 years ago. But the message of this Scripture is just as fresh as today’s headlines. The message of this Scripture is timely today, because now our own nation is headed in the wrong direction.

-We are going through social and economic crises that seem to have no end.

-But mostly we are going through a spiritual crisis.

*Many have been turned away from God, -- led astray by ungodly politicians, college professors and an entertainment elite that has way too much influence.

*On top of this, there are Christians around the world suffering intense harassment and persecution.

-How can we help?

-How can I help?

1. First: Get impassioned.

*We need the same kind of concern we see in vs. 1-4:

1. When Mordecai learned all that had happened, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city. He cried out with a loud and bitter cry.

2. He went as far as the square in front of the king's gate, for no one might enter the king's gate clothed with sackcloth.

3. And in every province where the king's command and decree arrived, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

4. So Esther's maids and eunuchs came and told her, and the queen was deeply distressed. Then she sent garments to clothe Mordecai and take his sackcloth away from him, but he would not accept them.

*Mordecai was greatly concerned about his people. All of the Jews were horrified when they heard about the slaughter that was planned for them.

*Living in the isolation of the queen’s house, Esther didn’t know enough to be concerned about her people. But she heard about Mordecai’s great grief, and that moved her heart. Verse 4 tells us that “the queen was deeply distressed.”

*Esther was deeply concerned for her older cousin who had raised her as his own child. And that’s the way God wants us to be. God wants us to get concerned.

*God wants us to care about the hurting people round us:

-The people in our family.

-Our brothers and sisters in Christ, and even strangers.

*God wants us to care. In Romans 12:15, the Apostle Paul simply said, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”

*How can I help? -- Get impassioned.

2. And get informed

*Queen Esther needed more information, and she took steps to get it starting in vs. 5:

5. Then Esther called Hathach, one of the king's eunuchs whom he had appointed to attend her, and she gave him a command concerning Mordecai, to learn what and why this was.

6. So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the city square that was in front of the king's gate.

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