Summary: Number 3 in 2011 vision series: New Riverlutions, about a resolution to love the unborn, poor, lost, oppressed, downtrodden, and hurting
Text: Esther 4:1-17, Title: New Riverlutions: Loving Others, Date/Place: NRBC, 1/23/11, AM
A. Opening illustration: Radical video
B. Background to passage: sorry to those of you who are studying Esther, only covering a brief point, even though it is the main point of the book. Recap of Esther-Vashti was a bad queen who was encouraging the men of the kingdom of rebel against the wishes of their husbands, so she got the boot. Esther was chosen as the new queen after Mordecai put her in the Miss Persia pageant. King Ahasuerus had a buddy on a power trip that he put in charge of some things among the princes of the kingdom. On one of his ego trip days, he wanted everyone to bow to him, and Mordecai wouldn’t. So Haman tricked the king into making a declaration that all the Jews would be killed on a certain day. And that’s where we pick up.
C. Main thought: the first of three resolutions that we must make to achieve the 3 I’s
A. Must have a burden (v. 1-4)
1. When the edict was read, Mordecai was in anguish (although not simply for his own life). He tore clothes and went through the city wailing bitterly. He grasped the gravity of the situation. They mourned, wept, fasted, and put on their sackcloth and ashes in a show of their grief. And when Esther heard of Mordecai’s grief, she was also distressed. This word was used of women writhing in the pains of childbirth in a day w/o anesthetics, pain meds, and epidurals. They felt the impending pain of their people. They knew that if something was not done, many would perish.
2. Rom 9:1-3, Jer 9:1, Matt 24:12, 25:41-45,
3. Illustration: Michael told about a neighbor whose family was plagued with drugs, abuse, hopelessness, but when one of them committed suicide he asked himself, what did I do for them? “Give me Scotland, lest I die,” –Knox, Charles Spurgeon said, "Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that." He continued, "The saving of souls, if a man has once gained love to perishing sinners and his blessed Master, will be an all-absorbing passion to him. It will so carry him away, that he will almost forget himself in the saving of others. He will be like the brave fireman, who cares not for the scorch or the heat, so that he may rescue the poor creature on whom true humanity has set its heart. If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for." William Carey’s 7 yrs, watched an anti-abortion video that was too horrible to play, William Wilberforce, “Many of us have no memory for the great revivals of the church, because we have never seen what true revival is. We walk calmly with the status quo as our generation marches inexorably toward hell. We sleep peacefully at night because our church is saved and those outside have to face the problem for themselves. It’s not our responsibility after all. Jesus whipped the money changers out of the temple, but first He wept over them. He grieved for their souls. Shame on us. Everlasting Shame on us for we do not weep a single tear for those misguided souls.” Are you content just workinʼ your 9 to 5, While the souls of men and children die…
4. Many times, we are so removed from the reality of the situation, we cannot feel the burden. Most of us have never been inside an abortion clinic; most have never seen starving children in person or those in orphanages all over the world (210 million); most have never watched someone die of AIDS at 31 years old; most of us have never spent time in a prison; most of us have never gotten to know a homeless person; most have never shown up at a home where a person just died without Christ (and worse yet, had no access to Him), and none of us has ever seen the horrors of a soul that having missed Christ is currently burning and being tortured in hell. We don’t care enough to help with a rally or the PCC; to sponsor or adopt a child in need; pray against the AIDS epidemic, let alone go; to write to an inmate or minister to a prisoner; to find the homeless in Tifton; or to visit the dying. When we are burdened, we tend to share it. But truly, when was the last tear you shed over another person in prayer? Several years ago we began praying for revival at 6 am each weekday; best to my recollection, there has been 5 individuals there. Burdens don’t let up. We should be broken that we are not broken. The needs are monumental, yet we are self-centered with our needs. The horror is cataclysmic, but we are comfortable on our couches eating a bag of chips. Oh God, shatter our hearts of stone!