CHOSEN: Deja vu

TEXT: Various in Esther

MAIN POINTS: The Gospel in Esther

  • Deceit: 3:5-9 <> Genesis 3:1-4
  • Death: 3:10-15 <> Genesis 3:14-19
  • Deliverance: 8:1-10 <> Acts 3:11-15
  • Demonstration

REMEMBER

  • God is present… even in the ‘hard places’
  • God can use …even you in HIStory
  • God can change even… impossible situations
  • God’s works should be celebrated/communicated

EXTRA

‘I must feel the truth that once I was as close to hell as I am to the chair I am sitting on—even closer. Its darkness, like vapor, had entered my soul and was luring me down. Its views were my views. I was a son of hell (Matt. 23:15), a child of the Devil (John 8:44) and of wrath (Eph. 2:3). I belonged to the viper’s brood (Matt. 3:7), without hope and without God (Eph. 2:12). I must believe that just as a rock climber, having slipped, hangs over the deadly cliff by his fingertips, so I once hung over hell and was a heartbeat away from eternal torment. I say it slowly, eternal torment!’ John Piper

‘Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it.’ George Santayana

ELIJAH: Trusting God in Lonely Places


TEXT
: 1 Kings 17:2-8


MAIN IDEAS

  • Lesson in Humility – God is in Charge
  • Lesson in Ministry – God is Powerful

REMEMBER

  • Preparation precedes influence
  • Embrae humility – God in charge
  • Let God be God – minister His way

EXTRA

‘It is doubtful that God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.’ A.W. Tozer

‘We must not be surprised, then, if sometimes our Father says: ‘There, child, thou hast had enough of this hurry, and publicity, and excitement; get thee hence, and hide thyself by the brook – hide thyself in the Cherith of the sick chamber; or in the Cherith of disappointed hopes; or in the Cherith of bereavement; or in some solitude from which the crowds have ebbed away.’ FB Meyer

‘The fact that we are told Elijah “was of the inhabitants of Gilead” is no doubt recorded as a sidelight upon his natural training. The people of those hills were rough and rugged, solemn and stern, dwelling in rude villages and subsisting by keeping flocks of sheep. Hardened by an open-air life, dressed in a cloak of camel’s hair, accustomed to spending most of his time in solitude, possessed of sinewy strength which enabled him to endure great physical strain, Elijah would present a marked contrast with the town dwellers in the lowland valleys, and more especially would he be distinguished from the pampered courtiers of the palace.’ AW Pink

‘Each of us has been programmed in his or her unconscious mind to believe that happiness, worth, joy–all the good things of life–depend upon something other than God. Our flesh (that innate disposition to oppose God) has responded happily to the world’s false teaching that we are sufficient to ourselves, that we can figure out a way to achieve true personal worth and social harmony without kneeling first at the cross of Christ. Satan has encouraged the development of a belief that we can meet our needs if only we had . . . The blank is filled in differently, depending on one’s particular temperament and family and cultural background. An unbelieving world system, energized by Satan and appealing to our fleshly natures, has squeezed us into the mold of assuming that something other than God offers personal reality and fulfillment.’ Larry Crabb

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Elijah explodes on the stage with a making a bold announcement to Israel’s king Ahab (read 17:1).  In order to understand the significance of this announcement, we need to understand its historical setting. The year is about 870 BC.  Israel has been split into two kingdoms for over sixty years: the southern kingdom, Judah, and the northern kingdom, Israel.

Ahab is the idolatrous king of Israel.  This is not a big deal in a democracy, but under God’s Old Testament arrangement with Israel, its kings were obligated to lead and protect the worship of God.  In fact, Ahab has led the Israelites away from God in an unparalleled way (16:29-33).  He not only permitted the worship of false gods; he also married the Sidonian princess Jezebel and they established the worship of Baal as Israel’s official religion, also executing God’s prophets (18:4).  Baalism was an extremely depraved form of idolatry

“Elijah” literally means “YHWH is God.”  Elijah is a prophet, an official spokesman for God to remind his people (including kings) of the agreement they entered into with him, and to call them back to him.  He stormed into Ahab’s presence in Samaria to announce that because Ahab had broken this agreement, God was bringing a drought on Israel as a disciplinary consequence.  This was part of the original agreement (Deut.11:16,17)—Elijah was simply announcing it beforehand so that Ahab and the people (hopefully) turn back to God when it happened. Thus begins a conflict (tension is a key element in any good story) between Ahab and Elijah (which personifies the deeper conflict between God and Baal), and which will reach its dramatic, public climax on Mt. Carmel three years later when Elijah takes on Ahab and several hundred prophets of Baal.  In the rest of chapter 17, God hides Elijah from Ahab and prepares him for this “show-down.”

CHOSEN: Fingerprints


TEXT:
Various – see below

MAIN POINTS: God’s Sovereignity

  • Esther’s Election: 2:8,9,17,18
  • Moredchai’s Revelation: 2:21-23
  • King’s Decision: 5:1-3; 6:1; 8:3-7

REMEMBER

  • God is Sovereign – don’t waste your life
  • God is Sovereign – don’t be discouraged – trust Him!
  • God is Sovereign – don’t do DIY – surrender!

EXTRA

‘I can say from experience that 95% of knowing the will of God consists in being prepared to do it before you know what it is.’   Donald Gray Barnhouse

‘Realize that when you put your faith in Jesus Christ, there can be no holding back. Your will must hand God its letter of resignation. For unless you submit to God’s will in everything, you are not submitting to Him in anything. Think about it. If you only follow God’s will when it happens to correspond to your own will, then you never have to surrender at all. You are simply asking God to endorse your own agenda as often as He can. But if you want new life in Christ, you must adopt God’s agenda and throw away your own.’ Philip Graham Ryken


EXPOSED: Excuse: Ignorance

TEXT: Matthew 25:31f

MAIN POINTS

  • Ignorance – they never thought of an evaluation
  • Ignorance – they did not see/hear the needy people
  • Ignorance  – they never acted on the needs
  • Ignorance – they never saw Jesus

REMEMBER

  • Invest for eternity
  • Be a ‘doer’ not just a ‘talker’
  • Focuson Jesus not people/their needs

EXTRAS

‘Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.   ’ Benjamin Franklin