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SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20180304 THE POWER OF ONE

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       Senior Pastor Phil Roland

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              Pastor Ray Scott

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THE POWER OF ONE
Can one person with God make a difference?
SERMON STARTER
          There are close to 7 billion people on the face of the earth. In the U.S. alone there are close to 306 million people. In this sea of humanity can one person make any difference? Does God even notice you, and can He use you? Esther in today's narrative would say, "Yes!"        
MAHATMA GANDHI would say, "Yes!"
Mahatma Gandhi made a fundamental decision to expel the British power out of India. This choice founded in authentic power, was more powerful than the force of all the guns and bombs of an entire Empire. A short frail man with glasses, moved out an entire empire without a single bullet.
JOHN WESLEY would say, "Yes!"
John Wesley rode 20 miles a day for 40 years; preached over 40,000 sermons; wrote 400 books. His impact? An English nobleman, traveling through the countryside, stopped to ask a peasant,
"Why is it that I can't find a place where I can buy a drink of liquor in this wretched village?"  The peasant replied,
"Well, you see, my lord, about 100 years ago a man named John Wesley came preaching in these parts."
          The historical setting of the book of Esther is a generation or two after the beginning of the great Jewish Diaspora, or scattering of the Jewish people, when the Israelites fell into captivity under the rule of the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar II in 586 BC. 50 years after entering captivity, Cyrus the Great, the King of the Persian Empire, conquered the Babylonians and allowed the Jews to return to their homeland in 538 B.C.
Can one person make a difference?
What about artists like Michelangelo and da Vinci to Brahms and Beethoven?
What about inventors like Galileo Galilee, Alexander Fleming, Alexander Graham Bell, Albert Einstein, Thomas Alva Edison, Nikola Tesla?

What about Christian men in history like Augustine, William Tyndale, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John and Charles Wesley, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, D. L. Moody, and Billy Graham?
What about one woman, Esther, God uses to save a nation?

Pastor Phil  <><<
Purim 2018 began Wednesday night, February 28 and continued through Thursday, March 1, (March 2 in Jerusalem)

 

 

T H E   P O W E R   O F   O N E

 

March 4, 2018 - Sheepfold Ministries
Pastor Phil Roland

THE POWER OF ONE
Can one person with God make a difference?
Esther 9:18-28
"There are close to 7 billion people on the face of the earth. In the U.S. alone there are close to 306 million people. In this sea of humanity can one person make any difference? Does God even notice you, and can He use you? Esther in today's narrative would say, "'Yes!'"            Pastor Phil  <><<

EDWARD EVERETT HALE, wrote,
"I am only one,but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do."

28 that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city, that these days of Purim should not fail to be observed among the Jews, and that the memory of them should not perish among their descendants.    Esther 9:28
 
DEFINITIONS:
Purim means "Lots" in Hebrew
Purim is celebrated on the 14th of Adar.
Purim 2018 begins Wednesday night, February 28 and continues through Thursday, March 1, (March 2 in Jerusalem)
Esther's Hebrew name is Hadassah
The Book of Esther is the only book of the Bible who does not once have the name of God in it
The Purim Story in a Nutshell
          The Persian empire of the 4th century BCE extended over 127 lands, and all the Jews were its subjects. When King Ahasuerus had his wife, Queen Vashti, executed for failing to follow his orders, he orchestrated a beauty pageant to find a new queen. A Jewish girl, Esther, found favor in his eyes and became the new queen—though she refused to divulge the identity of her nationality.
          Meanwhile, the anti-Semitic Haman was appointed prime minister of the empire. Mordechai, the leader of the Jews (and Esther’s cousin), defied the king’s orders and refused to bow to Haman. Haman was incensed, and convinced the king to issue a decree ordering the extermination of all the Jews on the 13th of Adar—a date chosen by a lottery Haman made (hence the name Purim, “lots”).
          Mordechai galvanized all the Jews, convincing them to repent, fast and pray to G-d. Meanwhile, Esther asked the king and Haman to join her for a feast. At the feast, Esther revealed to the king her Jewish identity.
THE POWER OF ONE, cont., p.2

          Haman was hanged, Mordechai was appointed prime minister in his stead, and a new decree was issued granting the Jews the right to defend themselves against their enemies.
On the 13th of Adar the Jews mobilized and killed many of their enemies. On the 14th of Adar they rested and celebrated.

Lessons From Esther:

I. DIVINE APPOINTMENTS CAN ALTER CIRCUMSTANCES
          A. Esther was beautiful, but no airhead
                    1. She was perceptive, attuned to God
                    2. She was in God's arranged position
          B. She was a lady of great strength
                    1. In God's Kingdom there are no coincidences
                    2. There are only God arranged opportunities

II. LEARN TO STAND WITH COURAGE - Esther 4:16
16 "Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!"
          A. Babylonian Rule of Law - No one allowed to approach the King
                    1. Esther is willing to die for her people
                    2. She had a faith-fortified courage
          B. Can you see the Messianic foreshadowing?
                    1. Jesus laid down His life for us
                    2. Esther didn't have to die, but JESUS DID!

III. FASTING AND PRAYER ARE THE KEY 
          A. The Key to God's heart
                    1. Fasting and Prayer can give us Clarity and Focus
                    2. Clarifies our Hope for deliverance
          B. Promotes Humility: must be totally God-reliant
          Alfred Loyd Tennyson
            "More things are wrought by prayer Than this world dreams of."

IV. GOD DEMANDS OBEDIENCE - John 15:13-14
13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.          
          A. Esther's Obedience saved God's people from genocide
          B. Trust and Obey

V. GOD USES INSIGNIFICANCE - 1 Corinthians 1:27
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
         
THE POWER OF ONE, cont., p.3

          Eg. India Evangelistic Rally
                 Under the unction of the Holy Spirit the evangelist calls out,
                   "Koni? Where are you Koni? God has a word for you.
                    You may feel weak and unimportant, but God's eye in on you and He                            has important work for you. Do not say, 'I am a woman! God says                                you are mighty in His sight. Be of good courage! God will do what He                            has promised. Do not be afraid! Be courageous! What I promise I will                          do"
V. IN THE KOG THE LEAST LIKELY IS THE MOST LIKELY -
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
          A. The meek and lowly are God's choices
          B. Biblical narratives are filled with unlikely people used by God

VI. GOD HAS A PLAN FOR OUR LIVES - Esther 4:13,14
13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: "Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king's palace any more than all the other Jews.
14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

          A. In God's economy He wastes nothing
                    1. Even your pain and suffering can be used for good in God's                          kingdom
                    2. God's in Control
          B. God has His ABC's for your life
                    1. A = Acknowledge you are a sinner - Romans 3:10
                        10 As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one;
                              a. You are lost, alone without God
                                    b. You are separated from a Holy God
                                    c. Your sin separates you from a holy God
                    2. B = Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ - Acts 16:31
                                        31 So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be
                          saved, you and your household."
a. "If it 'aint broke, don't fix it!"
                                    b. Can't be healed until we admit it!
3. C = Confess your faith in God - Romans 10:8-10
                                        8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in
                          your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you                             confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart                               that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For                                   with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth                 confession is made unto salvation.
          C. God used Esther, why not you?     

THE POWER OF ONE
Esther 9:18-28
18 But the Jews who were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day, as well as on the fourteenth; and on the fifteenth of the month they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.
19 Therefore the Jews of the villages who dwelt in the unwalled towns celebrated the fourteenth day of the month of Adar with gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and for sending presents to one another.
20 And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus,
21 to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar,
22 as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor.
23 So the Jews accepted the custom which they had begun, as Mordecai had written to them,
24 because Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to annihilate them, and had cast Pur (that is, the lot), to consume them and destroy them;
25 but when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letter that this wicked plot which Haman had devised against the Jews should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.
26 So they called these days Purim, after the name Pur. Therefore, because of all the words of this letter, what they had seen concerning this matter, and what had happened to them,
27 the Jews established and imposed it upon themselves and their descendants and all who would join them, that without fail they should celebrate these two days every year, according to the written instructions and according to the prescribed time,
28 that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city, that these days of Purim should not fail to be observed among the Jews, and that the memory of them should not perish among their descendants.

 

A

 

CLOSING ILLUSTRATION

Rosa Parks – Born in 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama this one women’s courage to stand up to the establishment in refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus would spur a city wide boycott. The city would eventually be forced to lift the law requiring segregation on public buses. This one action by one individual would help launch the civil rights movement.

B

THIRTEEN WOMEN SAVED COUNTLESS THOUSANDS OF JEWISH ADULTS AND CHILDREN OUR OF GERMANY IN WWII

http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/righteous-women/index.asp

 

GOD'S PROMISES ARE ALWAYS KEPT - Numbers 23:19
19 "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
          God is not a man that He should lie
          God kept his promises with Abraham
        God kept his promises with Joseph
          God kept his promises with Jacob / Israel

 

THE FEAST OF PURIM
GOOD TRIUMPS OVER EVIL
GOD PROTECTS HIS PEOPLE (from evil)

Psalm 126:2 (NKJV)
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, And our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."

         
ACKNOWLEDGE YOU ARE A SINNER
Genesis 6:5-6 (NKJV)
5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.

         
BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
Acts 16:31 (NKJV)
31 So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household."

If it 'aint broke, don't fix it! Can't be healed until we admit it!

CONFESS YOUR FAITH IN GOD
TRUST IN HIM
Romans 5:8
Romans 5:8 (NKJV)
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Ephes. 2:8,9

 

THE POWER OF ONE
One Woman – instrumental in saving a nation (Courage)
A. Esther 4:14 “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
B. "Courage is almost a contradiction in terms: it means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die." - Gilbert K. Chesterton.
C. Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
D. "One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson
E. Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."

 

IV. One Man – instrumental in saving mankind from extinction (Faith)
A. Hebrews 11:7 "By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith."
B. Genesis 6:5-8 “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
googletag.cmd.push(function () { googletag.display('inline-mobile2'); }); C. On a gloomy day in 1857 a man in New York City by the name of Jeremiah Lanthier scanned the morning newspaper as he rode to his office. He was distressed to read that the depression gripping the nation was causing fear and panic among the people. Factories were stopping production and thousands were unemployed. Although Lanthier was not a big industrialist (but only a clerk), he had one important distinction. He was a man who had great faith in God!
Concerned with the grim economic situation, he sent a note to all his business acquaintances, telling them that each day at noon a prayer meeting would be held in his office. With high hopes, he arranged 20 chairs in a circle, but the first day no one came. All alone, he prayed fervently that God would bring about a great change in him and in America. The second day he was encouraged, for a few friends joined him. A short time later, a similar gathering was started on Wall Street, another on Williams Street, and finally a fourth on Broadway. Then like wildfire, the movement spread to all parts of the country.
The moral tone of the nation was affected, and there was a great upsurge in the spiritual life of the people. Some historians say that this effort of united prayer and faith was an integral part of the improvement in the economy, which soon followed.
D. Matthew 17:20 "So Jesus said to them, "because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ’Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you."

 

 

 

ILLUSTRATION:               
Two books that offer a number of excellent stories that can be used
 as illustrations are those by Paul Aurandt: Paul Harvey's the Rest
 of the Story (Bantam) and More of Paul Harvey's The Rest of the
 Story (Morrow).  Compiled originally for Harvey's nationally
syndicated radio series, the stories are built around the surprise
ending format.
      One of my favorites is the one about West Side Baptist Church
in Beatrice, Nebraska.  Normally all of the good choir people came
 to church on Wednesday night to practice, and they tended to be
early, well before the 7:30 starting time.  But one night, March
1950, one by one, two by two, they all had excuses for being late.
      Marilyn, the church pianist overslept on her after-dinner nap, so
she and her mother were late.  One girl, a high school sophomore,
was having trouble with her homework.  That delayed her, so she
was late.  One couple couldn't get their car started.  They, and
those they were to pick up, were subsequently late.  All eighteen
choir members, including the pastor and his wife, were late.  All
had good excuses.  At 7:30, the time the choir rehearsal was to
begin, not one soul was in the choir loft.  This had never happened
before.
      But that night, the only night in the history of the church that
the choir wasn't starting to practice at 7:30, was the night that there
was a gas leak in the basement of the West Side Baptist Church.  At
precisely the time at which the choir would have been singing, the
gas leak was ignited by the church furnace and the whole church
blew up.  The furnace room was right below the choir loft! --

James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 252-253.

 

 

FIVE PERSONS WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE
Nelson Mandela – Born is South Africa in 1918 he fought a lifelong battle to end apartheid (a system of complete racial separation) in South Africa. This amazing man spent 18 years in the most horrible prison conditions imaginable, twice refusing release if he would be willing to renounce the attack on apartheid. After release from prison Mandela would go on to become the first black president of South Africa, winning South Africa’s first all –race election, he would share the Nobel Pease Prize in 1993 with the South African President F.W. deKlerk.

Ronald Reagan – “Tear down this wall!” on June 12, 1987 President Ronald Reagan, against the advice of many of his advisors and at a time of heightened tensions between East and West gave a historic speech at the Brandenburg Gate near the Berlin Wall. The speech challenged Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev to destroy the wall. The thought, although absurd, was part of the Reagan ideology that there could be a Communist free government in the East. Twenty –nine months later, on November 9, 1989, East Germany would in fact open the Berlin Wall. This action would be the start of the dismantlement of the Communist governments of Eastern Europe and eventually the Soviet Union.

Mahatma Gandhi – Albert Einstein said of Gandhi “Generations to come will scarcely believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood.” A quiet unassuming man led a revolution against the Colonialism of India professing and living a life of peace and nonviolence. His commitment to change through peace was truly inspirational to the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rosa Parks – Born in 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama this one women’s courage to stand up to the establishment in refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus would spur a city wide boycott. The city would eventually be forced to lift the law requiring segregation on public buses. This one action by one individual would help launch the civil rights movement.

Mother Teresa – The Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, MC also known as Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation, which in 2012 had 4500 sisters actively running hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis in over 130 countries. The peace and comfort that she has brought to the world is nothing short of phenomenal and inspirational for everyone.

 

Illustration:
A thirty-eight-year-old scrubwoman (cleaning lady) would go to the movies and sigh, “If only I had her looks.” She would listen to a singer and moan, “If only I had her voice.” Then one day someone gave her a copy of the book, The Magic of Believing. She stopped comparing herself with actresses and singers. She stopped crying about what she didn’t have and started concentrating on what she did have. She took inventory of herself and remembered that in high school she had a reputation for being the funniest girl around. She began to turn her liabilities into assets. A few years ago Phyllis Diller made over $1 million in one year. She wasn’t good-looking and she had a scratchy voice, but she could make people laugh.

          The great Christian devotionals writer, Oswald Chambers, once wrote, “Laughter and weeping are the two most intense forms of human emotion, and these profound wells of human emotion are to be consecrated to God.”
          In Psalms 126:2 it says, “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” (NIV) The life of the believer is one which is rightly characterized by joy, peace, and yes laughter.
          Laughter is a great gift from God. We are not only called into a life of reverent piety, we have been given the great gift and joy of knowing God!
          This morning we will examine the Old Testament Feast of Purim. This is the second in a series of sermons on the feasts of the Old Testament. We are examining them to find theological significances for us but as and perhaps more important, are the things that these feasts teach us that we can apply to the Christian life here, now, today.
googletag.cmd.push(function () { googletag.display('inline-mobile2'); });  We serve a God of celebration, of worship, and meaning; the Christian life, above all other things that it is, is a celebration of God’s goodness and rich mercy in our lives. The feast of Purim is, as we will see, a celebration filled with joy, laughter, and hope. If there is any place in the Bible which encourages Christians away from dry religion unto vibrant relational worship; it is the message of this feast.

THEME: Laughter, Joy

The Four Mitzvahs of Purim
(A Mitzvah is a good deed done from religious purposes)
1. Hear the Megillah   (Scroll)
          The scroll that contains the Book of Esther
          Jewish congregations read it twice: once on the eve of                             Purim and once on the day of Purim
2. Give to the Needy
3. Send food gifts to friends
4. Feast
          Sunrise to Sundown
          Special Prayers
          Masquerade
          (Kids usually wear Esther or King Ahasuerus costumes)
https://www.chabad.org/holidays/purim/article_cdo/aid/1362/jewish/Purim-How-To-Guide.htm

C