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SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20181230 FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS

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       Senior Pastor Phil Roland

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              Pastor Ray Scott

 

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FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS

SERMON STARTER

 

We have reached the annual time of New Year's Resolutions. Over all, women make health-focused resolutions while men pledge to find a new job and lay off the booze. The 2019 most popular New Year's Resolutions are:

Exercise more

Lose weight

Get organized

Learn a new skill or hobby

Live life to the fullest

Save more money / spend less money

Quit smoking

Spend more time with family and friends

Travel more

Read more

          People also like New Year's Predictions. Who could have predicted in 2017 the following events of 2018:

• Cake bakers in Oregon not allowed not to bake a homosexual-themed cake.

• Kindergartens indoctrinating 5-year-olds to trans-sexualism with Red: A Crayon’s Story, about a red crayon identifying as blue.

• The European Court of Human Rights sounding the death knell to free speech in Europe by upholding an Austrian court’s conviction of a history teacher who questioned the ethics of the marriage of Islam’s founder, Muhammad, to a child.

• CNN’s Don Lemon declaring white males to be the greatest terroristic threat in America.

          Consider this in your New Year's celebrations: If these things were unthinkable ten years ago, what kind of insanity do you think the world may be cooking up for 2019 and beyond?

My sermon explores a Christian reaction to this world's increasing craziness.

 

Pastor Phil  <><<

 

December 30, 2018 - Sheepfold Ministries

Pastor Phil Roland  <><<

 

FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS

ESTHER 4:13-17

"We have been placed by God's Purpose and Design in the 21st Century. We are uniquely called and equipped by the Lord to share our witness in this world's growing darkness. We have and are God's light For Such A Time As This."                                                                    Pastor Phil  <><<

 

Facts about the Book of Esther:

1. There is no mention of G-d, Ha-shem, Ado-noy, or a Supreme Being

2. There are 190 references to the Persian King

3. Out of 167 verses, there is no mention of sacred Law, Sacrifices, or Prayer

4. The historical time frame for Esther is between 539 and 332 BC

 

THE NARRIATIVE OF ESTHER'S TIME

The Jewish Festival of Purim (Festival of Lots)

1. Once upon a time, between the destruction of the First Temple and the building of the Second Temple, the Jews were almost destroyed.

 
2. In the city of Shushan, Vashti, the Queen of Persia, refuses to obey the order of the King of Persia, Ahasuerus, to appear before his guests. The King then searches the country for a new queen. From among hundreds of applicants, Esther, cousin of Mordechai the Jew, is chosen.


3. The King's Prime Minister was an evil man named Haman. Haman, a descendant of the tribe of Amalek, hates the Jews and decides to kill them.

 

4. He convinces King Ahasuerus to issue an edict which orders the destruction of all Jews in the land. (Xerxes is his Persian name. Ahasuerus is his Hebrew name.)

5. Mordechai pleads with Esther to save the Jewish people by talking to the King. At the risk of her own life, Esther appears before the King without being summoned by him. She reveals her own Jewish identity to the King and reveals Haman's evil plans.

6. The King is outraged at Haman, and he issues a decree to make Haman the victim of his own infamous plot. Haman and his sons are killed, and the Jews are saved.

 

I. TWO KINDS OF MEN IN SUCH A TIME AS THIS

          A. Sons of Issachar who had understanding of their times

32 of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know                          what Israel ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their

              brethren were at their command;   1 Chronicles 12:32

1. Those men and women who are prophetically gifted

                    2. Those discerning who can interpret what God is doing

FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS, cont. p. 2

 

                    3. Those who are able to speak for God before men / women

          B.  Men who think that all times are alike - 2 Peter 3:3-4

          3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking

              according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, "Where is the promise of His

              coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were

              from the beginning of creation."    2 Peter 3:3-4

1. These are they who are dull to the operation of God's Spirit

                    2. Jesus spoke to them in His Time of Visitation

                                        54 Then He also said to the multitudes, "Whenever you see a cloud

                          rising out of the west, immediately you say, 'A shower is coming';

                          and so it is. 55 And when you see the south wind blow, you say,

                          'There will be hot weather'; and there is. 56 Hypocrites! You can

                          discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not

                          discern this time?     Luke 12:54-56
                    3. We have been uniquely born into the 21st Century

                              a. We are equipped to know Jesus' 2nd Advent is closer

                              b. We know Biblical prophetic promises and our times    

          C. We have a Sovereign God who is in charge of everything

          26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the

              whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact

              places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him

              and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from

              each one of us. Acts 17:26-27 (NIV)

1. There are no coincidences in God's Kingdom

                    2. He's been facilitator of every decision and open door

                    3. He knows the number of every hair on our heads

                    4. He knows us, but few of us KNOW HIM

 

II. HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE IN SUCH A TIME AS THIS?

15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.    1 Peter 3:15-16

          A. Challenge our Christian youth with a Radical Faith

                    1. Stop making church youth groups "Clean Entertainment"

                    2. Teach them to make a defense for their hope

          B. Avoid having 70% of our kids losing their faith in college years

                    1. Teach them to speak out with reasoned arguments

                    2. Biblical Christian faith is reasonable and defendable

          C. Challenge Christian youth with a radical obedience to God's Word

                    23 Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him

               deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever

              desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake

              will save it.   Luke 9:23-24
                    1. The only way our young people will stand up to deception

                    2. Give up their lives and future to Him

FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS, cont. p. 3

 

                    3. Put to death the petty sins holding you back

                    4. Lay down your whole life and follow Him

          D. Put on the Whole Armor of God - Eph. 6:13

               13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to

            withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

               F  orgetting

               A ll

               I

               T rust

               H im

          E. For Such A Time As This always pray to have. . .

                    1. Eyes that see the best in people

                    2. A heart that forgives the worst

                    3.  A mind that forgets the bad, and

                    4. A soul that never loses faith in God

 

 

 

 

 

1

Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS, tEXT:

Esther 4:13-17 (NKJV)
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?"
15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai:
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!"
17 So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him.

 

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Esther is a gigantic metaphor for the Church of Jesus Christ

 

 

Matthew 24:36-37 (NKJV)
36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

 

Here for a reason

Evil days may be ahead, but God picked us for such a time as this

In college we read a hot new book called Future Shock (1970) telling what to expect ahead and how to deal with it. Predictions included paper wedding gowns, rent-a-persons, and “a system that would store a consumer’s profile-data about his occupation and interests in a central computer … and instantaneously notify him when something appears that concerns him.”

Here are some things Alvin Toffler missed in his crystal ball:

• Cake bakers in Oregon not allowed not to bake a homosexual-themed cake.

• Kindergartens indoctrinating 5-year-olds to trans-sexualism with Red: A Crayon’s Story, about a red crayon identifying as blue.

• The European Court of Human Rights sounding the death knell to free speech in Europe by upholding an Austrian court’s conviction of a history teacher who questioned the ethics of the marriage of Islam’s founder, Muhammad, to a child.

• CNN’s Don Lemon declaring white males to be the greatest terroristic threat in America.

Consider this thought experiment over your New Year’s wassail: If the present lay of the land was unthinkable 10 years ago, what currently unthinkable things are this very moment being knit together at breakneck speed in the cultural serpent’s egg, to spring to life in 2019 and beyond?

The future always surprises in the specifics but should not in the main outlines. “For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). We don’t have to guess that people will be “brutal” (2 Timothy 3:3) and that “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (v. 12). Since this is inescapable, “how should we then live?”

The future always surprises in the specifics but should not in the main outlines.

There have always been in history men who knew the times: “Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” (1 Chronicles 12:32). And there have always been those men who thought all times alike: “Ever since fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:4). Jesus thought the second kind a foolish lot (Luke 12:54-56).

You and I were placed, by God’s foreknowledge and salvation plan, inside the 21st century. We could have been born in the fifth century and gone on raiding parties with the Visigoths and the Huns. We could have been born in the 12th century in the Khmer Empire of Cambodia. We could have been sailors on a 15th-century Portuguese galleon plying the Indian Ocean for the spice trade. But God picked you and me, with all we are, for such a time as this. Nothing has been left to chance in our precise appearance on the scene (Acts 17:26-27).

This is quite an honor and responsibility. Be worthy of your beard.

I have two suggestions for the coming year. One occurred to me just after the attack upon a Pittsburgh synagogue in late October. Our local newspaper ran photos of young girls from a yeshiva huddled in a mien of mutual protection. It prompted me to look into yeshivas, and I came away impressed by what I learned—how Jews instruct their young folks in the learning and the law of Judaism before launching them into the world.

What if we conceived our churches’ youth groups to be not just clean alternatives to worldly entertainment but no-nonsense training grounds preparing them “to make a defense for the hope that is in” them? Might we not avoid the sight of 70 percent of Christian progeny walking away from the faith during college years?

Suggestion two concerns personal piety. Even a Christian yeshiva will be no use if we do not have this. Radical obedience must be the watchword of the hour. No more sloppy Christianity. No more cheap-grace notion of salvation. Choosing rather every moment to pick up the cross and put to death the petty sins that long have kept us in a rut. Choosing to avail ourselves of what Christ wrought not only for forgiveness but for reigning in this life.

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:13).

What “evil day”? The one that Alvin Toffler only dimly saw.

WORLD MAGAZINE, 2018-12-18, Andre Seuss-Peterson