Esther: Courage Under Fire
Open your Bibles, if you would, to the book of Esther. I am enjoying looking through, or preaching through I should say, all of the books in the Bible. It's just amazing to kind of try and think through each and every book, and what part it plays in not only the grand redemptive story for all of human history, but specifically in the life and nation of Israel, and how that affects us as well. So, we've got these Bible outline journals that you can use to kind of help follow along, if you'll notice the themes are in there, the chapter overview and some of the events.
But this book is unique. The name of God is not mentioned in the Book of Esther. Yet, has been considered part of the inspired canon, unequivocally, by the Jews in what they will call their book of the Law of their holy Scriptures. And by Christians, in the entire Bible. And I think you'll understand why by the time we finished preaching it.
Women have played a vital role in Christianity throughout the centuries. This is part of God's sovereign plan. Think about Eve. We're all descendants from Eve. Right? God gave woman a special role in bringing about, literally, the birth of humanity. Except Adam, of course, who was from the dust and Eve from his rib, yet she has this incredible position in the world, God could have done things differently had he wanted to, but he gave her this place of prominence. I think of Sarah who gave birth in her old age, and who from, eventually, would come the 12 tribes of Israel. Think of the role given to the Virgin Mary, maybe 13, 14-year-old girl, not married, a virgin. And yet from her comes Jesus Christ, in divine flesh, by the power of the Holy Spirit. God used her and it says, “all generations will call her blessed.”
The people who didn't leave Jesus at the cross were largely women. The first person to see the resurrected Jesus Christ was a woman. Jesus’ witness to the woman at the well, read about in John four, and thereby reached the Samaritan people. She took the gospel back and says, “Is this not the Messiah I have found?” Women were part of the group that followed Jesus around. We forget that. We just kind of in our minds, think of the 12 Disciples, but Scripture is very clear that there were women following and listening to the teaching and part of his ministry. The same with Paul, who he mentions a few by name in the Scriptures. And they spread the gospel to the world.
Today we consider a woman that God used literally to save the Jewish population, in an empire that was easily the size of the United States. It spanned 3,000 miles at this point, the Persian Empire. Her name is Esther. She is a courageous woman. And her efforts have a visible impact on the Jewish people, even to this day. The title of the message is, “Courage Under Fire.” The story takes place in about 480 BC. This is some time in the chapters of Ezra.
This story takes place back in Susa, which is the citadel of the Persian Empire. If your geography is good, if you know where Kuwait is, if you went about 150 miles north and a little east, into, let's see Iran, then you would run into ancient Susa. And you can look that up as well. On your Google Maps, ancient Susa. You can look up in Iran, the modern day city of Shush. There's a lot of names, I know. But anyway, it's really interesting because there's a giant area in the middle of this town in Iran, that has all kinds of references to Scripture, still. There's a place right in the middle where they have a big temple, and there's a fort there. They have drawings from the Persian Empire still preserved. You can even visit what they think is the tomb of Daniel, you can look that up and visit that where they think Daniel was buried.
So this story that takes place with Esther, is really in a prominent place in Scripture where Ezra and Nehemiah, Daniel, in that geographic region comes from. But this is a glimpse into the life of exile. Remember, the Jews were exiled 70 years into Babylon, in captivity. And then they were enabled by Cyrus to start returning. And this story takes place, somewhere around 70 years later or so, after they're allowed to start returning. There's a large group of people still back in exile under Persian rule. So if you've ever wondered what it was like to live in exile, Esther is your book.
Well, there's two major sections that we're going to use to kind of give you the story and then relate how this applies to us today. The first section is the first four chapters, and that would be the threat to the Jews. So you can see that in your chapter overview in your outline journal, chapters one through four would be the threat. And then five through ten would be what I would call, “the triumph of the Jews.”
So, turn in your Bibles to Esther 1:1-2, “Now in the days of Ahasuerus, the Ahasuerus who reigned from [listen to this, from] India to Ethiopia over 127 provinces, in those days when King Ahasuerus sat on his royal throne in Susa, the citadel.” So, we're not in question of where the story took place, who was king. We know those details specifically. And just to summarize what's happening here in chapter one, this is the wealthiest king in the biggest empire. And he is what you would call, self-absorbed. He loves himself. He loves his nation. And he is throwing a 180-day party in his own honor. Now, I know some family members who like to call it their birthday week. Maybe some of you are like that, or their birthday month. Right, where they start reminding you their birthdays coming up. Hint, hint. Well, King Ahasuerus through a half-a-year party for himself. And he basically presents all the wealth of his kingdom to everyone. And it's just this big, let's all pat the king on the back party. Well, at the end of the 180 days, they take the next seven days, and he has an even bigger, yet private party, just in the palace. And this is where the text says that his heart was “merry with wine” [Esther 1:10].
I mean, just think about this, an unbeliever at 180 days of partying. That's probably a little bit of an understatement. That his heart is merry with wine. He and everyone else we're probably plastered out of their minds. So, then he invites the crown of all of his wealth, which is, he's married to the most beautiful woman in all of the “world,” right, in all of his kingdom. So he says, “Bring out the queen.” Now there's all kinds of weird ideas about why she didn't want to appear before the king. But Queen Vashti, basically, refuses. She's not going to do what the king is telling her to do. And as you can imagine, like who would want to be paraded, you know, as an object of beauty in front of thousands of drunk people. So, I can understand why she would not want to be brought in.
Of course, this makes the king furious. And his advisors say, look, there's going to be a female uprising, and no one can survive that. So, we're going to need to send out letters to all 127 provinces and encourage the women to honor and submit to their husbands. In other words, we need to get rid of the Queen, and deal with this situation really quickly. This was a threat, they thought, to his power and dominance. In other words, chapter one ends with: it's time for a new queen.
So chapter two comes along, and they bring all the beautiful virgins of the land to the king. So this is not something we do today, nor something if your Bible study methods say, “Well, they did it in Scripture, so we should do it.” We don't ascribe to that here at this church. So don't worry. There's never going to be a national round up in all the Bible Churches have all the young virgins. But this happened in their time. And then we get introduced to a man named Mordecai. See, Mordecai was taking care of Esther. She was a young girl, they probably think about 13 or 14, she was very beautiful. The text says in chapter two, verse seven. She has she was, “lovely to look at.” And of course, that's all they were interested in, in bringing these girls to the palace. So Esther was rounded up as well. Notice there's no option to not go. You think life is difficult here. It is difficult at times. But they had practices that we're all thankful are no longer acceptable in society.
So they take all of these young girls, and they take them to the king's palace. There's probably 1000s of them, and they give them “their cosmetics.” So you know, makeup was very popular as well back then. And their oils. And do you know how long it took for the girls to get ready before they would be presented to the king? It says in chapter two, it took 12 months. So you are already beautiful before, and that's why you're here, but we're going to give you 12 months to be just as pretty as you can. Okay, so you can see the shallow nature of the Persian Empire here, which was common in those days. She was given oil of myrrh the text says and spices before she would go to present herself before the king. And in chapter two, verse 16, we see what happens when she finally is paraded before the king, like all the other 1000s of girls.
[Ester 2:16-17] “And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.” Verse 18, “Then the king gave a great feast.” Time to party again. We've got a new queen. Verse 17, the crown was set on her head and made queen. So Esther is now queen.
Ladies, this is hard to take, the reason why she was put up to prominence. It's like the, you know, Miss Universe pageant. We think you're the most beautiful in all the world. And so she became queen. And at that point, she's probably got to wonder, I already lost my parents. Now I'm taken away from the only relative who's taken care of me, which by the way, Jewish and Babylonian tradition says Mordecai and Esther were married. That's impossible, because it says he took her as his own daughter, not as his wife. So, I’m taken away from my parents, taken away from the only man who’s been kind to me. I'm probably 14 or 15 at this point. And now I'm in the palace and I'm supposed to serve the king. And she's probably a little confused at this point. She's probably a little stressed out. And she's probably wondering, “God, what in the world is going on?”
That was the good part of the story. This is the transition where there begins to come a threat. You see, at this point in the story, Esther is a Jew, but no one knows it. Mordecai had told her, “don't tell anyone that you're a Jew, keep that secret.” But everybody knew Mordecai was a Jew. Turn to chapter three. Verse five, we see a royal official who's parading himself. Pride was rampant in those days, as it is in our day. And this royal officials name was Haman. And he was so prominent, that when he would go by, the king gave orders for people to bow to him. So not only do they have to bow to the king, they have to bow to the king’s servant, Haman. Well, Mordecai says, “No thanks. Not doing that.”
So you can imagine, for instance, say a very important person walks in the room, maybe a high ranking military officer or the President or the Vice President, somebody like that. We would stand up. If we weren't in the worship service, right? You would greet that person, and you would say hello, and you would show your respects. Well, Mordecai was the only one who would be sitting. He would not stand up, he would not bow, he would not show this respect to this official. Look in Esther 3:5-6, “And when Haman [that is, the king's official] saw that Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage to him, Haman was filled with fury. But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone. So, as they made known to him the people of Mordecai, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.”
Now God had protected the people, the Israelites, throughout all the land. They were free to return. But these are the people who stayed in Persian control and didn't leave. But he not only wanted to kill Mordecai, but he wanted to kill all the Jews. Now before we think Haman is an evil person that we could never be like, Scripture says, “If you've been angry in your heart towards someone, you've actually committed murder in your heart.” So Haman is exhibiting this fury. The only problem is that now he has the ability to carry out this plan of his because of his position. And this is where the feast of Purim comes in. Pur is another name for casting lots. And so if you look in Esther 3:7, you see that they decide to cast lots on when to kill the Jews. So Haman does this for 12 months, and it just builds and builds. You ever been angry at someone for a couple of days, let it fester for maybe a week or more, it turns into this bitterness. Imagine doing that month after month, and it turning into rage. And then imagine if you could do whatever you wanted to that person with zero repercussions.
That's Haman’s mindset. And he convinces the king to give him permission to kill all of the Jews. Haman of course, paid the king, as well, which didn't hurt. And in Esther 3:13 we see this, “Letters were sent by couriers to all the king's provinces with instruction to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods.”
You need to know that a decree of the king could not be revoked even by the king himself. So once this news would get out, that would be like a decree coming from our President to say that all Christians could be killed in a certain month coming up. And that you wouldn't be held accountable for that, that you were free to do that, not only to kill all the Christians but to take their houses and their goods, and to kill any man, woman and child who was a Christian. That's the sense of terror that would be coming over the Jews at this point. They were probably all wishing they had left and gone to Jerusalem. This killing did not bother the king or Haman at all. Esther 3:15 says, “And the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was thrown into confusion.”
Have you ever been at a point in your life where you feel like there's no way out? There is no escape. God is still God. But there's no escape. There's no way to get out of whatever difficult situation you're in. Well, this was worse. They were given permission by the most powerful nation in the world to kill all of the Jews. Who would come to save them? There would be no one they could call on. Egypt wasn't powerful enough. The Assyrians were destroyed by the Babylonians, and the Babylonians were destroyed by the Persians, and the Persians were at the top of the food chain. Mordecai learns of this royal decree, and he sends word to Esther to ask for her help. Look in Esther 4:11. Mordecai had asked her to go in front of the king and to plead for help. This is Esther's response, she responds at first with great fear [Esther 4:11], “All the king's servants and the people of the kings provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is about one law – to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days.”
Mordecai asked a 15-year-old girl, whom he loved, to put her life on the line for the Jewish people. Parents, if somehow your 15-year-old was put in a position at the White House, to go before the President, and to plead for the President's favor? Knowing that it might cost her, her job, would you do it? Knowing that it might cost her public shaming on every news station in the world. Would you even do that? You see, Mordecai was a man of conviction. He put God above family. There is a shortage of people who will put God above family today. Mordecai did this. Not just tossing Esther's life to the wind. You see Mordecai knew that she would not even be safe, though she'd be in the king's palace, because eventually they would find out she too was a Jew. So, he brings her to this point, “Will you stand up for God? Will you stand up for God's people? Will you even put your life on the line?” And at first she says, “Are you crazy? I'm never doing that. There's no way I'm going to go before the king. Don't you know, that's the death sentence?”
Mordecai responds to Esther's fear. In Esther 4:13, “Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” That's a bold statement to deliver to Esther through one of the king's servants. It's not like Mordecai could go and talk to her in private. This was going back and forth between the king's eunuchs who watched over the women there.
Then Esther told this messenger in Esther 4:15, “reply to Mordecai, ‘Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.’ Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.” You see, you can become a man or woman of conviction. You might wish that right now, you had more faith in God. You might wish that right now you had deeper conviction so that if, just imagine, some time in our history, they said, “Don't gather and worship,” you knew what to do anyway. That's what's happening here. Esther became a woman of conviction. Not just flighty. Not just every now and then. She was all in. And she becomes one of the most courageous women, in my opinion, in all of human history, not just in biblical history. And because of that, triumph is on the way.
Look at chapter five. Esther appears before the king, death or favor was imminent. That's the moment here on the front of this Bible journal. It's this moment of consternation of, “Am I going to die? Is this going to be my last moment or not?” The king showed her favor. Praise God, the king showed her favor and asked, “What was her request?” Well, what did we know about the king up to this point? We knew the king liked beauty. And he liked to party. So what did Esther in her wisdom do? “Oh King, would you please come to a dinner party that I will throw in your honor.” She's very smart. She knew exactly how to communicate to the king in a way that the king would receive.
This is in Esther 5:1-7. And she invites both king and Haman to a dinner feast. And the king, he still hasn't heard her request. But in verse three, he basically says that he's going to grant whatever your request is up to half my kingdom. That would be like somebody saying, “Ask me whatever you wish. And I shall give you up to 25 of the 50 United States. They shall all be yours to govern and to rule and to collect wealth from.” What do you think? I mean, she's 15 or so, she probably had a few ideas that she could slide in there as well, right? Maybe a nice, I don't know, city, she could live in and own. All of her family members get their own cities. This is a wide-open request. We've seen this a couple of other times in Scripture where a King says that. And that's how John the Baptist lost his head. So when a King says this, it really means exactly what it says that I will give you anything up to half of my wealth and power. That is, that is tempting. Like I said, this was from India to Ethiopia. 2,800 miles across, at least.
So they dine all that night at dinner party number one. And then she says, “Well, how about we go to a second party?” Come back tomorrow and I'll tell you. So Haman, in Esther 5:9-14, that's the wicked servant who serves the king. He is gloating now because he's the only one that got invited to this amazing dinner party, this private feast for Esther, the king, and Haman. Little did he know. See he's so full of pride. He goes home and he gloats to his family. But his one desire, the thing he wanted more than anything else, was to get rid of Mordecai. Look in Esther 5:13, he says, “Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate.”
And then, married to a sweet wife, reminds me of Job's wife, his lovely wife had a suggestion in chapter five, verse 14. And I'll paraphrase, “Oh dear husband, just have a giant gallows built and hang the man who's causing you trouble. And then you can enjoy your dinner party.” Right? It's like Job's wife who said, “Curse God and die.” Right? This is his wife. No wisdom, no fear of God. No regard for the life of other people. She was not sweet, we should say. So Haman built a gallows 75 feet tall. This would basically be, it's not one with like a blade on it, it's basically a giant pole that you hang somebody on. And it's 75 feet tall because you want everybody to see the guy who's hanging there. Right? Most houses are probably eight feet at the most, if there was a two-story section, maybe 15 feet. So, the whole area could see, this is the guy that messed with Haman. So, Haman’s excited, he goes back to the king's palace.
Chapter Six comes through here, and the king couldn't sleep. And so he says, “Who's in the inner court?” Haman’s there gloating, waiting for more pride to come his way. And so the king says, “Bring in Haman.” And he asked Haman, “What shall I do for the man whom the king wants to honor?” And Haman has been thinking about this his whole life. So he says, “Hey, parade him around the town, and just speak great things in all of the city, put the king's robe on him, and put him on the king's horse.” Great idea Haman, do that for Mordecai, your enemy. That's basically what he tells him to do. Look in Esther 6:10, “Then the king said to Haman, ‘Hurry; take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king's gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.”
Now, here's what's interesting. After this takes place, [Haman] goes home, he's crying and pouting, like a little schoolboy who just lost a fight and got beat up. And he shows his wife and his friends, you know, his virtual bruises. And even in the Persian Empire they knew, things happen for a reason. Things happen for a reason. In Esther 6:13 they say, “This is not going to end well for you.” Look how quickly his own family turned on him. For you, this isn't going to end well. Little did they know their whole family would be in jeopardy. Well, no time for a pity party. And I'm summarizing here so you kind of get a big idea of this whole story, these 10 chapters.
So the kings officials show up at Haman’s house and whisked him off to dinner party number two. Turn to chapter seven, verse one. This is one of those awkward dinner parties where you think everything's going well and then it just doesn't quite go as you thought. That's one of these. And I want to read the first six verses of chapter seven with you. Dinner Party number two, Esther is having a feast. The only people there are the king, and Haman, and Esther, and all the servants.
[Esther 7:1-6] “So the king and Haman [it says in verse one] went in to feast with Queen Esther. And on the second day, as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king again said to Esther, ‘What is your wish, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.’ [Verse three] Then Queen Esther answered, ‘If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be granted me for my wish, and my people for my request.’” Wait a minute, “If I found favor in your site”? She just won the biggest, you know, beauty pageant. She was just made queen, she was risen to the highest place of prominence for a woman in all of the land. She had all the favor you could get. She just broke the death penalty law and was given favor by the king. And now she's saying, “If I found favor.” Right? She is very wise and very smart, very calculated in everything she's saying. Please just don't kill me, dear king.
Can you imagine the anger that would be rising up in the king as soon as he heard something like that, taking her at her word. You don't joke with the king about this kind of thing. Just hearing that, please don't kill me and my people, dear king. Verse four [Esther 7:4], “For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we have been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have been silent, for our affliction is not to be compared with the loss to the king.” She just lays it all out there. Haman doesn't see it, yet. [Esther 7:5] “Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, ‘Who is he, and where is he, who has dared to do this?’ In other words, “Is there some nation who is going to come in and take you from me and kill you, to usurp my authority, to kill all of your people, whom I protect. That's really what he's saying. Where is he? So now you've got the wrath of the king coming forward. “And Esther said [Esther 7:6], ‘A foe and enemy! This wicked Haman!’” You can just picture her pointing right in his face. “Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen.” Yeah, you would say so.
Needless to say, the dinner party was not so good for Haman. The king was so furious that he had to leave the room. He probably didn't want to rip Haman to shreds in front of queen. And then when he comes back, Haman is bawling like a baby falling on the queen. And he's like, “Will you assault her even in my presence.” He gets even more furious.
Well, Haman was hung on the 75 foot gallows, his own gallows in his own yard. Scripture says his 10 sons, who would avenge his death, were also hung. They were killed and then hung for everyone else to see. Esther was put in charge, specifically in charge of Haman’s family and everything that he owned. And then Mordecai is elevated to Haman’s place. We would call that in some portions of history, you would call that, the viceroy. He was the one who wielded the most power in all of the land.
And not only that, but Esther says, “O king, please revoke what you've already written about my people, the Jews, to be killed that Haman said.” And he said, “I can't revoke it.” Esther still didn't know the law very well. But he said, “What I can do, is I can allow the Jews to rise up and protect themselves and to attack anyone that they think is a threat.” Now think about that. Where are the Jews? They are in exile. They're in exile. That would be like somebody coming in and conquering the United States. And everyone loyal to the United States who didn't get killed, could stay in the United States. And if you weren't deported somewhere else, you could stay here. And then one day somebody says, “I think we should kill all the rest of the people who are loyal in the United States.” And the ruler who just came in and conquered us says, “No, you can fight against my people.” So, let's say some country would conquer us. The leader of that country, would one day say, “You can fight and kill my people.”
That's what King Ahasuerus is saying to Esther, “You can kill Persians. You can kill Babylonians. You can even kill any of the ancient Assyrians, if they're still around. You can kill people, even in my capital. Anyone who you think is a threat.” Do you see the hand of God in Esther? Do you see how God took this situation where there's no way out, and then provided a great blessing to all of the people there? Chapter eight, verse 15. After he had been raised to prominence [Esther 8:15], “Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown and a robe of fine linen and purple, and the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor. And in every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his edict reached, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a feast and a holiday. And many from the peoples of the country declared themselves Jews, for fear of the Jews had fallen on them.”
Chapter nine, verse one, describes how the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them. They were given permission to fight. And the day they were given permission to fight became the feast, and the festival, of remembrance of Purim. Esther 9:17, “This was on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth day they rested and made that a day of feasting and of gladness.” The fourteenth day of Adar became Purim, where they were all ordered to observe the joy God brought about. That’s in Esther 9:23-28. Do you know the Jewish people still, to this day, celebrate the feast of Purim? Every single year. That's about 2,500 years and counting. They go in the streets, they party, they dance, they drink lots of wine, and they celebrate what God did to protect them.
Let me ask you something, “How deep are your convictions in the Lord Jesus Christ.” You see all this came about because of Mordecai’s convictions. That he wouldn't simply bow down to Haman who walked by. That got them in trouble. And then Esther became an incredible woman of conviction, that she would stand up for her people. And these two people alone, God used to protect all the rest of the Jews. There has come a time in our recent history where evangelical leaders have had to stand up for the Christian faith. Maybe you have had to consider whether or not you will stand up for the Christian faith with your friends, or maybe even in your own household, or maybe at work. You think, “You know maybe I'll just fly under the radar. I'll be like Esther before they knew she was Jewish.” There's about five years she was queen before all this went down. They obviously loved her. They obviously had nothing but good things to say about her. She was a woman of great character as well.
But what are our convictions? You see, when the fire gets turned up a little bit, the real us comes out. Does it not? If church is important, then it's the reason we miss other things. If church is important, it's the reason why it doesn't matter if anyone tells us not to worship God, we will worship God and God alone. We are commanded to speak songs, and hymns, and spiritual songs to one another. We are not going to allow people to relegate our worship. Is your conviction that deep? Do you know that there is nothing good in you that deserves salvation and so that's your conviction? From the truth, “that there are none righteous, no, not one.” And so when you think about your salvation, it's just how sweet Jesus is, and his forgiveness and grace. Is your conviction for Christ that deep?
When Jesus witnessed to the Samaritan woman, he told her that God was looking for those who worship him in spirit and truth. We have opportunities every single year in our culture, to proclaim Christ to the entire nation, and the world watches. Right, we have holidays that we celebrate, like Christmas. It's by far the most materialistic holiday the world loves. And yet Christians have this opportunity, to be a light in this world. To not only just get up the courage to say Merry Christmas, Christ-Mass, right? A holy dedication to Christ. But we have the opportunity to preach Christ. Four, five, six weeks if you're like me, leaving the lights up as long as you possibly can. Right? “Why do you still have your lights up?” “Thank you for asking me. Let me tell you.” And Christmas is on Sunday this year, and everybody said, “Amen!” That’s right. I'll see you Sunday morning. Christmas Eve, the day before, I'll see you here Christmas Eve evening, right? I mean, what better day do you want to worship and sing and praise together then on the main day itself? Look around town, see who's closed. You'll see how deep their convictions go.
We have Easter, probably should be our biggest celebration. Right? Paul said without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is what we celebrated Easter, your faith is in vain. And we're all foolish. I know you can't have Easter without Christmas, right? But Easter is an amazing holiday that we have to celebrate, the Lord Jesus Christ and what he did. Not the Easter Bunny. How deep do your convictions go? We celebrate Communion regularly. Right, “As often as you do this, do so in remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. It's part of my personal conviction of why I pray at every single meal, is to remember the Lord Jesus Christ and what he's brought about. But we do so in Communion to remember the body and blood that was crucified and shed for us.
But there's something more that we need to remember. Beloved, there's something more that the Jewish people never had. That no other religion has. It’s that Jesus is always with us, always. Matthew 28:20, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” We’re a temple of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit resides in us. You see, we don't need to just wait until Christmas or Easter, or when we observe Communion together. We don't need to wait for those times to rejoice together, that Jesus Christ has saved us from our sins, and has brought about a wonderful salvation, and we are changed and we are made new! And if that doesn't make you joyful, then nothing else will. We do not walk through this life alone. Jesus is always with us.
So how do you make sure to remember Jesus all the time? You got to have deep convictions, like Esther and Mordecai had. You have to have deep theological, doctrinal, convictions that stand every single test that comes your way. And those convictions friend, will see you through no matter what the circumstance, no matter what the trial, all for the glory of God. Let's pray.
Father God, you are the King of kings and the Lord of lords. You are the God of all creation. You have made us in your image. You have sent Christ to pay, Lord God, for sin on the cross. That for all who would repent and believe, we could be eternally forgiven.
Dear Lord God, put that conviction deep in our hearts, that we may live bold lives for you.
Dear friends, why don't we just take a moment, right now, and pray silently and ask God for deep convictions to live for Jesus Christ?
Father, we love you. We thank you for this wonderful time of worship. And we pray that you would send us out, Lord God, boldly for your name. Amen.
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