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Date: 24 May, 2018
Text: Esther 4
Title: Why Aren't You Fasting?
Abortion law referendum in Ireland.
Les Hill requested that God's people fast and pray. For his encouragement I let him know that I would be participating with them. He wrote back, "Thanks so much brother.
So few people want to fast. If only God's people could get a hold of fasting. I think we'd see revival!!" (I AGREE)
exp. I had some sobering thoughts as I prayed for these children.
1.) People were participants in murder if they voted to kill these children. Their signature will be shown to them at the judgment seat as a testimony to their hand being involved in the slaughter of these innocents.
2.) Mother's who are being stopped by the law from murdering their children will no longer be restrained.
3.) God is the avenger of shed blood.
4.) If we fast and pray we are doing without a meal or two - if the law passed they would do without their life.
5.) Our world is big on protecting the vulnerable but they destroy the most vulnerable.
6.) Our world needs to realize that GOD IS IN CONTROL AND THAT HE RESPONDS TO BELIEVING PRAYER AND THE FASTING OF HIS PEOPLE.
Mat 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
DOES FASTING AND PRAYING SOUND EXTREME TO YOU?
ill. Jesus - Mat 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
Luke 5:33 And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?
34 And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?
35 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
Matthew 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
note: Fasting is generally reserved for more serious circumstances. Often - they are life or death circumstances where men must get ahold of God and see God intervene.
ill. Paul's shipwreck Acts 27:33 And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing.
34 Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you.
35 And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.
36 Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat.
note: A life and death circumstance is the reason for fasting in Esther - THERE IS A NATIONAL DANGER TO THE JEWISH PEOPLE.
exp. Wicked Haman has gotten permission to commit genocide against the Jews. He would annihilate them nationally. It is ethnic cleansing.
Esther 3:13 And the letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.
note: I would remind us this morning that Satan is seeking to commit genocide against the people of God. THE DANGER TO GOD'S PEOPLE IS VERY REAL.
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Luk 4:2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.
Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
1Ti 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
1Ti 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
2Ti 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
exp. He is seeking to destroy churches, families, Christian education (schools, seminaries) - AND HE IS SUCCEEDING.
We ought to fast and pray because the danger is that real. What are you going to do about it?
exp. Turn on the tele and tune it out. Forget about it and get on with life?
How serious are you about the danger facing God's people?
exp. Satan is winning - churches are in decline - few are being saved - BELIEVERS HAVE COMPROMISED AND FALLEN IN LOVE WITH THE WORLD.
Sports and Entertainment get more devotion than God - idolatry.
The Lord's day is not kept Holy. (Day of amusement and sport.)
Immodesty and worldly music have crept into our churches.
Few people are getting saved and the church is in decline.
Believers are ceasing to congregate and churches are canceling services!
question: HOW SERIOUS ARE YOU ABOUT HTE DANGER FACING GOD'S PEOPLE.
A. If you are serious, you don't care what others think.
Esther 4:1 When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry;
2 And came even before the king's gate: for none might enter into the king's gate clothed with sackcloth.
exp. Mordecai is unashamedly walking through the middle of his city with torn clothes and ashes on his head - crying out with a loud and bitter cry! HE DOESN'T CARE WHAT PEOPLE THINK! WHY? BECAUSE HE IS SO CONSUMED WITH THE DANGER.
question: How much do you care about what others think?
Pro 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
question: I wonder how many people ....
1.) Haven't been baptized.
2.) Haven't surrendered to God's call.
3.) Haven't separated from the world.
4.) Haven't joined a church.
5.) Haven't obeyed God's command to evangelize the world....
exp. In reality - HAVE NOT IDENTIFIED WITH THEIR LORD - All because they are afraid of what people think.
app. If you really are serious about the danger facing God's church (and those who will go to hell without her witness) YOU DON'T CARE WHAT OTHER'S THINK.
B. If you are serious, you are grieved to the core of your being.
ill. I got on the official instagram account for a Chrisian University which is very dear to me. I was shocked with the immodesty on the page and the incredible change in the last decade. I emailed and said, "I am not just concerned, I am greived."
app. If you are serious about the danger - you are grieved and it will be evident as in our story this morning.
3 And in every province, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting,
exp. As soon as this situation is realized - THE JEWS MOURN AND PUT AWAY FOOD.
ill. I've had medical procedures - scans - where you have to fast for so many hours.
ill. Some people fast for a diet or for health.
ill. Prisoners at times will go on hunger strikes.
note: There are times when people will go without food on purpose.
question: When is the last time you went without food because of a spiritual need that you wanted God to meet?
ill. Speaking with a Muslim lady at a register as we paid for our things. I asked her, "Are you fasting for Ramadan?" Muslims during this month do not eat between sunrise and sunset. I told her she should live nearer the equator.
app. They fast because they are commanded to fast. We don't fast because we are not commanded to do so AND WE DON'T SEE THE NEED. If you are really bothered by the need, why don't you fast. If you're not bothered....
2. Weeping and crying out.
and weeping, and wailing;
exp. There is intense grief because God's people are going to be destroyed.
ill. Doing the "5 minutes with" column and being asked, "When is the last time you cried and why?"
question: What about you? How long has it been since you shed a tear over a spiritual need in your own life or in the lives of others?
exp. Can I ask a simple questions - don't you care?
ill. Jeremiah cared....
Jer 9:1 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!
ill. Paul cared....
Act 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
ill. Jesus cared....
Heb 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
Joh 11:35 Jesus wept.
app. Perhaps today you need to ask God to break your heart and give you tears - IF YOU ARE SERIOUS ABOUT THE DANGER FACING THE CHURCH.
and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
exp. The Jews were very good at expressing their grief outwardly. God didn't want them just to rend their garments. He wanted them to rend their hearts and MOURN BIBLICALLY.
ill. Statue at the Biblical Gardens of Yah Hoshmena - Joe 2:13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
exp. The danger facing God's people (Satan winning victories) is often due to the negligence or waywardness of God's people.
app. If we have been what we ought to be - which would include fasting, weeping, praying, holy living, evangelistic fervency, - we have no reason to mourn Biblically.
BUT IF ANY OF THE DANGER IS FROM OUR NEGLECT OR WAYWARDNESS - WE MUST ALSO MOURN BIBLICALLY AND REPENT. (Am I serious enough about the danger to do that?)
C. If you are serious, you refuse false comfort.
4 So Esther's maids and her chamberlains came and told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not.
exp. It seems as if Esther was not just bothered by the situation but also that her uncle was taking it so seriously. She wanted him to put off the rags and put back on more happy clothing. He refused her gesture because it was a false comfort.
app. We can all dress happy, come to church and act like their is no critical danger facing the church - BUT IT IS FALSE COMFORT. How can we act like everything is going so well - when we know that to be false. If you are serious, you refuse false comfort.
II. How aware are you of the danger facing God's people?
exp. I would think that most of the church is ignorant that there is a critical danger to her existence.
ill. Who would have thought 100 years ago that the church in Scotland would be in danger of disappearing from society?
A. Have you listened to the men who know what it is and why it is?
5 Then called Esther for Hatach, one of the king's chamberlains, whom he had appointed to attend upon her, and gave him a commandment to Mordecai, to know what it was, and why it was.
6 So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city, which was before the king's gate.
7 And Mordecai told him of all that had happened unto him, and of the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king's treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them.
Mordecai's story - Esther 3:5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.
6 And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.
8 And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king's laws: therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them.
9 If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king's treasuries.
10 And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews' enemy.
11 And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee.
ill. JUST IN THE LAST FEW YEARS.....Hate crime legislation, Legalization of same sex marriage (children's school book - the King and the King), Evolution taught as fact in the schools, prosecution of Christians (cake in NI, street preachers, prayer at work....) Anti-smacking legislation and the Named Person Scheme.
app. Christians we need to wake up and hear what is currently happening in our society!
B. Have you read it for yourself in the copy of the writing which God has given?
8 Also he gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto Esther, and to declare it unto her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him for her people.
9 And Hatach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai.
exp. Esther was given Mordecai's verbal report and then she got to read the papers for herself.
question: Have you evaluated what is happening in light of God's Word?
3 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
question: Can the church endure such a contradiction against herself? Or such an infiltration into herself.
exp. Esther was challenged by Mordecai to read it for herself and then take a stand against it.
app. I would challenge us to do the same - the danger is very great - why don't we do something about it?
III. How will you address the danger facing God's people?
exp. Esther's immediate response was to give excuse as to why she can't do anything about the danger.
10 Again Esther spake unto Hatach, and gave him commandment unto Mordecai;
11 All the king's servants, and the people of the king's provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days.
12 And they told to Mordecai Esther's words.
exp. We can think about plenty of reasons to excuse ourself from responsability with regard to the danger facing the church. IN MOST CASES IT IS JUST AN EXCUSE BECAUSE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE EQUATION IS GOD.
A. Will you hear the words of wisdom?
1. There is no where safe from this danger.
13 Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews.
exp. If Esther had any thought of personal safety in the king's house - Mordecai wanted her to know that she was decieved.
ill. The modern church is seeking safety in the king's house. Agreeing with homosexual marriage. Allowing women preachers. Holding hands withe world.
app. You may be tempted to think that compromise is the way forward -it will not work - the church will not stand upon falsehood - THE STRENGTH OF THE CHURCH IS THE TRUTH WHICH SHE IS SELLING OUT. Pro 23:23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. YOU WILL NOT FIND SAFETY FOR YOUR CHRISTIANITY IN THE WORLD!
2. To be silent is to sell out God's people.
14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed:
exp. God isn't going to be without a Saviour. If we don't stand up, He has someone who will.
Rom 11:4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
exp. BUT IT WILL BE AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR DESTRUCTION.
ill. The TRUE church of Scotland is not increasing - it is decreasing. She has sold herself out.
ill. Jacob Deshazer - after bombing of Pearl Harbor - the US launched a counter attack on Japan from the flight deck of the US Hornet Aircraft Carrier - 16 B22 bombers launched. The crews were given several opportunities to back out - every man stepped up to take part in a mission from which he was unlikely to return.
app. Friends, we are living in a day when it is vital that we stand up and be counted. ARE YOU HOLDING YOUR PEACE WHEN THE DANGER TO THE CHURCH IS SO GREAT?
3. To be silent is to forget the privilige God has given you.
and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
exp. We know from the story that Mordecai is exactly right. Here is why she was given her outward and inward beauty - her favor in the king's sight - it was to spare God's people.
ill. LIKE JOSEPH SHE WAS PLACED TO BE THE KEY PERSON FOR THE SALVATION OF GOD'S PEOPLE.
note: We are all priviliged to live in the safety of the king's house. THERE IS A REASON for your salvation..
2 Cor. 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
ill. What if Hudson Taylor, David Livingstone, Mary Slessor - or others had not realized their GOD GIVEN PURPOSE FOR THE SAKE OF GOD'S CHURCH.
App. Young people - the danger is great - but God has the answer and it is often found in the SURRENDERED LIVES OF HIS PEOPLE.
B. Will you act on the words of wisdom?
15 Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer,
16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
17 So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.
exp. FASTING AND THEN ACTING. The spiritual need is great - ESTHER REALIZES IT AND SAYS - FAST FOR ME! She then hazards her life for the lives of God's people. "If I perish, I perish."
app. Have you ever had something so vital to do for Jesus that you felt compelled to fast and to ask others to fast and pray with you? She did.
ill. Jesus fasted 40 days at the beginning of his earthly ministry. IF He had failed you and I would perish in Hell. He succeeded because He had the power of God upon his life.
HE CAST OUT THE DEMON and the disciples could not. He told them - "this kind goeth not forth but by prayer and fasting."
These dangers facing the church ARE TOO GREAT FOR US! Is it to simple for us to say this morning that perhaps, "This kind goeth not forth but by prayer and fasting."
Why don't you fast?
1.) Is it because you are not serious about the danger God's people are facing?
2.) Are you not serious because YOU ARE UNAWARE of the danger facing God's people?
3.) Are you willing to fast and then do something about the danger facing God's people?