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"Preserved by Faith"

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This morning, we’re wrapping up the story of Esther and as we draw this series to a close, I want us to pull back and see ourselves in this story in a bit of a different light. You know, over the last 3 weeks, we’ve drawn some very important and practical truths from Esther for our lives.
This morning, though, I want us to see the “bigger” story being told - a story bigger than Esther’s with a hero better than Esther - a hero better than you and better than me. You see, you nor I are the hero of this story. We’re not even the heroes of our own stories! Esther is flawed/imperfect. We are definitely flawed and imperfect.

Jesus is a better Esther.

Let’s go back...
In chapter 3, we’re introduced to this guy named Haman. He’s just gotten a promotion, he’s 2nd in command…Xerxes’s right hand man. Power corrupts, right? So Mordecai - Esther’s cousin/adopted dad refuses to bow & essentially worship Haman. Well, remember, this infuriates Haman - power/position have gone straight to his head. So, Haman’s ticked. He devises a plan to have all the Jews living throughout the Persian Empire - the known world - wiped out/exterminated. So, he coerces Xerxes into signing an edict that on a particular day several weeks down the road, Persian forces are to go into every city/town and murder every Jew.
2 Bigger Stories here:
Satan - Jews - Messiah ()
This is where you & I come in. We, LIKE the Jews are under condemnation of sin and death. UNLIKE the Jews - ours is deserved. LIKE the Jews, we have one great enemy.
Romans 5:12 ESV
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
Ro
Romans 3:23 ESV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 6:23 ESV
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Esther 7:1–10 ESV
So the king and Haman 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 the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be granted me for my wish, and my people for my request. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had 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.” Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has dared to do this?” And Esther said, “A foe and enemy! This wicked Haman!” Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen. And the king arose in his wrath from the wine-drinking and went into the palace garden, but Haman stayed to beg for his life from Queen Esther, for he saw that harm was determined against him by the king. And the king returned from the palace garden to the place where they were drinking wine, as Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was. And the king said, “Will he even assault the queen in my presence, in my own house?” As the word left the mouth of the king, they covered Haman’s face. Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, “Moreover, the gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, is standing at Haman’s house, fifty cubits high.” And the king said, “Hang him on that.” So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the wrath of the king abated.
Esther 7:1–2 ESV
So the king and Haman 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 the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.”
Esther 7:3–4 ESV
Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be granted me for my wish, and my people for my request. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had 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.”
Esther 7:5–6 ESV
Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has dared to do this?” And Esther said, “A foe and enemy! This wicked Haman!” Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen.
Esther 7:7–8 ESV
And the king arose in his wrath from the wine-drinking and went into the palace garden, but Haman stayed to beg for his life from Queen Esther, for he saw that harm was determined against him by the king. And the king returned from the palace garden to the place where they were drinking wine, as Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was. And the king said, “Will he even assault the queen in my presence, in my own house?” As the word left the mouth of the king, they covered Haman’s face.
Esther 7:9–10 ESV
Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, “Moreover, the gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, is standing at Haman’s house, fifty cubits high.” And the king said, “Hang him on that.” So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the wrath of the king abated.

Jesus identified with us to save us.

Up until this point, Xerxes - nor anyone for that matter - knew Esther’s nationality. He didn’t know she was a Jew! Now, in vs. 3, she says, “Please save MY life and the life of MY people!” Can you imagine what a shock this was to Xerxes? He had probably forgotten about the edict! All he had been told by Haman was that these Jews were causing trouble and were a threat to his power and needed to be eliminated! But, now, the game changes completely!
Esther has now publicly identified herself with those condemned to die in order to save them!
The Bible teaches us that the “bigger” story is that God, in Jesus, did the very same thing.
John 1:14 ESV
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Philippians 2:5–7 ESV
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
Hebrews 4:14–15 ESV
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Isaiah 53:12 ESV
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.
God is not distant! He entered into the mess. He identifies with us in every way. He knows hurt, heart break, rejection, death, disappointment!
UNDERCOVER BOSS
God - because of his love for us - entered into our world, subjected himself to our brokenness in order to save us!
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Romans 5:17 ESV
For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE/WHAT YOU’RE GOING THROUGH, JESUS HAS BEEN THERE.

Jesus nailed sin to the cross meant for us to free us.

Haman had built the pole/gallows for Mordecai - explain that this was pre-crucifixion…and, now, Haman - the enemy of God’s people, is being executed on the same pole he intended to kill Mordecai on!
- He will crush your head!
You see, we deserve death. We have sinned against and rebelled against the power of the one true holy God - the judge of all the universe. We’re all guilty - . The cross was meant for us! That was our! That was our punishment. The wrath of the holy God that was poured out on Jesus the sinless Son of God was intended - rightfully so - for ME!
1 Peter 2:22–24 ESV
He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
Colossians 2:13–14 ESV
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
Again,
Jesus took the sin for which we are guilty and the cross we deserve in order to save us!

Jesus gives us victory over our enemies.

Esther 8:9 ESV
The king’s scribes were summoned at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day. And an edict was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded concerning the Jews, to the satraps and the governors and the officials of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, 127 provinces, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language, and also to the Jews in their script and their language.
Esther 8:10–11 ESV
And he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed it with the king’s signet ring. Then he sent the letters by mounted couriers riding on swift horses that were used in the king’s service, bred from the royal stud, saying that the king allowed the Jews who were in every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included, and to plunder their goods,
Esther 8:9–10 ESV
The king’s scribes were summoned at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day. And an edict was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded concerning the Jews, to the satraps and the governors and the officials of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, 127 provinces, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language, and also to the Jews in their script and their language. And he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed it with the king’s signet ring. Then he sent the letters by mounted couriers riding on swift horses that were used in the king’s service, bred from the royal stud,
Esther 8:9–14 ESV
The king’s scribes were summoned at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day. And an edict was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded concerning the Jews, to the satraps and the governors and the officials of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, 127 provinces, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language, and also to the Jews in their script and their language. And he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed it with the king’s signet ring. Then he sent the letters by mounted couriers riding on swift horses that were used in the king’s service, bred from the royal stud, saying that the king allowed the Jews who were in every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included, and to plunder their goods, on one day throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. A copy of what was written was to be issued as a decree in every province, being publicly displayed to all peoples, and the Jews were to be ready on that day to take vengeance on their enemies. So the couriers, mounted on their swift horses that were used in the king’s service, rode out hurriedly, urged by the king’s command. And the decree was issued in Susa the citadel.
Esther 8:12–13 ESV
on one day throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. A copy of what was written was to be issued as a decree in every province, being publicly displayed to all peoples, and the Jews were to be ready on that day to take vengeance on their enemies.
Esther 8:14 ESV
So the couriers, mounted on their swift horses that were used in the king’s service, rode out hurriedly, urged by the king’s command. And the decree was issued in Susa the citadel.
The king gives the Jews authority to take vengeance against those that would harm them/their enemies.
The gospel is good news, isn’t it? That’s what gospel means! It’s good news because:
We are saved - we are forgiven, the debt is paid!
The resurrection of Jesus - we have victory! Too many times, we think Christ’s victory for us is just that we get to go to heaven! Listen to me, Jesus gives us victory in THIS LIFE! In the HERE & NOW!
Colossians 2:15 ESV
He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
2 Corinthians 10:3–5 ESV
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
2 Corinthians 2:14 ESV
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.
2 Corinthians 10:3–5 ESV
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
Romans 8:37 ESV
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
In your life, Satan, his demons, the powers of darkness are a POWERFUL foe…but a defeated foe. The enemy is defeated and we can live victoriously over sin! Sin no longer has power/dominion over us in Christ!
Tetelestai - CRY OF A VICTOR!

Jesus gives us freedom to celebrate and tell of HIS victory.

Esther 8:15–17 ESV
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.
Listen to me - if the gospel is good news - the best news that we can be brought from death to life - that we can be set free - don’t you think that news is worth celebrating and telling?
Look at this - this is SO beautiful! Mordecai goes out clothed in majesty, given all authority by the King, and the rescued/the saved celebrate! Why do we live our lives so down? So gloomy? Y’all, the gospel is good news everyday! We should never tire of hearing it! We should never tire of telling it!
This is
Matthew 28:18–20 ESV
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

“When the preferences of the church members are greater than their passion for the gospel, the church is dying.”

You want to see this church grow? BE EVANGELISTIC! Do you want to see revival? BE EVANGELISTIC! Do you want to see this city change? BE EVANGELISTIC! There’s no spiritual gift for witnessing! Don’t use that as a cop-out!
If everyone in this room witnessed to one person a week - 450 - that’s 27,900 people in a month that will have the gospel shared with them!
Why are we not running out of this place every single week shouting from the rooftops - “Jesus saves!!!!”???? People we know, live with, live by, work with are dying and going to hell and we have the good news that will save them!
Daniel, when are you going to talk about something different? What?!?!?!
When is this church going to be a church of passionate, on fire, soul winners?!?!
LAND THE PLANE - INVITATION
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