Esther Week 4 Sermon Notes

ESTHER PART 4: A TALE OF TWO BRIDES

Esther Chapter 2

 

Two ways to read your Bible... 

- Religiously (there are good people & bad people)

- Repentantly (there are bad people & there is Jesus)

 

Key Question:  At what point does assimilation of culture result in compromise of Christian faith and witness?

 

What does it mean to be IN the world but not OF the world?

 

The world's way...ISN'T WORKING. 

Everyone is exhausted...so why live like "everyone else"??

It's time for the Church to step out of line for the world's beauty contest.

It's time for some holy defiance. Don't just go with the flow.

Stop and think. Stop and examine every area of your life.

 

The Proposal (v.1-4)

- When you chase your own glory, you'll make your own misery.

- When you don't turn to God, you'll turn to someone else who isn't God.

- When you use everyone, you can't love anyone.

 

The Players (v.5-7)

- Mordecai (mentioned 52 times), "cultural Christian"...believes in God but doesn't really follow Jesus. Does a good thing (adopt Esther) but then does a bad/stupid thing (puts her in a Persian beauty/sex contest).

- Hadassah....Esther (mentioned 55 times), only person in story with two names...significant...might reflect her internal conflict, identity crisis and early compromises

- Disobedience and sin can have long lasting effects.

 

The Gathering (v.8-9)

- Compare Esther's response from that of Daniel's (integrity re: dietary laws) and Joseph's (integrity re: sexual ethics)

- Esther is compromising...wasn't forced in

 

The Lie (v.10-11)

- To climb the world's ladder

 

The Audition (v.12-16)

- Compromise, Esther gives herself to a pagan king

 

The Win? (v.17-18)

- Even though Esther "won"...she lost.

 

What we know...

- Xerxes is a spoiled dirtbag

- Esther becomes a godly woman by the end of the book, but at this point it's murky...is Esther a godly woman?

- Esther (the book), much like our lives, is hard to interpret and is much more complex than a simple, moralistic story

 

BIG IDEA #1 - Compliance to the world is compromise to God.

- Where have we sold out to the world? Where are we in danger of compliance & compromise? DON'T ANSWER TOO QUICKLY

- Where are you a "concubine" to the world's system/Xerxes?

 

BIG IDEA #2 - Be slow to judge others with a standard you can't live up to yourself.

- Guard against quickly judging others...you've compromised too. 

- Who are you pointing the finger at without seeing yourself accurately in the mirror?

 

BIG IDEA #3 - Your past compromises against God do not disqualify you from future usefulness to God.

- Hope. Grace. Encouragement.

- There's hope for change. No matter how bad you've screwed up, you haven't written yourself out of God's final script.

 

BIG IDEA #4 - Jesus has a better bride, because Jesus is a better husband.

- A foretaste of Ephesians 5... Jesus loves us into loveliness not because we're lovely

 

- King Xerxes loved Esther because she was already beautiful, but Jesus loves you in spite of your flaws in order to make you beautiful.

 

- King Xerxes required Esther to give up her life and freedom for the king, but Jesus is the only King and spouse who gives up his life and freedom for you…not because you’re lovely but to make you lovely.

 

- And when you realize that you’ve been loved with that kind of love, it will change your definition of love and experience of love, and it will give you the power to step out of the world’s beauty contests. 

 

 

GROUP QUESTIONS

 

1) What stands out to you the most so far about Esther ch. 1 & 2? What's been new or most surprising?

 

2) What was your biggest takeaway from this sermon?

 

3) How do you wrestle with being IN the world but not OF the world? Where would you say you are most in danger of being in compliance/compromise with the world?

 

4) In what ways can you identify with Xerxes, Esther, or Mordecai so far? 

 

5) What is the difference between "believing in God" and "following Jesus"?

 

6) Which tendency do you most recognize in yourself...the tendency to judge "those bad people" in the world, believing you're "good"? Or the tendency to believe "I've blown it too much...God can't use me"?

 

7) What needs to change in your thinking as a result of this sermon? What needs to change in the way you engage culture? What needs to change in the way you treat people?

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