Touch the World, Impact Eternity
TEXT: Esther 4:14
TOPIC: Touch the World, Impact Eternity
Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point, Alabama
March 11, 2007
Take your Bibles this morning and open to one of the most interesting books in the Bible, and doubtless one of the books of the Bible that many Christians have never read, the book called Esther.
Let’s stand in honor of God’s word. (Read the Scripture)
“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?”
Esther 4:14, NKJV
The Book of Esther was written to record God’s sovereign hand over the people Israel. It is couched in the time period between the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon in 538 B.C., and during the 70 years of captivity in Babylon and Persia. This was also the time of Ezra the Priest and Nehemiah the layman, whom God used to rebuild the wall and temple in Jerusalem.
Chapter 1 tells us that Ahasuerus or Xerxes I reigned as King over Persia at this time. Some believe that Ahasuerus and Esther were the parents of the Cyrus of Isaiah 44:28; 45:1. Xerxes reigned over a kingdom, a great empire, from India to Ethiopia.
The book tells the beautiful story of how God rescued His people Israel from annihilation by an evil man named Haman, who happened to be the Hitler of his day.
In addition to Queen Esther, King Xerxes and Haman, there is also the story of Mordecai, Esther’s uncle who had taken her in following the captivity of the Jews.
There is one person who is not mentioned in the book of Esther, even though He is the star of the book. Try as you might, you will not find God’s name mention in Esther. Although His name is not there, His fingerprints are all over its pages.
With the historical context in place, and with the theme of the Sovereignty of Almighty God understood, let’s go back and take another look at this chapter. But before we do, please notice the title of my message, “Touch the World, Impact Eternity.”
(Share the story of our trip to Joshua, Texas, and SWBTS. Share about our tour of President Ken Hemphill’s office and the main picture over his desk. He commissioned an artist from Dallas to paint the picture depicting the seminary’s theme under his administration, which is “Touch the World, Impact Eternity.” Share how Southwestern claims that the sun never sets on its missionary endeavors. One half of all Southern Baptist missionaries today have passed through SWBTS.)
Our 2007 North American Missions Emphasis has a similar theme. It’s “Change Your World.” Just as Esther changed her world through a courageous act of trust and obedience, so we too are called to touch the world we live in and impact eternity.
Now look at verses 1 – 9, as I explain to you THE REASON WHY WE MUST TOUCH THE WORLD AND IMPACT ETERNITY.
I. THE REASON WE MUST TOUCH THE WORLD AND IMPACT ETERNITY, Esther 4:1-9
EXP. The Jews had been placed under a death threat. Trusting wicked Haman, King Xerxes had agreed to Haman’s request that Mordecai and all his race of stubborn, and monotheistic worshippers be destroyed.
There is an interesting parallel found in the book of Esther. It is a picture of God’s love for his people, of His unchanging mercy and grace, and of His divine protection over the promised seed of Abraham.
Notice some of the parallels:
The people of Israel represent all of humanity who because of sin have the penalty of death upon us. “It is appointed unto men once to die.” The wages of sin is death.
Haman represents Satan, the enemy of God’s people who would have us bow down and worship him,
Esther is like Jesus, our intercessor, our redeemer.
King Xerxes is like God who has absolute power and authority over life and death, the Sovereign Ruler of the universe.
Mordecai is like the third person of trinity, the Holy Spirit who convicts us and reminds us of our sins.
May I say to you again this morning that all the world lies still under the deadly curse of sin. “There is none righteous, no not one.”
Our sin has left us hopeless and helpless. Without the mercy of God, and His sovereign plan of redemption for us, there is no hope.
So the question today is how have we touched our world and impacted eternity?
John Egglen had never preached a sermon in his life. Never.
Wasn’t that he didn’t want to, just never needed to. But then one morning he did. The snow left his town of Colchester, England, buried in white. When he awoke on that January Sunday in 1850, he thought of staying home. Who would go to church in such weather?
But he reconsidered. He was, after all, a deacon. And if the deacons didn’t go, who would? So he put on his boots, hat, and coat and walked the six miles to the Methodist Church.
He wasn’t the only member who considered staying home. In fact, he was one of the few who came. Only thirteen people were present. Twelve members and one visitor. Even the minister was snowed in. Someone suggested they go home. Egglen would hear none of that. They’d come this far; they would have a service. Besides, they had a visitor. A thirteen-year-old boy. But who would preach? Egglen was the only deacon. It fell to him.
And so he did. His sermon lasted only ten minutes. It drifted and wandered and made no point in an effort to make several. But at the end, an uncharacteristic courage settled upon the man. He lifted his eyes and looked straight at the boy and challenged: “Young man, look to Jesus. Look! Look! Look!”
Did the challenge make a difference? Let the boy, now a man, answer. “I did look, and then and there the cloud on my heart lifted, the darkness rolled away, and at that moment I saw the sun.”
The boy’s name? Charles Haddon Spurgeon. England’s prince of preachers. (From When God Whispers Your Name by Max Lucado)
The Reason we must touch the world and impact eternity is that the world is hopeless and helpless, dying in sin, and going to a devil’s hell, but we can help. We have the message of redemption. We can touch the world and impact eternity.
II. THE RISK INVOLVED WHEN WE TOUCH THE WORLD AND IMPACT ETERNITY, Esther 4:10 – 17
Esther could have been put to death. We need to remember that there had been another queen once before who disobeyed and ignored the King’s commands and disrespected his position. King Xerxes could have easily put Esther to death.
Yet, with the passionate plea and conviction of Mordecai, Esther complied at great risk to her own personal safety.
What did she risk:
A, Her life
B. Her position and reputation
C. Her safety and security
What are you willing to risk for a world at risk? Our world is lost but doesn’t know it.
Are you willing to risk walking across the street or down the block to welcome a new neighbor and invite them to church? Are you willing to risk our riches, not everything, but a commitment to give to the AAEO and North American Missions? God is not asking you to die for Him. He wants you to live for Him. Everyday, right where you are, bloom where you’re planted. .
III. THE RESULTS OF TOUCHING THE WORLD AND IMPACTING ETERNITY
The Deliverance of the Jews, Esther 7-8
The Destruction of the enemies of God’s people, Esther 9
The Designation of a time of Celebration and Remembrance, 9:18 The Feast of Purim
Therefore the Jews of the villages who dwelt in the unwalled towns celebrated the fourteenth day of the month of Adar with gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and for sending presents to one another.
Touching their world and impacting eternity is exactly what our 5000 North American missionaries are doing everyday.
That’s what Bill and Arlene Barker are doing throughout America’s Appalachia where more than 13 million unchurched people reside.
That’s what Gary Irby is doing in the great Northwest where less than 4% are Christians.
That’s what Leroy and Carolyn Fountain are doing in Texas and Jeff and Thea Ford are doing in our own state of Alabama along the Gulf Coast Resort area.
Everyday, one life at a time, we touch our world and impact eternity. As a Christian, whose life are you touching?