Note: This week Pastor Mark preached the sermon “Jesus Is a Better Servant” out of Esther 5:1–14 for part 5 in our sermon series on the book of Esther. Here are some social media highlights from this week’s sermon. Share the sermon with this shortened link: http://jesus.to/PhvIFE
Through the story of God’s covenant people in Esther, we learn to not question God’s providence, but assume it. “Coincidence” is the non-Christian’s word for providence. We learn from the examples of Haman and Mordecai that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. And grieving accomplishes nothing without repenting, as we see when Haman only has worldly sorrow and never truly repents.
Don’t question the providence of God. Assume it. #betterservant
Coincidence is the non-Christians word for providence. #betterservant
Pride is about my glory, but humility is about God’s glory. #betterservant
The truth is we deserve hell. Everything is a gift. That’s a lot of gifts. #betterservant
Grieving accomplishes nothing without repenting. Worldly sorrow grieves the effects of sin, but not the offense of sin. #betterservant
The way out of pride is not to look at yourself, it’s to look at Jesus’ humility. #betterservant
Everyone is proud, just in different ways. You’re proud and they’re proud, and you see their pride because it’s different than yours, and they see your pride because it’s different than theirs. We’re all proud in different ways.
Some of us want money, some of us want comfort, some of us want power, some of us want an audience, some of us want access to authority and leadership. We’re all proud in different ways, and when we judge and condemn other people for their pride, we need to also ask, “And how am I blind to my own?” We’re all proud in different ways.
Humility is more of a direction than a destination. None of you can say, “I used to be proud. Glad that’s over.” In C. J. Mahaney’s book, Humility, he says, “No one can ever say they’re humble. All they could say is that they’re a proud person pursuing humility by the grace of God.” We can never say, “I’ve arrived at the destination of humility,” but we can say, “By the grace of God, I want to venture in the direction of humility.”
When we dress ourselves every morning, we also have to spiritually clothe ourselves in humility. “God, help me to grow in humility today. Send the Holy Spirit to grow me in humility. Show me my sin. Let me ask questions about what glorifies you, not me.”
There are very few conflicts between the humble and the humble. It’s not like there’s a long list of wars that started between the humble and the humble. Now, the proud and the proud? There’s a good fight. Are you a person that has a lot of conflict? If so, then maybe you’re proud.
Augustine said that pride is the mother of all sin. Here are some questions about pride for you to think, talk, and pray about:
Do you crave attention, honor, recognition, or reward?
Do you become jealous or critical of people who succeed?
Do you always have to win? Do you lack ambition for fear of failing?
Do you have a pattern of lying about or hiding your failures?
Do you have a hard time fully acknowledging you were wrong?
Sin is birthed out of pride, and glory to God is birthed out of humility. It all comes back to the question of who gets the glory.
We're all proud in different ways. Even if we are able to hide it from other people, God looks at the heart, says Proverbs. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble, we're told in both 1 Peter 5 and James 4. Haman's pride was tragic because he wanted to be like his king—but he had the wrong king. If we look up to anyone other than Jesus, it's the wrong king.
Back in chapter 2 of Esther, Mordecai uncovered a plot to kill the king. But it took the king another four to five years to acknowledge, much less reward, Mordecai for saving his life. In that time, Mordecai continued to work as a humble servant for the well-being of not just God's people, but the whole culture. That's the heart of a missionary.
COMMUNITY GROUP QUESTIONS
- As you look back on your life, where have you seen the providence of God?
- Do you tend more toward an attitude of entitlement or thankfulness?
- Do you crave attention, honor, recognition, or reward?
- Do you become jealous or critical of people who succeed?
- Do you always have to win? Do you lack ambition for fear of failing?
- Do you have a pattern of lying about or hiding your failures?
- Do you have a hard time fully acknowledging you were wrong?
- If you focus on the humility of Jesus, how does it provide you a way out of your pride?