OceanSide church of Christ
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I COULD, BUT…
Victor M. Eskew
A. Most Christians are familiar with the story of Esther.
1. Esther was a young Jewish girl who was selected by King Ahasuerus to be his bride after he deposed Vashti.
2. During the course of her reign, an evil man named Haman plotted to kill all of the Jews.
3. Esther had a cousin named Mordecai, who understood that the only person in a position at the time to save the Jews was Esther.
B. The communication between Mordecai and Esther.
1. Modecai communicated to Esther “that she should to in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him for her people” (Esther 4:8b).
2. To this request, Esther send an interesting response (Esther 4:11).
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 scepter, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days.
3. Basically, Esther’s reply was: “I could go in unto the king, but…”
a. She had a reason as to why she thought she could not do it.
b. Her reason was a pretty good one. She could be put to death.
c. Most of us would hear this and be satisfied that she should not take any action.
C. There are many times that we are quick to say the same thing Esther said on this occasion: “I Could, but…”
1. This is the title of our lesson this morning.
2. I want us to make application of this to our lives by looking at some of the reasons we give for not doing necessary things.
I. I COULD ATTEND WORSHIP SERVICES MORE FAITHFULLY, BUT…
A. I work hard and Sunday is my only day to relax.
1. These individuals have turned the Lord’s Day into their day.
2. Their reasoning is selfish instead of sacrificial.
3. They reward themselves and relegate God to second, third, or fourth place.
4. Colossians 3:1-4
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
a. You are alive.
b. You are commanded.
c. You are dead.
d. You are hopeful.
B. I am not really that interested in spiritual things.
1. These individual are honest, but deeply flawed.
2. These individuals are ignorant of what is most important.
3. What they are not interested in today will be their deepest concern at the last.
4. These individuals are foolish according to the Lord (Matt. 7:26-27).
And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
II. I COULD PARTICIPATE IN THE WORKS OF THE CHURCH, BUT…
A. I am an extremely busy person.
1. These individuals fail to understand their role as a member of Christ’s body.
2. These individuals have problems with prioritization.
3. These individuals do not recognize their purpose as a redeemed person.
4. Ephesians 2:10
For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
B. I do not see our works as being very productive and beneficial.
1. These individuals are often not very honest in their evaluations.
2. These individuals are critics that bring doom instead of being catalysts for success.
3. These individuals condemn, but they are not involved in creativity that builds up.
4. I Thessalonians 1:3
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.
III. I COULD BECOME A LEADER IN THE CHURCH, BUT…
A. I do not desire any position of leadership.
1. These individuals do not desire the things of God.
2. These individuals seem to think God will not hold them accountable for their choice.
3. These individuals refuse to acknowledge that desires are cultivated.
4. Judges 9:14-15
Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us. And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.
B. There are others who are more qualified than I am.
1. These individuals are involved in a comparison game.
2. These individuals underestimate the power of God to work through them.
3. These individuals are hiding the talents God gave them rather than using them.
4. Matthew 25:26-30
His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have in abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
IV. I COULD GIVE MORE, BUT…
A. I think I give enough as it is.
1. These individuals are deceived into thinking that they could ever give enough.
2. These individuals have probably never really looked at what percentage of their income they really give. When this is done, most of the time is it NOT enough.
3. These individuals have a “barely get by” mentality.
4. Acts 20:35
I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
B. I believe the church has enough money at this time.
1. These individuals fail to understand that the church might be meeting its budget, but it never has enough.
2. These individuals need to remember that God does not need any of our money.
3. These individuals are the ones who criticize when the contribution is below the budgeted amount and when it continues to stay above the budgeted amount.
4. II Corinthians 8:7
Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.
A. How many things do we say: “I could, but….” to?
1. I could learn more, but…
2. I could evangelize more, but…
3. I could teach, but…
4. I could be more like Jesus, but…
B. Remember, we opened with Esther. She told Mordecai that I could go in unto the king, but it could cost me my life.
1. Mordecai could have agreed with her. He could have told her that she was right and she needed to spare her life.
2. But, he did not. He exhorted her to go in unto the king.
3. She did, and aren’t we glad she did. Her bravery saved a race of people from the hand of an evil man named, Haman.
C. This is why we preach lessons like this. To not let you off the hook, but to encourage you to do what you know you can do.
1. To attend the worship services of the church more faithfully.
2. To participate more in the work of the church.
3. To become a leader in the church.
4. To give more when you know you can.
D. The Bible exhorts us to not forsake the assembly (Heb. 10:25), to labor diligently in the kingdom (Heb. 4:11), to put our talents to work (Matt. 25:20-23), and to give generously (Mark 12:43-44).