Istrouma Baptist Church Podcast
Stand: Week 4, September 27, 2015

Transcript pending shortly

 

Stand

“The Original Beauty and the Beast”

Daniel 4:1-37

 

Key verse: “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble” (Daniel 4:37).

 

  1. Restless before God
    1. Comfortable in his house
    2. Concerned in his heart
  2. Revelation from God
    1. The message God sends
    2. The mercy God shows
  3. Resistance to God
    1. A continuing rebellion
    2. A costly rebellion
  4. Restoration by God
    1. Lift your vision
    2. Lift your voice

 

Direct download: IBC_20150927.mp3
Category:Stand -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Stand: Week 3, September 20, 2015

Stand

“A Foxhole Faith or a Furnace Faith?”

Daniel 3:1-30

(SERMON TRANSCRIPT FOLLOWS)

 

Key verse: “If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).

 

 

  1. A furnace faith will not bow
    1. In compromise
    2. In conformity
  2. A furnace faith will not bend
    1. Before second chances
    2. Because of sure convictions
      1. He is strong
      2. He is sufficient
    3. A furnace faith will not burn
      1. Fires happen
      2. Fires help

 

 

 

There’s an old adage that says, there’s no atheist in a foxhole. I don’t know if you can prove that you can prove that. There have been some atheists who claim to be so in a foxhole, but when the bullets are whizzing by your head, and your life is on the line, people tend to seek and strike bargains with God. It would kind of go like this, “God, if you spare my life, if you get me out of this mess, I’ll believe in you.” “God, if you heal me of this cancer that I have, I'll serve you.” “God, if you will you, fill in the blank, then I will, fill in the black.” that's what we would call a foxhole faith. I really don't belittle that or make fun of it because I guess that’s a better faith and none. God is so gracious. He sometimes bows and concedes to that kind of a faith. But really not the kind of faith that honors God. What we want to do today is draw a contrast between what we might call foxhole faith, on one side, and a furnace faith, on the other side. Now a furnace faith is very different from a foxhole faith. Here’s what the furnace faith says. “God, even if you don't get me out of this mess, I still am going to believe in you.” “God, even if you don't heal me from my cancer, I know you're still good and you deserve my allegiance.” “God, even if you don't get me the promotion that I been working for praying for, God even then, I’m still going to praise your name. That’s the kind of faith that God wants every one of us to have. Not a foxhole faith but instead, grow up, and get a furnace faith.

 

Now where would you meet with some guys that have that kind of faith? Well I got good news for you. We’re going to meet them this morning. They’re right there in your Bible and if you’ll open up your Bibles to Daniel chapter 3 you’re going to meet them. Daniel chapter 3 and the whole chapter tells the story of three young guys. I'm only going to read a portion of the chapter to get us cranked up and going. We’re going to read verses 1 through 18. But really listen to this now, all right because this is a launchpad for our message. Lets stand up to show honor to God's word, all right. You can sit for my word but we’re going to stand up for God’s word. Here we go. Daniel chapter three, we’re going to start in verse one. King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And the herald proclaimed aloud, “You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.” Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. They declared to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.”  Here, perhaps is the key question in the whole chapter. “And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.

 

Lets pray. God I know that there have been times in my life when I’ve bargained with you. I’ve had a foxhole faith of sorts. Asking you to do things for that and me if you would, I would in turn do something for you. God I pray that you just blow that approach to you away today. And that all of us would come you, not in some kind of bargaining position but just to say, Lord even if you don't do what we prefer, even if we go through the fire, God we're going to seek by your grace to be faithful to you. Grant us, God, a furnace faith, I pray in Jesus name, Amen.

 

Please be seated. Well this morning, we are going to meet three very courageous men. And let me just go ahead and tell you guys, I’m going to have to be quick this morning alright, because when we finish this message, you’re going to meet a couple of other courageous young men who are going to take their stand for Christ in baptism and I want to gear up for that already. Because every one of us, needs to decide for whom we will stand and before whom we will not bow. These three young men made the right decisions and I want to share the story with you. And I know for a lot of you, you've heard this story, you know it. Its almost like Goldilocks and the Three Bears or Hansel and Gretel, except it's not. This is true. This is exactly what happened. It’s God working miraculously on the behalf of his children. I want you to perk up as though you never heard it before and we’re going to follow Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, as they demonstrate a furnace faith.

 

Now there was a song, sung many years ago, and I’m not going to sing it for you. I know you’re glad, but it's about these three young men they wouldn't bow, they wouldn't bend, they wouldn't burn. And that’s going to be the outline I’m going to follow this morning. Number one by the way if you want to follow along, just turnover on the back of your worship guide there is an outline and that you can write in some things as God impresses them on you.

 

Number one, a furnace faith, all right, its what were talking about. A furnace faith will not bow. Furnace faith will not bow. Now that there are a couple of temptations that came these young men's way. They were, first of all, tempted to bow in compromise. The King, the mighty King of Babylon, the greatest king of his day had erected this giant statue. I want you guys to just get in your mind's eye, the magnitude of this. Maybe you can conjure up the image of other statues that you know. Here’s one you have seen before. It’s the statue of Christ the Redeemer. It’s in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. And that statue spans about 60 cubits high. The very dimensions, within a few feet, of the statue that was erected in the plains of Dura. Can you imagine that the grandeur of that scene. Here is this mighty statue, an idol, erected by King Nebuchadnezzar. It was made of solid gold. What would the worth be of that? You know that gold sells for about $1500 an ounce. This is 90 feet tall. Solid gold. And it dazzles in that desert sun. And he commands that everyone at the sound of the orchestra, they will hit their knees, in obeisance to that idol. And I know all of you have been to the stadium and maybe some of you guys were yesterday at the Stadium and you’ve seen in a crowd, the wave right? It starts over in one section, someone will stand up and then it goes through the whole and the wave passes through. Will I imagine here an inverse wave? Because at the sound of that trumpet, when they saw the fiery furnace over there smoldering in the distance. And by the way, you remember that Babylon had its start as a place called Babel. You guys remember Babel? It’s where they were going to erect the Tower to the heavens. And many scholars believe that the brick kiln, K I L N, in the brick furnace, that was used to make all the bricks that built a tower toward heaven in Babel, this is the same fiery furnace where threatened to be cast there if they don’t bow down. Now, so here we come. Here is the inverse wave. And boy then the music sounds, they all in terror, they hit their knees. Perhaps the get on their face. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are the exception to this. Here comes the inverse wave and those three boys stand there. I don’t know that they made a scene; I don’t think they shouted out, I don’t think they try to draw attention to this. They just, in humility, yet loyalty to the Lord, the just stood their ground. They were tempted to compromise. They had a reason to be afraid. The king of Babylon set bow down. They had a greater fear than the king of Babylon; they feared the King of Kings. And the King of Babylon said bow down, the King of Kings said, don’t you bow down. Where did he say that? You remember? You guys know your Ten Commandments? Lets just start the very beginning. Number one, Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Number two… Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images, nor shall you bow down to them. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had a choice to make.

 

Are we going to compromise? Are we going to go along to get along? Are we ore are we going to standup for what God has said. I want to challenge every one of you listening to me today, to have a furnace faith. And to say God, I’m going to stand for you no matter how hot it gets in the kitchen. They wouldn't compromise. Not only would they not compromise, they wouldn't conform. You see a furnace faith will not bow down in conformity to what the world demands of us. And you know we’re living in a day when it seems as though the pressure to conform is as great as it's ever been in my lifetime. There was a time when our culture kind of aided you in your walk toward Christ, at least to some degree. Ostensibly, but today it's as though, the culture is going one way and God is saying go the other. You have to be like a fish willing to swim upstream if you're going to stand for the Lord. When that inverse wave hit everybody was bowing down. Everybody’s doing it. Everybody’s getting wasted. Everybody’s doing drugs. Everybody’s sleeping together before they're married. Everybody’s morals are changing. Everybody’s conception of marriage is changing and everybody's doing it. No. Everybody is not doing it. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are not doing it. They’re standing for the Lord. And I want to challenge a whole auditorium of people here, to be willing, in the furnace, when the fire is hot to say, “I am not going to bow.” what God has said, by his grace, and for his glory, I'm going to seek to be obedient.

 

You know peer pressure is powerful. There’s an experiment done, some years ago, to illustrate the power of peer pressure. Here’s the way it was done. It was done by a psychologist, her name was Ruth Berenda, and they worked with teenagers. And would all you teenagers, look right up here. Here was the experiment that teenagers, at a time, come into a room. Nine of the 10 were in on the deal. One of them though, was like the guinea pig. And so they would come in ten at a time and what they were asked to do was to raise their hand when the teacher pointed to the longest line on the board. There were a number of lines. Each of a different length. It was obvious which is the longest and had before hand agreed, with the nine, when we point to the second longest all of you raise your hand. And the experiment was to see what would the one teenager do that was not In the know. So the teacher began to point to the lines. Raise your hand will become the longest line. When the teacher pointed to the next to the longest line, all nine hands went up. They were watching I guess through two-mirrors or something like that and they watched as invariably, the one teenager that was, like not in the in the know on this, they would look around, with a bewildered look, and be like [shyly raises hand]. 75% of the time. They were just doing what everybody else was doing and don't we feel this? There is such a temptation to conform.

 

Listen to what God says. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds. Proving what is that good and acceptable of will of God be transformed by his words .I would challenge us to stand. Even if there is peer pressure to go the other way. And let me just add this one other thought and then ill go on. Pressure is not a sin. Peer pressure is a fact. I’m going to say it again. Peer pressure is not a sin. Peer pressure is a fact. What does that mean? That means, if you got good friends, peer pressure can work to your advantage. But if you have poor friends, peer pressure can work to tear you down. Do you think it’s coincidental that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stood? What difference did it make to Shadrach that he had Meshach and Abednego to stand with him? I believe it helped him. Peer pressure can work for you. And I'm so glad for you collegians and you high schoolers and you middle schoolers that are standing together. Be involved in the student ministries here. Be involved in the collegiate ministry. Man if it Micah says Hey were going to get together and we’re going to stand on our heads, just bring your pillow and come on man. Whatever were doing, you be involved in it. because peer pressure isn’t a sin, its just a fact. If you get good peers, they will help you toward God.

 

All right so, number one. A furnace faith will not bow. Number two. A furnace faith will not even bend. All right now. This is bow right? You get down like this. This is bow. Those boys wouldn’t even bend. They wouldn't do it in the face of a second chance. Now this is a part of the story you may not have noticed when were going through it in that initial reading. Let me just review this for you. The king gave the command, right. Everybody bow down when you hear the music. And everyone bowed down in the inverted way except these three guys. There were there some tattle tales in the group. Who likes the tattletale? Nobody likes a tattletale but here come the tattletale's. O king, live-forever, they’re buttering him up. There’s some Jews that you appointed, they're jealous of these men and they don't pay attention to anything you say O King. And that was in exaggeration. Those are good young men. They are in fact; the King had concluded that they were 10 times better than all the other servants. He actually, I believe, really liked those young men. But they don't pay any attention you King, they don’t bow down to your gods. They don't worship the idol that you set up. The latter half is certainly true, they would not bow. And so the king, the Bible says was enraged. Now watch this. When the Bible says that he was enraged, my own conviction is that he was not enraged solely at those three young men. I think he was enraged because of the tattletales. He was enraged because these three young men whose service he valued now, or he's put into this quandary of what to do with them, because obviously they defied his authority. If he lets them go, it undermines his authority before all. And he is enraged at this. He wishes that it had not been brought to his attention. Now why do I say that? It’s because he gave him a second chance. Had his rage been solely and wholly against them, he would just execute them. But I think he had an affection for these young men I believe their witness to him had been strong. He knew there was something remarkable about the young men. And he said, boys, I’m going to give you another chance. Right. Here is what we’re going to do. Same song, second verse. Were going to tap the baton, and we’re going to crank up the orchestra and when they do, fool me once shame on you, burn me twice shame on me. I’m not going to let you get me again. This is your last opportunity. Going once, going twice. He gives them a second chance. Did you know that’s the way the devil works? The devil is always going to come and give you a second chance. He's going to tempt you. And if you don’t yield to it, it’s not like the devil just gives up. Doesn’t say oh man, he whooped me. Ill just give, all right. He’s a hause, I ain't gonna mess with him. NO. The devil is going to come after you a second time. He is going to give you a second chance. You don’t believe me? Do you remember what happened to Jesus? We’re talking Jesus here. Jesus all right. Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. This is Luke chapter 4. Listen to what happened at the very end of those temptations. Jesus triumphed in everyone. Partly because he knew the word of God and he quoted it to Satan. He whipped him. Listen to how it includes. Luke, the Bible says, that Satan left him for a more opportune time. That is, the devil wasn't even giving up on Jesus. He is going to come after him again. And he did. Don’t think you not to come after you, he is. I want to challenge you, don't bow, don’t even bend. Don’t even bend when a second chance comes your way. Do you know why they didn't bend; do you know why they didn’t bow? Because they had some sure convictions. I mean they were rock-ribbed in what they believed. Now I want you to look at the verses that are on the screen. You are going to see the convictions that they held. And this is what you make you stand when everybody else's bowing. The Bible says, when threatened again a second time, “if this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the fiery furnace and he will deliver us out of your hand, O King. But if not,” now mark those words, “but if not, be it known to you O King, that we will not serve your gods.” now what are the convictions that shine in those verses? Number one, they had a conviction that God is strong. I love what they said, “our God is able,” he is able to deliver us and he will, they had a conviction that God was strong. In fact he is stronger than anyone. I love that truth reinforced in the New Testament. But now unto him is able, to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or imagine. Friends of our God is strong and he is Almighty deserves our allegiance. So they had that conviction. And then, the other condition that they have was he was sufficient, he was sufficient. Now listen to what they said, and here we come to the furnace faith in its purest form. Our God is able to deliver us, we believe he is going to, but if not, but if not, but if not! I love phrase. If he doesn't deliver then I’m just going to give up on God, I’m just going to quit, I’m just going to throw my Bible away, If God doesn’t do what I want….is that what they said? No, I love what they said. They said, “but if not,” if he doesn't rescue us, we are still not going to bow down to the idol that you have made. We are not going to serve your gods. They believed that God, in himself, was sufficient. God is enough. He alone is worthy. Not for the gifts that he gives me. What if I got sick of cancer? Say God you heal me from my cancer, and if you don't heal me, then forget you God. That’s a foxhole faith. Right. God, my marriage is falling apart and God if you'll save my marriage then I'll follow you. God I need this new job. God I’ve worked hard for this. I deserve this new job. God if you'll do this for me, then I'll follow you. NO, these young men said, “but if not.”

 

I’m going to tell you a story out of World War II. It’s a true story and it was set on the beach in France. This is in 1940. Early in the war. And was not going well for the Allied cause, in fact, the United States and not even entered World War II yet. And Hitler and the blitzkrieg were rolling across France. The British had come to France’s aid and there were over three hundred thousand Brits in France trying stop the onslaught of Hitler. But they weren’t faring well. And they had retreated as far as they could go. They had gotten right up against what he called the English Channel. There were in a little port called Dunkirk. There was no escape. Hitler's Panzer divisions were surrounding them. The enemy. And behind them was the ocean. England was terrified that they would lose 300,000 of their finest. Their governing authorities declared a day of fasting, and prayer that God would intervene. One of the stories that comes out of that battle was of one of the commanders there in Dunkirk. It said that he simply sent a telegram back to England. The question was what are you going to do in the face of this overwhelming enemy when it seems as though there's no escape. He answered with a three-word telegram. His words were, “but if not.” We want to be rescued. We want to be saved from this dilemma. But if not, were still going to face the enemy. But if not, were still going to hold the line. But is not, we’re going to give our lives in service for right. But if not. I don’t know if you know the story, its called The Miracle of Dunkirk. God blessed and it was a remarkable story of how they rescued out 338,000 soldiers. Many of them were rescued to what they called The Little Boats of Dunkirk. There weren’t enough army boats to get them all, so mom and pop got in their little trawlers and in their little dingys and went across the British Channel and rescued those men. It’s a great, great story. But I love the commander. But if not! We’re not going to bow before you. Were not going to even bend.

 

How does it conclude then? What happened to these three young men? Well, if you won't bow and you wont bend, then you wont burn. Furnace faith will not burn. You know the story don't you? The Bible says that the king was furious now, doubly so. He ordered that the furnace be heated up seven times its original level. And they bound those men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They threw them into the fiery furnace still bound. So hot was the fire that the burly men who carried to the mouth of that oven and threw them in were overtaken by the flame and in the heat. They were killed. Down went Shadrach Meshach and Abednego. Bound into the flames. Apparently there at the floor of the furnace there was an opening through which, perhaps, they injected the fuel for the flame and the king was positioned just so he could see those three young men. Perhaps he imagined that he would in glee, watch their bodies burst into flames and be consumed. But instead as he looked into the furnace, he was amazed. He asked some of the other attendants, he said, “How many men did we throw into the fire?” they said, “O King, we cast in three.” He said, “How is it that when I look in there, I don’t see three men, I see four? And the fourth is like a son of the gods.” There was something about that one that glowed. Probably redundant, but he shown with the Shekinah glory. Who was that fourth man? Do you know who it was? It was a Christophany. It was an appearance of the Lord Jesus pre-incarnate. Jesus had come to the fire to rescue them.

 

What do we learn from this? Number one. Fire happens. Listen, if you live here on this Earth, you are going to have some fires come your way. There are going to be some difficulties. You’re going to get sick. Your child is going to get sick. Your relationships are going to be frazzled or broken. You’re going to have disappointments in your life. Fire happens to all of us. Doesn’t the Bible say? The sun shines on the just and the unjust. Rain falls on the just and unjust. You are going to go through the fire. Those young men did end up in the fire because they were disobeying God, those young men ended up in trouble because they were obeying God. God didn’t rescue them from the fire; God rescued them through the fire. He’s going to do the same for you. Fire happens. You better get ready. You better know Jesus, so that when you're in the fire he's there with you. Can we do a little math? Here’s a little math problem, all you bright university students. Let me give you a math problem. How many men were cast into the fire? Three. How many appeared there? Four. Four men in the fire. How many came out? How many are left in the fire? One. You know where Jesus is? So often, you’re going to find Jesus the fire. Trouble comes your way. You’re going to find him, as you never did before. He’s going to grow you. In fact, listen to this. Listen! Fire helps. That’s the last thing up here [pointing to sermon outline]. Fire happens and fire helps. They were thrown in bound. So how is it that they were walking about in the fire? You know how it is that they were walking about in the fire? The only thing that got burned was the ropes that bound them. When they came, because the King said, “come out, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.” And they came out and they went over to them, and they said, “Man! Your clothes aren’t even singed. Your hairs not singed. Even the sent of smoke is not on you.” The only thing they lost was the thing that bound them. Listen you go through hard times in your life, the only thing you lose are things you need to lose. There’s freedom in the fire. When we get into difficulties your going find Jesus closer is ever been.

 

All right now. To conclude. The story is told about a wagon train. It was traveling across the West, and as they traveled westward, they heard, behind them, the crackling of fire. They knew the sound. All of us have been watching fires out west. Those that were in the wagon train, they looked behind them and as far as they could see along the horizon, there were bright walls of flames. Smoke was billowing toward the heavens and the wind was blowing very fiercely. They knew that they could not outrun that line of fire. It would soon overtake them. There they are in the middle of the plains, no place to escape. What would they do?   Many of them began to despair. Thought this would be there end. Then one enterprising person among them knelt down and he lit a match and he sat the grass in front of them ablaze. Now the same wind that's pushing the flames toward them catches this new blaze. And it begins to burn the grass in front of them and the brush in front of them. So now two fires are raging. Both going westward, one behind them, one front of them. Then you know what those enterprising settlers did? They simply rolled forward into the part of the plains that now is already been burned. You know what folks? Fire can't burn the same place twice. Once all that’s combustible been burned away, the safest place you can these were the fires already burned. What am I saying to you? Jesus was in the fire. That’s not the only time Jesus has been in the fire. When on the cross, God’s righteous judgment and wrath against sin was being poured out. You can imagine it a flame, as it were. The holiness of God, bringing judgment to bear. The Bible says, the soul that sins it shall surely die. The wages of sin is death God's holiness demanded that sin be punished. Did he just wink at sin? There would be no justice in him; there would be no holiness in him. No, sin must be judged. And Jesus, there on the cross, took our place. And it's as though the fire of Heaven burned across the ground at the cross. If you will, buy faith, step into that place where Jesus suffered your wrath, the fire can no longer touch you. You’ll be safe. You’ll be safe.

 

These young men hey listen; they didn’t have a foxhole faith. Now man the bullets were whizzing. Their lives were in jeopardy, but they were bargaining. They weren’t saying God if you’ll get me out of this, I am going to love you. God if you’ll get ne out of this, I’m going to serve you. No, they said God, if you don’t; we’re still going to love you. We’re still going to serve you. Now I want to challenge my own heart, as I do yours, to have more than a foxhole faith. If that's all you can muster, I guess I'll be glad for that, but it is not enough friends. God wants us to honor him by faith says, even if not. Even if not, I’m going to follow you. Now I’m going to pray for us. Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to pray for us, then we’re going to see, two very courageous young men take their stand. And then we’re going to sing and praise to God. And when all that’s done and we’re dismissed. I’m going to remain here with some of the staff members to receive any of you that want to talk about faith in the Lord Jesus. How to know him as your Savior. All right, so lets pray to together God we give you praise for the testimony of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These young men, who wouldn’t bow, who wouldn’t bend. Thank you God, they didn't burn. You rescued them. Lord we know that you will meet us in our fires and you will help us. You’re able. You’re strong. You’re sufficient. You merit our love and our allegiance. May we give it to you. God give us grace to do that, we pray in Jesus name, Amen.

 

 

Direct download: IBC_20150920.mp3
Category:Stand -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

There’s an old adage that says, there’s no atheist in a foxhole. I don’t know if you can prove that you can prove that. There have been some atheists who claim to be so in a foxhole, but when the bullets are whizzing by your head, and your life is on the line, people tend to seek and strike bargains with God. It would kind of go like this, “God, if you spare my life, if you get me out of this mess, I’ll believe in you.” “God, if you heal me of this cancer that I have, I'll serve you.” “God, if you will you, fill in the blank, then I will, fill in the black.” that's what we would call a foxhole faith. I really don't belittle that or make fun of it because I guess that’s a better faith and none. God is so gracious. He sometimes bows and concedes to that kind of a faith. But really not the kind of faith that honors God. What we want to do today is draw a contrast between what we might call foxhole faith, on one side, and a furnace faith, on the other side. Now a furnace faith is very different from a foxhole faith. Here’s what the furnace faith says. “God, even if you don't get me out of this mess, I still am going to believe in you.” “God, even if you don't heal me from my cancer, I know you're still good and you deserve my allegiance.” “God, even if you don't get me the promotion that I been working for praying for, God even then, I’m still going to praise your name. That’s the kind of faith that God wants every one of us to have. Not a foxhole faith but instead, grow up, and get a furnace faith.

 

Now where would you meet with some guys that have that kind of faith? Well I got good news for you. We’re going to meet them this morning. They’re right there in your Bible and if you’ll open up your Bibles to Daniel chapter 3 you’re going to meet them. Daniel chapter 3 and the whole chapter tells the story of three young guys. I'm only going to read a portion of the chapter to get us cranked up and going. We’re going to read verses 1 through 18. But really listen to this now, all right because this is a launchpad for our message. Lets stand up to show honor to God's word, all right. You can sit for my word but we’re going to stand up for God’s word. Here we go. Daniel chapter three, we’re going to start in verse one. King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And the herald proclaimed aloud, “You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.” Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. They declared to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.”  Here, perhaps is the key question in the whole chapter. “And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.

 

Lets pray. God I know that there have been times in my life when I’ve bargained with you. I’ve had a foxhole faith of sorts. Asking you to do things for that and me if you would, I would in turn do something for you. God I pray that you just blow that approach to you away today. And that all of us would come you, not in some kind of bargaining position but just to say, Lord even if you don't do what we prefer, even if we go through the fire, God we're going to seek by your grace to be faithful to you. Grant us, God, a furnace faith, I pray in Jesus name, Amen.

 

Please be seated. Well this morning, we are going to meet three very courageous men. And let me just go ahead and tell you guys, I’m going to have to be quick this morning alright, because when we finish this message, you’re going to meet a couple of other courageous young men who are going to take their stand for Christ in baptism and I want to gear up for that already. Because every one of us, needs to decide for whom we will stand and before whom we will not bow. These three young men made the right decisions and I want to share the story with you. And I know for a lot of you, you've heard this story, you know it. Its almost like Goldilocks and the Three Bears or Hansel and Gretel, except it's not. This is true. This is exactly what happened. It’s God working miraculously on the behalf of his children. I want you to perk up as though you never heard it before and we’re going to follow Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, as they demonstrate a furnace faith.

 

Now there was a song, sung many years ago, and I’m not going to sing it for you. I know you’re glad, but it's about these three young men they wouldn't bow, they wouldn't bend, they wouldn't burn. And that’s going to be the outline I’m going to follow this morning. Number one by the way if you want to follow along, just turnover on the back of your worship guide there is an outline and that you can write in some things as God impresses them on you.

 

Number one, a furnace faith, all right, its what were talking about. A furnace faith will not bow. Furnace faith will not bow. Now that there are a couple of temptations that came these young men's way. They were, first of all, tempted to bow in compromise. The King, the mighty King of Babylon, the greatest king of his day had erected this giant statue. I want you guys to just get in your mind's eye, the magnitude of this. Maybe you can conjure up the image of other statues that you know. Here’s one you have seen before. It’s the statue of Christ the Redeemer. It’s in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. And that statue spans about 60 cubits high. The very dimensions, within a few feet, of the statue that was erected in the plains of Dura. Can you imagine that the grandeur of that scene. Here is this mighty statue, an idol, erected by King Nebuchadnezzar. It was made of solid gold. What would the worth be of that? You know that gold sells for about $1500 an ounce. This is 90 feet tall. Solid gold. And it dazzles in that desert sun. And he commands that everyone at the sound of the orchestra, they will hit their knees, in obeisance to that idol. And I know all of you have been to the stadium and maybe some of you guys were yesterday at the Stadium and you’ve seen in a crowd, the wave right? It starts over in one section, someone will stand up and then it goes through the whole and the wave passes through. Will I imagine here an inverse wave? Because at the sound of that trumpet, when they saw the fiery furnace over there smoldering in the distance. And by the way, you remember that Babylon had its start as a place called Babel. You guys remember Babel? It’s where they were going to erect the Tower to the heavens. And many scholars believe that the brick kiln, K I L N, in the brick furnace, that was used to make all the bricks that built a tower toward heaven in Babel, this is the same fiery furnace where threatened to be cast there if they don’t bow down. Now, so here we come. Here is the inverse wave. And boy then the music sounds, they all in terror, they hit their knees. Perhaps the get on their face. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are the exception to this. Here comes the inverse wave and those three boys stand there. I don’t know that they made a scene; I don’t think they shouted out, I don’t think they try to draw attention to this. They just, in humility, yet loyalty to the Lord, the just stood their ground. They were tempted to compromise. They had a reason to be afraid. The king of Babylon set bow down. They had a greater fear than the king of Babylon; they feared the King of Kings. And the King of Babylon said bow down, the King of Kings said, don’t you bow down. Where did he say that? You remember? You guys know your Ten Commandments? Lets just start the very beginning. Number one, Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Number two… Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images, nor shall you bow down to them. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had a choice to make.

 

Are we going to compromise? Are we going to go along to get along? Are we ore are we going to standup for what God has said. I want to challenge every one of you listening to me today, to have a furnace faith. And to say God, I’m going to stand for you no matter how hot it gets in the kitchen. They wouldn't compromise. Not only would they not compromise, they wouldn't conform. You see a furnace faith will not bow down in conformity to what the world demands of us. And you know we’re living in a day when it seems as though the pressure to conform is as great as it's ever been in my lifetime. There was a time when our culture kind of aided you in your walk toward Christ, at least to some degree. Ostensibly, but today it's as though, the culture is going one way and God is saying go the other. You have to be like a fish willing to swim upstream if you're going to stand for the Lord. When that inverse wave hit everybody was bowing down. Everybody’s doing it. Everybody’s getting wasted. Everybody’s doing drugs. Everybody’s sleeping together before they're married. Everybody’s morals are changing. Everybody’s conception of marriage is changing and everybody's doing it. No. Everybody is not doing it. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are not doing it. They’re standing for the Lord. And I want to challenge a whole auditorium of people here, to be willing, in the furnace, when the fire is hot to say, “I am not going to bow.” what God has said, by his grace, and for his glory, I'm going to seek to be obedient.

 

You know peer pressure is powerful. There’s an experiment done, some years ago, to illustrate the power of peer pressure. Here’s the way it was done. It was done by a psychologist, her name was Ruth Berenda, and they worked with teenagers. And would all you teenagers, look right up here. Here was the experiment that teenagers, at a time, come into a room. Nine of the 10 were in on the deal. One of them though, was like the guinea pig. And so they would come in ten at a time and what they were asked to do was to raise their hand when the teacher pointed to the longest line on the board. There were a number of lines. Each of a different length. It was obvious which is the longest and had before hand agreed, with the nine, when we point to the second longest all of you raise your hand. And the experiment was to see what would the one teenager do that was not In the know. So the teacher began to point to the lines. Raise your hand will become the longest line. When the teacher pointed to the next to the longest line, all nine hands went up. They were watching I guess through two-mirrors or something like that and they watched as invariably, the one teenager that was, like not in the in the know on this, they would look around, with a bewildered look, and be like [shyly raises hand]. 75% of the time. They were just doing what everybody else was doing and don't we feel this? There is such a temptation to conform.

 

Listen to what God says. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds. Proving what is that good and acceptable of will of God be transformed by his words .I would challenge us to stand. Even if there is peer pressure to go the other way. And let me just add this one other thought and then ill go on. Pressure is not a sin. Peer pressure is a fact. I’m going to say it again. Peer pressure is not a sin. Peer pressure is a fact. What does that mean? That means, if you got good friends, peer pressure can work to your advantage. But if you have poor friends, peer pressure can work to tear you down. Do you think it’s coincidental that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stood? What difference did it make to Shadrach that he had Meshach and Abednego to stand with him? I believe it helped him. Peer pressure can work for you. And I'm so glad for you collegians and you high schoolers and you middle schoolers that are standing together. Be involved in the student ministries here. Be involved in the collegiate ministry. Man if it Micah says Hey were going to get together and we’re going to stand on our heads, just bring your pillow and come on man. Whatever were doing, you be involved in it. because peer pressure isn’t a sin, its just a fact. If you get good peers, they will help you toward God.

 

All right so, number one. A furnace faith will not bow. Number two. A furnace faith will not even bend. All right now. This is bow right? You get down like this. This is bow. Those boys wouldn’t even bend. They wouldn't do it in the face of a second chance. Now this is a part of the story you may not have noticed when were going through it in that initial reading. Let me just review this for you. The king gave the command, right. Everybody bow down when you hear the music. And everyone bowed down in the inverted way except these three guys. There were there some tattle tales in the group. Who likes the tattletale? Nobody likes a tattletale but here come the tattletale's. O king, live-forever, they’re buttering him up. There’s some Jews that you appointed, they're jealous of these men and they don't pay attention to anything you say O King. And that was in exaggeration. Those are good young men. They are in fact; the King had concluded that they were 10 times better than all the other servants. He actually, I believe, really liked those young men. But they don't pay any attention you King, they don’t bow down to your gods. They don't worship the idol that you set up. The latter half is certainly true, they would not bow. And so the king, the Bible says was enraged. Now watch this. When the Bible says that he was enraged, my own conviction is that he was not enraged solely at those three young men. I think he was enraged because of the tattletales. He was enraged because these three young men whose service he valued now, or he's put into this quandary of what to do with them, because obviously they defied his authority. If he lets them go, it undermines his authority before all. And he is enraged at this. He wishes that it had not been brought to his attention. Now why do I say that? It’s because he gave him a second chance. Had his rage been solely and wholly against them, he would just execute them. But I think he had an affection for these young men I believe their witness to him had been strong. He knew there was something remarkable about the young men. And he said, boys, I’m going to give you another chance. Right. Here is what we’re going to do. Same song, second verse. Were going to tap the baton, and we’re going to crank up the orchestra and when they do, fool me once shame on you, burn me twice shame on me. I’m not going to let you get me again. This is your last opportunity. Going once, going twice. He gives them a second chance. Did you know that’s the way the devil works? The devil is always going to come and give you a second chance. He's going to tempt you. And if you don’t yield to it, it’s not like the devil just gives up. Doesn’t say oh man, he whooped me. Ill just give, all right. He’s a hause, I ain't gonna mess with him. NO. The devil is going to come after you a second time. He is going to give you a second chance. You don’t believe me? Do you remember what happened to Jesus? We’re talking Jesus here. Jesus all right. Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. This is Luke chapter 4. Listen to what happened at the very end of those temptations. Jesus triumphed in everyone. Partly because he knew the word of God and he quoted it to Satan. He whipped him. Listen to how it includes. Luke, the Bible says, that Satan left him for a more opportune time. That is, the devil wasn't even giving up on Jesus. He is going to come after him again. And he did. Don’t think you not to come after you, he is. I want to challenge you, don't bow, don’t even bend. Don’t even bend when a second chance comes your way. Do you know why they didn't bend; do you know why they didn’t bow? Because they had some sure convictions. I mean they were rock-ribbed in what they believed. Now I want you to look at the verses that are on the screen. You are going to see the convictions that they held. And this is what you make you stand when everybody else's bowing. The Bible says, when threatened again a second time, “if this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the fiery furnace and he will deliver us out of your hand, O King. But if not,” now mark those words, “but if not, be it known to you O King, that we will not serve your gods.” now what are the convictions that shine in those verses? Number one, they had a conviction that God is strong. I love what they said, “our God is able,” he is able to deliver us and he will, they had a conviction that God was strong. In fact he is stronger than anyone. I love that truth reinforced in the New Testament. But now unto him is able, to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or imagine. Friends of our God is strong and he is Almighty deserves our allegiance. So they had that conviction. And then, the other condition that they have was he was sufficient, he was sufficient. Now listen to what they said, and here we come to the furnace faith in its purest form. Our God is able to deliver us, we believe he is going to, but if not, but if not, but if not! I love phrase. If he doesn't deliver then I’m just going to give up on God, I’m just going to quit, I’m just going to throw my Bible away, If God doesn’t do what I want….is that what they said? No, I love what they said. They said, “but if not,” if he doesn't rescue us, we are still not going to bow down to the idol that you have made. We are not going to serve your gods. They believed that God, in himself, was sufficient. God is enough. He alone is worthy. Not for the gifts that he gives me. What if I got sick of cancer? Say God you heal me from my cancer, and if you don't heal me, then forget you God. That’s a foxhole faith. Right. God, my marriage is falling apart and God if you'll save my marriage then I'll follow you. God I need this new job. God I’ve worked hard for this. I deserve this new job. God if you'll do this for me, then I'll follow you. NO, these young men said, “but if not.”

 

I’m going to tell you a story out of World War II. It’s a true story and it was set on the beach in France. This is in 1940. Early in the war. And was not going well for the Allied cause, in fact, the United States and not even entered World War II yet. And Hitler and the blitzkrieg were rolling across France. The British had come to France’s aid and there were over three hundred thousand Brits in France trying stop the onslaught of Hitler. But they weren’t faring well. And they had retreated as far as they could go. They had gotten right up against what he called the English Channel. There were in a little port called Dunkirk. There was no escape. Hitler's Panzer divisions were surrounding them. The enemy. And behind them was the ocean. England was terrified that they would lose 300,000 of their finest. Their governing authorities declared a day of fasting, and prayer that God would intervene. One of the stories that comes out of that battle was of one of the commanders there in Dunkirk. It said that he simply sent a telegram back to England. The question was what are you going to do in the face of this overwhelming enemy when it seems as though there's no escape. He answered with a three-word telegram. His words were, “but if not.” We want to be rescued. We want to be saved from this dilemma. But if not, were still going to face the enemy. But if not, were still going to hold the line. But is not, we’re going to give our lives in service for right. But if not. I don’t know if you know the story, its called The Miracle of Dunkirk. God blessed and it was a remarkable story of how they rescued out 338,000 soldiers. Many of them were rescued to what they called The Little Boats of Dunkirk. There weren’t enough army boats to get them all, so mom and pop got in their little trawlers and in their little dingys and went across the British Channel and rescued those men. It’s a great, great story. But I love the commander. But if not! We’re not going to bow before you. Were not going to even bend.

 

How does it conclude then? What happened to these three young men? Well, if you won't bow and you wont bend, then you wont burn. Furnace faith will not burn. You know the story don't you? The Bible says that the king was furious now, doubly so. He ordered that the furnace be heated up seven times its original level. And they bound those men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They threw them into the fiery furnace still bound. So hot was the fire that the burly men who carried to the mouth of that oven and threw them in were overtaken by the flame and in the heat. They were killed. Down went Shadrach Meshach and Abednego. Bound into the flames. Apparently there at the floor of the furnace there was an opening through which, perhaps, they injected the fuel for the flame and the king was positioned just so he could see those three young men. Perhaps he imagined that he would in glee, watch their bodies burst into flames and be consumed. But instead as he looked into the furnace, he was amazed. He asked some of the other attendants, he said, “How many men did we throw into the fire?” they said, “O King, we cast in three.” He said, “How is it that when I look in there, I don’t see three men, I see four? And the fourth is like a son of the gods.” There was something about that one that glowed. Probably redundant, but he shown with the Shekinah glory. Who was that fourth man? Do you know who it was? It was a Christophany. It was an appearance of the Lord Jesus pre-incarnate. Jesus had come to the fire to rescue them.

 

What do we learn from this? Number one. Fire happens. Listen, if you live here on this Earth, you are going to have some fires come your way. There are going to be some difficulties. You’re going to get sick. Your child is going to get sick. Your relationships are going to be frazzled or broken. You’re going to have disappointments in your life. Fire happens to all of us. Doesn’t the Bible say? The sun shines on the just and the unjust. Rain falls on the just and unjust. You are going to go through the fire. Those young men did end up in the fire because they were disobeying God, those young men ended up in trouble because they were obeying God. God didn’t rescue them from the fire; God rescued them through the fire. He’s going to do the same for you. Fire happens. You better get ready. You better know Jesus, so that when you're in the fire he's there with you. Can we do a little math? Here’s a little math problem, all you bright university students. Let me give you a math problem. How many men were cast into the fire? Three. How many appeared there? Four. Four men in the fire. How many came out? How many are left in the fire? One. You know where Jesus is? So often, you’re going to find Jesus the fire. Trouble comes your way. You’re going to find him, as you never did before. He’s going to grow you. In fact, listen to this. Listen! Fire helps. That’s the last thing up here [pointing to sermon outline]. Fire happens and fire helps. They were thrown in bound. So how is it that they were walking about in the fire? You know how it is that they were walking about in the fire? The only thing that got burned was the ropes that bound them. When they came, because the King said, “come out, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.” And they came out and they went over to them, and they said, “Man! Your clothes aren’t even singed. Your hairs not singed. Even the sent of smoke is not on you.” The only thing they lost was the thing that bound them. Listen you go through hard times in your life, the only thing you lose are things you need to lose. There’s freedom in the fire. When we get into difficulties your going find Jesus closer is ever been.

 

All right now. To conclude. The story is told about a wagon train. It was traveling across the West, and as they traveled westward, they heard, behind them, the crackling of fire. They knew the sound. All of us have been watching fires out west. Those that were in the wagon train, they looked behind them and as far as they could see along the horizon, there were bright walls of flames. Smoke was billowing toward the heavens and the wind was blowing very fiercely. They knew that they could not outrun that line of fire. It would soon overtake them. There they are in the middle of the plains, no place to escape. What would they do?   Many of them began to despair. Thought this would be there end. Then one enterprising person among them knelt down and he lit a match and he sat the grass in front of them ablaze. Now the same wind that's pushing the flames toward them catches this new blaze. And it begins to burn the grass in front of them and the brush in front of them. So now two fires are raging. Both going westward, one behind them, one front of them. Then you know what those enterprising settlers did? They simply rolled forward into the part of the plains that now is already been burned. You know what folks? Fire can't burn the same place twice. Once all that’s combustible been burned away, the safest place you can these were the fires already burned. What am I saying to you? Jesus was in the fire. That’s not the only time Jesus has been in the fire. When on the cross, God’s righteous judgment and wrath against sin was being poured out. You can imagine it a flame, as it were. The holiness of God, bringing judgment to bear. The Bible says, the soul that sins it shall surely die. The wages of sin is death God's holiness demanded that sin be punished. Did he just wink at sin? There would be no justice in him; there would be no holiness in him. No, sin must be judged. And Jesus, there on the cross, took our place. And it's as though the fire of Heaven burned across the ground at the cross. If you will, buy faith, step into that place where Jesus suffered your wrath, the fire can no longer touch you. You’ll be safe. You’ll be safe.

 

These young men hey listen; they didn’t have a foxhole faith. Now man the bullets were whizzing. Their lives were in jeopardy, but they were bargaining. They weren’t saying God if you’ll get me out of this, I am going to love you. God if you’ll get ne out of this, I’m going to serve you. No, they said God, if you don’t; we’re still going to love you. We’re still going to serve you. Now I want to challenge my own heart, as I do yours, to have more than a foxhole faith. If that's all you can muster, I guess I'll be glad for that, but it is not enough friends. God wants us to honor him by faith says, even if not. Even if not, I’m going to follow you. Now I’m going to pray for us. Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to pray for us, then we’re going to see, two very courageous young men take their stand. And then we’re going to sing and praise to God. And when all that’s done and we’re dismissed. I’m going to remain here with some of the staff members to receive any of you that want to talk about faith in the Lord Jesus. How to know him as your Savior. All right, so lets pray to together God we give you praise for the testimony of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These young men, who wouldn’t bow, who wouldn’t bend. Thank you God, they didn't burn. You rescued them. Lord we know that you will meet us in our fires and you will help us. You’re able. You’re strong. You’re sufficient. You merit our love and our allegiance. May we give it to you. God give us grace to do that, we pray in Jesus name, Amen.

Direct download: IBC_20150920_transcript.pdf
Category:Stand -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Transcript_IBC_20150906.pdf

Stand, Week 1

Jeff Ginn

The eyes of our nation, this week, have been focused on small County in Kentucky. It’s called Rowan County. It's because there, a test case of sorts, has arisen. It swirls around a simple County Clerk. Her name is Kim Davis. Kim it turns out had lived a wild life and she had been married four times. Yet, at her mother-in-law's passing in 2011, the Lord got a hold of her and she came to know Christ as her Savior and it radically transformed her life. She says today that she's devout Christian. Well, when the Supreme Court ruled, earlier this year, that same-sex marriage was to be the law of the land, she was placed in a quandary. She was elected as clerk. In fact, her mother before her had been the County Clerk. Something of a family tradition, which is common they say in Kentucky. She had been elected under the premise that marriage was, as the Scripture teaches, between a man and a woman and now she found herself as the clerk with the responsibility of issuing marriage licenses for relationships that she did not believe comported with what the Scripture teaches. What would she do? What ought she do? It was a difficult question. She made a decision in her heart, in fact she resolved in her heart that she would not go against her conscience and what she believed was right. So she made an appeal to the governing authorities and it went to the Supreme Court and that she be heard, that her arguments be heard and that was denied. It fell back to a judge; I believe it was a federal judge there in Kentucky to rule in her case. He ruled that she must issue the licenses. If you're paid by the state of Kentucky and the law of Kentucky is that people can marry across all sorts of lines, then she, as an employee of the state, would have to issue those licenses or face the consequences. She decided that she would do the latter. She would face the consequences and so the judge decreed that this woman be cast into prison and as we worship, here in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this morning, that woman sits in a prison jail cell in Rowan County, Kentucky.

I suppose I imagine that perhaps we would live to see a day like today, but the I’m not sure I really believed it would come. When someone would be imprisoned for a tenet of their religious faith. Many of you'll remember that our nation was actually founded on the exact opposite premise. That people came here to say, everyone ought to be able to worship according to their dictates and live out their faith without coercion. Those days, it seems are passing. So she's made the decision to stand.

Now some of you maybe thinking, well now wait preacher, if she's paid by the state of Kentucky and the law is as it is, then she ought to just resign and a forfeit her position. You know what, I think a case could be made for that. In fact, that actually did happen here in the state of Louisiana not so many weeks ago. It happens that there was a justice of the peace, a lady, in fact of all things; she's married to a Baptist preacher. She’s a young woman and she was elected to be the justice of the peace in, I think, Grant Parish up in Central Louisiana. Maybe some of you know where that is. She made the decision, with her husband, that when the Supreme Court ruled as it did, that she rather than get into all kinds of the legalities and a potential suit, she would just resign. She did: she just resigned her position,

I for one, am glad that Kim Davis is taking a stand. II don't necessarily, I can’t judge whether or not she's been perfect in every moment of this journey. That’s for God to judge, but I’m glad she's taken a stand. Let me tell you why, because this forces us as a nation to consider some very significant questions. Now she has said she'll take whatever repercussions come her way and she's proven that she would. In fact, when the judge ordered her to jail, her response was “yes, your honor, thank you.” She responded with grace and she's taken her lumps and there she sits in jail today. But we, as a nation, have to make some decisions about how were going to live going forward. Do we want to live in a nation? Do we want our nation to be the kind of place where a devout Christian can no longer be a court clerk? Where, in our nation, it can never be again a devout Christian, who would stand for traditional marriage that could be a justice of the peace? Where no believer of this nature, could serve as a chaplain in our Armed Forces? Could not be a chaplain with the state police force? You say, preacher that’s crazy. What are you talking about? Did you know that just this year, again this is in the state of Kentucky, there was a young man who was a volunteer from his church, he would go every week, as I understand it, to a correctional Institute where they housed young offenders. He would go there to share the hope of the gospel, and to disciple these young men. Well the state Department of Corrections came up with a sheet and he had to sign it and sheet said, “you cannot say that homosexual behavior is sinful.” Well if you are a devout believer that places you in a quandary. How can you not say what the Bible says is the case? In fact, while I’m on this, don’t think I mean this to be a diatribe against one particular sin. Any sexual activity outside the simple bounds of a man and woman wed in matrimony is outside of the parameters of what God established. Be it premarital sex, extramarital sex, homosexual behavior, all of it alike is outside what God ordained and so they said before you can go back into that prison you’ve got to sign this is. That you will not say that these behaviors are sinful. The young man said, “I can't do it.” Are we prepared to live in a nation, where volunteers from churches can't go into the prisons and share the hope of the gospel as we’ve discovered in Christ and declare Christ saves from all sin? Is that the kind of nation we want to live in?  Just these past few weeks, here in the state of Louisiana, an edict was released from the judicial commission of the State of Louisiana. It went to every judge in the State of Louisiana and it said “you must comport yourself in accordance with the Supreme Court's edict or we will remove your judgeship.” no Christian judges? No Christian bakers? No Christian photographers?

These are serious days in which we’re living. Now friends listen, Kim Davis Is right at least in this one sense, we have to be willing to take whatever consequences come, but we must stand! We must stand for what is right! God will sort the consequences. Now where do we find help in making decisions during these difficult days with these weighty issues?

I've got good news for you. There is help for us so we can know how we ought to live in these trying times and it's found in the book of Daniel. Would you please open your Bibles to Daniel? Daniel, Chapter One is where we are going to be this morning, and to me it's wonderful to think that this series has been planned for months. Months ago, we laid out our preaching schedule for this year and Daniel was the book that we chose and wouldn’t you know, in God's wisdom, he gave us this, just at the moment we most needed it. And that's the way he is. So if would now as our title implies, Stand, would you stand in honor of God's word and we are going to read the first chapter. Now normally, I don't read such an extended passage at one time. It takes about three minutes to read this first chapter, and I’m going to read every word. And this will be the best three minutes you spend all day, all right? Listening to what God says. I want to listen to this and then consider how ought I to live where I am? Just as Daniel learned to live in the circumstances where he found himself. Let’s read together beginning in Daniel chapter one verse one.

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god. (I like it that the editors used a little g, that’s appropriate, all right now verse 3) Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king's palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah. And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: (now you may not the names Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, but I think you know these) Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, (there it is) Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego. (You know those names don’t you? Shadrach, Meshach and “away we go”, all right, you know these names. These are the great three friends of Daniel; now look in verse 8, what happens?) But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.” Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king's food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.” So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king's food. So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. At the end of the time, when the king had commanded that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king. And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom. And Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus.

Let’s pray. God, we thank you for this book in the Bible, the book of Daniel. We thank you for the courage and commitment of these young men. The way that they stood when it seemed that all was coming against them. I pray God, you would teach us, how will stand in these days and to go against the flow when it seems that all of culture would sweep us away from you. Give us wisdom. Give us learning. Give us courage. Help us to dare to be a Daniel. I pray in Jesus name, Amen.

Please be seated. This morning we’re going to begin a study in the book of Daniel and were going to look at the life of Daniel, this courageous young man and his four compatriots. This morning we’re going to focus in the first chapter. I’m going to divide this story into three scenes. I want you to follow along carefully as the Lord teaches us. Now the very first scene I going to call, A Great Tragedy. This story begins with a great tragedy. Look at how the passage opens, there in versus one and two and see it projected on the screen. In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand. Now this tragedy that I'm going to describe has two components to it. First of all, there's the component of Israel's defeat. It is a tragedy that Israel was defeated. Now remember Israel. Israel was that small band of, a tribe really, that came out of the descendants of Abraham. They were enslaved in Egypt and with a mighty hand, God brought them out of Egypt and Israel, in effect, defeated the mightiest force in its day, Egypt. Then arose the Kings, Saul and then David. David, you remember took down Goliath and the Philistines. He united the kingdom and David's reign was a rain of great might and power and renown and wealth. Then came his son Solomon. Israel was a top the world it seemed, but fissures began to appear in the veneer. It was because of the idolatry and immorality and fracturedness of their nation that that the people of Israel began to go into a decline, a steep decline, until, by the time we come to the life of Daniel, the nation is now totally defeated. Humiliated by what was then the world power, Babylon and its king Nebuchadnezzar. But the most sobering part of this defeat and of these verses that you see is that phrase “the Lord gave Jehoiakim into Nebuchadnezzar's hand. In other words it was not the might of the Babylonians, their armies, or their strategy of that enabled them to defeat Israel. What enabled them to defeat Israel was that God gave Israel over into its enemy’s hands. That is judgment came upon Israel. The Bible says righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people. And when sin begins to weave its way into a nation and there's immorality and idolatry and fractured people, then judgment is soon sure to follow. And if God judged Israel for her sins and he did, God can judge the United States of America for our sins. It was a tragedy that they were defeated. And the tragedy of it was that God allowed it to happen. Now why would I do that? Why would God allow his own people to go into captivity and defeat? Do you know why? It was because of their disobedience God had warned them for decades on end, that they ought to repent. That they ought to get right, but Israel was stiff necked and it was bent on going its own way. Away from God, and so judgment was to come. In fact it’s interesting. It’s one of the proofs of the inerrancy of Scripture and its trustworthiness. Did you know that more than 100 years prior to the defeat of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, God prophesied it would happen? He did so through the prophet Isaiah. Listen! Listen carefully to the precision of this prophesy. This is from Isaiah Chapter 39 beginning at verse five. “Hear the word of the Lord of hosts: Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. And some of your sons, who shall issue from you, whom you shall beget, shall be taken away. And they shall become officials in the palace of the king of Babylon. Are you kidding me? A hundred years before it happened, God said there's going to come a day when judgment will fall. You’re going to be carried away the Babylonian in captivity, including some of your own defendants. What do recent discover here in Daniel chapter 1? That from the nobility, from the royal house, these young men were buried in the Babylon. GOD’S WORD CANNOT BE MOCKED! What a man sows, he will reap. What a nation sows, a nation will reap. And this story begins with a tragedy, but the tragedy did not have to happen. Had the children of Israel repented and turned back to God, judgment would not have fallen but they did not, they disobeyed, and thus, they were defeated. It’s a lesson for us in America. Could judgment fall on America? It could! I've said before and I'll say it again here now, with a heavy heart I tell you, I wouldn't be surprised if God allowed our worst enemies overrun us, to discipline us for our sin. We, the purported Christian nation, supposed Christian nation! Why is it that those who sell baby parts are free and the one who would stand for traditional marriage is in jail? You explain it to me! Don’t think it could happen to us. It could happen. I don’t say that with any glee, I say with a broken heart. I say God have mercy on America. Lord don’t have justice with us. We don't need justice. If justice were to fall we would be judged. No, we need mercy. God have mercy on us. Help us and especially those of us who know the truth that we would stand for righteousness. Not holier than thou, but just walk in obedience to the precepts of God's Word. Simple things. Like Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery, Ashley Madison. Thou Shall Not Steal; Thou Shall Not Kill, including innocent babies and their mother’s womb! GOD HELP US! Lest this tragedy befall us.

Now lets go to the second scene. I’ve talked to you about the great tragedy that befell the children of Israel. Now I want to say something about a great temptation. It came Daniel's way. Here they are, carried off to Babylon. And here's the strange twist of fate, if you will, Daniel has in front of him, in a way of thinking, a golden possibility. All right? He’s been held in captivity. His city has been besieged. They been starving in Jerusalem. Now this young man, country bumpkin, has been carried off to Babylon. Babylon was the greatest city of its day. It was the Washington DC or the New York City of its time. There is Daniel, living in that great walled city. He enrolled there, not in LSU; he enrolled in BSU Babylon State University. And he's got TOPS (scholarship program), he’s got full ride tuition, he got room and board, doesn’t the Bible say that? He’s given to eat and the king’s table. He’s standing in the king's palace. I mean he’s got the tiger by the tail. All he’s got to do is go along to get along. Just don’t ruffle feathers. Just keep your head down Daniel or you’ll get it lopped off. He’s got a golden opportunity. Here he is. He’s not eating at the Five; he’s eating at Galatoire’s, or Juban’s or Ruffino’s. I mean he eating the royal regimen, it’s being fed to him. What an opportunity he has. All he has to do is go along to get along. Daniel, just be cool man. Just fit in. just be like everybody else around you. That’s all you’ve got to do. I love Daniel, because in the face of this golden possibility, he stands for a Godly purpose. Look at would you in verse eight. But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food or with the wine that he drank. Daniel resolved, that is, Daniel purposed in his heart. Daniel was like this; everybody may be going this way. Everybody may be disobeying the Lord's commands, but I am going to go this way. I’m not going to be holier than thou about it, I’m not going to try to lift myself up as if I'm all that. But just in my own modest way, I'm going to stand for what's right. What a great word. You young people listen to me. You know how old Daniel was at this time? We believe he was probably about 14 years of age. Do I have any 14 year olds in here this morning? Stand up if you are 14. I want to see all our 14 year olds. Stand right up. How would you 14 year olds like if you were carried away into a foreign country? You 15 year olds stand up 15 year old. He may have been 15. There you are. There you are. 15 years old, carried away, all you have to do is go along. Just do whatever everyone else is doing. You don’t have to make a scene for crying out loud. You can be seated. Daniel wouldn't go along to get along. And he would keep his head down. He stood up. And he said I’m going to follow the Lords precepts. And you might even argue, it’s not that big a thing. I mean all you have to do is eat the king’s food. Just drink the wine that there serving. What? It’s not a big deal. It was to Daniel. Because God in his word had laid out some principles of how to live in obedience to him. And there were certain kosher foods among the Jewish people. And Daniel on what some might consider just the technicality said I'm not going the yield on this. I'm going to be faithful to the Lord. By his grace am going to stand true. And I want to challenge our young people and our parents who set the example and our grandparents who are here this morning. May God help us in this day of so much moral confusion, just to be true? True to God's word. To his truth. To his principles. And not yield. Daniel had a Godly purpose. You know what this leads to? It leads to peril. It leads to danger. There was a grave peril before Daniel. I mean you couldn’t buck King Nebuchadnezzar. I mean this is the ruler of the known world. It would be like being carried in before the Ayatollah Khomeini. You do what you want in his face. It’s a dangerous thing. You say how do you know that preacher? Well look at what the Bible says. They’re now in verse 10. ..and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king. What’s he saying? He’s saying man, if you don't do what the king said, we could all get our heads lopped off.

This is serious business. But Daniel, no matter the risk, runs this apparel. And is willing to stand in the face of it. He is between a rock and a hard place. Look at this. If he pleases the king, he displeases the King of Kings. But he pleases the King of Kings, he displeases the king. And he has to make a choice. And all of us are going to have to make a choice. Who is the King that we will please? For whose pleasure do we live? And Daniel makes his choice. Now I love Daniel because he offers up, in this quandary, he offers up a very gracious proposal. He doesn’t stand up on the cafeteria table in the middle of the Five or something and start banging on the table. I want a new menu! I want a new menu! I want a new menu! He doesn't do that. He doesn’t hold up a placards and march, like Westboro does. No, what does Daniel do? He makes a very gracious proposal. He says look, I tell you what, would you be so kind as to just test us for 10 days? Just let us eat fruit and vegetables. Just test us. The word vegetable here is a word that means from the seed. So it would have included things like wheat and vegetables and fruit. Things that grow from seed. Just let us have a basic menu and then at the end of the 10 days just test us and see how we measure up against the others. It was a gracious kind proposal. And I want to advocate this for all of us. I’m not wanting you to leave today and go get placards and march and shout profanities and curse the darkness. I’m not asking you to do that. Nor do I believe the Word of God have us do that. Instead I'm asking you to live with what I’m going to call a convictional kindness.

Now you just may want to jot these words down. The head or our Religious Liberty and Ethics Commission is a man named Dr. Russell Moore. And he coined this phrase as I know and I love it. Listen to it. Convictional Kindness. What does that mean? Well just think of each word individually. Conviction. God’s people, if you know Jesus as your savior, and you comport to be His disciple, you need to have some conviction about you. Things that you believe are right and wrong. And those things need to be rooted in the clear teachings of God’s word. Not some list you just came up with by tradition. But what does God’s word say? And knowing what he expects, you say, these are my convictions. I’m not looking to fight. I’m not looking down my nose at anybody else. These are jus the things I believe are expected of me by God and I have convictions about these. That’s conviction. That is, have a backbone. But then the word kindness. What does the word kindness mean? That means that you’re gentle. That you’re not up in people's faces looking for a fight. You’re going to plead your case. You’re going to make proposal and you’re going to do it with graciousness. And if it is not conceded to you, you are going to face the consequences. Convictional

Kindness. Or you could turn it around and it is the same thing. Kind conviction. And those are the kind of people we need to be in the day in which were living.

Kim Davis, whether or not we agree with every nuance of what she’s done, she’s made a proposal. She’s said I want to take this to the Supreme Court. I want there to be an adjudication. I believe that we need to have an adjudication in our nation. Let me remind us again. We are the government. If you are old enough to vote, you, in a sense, govern this nation. And you need to take seriously that right and that responsibility that falls to you. You better know the issues. Don’t vote for somebody because they handsome, or because they are good looking. Don’t vote for them because they are brash. Vote for someone who, to the best of your discernment, is going to stand according to biblical principle’s and again, whether or not we carry any election, we still have to stand for what is right.

Stand! Stand! Stand! And Daniel did. And he did it, with convictional kindness. We are not looking for confrontation, but we are not going to capitulate either. May God help us to be people of convictional kindness? Isn’t that what the bible says? Listen to what the bible says. This now is 1st Peter, Chapter 3. Versus 14-15. But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.. Now folks, I tell you, I will be honest with you, you probably know this anyway, its hard for me not to get angry at times. Just to get upset and frustrated and bitter because things don’t go the way I think they ought to go. And the world often sees Christians an embittered, harsh, offensive people. Peter says, be ready to give an answer for the hope that’s within you when people ask you. Are you known as the person of hope? Am I known as the person of hope or do I think the roofs caving in. You know Chicken Little. The sky is falling. Friends we have a hope and our nation may go down the tubes and we may be imprisoned for your faith but I still have hope. We ought to be ready to give an answer. And he says do it with gentleness and respect.

May God help us to live with convictional kindness? All right now here is the end. It ends and I’m so thankful to say this, on an up note. It ends in triumph, really. Look at how this the third scene in our story. It is what I call, a great triumph. It happens because of faithfulness to God. Daniel is faithful. He stays true to what he believes. He didn’t bow, he didn’t bend, he didn’t break. He stood. Stand. Stand. Stand. He did. He was faithful. And because he was faithful, he was favored by God. God favored him. Look at how this passage concludes. As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams and the king spoke with them and among all of them, none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king. He found them ten times better than all. That’s amazing. Why were Daniel and his friends found ten times better? Was it because of innate intelligence in them? Did they have a natural higher IQ? I’m not sure that they did. I really believe that it was rooted in God’s favor. He blessed these boys. He helped them in their studies. He favored them and when we are faithful to God, he will favor us. He will bless us. He did with Daniel. Daniel rose to be; some might say the prime minister of Babylon. Now is it that all was easy for Daniel? Am I preaching a health and wealth gospel? No I am not! In fact, did you know that for the next seventy years of Daniels live, he was a captive, enslaved in Babylon? But he was still favored. This story set hundreds of years ago, could read as todays newspaper. It’s that applicable to where we are living. I pray God we wont go through any greater tragedy than what we have already experienced. I pray that we as a nation and as people will turn back to God.

Listen friends, the problem isn’t in the courthouse, and the white house solely. It’s in the church house. Its preachers afraid to say what is true. It is church members who wont stand for what is true. It ought to begin the revival needs to begin here among us! In this day of difficulty, you young people, I know well, great temptations are going to come your way. You are going to be pressured to just go along to get along. I want to challenge you to purpose in your heart that you are going to stand for the Lord. And I want you do it with convictional kindness. And I want to do that myself. You pray for me that Ill be that kind of disciple. If we’ll do it, friends, I want to tell you something, God will bless it. He will favor us. He will be gracious to us. He’ll make his countenance shine upon us. He’ll give us peace. He will!

Would you stand please with your head bowed? I want ask our musicians to come, our band. Were going to go out today singing. Were not defeated. Listen friend, no matter what happens we’re not defeated. We are more than conquerors through him who loved us. The ultimate victory is the Lord’s. We just need to make sure that we are on his side. That we know him that we been redeemed. That we been forgiven. That we’re standing. We need his grace to do it. We can’t stand in our own power, in our own strength. We need his grace. And so I want us to pray now for it. And then we will sing.

God we thank you for your word and the light it is to our feet. The light it is to our path. God, I pray that today it's been illumined how we ought to live. With convictional kindness. Standing for what’s right in a hostile world. I pray for our young people that they’ll stand true. In elementary school, and middle school, and high school, for our collegiate at the University. That they will be gracious, faithful. I pray for adults out in the workplace, where there is dishonesty and immorality and deceit and all manner of temptation. Lord help us as adults to be faithful to you. Help us God to stand! We pray in Jesus name, AMEN.

Direct download: Transcript_IBC_20150906.pdf
Category:Stand -- posted at: 11:09pm EDT

Would everyone please draw a deep breath, just do like this. All right I see that all of you have breath.  Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord. I'd tell wasn’t that wonderful, what the choir and orchestra did. It was tremendous.  The song said, "Let all the works of his hand be applauded" and we applaud the Lord. He gives gifts to people and I'm so glad they share their gifts with us. It’s a dream come true for me to serve in the church were people are so gifted musically and they let those gifts be used for the glory of God!  Thank you choir and orchestra and all were involved in the service thus far, it’s been tremendous. 

 

Would you take your Bible, please, and open to the book of Daniel. We are in a study through the book of Daniel. Really what were doing is, were really studying chapters one through six. This series, is in a lot of ways, was designed to help our students as they go back into the school system, especially the college and university system. We want to help them dare to be a Daniel and so that was a lot of the idea that went behind us scheduling this series at this time. Today we come to chapter two. Daniel chapter two. You said before, nothing lasts forever. There’s a lot of truth in that statement. For example, I want you to think with me of sports dynasties. Nothing lasts forever. Dynasties rise and they fall. Back in the 60's, the dominant team in the NBA was the Boston Celtics. Some of you are old enough to remember the Celtics in those days. They won eleven NBA championships in 13 years. That team have on it, great players like Bill Russell and Bob Cousy, John Havelechek.  In fact they won eight straight NBA championships during the 60's.  And so someone may have thought, "well, the Celtics, they'll just forever, be the dominant team in the NBA but, that’s not so is it. Along came the 80's, well the late 70's and 80's and it was ShowTime. These were the Los Angeles Lakers. This was kind of when I was coming up as a teenager and young man in college, that era. That team was made up of Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and great players like that. Kurt Rambis with the glasses, if you remember him and they were coached by Pat Riley. They were dominant in their day, in fact they went eight finals during that span of time and they won five NBA championships. Perhaps people thought the Lakers! The Lakers will always be on top but it isn’t so because dynasties rise and they fall.  It was the Celtics in the 60's, the Lakers in the 80's, then came the 90's and who was the dominant team during the 1990's? The Chicago Bulls!  They had on it, the greatest of all time, pound for pound, inch for inch, Michael Jordan and his sidekick Scottie Pippen. And that crazy man, Dennis Rodman. If you remember Dennis Rodman. crazy! the Bulls won six NBA championships. I can still picture in my mind, Michael Jordan, gesturing six championships!  had he not had this crazy idea to try to go play professional baseball, they probably would have one more championships and so the Bulls were the dominant team.   Somebody may have said, well the Bulls, theyll always be the dynasty. but, it isn't so is it. sports dynasties rise and fal,l but it's not just true in sports. it's true in business. businesses rise and businesses fall. monopolies and dynasties in the economic realm, rise and fall. in fact there was a study done of all the Fortune 500 companies, in the year 1955. how many of them still existed in 2014?

 

You know that 89%, thats nearly 90% of those Fortune 500 companies are no longer in the list because businesses rise and fall.  In fact, let me just mention a litany of companies. Blockbuster. Blockbuster was all the rage and there was a blockbuster on every corner and every strip shopping mall. but today, blockbusters s ,I believe, is bankrupt. they've gone through bankruptcy, because though they made the transition from VHS, the VCR's, to DVD, they didn't keep up and Netflix came in and Netflix would just send you a movie right over the Internet to your home or  you could go down to the local store in for a dollar you could read out of the red box, I think it's called. and Blockbuster is no more. sears. how many used to go shopping at Sears? I remember as a little boy going into a multi-storied Sears building in Memphis, Tennessee. it was a big trip for us. we would travel from our little  home town of Forrest City.  we would drive over to Memphis, get some burgers at Krystal and  go up into the tower at Sears in Memphis. we thought was big stuff. But who goes to Sears nowadays? Walmart. Amazon.com. in fact,  what store do you go to at all? you just order it over Amazon and it is dropped right on your front doorstep. Sears has not been able to keep up.  In fact, poor Sears they have paired up with Kmart. many forecasters say they'll not survive next year. what happens? businesss come and go just as sports dynasties do.  Kodak, Kodak was the dominant photography company for 100 years. and somebody said well Kodak will always dominate the photography business.  but you know what? they were so tied to film, that when digiital photography came out, they were left in the dustbin.  They couldn’t compete.   And their fortunes rose and fell. 

 

Well, what's true in sports and what's true in business is also true in the political sphere. empires rise and empires fall. Theres a long litany of kings and would-be dictators that have arisen and fallen.  Ramses, Alexander, Caesar Augustus, Charlemagne, Genghis Khan, Hitler, Mussolini, Mau Se Tong, Stalin, ISIS. All of them rising, one day, to fall.  But I come here to tell you something. There is a kingdom that will never fall. There is a dynasty rising that will never be diminished. And it is the kingdom of our Lord and Christ, Jesus himself. And of that kingdom, Daniel speaks. Would you stand your feet and honor of God's word and we'll see what God's word says about this kingdom? Now, I’m going to have mercy on you.   I’m not going to read all 49 versus all right. Going to read the first twelve and this will be our Launchpad for the rest of the story. Give your best attention to what happens in verses 1 to 12, because this will set the stage. Daniel chapter 2 beginning in verse one God's word says,

 

In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him.  Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. And the king said to them, “I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.” Then the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic,“O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.” The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “The word from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins.  But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. Therefore show me the dream and its interpretation.”  They answered a second time and said, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show its interpretation.” The king answered and said, “I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see that the word from me is firm—if you do not make the dream known to me, there is but one sentence for you. You have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the times change. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation.” The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king's demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean.  The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” Because of this the king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed.

 

Lets pray.  Lord we have breath this morning and because we do, we praise you Lord.  We see around us the ruins of dynasties and kingdoms and businesses that are risen only to fall.  God we believe your word that says there is a kingdom rising there is a dynasty rising that will never fall. it is the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, the Lord Jesus. We thank you for your kingdom. We thank you for the King. I pray this morning he will be lifted high and all of us would make sure that we are among his subjects and have pledged allegiance to the Lamb. We ask it in his name. Amen.  Please be seated.

 

Our story this morning begins with desperation. There is absolute desperation before God.  You know why don't you? Let me give you the reasons for desperation that the magicians, the enchanters and Daniel himself must've felt. The reason port was because the king is being unreasonable. They’re in a predicament to be sure. The king said I had a dream. It must have been a terrible dream. It must be a frightening dream and the King wants to know the meaning of it. And so, he orders that they tell him his dream. They say well that’s fine King, will tell you the dream as long as you tell us. We will tell you the meaning of your dream as long as you tell us what you dreamed.  And the king says Oh No.  In effect he says I've been suspicious about you boys all along.  If I tell you the dream you could just concoct some explanation of it and I have no means of knowing whether your purported interpretation is true or false. I’m going to put out before you a fleece, in effect, and I ordered this, you tell me, without me disclosing it to you, what I dream. And if you can tell me what I drink first then I'll believe the interpretation that you purport to give. Well the people realize, these magicians, these wise men, they realized that their goose is cooked because they are powerless for this predicament. They have no means with in themselves to come up with it. And they protest. They say only the gods know what transpires in the night and in the dark. Only they can tell the dream that you have. So there are reasons for them being desperate. But the more important thing is, what is their response to this desperation? And maybe you've come here today and there's some desperation in your life. Maybe you're facing some crisis of some sort. Perhaps it's a relational crisis sorts, or it’s a financial crisis, or it's an emotional crisis. The important thing is not the reasons for your desperation. The important thing is your response in your desperation. How will you respond? And I love the way Daniel responded in this desperate moment. He responded, first of all, by being very prudent. The Bible says in verse 14 when the executioner came to Daniel, this is verse 14, Daniel replied with prudence and discretion to Arioch.  Daniel gave a soft answer. The Bible says in Proverbs 15:1 a soft answer turns away wrath.

 

I heard a story about a Red Sox baseball player. His name was Wade Boggs.  A lot of you will remember Wade Boggs. I believe he was the third baseman for the Red Sox. And of course you know the archrivals to the Red Sox are the Yankees. Every time the Red Sox would go to play in Yankee Stadium, there would be this heckler over on the third-base line and he would incessantly criticize and belittle Wade Boggs. He was always on his case. And he would say "man you stink." "Man your no good." and he just be giving him a hard time. Later Boggs had finally had enough. And so when the man started criticizing Boggs just walked over to him and he said,  "Are you the man that's always running me down, you the man that it is always criticizing me?" and the Yankee fan said that's right, its me." what you can do about? Wade Boggs pulled out a brand-new baseball and he autographed it and tossed it up to the man.

 

 And it is said that from that time on, that man became the biggest Yankee fan of Boston Red Sox player Wade Boggs.  Why, because he given a soft answer to wrath. 

 

Daniel is faced with his potential execution. The executioner has come. He said you’ve got to tell me what this dream means or you going to be killed. And Daniel answers, the Bible says with prudence. And I want to recommend this to all of us, whenever somebody gets up in your grill, someone is on your case; you ought to be like Daniel and respond with prudence and discretion. What else could you do? It wasn't just that he was prudent, he was prayerful. I love this. It’s not going to appear on the screen. But listen to what says in verses 17 and 18 or you can look at it in your Bible verses 17 and 18. “Then Daniel went into his house and made the matter known to his three friends, his companions, and he told them to seek mercy from the God of Heaven concerning this mystery. What did Daniel do? How did he respond to his desperate situation? Daniel prayed. It was prudent and he was prayerful. And if we will be those two things, you'll be surprised how God delivers us from the crises of our lives. He prayed.

 

I heard a story about these three preachers that were sitting together and they were talking about prayer. What was the best posture for preying? And it happened that there was a telephone line repairman who was working and he was within earshot.  So the first preacher said, I find, that the best way to pray is to stretch my hands toward heaven and the and look up the sky, that's the best posture for prayer. Well the second preacher said, Oh no, the best posture for prayer is to get on your knees. There the Lord will hear your prayer. The third preacher said, well I don't think lifting your hand your hands to heaven and are getting down on your knees. He said the best posture for prayer is just to get flat on your face, be prone before the Lord. The old telephone line repairman had had enough, he piped up and said he fellas, the best posture I ever had in prayer was when I was hanging upside down from the telephone pole. I tell you when you're hanging upside down and your situation is desperate, you are going to pray. 

 

Too many of us, we wait until our situation is desperate before we pray.  Prayer is not the last resort, prayer is the first resort and Daniel knows this. They come and say Daniel you got to tell us this dream or you're going to be executed. He is prudent and he is prayerful. Are you taking to the Lord, the burdens and crises of your life for his hand to move? Well Daniel was wise enough to do so. So now we move from desperation before God to deliverance by God. When we respond rightly, we’re going to find the Lord ready to act on our behalf and the Lord ready to deliver. Look at verse 19 and you’ll see if they’re on the screen. The Bible says. “Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of Heaven.” What happened, God delivered him. The situation was desperate but our God is greater and he delivered. He delivered Daniel. Now here I see three things. First of all, our God is powerful. I actually agree with all the enchanters of Babylon in one sense. In verse 11 they had said, “no one can give the dream except the gods.” you know what, they were right. It had to be someone who was powerful enough, someone to whom the darkness is light.  Someone to whom what is shrouded, is revealed, and our God, is just that kind of God, he is powerful. He is able. Listen to what Psalm 139 says, “ oh Lord, your searched me, and know me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up. You discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my paths and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, you, oh Lord, know it all together.” and I could continue the reading, many of you know it well. You can't go where God is not. You can't know something that God doesn't already know.  Daniel turns in his desperation to this powerful God and God reveals to Daniel would only the gods can do. Only the one true God. He is powerful. You know what else I see here? He is present. Again verse 11, the Chaldeans say, “no one can reveal this except the gods and their dwelling is not among men.” they were right on the one hand but wrong on the other. Only God could reveal the dream, but they were wrong when they said, “his dwelling is not among men, his dwelling is among men. He is Emanuel, God come to dwell among us. And God was with Daniel. God was with Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego. When they went into that fiery furnace, God was there. And when   Daniel needed him, God was there, and when you need God, he will be there. He is powerful. He is present, therefore he is praiseworthy. And I love what Daniel does here. Daniel receives this vision .God reveals to him the dream. What does Daniel do? Look at the latter half of this verse. What does it say? Then, this the latter half of the verse, then Daniel blessed the God of Heaven. Daniel, not only asked for God to intervene, but when God did, Daniel remembered to say thank you.  He praised him. Gordon read that passage earlier, so I won't repeat it now, but I do want to reiterate for us all, the importance, not only of bringing our petitions to God, but once he is gracious to us. Giving him our praise in response. I too often prone to forget when good things happen to me. I may ask for them, but then I don't remember to say thank you. In fact, just this week, one of our church members was so gracious, and called the office, and he said that some jambalaya. I've got 15 lunches and, I’m going to bring them by the office and so it was on Thursday of this week that dear brother brought those lunches by to feed all the staff. We all gobble them up and enjoyed them very much Well a day or two went by and it was Saturday and I was preparing for this message and I was reminded that I ought to give thanks and so I texted the brother and said brother thank you for that lunch. That was delicious. And how many of us, we’re feasting on the good gifts God gives us but we don't remember to say thank you.

 

While I'm at it, let me just say this, this church is so good to Nell and Me.  You are so good to us and I know a lot of you have done things for me and I never even said thank you to you.  I’ve not written you a thank you note and maybe I haven’t responded and right now can I just blanket say, thank you God for Istrouma, thank you dear friends for your gifts and your support and your kindness.  I really do appreciate it, I really do. I really do.  We ought to remember to be a people who are grateful; Daniel was that kind of man.  He praised the Lord for God's good gift. And not only did he give thanks, he gave tribute. Because when Daniel stood before the king, the king said, “can you give me the interpretation, can you tell me my dream, and can you tell me what it meant.” Daniel said, “no sir,’ he said, “I cannot do it, but there is a God in heaven, and he has shown me what you think.  Daniel didn't take credit. Credit was not due to Daniel. He was wise enough not to co-opt God's glory. He gave God thanks and he gave God tribute.  He gave God the glory for the good thing that it been done.  Well now I come to the end. I want to say something about the dominion of God.  You see our desperation, if we respond to it rightly will lead to God's deliverance and in his deliverance we see his sovereign dominion overall. Now here I will refer to verse 44. Daniel is giving the interpretation of the dream and he says, looks to the screen you'll see the verse, “and in the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end and it shall stand forever.” there's the title of today's sermon. “The kingdom that shall stand forever.” sports dynasties rise and fall. Businesses rise and fall. Earthly kingdoms rise and fall, but there is a kingdom that will never fall. In fact, this King, his reign is first of all, perpetual. In perpetuity. For all time. Eternally, Jesus will reign. Daniel knew this from the dream that Nebuchadnezzar had had and the interpretation God him. Now listen to the dream. It’s given to us in verses 31 through 35. You saw o king and behold a great image. This image, mighty and have exceeding brightness, stood before you and its appearance was frightening.  I want you as I read this to try to envision in your minds eye this statue, that was erected there. Verse 32 “the head of this image was of fine gold. Its chest and arms were of silver. It’s middle and thighs of bronze. Its legs of iron. Its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. As you looked, a stone,” now note this careful, “a stone was cut out by no human hand and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold altogether were broken in pieces and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found but the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. What a vision Daniel had. Daniel had a vision of kingdoms. A succession of kingdoms.  Why? Because kingdoms rise and fall. The first of those kings was the head of gold and God told him, is Nebuchadnezzar. That is the Persian Empire. It was known for it’s its stores of gold. But with time, Babylon fell. In its place rose up a kingdom of silver. That was pictured in the arms and the chest of this image. That was the Medo-Persian Empire. it lasted some 200 years and just as Babylon was famous for its gold, Medo Persia was famous for its hoards of silver. But with time Medo-Persia fell. There was a man in Macedonia, Philip who rose up and his son after him Alexander and Alexander conquered the whole earth. His army dressed in bronze from helmet to toe and their shields and swords even of bronze and the mighty Grecian army swept the known earth. But that Kingdom to though it rose to the pinnacle of human achievement it fell. And behind it came that army of iron. The great Roman legions and they took the place of that Grecian Empire. But just like those before it, it to would fall. How would it fall? Listen to me. There was a stone cut out by no human hand. Who is this stone that came and struck the image and all the kingdoms of the world fall before this stone.  I tell you he is the stone that was rejected of men, but is the cornerstone of the Church. He is the Lord Jesus. Cut by no human and the virgin birth is there prophesied, Jesus is the King of Kings and he will rein in perpetuity forever he the perpetual king. Now friends, as true is that is, and as important as it is, there's something even more important for you, that is, his reign must be personal. He’s going to reign. Doesn’t the Bible say every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord? One day, everybody is going to bow the knee to Jesus. Every Buddhist, every Muslim, every Hindu, every Christian, we are all going to bow the knee.  What makes the difference is, did you do it now, willingly, of your own volition, in repentance and faith? Or will you that day, by force? This great king, Nebuchadnezzar, when given the dream and its interpretation, he did what we all ought to do. Look at it. Now I'm in verse 47. The last verse pictured here. “The king answered and said to Daniel truly your God is God. He is the God of gods and Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries for you have been able to reveal this mystery. . Nebuchadnezzar that greatest of all despots, bowed his knee before the King of kings and Lord of Lords. So must every one of us. There’s a mountain in New Hampshire. I believe there the Green Mountains is the name of them and in one of those great mountains, there was a protrusion. There was a piece of rock that jutted out from the face of the cliff. You see a picture of it here on the screen. This is an iconic image from New Hampshire.  You know what they call this? The old man in the mountain. Boys and girls can you look up there and can you see his nose and his brow and his chin there.  The old man in the mountain.  And from time immoral, the old man in the mountain was there. I don’t know what you call people that live in New Hampshire, New Hampshireites, I guess. They love the old man in the mountain. In fact I believe he's on their state stamp and seal and a million other souvenirs from New Hampshire. But one cold night in 2003, the old man in the mountain, gave way. There were fissures that had formed by the ice thawing and the freezing of it over so many centuries and in the night, that great visage broke off and slid down the mountain to the valley below.  And the old man in the mountain is no more. It broke their hearts. A man in the mountain. A man in the mountain who came down. This was a tragedy. I'm speaking to you today of a triumph. There is another man in the mountain. He is a stone cut by no human hand. He is the cornerstone. He is the Lord Jesus and he came down. No one can do these things except the gods and they do not make their dwelling among men. Oh yes they do. He made his dwelling among us and we beheld his glory. The glory as of the only begotten of the father. Full of grace and truth. Jesus is the stone upon which all hope is built. In fact I’m reminded, of this great old hymn.  “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus's name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all of the ground all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand. Kingdoms rise and fall. Sports dynasties rise and fall.  Businesses rise and fall. But there is a dynasty rising. There is a kingdom rising and will fill the whole earth.  You need to make sure that you are a subject to that King. Lets pray. God, we praise you for your word. What a great God you are. You see in the darkness. You know our thoughts before we think them. You know a word before it’s on our lips and you reveal what is mystery. You tell us what is to come. It is certain. It is sure. We thank you that your kingdom is rising. And that we can be a part of it. By your grace, your mercy, we can be a part of it.  We praise you, in Jesus mighty name, Amen.

 

Direct download: IBC_20150913_transcript.pdf
Category:Stand -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Stand: Week 2, September 13, 2015

Transcript follows!

 

Stand

“The Kingdom that Shall Stand Forever”

Daniel 2:1-49

 

Key verse: “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).

 

 

1.     Desperation before God

a.     The reasons for desperation

b.     The responses to desperation

2.     Deliverance by God

a.     He is powerful

b.     He is present

c.     He is praiseworthy

3.     Dominion of God

a.     His reign is perpetual

b.     His reign is personal

 

Would everyone please draw a deep breath, just do like this. All right I see that all of you have breath.  Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord. I'd tell wasn’t that wonderful, what the choir and orchestra did. It was tremendous.  The song said, "Let all the works of his hand be applauded" and we applaud the Lord. He gives gifts to people and I'm so glad they share their gifts with us. It’s a dream come true for me to serve in the church were people are so gifted musically and they let those gifts be used for the glory of God!  Thank you choir and orchestra and all were involved in the service thus far, it’s been tremendous. 

 

Would you take your Bible, please, and open to the book of Daniel. We are in a study through the book of Daniel. Really what were doing is, were really studying chapters one through six. This series, is in a lot of ways, was designed to help our students as they go back into the school system, especially the college and university system. We want to help them dare to be a Daniel and so that was a lot of the idea that went behind us scheduling this series at this time. Today we come to chapter two. Daniel chapter two. You said before, nothing lasts forever. There’s a lot of truth in that statement. For example, I want you to think with me of sports dynasties. Nothing lasts forever. Dynasties rise and they fall. Back in the 60's, the dominant team in the NBA was the Boston Celtics. Some of you are old enough to remember the Celtics in those days. They won eleven NBA championships in 13 years. That team have on it, great players like Bill Russell and Bob Cousy, John Havelechek.  In fact they won eight straight NBA championships during the 60's.  And so someone may have thought, "well, the Celtics, they'll just forever, be the dominant team in the NBA but, that’s not so is it. Along came the 80's, well the late 70's and 80's and it was ShowTime. These were the Los Angeles Lakers. This was kind of when I was coming up as a teenager and young man in college, that era. That team was made up of Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and great players like that. Kurt Rambis with the glasses, if you remember him and they were coached by Pat Riley. They were dominant in their day, in fact they went eight finals during that span of time and they won five NBA championships. Perhaps people thought the Lakers! The Lakers will always be on top but it isn’t so because dynasties rise and they fall.  It was the Celtics in the 60's, the Lakers in the 80's, then came the 90's and who was the dominant team during the 1990's? The Chicago Bulls!  They had on it, the greatest of all time, pound for pound, inch for inch, Michael Jordan and his sidekick Scottie Pippen. And that crazy man, Dennis Rodman. If you remember Dennis Rodman. crazy! the Bulls won six NBA championships. I can still picture in my mind, Michael Jordan, gesturing six championships!  had he not had this crazy idea to try to go play professional baseball, they probably would have one more championships and so the Bulls were the dominant team.   Somebody may have said, well the Bulls, theyll always be the dynasty. but, it isn't so is it. sports dynasties rise and fal,l but it's not just true in sports. it's true in business. businesses rise and businesses fall. monopolies and dynasties in the economic realm, rise and fall. in fact there was a study done of all the Fortune 500 companies, in the year 1955. how many of them still existed in 2014?

 

You know that 89%, thats nearly 90% of those Fortune 500 companies are no longer in the list because businesses rise and fall.  In fact, let me just mention a litany of companies. Blockbuster. Blockbuster was all the rage and there was a blockbuster on every corner and every strip shopping mall. but today, blockbusters s ,I believe, is bankrupt. they've gone through bankruptcy, because though they made the transition from VHS, the VCR's, to DVD, they didn't keep up and Netflix came in and Netflix would just send you a movie right over the Internet to your home or  you could go down to the local store in for a dollar you could read out of the red box, I think it's called. and Blockbuster is no more. sears. how many used to go shopping at Sears? I remember as a little boy going into a multi-storied Sears building in Memphis, Tennessee. it was a big trip for us. we would travel from our little  home town of Forrest City.  we would drive over to Memphis, get some burgers at Krystal and  go up into the tower at Sears in Memphis. we thought was big stuff. But who goes to Sears nowadays? Walmart. Amazon.com. in fact,  what store do you go to at all? you just order it over Amazon and it is dropped right on your front doorstep. Sears has not been able to keep up.  In fact, poor Sears they have paired up with Kmart. many forecasters say they'll not survive next year. what happens? businesss come and go just as sports dynasties do.  Kodak, Kodak was the dominant photography company for 100 years. and somebody said well Kodak will always dominate the photography business.  but you know what? they were so tied to film, that when digiital photography came out, they were left in the dustbin.  They couldn’t compete.   And their fortunes rose and fell. 

 

Well, what's true in sports and what's true in business is also true in the political sphere. empires rise and empires fall. Theres a long litany of kings and would-be dictators that have arisen and fallen.  Ramses, Alexander, Caesar Augustus, Charlemagne, Genghis Khan, Hitler, Mussolini, Mau Se Tong, Stalin, ISIS. All of them rising, one day, to fall.  But I come here to tell you something. There is a kingdom that will never fall. There is a dynasty rising that will never be diminished. And it is the kingdom of our Lord and Christ, Jesus himself. And of that kingdom, Daniel speaks. Would you stand your feet and honor of God's word and we'll see what God's word says about this kingdom? Now, I’m going to have mercy on you.   I’m not going to read all 49 versus all right. Going to read the first twelve and this will be our Launchpad for the rest of the story. Give your best attention to what happens in verses 1 to 12, because this will set the stage. Daniel chapter 2 beginning in verse one God's word says,

 

In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him.  Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. And the king said to them, “I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.” Then the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic,“O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.” The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “The word from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins.  But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. Therefore show me the dream and its interpretation.”  They answered a second time and said, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show its interpretation.” The king answered and said, “I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see that the word from me is firm—if you do not make the dream known to me, there is but one sentence for you. You have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the times change. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation.” The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king's demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean.  The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” Because of this the king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed.

 

Lets pray.  Lord we have breath this morning and because we do, we praise you Lord.  We see around us the ruins of dynasties and kingdoms and businesses that are risen only to fall.  God we believe your word that says there is a kingdom rising there is a dynasty rising that will never fall. it is the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, the Lord Jesus. We thank you for your kingdom. We thank you for the King. I pray this morning he will be lifted high and all of us would make sure that we are among his subjects and have pledged allegiance to the Lamb. We ask it in his name. Amen.  Please be seated.

 

Our story this morning begins with desperation. There is absolute desperation before God.  You know why don't you? Let me give you the reasons for desperation that the magicians, the enchanters and Daniel himself must've felt. The reason port was because the king is being unreasonable. They’re in a predicament to be sure. The king said I had a dream. It must have been a terrible dream. It must be a frightening dream and the King wants to know the meaning of it. And so, he orders that they tell him his dream. They say well that’s fine King, will tell you the dream as long as you tell us. We will tell you the meaning of your dream as long as you tell us what you dreamed.  And the king says Oh No.  In effect he says I've been suspicious about you boys all along.  If I tell you the dream you could just concoct some explanation of it and I have no means of knowing whether your purported interpretation is true or false. I’m going to put out before you a fleece, in effect, and I ordered this, you tell me, without me disclosing it to you, what I dream. And if you can tell me what I drink first then I'll believe the interpretation that you purport to give. Well the people realize, these magicians, these wise men, they realized that their goose is cooked because they are powerless for this predicament. They have no means with in themselves to come up with it. And they protest. They say only the gods know what transpires in the night and in the dark. Only they can tell the dream that you have. So there are reasons for them being desperate. But the more important thing is, what is their response to this desperation? And maybe you've come here today and there's some desperation in your life. Maybe you're facing some crisis of some sort. Perhaps it's a relational crisis sorts, or it’s a financial crisis, or it's an emotional crisis. The important thing is not the reasons for your desperation. The important thing is your response in your desperation. How will you respond? And I love the way Daniel responded in this desperate moment. He responded, first of all, by being very prudent. The Bible says in verse 14 when the executioner came to Daniel, this is verse 14, Daniel replied with prudence and discretion to Arioch.  Daniel gave a soft answer. The Bible says in Proverbs 15:1 a soft answer turns away wrath.

 

I heard a story about a Red Sox baseball player. His name was Wade Boggs.  A lot of you will remember Wade Boggs. I believe he was the third baseman for the Red Sox. And of course you know the archrivals to the Red Sox are the Yankees. Every time the Red Sox would go to play in Yankee Stadium, there would be this heckler over on the third-base line and he would incessantly criticize and belittle Wade Boggs. He was always on his case. And he would say "man you stink." "Man your no good." and he just be giving him a hard time. Later Boggs had finally had enough. And so when the man started criticizing Boggs just walked over to him and he said,  "Are you the man that's always running me down, you the man that it is always criticizing me?" and the Yankee fan said that's right, its me." what you can do about? Wade Boggs pulled out a brand-new baseball and he autographed it and tossed it up to the man.

 

 And it is said that from that time on, that man became the biggest Yankee fan of Boston Red Sox player Wade Boggs.  Why, because he given a soft answer to wrath. 

 

Daniel is faced with his potential execution. The executioner has come. He said you’ve got to tell me what this dream means or you going to be killed. And Daniel answers, the Bible says with prudence. And I want to recommend this to all of us, whenever somebody gets up in your grill, someone is on your case; you ought to be like Daniel and respond with prudence and discretion. What else could you do? It wasn't just that he was prudent, he was prayerful. I love this. It’s not going to appear on the screen. But listen to what says in verses 17 and 18 or you can look at it in your Bible verses 17 and 18. “Then Daniel went into his house and made the matter known to his three friends, his companions, and he told them to seek mercy from the God of Heaven concerning this mystery. What did Daniel do? How did he respond to his desperate situation? Daniel prayed. It was prudent and he was prayerful. And if we will be those two things, you'll be surprised how God delivers us from the crises of our lives. He prayed.

 

I heard a story about these three preachers that were sitting together and they were talking about prayer. What was the best posture for preying? And it happened that there was a telephone line repairman who was working and he was within earshot.  So the first preacher said, I find, that the best way to pray is to stretch my hands toward heaven and the and look up the sky, that's the best posture for prayer. Well the second preacher said, Oh no, the best posture for prayer is to get on your knees. There the Lord will hear your prayer. The third preacher said, well I don't think lifting your hand your hands to heaven and are getting down on your knees. He said the best posture for prayer is just to get flat on your face, be prone before the Lord. The old telephone line repairman had had enough, he piped up and said he fellas, the best posture I ever had in prayer was when I was hanging upside down from the telephone pole. I tell you when you're hanging upside down and your situation is desperate, you are going to pray. 

 

Too many of us, we wait until our situation is desperate before we pray.  Prayer is not the last resort, prayer is the first resort and Daniel knows this. They come and say Daniel you got to tell us this dream or you're going to be executed. He is prudent and he is prayerful. Are you taking to the Lord, the burdens and crises of your life for his hand to move? Well Daniel was wise enough to do so. So now we move from desperation before God to deliverance by God. When we respond rightly, we’re going to find the Lord ready to act on our behalf and the Lord ready to deliver. Look at verse 19 and you’ll see if they’re on the screen. The Bible says. “Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of Heaven.” What happened, God delivered him. The situation was desperate but our God is greater and he delivered. He delivered Daniel. Now here I see three things. First of all, our God is powerful. I actually agree with all the enchanters of Babylon in one sense. In verse 11 they had said, “no one can give the dream except the gods.” you know what, they were right. It had to be someone who was powerful enough, someone to whom the darkness is light.  Someone to whom what is shrouded, is revealed, and our God, is just that kind of God, he is powerful. He is able. Listen to what Psalm 139 says, “ oh Lord, your searched me, and know me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up. You discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my paths and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, you, oh Lord, know it all together.” and I could continue the reading, many of you know it well. You can't go where God is not. You can't know something that God doesn't already know.  Daniel turns in his desperation to this powerful God and God reveals to Daniel would only the gods can do. Only the one true God. He is powerful. You know what else I see here? He is present. Again verse 11, the Chaldeans say, “no one can reveal this except the gods and their dwelling is not among men.” they were right on the one hand but wrong on the other. Only God could reveal the dream, but they were wrong when they said, “his dwelling is not among men, his dwelling is among men. He is Emanuel, God come to dwell among us. And God was with Daniel. God was with Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego. When they went into that fiery furnace, God was there. And when   Daniel needed him, God was there, and when you need God, he will be there. He is powerful. He is present, therefore he is praiseworthy. And I love what Daniel does here. Daniel receives this vision .God reveals to him the dream. What does Daniel do? Look at the latter half of this verse. What does it say? Then, this the latter half of the verse, then Daniel blessed the God of Heaven. Daniel, not only asked for God to intervene, but when God did, Daniel remembered to say thank you.  He praised him. Gordon read that passage earlier, so I won't repeat it now, but I do want to reiterate for us all, the importance, not only of bringing our petitions to God, but once he is gracious to us. Giving him our praise in response. I too often prone to forget when good things happen to me. I may ask for them, but then I don't remember to say thank you. In fact, just this week, one of our church members was so gracious, and called the office, and he said that some jambalaya. I've got 15 lunches and, I’m going to bring them by the office and so it was on Thursday of this week that dear brother brought those lunches by to feed all the staff. We all gobble them up and enjoyed them very much Well a day or two went by and it was Saturday and I was preparing for this message and I was reminded that I ought to give thanks and so I texted the brother and said brother thank you for that lunch. That was delicious. And how many of us, we’re feasting on the good gifts God gives us but we don't remember to say thank you.

 

While I'm at it, let me just say this, this church is so good to Nell and Me.  You are so good to us and I know a lot of you have done things for me and I never even said thank you to you.  I’ve not written you a thank you note and maybe I haven’t responded and right now can I just blanket say, thank you God for Istrouma, thank you dear friends for your gifts and your support and your kindness.  I really do appreciate it, I really do. I really do.  We ought to remember to be a people who are grateful; Daniel was that kind of man.  He praised the Lord for God's good gift. And not only did he give thanks, he gave tribute. Because when Daniel stood before the king, the king said, “can you give me the interpretation, can you tell me my dream, and can you tell me what it meant.” Daniel said, “no sir,’ he said, “I cannot do it, but there is a God in heaven, and he has shown me what you think.  Daniel didn't take credit. Credit was not due to Daniel. He was wise enough not to co-opt God's glory. He gave God thanks and he gave God tribute.  He gave God the glory for the good thing that it been done.  Well now I come to the end. I want to say something about the dominion of God.  You see our desperation, if we respond to it rightly will lead to God's deliverance and in his deliverance we see his sovereign dominion overall. Now here I will refer to verse 44. Daniel is giving the interpretation of the dream and he says, looks to the screen you'll see the verse, “and in the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end and it shall stand forever.” there's the title of today's sermon. “The kingdom that shall stand forever.” sports dynasties rise and fall. Businesses rise and fall. Earthly kingdoms rise and fall, but there is a kingdom that will never fall. In fact, this King, his reign is first of all, perpetual. In perpetuity. For all time. Eternally, Jesus will reign. Daniel knew this from the dream that Nebuchadnezzar had had and the interpretation God him. Now listen to the dream. It’s given to us in verses 31 through 35. You saw o king and behold a great image. This image, mighty and have exceeding brightness, stood before you and its appearance was frightening.  I want you as I read this to try to envision in your minds eye this statue, that was erected there. Verse 32 “the head of this image was of fine gold. Its chest and arms were of silver. It’s middle and thighs of bronze. Its legs of iron. Its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. As you looked, a stone,” now note this careful, “a stone was cut out by no human hand and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold altogether were broken in pieces and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found but the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. What a vision Daniel had. Daniel had a vision of kingdoms. A succession of kingdoms.  Why? Because kingdoms rise and fall. The first of those kings was the head of gold and God told him, is Nebuchadnezzar. That is the Persian Empire. It was known for it’s its stores of gold. But with time, Babylon fell. In its place rose up a kingdom of silver. That was pictured in the arms and the chest of this image. That was the Medo-Persian Empire. it lasted some 200 years and just as Babylon was famous for its gold, Medo Persia was famous for its hoards of silver. But with time Medo-Persia fell. There was a man in Macedonia, Philip who rose up and his son after him Alexander and Alexander conquered the whole earth. His army dressed in bronze from helmet to toe and their shields and swords even of bronze and the mighty Grecian army swept the known earth. But that Kingdom to though it rose to the pinnacle of human achievement it fell. And behind it came that army of iron. The great Roman legions and they took the place of that Grecian Empire. But just like those before it, it to would fall. How would it fall? Listen to me. There was a stone cut out by no human hand. Who is this stone that came and struck the image and all the kingdoms of the world fall before this stone.  I tell you he is the stone that was rejected of men, but is the cornerstone of the Church. He is the Lord Jesus. Cut by no human and the virgin birth is there prophesied, Jesus is the King of Kings and he will rein in perpetuity forever he the perpetual king. Now friends, as true is that is, and as important as it is, there's something even more important for you, that is, his reign must be personal. He’s going to reign. Doesn’t the Bible say every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord? One day, everybody is going to bow the knee to Jesus. Every Buddhist, every Muslim, every Hindu, every Christian, we are all going to bow the knee.  What makes the difference is, did you do it now, willingly, of your own volition, in repentance and faith? Or will you that day, by force? This great king, Nebuchadnezzar, when given the dream and its interpretation, he did what we all ought to do. Look at it. Now I'm in verse 47. The last verse pictured here. “The king answered and said to Daniel truly your God is God. He is the God of gods and Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries for you have been able to reveal this mystery. . Nebuchadnezzar that greatest of all despots, bowed his knee before the King of kings and Lord of Lords. So must every one of us. There’s a mountain in New Hampshire. I believe there the Green Mountains is the name of them and in one of those great mountains, there was a protrusion. There was a piece of rock that jutted out from the face of the cliff. You see a picture of it here on the screen. This is an iconic image from New Hampshire.  You know what they call this? The old man in the mountain. Boys and girls can you look up there and can you see his nose and his brow and his chin there.  The old man in the mountain.  And from time immoral, the old man in the mountain was there. I don’t know what you call people that live in New Hampshire, New Hampshireites, I guess. They love the old man in the mountain. In fact I believe he's on their state stamp and seal and a million other souvenirs from New Hampshire. But one cold night in 2003, the old man in the mountain, gave way. There were fissures that had formed by the ice thawing and the freezing of it over so many centuries and in the night, that great visage broke off and slid down the mountain to the valley below.  And the old man in the mountain is no more. It broke their hearts. A man in the mountain. A man in the mountain who came down. This was a tragedy. I'm speaking to you today of a triumph. There is another man in the mountain. He is a stone cut by no human hand. He is the cornerstone. He is the Lord Jesus and he came down. No one can do these things except the gods and they do not make their dwelling among men. Oh yes they do. He made his dwelling among us and we beheld his glory. The glory as of the only begotten of the father. Full of grace and truth. Jesus is the stone upon which all hope is built. In fact I’m reminded, of this great old hymn.  “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus's name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all of the ground all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand. Kingdoms rise and fall. Sports dynasties rise and fall.  Businesses rise and fall. But there is a dynasty rising. There is a kingdom rising and will fill the whole earth.  You need to make sure that you are a subject to that King. Lets pray. God, we praise you for your word. What a great God you are. You see in the darkness. You know our thoughts before we think them. You know a word before it’s on our lips and you reveal what is mystery. You tell us what is to come. It is certain. It is sure. We thank you that your kingdom is rising. And that we can be a part of it. By your grace, your mercy, we can be a part of it.  We praise you, in Jesus mighty name, Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Direct download: IBC_20150913.mp3
Category:Stand -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Stand: Week 1, September 6, 2015

Sermon text follows...

Stand

Daniel 1:1-21

 

Key Verse: But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank (Daniel 1:8a).

 

1.     A great tragedy

a.     The tragedy of defeat

b.     The tragedy of disobedience

2.     A great temptation

a.     A golden possibility

b.     A godly purpose

c.     A grave peril

d.     A gracious proposal

3.     A great triumph

a.     Faithful to God

b.     Favored by God

 

The eyes of our nation, this week, have been focused on small County in Kentucky. It’s called Rowan County. It's because there, a test case of sorts, has arisen. It swirls around a simple County Clerk. Her name is Kim Davis. Kim it turns out had lived a wild life and she had been married four times. Yet, at her mother-in-law's passing in 2011, the Lord got a hold of her and she came to know Christ as her Savior and it radically transformed her life. She says today that she's devout Christian. Well, when the Supreme Court ruled, earlier this year, that same-sex marriage was to be the law of the land, she was placed in a quandary. She was elected as clerk. In fact, her mother before her had been the County Clerk. Something of a family tradition, which is common they say in Kentucky. She had been elected under the premise that marriage was, as the Scripture teaches, between a man and a woman and now she found herself as the clerk with the responsibility of issuing marriage licenses for relationships that she did not believe comported with what the Scripture teaches. What would she do? What ought she do? It was a difficult question. She made a decision in her heart, in fact she resolved in her heart that she would not go against her conscience and what she believed was right.  So she made an appeal to the governing authorities and it went to the Supreme Court and that she be heard, that her arguments be heard and that was denied. It fell back to a judge; I believe it was a federal judge there in Kentucky to rule in her case. He ruled that she must issue the licenses. If you're paid by the state of Kentucky and the law of Kentucky is that people can marry across all sorts of lines, then she, as an employee of the state, would have to issue those licenses or face the consequences. She decided that she would do the latter. She would face the consequences and so the judge decreed that this woman be cast into prison and as we worship, here in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this morning, that woman sits in a prison jail cell in Rowan County, Kentucky.

 

I suppose I imagine that perhaps we would live to see a day like today, but the I’m not sure I really believed it would come. When someone would be imprisoned for a tenet of their religious faith. Many of you'll remember that our nation was actually founded on the exact opposite premise. That people came here to say, everyone ought to be able to worship according to their dictates and live out their faith without coercion. Those days, it seems are passing. So she's made the decision to stand.

 

Now some of you maybe thinking, well now wait preacher, if she's paid by the state of Kentucky and the law is as it is, then she ought to just resign and a forfeit her position.   You know what, I think a case could be made for that. In fact, that actually did happen here in the state of Louisiana not so many weeks ago. It happens that there was a justice of the peace, a lady, in fact of all things; she's married to a Baptist preacher.  She’s a young woman and she was elected to be the justice of the peace in, I think, Grant Parish up in Central Louisiana.   Maybe some of you know where that is. She made the decision, with her husband, that when the Supreme Court ruled as it did, that she rather than get into all kinds of the legalities and a potential suit, she would just resign. She did:  she just resigned her position,

 

I for one, am glad that Kim Davis is taking a stand. II don't necessarily, I can’t judge whether or not she's been perfect in every moment of this journey. That’s for God to judge, but I’m glad she's taken a stand.  Let me tell you why, because this forces us as a nation to consider some very significant questions. Now she has said she'll take whatever repercussions come her way and she's proven that she would. In fact, when the judge ordered her to jail, her response was “yes, your honor, thank you.”  She responded with grace and she's taken her lumps and there she sits in jail today. But we, as a nation, have to make some decisions about how were going to live going forward. Do we want to live in a nation? Do we want our nation to be the kind of place where a devout Christian can no longer be a court clerk? Where, in our nation, it can never be again a devout Christian, who would stand for traditional marriage that could be a justice of the peace? Where no believer of this nature, could serve as a chaplain in our Armed Forces? Could not be a chaplain with the state police force?  You say, preacher that’s crazy. What are you talking about? Did you know that just this year, again this is in the state of Kentucky, there was a young man who was a volunteer from his church, he would go every week, as I understand it, to a correctional Institute where they housed young offenders. He would go there to share the hope of the gospel, and to disciple these young men. Well the state Department of Corrections came up with a sheet and he had to sign it and sheet said, “you cannot say that homosexual behavior is sinful.” Well if you are a devout believer that places you in a quandary. How can you not say what the Bible says is the case? In fact, while I’m on this, don’t think I mean this to be a diatribe against one particular sin. Any sexual activity outside the simple bounds of a man and woman wed in matrimony is outside of the parameters of what God established. Be it premarital sex, extramarital sex, homosexual behavior, all of it alike is outside what God ordained and so they said before you can go back into that prison you’ve got to sign this is. That you will not say that these behaviors are sinful.  The young man said, “I can't do it.” Are we prepared to live in a nation, where volunteers from churches can't go into the prisons and share the hope of the gospel as we’ve discovered in Christ and declare Christ saves from all sin? Is that the kind of nation we want to live in?  

 

Just these past few weeks, here in the state of Louisiana, an edict was released from the judicial commission of the State of Louisiana. It went to every judge in the State of Louisiana and it said “you must comport yourself in accordance with the Supreme Court's edict or we will remove your judgeship.” no Christian judges? No Christian bakers? No Christian photographers?

 

These are serious days in which we’re living. Now friends listen, Kim Davis Is right at least in this one sense, we have to be willing to take whatever consequences come, but we must stand! We must stand for what is right! God will sort the consequences. Now where do we find help in making decisions during these difficult days with these weighty issues?

 

I've got good news for you. There is help for us so we can know how we ought to live in these trying times and it's found in the book of Daniel. Would you please open your Bibles to Daniel? Daniel, Chapter One is where we are going to be this morning, and to me it's wonderful to think that this series has been planned for months. Months ago, we laid out our preaching schedule for this year and Daniel was the book that we chose and wouldn’t you know, in God's wisdom, he gave us this, just at the moment we most needed it. And that's the way he is. So if would now as our title implies, Stand, would you stand in honor of God's word and we are going to read the first chapter. Now normally, I don't read such an extended passage at one time. It takes about three minutes to read this first chapter, and I’m going to read every word. And this will be the best three minutes you spend all day, all right? Listening to what God says. I want to listen to this and then consider how ought I to live where I am? Just as Daniel learned to live in the circumstances where he found himself. Let’s read together beginning in Daniel chapter one verse one.  In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god. (I like it that the editors used a little g, that’s appropriate, all right now verse 3) Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king's palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans.  The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah. And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: (now you may not the names Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, but I think you know these) Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, (there it is) Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego. (You know those names don’t you? Shadrach, Meshach and “away we go”, all right, you know these names. These are the great three friends of Daniel; now look in verse 8, what happens?) But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.”  Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink.  Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king's food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.” So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king's food. So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. At the end of the time, when the king had commanded that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king. And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom.  And Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus.  

 

Let’s pray. God, we thank you for this book in the Bible, the book of Daniel. We thank you for the courage and commitment of these young men. The way that they stood when it seemed that all was coming against them. I pray God, you would teach us, how will stand in these days and to go against the flow when it seems that all of culture would sweep us away from you. Give us wisdom. Give us learning. Give us courage. Help us to dare to be a Daniel. I pray in Jesus name, Amen.

 

Please be seated. This morning we’re going to begin a study in the book of Daniel and were going to look at the life of Daniel, this courageous young man and his four compatriots. This morning we’re going to focus in the first chapter. I’m going to divide this story into three scenes. I want you to follow along carefully as the Lord teaches us. Now the very first scene I going to call, A Great Tragedy. This story begins with a great tragedy. Look at how the passage opens, there in versus one and two and see it projected on the screen. In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand.  Now this tragedy that I'm going to describe has two components to it. First of all, there's the component of Israel's defeat. It is a tragedy that Israel was defeated. Now remember Israel. Israel was that small band of, a tribe really, that came out of the descendants of Abraham. They were enslaved in Egypt and with a mighty hand, God brought them out of Egypt and Israel, in effect, defeated the mightiest force in its day, Egypt.  Then arose the Kings, Saul and then David. David, you remember took down Goliath and the Philistines. He united the kingdom and David's reign was a rain of great might and power and renown and wealth. Then came his son Solomon.  Israel was a top the world it seemed, but fissures began to appear in the veneer. It was because of the idolatry and immorality and fracturedness of their nation that that the people of Israel began to go into a decline, a steep decline, until, by the time we come to the life of Daniel, the nation is now totally defeated. Humiliated by what was then the world power, Babylon and its king Nebuchadnezzar. But the most sobering part of this defeat and of these verses that you see is that phrase “the Lord gave Jehoiakim into Nebuchadnezzar's hand. In other words it was not the might of the Babylonians, their armies, or their strategy of that enabled them to defeat Israel. What enabled them to defeat Israel was that God gave Israel over into its enemy’s hands. That is judgment came upon Israel. The Bible says righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people. And when sin begins to weave its way into a nation and there's immorality and idolatry and fractured people, then judgment is soon sure to follow. And if God judged Israel for her sins and he did, God can judge the United States of America for our sins. It was a tragedy that they were defeated. And the tragedy of it was that God allowed it to happen. Now why would I do that? Why would God allow his own people to go into captivity and defeat? Do you know why? It was because of their disobedience God had warned them for decades on end, that they ought to repent. That they ought to get right, but Israel was stiff necked and it was bent on going its own way. Away from God, and so judgment was to come. In fact it’s interesting. It’s one of the proofs of the inerrancy of Scripture and its trustworthiness. Did you know that more than 100 years prior to the defeat of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, God prophesied it would happen? He did so through the prophet Isaiah. Listen! Listen carefully to the precision of this prophesy. This is from Isaiah Chapter 39 beginning at verse five. “Hear the word of the Lord of hosts: Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. And some of your sons, who shall issue from you, whom you shall beget, shall be taken away.  And they shall become officials in the palace of the king of Babylon. Are you kidding me? A hundred years before it happened, God said there's going to come a day when judgment will fall. You’re going to be carried away the Babylonian in captivity, including some of your own defendants. What do recent discover here in Daniel chapter 1? That from the nobility, from the royal house, these young men were buried in the Babylon.  GOD’S WORD CANNOT BE MOCKED!  What a man sows, he will reap. What a nation sows, a nation will reap. And this story begins with a tragedy, but the tragedy did not have to happen. Had the children of Israel repented and turned back to God, judgment would not have fallen but they did not, they disobeyed, and thus, they were defeated.

 

It’s a lesson for us in America. Could judgment fall on America? It could!  I've said before and I'll say it again here now, with a heavy heart I tell you, I wouldn't be surprised if God allowed our worst enemies overrun us, to discipline us for our sin. We, the purported Christian nation, supposed Christian nation! Why is it that those who sell baby parts are free and the one who would stand for traditional marriage is in jail? You explain it to me!  Don’t think it could happen to us. It could happen.  I don’t say that with any glee, I say with a broken heart. I say God have mercy on America. Lord don’t have justice with us. We don't need justice. If justice were to fall we would be judged. No, we need mercy. God have mercy on us. Help us and especially those of us who know the truth that we would stand for righteousness. Not holier than thou, but just walk in obedience to the precepts of God's Word. Simple things. Like Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery, Ashley Madison. Thou Shall Not Steal; Thou Shall Not Kill, including innocent babies and their mother’s womb! GOD HELP US! Lest this tragedy befall us. 

 

Now lets go to the second scene. I’ve talked to you about the great tragedy that befell the children of Israel. Now I want to say something about a great temptation. It came Daniel's way. Here they are, carried off to Babylon. And here's the strange twist of fate, if you will, Daniel has in front of him, in a way of thinking, a golden possibility. All right?  He’s been held in captivity. His city has been besieged. They been starving in Jerusalem. Now this young man, country bumpkin, has been carried off to Babylon.  Babylon was the greatest city of its day. It was the Washington DC or the New York City of its time. There is Daniel, living in that great walled city. He enrolled there, not in LSU; he enrolled in BSU Babylon State University. And he's got TOPS (scholarship program), he’s got full ride tuition, he got room and board, doesn’t the Bible say that? He’s given to eat and the king’s table. He’s standing in the king's palace. I mean he’s got the tiger by the tail. All he’s got to do is go along to get along. Just don’t ruffle feathers. Just keep your head down Daniel or you’ll get it lopped off. He’s got a golden opportunity. Here he is. He’s not eating at the Five; he’s eating at Galatoire’s, or Juban’s or Ruffino’s. I mean he eating the royal regimen, it’s being fed to him. What an opportunity he has.   All he has to do is go along to get along. Daniel, just be cool man. Just fit in. just be like everybody else around you. That’s all you’ve got to do.  I love Daniel, because in the face of this golden possibility, he stands for a Godly purpose. Look at would you in verse eight. But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food or with the wine that he drank. Daniel resolved,  that is, Daniel purposed in his heart. Daniel was like this; everybody may be going this way. Everybody may be disobeying the Lord's commands, but I am going to go this way. I’m not going to be holier than thou about it, I’m not going to try to lift myself up as if I'm all that. But just in my own modest way, I'm going to stand for what's right. What a great word. You young people listen to me. You know how old Daniel was at this time? We believe he was probably about 14 years of age.  Do I have any 14 year olds in here this morning? Stand up if you are 14. I want to see all our 14 year olds. Stand right up. How would you 14 year olds like if you were carried away into a foreign country? You 15 year olds stand up 15 year old. He may have been 15.  There you are. There you are. 15 years old, carried away, all you have to do is go along.  Just do whatever everyone else is doing. You don’t have to make a scene for crying out loud. You can be seated.  Daniel wouldn't go along to get along. And he would keep his head down. He stood up.  And he said I’m going to follow the Lords precepts. And you might even argue, it’s not that big a thing. I mean all you have to do is eat the king’s food. Just drink the wine that there serving.
What?  It’s not a big deal. It was to Daniel. Because God in his word had laid out some principles of how to live in obedience to him. And there were certain kosher foods among the Jewish people. And Daniel on what some might consider just the technicality said I'm not going the yield on this. I'm going to be faithful to the Lord. By his grace am going to stand true. And I want to challenge our young people and our parents who set the example and our grandparents who are here this morning. May God help us in this day of so much moral confusion, just to be true? True to God's word. To his truth. To his principles. And not yield. Daniel had a Godly purpose. You know what this leads to? It leads to peril. It leads to danger. There was a grave peril before Daniel.  I mean you couldn’t buck King Nebuchadnezzar. I mean this is the ruler of the known world. It would be like being carried in before the Ayatollah Khomeini. You do what you want in his face. It’s a dangerous thing. You say how do you know that preacher? Well look at what the Bible says. They’re now in verse 10.  ..and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.  What’s he saying? He’s saying man, if you don't do what the king said, we could all get our heads lopped off.  

 

This is serious business. But Daniel, no matter the risk, runs this apparel. And is willing to stand in the face of it. He is between a rock and a hard place. Look at this. If he pleases the king, he displeases the King of Kings. But he pleases the King of Kings, he displeases the king. And he has to make a choice. And all of us are going to have to make a choice. Who is the King that we will please?  For whose pleasure do we live? And Daniel makes his choice. Now I love Daniel because he offers up, in this quandary, he offers up a very gracious proposal. He doesn’t stand up on the cafeteria table in the middle of the Five or something and start banging on the table. I want a new menu! I want a new menu! I want a new menu! He doesn't do that. He doesn’t hold up a placards and march, like Westboro does.  No, what does Daniel do? He makes a very gracious proposal. He says look, I tell you what, would you be so kind as to just test us for 10 days? Just let us eat fruit and vegetables. Just test us. The word vegetable here is a word that means from the seed. So it would have included things like wheat and vegetables and fruit. Things that grow from seed.  Just let us have a basic menu and then at the end of the 10 days just test us and see how we measure up against the others. It was a gracious kind proposal. And I want to advocate this for all of us. I’m not wanting you to leave today and go get placards and march and shout profanities and curse the darkness.  I’m not asking you to do that. Nor do I believe the Word of God have us do that. Instead I'm asking you to live with what I’m going to call a convictional kindness.

 

Now you just may want to jot these words down. The head or our Religious Liberty and Ethics Commission is a man named Dr. Russell Moore. And he coined this phrase as I know and I love it.  Listen to it.  Convictional Kindness. What does that mean? Well just think of each word individually. Conviction.  God’s people, if you know Jesus as your savior, and you comport to be His disciple, you need to have some conviction about you.  Things that you believe are right and wrong. And those things need to be rooted in the clear teachings of God’s word. Not some list you just came up with by tradition. But what does God’s word say? And knowing what he expects, you say, these are my convictions. I’m not looking to fight. I’m not looking down my nose at anybody else. These are jus the things I believe are expected of me by God and I have convictions about these. That’s conviction. That is, have a backbone. But then the word kindness. What does the word kindness mean? That means that you’re gentle. That you’re not up in people's faces looking for a fight. You’re going to plead your case. You’re going to make proposal and you’re going to do it with graciousness. And if it is not conceded to you, you are going to face the consequences. Convictional

Kindness.  Or you could turn it around and it is the same thing. Kind conviction. And those are the kind of people we need to be in the day in which were living. 

 

Kim Davis, whether or not we agree with every nuance of what she’s done, she’s made a proposal. She’s said I want to take this to the Supreme Court. I want there to be an adjudication. I believe that we need to have an adjudication in our nation. Let me remind us again. We are the government. If you are old enough to vote, you, in a sense, govern this nation.  And you need to take seriously that right and that responsibility that falls to you.  You better know the issues. Don’t vote for somebody because they handsome, or because they are good looking.  Don’t vote for them because they are brash.  Vote for someone who, to the best of your discernment, is going to stand according to biblical principle’s and again, whether or not we carry any election, we still have to stand for what is right.

 

Stand! Stand! Stand! And Daniel did. And he did it, with convictional kindness. We are not looking for confrontation, but we are not going to capitulate either.   May God help us to be people of convictional kindness?  Isn’t that what the bible says? Listen to what the bible says. This now is 1st Peter, Chapter 3. Versus 14-15.         But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect..  Now folks, I tell you, I will be honest with you, you probably know this anyway, its hard for me not to get angry at times.  Just to get upset and frustrated and bitter because things don’t go the way I think they ought to go. And the world often sees Christians an embittered, harsh, offensive people. Peter says, be ready to give an answer for the hope that’s within you when people ask you. Are you known as the person of hope? Am I known as the person of hope or do I think the roofs caving in.  You know Chicken Little. The sky is falling. Friends we have a hope and our nation may go down the tubes and we may be imprisoned for your faith but I still have hope. We ought to be ready to give an answer. And he says do it with gentleness and respect.  

 

May God help us to live with convictional kindness? All right now here is the end. It ends and I’m so thankful to say this, on an up note. It ends in triumph, really. Look at how this the third scene in our story. It is what I call, a great triumph.   It happens because of faithfulness to God. Daniel is faithful. He stays true to what he believes. He didn’t bow, he didn’t bend, he didn’t break.   He stood. Stand. Stand. Stand. He did. He was faithful. And because he was faithful, he was favored by God.  God favored him. Look at how this passage concludes. As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams and the king spoke with them and among all of them, none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.  Therefore they stood before the king. He found them ten times better than all. That’s amazing. Why were Daniel and his friends found ten times better?  Was it because of innate intelligence in them? Did they have a natural higher IQ? I’m not sure that they did. I really believe that it was rooted in God’s favor.  He blessed these boys. He helped them in their studies. He favored them and when we are faithful to God, he will favor us.  He will bless us. He did with Daniel.  Daniel rose to be; some might say the prime minister of Babylon. Now is it that all was easy for Daniel?  Am I preaching a health and wealth gospel? No I am not!  In fact, did you know that for the next seventy years of Daniels live, he was a captive, enslaved in Babylon?  But he was still favored.  This story set hundreds of years ago, could read as todays newspaper.  It’s that applicable to where we are living.  I pray God we wont go through any greater tragedy than what we have already experienced. I pray that we as a nation and as people will turn back to God.

 

Listen friends, the problem isn’t in the courthouse, and the white house solely. It’s in the church house. Its preachers afraid to say what is true.  It is church members who wont stand for what is true. It ought to begin the revival needs to begin here among us!  In this day of difficulty, you young people, I know well, great temptations are going to come your way. You are going to be pressured to just go along to get along. I want to challenge you to purpose in your heart that you are going to stand for the Lord.  And I want you do it with convictional kindness. And I want to do that myself. You pray for me that Ill be that kind of disciple. If we’ll do it, friends, I want to tell you something, God will bless it.  He will favor us.  He will be gracious to us.  He’ll make his countenance shine upon us. He’ll give us peace.   He will! 

 

Would you stand please with your head bowed?  I want ask our musicians to come, our band. Were going to go out today singing. Were not defeated. Listen friend, no matter what happens we’re not defeated. We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  The ultimate victory is the Lord’s. We just need to make sure that we are on his side.  That we know him that we been redeemed. That we been forgiven. That we’re standing.  We need his grace to do it. We can’t stand in our own power, in our own strength. We need his grace. And so I want us to pray now for it. And then we will sing.   

 

God we thank you for your word and the light it is to our feet. The light it is to our path. God, I pray that today it's been illumined how we ought to live. With convictional kindness. Standing for what’s right in a hostile world. I pray for our young people that they’ll stand true. In elementary school, and middle school, and high school, for our collegiate at the University. That they will be gracious, faithful.  I pray for adults out in the workplace, where there is dishonesty and immorality and deceit and all manner of temptation. Lord help us as adults to be faithful to you. Help us God to stand! We pray in Jesus name, AMEN.

Direct download: IBC_20150906.mp3
Category:Stand -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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