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Daniel 1:8 - Standing Firm

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Introduction:

We Live In A World Of Compromise—in a society that has abandoned moral standards and Christian principles.  Tolerance Is The Operative Ideology (the body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, a group, a class, or a culture) in Our Society. 

1.         The Church Adopts A Similar Perspective To Reach The Unsaved.

a.  Many churches now look for ways to give the Gospel to people without offending them. Yet the very nature of the Gospel is offensive because it confronts sinners with their sin. Ignoring that, many churches willingly compromise God’s Word instead of “standing firm” on the Gospel, and they give the world a watered-down version that can’t effect any change.

2.         The Spirit Of Compromise Hits Closer To Home In Our Personal Interactions.

a.       We may have had opportunities to proclaim Christ to unbelievers, yet out of intimidation or lack of confidence, we have kept silent.

b.      Perhaps we’ve found ourselves compromising God’s Word on some ethical issue at work or in our neighborhood and convinced ourselves that such compromise was necessary to maintain our credibility as an employee or neighbor.

c.       Yet our Christian testimony is predicated on our:

1.         Complete devotion to God’s Word as the highest authority—no matter what the consequences may be.

d.      God draws sinners into the kingdom through Christians who prove to be:

1.         Different from the world—who reveal their true allegiance by their commitment and obedience to God’s standards.

Our difficulty in living like that is the opposition we encounter from the world. R.C. Sproul, in his book Pleasing God, describes the pull the world has on us:

The world is a seducer. It seeks to attract our attention and our devotion. It remains so close at hand, so visible, so enticing. It eclipses our view of heaven. What is seen contends for our attention. It entices our eyes lest we look up for a better country whose builder and maker is God. It pleases us—much of the time, anyway—and, alas, we often live our lives to please it. And that is where conflict ensues, for pleasing the world so seldom overlaps with pleasing God… The divine call we receive is this: “Do not be conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2). But the world wants us to be partners with it. We are urged to participate in the fullness of it. It presses upon us with the ultimate peer pressure. ([Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House, 1988], 59)

3.         Scripture Calls Us To The Opposite Of Compromise. 

a.       From one end of the Bible to the other, God clearly commands his people to live apart from the world (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1)

b.      When God established the nation Israel, He built into the Israelites’ daily living the principle of separation from the world. Their religious observances throughout the year served as safeguards to prevent them, as a unique people (Deut. 14:2), from intermingling with pagans.

c.       God calls all His people to be separate from the world (1 Pet. 2:9).

1.         Whenever we are tempted to compromise, we must remind ourselves that God never compromises His absolute truths and principles for convenience. He always lives according to His Word. Psalm 138:2 says, “You have magnified Your word above all Your name.” God is committed to His Word, and as His children, we are to be also.

4.         God’s Word Develops Integrity Instead of Compromise.

a.       The American Heritage Dictionary (Houghton Mifflin, 1992) defines integrity as “steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code,” “the state of being unimpaired; soundness,” or “the quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.” It comes from the word integer, which means “whole” or “complete.”

b.      Integrity essentially means being true to one’s ethical standards.  In our case, God’s standards. Its synonyms are honesty, sincerity, incorruptibility. It describes someone without hypocrisy or duplicity—someone who is completely consistent with his or her stated convictions. A person who lacks integrity—someone who says one thing and does another—is a hypocrite.

c.       Our Lord has no patience for such people.  The scribes and Pharisees were frequent subjects of Christ’s blistering attacks on their hypocrisy. Of them He said, “They say things, and do not do them” (Matt. 23:3).

5.         But To The Man Or Woman Of Integrity, God Promises Blessing.

a.      When Solomon finished building the house of the Lord, the Lord appeared to him and said:

“I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. And as for you, if you will walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you and will keep My statutes and My ordinances, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, just as I promised to your father David, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’ ”

—1 Kings 9:3–5

6.         The Conclusion Is Simple:

a.       Those who maintain a life of integrity will be blessed by God; those who don’t will be cursed, especially those in spiritual leadership.

b.      Integrity is essential if any believer is to represent God and Christ in this world.

c.       Anything less than total devotion to our Lord in both character and conduct amounts to compromise with the world.

THE PRICE OF COMPROMISE—Sadly, such compromises are not exceptions; they have become the rule.  Scripture is full of people who compromised, including some very choice servants of God.

     •     Adam compromised God’s law, followed his wife’s sin, and lost paradise (Gen. 3:6, 22–24).

     •     Abraham compromised the truth, lied about Sarah’s relationship to him, and nearly lost his wife (Gen. 12:10–12).

     •     Sarah compromised God’s Word and sent Abraham to Hagar, who bore Ishmael and destroyed peace in the Middle East (Gen. 16:1–4, 11–12).

     •     Moses compromised God’s command and lost the privilege of entering the Promised Land (Num. 20:7–12).

     •     Samson compromised his devotion as a Nazirite and lost his strength, his eyesight, and his life (Judg. 16:4–6, 16–31).

     •     Israel compromised the commands of the Lord, lived in sin, and, when fighting the Philistines, lost the Ark of God (1 Sam. 4:11). She also compromised the law of God with sin and idolatry and lost her homeland (2 Chron. 36:14–17).

     •     Saul compromised God’s divine word by not slaying the animals of his enemy and lost his kingdom (1 Sam. 15:3, 20–28).

     •     David compromised God’s standard, committed adultery with Bathsheba, murdered Uriah, and lost his infant son (2 Sam. 11:1–12:23).

     •     Solomon compromised his convictions, married foreign wives, and lost the united kingdom (1 Kings 11:1–8).

     •     Judas compromised his supposed devotion for Christ for thirty pieces of silver and was separated from Christ eternally (Matt. 26:20–25, 47–49; 27:1–5; cf. John 17:12).

     •     Peter compromised his conviction about Christ, denied Him, and lost his joy (Mark 14:66–72). Later he compromised the truth in order to gain acceptance by the Judaizers and lost his liberty (Gal. 2:11–14).

     •     Ananias and Sapphira compromised their word about their giving, lied to the Holy Spirit, and lost their lives (Acts 5:1–11).

TWO OBSERVATIONS:

(1)               In every case the effect of the compromise was to lose something valuable in exchange for something temporary and unfulfilling, some sinful desire.

(2)        Note what was compromised in each of those examples: either God’s Word, a command from God, or a conviction about God. Therefore the true price of compromise is a rejection of God’s Word, which amounts to rebellion against Him and promotion of self as the final authority.

The Need for the Power and Presence of God In Our Lives (1 Samuel 4:1-10)

q  Our lives are to be centered on Christ (Philippians 3:8)

The Blessed Man (Psalm 1:1-3)

q  The Disaster: Following Jesus at a distance as Peter did will lead walking, standing, sitting & then possibly denying  (Luke 22:54-62).

q  The Key: Delighting in God’s Word (v.2) & meditating on it (v.2)

q  The Result: You shall prosper like a healthy tree (v.3)

Who Can Stand Before This Holy Lord God (1 Samuel 6:20)

q  Psalm 15

The Need For Prayer (Matthew 26:36-46)

He sat by a furnace of sevenfold heat,

As he watched by the precious ore;

And closer he bent, with a searching gaze,

As he heated it more and more.

He knew he had ore that could stand the test;

And he wanted the finest of gold—

To mold as a crown for the King to wear;

Set with gems of a price untold.

So he laid our gold in the burning fire,

Though we fain would have said him nay;

And he watched the dross that we had not seen,

As it melted and passed away.

And the gold grew brighter, and yet more bright;

But our eyes were so dim with tears,

We saw but the fire—not the Master’s hand—

And questioned with anxious fears.

Yet our gold shone out with a richer glow,

As it mirrored a form above

That bent o’er the fire—though unseen by us—

With looks of ineffable love.

Can we think it pleases his loving heart

To cause us a moment’s pain?

Ah! no, but he saw through the present loss

The bliss of eternal gain.

So he waited there with a watchful eye,

With a love that is strong and sure;

And his gold did not suffer a whit more heat,

Than was needed to make it pure.

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