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Stand Up for What You Believe In

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Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: Daniel 3           

These are anti-Christian phrases: when in Rome, do as the Romans do; Go with the flow; and Don’t make waves. What about ignoring God’s Word to preserve your own life, or bending a little in order to make your life easier?

King Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, had constructed a golden statue that was 90 feet tall. He issued a decree that when the people heard the music, they were to bow down and worship the statue which he had built… or they would be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire.

Babylon was a huge empire, had people from many nationalities and languages and everyone was doing what the king had commanded (even many Israelites). What’s the big deal? Everyone is doing it. Other Israelites are doing it. Besides, isn’t it better to preserve our own life, than to die for something that seems meaningless, like a statue?

Exodus 20:3-5a (HCSB)
3 Do not have other gods besides Me.

4 Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. 5 You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…

Three young men in the Old Testament, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would be considered narrow minded extremists today. They took God’s Word seriously and would not bow down to the idol. In verses 13-15; Nebuchadnezzar was furious and had the three men brought before him. He gave them one more chance to worship the statue or else be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire.

Daniel 3:16-18 (HCSB)

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to give you an answer to this question. 17 If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king. 18 But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” [1]

Courage

Courage takes a certain amount of resolve. These guys had a predetermined commitment to the Lord God of the universe, that no matter what, they were going to stand up for God. Even if other Israelites were bowing down to the statue… they were going to have the courage to stand up for God.

·        I will say, in the last 20 years, no one has asked me (or pressured me) to bow down to a golden statue. But…

·        I have been pressured to bow to “stem cell research and abortion.”

·        I have been pressured to bow to “someone’s sexual orientation.”

·        I have been pressured to bow to “living together before marriage.” They’re just trying it out.

·        I’ve been pressured to bow; lying is okay depending on the circumstances.

·        I’ve been pressured to bow to “alternate ways to heaven.”

·        I’ve been pressured to bow to “athiesm taught in public schools.”

I am not just being pressured by popular culture and the media… even ‘so called’ Christians are pressuring us to not be so Biblically extreme in our views.

It takes courage to not bow… like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego… and say, “The Almighty God of the universe says that stuff is wrong and I’ll stand for Him no matter what!”

“True courage is like a kite; a contrary wind raises it higher.” – J. Petit-Senn

Consequences

Daniel 3:19-23 (HCSB)

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with rage, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He gave orders to heat the furnace seven times more than was customary, 20 and he commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the furnace of blazing fire. 21 So these men, in their trousers, robes, head coverings, and other clothes, were tied up and thrown into the furnace of blazing fire. 22 Since the king’s command was so urgent and the furnace extremely hot, the raging flames killed those men who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego up. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fell, bound, into the furnace of blazing fire.

There are consequences for standing up for Christ. These three were hated by the king for standing up for the Lord. In fact, they were hated so much that the king tried to have them burned to death in the furnace. Even Jesus states, “If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me before it hated you…If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” John 15:18,20

Let me give you a simple example, “Nobody wants to sit with the pastor at the wedding reception.”

I’m ready to take the consequences for following Jesus.

            If you have an issue with the things I’ve mentioned in this sermon, then your issue is not with me, your issue is with the holy and perfect God. If you want to take that out on me… fine.

  • I will stand up for the One who laid down His life for me.
  • I will take a beating for the Christ who took the stripes I deserved.
  • Pierce my heart, but I will still love Jesus, who took the spear that should have been thrusted into my side.
  • Call me narrow minded, and I will praise the King that wore the crown of thorns.
  • Let it be known today, “I would rather die than accept the sins for which my Savior died”

2 Corinthians 5:21 (HCSB)
21 He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Conquest

Daniel 3:24-26 (HCSB)

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in alarm. He said to his advisers, “Didn’t we throw three men, bound, into the fire?”

“Yes, of course, Your Majesty,” they replied to the king.

25 He exclaimed, “Look! I see four men, not tied, walking around in the fire unharmed; and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the door of the furnace of blazing fire and called: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you servants of the Most High God—come out!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire. 27 When the satraps, prefects, governors, and the king’s advisers gathered around, they saw that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men: not a hair of their heads was singed, their robes were unaffected, and there was no smell of fire on them.

The first great conquest we have: to walk with the Lord. In the fire of persecution, when the furnace is seven times hotter than normal, Jesus is walking with us, “…and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

Romans 8:37-39 (HCSB)
37 No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us.

38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers,

nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing

will have the power to separate us from the love of God

that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

The second great conquest we have: non-believers will have a witness. “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you servants of the Most High God – come out!”

            It is a numerical fact that in the last 2000 years, the church has had its largest increases when the believers were persecuted.

·        When followers of Christ didn’t give in to the weak morals of society.

·        When true believers returned love for hatred.

·        When the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ was shown in His followers who took it seriously when He said…

·        “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.”

We are in a war, spiritually and morally. To be victorious

1.      we must have the courage to stand for what is right (and not bow to the world),

2.      we must be willing to accept the consequences of being different

3.      we must have faith in Christ for the victory.

General Douglas MacArthur, “It is fatal to enter a war without the will to win.”
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[1] The Holy Bible : Holman Christian standard version. 2003. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.

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