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When the Heat is on!

Starting the Year with Daniel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Do you remember the song entitled “The Heat is On” by Glenn Frey back in 1984 popularized by the movie “Beverly Hills Cop” starred by Eddie Murphy? It is a secular song, though what it meant somehow makes sense to our lives as christians living in a pagan country. This culture and generation is putting a lot of heat on us. To the Islam Religion, we are “infidels”. To Radical Islam, we are the most favorite target of terrorism. Though this country was founded in christianity, but our society is changing. In many ways, this country is beginning to look like Babylon. It is a country of different peoples and languages. With various cultures and religions, trying its best to stay “united”. Well, at least its name sounds “united”, “United” States of America. Only deaf ears and blind eyes could say, that the people of this nation are completely okay. The silent majority are groaning quietly. The more vocal sectors of society, are crying loudly. The leaders of the country are divided sharply. What should you do, when the heat is on you? Hang on, help is coming. Expect that God is able to deliver you. Announce your loyalty to God and Trust in Him.

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Opening

For the past couple of Sundays we’ve looked into the life of Daniel and we learned a number of things on how we shall face difficult situations and impossible looking scenarios… our “Mission Impossible”, so to speak
The biblical principles we learned form Daniel that are applicable to all culture and generations are:
Don’t Panic
Ask Why
Never Rush and Ask for Time
Invite People, your friends in your Life Group to pray with you
Empathize with other People (even with the unbelievers)
Lay our petitions and problems before God
And also to confidently Ask God for Supernatural Help
Praise the God of Heaven
Praise His name (who He is)
Praise His deeds (what He does)
Praise Him with Thanksgiving
To Use what God shows us to save Others
And finally, to always Point People to God
BREATHE!
We saw how Daniel was “promoted” not just once, not just twice, but many times in his lifetime and we will see that in the weeks to come as we continue with this series: “Starting the Year with Daniel”
Without needing to ask those who wants to be promoted to raise their hands, I strongly believe that we all want to be “promoted”, don’t we? Of course we do, we will be lying to ourselves if we say we don’t
Promoted in various ways and different fields
BREATHE!
Now, we know that Daniel was not alone in his faithful journey
He has a “Life Group”, a set of equally godly friends named Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, whose names was later on changed to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they were brought to Babylon
Today let’s look into how Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, just like Daniel, got promoted in Babylon, a pagan nation, just like the nation we’re living in today
But before we do that, I’d like everyone to give your neighbor a “fist bump” and say, “the heat is on!”
BREATHE!
Do you remember the song entitled “The Heat is On” by Glenn Frey back in 1984 popularized by the movie “Beverly Hills Cop” starred by Eddie Murphy?
Part of the song goes like this...
The heat is on, on the street Inside your head, on every beat And the beat's so loud, deep inside The pressure's high, just to stay alive 'Cause the heat is on
The shadows high on the darker side Behind the doors, it's a wilder ride You can make a break, you can win or lose That's a chance you take, when the heat's on you When the heat is on
It is a secular song, though what it meant somehow makes sense to our lives as christians living in a pagan country
This culture and generation is putting a lot of heat on us
To the Islam Religion, we are “infidels”
To Radical Islam, we are the most favorite target of terrorism
Though this country was founded in christianity, but our society is changing
In many ways, this country is beginning to look like Babylon
It is a country of different peoples and languages
With various cultures and religions, trying its best to stay “united”
Well, at least its name sounds “united”, “United” States of America
Only deaf ears and blind eyes could say, that the people of this nation are completely okay
The silent majority are groaning quietly
The more vocal sectors of society, are crying loudly
The leaders of the country are divided sharply
BREATHE!
What should you do, when the heat is on you?
When you are pressured to conform
Will you remain passive, or you’ll gonna go active?
Will you retreat in fear? or go forward in faith?
Open your Bible to and keep it there

Text: The Image of Gold and the Blazing Furnace

As you turn the pages of your Bible to Daniel chapter 3, let me take you to
Proverbs 17:3 NCV
A hot furnace tests silver and gold, but the Lord tests hearts.
Proverbs 17:3 NIV
The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.
Another prophet after Daniel, his name is Zechariah said these...
Zechariah 13:9 NLT
I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’ ”
The blazing furnace is a test of our faith
God test us with stress, before He trust us with success
God test us with stress before He trust us with success
Story: Test of my Faith (A High School Batch mate recently added me as friend on facebook)
The heat was on me on many occasions of my life
When I was still a government official, many times my faith was put to test
Situations that involves huge sum of money and enormous amount of power
But what I’d like to share today, as testimony to God’s faithfulness to those who trust in Him, is the very recent test of my heart by the Lord
The enemy knows my/our weaknesses, and keep in mind that the enemy will attack our weaknesses, more than our strength
Collectively, our strength is dependent on how much the “weakest link” can hold (game show back in 2001)
BREATHE!
Out of respect to the actual people involved in this story, I will be using fictitious names because I don’t have their permission to reveal their identity
While I was Uber driving early this week, I got a ride request from Rolando
So I picked up Rolando, and while I was driving for him, his name reminded me of a brother, of one of my high school batch mates named Rosalie
Rosalie and I had a brief illicit affair many years ago, it did not last for very long
I’m not sure if she is in the so called “42 List” of my wife
And then afterwards, I got another ride request, this time from a person named Rosalie!!!
What??? you gotta be kidding me! I mean, what are the odds? Right?
We believe that things happens for a reason, nothing is coincidental, and everything is ordained by God
But, you’re not gonna believe this
On that same day, I got a “friend request” on facebook from the real “Rosalie”, out of no where, after years of no communication
At that point, I know that my faith is again being put to test
I was in the middle of preparing this Sermon when all these happened
I
BREATHE!
Now let’s go to Daniel Chapter 3
King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold sixty cubits high and six cubits wide in the plain of Dura, 1 cubit is equivalent to 0.5 yards or 1.6 feet
So the image is approximately 90 feet high and 9 feet wide. Such a disproportionate structure would need some sort of pedestal or base to keep from toppling over
Around 2,500 years ago, this is still true today, though not literally gold images that we are made to bow down and worship, but images such as:
Physical Beauty - this society idolizes actors and actresses
Fame - this culture adores athletes
Wealth - this generation patronizes rich people
Sex - tolerates fornication. No longer putting value of saving sex for marriage.
Pleasure - letting hobbies rob the time for worship
Influence - to feel that everything, and everybody revolves around oneself
Power - to be on the top of government and corporate power house
Fame
Popularity - creating false image of oneself. posting on social media photos and articles that projects an image
These are some forms of images that our culture, society and generation made us bow down to, and worship
Such a disproportionate structure would need some sort of pedestal or base to keep from toppling over
He then summoned all his officials to come to the dedication of the image
Barry, J.D. et al., 2012, 2016. Faithlife Study Bible, Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all other provincial officials assembled for the dedication and they all stood before the image
Then the herald (the announcer) proclaimed to all peoples of every language that they are commanded to fall down and worship the image upon hearing the sound of the horn, flute and other musical instruments
And whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace
So when they heard the sound, everybody fell down and worshipped the image of gold that king Nebuchadnezzar had set up, except for the 3 friends of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
Why Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego would not bow down and worship the image set up by king Nebuchadnezzar?
Because it is against the top 2 of the 10 commandments of God
Exodus 20:3–4 NIV
“You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
There’s nothing wrong with family, work, career, wealth, hobby and leisure, but anything we put ahead of God is a form of idol or gods, and it violates the very first commandment
At that point, the astrologers, magicians, fortune tellers, denounced the Jews and they went to the king to report the matter
It could be because of Babylonian “racism”, because they are Jews
Or these wisemen are kiss ups to the king because they’re jealous and they wanted their jobs
Remember, these are the same group of wisemen saved by Daniel and his friends some 15 years ago when they failed to interpret the first dream of Nebuchadnezzar
BREATHE!
Nebuchadnezzar was furious and summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and asked them, “is it true?”
Take notice of a pagan attitude, he’s furious even before hearing the side of the story of Shadrach and his friends
The king said to them, when you hear the sound, fall down and worship the image, or else you will be thrown into a blazing furnace, and we will see what god will be able to rescue you from my hand
It was obvious that Nebuchadnezzar was not completely transformed at this point despite of his recognition of the most high God, the God of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in
Let’s see how the 3 friends of Daniel responded to Nebuchadnezzar and learn from their reply on

What should you do, when the heat is on you?

Everybody say “Heat!”

Hang On, Help is Coming

Daniel 3:16 NIV
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.

Expect that God is able to deliver me

Daniel 3:17 NIV
If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.

Announce My Loyalty to God

Daniel 3:18 NIV
But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
After this, Nebuchadnezzar got even more furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
He ordered to turn up the heat seven times more, he wanted to make sure that they really toast to death
He commanded some of the strongest soldiers in is army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the furnace
With the king’s command so urgent, and the furnace so hot, the soldiers who took up the three were killed by the flames of the fire, and the three men firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace
Then king Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”
They replied, “certainly, you majesty”
But the king said, “look, I see four men walking around in the fire, “unbound and unharmed”, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods
Nebuchadnezzar didn’t get that one right, the fourth person is not “a son of the gods”, but He is “the Son of God”
Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came of of the fire, and the provincial officials of Babylon crowded around them
They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their head singed, their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them
Then Nebuchadnezzar said, Praise be to God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants!
This was the second time that king Nebuchadnezzar praised the Most High God, the first one you can find in
We will see in the coming weeks if Nebuchadnezzar, a pagan king, will be completely converted

Trust in Him

Daniel 3:28
Daniel 3:28 NIV
Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.
BREATHE!
After the display of Daniel’s friends “unshakable faith”
After this amazing show of courage and commitment
After this remarkable demonstration of trust and thankfulness
The Most High God delivered them through the fire
Then the king promoted them
Daniel 3:29–30 NIV
Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.” Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
Daniel 3:30
It is my own sermon, this same message of God, that delivered me from my own blazing furnace
From the fiery desires of my flesh
Without the Lord walking with me through the fire, I could have failed once again
Everyone knows that girls is among my weaknesses
But this time, God delivered me from it... because…
I Hang On, then Help Came
I Expect that God is Able to Deliver me, and He did
I Announce here to you today my loyalty to God
and I kept my Trust in Him
I kept my Trust in Him
BREATHE!
What about you? What is your Image of Gold? What is your Blazing Furnace?
It could be your peers pressuring you to conform to their ways
It could be your own desires that set aside God on the sidelines
Desire for Wealth
Desires for Power or Popularity
Desires for Pleasure or Physical Beauty
or it could be anything that you put so much importance, that you ease God out

Prayer

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