March 29 Sunday Morning
Today, I thought we would begin a brand new series that I'm calling Daniel a life of faith. Now warn you this is the longest series that I have ever put together. It lasts some 12 weeks now, even though we begin the series today, we will be taking the next couple weeks off. So as we can be able to celebrate Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, but I thought it was important to go ahead and get this series started and I thought that we would use one of my favorite books, which is the Book of Daniel. Now Daniel is what some people call a good read right you go through there's lots of interesting things in there. They've got things in there that you really won't find anywhere else. I mean leaving have a king who thought he was a cow. And in fact, that's how I got interested in the Book of Daniel to Sunday school teacher told me about that and while I just had to read about the king who thought he was a cow, but one of the other reason is it a thought Daniel was important is because there's a lot of talk going around now amongst Christians and non-christians alike about the end of the world covid-19 is the end of the world. Everyone is trying to put all of these things together to show the biblical prophecies are coming true. The friends Daniel is not just a good read. It's an important book for us to study and we'll there are three reasons. Why. First Daniels situation parallels and he was part of a believe in minority for most of his life. Almost the entirety of his life. He never knew what it felt like to live in a country surrounded by people who believed as he did we find ourselves in a similar situation today and Daniels several Pagan leaders and our day. We live in our leaders who talk the talk, but they don't walk the walk if you will indulge Believers and friends. So are we and the non-believers around us those numbers grow each and every day though. I think it has been that way for many years. It's just now that people are really starting to be honest about it. Supreme the stories of Daniel we will draw upon many useful principal as we attempt to live for Christ in a world filled with non-believers. So, how should we live in a world where Believers are outnumbered and often overwhelmed? How should we respond to the rising tide of abortion and euthanasia the outright hatred of Christian and the persecution around the world. Where is God in the midst of a pagan culture? How do we Proclaim Christ in a world? That doesn't even believe in the concept of Truth? Daniel provides the positive model for how to live for God when no one else shares your faith. No one knows when the Christ will return no one knows the day or the hour, but Daniel's prophecies May soon be fulfilled The Book of Daniel is known as an apocalyptic book just as Revelations is an apocalyptic book Daniel is filled with dreams visions and prophecies concerning the end times in the weeks to come. We will see if we can see these prophecies being fulfilled today with covid-19 Locust in Africa fires in Australia. There seems to be lots of predictions about when the end will come. Some think it is. Now something is tomorrow. What others think is just around the corner. Well, perhaps they are right but happ's that is true. But you know, my cousin has a really bad habit of coming up behind you and snapping her fingers and saying well, that's it. He just came where you ready? Let's not wait until you think the end is near before you start to get ready because when he comes it will be like the snap of a finger. It will be an instant in the twinkling of an eye scripture says. Now the third most important lesson we hear from Daniel is Daniel God is our God to God was on the throne then and he is still on the throne today study in the Book of Daniel should increase our confidence in the sovereignty of God the God who makes no mistake. Bottom line is is in charge. He is in charge of Nations families and individuals. He is in charge of the past the present and the future he is in charge of Good Times bad times of happiness and sorrow We have got to stop thinking that we are in control. God is in control from the moment. We are conceived to the moment the death comes knocking at our door. Daniel is an object lesson on how the world tries to seduce the church which starts with an outright assault becomes a very subtle attempt at total assimilation. Now explain three reasons why it is important for us to study the Book of Daniel to look at the Book of Daniel and I will begin this morning taking a look at for teenage boys who said no to the world and yes to God and we're going to start with the first chapter of Daniel the very first verse And we see you in the very first verse of Daniel that the world seeks to destroy our heritage. The scripture says in the third year of the reign of jehoiakim king of Judah Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon to Jerusalem. And besieged it. And the very first verse of Daniel we see that the thing that things are not going to go. Well the armies of Nebuchadnezzar have surrounded Israel's capital city and history teaches us that eventually the city's defenses were overwhelmed when Jerusalem fell the city the temple and all that was important and all that really mattered had fallen into the hands of a pagan anime. This defeat led to the first of two deportations the second deportation occurring after a second attack by the Babylonians. It was during the second attack the Babylonians tore down the Walls raise the city and completely destroyed Solomon's Temple. It was in the first wave of deportations. We see Daniel and his friends who find themselves separated from all they have ever known in a Strange Land. They wondered how will we worship without sacrifice is how will we honor and worship Our God while living here amongst those who do not know? That's the world attacks. People directly separating us from our heritage and removing us from our past. Inverse to we see that the world seeks to deconstruct our space Force 2 says in the lord gave jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand with some of the Articles of the house of God would be carried into the land of shinar to the house of his God and he brought the Articles into the Treasure House of his God.
Nebuchadnezzar took gold and silver objects used for worship and by placing them in the temple of his God mardock. He was showing Israel that their defeat was complete and that his dog was greater than their God. He was declaring that he never connects her head to feed it the god of Israel in the Looting of the temple. There is a bigger picture here to be seen years earlier there any. Of spiritual decline God's people have play symbols of pagan gods into Dodge Temple. Now what happens Donna lousy Pagan Keen to take these symbols into a pagan Temple. This is God's righteous judgement in action. The Jews had desecrated the house of God by consorting with idols. And now God is just allowing the pagans to do the same thing. The view of the world in Daniels time was that God was dead. This was the standard of the day. If a dog allowed the Looting of his Temple then well, they were very weak or non-existent God. So that raises a question for us. Can we trust the guy who is defeated? Can you trust God when Worley evidence suggests that he is dead. Will you be faithful even when your World falls apart? Is your god greater than your circumstances in 1845 James Russell Lowell wrote the poem the present crisis and the poem includes of this stanza? Play Forever on the scaffold wrong forever on the throne yet. That scaffold sways the future and behind the dim unknown send it. I was in the shadow keeping watch above his own. Even though the world believe that the Babylonians had won the Battle of the Gods all was not lost.
Verses 3 through 5 of Daniel one we see the world seeks to reconstruct. our values
then the king instructed Aspen has the master of his Unix to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king's descendants and some of the noble young man in whom there was no blemish but good-looking gifted in all wisdom possessing knowledge and quick to understand who had ability to serve in the and who they might each the language and literature of the chill Aiden and the King appointed for the LA daily provision of the Kings Delicacies and of the wine which he drank and three years of training for them so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king
I heard a pastor once refer to these verses as operation assimilation. It begins with the selection process aimed towards the intelligent and likely the most influential of the teenage boys. This is a very selective process and well-thought-out in playing if Nebuchadnezzar was a truly rain gods people he needed to assimilate their future leaders in the battle on the king of size down to Aspen has his right hand man, and then make sure they get the best education Babylon can offer you look at it this way for three years. They will be immersed if a bologna and knowledge culture history language and religion and at the end of that time they would in the King's Service and be assured of high-level government positions. Mind control always begins with the young Nebuchadnezzar had implemented a three-step plan step one with a full scholarship to Babylon State University Ivy League of the ancient world there. They would learn science math astrology Commerce in history step to offer them free food from the king's it was all you can eat all the time. And I'm sure we can all understand this even back in that day. They knew that a Wither away to a young man's heart is through his stomach and step 3. We seeing verses 6 and 7 coming up and that involve changing. their names Richard Griffin a theologian a presbyterian Minister puts it this way quote these Jewish teenagers were on a fast-track MBA program. It's like being given a full scholarship at the Sloan School of Business at MIT or like being singled out by the boss's right-hand man for special mentoring talkin about a sweet deal. This was it it was the kind of break most guys would jump at unquote. Now we have to be fair. I think the Nebuchadnezzar we have to show him some fairness. I I don't think that he thought of what he was doing as an evil thing if I could probably thought he was doing these young men. an incredible favor and in the final two verses of our selection this morning versus six and seven of Daniel chapter one. We see the world seeks to undermine our
Now from among those at the sons of Judah or Daniel hananiah mishael and Azariah. Do them the chief of the eunuchs gave names he gave. Daniel the name belt deshazer Shadrach to Michel Meshach and to Azariah a Bendigo now, although it isn't obvious from the English text. All these names have special meanings. The Hebrew names all contain references to the god of Israel. The new Babylonian names mentioned the gods of Babylon. Daniel God is my judge became belteshazzar. Bell protect the king hananiah the Lord is gracious became Shadrach command of a coup the Sumerian sun god Michelle who is like the Lord became Meshach. Who was what a coup is. Azariyah. The Lord is my helper became a Bendigo servant of Nebo. It was another Babylonian God. The original Hebrew names tell us that these for teenagers must have been raised and godly home by parents who raised their children to serve the true God by giving them new names ashpenaz meant to obliterate their pass. This was nothing less than systematic brainwashing Nebuchadnezzar. Didn't good use working for him. He wanted a good Babylonian to happen to have a Jewish background the whole process just made it very easy to forget they were being weaned away from their past little My little Sue they might forget it all together. Most of us know Romans 12:2. This is do not be conformed to the world. Well, I like the way the JB Phillips says that he says quote don't let the world squeeze you into its mold on quote. The world's squeezes us we can't avoid that, but we don't have to give in to the pressure. What is the Babylonian plan to transform these young men? If you look over this list, do you like I see parallels with God's people today? Daniel and his friends were sent to a new home far away. They were isolated from those who believe are they were given due knowledge. They were indoctrinated into believing things that they were not taught the new diet. Will that was a compromise
And changing their names just led to confusion. No, it's a good plan because it evidently work with some of the Jewish teenagers, but there were at least four who stood against the top four, but they were many others are there were many others who were called to the court of Nebuchadnezzar. Some of them some of them compromise some of them fell into the doctor Nation. Some of them felt like they just could not stand the isolation and some of them because of their confusion. What along with Nebuchadnezzar's plan, but we know that at least four that stood against. That's my friend's. What is his teacher that teaches us that the world will not Prevail against the church. As we come to the end of our texts this morning things if you're hopeless hear you have for teenagers ready to take on the mightiest man in the world. It would seem that they don't have a chance but we know they survive with their faith in Tack and we know that's because if that's not true there would not be a book of Daniel in the Bible. So how did they do it? They understood the four plus dog equals a majority when you factor God into the equation. Suddenly. Nebuchadnezzar doesn't look so big The Book of Daniel open with what appears to be a clear Triumph of evil over good you. Allowed to have it for his own higher purposes. I'm sure Nebuchadnezzar didn't know that and I'm sure the Jews had trouble believing it, but it was true none the less. What's that a parties for teenagers from the others? How did they find the strength to survive in a pagan land? Will the answer may be found in the first versus the next section which tells us the Daniel purposed in his heart not to eat at the king's table. It all comes down to the heart in the end Nebuchadnezzar could control the environment in which they live but he could not touch their hearts and what an Insight that is their bodies were in Babylon, but their hearts were in Jerusalem, they never forgot not even for one moment who they were and where they came from therefore. It didn't matter where they happen to be or even what means they happened to be call the faith of their childhood was tattooed on their hearts in the mightiest man in the world was helpless to do anything about it. How will we survive the continued onslaught of the world and are they the same way they did by putting our hearts in the right place for us. That means even though our bodies are on our hearts must continually be in heaven and if our hearts are in heaven that it doesn't matter where we happen to be on earth because the world can't touch has God you use the attempted seduction of Daniel and his friends prepare them for greater work to come here is yet another example of God's sovereignty at work with the Babylonians meant for evil. God meant for good he put these four young man and the most vulnerable spot because he knew their hearts withstand the test. He even allow them to be trained in a pig in school so that they might eventually become leaders in the Pagan government. My friends God was not defeated and Daniels day God is Not defeated today. And God will not be defeated in the future. I want to close this morning. What's something that is called the martyrs prayer? It was written by a Zimbabwe and Minister and upon his death upon his Martin them some hundred years ago. This was found amongst his writings. It's also called The Fellowship. of the unashamed
and it goes like this. I am a part of the Fellowship of the unashamed unashamed. I have holy spirit Power the die has been cast. I have stepped Over The Line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back let up slow down back away or be still my past is redeemed. My present makes sense in my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living site walking small planning, smooth knees colorless dreams team Vision worldly caulking cheap giving and Dwarf Gold. I no longer need preeminence Prosperity position promotions planets or popularity. I don't have to be right first tops recognize praise regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith leaning on his presence Love by patient lift by prayer and labor by power. My pace is set. My gate is fast. My goal is Heaven by road is narrow. My way is rough. My campaign is a few my God. My guide is reliable. My mission clear. I can't be bought compromised back diluted or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice hesitate in the presence of adversity negotiate at the table of the enemy Ponder at the pool the popularity or Meander in the Maze of mediocrity. I Won't Give Up backup let up or shut up until I have preached up prayed up pee stored up and spoken up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until he returned give until I drop preach until all know and work until he stops me. And when he comes to get his own he will have no problem recognizing me my colors. Will be clear.
Prince When a writer uses the word colorless he was using a word that describes too many modern Christians. We are colorless precisely because we have decided to blend in with the scenery. We has to come to the operation assimilation are colors are not clear because we look so much like everyone else. May God help us to live with our hearts and heaven so that when our time comes we will be easy to spot and ready to meet the Lord but it's pray. I pray that you will encourage us to learn from The Book of Daniel Lord. Let us see that the writings of Daniel is kind of other way that the church still is today that there is much going on around us that the world is trying to attack us the Lord. We know that you were alive, then you are alive now and you will be alive in the future. We thank you Lord for your son Jesus Christ. We thank you for what he means to us. We thank you Lord for giving us this awesome responsibility Lords of to not be like everyone else and we pray Lord that you will give us the courage and the wisdom and the strain to discern what you had called us to do we pray these things In your son's name. a man before we go. I just want to remind everybody that we do have Bible study be a Facebook live this Wednesday at 6:30 followed by prayer meeting at 7 on Wednesday again via Facebook live. God bless you. Hope to see each and everyone of you soon.