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March 7, 2021 1:00 am
The judgment of God may be long in coming, but it comes with vengeance. For ancient Babylon, that time came when Daniel foretold the doom of the king, interpreting the handwriting on the wall. We in America should take heed, as Babylon’s story might also be ours.Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)
The judgment of God may be long in coming, but it can come with a vengeance for ancient Babylon that time came when Daniel foretold the doom of Babylon's King.
We in America should take heed as Babylon story might well be ours from Chicago.
We welcome you to The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching under the ministry of Dr. Erwin lutes are on this broadcast.
We conclude the 10 part series on the church in Babylon unleashing the power of a spirit filled witness later Erwin looks or takes us to Daniel chapter 5 as we relive the awful night when the king saw the handwriting on the wall. Our service today begins with singing God holy way by preparing your minds for action and being sober minded set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ charge and do not be conformed to the passions of your former is he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct. Since it is written, it shall be holy I am holy separate LAR malice and hypocrisy in the sand as you come to him a living stone, rejected by man in the sight of God's chosen EU sounds like living stones typing to be a holy priesthood topic spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ white stands inscription, behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious.
Whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.
You are a chosen race, a really a holy nation, people that you may claim the him who called you out of darkness, like once you were not a people, but now you are God's people. Once you had not received mercy.
Now you have received mercy. 11. US sojourners and exiles stain from the passions of the flash which wage war against yourself. It's not possible to visit the sites of World War II without being impressed at the high cost of freedom to be able to stand on Utah Beach and remember that it is here that combine group of allies came together and in the process.
Lives were lost as they went across in difficult circumstances with mines virtually everywhere.
It's also interesting that we were able to stand not only on Utah Beach but Omaha Beach and we were reminded there of the tremendous sacrifice about 70% of all of the young men who came there ended up being killed because the Germans were able to just be on the cliffs and they were able to shoot to kill everyone who is coming up. What a price. What sacrifice was paid for that and then of course we think of the cliffs we call the cliffs point to talk and that those clips were scaled by our American troops. If I remember correctly about 290 went up the cliffs and about 90 were alive and the others ended up being killed as they went up those clips. We also thought of John steel you saw the movie the longest day. You know that he was featured because he was a paratrooper who landed on a church and that the church steeple caught him, and even today. He is memorialized. There is sort of an effigy hanging from the church steeple well when the paratroopers came down they came down in the wrong place and they were just being shot by the Germans as they were landing. It was horrible.
He landed there and pretended that he was dead and dead. Then he was captured by the Germans. But then he left was able to escape and actually win many victories for the allies. He died in 1966 the great hero. This actually the church is in St. Mary and Glace and it is a church that Represents the fact that this was the first town captured in Normandy by the allies but the price paid was horrific, but I think the most moving thing that we experienced was the cemetery. The cemetery and it was there that the beautiful flowers of the American Cemetery in France cannot obscure the trim in this price that was paid by our young men as you walk through the cemetery. You look at the dates and you discover that many of these young men were only 20 years old.
Many went into battle fearful crying, weeping, but they gave their life that we might be able to have freedom and how wonderful it was for us to see. Also, a cross dedicated to the unknown soldier. It reads here rest and honored Gloria comrade in arms, known but to God and most of us will dies unknowns.
As many of you know I was born in Canada but became an American citizen. A number of years ago and I have to say that as we were there in Normandy seeing the American flags and looking at nearly 10,000 graves. I was very proud to be an American and proud of the American flag and you think of all of the families all of the mothers and fathers, all of the relatives whose young people die and the tears were shed, but they were shed for freedom and for that we are deeply grateful but I think it's true to say that we live in a country that is very different now than the country was back in 1940 and 45 and on. And that's why today I speak with a very heavy heart, a message entitled the handwriting on the wall. The handwriting on the wall is actually the last in a series of 10 messages entitled the church in Babylon unleashing the power of the spirit filled witness.
I speak this message because first of all we have to know what God is doing here in America and how God deals with nations but at the end of the message. Also, I'm going to be giving some challenges to live for Christ and for that which is right in our present generation.
I pray that as I speak. I will speak with Lovell speak with compassion, but also speak truthfully so that we will understand that even in our own nation. We have to interpret the handwriting on the wall. The passage of Scripture is Daniel chapter 5 Daniel chapter 5 your member how we been emphasizing the fact that Daniel was taken to Babylon as a teenager when Daniel chapter 5 opens he is now a man in his 80s. 60 years at least the past, since those original days when he purposed in his heart to serve God no matter what. And as a result of that Daniel is now going to stand once again for God even as an old man. Daniel was alive during the days of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar was the king you know who went in saying he began to eat grass like animals and and the whole bit until he came to the conclusion and this is the last part of chapter 4 at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted my eyes to heaven. My reason returned to me and I blessed the most high and praised and honored him who lives forever for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from one generation to another, and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed is nothing that he does according to his will in the Army of heaven and amongst the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay at Sanders sand on what is now no question but that I expect to see Nebuchadnezzar in heaven but chapter 5 opens with his grandson Chaz are there in between there were kings and were assassinated. It's a very complicated history. Belle Chesser is a co-ruler with a man by the name of Napa night us and Belle Chesser calls the feast where in chapter 5.
It's the happy hour King Belle Chesser made a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine in front of the thousand bells. Chaz when he tasted the wine commanded the vessels of gold and silver that Nebuchadnezzar's father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem to be brought and they use these vessels to drink to their pagan gods set the scene.
They are basically drunk. By the way, sometime I should preach on alcohol. You know, because the Bible doesn't condemn wine but approves it in certain contexts. People often use that in its often a pathway for young people to become alcoholics. I want to pick on Germany.
But when we were there last week.
Our guide told us that Germans discovered that those who are between 20 and 32 were drinking less severe now you might think that's good. Actually, a study showed that it is bad.
The beer isn't strong enough, they are taking stronger pain where nation that is addicted but that Belle Chesser does two things. First of all, not only is he and the concubines. I mean, this obviously is an orgy of sorts. They are old drunk. Also he blasphemes God he takes the vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had brought from the Temple of Jerusalem and he uses them to drink wine to his God's clearly shaking his fist in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Now why is it that Belle Chesser felt so confident that he could have this party went outside there were Medes and Persians gathered and had been there for a couple of months.
He was confident because Haviland was impregnable nobody would be able to get into the city. Some people say that the walls were 300 feet high. Can't believe that. I think that's an exaggeration.
We do know, however, they were 80 feet wide so nobody was going to come over the walls. Soldiers were up there guarding. They had supplies for food for 10 years. Supposedly, and water ran under the city because the Euphrates river ran through the city absolutely confident that they would be there for as long as they wanted to be and could party. What was the happy hour. Now there's a change and it becomes very much the perplexing hour on the perplexing hour. Verse five. Immediately the fingers of the human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace opposite the lampstand and the king saw the hand as it wrote, then the king's color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him. His limbs gave way and his knees knocked together.
What a change if you ever wondered whether or not the Bible is really true. You know you say you read these stories. Did they really happened. Did you know that archaeologists in ancient Babylon uncovered a room also.
That seems to have been plastered. That was 60 feet wide and 170 feet long. I think that's enough to get a thousand people in to have a party and so they are they are there partying and suddenly they see without a body and hand write on the wall and the king becomes absolutely terrified. What a description of the year and he calls in his astrologers and his charmers and says what did this mean and none of them knew what it meant they couldn't interpret it. While the queen mother not his wife.
She was already in the party. No question about that, but the Queen Mother probably the his grandmother hears about this and remembers Daniel, who is been living in obscurity for the last 40 or 50 years, but she remembers that he was able to interpret dreams and visions and that he would be able to interpret the handwriting so this woman suggests that he, and that Daniel is offered 1/3 of the kingdom. Why 1/3 because Belle Chesser would've had 1/3 Napa night.
Us would've had the other part and he's willing to give Daniel 1/3 of the kingdom. If he can interpret this particular vision.
The handwriting on the wall. Daniel of course totally discounts it he says in verse 17.
Let your gifts be for yourself and give your rewards to another.
Nevertheless, I can interpret this but then he gives the King's speech. In verse 22.
What he does is he rehearses what happened to Nebuchadnezzar how that because of his pride God humbled him and experienced a disease called bowel entropy. Hope I pronounce that correctly where he actually acted like an animal until he repented, and Daniel rehearses that and says to Belshazzar you knew about this and you deliberately defied God. He makes three accusations against Belle Shatzer verse 22 and US Sunbelt Chesser have not humbled your heart though you knew all this, but you've lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven and the vessels of his house have been brought in before you and you and your lords and your wives and your concubines have drunk wine from them yet praise the gods of silver and gold of bronze ironwood stone which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath while in whose hand is your breath that God you have not honored three indictments. First of all, pride. You refuse to humble yourself, you didn't learn from what happened to your grandfather. Secondly, you have blasphemy you use the utensils and the vessels that were brought from the city of Jerusalem and you use those to drink your own wine and appraise your own gods and then also you served your idols and notice this Belle Shatzer and his entourage did it knowingly, even though you knew this, and the Bible says in Romans chapter 1, those who practice debauchery. You know what it says it says who, knowing the judgment of God. Not only do such things, but take pleasure in them that do them. They know better because the law of God is written on their hearts they take pleasure in dethroning God and substituting themselves.
Well, we've gone from the happy hour to the perplexing hour.
The fearful hour and now we get to the last hour.
Daniel says Sarah I want you to recognize the words and by the way, those words must've stayed on the plaster for quite a while because the soothsayers of Babel and were able to read them. Evidently the words were still on the wall when Daniel got there and they called for him to interpret them, and these are the words in their given to us. There verse 26 this is the interpretation of the matter. Many got his number. Your days and your kingdom is brought to an end in the vernacular would simply say that Daniel said to Belshazzar, your kingdom is gone. Your number is Spanish. Not only that, but time trickle TECO I should say means weighed the imagery. There is of a scale and you know how those ancient skills would go on the one hand, there was correct way to say of one pound and on the other side you see whether or not it balances with one pound God says, I put my righteousness on one side of the scale and you have come up light.
You are deficient you are not meeting the mark in your rebellion and then finally Perez and there are two different interpretations are two different spellings because there's a play on words going here Perez really refers to.
Also Persia, so Daniel is interpreting this as a reference also to Persia because he says your kingdom is divided and it's being given to the needs and it's being given to the Persians.
So that's the end of your kingdom and up story. Now notice verse 29 then Belshazzar gave the command Daniel was closed with purple. He didn't want to be a but the king said, put a chain of gold around his neck proclamation was made about him that he should be the third and the ruler of the kingdom. Last thing Daniel was interested in and then verse 30.
That very night, Bill Chavez or the Chaldean was killed and Darius the Mead received the kingdom being about 62 years old. You know what happened. Herodotus tells us. Thank God for historians what he said was that time the Persians diverted the Euphrates River. Now they couldn't diverge the whole thing, but they they built a tributary and kept it blocked like with the dam and then they took the dam away and the waters flowed over here and the water went down far enough that the soldiers were able to cross under the walls and so you have all of these soldiers who are going under the walls because the Euphrates river was low enough and they come into the banquet hall where Belle Shatzer and all of his friends are having this party and he is beheaded in the year 539 October 11 and the 12th and Babylon. What a story. But how does it relate to us, what should we take home today for ourselves so that we are transformed by this story and understand our role in our world.
The first lesson which is very obvious is that when we reject God we invite his judgment when we reject God we invite his judgment because Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord and when God is relegated to the margins.
When God is no longer acknowledge there's going to be judgment of some sort. Occasionally people say to me, Pastor Lutzer, do you think God is going to judge America. I have to point out that God is right now.
Judging America right now we are under judgment, all sin, whether it is national or individual has immediate consequences when you and I sin. There are some immediate consequences and true confession and so forth.
Some of those consequences might be mitigated thank God that he forgives us when we confess our sins, but all sin has immediate judgments connected with it and nationally.
That's true as well. Sometimes God is judging us and I think the most obvious way in which God is judging America is through the destruction of the family as long as we accept what is known as marriage equality as long as we accept pornography and easy divorce, and immorality, and them 20 million children going home tonight with only one parent to put them to bed. Children crying for their daddies and for their mothers and angry because of what is taking place, taking all of that into the next generation that is part of the consequences of God's judgment. Now, sometimes God may judge a nation because of external forces certainly did that in the case of Belle Shatzer. Suddenly the kingdom was over because another nation invaded and won a war sometimes God's judgment is the rot within led to its normal conclusions and predictable conclusions. Sometimes the judgment of God is from without, but when a nation forgets God and neglects God and defies God judgment of some sort is absolutely in evitable. In the case of Belle Shatzer's pride is blasphemy against the living God, his defiance of God's acceptance of idols because the end of his kingdom there is a second lesson and that is simply this, that no defense can save us, no defense can save us. When God says your numbers you know you stop to think of it.
Remember what Daniel said to Belle Shatzer, the one in whose hand is your breath. You have not honored and God can, so to speak, pull the plug. No constitution can save us. No weapons can save us. No organization can save us though I'm in favor of all of the above fact is when God says it's over.
It is over very sobering. The Bible says in the book of Isaiah. It says that the nations of the earth are like a drop in a bucket. God says the nations of the earth are like dust held in your hand. And when God goes, it's over.
We don't know what the future of America will be, but if we continue on in this particular way. We know that it's future cannot be good because it cannot be good if you don't have good families. If you don't have good values and if the Gospel be hidden.
The transforming power of Christ.
No matter what happens, we simply cannot turn the ship around the gospel is what people need. There's another lesson and that is and this gets very sensitive here, but I'm gonna plow ahead. It is necessary for us as believers to read the handwriting on the wall handwriting on the wall. Now you and I can't read Aramaic like Daniel was able to. These words are actually Aramaic. We can't read that. But we can read English and it's not just that God only wrote this with his finger.
He wrote the 10 Commandments with the finger of God.
It says, furthermore, God inspired an entire book or a book that is filled with books we read the New Testament and we know that Tim God has revealed his will, and we can read that and so we can also read the handwriting that is on the wall I venture to say that today in the great city of Chicago.
There's going to be a gay-rights parade and I understand according to the media that about a million people are going to be along the sidelines cheering them on. When we think of this, we should not see these people as our enemies by no means but we should see them as captives to the blinding absorption of sin and we know that once marriage is desecrated as it is going to be along the parade route. I heard what was going to take place on the news this morning as it is desecrated along the parade route from my heart to yours.
You and I know that the handwriting is on the wall and as we stopped to think of it when the time comes when marriage is desecrated and thousands of people accepted and she read on.
We know how it will end because we read Romans chapter 1 in God's book.
We don't need to read it in Aramaic.
We just need to read it in English and once you have laws that are enacted that restrict our freedoms. We also know that the handwriting is on the wall and once the Bible itself, as we proclaim it is known as hate speech. We know that the writing is on the wall.
All of this happening and celebrated.
Once you begin to celebrate those who are captive and you begin to celebrate various pathologies you know that the handwriting is on the wall so Pastor Lutzer, what do we do.
I'm so glad you asked that question by the lesion that what you're thinking should be. I want us to take a page today from Daniel himself. You have to love Daniel. He's a teenager. Any purposes in his heart that he will fully follow the Lord and not compromise his deep convictions and now he's an 80-year-old man that he still standing strong for the truth. If you are brought up in Sunday school. You probably know that we all love to tell the story of Daniel in the lion's den there to be a Daniel Derrida standalone Derrida have a purpose for and there to make it known to pull that out of my childhood.
Do any of you remember singing matter. Am I alone appeared today. All right if you raise your hand.
That says something about you.
You know that Daniel in the lion's den.
He was over 80 years old, probably at least 85 that's the next chapter next chapter is Darius and that what happens is there some people who hate Daniel so they go to the king and say what you say that if people pray to anyone else other than you. They have to be cast into the lions den and Darius falls for it and he issues that decree and that decree is issued, and lo and behold, Daniel is in a box he hears of the decree chapter 6, verse 10, when Daniel knew that the document had been signed. He went into his house where he had his windows open in the upper chamber open toward Jerusalem he got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously that Daniel might've said well there's no use me praying publicly and I'm not saying that you should parade your own righteousness publicly the world doesn't need more self-righteousness. The world needs more brokenness and humility and tears on our part.
That's what we should be doing as we think of our society. We should be weeping. As I mentioned, they are enemies. They must be seen as captives and this is true of all people who don't know the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ and that Jesus came, Jesus came to set the captives free. But Daniel, God bless him. He continues on with his own habits of praying to Jerusalem three times a day and you know the rest of the story, how that he is thrown into the den of lions, and God sees fit to protect them.
Not everyone thrown into the den of lions has been protected. You can look at the early chapters of church history. You can go through the circus maximum and Rome or the Coliseum. And remember that there were lions there that tore the Christians apart, but in this instance, God protected Daniel and you all know the story, but from my heart to yours today.
We've talked about the role of the church in the world. The role of the church in the world ultimately comes down to the world and the Christian living individually for Christ.
How collectively we gather for strength. We gather for encouragement, but it's you as an individual. Daniel didn't have anybody standing with them thousands of people in the media Persian Empire, but only one Daniel so far as we know, you may be the one person in your office and your expected to celebrate marriage equality in all the implications that come with that but you don't. It's not that you're being self-righteous or pointing your finger but you have your convictions and you're going to stick with them.
You may be in it in an instance in which the idea that Jesus is the only way to the father is anathema and you are really branded as some kind of radical of some sort that really doesn't even fit into society, but there you stand and you say here I stand all do it lovingly without spending a lot of time trying to judge others, but here I stand I can do no other. You see, when it comes to history.
You have to recognize that the people whom we admire are the ones who stood alone and I appeal to you today as a believer stand alone like Daniel did and take the consequences.
Whatever those consequences may be. You see, Jesus stood alone and he is a better example than Daniel when it came time for him to die on the cross. All of the disciples forsook him and fled and they went their way and Jesus was essentially alone, though later on.
His mother and John returned to the cross. But there he obeyed God and he had to obey God alone so that you and I might be redeemed. Are we willing to stand alone knowing that God stands with us.
That's our challenge and if you're here today and you've never trusted Christ as your Savior. Just know that Jesus Christ is the one who went to the cross alone die for our sins so that you and I can be forgiven and we offer this eternal life to everyone. Everyone no matter their sexual orientation, no matter their history.
We admire the fact that Jesus Christ died for sinners he died for us and that's the message that this world has to here but it means often that we simply standalone. That's why loved it when the choir this morning saying embrace the cross. That's what it means. As Bonhoeffer said whom we celebrated when we were in Europe so recently when Jesus Christ calls a man he bids him come and die. The question is will the church will we as individuals stand with Christ in the midst of a culture that is getting more and more like the culture in Babylon.
That's our challenge. Let's pray our father, we want to thank you today for this true story and it reminds us that Daniel stood alone in the midst of great pressure. We pray that we might stand alone Lord you've called us from diverse backgrounds, diverse cultures and races and locations and we come together to celebrate, to worship to to give you ourselves tomorrow morning will be alone.
Inspire us Lord by the determination of Daniel and the saving work of Jesus Christ to be willing to standalone, no matter the cost. We pray in Jesus name, amen on today's Moody Church.
Our Dr. Erwin looks or spoke on the handwriting on the wall. The final message in a 10 part series on the church in Babylon unleashing the power of the spirit filled witness. The church is under attack like never before. Rights we once assumed we had our being torn away. Erwin Lussier has written an explosive new book. We will not be silenced to help us respond courageously to our culture's assault on Christianity. This book will be sent with our thanks for your gift of any amount to The Moody Church. Our just call us at 1-800-215-5001. Ask about.
We will not be silenced when you call 1-800-215-5001 or you can write to us at The Moody Church 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 online go to moody offeror.com that's moody offeror.com. Join us next week for another Moody Church. Our with Dr. Erwin looks or the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago.
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