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June 8, 2021 4:00 am
The serving God is not at the top of most priority was today. The same was true in Daniel's day we read in Daniel chapter 3 the pagan culture in Babylon had rejected God but not everyone pulled under the pressure to conform today untruthful life Alastair Begg examines the faith of three men took a stand and who refused to bow our 16 Shadrach me shack and Abednego answered and said to the K we really don't need to give you an answer in this. If this be the case are God we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand. Okay, but if not, be it known to you. Okay, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up by striking is the criticism were not really hurting anybody.
By doing this I'm a nobody's nobody's harmed by all a kind of routine rationalizations of contemporary American evangelicalism with very quickly be brought into play to explain why.
Was there really is a bad idea to do nothing other than just get with the program and join the group. But what they do now or not you were not going to do that. Why not they obeyed God because they must obey God.
When we take our Christian life's into the realm of that which is most suitable amenable, comfortable, understandable. We largely begin to extracted from the context in which it means to be a disciple of Jesus actually said and to the extent that we have done that we make ourselves peculiarly vulnerable if the data does come when the only thing that will actually holders to the lying is simple straightforward unerring obedience to the word of God and I resist again. As I said the other morning. The temptation to go down all kinds of rabbit trails in my own mind. Many of your filling in the blanks. Your sensible people. You understand this when Moses and I just reinforce this for you because it is so very important. When Moses in Deuteronomy is giving to the people. The demands and commands of God in relationship to obedience. At the very heart of it is the matter of idolatry and loved ones. Idolatry is not a problem of ancient civilizations.
Idolatry is my problem and idolatry and immorality go right together. That's the significance of Romans one, although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God, but their foolish minds were darkened and he began to worship created things rather than the creator God gave them up to all kinds of immorality that the idolatry preceded the immorality and the idolatry of the human heart that exalts my agenda and my goals and my significance is the very idolatry that will bring us into realms that absolutely violate what the Bible has to say. And the irony of the situation. The ultimate irony of this is that the reason Shadrach and me shack and Abednego were in exile because they had been idolatrous because God had told him don't do this and they did it and God in judgment send them into exile is the beginning of it. He gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar as an expression of his judgment.
Note that Deuteronomy chapter 4.
This is Moses speaking.
He says when you father children and children's children and of growing old in the land as it was when they brought into the promised land. If you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything and by doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God so as to provoke him to anger. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you're going over the Jordan to possess. You won't live long and it will be utterly destroyed and the Lord will scatter you among the peoples and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you and their numerous Arab gods of wood and stone.
The work of human hands that neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell.
But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him if you search for him with all your heart and with all your soul, and he says you should be encouraged to know that this God is a merciful God and he will not ultimately leave you artist for you, but he will fulfill his covenant promises and those he always keep here you fast-forward to this situation that we have before us and the cane executes his judgment and in his fury he ordered some of the mighty man of his army to bind them up and these men. Verse 21 were bound in their clothes that she makes the rats and that other garments you get a picture of the fact that he decided let's just get them in here as fast as we can something so a lot of those are nice is a nice turbines I could use that.my mind that just throw them in the fire. That'll be fine like this if if they are right you will use afterwards anyway.
But nevermind just throw the just throw them in their and and they go seven times harder. As I say to make the miracle even better people would've looked at them and said so where did your obedience get. I was your obedience is not obedience thing working for you. God is really blessed yesterday. Yeah, yeah, I'm obedient yeah yellow yes good. How hard is it in their voice and then of course this great mystery. Nebuchadnezzar he's agitated astonished. He rises up in haste he declared to his counselors. Then we cast three men into the fire and they said yeah true. Okay, he said, but I see four men unbound walking in the midst of the fire and they are not hurt in the appearance of fourth is like a son of the God's you notice that there walking in the middle of the fire and similars arrives there walking the middle of our own little file of the moment only just take a moment as an aside, is really up to bad when, when, as Christians, we suggest that obedience to Jesus means that you skip the fire that you don't face the rain when I shall fight in Romans eight what is Paul saying we know that in in all these things we are more than conquerors in the middle of the fire. God shows himself strong went through fiery trials by pathway shall lie his grace all sufficient shall be thy supply, for he will be with the in trouble, to bless and sanctify to the your deepest distress. Someone was able to testify to the flag the most progress that we've made in our Christian life has not come through success and laughter but through disappointment and failure in tears so that when we shun trials we miss blessings, things that God brings into our lives, both to prove us and to reprove us. Well, Nebuchadnezzar came nor near to the door.
The burning fiery furnace and shouted out Shadrach me shack and Abednego servants of the most high God come out and come here and Shadrach me shack Abednego came out from the fire.
I love this and who are the witnesses, the same jokers from before some of the call begins.
There are some Jews here who are not bowing down.
I think I'm in you said and so therefore hear from Shadrach me shack and Abednego so that the witnesses to the faithfulness of the three, which gave rise to their experience in the furnace.
The same witnesses apparently now are giving testimony to the faithfulness of God, who has preserved his people in the midst of it all. Remember Jesus when he said to his disciples, and in Matthew or Luke.
I think it is going to check and see you know what he said when he sends them out.
He says I am going to send you out and there will be nations rising against nations and and I will give you and you will be hated for my namesake, but not I hear of your head will perish by your endurance, you will gain your life and the detail again.
And this is quite striking is that it says that the it not only will they not burned their hair wasn't singed and they didn't even smell of smoke.
I said that's ridiculous. It's not as miraculous.
So the satraps of the one who testify to what God has done was just a reminder is November.
This will move to a close, that that God is the God who delivers the God is a God who delivers he delivered his people from the bondage of Egypt brought them out with an outstretched hand. He has delivered his people into the custody of Nebuchadnezzar in the experience of exile and here in this event that is an indication of the flag that is people who are in exile can trust him that he will actually do what he said and bring them out of the furnace of their own experience, which of course runs all the way through the Bible does not let the story of the Bible is salvation belongs to the Lord that God is the God who delivers. Let not your hearts be troubled said Jesus you believe in God believe also in me.
In my father's house are many store many rooms and mansions if you weren't so I would've told you I'm going to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am, there you may be also. I'm going to deliver you. Are you saying here this one. This fourth individual who is identified.
Some of us have concluded very quickly that this is a pre-incarnate manifestation of Christ which it may be, but that's not what it says is that his appearance of the fourth was like a son of the guards or like an angel. Certainly, if that is the case, then the angel save these the man but they died again when Jesus saves, he saves and we will never die again even though he died yet shall he live.
Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. John chapter 11.
The angel joined them in the furnace but did not, as Jesus did give his life to save them. Shadrach me shack and Abednego are standing out in this drama, blessed be the God of Shadrach me shack and Abednego you see the emphasis is on God it's not on the three of them and this God says Nebuchadnezzar I'm in verse 28 now major close to the end.
This God of Shadrach mission. Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants who trusted in him, and set aside the king's command and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god, except their own God.
This is an amazing summary of what these characters of God. They have refused to bow down to this statute, representative of the Babylonian deities.
They have trusted in God that whether he delivers them or not they will serve him, they have yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god, except their own. God can I say to you young people for just a moment. That is what it actually takes you're going to have to yield up your own body were not were not were not mystics. We don't believe that somehow the body is that the soul is trapped in a body that the body doesn't really matter in what you do in your body doesn't really matter know what you doing your boarding matters are really really really really really matter. That's why we sang in Sunday school, so be careful little eyes. What you see. Be careful little hands. What you touch.
Be careful little feet where you goal because there's a father up above her knees, looking down and love. The very love that gave the commandments not to thwart their life's but to keep them in the paths of righteousness for his namesake. It is his love that executes his justice and his judgment so that, as Paul says, I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God is the only reasonable and sensible spiritual thing to do and I swear these characters are done and Nebuchadnezzar, despite all of his rage and all of his malevolent disposition recognizes this to be the case. Therefore I make a degree and a people nation language that speaks nothing against the God of Shadrach me shack and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb and their houses laid in ruins. For there is no other God was able to rescue in this way. Remember how it started when I got a big fiery furnace here for you guys and and and and you know of any god that could rescue you.
The inference being no you don't, nobody does.
Nice is that is that is only one God who could have done that and that is the living God himself.
Well the issues of idolatry as I say our contemporary issues as well.
If you've read David Brooks's new book recommended to you the road to character.
It starts with that the what he refers to as the big medium to small me.
He says we spend the majority of our lives on what he refers to as resume virtues putting together our resume in such a way that everyone will know who we are what we are how well we've done where were going what we've achieved and everything else and he says, but the real the real you will not be found in your resume virtues but will be found in your eulogy virtues for those then will not be the superficial issues of your life.
But when they will be the coordinations of your life they will be the affairs of your heart. He says these things are the things that will be remembered by your children and your grandchildren, not where you went to university your bank balance. They even don't care about it already. They will not exalt in it. Then he says our society is preoccupied with the big knee recording a Jewish scholar, Adam one, as opposed Adam to just teasing you into purchasing the book. I'm not an agent of anything better. This is the best that I've read in the last two months and I read a lot and I read a lot. I read a lot of books but it is it is is wonderfully helpful and and I think he hits the nail absolutely on their I spoke at the baccalaureate for Grove city College. Not knowing what to do. I just decided to go a little against the grain. Because baccalaureate addresses are by and large fine lunch so I spoke online. Not a wise man boast in his wisdom or the strong man boast in his strength or the rich man boast in his riches by letting him move, boast, boast in this that he knows me, the living God because the idolatries of our contemporary life have bled. Let us be honest into the church. The me-ism of evangelicalism is this is a travesty how good it is to think of these young people being trained in this environment and saying right in the very heart of it begun to discover from the outset that the key to leadership is in service for Jesus said I came among you as one who serves and the idolatry of money and power and possessions and so on is is a great snare and I think Daniel three can help us in that regard.
Where did we begin, we began by saying that the great need for the people as they read this was to realize that God was able to rescue and to rescue them.
Even through the trials and whether he did rescue them out off or in and through. Still, they said they were going to serve him. When Peter is writing his letters II have a sneaking suspicion that he has not seen in his mind when he says to the to his readers the love I do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you as though something strange were happening to you, but rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also be rejoicing and glad when his glory is revealed.
And in chapter 3, he says, you know the great rescue is this the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise, as some count slowness, but he is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should reach repentance for the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the error from the works that are done and it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved kind of people ought you to be. Surely, he remembers the words of Jesus as he speaks to his disciples in Matthew 13 says to them, the Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all lawbreakers and throw them into the fiery furnace in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their father. That's the ultimate rescue.
See, we reach the point where we don't actually believe that there is any notion of a Firefox somehow another God is just going to overlook everything in the end. While I think only our Bibles can save us from that. Think of how Paul put it so clearly when in speaking to the Corinthians of the problems that existed among them where they were just absolutely in chaos.
Despite the fact that they had been loved and saved by God.
Remember what he said do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. Do not be deceived.
Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor revile others, not swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God and such where some of you but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus paid it all and all to him I will send left a crimson stain in the washed white as snow.
That's the message that God is the God who delivers from the darkest and from the deepest implications of our own rebellious hearts and brains are safely home.
What a great story.
What a wonderful truth. Our God is a God who delivers listening to Truth for Life with Alastair back if you're enjoying Alistair's current series from the book of Daniel. You can own the faith under fire study on USB it's available in our online store for just five dollars. Visit Truth for Life.org/store. We just heard a challenging message about refusing to bow to idols and serving God.
Even if defeat seems likely.
The question for each one of us is who will we worship or obey when we face that moment of choice. We found an excellent book to help you think through that question. We didn't have to look very far for it.
The book is called brave by faith God -sized confidence in a post-Christian world. It's a brand-new release from Alastair as we learned today.
Idolatry isn't something that was simply a problem in ancient civilizations and though our idols may not come to us in the form of statues. They still keep us from worshiping the true God.
Alastair helps us recognize the gods of today's culture and teaches us how to say I will not bow even when the idols seem impressive or popular with everyone around the book brave by faith is quick and easy to read about 130 pages you find yourself rereading this book highlighting which truths in each chapter. Request your copy when you donate just have the image on the app or visit our website Truth for Life.org/donate Bob Lapine for the past year or so, have you wondered where is God in the midst of all of this, some tomorrow to learn why God is more in control than we think the Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by click for life learning is fully