Do you want to stand up for God?
You want to influence people? Is that in your heart to do so? Then these words are for you. 1 Corinthians 15 verse 58. Therefore my beloved brethren be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
It can be hard and costly to take a stand for God. That's why today on Connect with Skip Hitek, Skip is sharing an encouraging word for believers who want to remain steadfast even in the hardest trials. But first, if you want to stay up to date on the latest from this ministry and from Skip, we invite you to follow Skip on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You'll find important announcements and great encouragement from Skip.
That's at Skip Hitek at Skip H-E-I-T-Z-I-G. Okay, let's hear today's lesson with Skip. He's teaching from Daniel 6. Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed. Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting and no musicians were brought before him and also his sleep went from him. In this whole episode, do you once read of Daniel saying, this isn't fair.
God, I served you 70 years. No, in fact, we don't have recorded that Daniel said anything at all, at all. Daniel opens the windows.
He prays. That was his custom. He definitely knew that the thing had been signed. He definitely knew that death could happen. He definitely knew what a den of lions was, but he opened up the windows and he prayed because he always prayed.
And then the death sentence is passed. Daniel's taken and placed in the lion's den. He says nothing. Now, he may have said something, but the text is silent.
It's like Jesus. He opened not his mouth, but he was silent before his antagonist and he is lowered into the den of lions. Daniel's story reminds me of another story that some of you may have heard about a guy by the name of Polycarp, who in 156 AD, he was a Christian leader in Smyrna, a Christian bishop. Polycarp was brought to be burned at the stake. They brought him to the stake. They tied him up.
They lit the fire. And then the executioner said, listen, Polycarp, you can get out of this real easy. Just deny Jesus very quickly. We'll let you go.
You'll have your freedom. Not yelling, not screaming. I hate flames. Polycarp said, I have served Jesus Christ for 86 years. He was 86 years old, like Daniel. I've served Jesus Christ for 86 years. Never once has he denied me. He's never done me any wrong.
How can I deny him now? And Polycarp looked down at those flames as the will of God for his life. And I believe Daniel saw the lion's den and he didn't squawk and didn't say, I hate teeth and lions and no, though he wouldn't have loved it, but he knew his God well enough and he was steadfast enough to know and believed, okay, this is it.
I've lived 86 years. Now it's the lion's den. I had to go one way or the other. And they lowered him into the pit. Now, it's easy to talk about this, but this is where steadfastness has got to kick in.
This is where the clutching intensity of a drowning man has to kick in. This is where your faith needs to move from faithfulness to steadfastness. Here's a good prayer to remember. Psalm 51, David prayed, create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. The Hebrew word means to be fixed or fastened, immovable, steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 112 speaks of a good man, a godly man. And in describing him, it says, he will not be afraid of evil tidings. His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
I have a question for you. What will it take to move you? What will it take to move you? What would it take? What could possibly happen in your life to have you stop trusting Jesus Christ?
Death of a child, lingering disease, loss of employment. Is there something that you have said, ah, I trust the Lord, but as long as this, this, and that happen, if something else happens, I can't follow a God like that. I can't trust a God like that.
Really? I remember having a conversation with a young lady some years ago. Actually, it took me by surprise because she said, well, you know, I believed in Jesus past tense. I followed Jesus.
I trusted Jesus. Then she said, but then my grandmother died. And that was it. I said, well, with all due respect, I'm very sorry for your loss. That very is very painful. But did you really think she was never going to die?
Because that's never happened before in history. So that was it. It was your grandmother's death that just sort of, you lost it at that point. I'm not following Jesus anymore.
Really? Job lost his estate, all 10 of his children, and his health. And he said, the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. And then as the book goes on and the situation gets worse, he says, though he slay me, I will trust him.
He can kill me. I'm not going to be moved. That's steadfastness. I want you to listen to a slogan of an African American church in Kansas City.
I love it so much. It's their slogan. It's on their letterhead.
And they have to probably print small to fit it all in because it's a long one. But listen to this. Here's their slogan. Wake up, sing up, pray up, and pay up. But never give up or let up or back up or shut up until the kingdom of Christ is built up in this world. That's their slogan. That's a pretty good one, isn't it? Five of you like it.
I want to know you five after church. Wake up, sing up, pray up, pay up, but never give up, let up, back up, or shut up till the kingdom of Christ is built up in this world. So there's Daniel. They just sort of take him and they lure him in the pit.
And then something frustrating happens in the story. That's verse 17. Look at verse 18. Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no musicians were brought before him, and his sleep went from him.
Now I'm reading that going, so what? I don't care about the king and his palace. What's going on in the lion's den? If this were a movie and the camera shows a guy getting lit down in the lion, and all of a sudden the camera pans to the king's palace and goes, I can't sleep.
I'm going, I don't care about you can't sleeping. Take me back to the lion's den. But this is the Holy Spirit showing you and I what the king is going through mentally in this entire episode. Persecution is inevitable.
Trust is essential. Here's Daniel just seeing this as the will of God. I'm going to trust in God. You know what Daniel sort of reminds me of? His three friends a few chapters back who said, our God is able to deliver us, but if not, we're not going to bow. Daniel knew that. God can deliver him, but if not, here goes. Oh well, hi lion. Now let's go on in the story and you see that deliverance is possible.
It happens for him. Then the king arose very early in the morning. The text suggests that the dawn of the day and went in haste to the den of lions. When he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel.
Interesting voice of anguish. The king spoke saying to Daniel, Daniel, servant of the living God. Why did he call him that?
Where did he get that from? He got that from Daniel. Daniel has been steadfast before the king so that even this king knows that Daniel believes that all the gods of Babylon, all the gods of Medo-Persia are fake. They're just a bunch of statues without life, but he served the living God.
So the king calls him that. Daniel, servant of the living God. Now notice the question. Has your God whom you serve continually been able to deliver you from the lions? Now frankly, it's a little late for that question. Should have asked that the day before, but in that lamenting anguish, he asks, has your God been able to deliver you? Silence.
Let's see what happens now. Can God do it? Verse 21, then Daniel said to the king, O king, live forever. I guess king God has answered, didn't he? My God sent his angel and shut the lion's mouths so that they have not hurt me because I was found innocent before him and also, O king, I've done no wrong before you. And the king was exceedingly glad for him and commanded that they should take up Daniel out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den and no injury, whatever was found on him because he believed in his God.
Notice that, mark that, because he believed in his God. And the kings gave the command and they brought those men who had accused Daniel and they cast him into the den of lions, them, their children, their wives, and the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den. Okay, so I'm reading through the story and it just sort of sounds like while the king has insomnia, can't sleep in his palace, that Daniel has a good night's sleep in the lion's den. He gets up in the morning, O king, live forever.
How's it going up there? King can't sleep. He gets up early in the morning and laments. Daniel very politely, very thoroughly, explains to him the theology behind, I was stood before God and God did this for me. You know, I say that, but it reminds me of a story in the New Testament where Peter, the apostle, was arrested along with James.
Herod had James killed and was going to kill Peter the very next day. So Peter is in prison, the Bible tells us, chained between two Roman guards and he falls asleep and the angel comes to spring him out of jail and the angel has to wake Peter up. That's how deep asleep he was in.
And I'm thinking, are you nuts? You're going to get killed the next day and you're asleep? That's trust.
That's trust. It's like the guy who was in a boat. The boat got into a storm bouncing around on the lake, on the sea and the ocean, and he remembered that psalm that says the God of Israel never slumbers or sleeps. And so he looked up to heaven and he said, since you never get any rest, there's no sense in both of us losing sleep.
Good night. And he went to sleep. And so God delivered Daniel and we go, wow, every kid knows this story. Every Sunday school tells this story. He was delivered from the lion's mouths.
It doesn't always happen this way, but when it does, it's pretty marvelous, isn't it? Let me tell you a true story. Paul Harvey told this story. This is where I got it from.
He used to tell the most wonderful stories in such a great way, by the way. So there's a church in Beatrice, Nebraska, the West Side Baptist Church. The West Side Baptist Church every Wednesday at 7 30 p.m. had choir practice, 7 30 sharp every Wednesday. But one Wednesday, and most people, he said, came to the church before 7 30 so that they could start the practice on time. So they were there on or before 7 30 without fail. But on one particular Wednesday night, every choir member had an excuse why they were late.
The piano player took an afternoon nap. She slept too long. She was late. One of the choir members, a student, had homework problems, so he came late. Another couple who sang in the choir, their car wouldn't start, they came late.
All 18 members did not show up, were not at the church at 7 30. And it's a good thing because on that particular day, there was a gas leak in the basement. And at precisely 7 30 p.m., the gas leak ignited the furnace at the middle level, and the church blew up. By the way, the furnace room was directly underneath the choir loft. It absolutely decimated and would have killed everybody in that choir loft. Nobody was there.
Nobody was there. That is deliverance. And that is marvelous. And I love stories like that.
And they happen, but they don't always happen. Even if you love and you believe in your God, like Daniel did, they don't always happen. Did Isaiah believe in his God?
Isaiah was sown in, or sawn in two, cut in two. Did Peter, the apostle, believe in his God? You bet you, he was crucified upside down. Did Paul, the apostle, believe in his God?
Yep. He got delivered sometimes, but then there was a day when he didn't get delivered. A Roman ax severed his head from his body in one fell swoop on a Roman road. So here's Daniel. I can just picture him just from what I know of his integrity. He's getting led into that lion's den. He goes, this could be either a wonderful deliverance out of it, or I'll see you in a few, Lord.
Right? Either way, would it have been a deliverance? Absolutely. Absolutely. He would have, if he died, been looking into the face of God instead of the face of Darius saying, oh, King, live forever.
That's not a bad thing. So deliverance is possible. And he was delivered. Look at the last few verses.
Here's the fourth truth, and that is that influence is unmistakable. Then King Darius wrote, to all peoples, nations, languages that dwell in all the earth, peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree. Now, he just made a decree, right, that anybody who prays to any God for one month besides me will be killed. That was his decree. They all voted him in. Isn't that interesting?
You've heard of Queen for a day? He was God for a month. They voted him in as God. You can't worship any God but you.
He signed it. Now listen to this decree. I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom, men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, and steadfast forever. His kingdom is the one which will never be destroyed, and his dominion shall endure to the end.
He delivers and rescues. He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, sounds like a psalmist, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian. Now, this is Daniel.
This is just one guy. One man literally affects two empires. He affects Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar in the Babylonian empire, and now Darius the Mede in the Medo-Persian empire.
And I've always believed that his influence extended beyond those kingdoms. I believe the whole reason the magi showed up at the birth of Jesus Christ, incidentally the word magi is a Babylonian word. If you looked it up in the Old Testament, the word for wise men in Daniel is magi. What are magi from Babylon doing showing up at the birth of Christ looking for the King of the Jews?
I think Daniel tipped them off, and they took the tip, and they showed up. One man influenced two kingdoms. See, it doesn't take a lot of people. It just takes the right ones. One or a few steadfast in their God can influence a nation, can influence a family.
Never underestimate the power of a godly life. One of my favorite dudes in the New Testament is John the Baptist. What a fiery guy. Didn't care what anybody thought of him. I didn't like that sermon, John. I don't care. Have you repented?
Right? He was just this fiery guy. Well, Herod has him arrested and put in prison. But listen to what the Bible says.
Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous man. There's something about being around a righteous, godly man or woman that can be unnerving and also very, very influential. Is that what you want? Do you want to stand up for God? You want to influence people? Is that in your heart to do so?
Then these words are for you. 1 Corinthians 15, verse 58. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. I close with one of my favorite stories of all times, written by and spoken by a previous chaplain to the United States Senate, Peter Marshall, which is interesting because Peter Marshall was from Scotland, came to America, got involved in church work and political work here, became the chaplain to the Senate. He told the story called The Keeper of the Spring, and here's how the story goes roughly. He said there was an Austrian village that had a beautiful stream that ran through it. The village was surrounded by the Alps, by the mountains around it, and they hired this guy called The Keeper of the Spring to patrol the hills and to collect debris from the pools that would feed that stream that ran through the town. He had to pick up leaves and branches and anything that would pollute or contaminate that stream in the village. And because he did such a faithful job with quiet regularity patrolling those hills, the stream that ran through that village was beautiful, clear, pristine. Swans came and tourists came and businesses built their shops there and farmlands were there.
Farmlands were irrigated, et cetera. Until one day when the city council had a meeting and they were looking at the budget and one of the council members said, what is this line item for a salary we're paying some guy called The Keeper of the Spring? He scratched his head and goes, I've never seen this person. Have you? None of them had ever seen him before, but they said, yeah, but we hear what we hear. He's up there and he's working and you can't see him, but that's why everything is so nice here in town.
The guy says, I think it's a scam. And so they all took a vote and they fired The Keeper of the Spring. Nothing changed at all in town. Everything was exactly the same for a few weeks. But after a few weeks, when summer turned to fall and the leaves started dropping and the twigs on the trees started breaking off and the debris started mounting up and clogging up the stream. One day, one of the villagers noticed that stream wasn't so clear anymore. It had a yellow tint to it.
And a few days later it was brownish and several days later it had a stench that came from it. And the swans left and the tourists did too. And the water wheels that diverted the water from the stream into the fields to be irrigated, slowed down and eventually stopped. And the village elders realized their error and they said, go get that guy and hire him back.
And so they found The Keeper of the Spring and they gave him his job back and within weeks it was restored to pristine beauty. And what Peter Marshall's point was is that what The Keeper of the Spring was to that Austrian village, the steadfast believer is to the world and even to the church. One life, well lived, can impact a family, a neighborhood, a city, a country, two nations like Daniel. Doesn't take a lot of people, just takes the right ones. Jesus had 12 disciples and He said, go. And within one generation, the known world heard the gospel. That's steadfastness.
You can't be steadfast and you can't be powerfully used by God unless you know God to begin with. Can I just say to you as we close this service, I'm so happy you're here, but I wonder if you know Jesus Christ personally. I'm glad you come, but my goal has never been to have a lot of people come, but to have a lot of people who are here. I'm glad you're here.
I'm glad not only to have a lot of people come, but to have a lot of people who know Jesus Christ. Are you sure that you know Him? I'm not asking if you're not a nice person. You might be a wonderful person. I'm not asking if you have a high intellect or advanced education. You might. People might like you.
You might be very, very influential in a lot of different areas of life. You might be very religious, but do you know Jesus Christ personally? You can't be a keeper of the spring until you've tasted and drank from the stream yourself of living water. Do you know Christ? That's where you begin, and when you begin there, then you let His life give you real life, real purpose, real meaning.
You want a cause to live for? There's nothing greater than the cause of Christ, but you must begin with Christ. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message from the series I Dare You. Find the full message, as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Right now, we want to share about a great resource that helps you draw even closer to the Lord as you fall in love with studying scripture. Ready to upgrade your Bible study in 2023? We have a plan and a package for you. Skip Heitzig's book, The Bible from 30,000 Feet, is an ideal companion for a survey of the entire scope of scripture.
Here's a great goal for the coming year. Conduct a personal study of all 66 books as Skip Heitzig guides you from a biblical altitude of 30,000 feet. We want to give you firm direction to unlock the riches of God's word by sending you two resources from Pastor Skip, How to Study the Bible and Enjoy It, and The Bible from 30,000 Feet.
You'll gain helpful Bible study tools as you practice how to observe, absorb, and interpret the Bible, then apply it to your life. These two resources are our thanks for your gift today of $50 or more. Skip has asked the team at Connection Communications to make it a priority in 2023 to take the daily messages as you have heard them today and expand them into more metropolitan areas.
Will you help us make that happen? And with your gift, you will receive copies of How to Study the Bible and Enjoy It and The Bible from 30,000 Feet. Both books by Skip Heitzig to kickstart your 2023 Bible study plans. Call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer.
That's connectwithskip.com slash offer. Thank you for joining us today. Connect with Skip Heitzig exists to connect listeners like you to God's truth, strengthening your walk with him and bringing more people into his family.
That's why these teachings are available to you and so many others on air and online. If they've inspired you to keep living for Jesus, please consider giving a gift today to encourage other listeners like you in the same way. With your gift, you'll enable the ministry to accomplish Skip's vision to make these teachings available on more radio stations in more major cities across the USA. Just call 800-922-1888. That's 800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Thank you. Join us tomorrow as Skip Heitzig begins to help you understand how to defend your faith. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-25 04:55:42 / 2023-01-25 05:05:37 / 10