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What Is Involved - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
March 4, 2024 12:00 am

What Is Involved - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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March 4, 2024 12:00 am

Find out the several points required for our obedience toward God.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Monday, March 4th. What determines your choices? Let's begin a series that points to the ultimate guide for decision-making, God's Word. Today, we learn what's involved in knowing and obeying God. You can never go wrong obeying God, and you can never be right living in rebellion against Him.

That is the law of God. Obedience is doing what God says, when God says it, and how God says do it. The bottom line of all of our decisions as believers should be, what would God have me to do?

What would be pleasing to Him? What does the Word of God say about this issue? The bottom line of every single decision for the believer should be, what would obedience require of me? Well, this is the first message in a series entitled Obeying God. This is the bottom line of the Christian life.

And I want you to turn, if you will, to the book of Daniel. And the title of this first message is Obeying God, What is Involved. Because sometime, we don't realize what's really involved in being obedient to God. We make mistakes. We sin against Him. We pay the penalty. We want to do better.

We want to correct it. Well, obeying God, what is involved? And in this first message, I want to talk about those things that really are a part of every single decision of obeying God.

Some of the things that you may be conscious of, some not, but they're all there. Daniel, chapter one. You'll recall in Daniel, in this first chapter, this is the account of the destruction of Jerusalem and the action on the part of the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, who took some of the precious possessions of the Jews. And also along with those, he took some of the young men, some of the people. And one of his purposes was to take the young people and as he says in verse four, those who were good looking and whom there are no defects, some of the royal and noble family, those showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding, discerning knowledge, who had ability for serving in the king's court. And he ordered his commander to teach them the literature and the language of the Chaldeans.

Well, in light of that, very quickly, they had a test. Now in this passage are all of the elements in every single act of obedience. So let's begin, if you will, in verse eight. But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with the wine which he drank. So he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the command of the officials. And the commander of the officials said to Daniel, I am afraid of my Lord the king, who has appointed your food and your drink.

But why should he see your faces looking more haggard than the youths who are your own age? Then you would make me forfeit my head to the king. But Daniel said to the overseer whom the commander of the officials had appointed over Daniel, Hanani, Michelle, and Azariah, please test your servants for ten days and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water the drink. In other words, they wanted to be vegetarians rather than eat the meat that was provided for the king. Then let our appearance be observed in your presence and the appearance of the youth who are eating the king's choice food and deal with your servants according to what you see. So he listened to them in this matter and tested them for ten days. And at the end of ten days, their appearance seemed better and they were fatter than all the youths who had been eating the king's choice food.

So the overseer continued to withhold their choice food and the wine they were to drink and kept giving them vegetables. You say, well what in the world does that have to do with obedience? Everything. So let's look at this for a moment. What I would like to do is I would like to give you six single words. All of these represent something that takes place every time you and I make a decision to obey or to disobey God. So I want you to jot these words down and we will look at them in the light of the life of Daniel and apply them to our own life. And the first one is command. That is, how can you obey God if you don't know what to obey? So there is God's command. Some of His commands, and He has many commands in the Scriptures, some of them are very clear. Some of them not quite so clear. Most of them are very clear.

He doesn't leave a lot of question about them. Secondly, all of His commands are for our protection. Thirdly, all of His commands will glorify Him when they're obeyed. So there are many commands in the Scriptures. And in this particular passage here, what we are seeing here is that these four Hebrew children, Daniel, and of course we know them by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, these four Hebrew children were taken captive, brought into the king's court, and were to have a particular diet.

Now the problem here that arises is that there is a specific command at stake. Daniel knew that the Mosaic law forbid them to eat certain types of food. Likewise, certain types of food had to be prepared a certain way, and also the food was not to be offered to idols. Well, the food that was being prepared for them was the very best that King Nebuchadnezzar had, the very finest of his food, the finest of his wine.

That food was also offered to idols. It was prepared in a way that would not be in keeping with the Mosaic law. So what Daniel and his three Hebrew friends had to face here was, what was the command of God? The command of God was very specific and very clear. As a Hebrew, they were not to eat certain things, certain things were to be prepared a certain way, and they were to drink or eat nothing offered to an idol. Because the implication was, if they ate or drank that, the implication was that they were acknowledging that there is another God. And so here we find these four Hebrew children on a foreign land, they're captives, they're slaves, they're being trained in a culture that is foreign to theirs, and in a religious atmosphere that is absolutely, totally unrelated and an atmosphere that is pure idolatry.

And so this is what they faced. Now, in your life and mine every day, we make decisions based on the laws of God. That is, our sense of values and our set of values as believers is a set of values that came out of this Book. But the problem is, a lot of people have values, many people have values that have absolutely nothing to do with the Word of God. But you and I are to make decisions, and we do make decisions. We all make decisions every day of our life based on our values in life.

Well, the question is, where do your values come from? If they come from the Word of God, then they come from the One who knows what is best for us, the all-wise God who not only knows what is best for us, but has provided what is best for us, and whose laws are always for our protection. God has not given us a set of laws to keep us from having fun, enjoying life, or prospering, or being contented, and enjoying the life that He provides for us. They're not there to keep us from. They're there to protect us from destroying ourselves and hindering our life and destroying those about us. So all of us are making those decisions.

What I want to ask you today is this. When you face a decision, whether it be some moral decision or not, but it is a decision, do you ever stop to ask the question, what would God have me to do? Is there anything in the Bible that relates to this? Is there some clear command in the Scriptures that says, I should do this and not should do, should not do that? And if not, is there some implication in the Scripture that says, though this may not be wrong, it is not wise. This may not necessarily be right or wrong, but it is the wise thing to do. You see, if you and I live with the values given in the Word of God, some things may be up for grabs as far as people's opinions about right and wrong, but the question is, what is the wise thing to do? If my set of values comes out of this book, I'm going to want to choose the wise thing. But in most issues, it's very clear what God would have us to do.

But there are things in business, there are things in relationships that may not be quite so clear, but the question is, what is the wise thing to do? So, when we come to obeying God, the first thing we have to consider is God's commands. The second thing I want you to jot down, a single word is this, and that is the word challenge.

Because every time you and I face a decision to obey or to disobey, there is always this challenge. This challenge is a challenge to compromise what we know is a clear teaching of the Word of God or a challenge to compromise what is the wise thing to do. What I want you to realize here in this passage is that Nebuchadnezzar saw to it that they had the very finest food, that is ease, comfort, and pleasure, the finest training, the finest place to live, the finest of everything. So what was he doing? Well, by giving them the very best of everything, and challenging them to eat food that was offered to an idol, and challenging them to accept their lifestyle, what he was doing under the surface is this. He was very gradually tempting to lead them and to lead them to disloyalty toward their God.

Oh, what's a little bit of food, a little bit of wine, a little new culture, what difference is that going to make? So he gave them the very best that he had because that naturally would be enticing to them. Then the second thing he did was a very, very smart, tricky bit of real treachery. He changed their names. Now, look in the Bible in verse six and verse seven.

Most of us grew up knowing these men by what? Daniel what? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. But I want you to look at their names here in verse six.

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Abednego. Well, Hebrew mothers and dads gave their children very specific names that had very specific meanings. For example, here Daniel's name means God my judge. But they gave him another name. And they called him Belshazzar, which means keeper of the hidden treasures of Baal, which is one whom they worship.

And then of course, there is Hananiah. And that name meant gift of the Lord. But they named him instead of Hananiah, they named him Shadrach. And that name meant inspiration of the Son, which they also worshiped.

Then there was Mishael. And his name meant he that is a strong God. But they named him of the goddess of Shaka, that is another God whom they worshiped.

So we have Shadrach, Meshach, and now Abednego. Azariah was his name, which meant helper of the Lord. And they gave him a name which meant servant of the shining fire, which also they worshiped. So here's what they did. In order to destroy their faith in their God, in order to wean them off of their loyalty to Jehovah, what they did is they gave them ease, comfort, and pleasure, the finest of everything. Then they changed their very names. And most of us, we were kids growing up, that's the way we learned them.

We learned them by heathen pagan names, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, instead of the Hebrew names that their godly fathers had given them. So here's what I want you to see. Every single time you and I attempted to disobey God, the temptation may be something on the surface, to steal, to lie, to be lustful, or whatever it may be. Beneath the surface of that, what is Satan doing? He is attempting to divide our loyalty to Christ, whom we call Lord. And secondly, little by little, by offering those things that gratify the flesh, we will soon begin to believe that after all, we don't really and truly have to be all that obedient to God. I mean, after all, God understands. Ultimately, His purpose is to destroy our faith.

And so we see here that on the surface it looked like it was a matter of this old Mosaic law. No, the real issue, the real temptation the real act of disobedience here was to replace their loyalty to Jehovah God to a pagan god, to change their lifestyle of obedience to God, to obedience to a pagan king. And every single time you and I attempted to disobey God, it deals with our loyalty to Christ, with our faith in Christ. It deals with our whole idea of who is this God. And so our loyalty, our faithfulness, our devotion to Christ is always at stake.

You see, if we just keep our eyes on what appears to be the surface issue, then sometimes we can rationalize it away. But if I see every sin as an act of disloyalty, listen to this, as disloyal to Christ, as Judas was when he sold him for 30 pieces of silver. If somebody were to call you a Judas, you'd say, man, I'm ready to fight. What did Judas do?

He proved disloyal to Christ. What do you and I do when we adhere in disobedience to the enticements of Satan? What we do is we move our loyalty from Jesus Christ to the devil and choose to make a decision that pleases him rather than the one that pleases Christ. And so this whole issue of obedience begins with the command of God, but secondly, it includes the challenge.

And all of us are going to meet those challenges at some point or the other in some way or the other. There's a third word I want you to jot down, and that word is commitment. Because obedience is more than an attitude.

It is an attitude, but it's more than attitude. When we choose to obey God, we make a commitment. We make a decision. There is action that's going to take place.

We count the cost or we look at the alternatives and we say, this is the choice I'm going to make. This is what I believe is the will of the Father. Well, this is exactly what these Hebrew children did. Look, if you will, in verse eight. Because here's Daniel's witness of what his commitment was. The Scripture says, But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with the wine which he drank. So he sought permission from the command of the officials that he might not defile himself.

Now, here's something I want you to remember here. It is impossible to rebel against God, disobey God without defiling our own selves. That is, it's impossible to disobey God without suffering. It's impossible. Something is going to suffer if we disobey God.

Look at what he says. Daniel made up his mind that he wouldn't defile what? Himself with the king's choice. You see, it's impossible for me to rebel against God without also it hurting me personally. You can't separate sin from God and from self. Sin against God is sin against self. Sin against self is sin against God. Disobeying God is to bring reproach upon myself. And to bring reproach upon myself by disobeying God is to bring reproach upon my witness and testimony for God. And so he says, I've made up my mind.

I've looked at this situation. I've made up my mind. I am not going to defile myself. Because to defile himself as a child of God would be to defile everything he believes in God. And so he made up his mind.

And of course, in the King James Version, it says, I think he purposed in his heart that he would not sin against God. Made up his mind not to defile himself. Now, I want to challenge you to think about something. I wish I could say I had always done this, but I can't.

I wish I could, but I can't. But a long time ago, when I was a kid growing up somewhere along the way, I did make a decision in my life. Lord, I want to obey You no matter what the consequences. I make up my mind. I choose to obey You no matter what the consequences.

Well, nobody can live a perfect life, and I certainly have not. I've sinned against God. I've fallen. I've faltered.

Many times, I've made lots of mistakes. The wonderful thing about the grace of God is First John chapter one, verse seven, says, the blood of Jesus Christ His Son is continually cleansing us from sin. That is those who are walking in the light.

Every single believer is one of those walking in the light. But there needs to be a point in our life whereby we say, make a commitment. God, I choose to be obedient to You no matter what. You may be overcome with temptation, and you may falter, and you may fall. You may find yourself in a period of time in your life in which it is very difficult for you.

For example, you may have slipped in reading the Word of God, and you got too busy to pray, and before long, you were disobeying God, and you kept asking yourself, what's going on, and what's wrong, and God, why am I dry, and why am I so barren in my soul? And obedience wasn't priority in your life. But once you set in your mind, God, I choose to be obedient to You no matter what the consequences, He's going to keep bringing you back, and I can tell you, you'll never be happy, you'll never have peace, you'll never have a contentment, and you'll never succeed in what you're doing till you get right back where you belong, and that is in that commitment of being obedient to God no matter what.

And I want to challenge you today no matter who you are, and no matter where you are, I want to issue you this challenge. Will you make this commitment to God? Lord, I choose to be obedient to You no matter what. I choose to be obedient to You no matter what. Does that mean you live a perfect life?

No. What do you do? I want to repeat it again. He says the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son cleanses us from all sin. You confess your sin, you repent of them, you walk away, you thank God for His forgiveness, and you keep moving. And listen, you keep moving with your commitment to be obedient to God. Thank you for listening to What is Involved. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-04 02:26:46 / 2024-03-04 02:34:38 / 8

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