Alright, well hey guys. Welcome at all of our campuses today.
Man, whether you're at Northeast, High Point, Clifton, whether you're at Regional North. Man, we're excited that you're here today. This is an exciting weekend for us because it is the second most exciting weekend of the whole year. And that is because it is week two of Church Survey Weekend. Okay, so I know some of you guys were here last week. Pastor Bobby did an incredible job of setting this up. Man, bigger than Easter, bigger than Christmas, Church Survey Weekend.
I'm joking. But I will say this. Guys, it really is very important for us. And I pray that if you weren't here last week or you didn't get a chance to do it online, that you would do this today.
Okay, you're not going to offend me. You can do it. Maybe just kind of sneak around and do it a little bit during the sermon or do it right after.
But you can drop it in the buckets on the way out of whatever campus you are in. Let me give you guys a quick scripture, okay, for this. And I know we want to go super spiritual for everything.
And that's fine. But listen, you know, 1 Peter 5, 2 says this, There is a charge for the elders of this church, of which I am a leader among that group. And the charge for us to shepherd the flock is absolutely prayer and catalyzing groups and counseling people and all of that kind of stuff that comes to your mind. But there is also an organizational side of shepherding the flock. And this survey really helps us with that. It helps show us how the demographics in our church are shifting, what might need more attention. You know, it helps us figure out where we may want to go next in terms of a campus or a church plant. So I just pray that you guys will take this seriously.
Jump into it. And man, we would love to have that filled out by the time that you guys leave our services today. I know that some of y'all are like me and you have the gift of writing in tongues. Okay, which means you can understand it. Maybe God can understand it. Nobody else can understand. Okay, so can you please try to be as legible as you can as you guys are filling this out? And that is really just going to help.
Our teams immensely. All right, if you have a copy of scripture, you could take it out and turn with me to Daniel chapter two. Guys, we're on week two of this new series that is talking about how we are to live a life that not only survives Babylon but thrives for the mission in Babylon. If you have ever been in that place in your life where you have thought, man, this culture is going to hell in a handbasket. Okay, if you have ever thought, if you've ever looked up at God and you have thought to yourself, God, what are you doing?
Because I don't see your reign and rule in every day with what I see around me right now, with the evil that I see around me. If you've ever been in that spot, it's good to know that there are other Christians and other people that have been in similar situations. The people of God have been in a situation like that for a long time. And we see a great example of that in the book of Daniel. Daniel was a young man. We call him part of the student ministry if he was at Mercy Hill. He was in that age group and he found himself in a society filled with violence, Satanism, slavery, okay?
He was educated, name changed, all of this stuff. One day he wakes up and he's in Babylon. And he's got a decision to make. Either God is in control and therefore I continue to cling to the word that I have been taught my whole life and try to figure out how I live that life out in this culture for the good of this culture.
I not only want to survive Babylon but I want to thrive for the mission in Babylon. Or I can throw my hands up and say, you know, God must be off his throne. He must have failed. He must have lost. And what we see in this book is a great example of a story of a young man's life where he says, no, no, no, God is not lost. He has not failed. He is still in control.
He is still on his throne. And that means that I figure out how to live this life in Babylon. And that is a great example and lesson for all of us. You guys, because you know this, man. And I talked about this too. Two weeks ago. We live in Babylon.
And I was very clear about this two weeks ago. I think we happen to live in the greatest neighborhood in Babylon, okay. But it is still Babylon. Man, what is Babylon? Babylon is a set of principles and rulers and a culture that is arrayed in battle against God.
That doesn't want to submit to God's reign and rule. And there is no culture, earthly speaking, on earth that is not enraptured with the world. And ours is included in that. And one of the things that I said two weeks ago that I want to say again, guys, it's always been Babylon. I think that some of us kind of have this, you know, we look back with different glasses on, you know, kind of rose colored glasses about what's happened in our own nation's history or a different time or a different era.
I don't change place with my kids. I don't know when it was. A few months ago, a year ago, whenever it was, I remember, my kids remember this story because they were like on edge about it. But this guy just starts to engage me out of nowhere. He just starts talking to me about, you know, politics and the way the nation's heading and, you know, how terrible schools are these days and all this kind of stuff. Now, I don't mean to stereotype, but he was a boomer, okay. He was of the boomer. I mean, all the generations have their thing, all right.
And he dances and saying the word sus a lot, okay. Millennial, I'm a millennial, all right. So I can't speak to millennials. I'm a geriatric millennial, all right. But I am a millennial. And so I asked my daughter, who's Gen Z, what, you know, okay, what are some, what characterizes the millennials?
She said without batting, they love to part their hair on the side and charcuterie boards is what she said. She's not wrong, okay. Gen X, you love to stick it to the man, all right. You're still rocking MTV. You're a rocker. You know, you're kind of a rebel. Boomers, all right.
I've got to be careful here. They're a little sensitive, but, you know, man, the boomer generation, and without joking at all, one of the hardest working, I mean, the hardest working generation you've ever seen, right. I think most of us would agree with that. At the same time, if you're going to get engaged out of nowhere about politics at the oil change place, it's coming from a boomer, okay. So this person is sitting there engaging me on this stuff, and they're talking, and I'm just kind of, but listen, I could tell, because I hear this all the time. I could tell that what was coming out was this sort of prayer used to be in schools.
Everything was leave it to Beaver, kind of the 50s and 60s were some kind of golden year. I mean, I could just kind of hear that coming out, and finally, I just couldn't take it anymore, and he actually, he said something about, you know, the diversity in schools. He said something like that, and I just kind of seized on it, and it was just one of those moments. I don't do this all the time, but it was one of those moments where I feel like I had to push, and I said, hey, man, were schools segregated when you were a kid? And it was like, what? I said, no, seriously, I mean, you told me your age.
I was like, when you were a kid, were schools segregated? And he was like, yeah, until third or fourth grade or whatever. The only reason, and I think I got the point across, okay. He didn't say a whole lot else. I didn't say a whole lot else.
My kid's eyes were about this big, okay. But my point in that was it's always been Babylon. It ain't like prayers came out of schools, and now all of a sudden it's Babylon.
You know what I mean? Listen, Christians, every generation has gotta figure out how we thrive in this culture that is not the kingdom of God, all right? And how we do that, the point today is gonna be, man, is dependent upon how much we understand the power of God in prayer.
Here's the big idea for this weekend. God answers prayer to the praise of his glory. If we wanna thrive for the mission in Babylon, we must be a praying people. Guys, I try to do this in my first sermon.
I don't have to do it the whole time, okay, but here's the deal. If you're a believer, you are living behind enemy lines. Don't be lulled asleep as if we live in a godly culture. We are trying to live godly lives in an increasingly godless culture, and to do that, we are gonna need to take the example and what Daniel points us to, the ultimate example, the ultimate Daniel, the true Daniel, the Savior, Jesus.
An example and a Savior that shows us, man, what it means to honor the Lord with our prayer lives, that we would be prepared to be a prayer, that we would understand the power of prayer, and that we would give God the glory for everything in our own prayer lives. Now, it's a long story today, and I thought about telling the story, reading, telling the story, and I thought, nope, we're just gonna read the whole thing, okay? So let's go. Daniel chapter two, here we go in verse one. Now that means immovable, all right?
I want you to think about this term, unyielding. All right, what he's saying is, this is how it's gonna go down. This is how it's gonna be. If you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. But if you show me, now it's two things here, right? Both the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor.
Therefore, show me its repetitions. Trying to get us to see the dream, and its interpretation. Now they answered for the second time, and they said, sure, right? Well, let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show you its interpretation. They're not quite getting the memo. The king answered and said, I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see that the word for me is firm.
It is unyielding. It's not gonna change. If you do not make the dream known to me, there is but one sentence for you. You have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the times change. Therefore, tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation. The Chaldeans answered the king and said, there is not a man on earth who can meet the king's demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing from any magician, any enchanter, or any Chaldean.
Now, they're wrong about that. There actually is gonna be a man who can do this, because God's gonna give him the power to do it. The thing that the king asked is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods whose dwelling is not with the flesh.
Now, I'm gonna keep reading here for just a minute, but real quick. Okay, this is the crux of it. In verse 28, I'm gonna give you the end here. After Daniel reveals that he knows the dream, he's gonna say it was revealed to him by God. They tell him nobody on earth can do this. Only the gods would be able to do this.
Now, what's in Nebuchadnezzar's mind? But wait a minute, you guys are the astrologers, the enchanters, the magicians. Y'all are the diviners.
Y'all are supposed to have a beeline to the gods. You're supposed to be able to talk to them, right? So, if you could talk to them, then you should be able, through his power, to do something the only gods can do.
But, of course, they can't, because it's smoke and mirrors and tricks, and maybe even some demonic things and sorcery and witchcraft. Because of this, the king was angry and very furious and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. So the decree went out and the wise men were about to be killed, and they sought Daniel and his companions to kill them. Then Daniel replied, and this is what I want you to see first today, with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the captain of the king's guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon. And he declared to Arioch, the king's captain, why is the decree of the king so urgent? Then Arioch made the matter known to Daniel.
And Daniel went in and requested the king to appoint him a time that he might show the interpretation to the king. Now, this ain't the point. There's so much you can preach on here, okay?
I know that. This ain't the point, but one of the things that jumped out to me right off the bat here, and I just want to move through this pretty quick, is just to say this. For somebody here, for somebody at one of our campuses today, you need to hear this. Apparently, all the power and all the money in the world can't bring you peace, because Nebuchadnezzar had it all. The most powerful man, the most wealthy man, he's got every earthly desire, everything that you can think of, the pride of life, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, he's got anything that you can desire, and yet it doesn't bring him peace. His sleep is still troubled, because peace only comes from God. You can say it like this, if God is not king, there will never be peace.
Maybe somebody here today at one of our campuses is in a great position of power, wealth, you've arrived at the very top of all of your dreams, but you're realizing how hollow that is. See, we can't have peace without the Prince of Peace, without God being on the throne, and Nebuchadnezzar is seeing that, because he's having this dream, and there's a lot of debate here about what's going on, okay? Some people assume that maybe Nebuchadnezzar woke up in a terror, and he knows the dream was horrific, and he feels like it was supernatural, but he can't remember it. But he doesn't want them to know that, because what is he going to do if he says, I can't remember the dream? They're going to say, oh, I know the dream, right?
I can tell you what the dream was, right? So maybe he's kind of being a little bit coy, and being like, man, I don't know. Of course, other people, and I think I fall a little more in this camp, they know, they believe that he knew what the dream was, but the dream seemed to him, although this is what it was, it seemed to him that his kingdom was about to fall and be taken, because what does he see in the dream? We don't get into this actually until next week, but he sees a great statue, and it ends up falling, and all of that. So he's thinking maybe these wise men and all the magicians are in on the coup. I mean, if you go back in history, you know, that's kind of how these guys, you know, rolled, and that's how they got taken out a lot of times. And so maybe he's kind of doing that kind of stuff, but either way, he comes to them, and what does he say?
I want to know that it's legit, and that I'm not having a wool pulled over my eyes. You guys are sorcerers. Man, you're into astrology. I mean, and they were good at it, okay? There's one, you know, Babylonian astrologer all the way back. I mean, you're thinking, you know, 600 years, I mean, you're thinking thousands of years ago, right? All the way back, you know, was able to calculate the time and the day, week's day's time of a year to within 26 minutes of what we know it to be today. Now, you think about that.
You know, all the days, all the hours. So my point is this, they were pretty good at the things that they did. They were going to be good at sorcery. They were going to be good at the witchcraft. He knows that, and he doesn't want to be deceived, and so he says to them, either you are going to come and tell me the dream, or you're all going to be torn limb from limb.
I want you to tell me the dream and tell me its interpretation. They're like, nobody can do that, but God. I think that's Nebuchadnezzar's point. I think that's what he's asking. That's what he's after, and that's what Daniel is going to end up giving him in a few minutes when we get into verse 28.
Well, they obviously can't do it, right? And so, you know, he just decides, man, you're all going to die now. You know, that's kind of one of the things I'm sort of tongue in cheek saying, greatest neighborhood in Babylon. I love that we can't just wake up under the rule of a monarch that decides now everybody in this class dies, but there are a lot of places around the world where it's that way, and that's how it was here. You know, where one person just kind of wakes up, and maybe they had a bad dream or whatever, and now all of them are going to die, and everybody's going to freak out, and there's a lot of haste, and there's a lot of speed, and things are happening fast, and then what did I say?
This is the whole point I want to bring you guys in terms of the first idea. The first idea here is the preparation of the person who prays, okay, and we see that in Daniel's life. Verse 14, then Daniel replied with prudence and discretion. You get the sense here, one pastor said it like this, that everybody was freaking out and Daniel didn't.
That's the sense that you get. Everything is happening so fast, and the king, and it's furious, and haste, and you're going to do this, and now they're flying around the kingdom, and there's one guy who doesn't buy in. The preceding moments of prayer are marked with wisdom, prudence, and discretion. We're going to get into his prayer here in just a few minutes, but what we see is character coming out, and ability to slow down, and ability not to pop off, and ability not to immediately turn to everybody in Babylon and say, you guys are evil, this place is going to hell, turn or burn, you know, whatever. Instead, there is a moment of prudence, and there is a moment of discretion, and I think there's a lot that we can learn from that. You can say it like this, prudence precedes prayer.
Now, prudence also kind of comes after prayer. We pray for wisdom, right, I understand that, but in terms of the prepared person who is actually going to take the right steps to go to the Lord in prayer, then we need to be concentrating on gleaning and gaining the wisdom of God. Now, the book of James tells us we got to pray to gain wisdom, but we also gain wisdom through community. We gain wisdom by watching others in our life. We gain wisdom through reading the wisdom literature, and understanding the word of God, and hiding it in our heart. You know, a hard truth is, you know, in some ways we're probably born with some capacities when it comes to intellect, right?
I mean, that's probably just true. Some people have more, others in the same way that people might be more athletic, or not more athletic, or whatever, right? But wisdom is something that there is no ceiling on your entire life. Wisdom is one of those things where there is no ceiling.
Instead, we can grow. Are we seeking wisdom more today than we were yesterday, no matter our age, and no matter our life stage? Happens through the word and through community, and we see it here. Prudence, wisdom. He says discretion. What is discretion? Discretion is the ability to have tact. Discretion is the ability not to give an offense.
You know, discretion is the ability to be soft and maybe have the ability to say something in a way that doesn't get a rise out of others. What is he saying? Prudence and discretion. What is Daniel actually asking for?
I think though, prudence and discretion is even evident in his request. What is he saying? What's the hurry, right? He's trying to get everybody to slow down. He's trying to get everybody to just take a breath and give him a little bit of time to get before the Lord and to figure some things out, and that is wisdom. In a culture that demands a right now response, sometimes church, we have got to remember that just because somebody demands a response right now does not mean they're entitled to it. I mean, somebody demanding a response from you or the church on whatever issue right now, they can demand it all day long.
That doesn't entitle them to it because many times wisdom is, Proverbs 15 23, how good is a timely word? Proverbs 15 28, the heart of a godly man thinks before he answers. You know, this is one of those things that as a man, as a leader of a family, as a leader among elders in our church, I'm trying to learn this and lean into this because it is not my first reaction. How many times in my life do I speak before I think?
How many times in my life have I not heard and yet I want to interject? And I am continually trying to learn and to understand. I would say it like this, y'all, maturity is responding the right way, not right away. Maturity is finding the right response even if it takes a little bit of time, and I for one am trying to free myself from this burden. I want you to know at Mercy Hill we're not going to chase headlines. We're not going to respond to things before I've got time to think about them and digest them and understand them.
Man, if that's what we're looking for, go somewhere else to find that. What I want to try to find is this idea of prudence and discretion and being wise and responding the right way. I mean, you know, there's a thing that went around a long time that says silence is violence. Sometimes silence is wisdom. You know, I mean, Proverbs tells us this. Proverbs 17 28 says even a fool is considered wise when he remains silent, you know, and he knows when to seal his lips. That is not to say that we don't ever speak, but it is to say that we don't speak until we're ready, until we have kind of understood, and that's what Daniel is asking for here in a reactionary environment.
Don't you understand? Reactions, snap judgments, instant, fast, loud, all characteristic of Babylon. That's what we see here. That's what's going on with Arioch.
That's what's going on with Nebuchadnezzar, but what do we see characterized in the kingdom of God? It's not fast, loud, and hasty. It's slow, thoughtful, wise, and discreet, and I think that we have some things that we can learn from that. Daniel could have gone nuclear and told everybody they were wicked and exactly where they were going.
Instead, he responds with wisdom. Let me just ask you a question, then we're going to move on. How many of us are even right now contemplating, I mean, do we just have a hair trigger? I can't wait for this rant on my Facebook to go viral, you know.
You know, I'm the college student that's like, man, I'm not trying to become winsome in telling the truth, but I'm actually very offensive in telling the truth because it gains popularity that way. We're chasing the world. We're not chasing what we see in the book of Daniel. You know, I think about the person that might say, man, I can't wait till this HOA, you know, this next HOA meeting, I'm gearing up for battle.
I just can't wait to give them a piece of my mind, you know, for all these political signs they're letting be all over the, or whatever, you know. Now, that doesn't say that we don't speak. That doesn't say that we don't engage. If you heard my sermon last week, I hope you understand there are times that we have to be prophetic in the culture. I understand that, but don't complain when you're treated like a prophet, you know. I mean, how do prophets end up? I mean, think about it scripturally.
It's like, man, you know, they're not celebrated and praised. I'm not saying we don't ever speak as a prophet, but there are times in our life where we need to have this hat on that Daniel has, prudence and discretion, and that precedes the big moments of prayer. Then Daniel went to his home and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and he told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night and Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
Now, this is straightforward, all right. After trying to respond in a way that is prudent, now we turn to the prayer aspect of this. I want to be super clear this weekend, all of our campuses, we are driving this sermon to a moment of prayer. I'm talking about healings, supernatural, wayward kids coming home, missionaries sent, churches planted, kids that are not saved in your household becoming Christians by the time kids week is over. These are prayers that I have. That's where we're going for this, so let's just talk about the big prayer moment here for just a moment. Now, the first thing that just jumps off the page at me is obviously how the names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego have flipped back. I think maybe there's something that we're supposed to see in that.
At the end of the day, they were really kind of embodying their culture as they've, but I think about more to the point here, I just think about the fact that Daniel went to them. This is one thing I would say to our church in terms of just a good principle for us today. Y'all, in times of life when we need a miracle, we need community too.
It's always a great time. It's like, man, when I have a prayer request, that's a bing, bing, bing, bing, bing reminder, don't do this alone. Man, pray with others and be available for them to pray with you.
I love the culture in our church with that. Man, when people need prayer, they've got people they can turn to and text and they will not go it alone. I thought about this when Anna and I were in the hospital with Faith Ann this fall. It was very hard for us. It's obviously very hard for her, but I remember we were staying on the phone so much because we were sending out prayer requests for what was going on right then to so many different groups of people in our life.
It wasn't just to keep them updated. It was so that they would pray because we really believe that prayer moves the hand of the one who moves the world. We were getting people to pray in times where I feel like my faith was faltering. I had no problem calling back to some of the brothers here, one of the guys on our staff, Brant. The second day we were there, I just needed somebody. I was like, man, I need somebody to pray not for Faith Ann, but to pray for me, to put their hand on my shoulder and pray for me.
I need that. I had no problem saying, hey, bro, I need you to drive the 45 minutes out here to Brenner, pray for me for 20 minutes, and then drive the 45 minutes back. You know what?
He was delighted because that's what brothers in Christ do, right? To drive out, to pray over. And here's the thing that I want to put before you today. Hey, if you don't have the community like that, today is the next best time to start building that. It's just like finances, guys. I've thought about this.
You read these books, Financial Security and Financial Wisdom and all that kind of stuff. Here's where most people get in a trap of. They see how long it's going to take to build so they never start. That's what happens. And it's like, you're right. It would have been better to start five years ago.
The next best time is today. And that's the same with you. Man, we've got community groups starting right now. Listen, when you think of middle school, high school, adults, college students, almost 2,000 people are a part of an official community group as part of this church.
Man, they've signed up, they've attended. I mean, we praise God for what he is doing in that. But if that is not you, make it you. Yes, I know five years ago would have been better. I understand that.
That doesn't mean today is not the next best time to begin to build this community, right? Of course, the other big thing that I want us to see here is not just that they pray together, but the magnitude of their prayer. I don't know if you guys kind of caught this in the passage, but it was pretty crazy in verse 16 that Daniel went to the king and said to him, give me a little bit of time. I'll bring the interpretation to you. I mean, he did that in faith before he even knew what it was going to be.
Now, of course, he didn't have a whole lot to lose. They're about to all get killed anyway, right? But I just think about this and I think, man, the magnitude of the prayer requests. You guys have heard me say this 100 times at Mercy Hill. It is the biggest prayers that honor God. And I think sometimes it is the biggest prayers that God honors. Big prayers honor God and God honors big prayers.
You could say it like this. Our faith in God is demonstrated by our prayers to God. When we begin to pray for financial blessing in our life that we might be generous, when we pray for healing, when we pray for the perseverance of our kids' faith, when we pray for spiritual depth. Guys, when we begin to pray for big ministry things with missionaries that are going out or churches that are being planted. Man, I got a text this week from a brother in our church here that is praying massive prayers around the generosity that he's going to be able to do because of the business success that he's praying for.
I mean, these are huge things. I've gotten so many things like this where we have brothers and sisters in our church. I remember before, I think before we had even closed on the land for the new home and hub, which is the construction is going to fly.
I got a picture one time from a guy who had gone and just parked in the parking lot and took a picture and said, man, I'm just drawing a circle around this today. I'm just praying for what God is going to do here. We had an elder's family once a week would go out there and just take a walk around the whole property, praying for the future baptism, marriages that are going to be restored, addictions that are going to be broken because of the ministry that emanates.
The children that are going to be adopted and reunified families through foster care. God honors big prayers and I think he's honored by big prayers. I mean, even just the fact that Daniel was willing to ask. I think about this in Daniel's life too. Look at verse 19. Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night.
Don't you understand what that means? Daniel's head is on the chopping block. He goes to the king and says, I can get this interpretation. And then he goes to sleep.
I mean, how many of us lose sleep over far less, right? But I told you two weeks ago when I preached, man, it comes down to that first couple of verses, this whole book. There is a deep seated belief in the sovereignty of God that Daniel has, and it allows him to voice a massive prayer. One theologian said it like this, pray and then let God do the worrying, okay? Now that's probably not theologically totally accurate, but you understand. It's like, man, we pray and then we release.
We pray and then we let him take it. And he's going to do what he's going to do and maybe we'll understand it and maybe we won't, but that big prayer moment in our life is us honoring God. Now let's finish the passage here.
It's a long trek here, okay? We're going to break it at about verse 30, but stick with me. Daniel answered and said, blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons.
He removes kings and sets up kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and hidden things. He knows what is in the darkness and the light dwells with him.
To you, O God, my fathers, I give thanks and praise for you have given me wisdom and might and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king's matter. God is doing something in Daniel's life here. Therefore, Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon, and he went and he said thus to him, do not destroy the wise men of Babylon, but bring me before the king and I will show the king the interpretation. Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste and thus said to him, I have found among the exiles of Judah a man who will make known to the king the interpretation.
Now that's funny to me. I have found this man. Kind of feels like Daniel found you, right? It kind of feels a little bit like Daniel came to you.
This is the whole thing. Babylon versus the kingdom of God. Who's going to get the glory here? Arioch's grabbing for it. Nebuchadnezzar, I'm sure, is going to grab for it, but look what Daniel does. The king declared to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen with its interpretation? Daniel answered the king and said, no wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked. The king's like, well, not hearing anything new here.
That's what the other guys said, and that's why I'm going to kill all of you guys. And then he says this, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the later days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these. To you, O king, as you lay in bed came thoughts of what would be after this, and he who reveals mysteries made known to you what is to be. But as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living, but in order that the interpretation may be known to the king so that you may know the thoughts of your own mind. Arioch is grabbing for glory. Daniel is pointing to where the glory should be, and that is so important for us. Look at verse 28 again, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. That is what the king was after. Now I know some of you are going to be like, okay, miracle, this doesn't always happen like this.
Let me one-up you. It normally doesn't happen like this. I mean, you have a book that is filled with all these stories of miracles, and we forget that it spans thousands and thousands of years when you think about all the way from the beginning. And I think about how we think about this stuff is like, man, should I be seeing a miracle like this every day?
No, we see a miracle when God decides. But the fact that he has ever done it one time should be the thing. That he has done it once, that it's the same heart, this should be what calls upon us to continually come before him with these type of prayers knowing that God can do things like this. And he calls upon us to ask him to intervene.
Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't. It's all for his glory. It's all working out for our good, those of us that love him. And that's what the book of Romans tells us. But we are called to pray in this way. I mean, James says it like this, the prayers of a righteous man availeth much. 1 Thessalonians 5 says it like this, pray without ceasing.
Luke 18. Jesus talks about the widow and the unjust judge. Wear the judge out with your prayers. This is what we're called to do. Maybe God's going to do it today in some of our lives, but he's going to do it in exactly, I promise you this, he's not going to do it in anybody's life that is not praying and asking him. Like if we want to see these things happen, then we're going to come to him and we're going to pray and he's going to answer in the best way that is for us.
Sometimes we understand that, sometimes we don't. Prepare for prayer, the power of prayer and the glory that prayer points to. Now, let me apply this and we'll be done for today.
This is more of a conclusion than anything else. Here's what I want to call you to do. I want to call you to glorify God with your prayer life. If you're thinking to yourself today, okay, man, where does this go? Where do I find the motivation to bring big prayers before God in this way? Because we're going to do it today. Then where do I go to find that motivation?
Well, here's what you need. If you need a spark, if you need to be driven back to the prayer closet today as I do in many times in my life, if you're in a dry season today, then you not only need to be inspired by Daniel, but you need to be captured by the one Daniel points to. Because you know what's all over this? The Garden of Gethsemane. I want you to think about this. I want you to think about Daniel. Man, Daniel is there and he is going in to pray and plead on behalf not only of his people but now of the whole world. See, chapter one, he was praying for his people and in chapter two here, we see him praying a prayer where he is now going to stand in for all. Daniel is saying, man, I will go in.
I will do the thing. All the wise men of Babylon who, you and I, I think kind of, I mean, how many of us have not put our faith in God but put our faith in our own wisdom? How many of us have turned to deception and tricks in our life? I mean, that's us in this passage, right? And so when I think about us in this passage, it's like, what does it look like to have someone come in and say, I will stand in for you.
You have been asked to do something that is absolutely impossible. How many of us understand what the scripture calls us to? Love God, live for him and his will all the time and we failed and it's impossible and hell awaits and we should be torn limb from limb but there is a truer Daniel that doesn't just stand in for us. See, Daniel goes to his friends and they pray with him. Jesus goes to his friends and they abandon him for sleep. Daniel goes to the Lord in prayer to stand in for the people and God says, you know what, I'm going to grant what you're asking here and what we're going to do is I'm going to save you along with everybody else and Jesus says, man, what about this cut passing for me? Oh no, you're not going to be saved to save everybody else. You're going to give your life to save everybody else from the things that they could never do and the things that they have failed in.
Now, here's what I want to ask you today. I don't know, the wise men, one of the things I read was like, how did the wise men of Babylon react to the state of execution? Daniel stands in for them. Man, he is victorious on their behalf and they get to reap the rewards of what he has done and how do they thank him for that? Well, you know, it's a lot of years later but eventually maybe some of these same dudes decide to throw him in the lion's den.
I don't know that they really, I don't know that they really, you know, care much about it at all. What about us? What does it do in our heart to understand that Jesus gave his life and stood in for us, gave his life for us on the cross?
We deserve the cross, we deserve death, we deserve separation from God but Jesus took it all. Will that fuel our love? Will that fuel the power of God in our life to see belief come out in prayer? I pray that it will. I pray that we will have gospel saturated and fueled prayers today.
Man, if Daniel is an example to us, think about who he points to. What does that do to our heart to be a people who will pray today? So here's what I want to call us to, man. We're going to pray today like crazy and here's my question. Could it be that God stands ready today to reap the glory? You're coming in with a prepared heart and God is going to reap the glory when we come to him and demonstrate our faith in prayer today.
Don't run to the what-ifs. Don't run, this is how we are. We are so shaped by modernity. Oh, well God doesn't have to always do that. I know he don't have to always do that but if he calls us to pray and we see his power and we believe in his heart for us demonstrated in the gospel, why would we not come to him and beg? Now we honor God with that prayer.
We honor God with how we respond no matter what he does because we believe that what he has for us is going to be good for his glory and for our good on the on the on the back side of it. I mean it should it should it should stir us to be a praying people today and so that's what I'm going to do. I want to just call us here. We're going to pray and I'm going to I'm going to call you forward. Man, at all of our campuses today we're going to have prayer warriors, elders of our church that are down front. If you need healing they're going to be standing ready to anoint. You know if you need to pray, we have so many stories of moments like this where God moves and we've just got to we just got to lean into that.
Man, God has restored marriages in moments that are just like this. Y'all, God has God has given people conception when they were I mean these are real stories right from our campus pastors right at the last moment before we're in medicine is intervening and all that and God gives as a community group continues to pray. Wayward children that have come home and have come to the flock. Hey, three years ago in our multiply offering, man we had someone give we gave the money to start underground house church movement in a certain place in the world.
Some pastors were wanting to be trained, very tough environment, unreached kind of people, very hostile to the gospel. It's three years later there are 23 known believers in that people now. Man, we prayed and God has answered.
I think about our dear brother at the High Point campus a year ago, collapsed drumming and this year at Easter drum for the first time again at one of our campuses. Man, the power of prayer. Our faith is demonstrated in that. Would we pray big prayers today? Adoptions, foster care, reunifications, church plants, missionaries, healings, children, salvation.
Man, whatever it is. Y'all come and pray. Let's pray together. Father, we come before you and right now I pray across all of our campuses, all of our locations, Lord that you would move in power. God, you are the same God. You are the same God. We trust you. We know that you can move and we pray that you will. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-29 18:22:32 / 2023-04-29 18:40:08 / 18