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God Is In Control - Daniel 1:1-7 - In Babylon

Made for More / Mercy Hil Church
The Truth Network Radio
April 15, 2023 8:00 am

God Is In Control - Daniel 1:1-7 - In Babylon

Made for More / Mercy Hil Church

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April 15, 2023 8:00 am

Do you ever feel like the world is going to hell in a handbasket? Do you find yourself looking around at different things in our culture and thinking we live in strange and evil times?


Yeah, at all of our locations, let's give God some praise for what He has done over the last week.

Man, it's just incredible to see. 79 baptisms. Guys, over 120 first-time guests with us last weekend. That's the ones that we know because they went and filled out their information, and we were able to get a chance to meet them. Guys, the highest attendance of anything we've ever done on site at our campuses ever, pre-COVID, post-COVID, whatever, was last week. So God is just on the move, and it's incredible to see. Guys, there was people in the water. We had a college student who was an atheist one year ago. Saved over the last year, goes through the water. We had someone who six months ago, coming from a Buddhist background, was invited by her friends to Mercy Hill, has been coming, being discipled, ends up getting saved in the last year, gets baptized last weekend. I mean story after story after story. This is the cool thing though.

Okay, you ready? It isn't just here. Because of this deeper initiative, man, our giving is fueling what we're seeing here, but not just here. Man, in our church plants all over, guys, three of our church plants had high attendance Sundays.

One of them started their second service for the very first time. There were a dozen baptisms between all four church plants, including one in a very unreached place in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They've been seeing a girl lean in, a young woman, get discipled. She gets saved over the last year.

Here's the reality of where they are. She had never seen a baptism before. They ask us, can you send us a video? We send them a video of a baptism for Mercy Hill so that she understands what's going to happen. And she got baptized this weekend. So we just got to praise God.

He is on the move. Listen, thank you for your generosity. If you're new to Mercy Hill, the deeper initiative is a discipleship initiative, man, where the overflow of what God is doing in our hearts comes out in our finances.

And I pray that you guys would find out about that and jump on board for that. All right, Daniel chapter one, if you have a copy of scripture, we are going to be jumping into the series that we put on hold for last week. And this is a series for anybody who ever feels like they look around and they feel like the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

That's who this series is for. If you ever look around and think to yourself, man, we live in a strange time. If you look around in our culture and you're thinking, we live in an evil time, if you're looking around our culture and you're thinking to yourself sometimes, God, what are you doing? How could you still be on the throne?

And yet this is the reality of where we live, work and play. If you've ever been there, then we have good news today. And that is that you are not the first generation of Christians to find themselves there because there was a guy named Daniel who woke up one day absolutely on Mars. He got ripped from his home.

He got put into a demonic, totalitarian, violent system where he was indoctrinated, name changed to a satanic name, crazy stuff in his life. And yet he was able to lean into God rather than abandon him over the evil that he saw in the world. And I think about myself and I think about us and I think about many of you guys in the conversations that I have with us at all of our locations. Guys, we live in Babylon, all right? And what we've got to do is understand that. And we've got to understand what God is calling us to do in that. How do we keep our faith in that? How do we keep a soft heart toward our neighbor?

How do we begin to, how do we continue to trust God and lean in and not try to just bounce or one day come to the conclusion that God must not be on the throne at all? You know, Christianity in our culture used to find a begrudging acceptance and now it finds, as you guys well know, sort of a downright hostility. You know, we live in an age where, in a culture where we are increasingly not only seeing brokenness but hostility. I mean, we see brokenness, guys, more violence in schools. You know, we're seeing these things all around us, more overdose deaths. We're seeing cultural decline where there is pornography in the school libraries of our elementary schools. But we also see a downright hostility where our college students are mocked for daring to believe that God created the world. You know, we live in an environment where I think many of us might have thought, oh, you know, with the fall of Roe, things are going to change and then you see things like Amendment 2 fail in Kentucky, of all places, where what was going to be put on the Constitution was an ability to preserve and save life. When the view of biblical marriage and family structure is seen as archaic and misogynistic and sexist, when you sit down with your kids because you want to throw back to your own childhood and so you decide we're all going to watch the new version of the supermarket sweep, okay, and you sit them down and you watch five minutes and you realize this is an activist hour for the new sexual revolution.

And I've got to have conversations now about what this means and what that means. My point is this, y'all, we live in Babylon. This is not a drill. It's not a drill. This is where we live, work and play.

You know this. This is the stuff that our kids are dealing with in school. This is the stuff that many of you are dealing with in your workplace. I think about the young families that are here, and it's funny now, 10 years in, it's like I don't necessarily consider myself in that group anymore because I see a lot of young families at Mercy Hill where all their kids are young, maybe not even school age, and our kids are a little bit older. And I'm walking through things and I'm waiting to see what it's going to be like when you walk through them as I'm realizing right now, you know, as we see cultural revolution taking place in front of our eyes and the reality is that our girls' sports are being erased.

That's not happening out there somewhere. I've had to have the conversation with my own daughter about why she has to play against boys. And I'm just, this is where we are. And this is what's asked of you as a parent. I think about our young parents.

It's not just that we grieve it and see the tragedy of it and want to pray for families that are walking through it because we do, but you are now being asked to celebrate it. We live in Babylon, and this is not a drill, okay? Now here's why I keep saying this is not a drill. When something is a drill, you don't take the stakes of it very seriously. Let me give you an illustration from one of the dumbest things I ever did in my life.

Let me give you an illustration from one of the dumbest things I ever did in my whole life, okay, looking back on it. All right, I think about when I was in college, all right, and I played football in college, so we had to be up at 6 a.m. and all this and on the field and all that stuff and film and also, you know, getting to bed at night was kind of a big deal. Well, my first couple weeks of college, I remember there were, you know, somebody, I guess, was pulling the fire alarm or whatever because it's like 2 in the morning and the fire alarm goes off. Well, they march everybody out. They're knocking on every door. You know, the RA comes in. The firefighters have to come in.

Make sure that it's a clean sweep. We're outside for 30 minutes, 45 minutes, an hour, and then you're able to go back in, okay? Happens one night. Happens the next night. Everybody has to usher right back out. It's 2 in the morning. Somebody's drunk. They're pulling a fire alarm, whatever, okay? The third night that it happens, me and my roommate get out of the bed and just get in the closet and hide, okay? The fire people open, you know, the RA, they open the door.

They look around. Nobody's in. They shut the door.

We get right back in our bed and go to bed, you know, go right back in the bed and go to sleep. When I look back on that, that's probably one of the dumbest things I've ever done. It could have put people in danger and all that, right?

Really dumb. But here's the point that I make in that. When you don't see the stakes as being very high, if it's just a drill, then we don't take the stakes very seriously.

But this is not a drill. Y'all, this is where we live, work, and play. How do we keep our hearts intact and not become as hateful as the world? You know, I see, what I see right now, listen, with families, with young kids, I see a lot of families that are circling the wagon to try to make sure their kids don't go with the secular tide. But what are we doing to make sure they're not hateful towards those who are? I mean, we've got to think about how we take care of our faith and our heart and lean in. What happens in Babylon is that we either abandon God or we lean into Him.

It's only one of those two things. And I want to call us to look at a story. I want to call us to look at a story. I want to call us to look at a story of someone who totally leaned in and points us to our ultimate Savior. That's what we're going to get into, right? Here's the big idea for this weekend.

Now, I've kind of introduced the series, but here we are for this weekend. God is in control even when it doesn't feel that way. This is a truth that will anchor the believer. If we can understand that God is in control even when it doesn't feel that way, we have a shot at keeping our faith, keeping our witness, keeping a soft heart, leaning into God, because we look around at what's going on in this, we're able to say, God, you're going to use this for your glory. You have me here for some reason. It's not that the kingdom is falling and that you are failing.

Instead, you're doing something, and I may not be able to see it exactly, you know, right this second, but you're doing something, and I believe in that, and it will keep us in the game. Let's talk about the sovereignty and the control of God. Here we go, chapter one. In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord gave Jehoiakim, king of Judah, into his hand with some of the vessels of the house of God, and he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his God, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his God. Then the king commanded Ashbenaz, your guess is as good as mine, okay, on this name here, all right, his chief eunuch to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, obviously, I'm not reading this here, but Daniel is going to be in that bunch, okay, that he gets brought in. Now, all right, let's just kind of orient where we are.

I really got two big aims in the sermon today. I want to make sure we talk about Babylon, and I want to make sure we talk about Daniel, okay, and I want to just try to introduce this so that we can walk through this series together, but let's talk about where we are. This is a historical event that happened in 605 BC.

Now, there were three different deportations, 605, 597, 587, somewhere around those years, but this is dealing with the first one. How does it come about? Well, it basically comes about like this. You guys know David, David and Goliath. David had a son named Solomon. Solomon's sons, you know, after Solomon, the kingdom breaks in the north and south, and for about 200 years, it stays that way.

Israel, the north, Judah, and the south, until in 722 BC, Assyria comes and conquers Israel, and then somewhere around 605 or the late 500s, you end up seeing Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon come, and there's a new sheriff in town with Nebuchadnezzar, and he comes in and ends up conquering the southern kingdom. Now, what you don't read here, what you got to see is that God had been telling the people this was coming for a long time, all right? So you have different prophets, Amos, Isaiah, okay?

You got Jeremiah. You got different people who are like, hey, you remember all the way back in Leviticus 26 33 where God said if you don't obey and think about the covenant and do the things I'm calling you to do, I'm going to scatter you among the nations. I'm going to unsheathe the sword.

That's coming. And in 722, it came from the north, and in 605, first deportation, it comes to the south. Now, who is this, and what does it represent? Well, Babylon, let me give you kind of a heading here. Y'all, Babylon in the scripture stands for a world in rebellion. Is Babylon a city? Yes, historically, 50 miles southwest of Baghdad, okay?

I mean, I mean, that's where we're talking about in the world. But scripturally speaking, the concept of Babylon, which is taken, all Babylon means a Greek name for this idea of land of Shinar, okay, is what it said where they're going. This kind of idea of Shinar, the Greek understanding of that is Babylon. It's more about a world in rebellion, and that starts all the way in Genesis chapter 11.

Some of you guys may have heard this story before. I'm not going to tell you the whole story, but there was a story where one of the greatest rebellions in all of history happened where the world came together to decry and sort of assert their will against God Almighty, and that was called the Tower of Babel. Genesis chapter 11, in the Tower of Babel, they have this big tower they're trying to build, not for God's glory, but for their glory.

Where did that happen? It happened on the plains of Shinar, Tower of Babel, Babylon. The concept is that Babylon comes through the scripture to stand out as a rebellion against the kingdom of God. And so the point is this, where has Daniel found himself?

I told you he found himself on Mars. He has found himself in Babylon. He has found himself in the very heart of the rebellion against the God whom he has learned about from his youth, the God that he has served, and it is, you know, something that still stands to this day. When I say we live in Babylon, what I mean is where we are in the world, the whole world is in rebellion against God. And this is, in a sense, wherever there is rebellion, that is Babylon. In fact, in Revelation chapter 18, this is funny, the angels cry out, fallen, fallen is, they don't say Sodom, they don't say Gomorrah, they don't say Las Vegas, okay? They say fallen is Babylon.

Their point is the rebellion is being put down. Daniel wakes up there. Totalitarian regime, and this is all stuff that, you know, you don't need history, you just read the book of Daniel, okay? Completely totalitarian, completely violent, demonic worshiping culture, the evil that is taking place in this place is just unbelievable, and here's what I want us to see today. How easy would it have been, and how many of us are teetering right now, because we're looking around, and we see Babylon all around us. How many of us are teetering, or how easy would it have been for Daniel to assume God lost? God is dead, He is gone, we were wrong, because if there was a God, if He was alive, if He was right, there is no way that He could have put me here among all of this.

And I think that's something that maybe we got to deal with today. There may be some of us, and looking around, especially if you have a propensity to kind of look for, you know, if you're locked into news cycles, if you're thinking about culture all the time, if you're on that kind of loop, how many of us kind of go for that loop, and then all of a sudden one day it's like actually God must not be really on the throne anymore? Because we can become so convinced that if there is this much darkness in the world, then it must mean Daniel doesn't do that. And one of the key, listen, one of the keys to this whole book, you got to catch this right now, first time around, one of the keys to all the book of Daniel came in verse 2, and the Lord gave Jehoiakim, king of Judah, into his hand. It is not a book about the weakness of God who couldn't prevent big bad Nebuchadnezzar from coming. This book is about God doing what He told him He was going to do. This is not a God that couldn't restrain the evil of Babylon. This is a God who, even when we don't understand it, is playing a bigger game. And Christian, that's important for you to know. It's important for Daniel to know.

It's important for you to know. We've got to realize together today, guys, God controls who is in control. And verse 2 is so important for us in that, and the Lord gave Jehoiakim, king of Judah, into his hand. You know, I think many times we think about the Lord, a lot of times the root word that comes up in the Old Testament is Yah, like Yahweh.

That's not what's here. What's here is Adam. The concept here is it's a name for Lord that means owner. It means ruler.

It means this. It looks like things are out of control, but God is totally in control. It doesn't mean that He causes evil. Scripture tells us that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all, but He wastes nothing. And God is playing a bigger game here.

He's going to use this exile that we call it in order to bring His people to repentance for a while, but ultimately He is going to use it to bring about a Savior who would not be a political Savior, but would be Jesus Christ who would save the world from its sin for those of us who would lean in and accept it by faith. Here's my point. It might have looked like it was out of control, but guys, it was all part of the plan. Now, we got to go deep for a minute, okay?

And we got to do a little bit of work here. One of the things that I think is so hard for us, and one of the things that I've noticed, and this is why I'm willing to speak boldly about this to our church, because I see it in our church. I see it in a lot of churches, okay? I see it in our church.

I see it myself. And I could probably trace some sociological reasons and religious reasons and some different streams for us if I wanted to, you know, in terms of maybe the way some of us were taught when we were young. There's probably a lot of reasons for this, but I just want to kind of stick to what I think is probably prevalent in our church, and we just got to hit it head on, and that is this. One of the reasons that many of us feel such fear around the cultural and moral decline that we see in our day is because we have confused our nation with the kingdom of God. This is what has happened. Why do we get so scared when we see the cultural decline?

It's because we thought our nation was the promised land and forgot. No, no, no. It's Babylon. I mean, it's like the greatest neighborhood in Babylon, okay?

All right? But it's Babylon. All of the world, all of the world's powers, when you see world powers that array themselves and set themselves up in idolatrous ways and call what is good evil and what is evil good, you're talking about Babylon. And so what we have to do is understand that we've got to be able to pull a couple things apart here.

We've got to be able to walk and chew gum. Now, one of the things that I don't want to do, and I want to be super clear about this, is that when I, you know, the second that I say, man, America is not the kingdom, which it is not the kingdom, but as soon as I say that, it sounds like America bashing in some way. So let me just go on record and be as clear as I can.

In my humble opinion, the United States of America is the greatest nation on the face of the planet. Now you may not believe that. You may have a different view on that.

That's fine. We don't have to even agree on that. I'm just going to tell you what I've seen from my places that I've been all around the world. I thank God that I get to raise my kids here. I think about the opportunity for advancement for anybody really who decides they're going to put their head down and work and take that mantle of responsibility. I think about the freedom that we have to worship in this very moment. I think about the standard of living that we have here for even the poorest among us.

I think about the way this nation has overcome historical injustices that we could all name and grieve. Now does that mean it's perfect? Of course it doesn't mean it's perfect. There's no perfect nation. But what I think about our nation is that, yes, I mean, I have no problem with that.

I think it's absolutely right. You know, when you think about the greatness of our society, I believe that. I think that when people kind of really come up and they start to do the American bashing thing, I'm like, man, I kind of wonder if you've ever been anywhere else in the world sometimes. Like, have you seen the caste system in India up close? I mean, have you been there?

Have you seen the way most of the Muslim world treats women and homosexuals? Just asking, you know? Like, I mean, I'm just, you know, have you ever seen the up-close poverty that comes not from lack but from corruption in different nations?

I mean, so for me, it's like, man, we've got to be able to kind of think about this, walk and chew gum, hold two things in our mind and be mature about the way that we're looking at it, right? This is the way I would say it. The kingdom of God on earth is seen in a people, not a place. It is seen in the church, not a country. It's no country on earth. It's in the church that is in every country just about on earth, right? That is in all people, that is going to all peoples. This is where we see the kingdom of God. So we need to, and I think we can at the same time be a people who love where we're from and at the same time understand that it's not the promised land and be citizens of this nation, but while understanding it is not where our first citizenship lies if you are a Christian.

We can be proud of where we're from. I've been thinking about this, talking about this. I've been talking about getting basically a patriotic tattoo, okay? I've been thinking about getting a small tattoo that would just cover my entire arm, okay, like this and of where I'm from, all right?

It'd be an alligator, Florida state seal. I mean, you know, all that kind of stuff. My boys are pushing me to do it, man. They want me to get, you know, they want me to have Teddy Roosevelt riding a velociraptor with a bald eagle ripping through an American flag.

That's what they want, okay? I don't know if we're going to go all the way there, but my point is saying this, like, man, I'm proud of where I'm from. At the same time, I understand that it's not the kingdom. You know how I know it's not the kingdom? Because if it was the kingdom, then I wouldn't have seen the White House lit up like a rainbow. If it was the kingdom, if it was the kingdom, I wouldn't have to understand and teach my kids about how racism goes both ways and on two sides, that what we can see is this kind of name-calling joke-telling that is so prevalent in our society, but then you have on the other side this destructive form of racism where you have something that looks like compassion, but really it's a tacit belief that people could be inferior, and you got both of those. If this was the kingdom, we wouldn't be talking about that kind of stuff. It's not the kingdom. It doesn't mean it's not awesome. It's the best neighborhood in Babylon, okay?

That's the way I would say it. So further decay, my point is, it shouldn't shake us. And if it shakes us to our core and gives us that type of fear that it is giving to many of us, it's because we have thought that we were living somewhere where we're not. And what we need to realize together today is, man, we do live in Babylon, but God is with us, and he is going to see us through, and he is going to continue to see his mission advance, and that's okay.

That doesn't mean we don't pray for things or activate on things and grieve for things. It doesn't mean any of that, but it does mean that we don't think God is off his throne because this kingdom is falling, because his kingdom is not falling. Verse three, then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both the royal family and of nobility, youths without blemish, of good appearance, and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding, learning, and competent, to stand in the king's palace and to teach them the literature and the language of the Chaldeans. Nebuchadnezzar was a Chaldean. Chaldean really means, I mean, it's, you know, magician, sorcerers.

This is kind of what they're being trained in, okay? The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, we're going to get into this next week, and the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time, they were to stand before the king. Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Michelle, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah, and the chief of the eunuchs gave them names.

Daniel called Belteshazzar Hananiah, he called Shadrach, Michelle he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego, which many of us know those names maybe from, you know, childhood Bible stories or whatever, okay? Now, so this is the last portion I want to read to you. I want to talk about Babylon. I want to talk about Daniel. We're going to be done. This is an intro for the rest of the series, okay? Now let's talk about Daniel here for just a minute.

What's going on? 14 years old, probably ripped from his home, put into the king's service, all right? Persian teachable age was 14 to 17.

That's the three years. And what are they being trained in? They're being trained in the expert with the, this Chaldeans, the experts of the occult. They're being trained in sorcery. They're being trained also in science and math and stuff like that, but they're being trained in omens. You know, I know, I think about our nation.

I think about how much tension there is around, you know, like education systems and people, you know, school board meetings and all that, and I kind of understand all that stuff. Guys, Daniel was sent to a demonic Hogwarts for three years, okay? That's where he lands, and this is what he is supposed to do.

Every day, all day, that's where he is. He is given a new name. No longer will you be Daniel. God is my judge, but you'll be this belt of shazzar. Now, that's actually debated on exactly what that means, but it ain't good either way, and it's got something to do with the occult, something to do with the gods that they worship there.

I could make a determination on it, but there's some different people that have different thoughts on it, all right? I mean, he lands there. All this is happening to him. He's probably castrated. I know you didn't learn that in Sunday school.

I didn't, okay? He's probably made into a eunuch. That's debated a little bit. The chief of the eunuchs has come in. Who wants all these young, strong men around their harem? Have you ever thought of any other male in the whole Bible that you know nothing about their wife or progeny at all? You know, that they have no children? I mean, this might have been what happens to him.

You know, this is all going on, and here's the point that I want to make. Daniel was able in some way to lead multiple revivals and serve and thrive and keep a soft heart in a foreign environment. He thrived in Babylon.

How did he do it? I believe we're going to see throughout the pages of this book that one of the ways that he did it is he had a deep belief in the sovereignty of God, that he believed in what God was doing and what God was going to do. When he's about to get thrown into the lion's den before he knows he's going into the lion's den, he opens those windows up and he points to Jerusalem.

He believes that God is doing something, and I think that we have to understand that sometimes it feels like God is not in control when our life is going crazy like this, but he had that belief. And the question that I want for every one of us to wrestle with on the intro, you know, intro to a series can be a different type of sermon, okay, a little bit sometimes. Here's the thing that I want us to wrestle with as we even get in to this whole study. Are we willing to build the type of foundation that can allow us to thrive in Babylon?

We see it in Daniel's life. Man, what happens when the next wave of Babylonian rule comes our way? What happens in the next pandemic when it becomes more like Canada here when Christians are told you will be locked up if you choose to gather? What will we do?

What happens in your workplace where refusing to bow the knee to secularism and whatever that looks like for you ends up getting you fired? What happens when our giving is not only mercy hill but to other things in the community is no longer tax deductible or are we going to see giving begin to go down? We have to see and determine right up front are we going to have the type of foundation that will allow us to thrive in Babylon? Are we going to grow now?

Are we growing now so that we won't buckle under the pressure then? I think another question we've got to wrestle with is this. Y'all, Daniel had such a foundation that he could thrive in Babylon without becoming a part of it. He didn't isolate or assimilate. Now we're going to talk about that future sermons. I'm not getting into that here today, but I want you to remember this dude was this dude woke up on Mars. He's having all of this stuff thrown at him and yet he is able to be in Babylon without being of Babylon.

He doesn't fall in love with it, but at the same time he keeps a soft heart and he tries to serve in the best way that he can. Man, are our students being prepared for that. Dads, are you preparing your kids for that in the home? It's the first time they're going to understand evolutionary theory when they get to college because if it is they're sunk. You understand what I'm getting at? Are we building a foundation in them? Do they understand right now from this Bible that all people are created in the image of God and no one is inherently evil or inherently oppressed based on their skin color? Do they know that?

Have you been able to open Genesis 1 and say prevailing thoughts of the day do not square with the scripture? We've got to be able to do that. If the first time they're encountering that is on a college campus we're sunk.

Do they understand the beauty of the family because they've seen what it looks like for a man to lay down his life for his wife? Because if all we're doing is shouting about this is wrong and this is right, what do they see? What kind of foundation are we putting upon on them? Man, the starting place for all of that, the starting place for Daniel. Daniel chapter 1 verse 2, and the Lord gave Jehoiakim. God is doing something even when it looks like he is not doing something.

So more of a conclusion than anything else this weekend guys across all of our campuses is this. I want to call you to fully trust that God is in control. If Daniel can believe that God is in control, you and I can believe that God is in control.

You want to know why? Because Daniel is not just an example for us. We're going to see this throughout the series. Daniel is not just an example for us y'all. Daniel points to the Savior in whom we trust. Man, every time we fail, every time we forget that God is on the throne, every time we get scared and run and do something sinful because of the culture that is around us, every time that we lash out without a soft heart in hatred, there is a Savior who is saving us from those sins.

There's one who is reinstilling a belief in the sovereignty of God and a trust. His name is Jesus Christ. We get to him through Daniel. Guys, Daniel was chosen because he was without blemish.

He was chosen because he was without blemish to leave his home and enter a territory, enemy territory, to serve out the judgment of God on his people. Do you see Jesus in that? He's pointing us to Christ. In so doing, we can see a truer Daniel in Jesus when we are looking through these pages and thinking about what it means that Jesus Christ on the Emmaus road, he interpreted all of this through him.

What does it mean for us? What does it mean for Daniel? Man, Daniel was without blemish, served a sentence for his people. Jesus Christ does the same thing, except Jesus wasn't chosen to do this involuntarily. Jesus chose to do it because of his love for you and his love for me. Jesus left his home, came from heaven to earth, went to the cross so that he could pay the penalty for our sin. You and I in the judgment of God deserve death.

We deserve to live in the ultimate Babylon, which is hell forever, but Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sin. He was the one that was spotless. He was the one that was without blemish. He was the sacrificial lamb. Look at 2 Corinthians 5 21. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Nobody forced him into this.

He chose it for you. That's the greatest example I can think of in the whole world of when things looked out of control and really God was doing something in it, right? When the Son of God dies and the lights go out in heaven, you got to think God lost, he's dead, he's weak, and instead the opposite was true. Man, God was doing something to save you and I. Jesus Christ, the truer Daniel, has put his life on the line so that you and I can come back into the family of God and trust his sovereignty even when the culture around us is going crazy.

And so I pray that we will do two things, all right? Number one, if you're a Christian, here's what I want to ask you. What is it in your life today that has you questioning if God is actually on the throne or not? What is it in your life?

What is it in our culture? What is it in our community that has you questioning whether God actually is in control? Is he really sovereign? Can we pray today, maybe you pray at the altar at your campus, you pray right here at Regional, maybe you pray today, God give me the faith to see you, Daniel 1-2, to see you as Adam, Lord, owner, ruler. Let me see you as being on the throne.

God, give me that opportunity today. Put that faith in my heart. And finally, I would say this, listen, we have a lot of new people come around at Easter and you might be new today and this is kind of a heavy-hitting sermon, I understand that, but welcome to Mercy Hill, okay?

This is just kind of what it is, okay? And I just think about you and I think, man, I want to appeal to you today. Listen, there is a deep abiding strength and boldness that comes when you truly believe that God is on the throne even though things look out of control. Man, the fear that will flee, the ways that we can react unlike the world, but we can react with a soft heart to things that we see around us, that comes when you understand it's not that this kingdom of God is falling and therefore he's failing, that's not what's happening. Man, what's happening is even when we don't understand that God is doing something with all of this and he's going to do it for his own glory and one day we're going to see every tribe, tongue, and nation around the throne worshiping, that kingdom will never fail. If you want that strength and boldness that comes from a deep belief in God's sovereignty, look at the gospel.

Things look crazy and chaotic and yet God was moving in every single bit of it and he was moving for you, right? Let's pray today. Let's pray today. Father, we come before you and God we ask right now, Lord, that you'll move in our hearts and move in our campuses and prepare us for a rich study in the book of Daniel. Lord, I pray that we would understand where we are, we would see it for what it is, God, but we would not be afraid because we know that you are in control of all that is happening. And Lord, I pray that we would see in the gospel that truth. Lord, I pray we would see a true Daniel in Jesus who stepped in for us. Father, for the Christians in the room, Lord, I pray that you would instill courage in their hearts and in their life. God, I pray you do it now. I pray that there be things that are surrendered and given to you at the altar of our campuses today. And Lord, I pray you save some people in our midst. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-17 12:06:45 / 2023-04-17 12:22:11 / 15

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