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Standing Tall - Daniel 3:8-30 - In Babylon

Made for More / Mercy Hil Church
The Truth Network Radio
May 21, 2023 8:00 am

Standing Tall - Daniel 3:8-30 - In Babylon

Made for More / Mercy Hil Church

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May 21, 2023 8:00 am

Being strong and courageous is the call for the Christian life. Are you facing something that needs immense courage? How do we get it? Are we regularly praying for courage in our life?


All right. Hey guys, can we just give God some praise for what we're seeing and how this thing is moving? So we're excited about what God is going to do there. It was cool for me to see that they, I'm glad they at least let Bobby do the video on the land out there because this is not a joke. Two weeks ago, I went out there. I had not been out there just to check things out and the construction workers kicked me out within two seconds. Okay. Somebody was like, did you, did they, did you tell them who you were? I was like, I didn't have time. All right.

So they, apparently you got to have a hard hat and steel toed shoes to go out there. So I'm glad they let Bobby out there, but man, we had a lot of fun, you know, just thinking about giving you guys this update and what it was going to be. And man, I'm just really excited to be able to tell you all that things are on track and it's going to be a fun time when regional north and regular regional kind of come back together over there. Man, one of the cool things about this project y'all is that it's going to create what pastor Bobby said, multiplication for the future, more campuses, more church plants. You get, you know, a church is not a building. Buildings are tools that help facilitate the movement of the church. The church is what God is doing in the hearts of the people as the kingdom grows.

This is a great tool for us to continue to see growth and movement. And one of the cool things that we see is that as the church grows, the church goes, okay. So it is possible that growing churches don't go. But if you're going to be a going church, like man, mission and depth, you've got to be a growing church.

And we see that in so many areas. I thought a good example of that was we're doing this update this weekend on deeper and the building. At the same time, over the last two weeks, we've had our first two mission teams of the year go out. These guys went to Ethiopia to deal, to be with some people that have gone out for Mercy Hill. They did a youth camp there. And then this one is our team that went to Guatemala and really took over an orphanage for four days so that the people that work at the orphanage could go to a spiritual retreat. And so, man, as we grow, we're getting a chance to go and take the gospel to the nation.

So be encouraged. Hey, if you're going deeper, I'm going to say the same thing Pastor Bobby did. Okay. Now, if you saw Pastor Bobby on the video, apparently he doubles with the CIA with those sunglasses. Okay.

So I'm not sure what that was about, but it must've been bright out there. So, but I want to say the same thing he said. Okay. Visit our deeper website, If you are giving right now, be encouraged.

If you are new and have not jumped into that, this is an invitation. All right. So encouragement, invitation, man, jump on board and take joy in what God is doing here. Okay. Daniel chapter three is where we're going to be today. Guys, this is a story that has been told for like 2,500 years.

Okay. About the courage of these three young boys who take their stand against the King of the world. And courage is one of those things in the Christian life. Guys, courage is easy to define, not easy to do.

Right? Courage is simply the ability to do something, even though you're scared. I mean, that's what courage is.

Step in, even though it's frightening to you. I saw a sign one time at a market in Waldo, Florida. It was a John Wayne picture. It was a quote from John Wayne that said, courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway. And I wanted to buy it and put it in my office, but it was $30, which I thought was outrageous for a flea market. Okay.

So I didn't buy it. But I think about that quote, it's being scared and yet continuing to walk. That's what courage is. Christian courage, no different. It's the ability to not know the future, to be fearful of what it might be, but to continue to walk because you know that God is there and God holds it and God has called you to something.

Here's the big idea for this weekend. Faith in God fuels Christian courage. Now, if you were here last week, I do just want to say this, guys.

This is part two clearly of our message from last week. Last week is, man, there is a God that is not this statue. And if I understand who God is, he commands my worship. If I understand who that God is, then I can have courage not to walk in the sin of idolatry.

Instead, I will reserve my worship for who is actually God. To be able to do that, what happens is that faith fuels our courage to be able to overcome something. Some of you are facing some things right now that are hard. You're facing things that are scary. They're a sort of metaphorical furnace that is out there. It's a consequence of taking a stand.

It's not a consequence of taking a stand. Or maybe there's just something that God is calling you to that you don't know exactly how it's going to go, but you feel like you need courage in it. Maybe it's something as crazy as, man, maybe God's calling you to start a business. God's calling you to jump off the sideline and get into vocational ministry. Maybe there's an actual furnace though, where it's like, man, am I going to be fired for this?

Or where's my income going from? I don't know what it is that you're facing. I do know to overcome whatever that is.

Man, we're going to need the faith in God that fuels our courage to continue to walk. You know, one of the most controversial things I said in the sermon last Thursday was that I felt like Rocky III was the best of all the Rocky movies. Okay. So I know, I know. That's a controversial thing to say. And you may have your, somebody said basically I'm un-American because Rocky IV, you know, they're fighting the Russians or whatever. But anyway, I'm kind of just joking, but I love Rocky III. Eye of the Tiger is my favorite Rocky movie. And here's why. Because Rocky is not only overcoming the villain and, you know, there's always an opponent.

You know, you got Apollo, you got Clubber Lang, you got Ivan Drago. He's trying to Tommy Gunn. He's trying to get, you know, I guess I've seen way too many of these movies. Okay. I know all of them. But in Rocky III, it's not just Clubber Lang. Okay.

And I know we've got a younger generation, but if you've seen that movie, you remember the scene, the most intense scene is when Adrienne is on the beach with Rocky and she's pushing him. What is wrong with you? What is wrong with you?

Why are we here? Like what is going on? He's just not being. And finally, it's the most intense scene, in my opinion, in pretty much all the movies where he yells back at his wife and he says, I'm afraid. He finally says it. He says, do you want to break me down and hear me say it for the first time in my life? I'm afraid.

And I thought it was such a good movie because you see, he's not just overcoming an opponent. He's overcoming a fear. And I think about how many of us right now you're staring in the face of a furnace. And it's like, man, if somebody pushed you hard enough, finally, what would come out is I'm afraid. I need courage to walk in this. I need courage to send my kids to that next school. I need courage, college student, to write that paper that I know is not popular. I need courage to take this stand because my business is not being ethical in this area. And I can't live out my Christian faith like this. And I can't put my head down anymore.

Whatever it is, I don't know. Well, here's what we've got to see. It is our faith in God that fuels our Christian courage. Now let's dive in Daniel chapter 3, starting in verse 12. We're going to read a lot of scripture today.

Here's a pretty big chunk, but this really gives us kind of most of the story. There are certain Jews whom you've appointed over the fairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these men, O king, pay no attention to you.

Now, they're being accused, right? They do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up?

Now, if you are ready, when you hear the sound of the horn, the pipe, the lyre, the track, the bagpipe, and every kind of music to fall down and worship the image that I have made well and good. Now, this is the point, okay? But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into the burning fiery furnace. And who is the God that will deliver you from my hands?

Now, that's the point, isn't it? Is there a God that can deliver us from the hands of the fiery furnaces that we are facing in our life? And here's the deal.

I want to go ahead and give away some of the ending here, all right? Man, for the Christians in the room, this is what you know. God delivers us from the burning fiery furnace every single time, but does it always come on this side of heaven?

You understand? Like, what we want to say is, with enough faith every single time, God will deliver you. Is that our experience? In fact, what we would see from the Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego story is that they're just as much exceptions as they are examples.

Most Christians who face the furnace burn up, and it's up to God whether He's going to reap glory from saving us or glory from our suffering well. But here's what we know. Whether it's on this side of heaven or not, I'm not sure. But here's what I know. There is a God in heaven who will deliver me from Babylon.

Whether it comes on this side or not. Now, I know some people in the room that are like, well, that's okay. What a Christian thing to say. You're skeptical. You're like, sounds like you guys win. Either way, yeah, that's why I'm a Christian.

I mean, of course, like, that's one of the beauties of it. I don't know exactly what's going to happen in this life, because I don't know exactly what's in the mind of God. But I know that there is a God in heaven who delivers His people from Babylon every single time, whether it be in this life or the next. And that's something what I think Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had. Their faith in God's deliverance produced a willingness in them to say, I don't know if I burn up in the furnace or not. I'm not going to bow down, because I trust God in this life, and I trust Him in the afterlife.

And so that's what it's going to be. Look what it says in verse 16. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. You know why? Because we've already done this once.

The music already played. We didn't bow. We don't have to do this whole thing again, but we're not going to bow. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image that you have set up. Now, the whole world falls down to this idol except for three young men. Now, when I say the whole world, there are representatives from the whole world that are there. And so the whole world falls down.

These three do not. And now they're being accused. And we have this whole story. I had a young man. See, I'll tell you. When an adult comes up to me after the service and has a question for me, it's like, man, no problem.

If I see you in the community and you got a question for me about a sermon, no problem. When it's a little kid that comes and asks me, I'm like, oh, man, this is going deep. Okay.

Kids have a way of getting right at it. Last week, one of the kids in this church, a sharp kid comes up and says, well, where was Daniel during this whole thing? I was like, I don't know.

Okay. Nobody knows, right? We don't know where Daniel was. It's hard for me to believe that Daniel bowed down considering the rest of the story.

Daniel's somewhere, but his legacy is in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And they say, and remember from a couple of weeks ago, we got to learn how to live with two names, not two faces, but two names. Sure. Change my name. Train me in the occult. Ask me to bow before that.

I'm not going to do it. There are ways in which I can help thrive for the mission in Babylon. And that means taking on some culture. But if it gets to the culture, but if it gets me into sin, then it's not, it's not okay.

And I have to stand. Remember, we don't isolate. We don't assimilate. We're not for isolation or assimilation.

We're for transformation. And sometimes that means we take our stand and that's what happens here. They take their stand because they see right worship, the wrong God. This is not God. And therefore we cannot chase him and bow to him and serve him as if it is God, because it is not the right God. You know, we talked a lot about this last week, so I'll be quick here, but an idol, if you want to take a note on this and you could, we've explained this many different ways.

Here's one way to explain it. An idol is anything you trust to give you what only God can give you. It's when you say, I need identity.

I need a security. I need eternal love. And now I'm looking for things that are created to give me what only God can give me. And what happens is I begin to bow down and serve that thing with my life.

You know, I'll give you an example of this. In South Asia, we have a missionary there and he was asking the guy that was driving him. The guy was a driver at a car. This was his business. And he asked the guy, he said, hey, what gods do you serve?

Because where they are is very polytheistic and there's a lot of physical idols. And the guy said, well, I thought about that question. And the God I feel like I serve is this car.

Really? Well, explain that to me. And he said, well, the way I think about it, you know, I mean, I spend all my time with this car. Man, I think about it all the time. If I'm not with it, it's consuming my thoughts. I take care of it. I wash it. I do all the maintenance. If I do right by it, it does right by me. My livelihood is dependent upon it. A lot of my identity is wrapped up in being a driver. And the way I see it, this car is kind of like my God. And it was a big eye-opening moment for our missionary and eye-opening moment for me. That's really sad, but it's really clear, isn't it?

Because he had it right. Whatever your whole life is geared toward, whatever you feel like gives you your identity and eternal love, looking for in terms of security, this is what we will bow down to. Now, you know, there's a lot of hot button issues in our culture right now. One of them is transgenderism. I think a lot of people don't understand, number one, when you're dealing with a family that's walking through some of this, you're probably dealing with a lot of what they feel like to be unanswered prayer. It's the first thing that we need to have a soft heart. At the same time, we've got to be sharp enough to understand there is a greater pretext going on in our culture. I don't even mean necessarily people who are walking through this, but the way our culture reacts to this, and here's what I mean. I don't know if you guys have seen all of the companies that want to promote this and all this. A couple of weeks ago, there was a talk show host, a popular talk show host, it went viral. She literally bowed down and grasped at the feet of a transgender influencer on stage. Now, what is going on there?

Well, I'm going to tell you the pretext for what's going on there. Self autonomy and actualization, an identity that comes from the outside, not from the inside, not at all bestowed upon you. This idea of our identity being self kind of actualized is a little g God in our culture. I mean, it's everywhere.

You are only, you know who you are, and only you can bring it out, and the community is here to affirm whatever that is. That is a God in our culture. Well, you know what happens when you see a God?

You see people bowing down literally and grasping at the feet of what they consider to be a representative of that God. There's a deeper game. There's a big pretext that's going on. Our culture chases idols, but you know what? It's not just out there. Guys, it's us as well. What does our internet history say about what we think is God? What are we thinking about when we're driving down the road?

What is consuming us? Is it acceptance with a peer? Is it kids' success because my identity is all wrapped up there?

Is it more money because of the security that that will bring me? Guys, we have to wrestle with this concept of what is it on that pole that we're bowing our life down to as well. But for these young three Hebrews, and I hope we're here today, they have decided, no, this is not God and we will not worship.

It's not a gray issue. It's black and white. That's not God. We're not worshiping it, right?

And so here's what we see. Verse 15, the consequence. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.

And who is the God who will deliver you out of my hands? Now, what I want you to see, church, is this is no idol threat. And we have a lot of this stuff going on in our culture today. We're going to do a big prayer moment at the end of this service for everyone, but especially for our young people and just thinking about the things that they face that are not an idol threat.

It's not like a talking point somewhere out there. They're facing real ostracization. They're facing real consequences for taking stands. And we are as well. Now, what is the Bible trying to get us to see here? Not an idol threat.

These guys are making a choice. Actually, Jeremiah 29. There was a Jeremiah 29, verse 21 and 22. There was kind of a saying that would circulate around Hebrew exiles that went like this. The Lord make you like Zed, Kaia and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire. Apparently, he's got a reputation for this. And there's a furnace that is right there.

Bow down or die. Guys, this winter I splurged and bought a solo stove. I don't know if you guys have seen these. I wanted you all to see it. This thing is a modern marvel of the redneck world. It is so hot. It gets so hot. And in fact, I mean, when it's roaring like that, that was mine.

I took that video from my dad. When it's roaring like that, I mean, you could throw a green log in there and it will almost want to just explode within like one minute. I mean, it's 1,000 degrees in the thing. When it gets so hot, actually, there's something called second combustion happens. When it hits 1,000 degrees, there's no smoke because it's double combusting and burning so hot. I bring that up is if you've ever been around one of those that's really roaring. I mean, it's something to behold. Historians tell us that this furnace that was probably twice as hot is that solo stove.

1,800 degrees, 2,000 degrees, and it is roaring in front of them. You got to bow down or you get thrown in the fire. Can't do it. Why?

Because it's a black and white issue. Man, it's as clear as day in the scripture. Deuteronomy 6 says this.

Somebody had taught these boys this. Here, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Can't bow down. Or on our side of the cross, very similar. Acts chapter four says like this, and there is salvation in no one else for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Guys, here's what I want you to see for just a minute.

I want to do some practical teaching with our church because I think there's some danger points in the church at large that can creep in to a church like ours when we see issues that are very clear in the scripture. Okay, here's the clarity I'm talking about. Can you bow down before something that's not God? No, no, no. We have no other gods before God. The Lord our God is one.

There is no name under heaven by which you can be saved other than Jesus Christ. It is so abundantly clear than what is needed in those moments is immense courage. We need to pray for that in our church. We need to unify together and to say, man, we've got to hold each other accountable to stand in moments like this. When people don't want to stand, we've got to be able to be bold and share the truth with them and call our brothers and sisters to stand in moments like this.

But listen to me, this is the practical teaching that I want you to see, all right? When moments are black and white, we call on, hey, courage, we got to stand. There are a lot of gray areas though in the scripture, wisdom issues. And when we see gray, we need to have grace and charity with one another. That doesn't mean we don't have personal conviction. It doesn't mean that we don't believe the spirit is leading us in a particular area, but guys, I'm going to say a few here. A lot of us see the world as black and white only.

Okay, well then how do you answer a question like this if you want to see black and white only? Exactly how long should a church, I don't know, shut its doors and stay shut down when the government calls it to because there's a global pandemic. Is it six weeks? Is it two weeks?

Is it 10 weeks? You tell me, okay, if you got a Bible verse for that, I would love to know it because I had to walk that road. People getting all bent out of shape as if it's black and white. It ain't black and white.

You show me the Bible verse. It's a wisdom issue. The Bible informs us in the direction that we should go, but it's not black and white. I think about other issues that are the same way. And here's the problem. A lot of division comes when we want to treat things like I'm talking about here as if they're, well you're bowing down to the idle moment.

They're black and white. Let me give you another couple of examples of this. Should you let your children go through public school in terms of sex education classes or not? You got a verse for that? Or is this one of those things where family A might agree, family B might disagree.

They're walking through it in wisdom with their own child and maybe there's not a right or wrong answer in that particular situation. Do you put your pronouns on your email because your company has just told you to? Do you? Okay, I'll give you an example. All right.

I get this question a lot. We live in a world where kids are given cell phones at what, age four now? Okay. You give your kid a cell phone at what age?

You show me the Bible verse that tells me what age your child should have a cell phone or not. When people want to make a black and white issue out of that, they will cause a ton of division in the church. Let me give you another one.

Let me give you a dicey one. Okay. We understand from scripture and I just mentioned this. We understand from scripture there are things that are black and white. One of those things that we have held for 10 years here, we believe in the beauty of the sanctity of marriage, of the way that God thinks about it. Genesis 1 and 2 are uber clear that God has made marriage to be between one man and one woman for one lifetime and that is beauty. Anything outside of that is outside of his design. We cry against it not because we hate somebody or we don't love, it's because we do love and we see what God's design is. Jesus Christ reaffirmed what we see in Genesis 1 and 2 and Mark chapter 10 where he said God made them male and female and a man should leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife and Paul talked about this in Romans 1 and the Bible is crystal clear that any sexuality outside of the sanctity of marriage is sinful.

Any of it, whether it's homosexual, heterosexual, outside of marriage, this is sin and it's destructive and it's not God's plan. That's not up for debate. It's not a gray area.

The Bible isn't like, man, you need wisdom or this or that. It's like, nope, it's pretty crystal clear. Okay, well, let me ask you a question that I've been asked about four or five times.

Is it permissible for a Christian to attend a gay wedding? Now here's the question, right? I'm sure you have a personal conviction on that. I know I have a personal conviction on it, but if you ask me what you should do, here's what I'm going to say.

I know what I would do, but I can't exactly tell you what you should do. There's going to be somebody here that says, well, you know what? Man, I think that's supporting this wedding and I feel like that's supporting sin and I'm not going to do it. There might be somebody else that says, I don't recognize that as a marriage and I want to keep a relationship for the sake of sharing the gospel later in somebody's life and so therefore I'm going to go and I'm going to try to support.

I can't tell you right or wrong on that, but here's what I'm going to tell you. When we try to take a black and white kind of framework, you're bowing down before this and apply it to something that's gray. I thought about this the other day. I walked into Target. I mean, you walk into Target, it's the most massive rainbow display of, you know, June and gay pride and all that kind of stuff. You walk in, it's right there. What if you're a 16 or 17 year old Christian and your job is to put that display up? Here's my point.

If you try if you try to come with a black and white, you got to do it this way. You got to do it that way. Man, we've got families in our church that have wonderful friends or even their kids to their grief are involved in the same sex marriage. And it's like, man, they're coming Christmas. Exactly what do you do? Where do they where do they stay? Where do they sleep?

Do they come over for dinner? You're trying to share with them. These are areas where people need wisdom and they need the leadership of the Spirit in their life. What they don't need is brothers and sisters who cannot see gray. All they see is black and white and they want to condemn.

There are things that are absolutely black and white in scripture. That's an idol. We don't bow. This is God's design for marriage.

We don't bow. Got it. Understand in these other areas, we've got to see the danger. Here's let me sum all this up. I've seen a leading cause of division in church when people take a black and white stance on an issue that is actually gray, an issue that needs wisdom and the leading of the Spirit and could work its way out in different ways depending on the motive. So let's just take that teaching and have it be practical. We can be in group with people that disagree with us on some things.

So some non-essentials, right? We can have a personal conviction. Saying I would never is not the same thing as saying you should never. Okay? Have a conviction. I know I do. And by the way, on every one of these questions that I have, I have a conviction, I have an opinion, and I think they're all right.

Okay? So if you want to come ask me what they are, come ask me. But what I'm going to tell you is, man, I think I'm right. I could be wrong because I don't have a verse for that. And we need a little bit of that maturity in the church. O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.

All right, let's get to the heart of it. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. This is the moment. This is kind of one of those moments in Scripture where we see something reverberate throughout the traditions and throughout the years.

Guys, this is a moment that has been recorded and retold and retold. It's probably one of the most famous passages, I would say, in the Scripture. And the reason is because you have these young men who are willing to stand against the king of the world in this moment, and they're willing to take the fire, and they don't know exactly how it's going to work out. But if not, we will still not worship the golden image that you have set up. One of the things I feel compelled to say to our church today, just by way of practical application, we all want our kids to have courage, but are we training them to have faith in the face of the furnace?

We want the end result. We want them to stand, and we want them to, okay, are we training them for that? How much of the word do they understand? Have you decided whether or not you might take two or three days of your vacation time to help with Kids Week this summer, to help train the kids in this church and to make sure they have a safe environment to learn these stories and the gospel from? What about the kids in your home? Our church is bustling with young families. I know not everybody's there. We've got a lot of kids in this church right now. A lot of you guys are kids in this church right now. A lot of young families in this church right now, and I'm going to say something here. I want you to make sure you hear me. I am not saying this to shame anyone.

I am saying it to shake everyone. Our kids can't glean the courage they need from these stories if they don't know these stories. It's really easy to know if they know these stories when they're like seven or eight years old. You're driving down the road and you say, hey man, tell me the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and you see what comes out.

It's a pretty big mirror. Are we willing to look into it? I don't mean that to shame anybody. You might say, man, my kids don't have this foundation, and yes, it would have been better to start five years ago. Next best time, tomorrow morning on the way to school and not allow the enemy to beat you up and not fall in this self-cycle of shame and I should have done. Okay, whatever. All right, what we got to do is say, what are we going to do today?

What are we going to do tomorrow? And we all have these moments where we get shaken up. Guys, I had a moment where I got shook up even four or five months ago. I woke up one morning in January and all of a sudden it hit me like a ton of bricks. This is the last semester that I had both A.P.

and Benaiah in the car together on the way to school in the mornings because next year, one of the older ones, he goes to a different school. We're going to be all split up. And I thought, man, and we've redeemed the time and we do, but I thought, what do I need?

I've only got one semester left. What do I need to do in order to, what do I need to do with this 15 minutes every single day? And it just came, and I was like, man, I don't know. I got to just tell the story of the whole Bible, okay? So I went, so I got in the car that morning. I was like, hey guys, today we're starting with, we're starting the Bible, right? And we just start and every day, man, we just, where do we leave off yesterday? Okay, let me tell you the next story. And we just go all the way through. Ironically, we just landed in the, so we're going through exile.

And so I got, I got a lot of ground to cover in the next like two weeks, okay? But, but we're, you know, I'm just saying, how are we redeeming that time with them? I want to point you to our family resource page, guys. You can go to the family resource page and this, if you need help on and starting to get them, you know, go in and a discipleship plan for the mornings.

I mean, everything you need to just get going with these kids. Listen, our ministry's here. They are here to partner with you as you disciple the kids. I love what we do here, man. They get small group time.

They get, they get Bible stories. It's a partnership. Then we're here to help supplement what you are doing in the home. And I pray that you'll take us up on that.

All right. But let me skip through this story a little bit. I got a lot of scripture here, guys, in the back. We're gonna start in verse 24 here in just a second, but here's the deal. Nebuchadnezzar gets so mad that he throws Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into the fire.

He doesn't do it himself. He calls some of the strong guys in his army to tie them all up and throw them in. The fire is so hot. It breaks out and it kills the guys that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were being held by, but they fall into the fire. Now look at verse 24. Here's what Nebuchadnezzar says. He looks down, he sees the fire and he says, did we not cast three men bound into the fire? And they answered and they said, okay, true. That's true.

Okay. And he answered and said, but I see four men unbound walking in the midst of the fire and they are not hurt. And the appearance of the fourth is like a son of God, son of the gods. Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fire furnace and he declared Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the most high God, come out and come here. Then Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire and the satraps and the prefects and the governors and the king's counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair on their heads was not singed.

The cloaks were not harmed and no smell of fire had come upon them at all. Now verse 28, Nebuchadnezzar has a big moment like he did last week. Oh, let's praise God.

You know, this is crazy. An angel came and saved them or whatever. And, you know, we're going to praise God. And anybody who doesn't, you know, anybody who says anything against their God is going to get torn limb from limb. Okay.

Apparently he doesn't quite understand grace and mercy yet, but he's learning. Okay. So, but here's the point of this.

All right. And this has been debated for a long time. Here's a question. Hey, who showed up in the fire? Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego get thrown in a fire. Nothing burns off of them other than the bounds, other than, you know, the bindings that were on them.

All right. But nothing, nothing is, who shows up in the fire? It's been a massive debate for a long time. One time I was the son of the God. Somebody else here says it's an angel and I'm not really sure. My own personal belief is that there are times in the Old Testament where there's not just a theophany, but there's something called a Christophany. And that means that Jesus shows up in the Old Testament. And we see this with different stories. Joshua, maybe, you know, as he sees the commander of the Lord's army and you see different, you know, Abraham, I don't know.

Okay. There's different people, different, different ways of thinking about it. And there's not really a way to know for sure, honestly. But in my view, I look at this and I think, man, who showed up in the fire? I think Jesus Christ shows up in the fire to prefigure what he is going to do for us one day. Because 600 years after this story, Jesus Christ showed up again. But when he showed up again, it wasn't to be in the fire with us.

It was to take the fire for us. He showed up one day, not to walk in the furnace to shield us from the flames, but to take the furnace of hell itself so that it would not be left for us. You know, one thing we learned from this story is that God is present in our pain.

Jesus Christ shows up with us and walks through the fire. And maybe sometimes there is a salvation in this life. Maybe sometimes God is calling us to suffer well to show his glory. But in any event, what we see is that in the end, what matters is that when we walk through the furnace, man, God is with us. He is there to fuel our faith not to cave in light of the consequences that are coming.

Man, it should fuel our faith to know we serve a God who is present with us. We serve a God who has gone to the furnace for us. Like I said, 600 years later, Jesus Christ showed up and he lived a life that none of us lived. And then he died on the cross, a death that we deserved. And he took death and he took hell. He took the consequence for sin. And he took all of it down and he wrestled it down.

He wrestled all the way into the grave. He canceled our sin dead. He took what you and I deserve so that he could give us what he deserves. He didn't shield us from the fire.

He took it. He drank the consequences of our sin all the way to the dregs so there'd be nothing left for us. Now, I hope that fuels your faith. Man, you put your faith in this God today. You confess your sin, believe in your heart what he has done for you.

Confess him as the Lord of your life. And you will see the spirit come into your life and begin to embolden you and give you courage that you never had. But if you are a believer and you need that courage today for a practical furnace that you're facing, go back to the gospel.

Go back to this story. We serve a God who is with you in the fire. We serve a God who went for you in the fire.

He loves you, man. And he wants to give you what you need to stand as these boys stood. So here's what I want to call you to do today by way of conclusion more than anything else. I'm going to call you to build and display Christian courage. Now, we're going to build toward a prayer moment here in just a few minutes. But before we do that, I want to ask you the question, are we building the type of faith that we see in these three Hebrew boys that stood against the king?

Are we building that type of faith? Because here's the deal, right? We love... I'm going to tell you, you know, our culture, this is my read on it. As Americans, we uniquely love the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

And here's why. We are a revolutionary people. I mean, we were born of revolution. We're a fighting type of man.

I want... I mean, for many of us in here right now, it's like, bow down. It's like, no, I'm not bowing down just because you told me to bow down. I'm not going to... That's who we are a little bit.

We love this story. You know what that means? Like, I hear Christians kind of say like, man, you know, the culture is getting so crazy. And one day if they tell us we can't preach the Bible this way, we're not going to take it. We're going to stand, you know. Man, if they tell us we can't gather, we're going to stand. They tell us our kids can't express the belief in Christ and share about him with their friends, we're going to stand. We love that moment of standing up, right? Don't we understand that the faith to face the furnace is built way before the furnace? If we like the idea of being able to stand then, the question isn't, what will you do when they take away tax-exempt status from your donations?

The question is not, will you still come to church if it's illegal at some point in our culture? The question is, how has your quiet time been right now? That's the question. The question is, what does generosity look like in your life right now? The question is, do you have some relationships where you can be honest? Do people know who you are?

99% known is unknown. That's really the questions that we need to get at, because that's how you build the faith. You see the relationship that Daniel had pouring in. You see the prayer.

You see these young men willing to stand in smaller ways, but they got all the way to the furnace. I'm not going to eat the food at the table, and now I've built the faith that I need. God is using it so that I can stand in this big moment.

Y'all, the faith to stand in that day is built in the every day, the day in and the day out. You know, I thought about this when I was in college. My first day of college, college campus, okay, 18 years old. I went to play football. I redshirted at a school called Tusculumna College in Greenville, Tennessee, and then I transferred to go to North Greenville College when I felt called to ministry and some things like that happened. But my first year, I redshirted at Tusculumna College. And at Tusculumna College, the first day on campus, we were about two weeks early, me and the guy that I was going up there with, my quarterback from high school, we were going to the same college together, go play ball. And the first day, boom, boom, boom, knock on our doors. Two weeks before campus is open, nobody else is on campus.

And two of the most enormous human beings I have ever seen in my life that were senior linemen, probably 23, 24 years old, y'all, there's a big gap between 18 and 23 and 24. There just is. I mean, everything, socially, I mean, just all of it, right? You're just, first day on campus, they come beating on our door, and they're like, hey, guys, we know y'all are new. May want to come hang out with you guys. Man, we're taking y'all to the strip club. Y'all get ready. Come on. We're hopping in the truck.

We're going right now. And man, it was a tough moment. I mean, we hemmed and, me and my buddy, he was a believer too. We hemmed and hawed, drug our feet, you know, did everything, you know, try to wiggle our way out. And finally it came, I mean, they're just like pressing us big time. And finally it just came to the moment where we just had to say, man, listen, we follow Christ and we, man, we just don't do that. It's like, man, I'm not, I'm not casting judgment on you or whatever, but we just, we don't do that. And, you know, we're, we're going to hang back, but we're going to hang back.

But we appreciate you guys wanting to hang out or what. I mean, we didn't know what to say. It was, it was such a moment, such a tough moment. And they laughed and all that, but they were like, whatever, you know, so they, they ended up leaving. And I thought about that moment, guys, listen, please hear me on this. I've had a lot of moments where I caved. Okay. So I'm not trying to make some hero moment here, but I just want to say, when I think back about that, I'm like, man, how in the world did we, I mean, I'm just thinking even now, I'm like, how in the world did we not just go along in that moment?

You know what it is? It's not some big furnace moment. It's because we had sat through youth group a thousand times in our life because we'd had parents who prayed, man, because we had friends that we knew that we were accountable to, that would ask us, how are things going?

All of the little things that you build in a day, those were the things that carry you in the face of the furnace. So let's don't think about that big moment. Let's think about how we're building our faith today.

Hey, in the last couple of weeks, hey, and the last thing I'm going to say, and then we're going to get into our response here is this guys. Are we praying for courage, man? Some of us are praying all day, all night for the safety of our kids. Why don't we start praying for the courage? They're going to need to walk through this world.

We're walking through Babylon either way. Are we praying for steel to be in there? Guys, we're going to start wrapping this up. We're going to end up in a big moment here, big prayer moment. So let me just go ahead and pray right now. And and as we pray now, I want you to start preparing your heart for the moment that is about to come and what we're about to do.

So just bow your heads and quiet your heart for just a minute. And we're going to pray. God, I pray right now, Lord, as we move into this time of asking you specifically for courage, God, I pray that we would display it here, Lord, that we would come and put our hearts in a position to hear from you and to trust you and declare some things to you by putting our body posture as well. Lord, I pray that we're going to have some dads step out and lead today and some heads of household single moms step out lead over their kids today. Lord, I pray you bring a beautiful moment here as we have the faith to ask you for courage. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-21 16:07:16 / 2023-05-21 16:26:11 / 19

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