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March 17, 2022 1:00 am
During persecution, some believers are spared while others go through torture and death. Do you ever wonder why God doesn’t deliver all His people? For three exiles in Babylon, their immediate well-being was less important to them than honoring the one true God. In this message, we’ll nail down three lessons for Christians living in America. God’s purposes will prevail, even amid persecution.Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)
Looking to Jesus during persecution. Believers are spared others through torture and some wonder why God doesn't deliver all of this people sensationally good today.
In answer to a vexing problem we all face as we try to understand the church in Chicago this is when books are teaching sauce make it across the finish line.
We continue a series on the church in Babylon unleashing the power of the spirit filled witness Pastor Luther when the state becomes God.
Are we to obey what ever were told to do, Dave. The answer, of course, is no. Throughout history Christians have always struggled with the issue of whether or not to obey the state but the apostles left us an example by saying we will serve God and we will fear him, and not man. In other words, God always comes first. By the way, there those you know who tell us that we should always obey the government if you take that point of view you are making the government God. Only God should be always obeyed. I've written a book entitled the church in Babylon and it contains a chapter entitled when the state becomes God. As we try to analyze what is happening in our culture and how we must resist it, always remembering we are where we are through God's strength and grace for a gift of any amount. This book can be yours. Here is what you do go to RTW offer.com that's RTW offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Listen carefully and after the message all repeat this info but you know there is a limitation. Also that God imposes upon himself when it comes to his power.
Why doesn't he deliver everyone will tell you why he doesn't deliver everyone and that's because of his ultimate hidden purpose that is hidden from us but fully known to him. Great case study, and this is Jesus himself, you know, here's Jesus.
And that was God able to deliver Jesus alone, my God, able to deliver Jesus. Of course Jesus said there in the garden could not. I called 12 legions of angels and they'd come and deliver me clearly.
Clearly, Jesus could be delivered even without the Angels, but I can imagine that all of them were just looking down and they were hovering over Jesus saying as the signal so that we can deliver them.
They were prevented from I think of the words of Jesus to Pilate that I've often pondered when he said the pilot pilot saying it or don't you know that I power to crucify you and all those other things. Jesus said there would be no power at all that has been given to you, except that which was given to you from time the very breath that you breathe in the words that you speak out of your mouth. All of that is totally dependent upon God's grace and mercy.
You had no power at all against except what God gives you see my friend, God's purposes determine the fact that he does not always exercise his power is often held in abeyance. Could God deliver them. Well you heard these three men say God is able to deliver us absolutely. But if he doesn't, will still be faithful unto death. You know what was God's purpose here will part of the purpose is for Nebuchadnezzar.
Did you know that Nebuchadnezzar is going to be in heaven that something organization. Nebuchadnezzar just know that you gave me lots of sermon material and that I used you as a bad example but I'm sure glad you made it, because in subsequent chapters, though he doesn't become a believer here. It really makes a decree that everybody supposed to be honoring the God of the three guys in subsequent chapters, God humbles him and he makes a proclamation about the God of Israel, that just takes your breath away. I believe that that indicates he became a true believer in Israel's God so that was part of it.
The other part that some people think is God use this one experience as an illustration of how he walks with his people and is able to walk with his people through the fire of affliction, such as the Jews will experience during the tribulation that God walks with them. The fourth man. Of course, is Jesus.
No question about that. The angel of the Lord. And so, as this story unfolds, God is showing that it any time he wants to deliver his people through the fire.
He most assuredly has the resources to do so, but we don't know his hidden purposes that I make a suggestion to you as a pastor from my heart to yours. Let's agree that we are going to stop trying to read God's purposes through an and you had that experience, you hold up the envelope to the light and you think to yourself, oh yeah, I noticed a few words but the problem is the light has to come through this way and the letter is rather thick, but then you see along here, you do catch a phrase, but the problem is, you have no context and you know what's on this side because this site is all messed up because of the creases of the envelope. You stand there trying to read long ago I stopped predicting what I think God is going to do because he surprised me too many times and what we need to do is to say our future is in his hands even when we are wheeled into a hospital for surgery. We do not know the outcome we we do not know. But one thing we know God is able to deliver God is able to heal, but does let it be known unto us and to all those who are watching always remember you don't just suffer for yourself to suffer for all the people are watching, let it be known that we will not swerve in our faith in the living and the true God. Now how do we nail this down for ourselves living in America as we do at this point in America's history. I want to give you three free nails to put in the wall so to speak. Three lessons that I don't want you to forget.
The first lesson is this, that persecution should be expected. Persecution should be expected to see whenever a state drifts towards paganism. The curtailment of religious freedom usually goes with it is the state assumes more and more power and more and more laws and we should expect that we should not be overwhelmed by what lies in America's future.
Well, I don't know but you know this is something to think about. And by the way, if you're here today and you struggle with same-sex attraction. Once again, you're welcome here. The welcome mat. The church is for everyone because God's grace is for all of us as sinners. And that's where we all stand but notice this and it article in the American Journal of ortho psychiatry, racism, sexism, and homophobia do not fit into any current diagnostic category. The authors propose that those who engage in such behavior, display a form of psycho pathology deserving of its own category.
So this article seeks to find the common denominator to be intolerance. The authors explore the possibility of an intolerant personality disorder symptoms and possible cures intolerant personality disorder. Is it possible that the day may come in the future and hope that it's in the very distant future where intolerant personality disorder becomes an identifiable mental illness pathology set if you belong to that and you do not 10 and and you are saying things and expressing your conviction that the child protective services might be in your home checking on the children, perhaps taking them from you because you have a pathology called the intolerance personality disorder is ill that's really far-fetched, yet I know it is but you know things like that are happening in Europe already, but you know what we need to do.
We need to just take a deep breath. Everybody you're listening. Take a deep breath. Now, would you please I have to do it up here because I'm talking and some of you have to do it there because you're sitting let us remember this. Why is this train Peter said these marvelous words which at one time I knew exactly by memory, but I need to read them now he is writing to people under the Roman empire as his beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you as though something strange happened.
Don't be surprised but rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
You're insulted for the name of Christ. You are blessed is the spirit of glory and of God rests on you, we could save 1/4 man walks with you during those insults during the persecution during the false accusations. God is always with his people and he will never leave us nor forsake us.
So we must welcome it. Fear and anger are not options to the Christian we must be able to be like the early church considered it a privilege to be identified with Jesus in a culture back then that was anti-Christian and anti-worship of the Roman empire. So first of all accepted second, and this becomes a little disheartening. Most people will bow before the power of the state and its laws.
Most people will bow before the power of the state and its laws have been meditating on this this past week and asking myself the question, three people refused to bow.
We have no idea why Daniel was not there.
It's possible he was on a tour somewhere for the king because we know of course Daniel would never about because in chapter 6, he has his own opportunity when he prays to Jerusalem three times a day and they tell him to stop doing that and he won't and he gets thrown into the lion's den. So we know that Daniel would certainly certainly had not bowed even as these three guys didn't bow, but apart from that I miss myself a Christian went there. 10,000 Jews, minimally scholars believe there are many more neck that went to Babylon well maybe you know they were out on the other side of the plane. Nobody saw them. I don't know. I think maybe all the rest decided to bow because they said to themselves, look, this doesn't mean that we can't also worship Jehovah. Furthermore, and this touches my heart.
We have children and you know what will do will bow the knee, but we won't bow our hearts, so God knows we really don't mean it and furthermore we have to be in babble and so they were good witnesses to Joe. That's pretty hard to be a good witness when your dad so they don't identify and I think most of them if not all of them other Christians today who not so sure how well we would do if we had persecution there Christian business people and so forth who you eat in a public cafeteria who will not bow their heads even in prayer because they don't want to be identified with Jesus and be thought of as weird.
Jesus said, rejoice when your name is cast out as being evil like that citing other Christians who bow their head and kind of you know there actually rubbing their eyebrows or their you know they are there adjusting their napkin. You know on their on their self-worth. Think of Daniel Chiba house and praise three times a day with an open window may say you do that you get the lion's den, Daniel said I'm not going to surrender my commitment to God.
I will do whatever you know Jesus said this, he said he was ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him shall also the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory never preached on that text. You know if I'm around here long enough I might actually preach a sermon on that sometime. Imagine that. How will we do when their true persecution, that's the question you know why the others bowed, it's because they feared the furnace more than they feared God and so they went along with the statism of the day, and they bowed hate to say it, but few will actually stand and what's interesting historically is that the ones who do stand we remember when I remember a lot of names in Germany, but we think of Yvonne Hoffer and Martin honey Moeller and a lot of others. And there were others to. There were about 700 pastors and priests who went to concentration camps because of their opposition to what we remember, the heroes and we study them. The others pass name Leslie into history, young people and others. God is looking for those who are saying were going to stand where he can identify with Jesus were going to take the heat, because after all he is our Savior. He is our Lord and God for bid that we should ever be ashamed of him. Now there's a final lesson and that is this that the fire that purifies us is the fire that actually frees us. It sets us free. You notice and reread the text. A moment ago, perhaps too quickly, but to notice how Nebuchadnezzar was just seems to be obsessed with this idea that they had to be bound and thrown into the fire pieces. For example, in verse 20 buying the Shadrach shack in a bend and these men were bound in their cloaks.
I assume they had ropes that were tied around them and their tunics and so forth.
They were found with their close and then king never get measure is astonished.
Verse 24 he declared to his counselors. Did we not cast Freeman into the fire. He answered and said, but I see four men unbounded in the fire. There was something that the fire burned off what the fire burned off was the ropes that held them pound and they were freed in the fire. My dear friend, no matter what fiery trial you're passing through and it may be persecution that may be around the corner. It may be some other fiery trial, when Peter said don't think it's strange if you're in a fiery trial. You can fill in the blank as to what that fiery trial is Peter said, rejoice because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
The fourth man shows up and walks with you through the fire and you can even be set free because finally, you've trusted him. No matter the outcome.
I asked today that this church will be a church that lovingly wins assembly and without a sense of judgment and what shall we say, self judgment or that's the wrong word self-righteousness that God forbid that we should be like that, but with humility and brokenness. We give a loving witness where we are and we are willing to take the heat for the one redeemed us and were confident that he walks with us through the fire and actually sets us free. Chrysostom was a preacher in Istanbul, ancient Constantinople, and them he was run out of town and he got into trouble with the authorities because they didn't like his preaching, yet he got the story that's been told 100 times his people you know they took up stones and sticks and there were going to fight the authorities. But of course they could know you and I can't fight our culture when we have these strong cultural streams. That is to say we cannot fight them with our own weapons after throw ourselves on God.
Anyway, the people gathered in the church for his last sermon.
After that he went into exile and died.
Let me give you a paragraph of what he said. Numerous are the waves in the great tossing of the seed but we have no fear of going down for we stand upon the rock. Let the ocean rages it will. It is powerless to break the rock.
Let the waves roll they cannot sink the bark of Jesus. Tell me what should we fear death for me to live is Christ into dies again exile, the earth is the Lords and the fullness of confiscation of property, which was happening in those days we brought nothing into this world and it is clear that we can take nothing away with us.
I despise what the world fears and hold it's good things integration. I do not fear poverty. I nor do I desire riches.
I am not afraid of death. I do not pray to live unless it be for your good.
This is why I speak of what is now taking place, and exhort you. Be of good cheer when the water comes the waves do not break the rock but are dissolved into phone God wins whether or not he delivers us this much. You sure will go on believing him even without a miracle because we've come to know the living and the true God pastor wears be my predecessor here said that it's one thing you know to be put into the furnace of fire quite another to be put into the lake of fire and my friend today.
I urge you to believe on Jesus because he died he gave his life he he gave himself for us, and he even said this is my body which is broken. This is my blood eat and drink in remembrance of me because in that act is redemption and the free gift of eternal life to all those who are listening at this moment, and God is working in your heart would you reach out and receive that free gift.
We pray in Jesus name. Father take these words we pray to encourage us to give us the strength that we need and we ask the Lord that these three men would be our role models in a world that has lost its way. We love you we pray that we might represent you well Jesus name will my friend, this is Pastor Luther, you and I know that we live in a very used world. What do you say if a teenager says to you, I'm Trent Gunter. What should your response be how do we understand this phenomenon. I've written a book entitled the church in Babylon and I wrote the book to help us think through these kinds of questions through a biblical lens but at the same time, with a great deal of compassion.
My desire has always been to help people to encourage them to lead them to the truth but at the same time to give a loving witness. I believe that this book will be a great blessing to you. It will be a help in understanding the culture and how to navigate the kind of situation that we are in today.
Now for a gift of any amount. This book can be yours.
Ask for the book the church in Babylon. Here is what you can do.
Go to RTW offer.com that's RTW offer.com or if you prefer you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 nine going to be giving you that info again giving you time to get a pencil so that you can write this down. You can go to RTW offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. As a matter fact you can actually pick up the phone and you can call right now.
Call 1-888-218-9337 thanks in advance for helping us because together we are making a difference. We are enabling people, encouraging them, helping them to remember that we are in a race and we are committed to help them make it all the way to the finish line. You can write to is running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 judgment of God can come with a vengeance for ancient Babylon that time came when Daniel foretold the doom of Babylon skating next time we turn to Daniel chapter 5 and relive the awful night when the king saw the handwriting on the wall.
Thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin lutes are this is Dave Callister running to win is sponsored by the Moody church