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Validated, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
March 8, 2022 9:00 am

Validated, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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March 8, 2022 9:00 am

We learn that what was true for Daniel is still true now: “There is a God in heaven.” Where human strategies fail, God begins to work.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. God intends to make you shine in Babylon, to distinguish the truth of his message from the counterfeits all around you.

He does it by supernatural outpourings of power. Are you experiencing this? Are you?

Do you even know to look for it? Friends, he is still ready to do this today. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Welcome to Summit Life with J.D. Greer, lead pastor of the Summit Church in Raleigh, North Carolina.

As always, I'm your host, Molly Vitovich. Today on the program, we'll learn what was true for Daniel is still true now. There is a God in heaven. Can I get an amen? Where human strategies fail, God is always at work. Don't you want to be a part of what God is up to in your community, in your family, and in your world? Remember, if you've missed any of the previous messages, you can listen to them at our website, jdgreer.com. Today we're looking at Daniel chapter two.

So if you want to turn there now, we'll jump back into where we left off last time. The apostle Paul still points to supernatural power at work in our preaching that validates that this message is from God and that it's not a counterpet. Paul said, for example, to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 2, he said, my preaching and my speech were not with persuasive words of wisdom, not because I had a bunch of degrees hanging on my wall, but they came with a demonstration of the Spirit's power because I didn't want your faith to be based on how smart I was, but on God's power that was in the message. 1 Corinthians 14, 25, Paul talks about an unbeliever who comes into a church setting like this one or like one of our small groups where believers begin to use the supernatural gift of prophecy to call out and pray for what is going on in this unbeliever's heart. And as they are doing that, Paul says, 1 Corinthians 14, the secrets of his heart begin to be revealed.

And as a result, he falls down face down and begins to worship proclaiming, God is really among you because you know things about me that only God could know. That is supposed to be happening as we are living out gospel witness in the triangle. Let me tell you, we're not super good at that at this church right now. And that's something that we've got to be open to and say, God, how are you wanting to do this through us? Still today, I will tell you, God often validates the message through supernatural dreams and visions. There is nothing in the Bible that says God has ceased that. And listen, if you have spent any time overseas, especially among Christians who work with Muslims, you will be inundated with stories of Muslims who come to faith in Christ through dreams and visions. It's almost spooky, but it is so consistent and so pervasive that it's difficult to dismiss all of it.

It's just made up. Just for me personally, I've seen six Muslims come to faith in Christ personally. Four of the six came through some kind of dream. I've told you about various ones of those.

I mean, here's a really quick cliff notes version of just one, just to give you a taste of what I'm talking about. When I lived in Southeast Asia, I was a Muslim, 32-year-old Muslim man I'd never met, who was a friend of a friend who asked to meet with me. In that meeting, he tells me about a dream he's had in which he's walking through this field, this expansive field for days. He said, that field represented my life because though I'm a very committed Muslim, I feel lost and alone. He said, suddenly in the middle of this dream, a man in radiant white clothing suddenly appears behind me with a face that shone like the sun. He said, he called my name and this man reached inside of his robe and pulled out a copy of the gospel and told me that this was the only message that would get me out of this field of emptiness and loneliness. After telling me about this dream, he looks at me and he says, now my friend here tells me you are an expert at the gospel. He said, can you tell me what my dream means? Now, as I noted earlier, I was raised in a very conservative Baptist context and dreams and visions and the interpretations thereof were not part of our spiritual repertoire. But I'm happy to tell you that in that moment, without a lick of seminary training, I knew exactly what to say.

I was like, bro, you were so in luck. Dream interpretation is my spiritual gift. And I walked that man through the gospel for two hours and he got saved. He got baptized. He corresponded with me several times over the next few years, just talking about growing and faith. That makes evangelism easy, by the way, when that kind of stuff happens.

But it happens out in Babylon. The New Testament writer, James, tells us that God validates his messengers today through answers to prayer. James 5, he points to the example of Elijah. When Elijah, remember this, 1 Kings 18, when Elijah wanted to prove to Israel who the true God was, was the true God Jehovah or was it Baal?

Do you remember what the test was? Which God answers prayer? He says, 1 Kings 18, 24, you call in the name of your God and I'll call in the name of the Lord and the God who answers, let's just go ahead and agree, he is God. That's one of the reasons we believe prayer ought to define our ministries here at the Summit Church. We don't just pray in preparation for the ministry. That's why we say prayer is the ministry. It's not just that I'm the one that's ministering or our small group leaders are ministering. The people who are praying, they're actually doing the ministry because Jesus said his house was to be a house of prayer for all nations.

It was supposed to validate our message. It's why I've told you that a lot of times what we do up here at the end of the service and having brothers and sisters ready to pray, that's not like a, hey, here's a Q&A group for those of you who are too lazy to go to the website. That's a group of people who are here to do what arguably is the main ministry of the church and that is to take our burdens to the Lord and say, God, would you move and God, would you act?

That's why I say that it might be the most important thing we do every weekend. One of our church planners shared this story with me this week, and I don't totally have time for this, but I'm going to say it's just too perfect. Literally, I got this this week and the guy hadn't even heard the message I'm preaching. He said, hey, I got to see a Hindu background Indian man come to faith in South Africa after he lost everything in a bad business deal. When I met him, he articulated that this might be happening because God was trying to communicate with him.

Over the next couple of days, he struggled with suicidal thoughts and the idea that God could be all good and all powerful and still let this happen to him. Nevertheless, I felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to share with him the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. I then asked him if I could take a week to pray that in a similar way that God revealed himself to Israel, he would reveal himself to this man that he was the one true God.

This Hindu man said, I could do that. The next day, I prayed that the Lord would meet his tangible need for clothing. I then got an email randomly from a church asking if we had any ministry needs because they had set some money aside for us. I went back to meet this man and told him about what God had done in providing clothing for him through this church. I took him to the mall to pick out his clothes, and then we sat and I explained the gospel to him. I just asked at the end if I could pray for him because I didn't want to be too pushy with him, and I just prayed the gospel over him, but when I said amen, he asked me if he could pray also. He proceeded to pray. God, over the last week, you know that I have yelled at you and not believed in you and thought about ending my life, but today, you have proven to me that you are real and that Jesus is your son, and I just want to say thank you. That's what's supposed to happen as the gospel goes forward in Babylon.

I'll give you one more real quick. Spirit-fueled changes in your life validate that this gospel is from God. How did Paul say that? If any man is in Christ, he's a new creation. All things are passed away.

Behold, all things are become new. When you get born again, God gives you a new heart, a new heart that is characterized by things that no religious resolution, no resolve to do better can produce in you. He gives you a heart that has a genuine love for God. It's in your emotions. You begin to desire his word.

You want to be close to him. He gives you a love for his people. He starts to give you a hatred for sin. That doesn't come through sermons.

It doesn't come through you resolving to be better. These are things that can't be produced by religion. It's proof that what is happening in you is from God. By the way, if that change hadn't happened in you, that's a really good indication that you've never actually experienced God. You've got a fake religion. The point is, God intends to make you shine in Babylon to distinguish the truth of his message from the counterfeits all around you.

He does it by supernatural outpourings of power. Are you experiencing this? Are you? Do you even know to look for it? Friends, he is still ready to do this today.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So let's ask him for it. Let's do it right.

I don't have music coming out. Let's just do it right now. Can we do that? Why don't you bow your heads? Father, before I finish these last few moments here in this message, I'm asking, God, I know that there are people right now who you are, Holy Spirit, putting something in their heart that you want them to pray for, some relationship to be reconciled, somebody to be healed, somebody to be brought back. Father, I pray that this house of prayer right now, you would hear these requests and you would answer them and you would teach us to be this house of prayer so that our community could know that there's a God in heaven. There's a God in heaven who is as real and as active on earth as he was with Daniel in the days of the apostles and in our day. I pray that you would do this and teach this in us.

I pray in Jesus' name, if you agree with that, say amen. All right, let's use our remaining time, which is not long. Let's use that time to consider the dream itself because it's an important piece of prophecy and it reveals the core substance of our message to Babylon.

It's gonna begin in verse 31. All right, Neb, as I've explained, he's a gigantic human statue, and every part of the statue is made out of a different substance. The head is made of gold.

The head is made of gold. This, verse 38 says, Daniel says, is gonna represent the Babylonian empire, which lasted from 626 BC to about 539 BC. Daniel says to Nebuchadnezzar directly, verse 38, you are that head of gold. Babylon was, to note, the world's first superpower, and it was mightier than anything the world had ever seen up to that point.

It was impressive, even by today's standards. Nebuchadnezzar, for example, built a wall around Babylon, a wall that stretched for 56 miles in places it was over 80 feet wide and 300 feet high. And his empire, historians say, was laden with more gold than anybody knew was on earth. Herodotus, who was a contemporary historian, visited Babylon in the middle of all this and wrote that never in his life had he seen such an abundance of gold.

There was gold on the buildings, there was gold on the stairs, there was gold on the signs. Neb's throne was made of solid gold. So Neb is that head of gold in the Babylonian empire. After that, we got a chest and arms made out of silver. That's gonna represent, we're gonna find out, the Medo-Persian empire, which is gonna conquer Babylon in 539 BC. We're actually gonna see that take place in Daniel 5. Here we got two body parts, the chest and the arms, representing the two kingdoms, Media from the north and Persia from the east, that unite to overthrow Babylon, again, 539 BC.

After that, we got the belly and the upper thighs made of bronze. Here, I'm gonna give you a little warning. We gotta venture out just a little bit on our own, because the text was really clear about the first two parts, but they're not really as clear about the last ones, because that's all in the future. But what I'm gonna share with you is, I think, basically the way most scholars do, but let me just warn you again, the point is not who exactly are the various parts of the thing. That's not the whole point here.

The point is what God is saying to all human kingdoms everywhere. We're on the same page here? Because I see some of you already. You're getting your charts out. You're ready to start identifying which politicians are the anti-Christ. Don't do that, okay?

That's not where we're going. Here we go. Most scholars believe that this bronze belly and thighs represents Greece, the superpower that conquered Medo-Persia around 220 BC, led, of course, by Alexander the Great. Interestingly, by the way, Alexander's armies pioneered the use of bronze in weaponry. Greek soldiers wore bronze helmets. Their chariots were made out of bronze. Their shields and even their swords were made out of bronze, which might explain bronze being the metal that symbolized this dynasty. After that, we're gonna have the legs of iron, which likely represent Rome, the kingdom that conquered Greece in 63 BC.

You say, why iron? Well, iron was considered to be the strongest of all the metals, and that was supposed to prophesize something about Rome's strength. Sure enough, scholars say that Rome took military strength to a new level, shown by the fact that they held their empire for several centuries, right?

I mean, think about it. Babylonian's rule only lasted 70 years. The Medo-Persia one lasted about 200, and the Greek one lasted another 200. But the Roman Empire lasted for more than 500 years in the west at Rome and more than 1,500 years in the east at Constantinople. As the scholars say, the length of the legs may give you some indication about that.

Finally, we got the feet made out of a mixture of iron and clay. The Roman Empire would eventually be shattered into different kingdoms and different nations. Now, the fullness of this has not happened yet. We know that because these same 10 kingdoms are mentioned again in the book of Revelation as a part of a future event, and I know that saying that makes some of you geek out trying to figure out which nations those are going to be and whether or not the COVID vaccine is the mark of the beast, which, by the way, I am not a medical expert, and so I will not speak on the medical ramifications of taking it, but I can 100% assure you that the vaccine is not the mark of the beast.

And I don't know who needs to hear that, but you just heard it, okay? Talk of prophecy, I know, for people makes you want to geek out and try to figure all this stuff out, but let me encourage you not to go there, or at least if you do go there, don't spend long there. That ambiguity in the Bible is intentional.

If God had wanted us to know more specifics, he would have given them to us. The point is not the specifics of the statue. The point is what happens to the statue.

Watch this. All right, most important part of the dream, verse 34, verse 40. As you were watching, Daniel says to Nebuchadnezzar, a stone broke off without a hand touching it, a stone made without hands. It struck the statue on its feet, and it crushed the feet. Then the iron, the fire clay, the bronze, and the silver, and the gold were shattered, and they became like chaff from the summer threshing floors.

The wind carried them away, and not a trace of them could be found anymore. They were gone, but the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. Oh, Nebuchadnezzar, the great God has told the king what will happen in the future. In the days of those kings and those kingdoms, the God of the heavens will set up his own kingdom that will never be destroyed, and it will crush all these other kingdoms and bring them to an end, but that kingdom that God establishes will endure forever. All right, so the rock is the kingdom of God. The text directly says that, and when Jesus shows up, he makes clear, Matthew 21, 41, if you're looking for a reference, that this rock coming from heaven was actually a picture of him. Think about it. The stone was made without human hands.

Did you see that detail? It means it came about with no human agency. Interestingly, did you know the stones of the temple, Israel's temple, had to be made without human hands? They couldn't carve them.

They had to pull them right out of the, just find the right size and pull them right out of the rivers. That was to demonstrate that no part of God's salvation was going to come about by human agency. No hand would touch it. God would do it all by himself. So, like this stone, Jesus would be made without human hands.

He was born of a virgin. Second, the rock is the least valuable substance in the dream. It's not silver.

It's not gold, not bronze. Rock is the least valuable thing of all these metals, yet this rock comes with the power of God, and so it shatters into dust all those more expensive metals. This represented how Jesus would not come with all the bling and the shine of the world. He was born poor. He never owned a home. He never raised an army. He was no head of gold, yet he came with something the gold didn't have, and that was the death-defying power of God.

Third, in this dream, the rock starts small and yet eventually grows into a gigantic mountain that fills the whole earth. Y'all, isn't that the same thing? Isn't that the exact same thing Jesus said about his kingdom in Matthew 13? He said, my kingdom's going to start small like a seed that you can crush underneath your foot, but eventually it's going to multiply so that it covers every part of the earth. You guys realize that when Jesus left, when he left earth, you could have put all his followers into one upper room.

That was it. A bunch of poor, blue-collar, untrained men and women, fishermen. He didn't leave an army. He didn't leave a fortress. He didn't leave a fortune like Nebuchadnezzar or Alexander or Muhammad, yet that little tiny movement you could have crushed underneath your foot has today swelled into the largest religious movement in history. It literally covers the face of the earth. I told you, the places the gospel is growing the fastest today, the places with the least money, Africa, Asia, Latin America. Did you know, you guys know this?

Listen to this. Two-thirds of all self-identifying Christians, two-thirds of all Christians today live in Latin America, Africa, Africa, or Asia. By 2050, experts say that number is going to exceed 80%. Get this, today, this morning, in church, there are more practicing Christians in Africa who are in church this morning than in all European countries combined. More Christians will attend church in Kenya this morning than in all of Canada. Uganda has more Anglican Christians than Great Britain, Canada, or the United States combined, and Anglican literally means English. Ghana has more Presbyterians than Scotland, and Scotland is where Presbyterianism started. Brazil now sends out more overseas missionaries than either Britain or Canada. Y'all, we talk about the villager in Africa who's never heard about Jesus. Statistically, you're more likely to run into a born-again Christian in a village in Africa than you are in Montreal. And don't even get me started about Asia. In 1970, there were no legally functioning churches in all of China. Yet today, it is estimated that the number of practicing Christians in China exceeds that of the United States. Experts predict that by 20 50, China will be a majority Christian country. What's that going to do to global politics? People say Christianity is a Western thing that Americans sit and try to impose on everybody else.

Be real. Christianity is not a Western thing. It has never been a Western thing. If anything, it's a Middle Eastern thing that graced the West for a while and is now headed around the world, just like Nebuchadnezzar predicted. See, that leads us to the core substance of our core message to Babylon, what you and I are here to testify to, to witness to in our Babylon, and that is this. God sent a rock to earth, and that rock was named Jesus, and he will destroy every false kingdom erected by man, whether those are large geopolitical kingdoms in the world, or that little independent self-centered kingdom you're building on your own. Y'all, the irony is that's not why Jesus came. He didn't come first to destroy.

What did he say? John 3 17. I didn't come into the world to condemn the world, to destroy it. I came to save it.

He came first to save. He didn't come to judge us, but to die on a cross to save us. He came to be the rock of salvation that you and I could build our lives on. See, friend, if we won't do that, what this dream tells us is that rock will crush us, and that's the choice I put in front of you today. You see what this dream is telling you is going to happen if you oppose Jesus.

Again, don't think about it. Let's listen to Daniel 2 35. When the kingdom, when the rock strikes every kingdom in the statue, which will include your little kingdom you've built, an independent self-centered kingdom, you've built an independent food, your little kingdom you've built, an independence of God. Well, they became like chaff from the summer threshing floors.

The wind just carried them away. Not even a trace of them could be found, but the stone that struck the statue, oh, it became a great mountain that had filled the whole earth. That's your choice. You can receive Jesus, build your life on a rock and last forever, or you can be crushed by him.

2500 years ago, a pagan king's dream tells you the end of history, the end of your life. Receive Jesus as the rock of salvation or be crushed by him. Submit to him or count him as your enemy. What you can't do, what you won't be able to do is resist him. Either submit to him and build your life on him or you're crushed by him.

Those are the only two options. Charles Spurgeon compared it to a gnat trying to resist the coming of a locomotive. He who would place himself, listen to this, he who would place himself in front of a fast-moving railway car will be crushed, would be no more foolish than you who are opposing the gospel. Who are you to attempt to stand against it? You will be crushed.

But let me tell you, when the railway car runs over the wheel, will not even be raised an inch by your size. For what are you? A tiny gnat, a creeping worm, which that wheel will crush to less than nothing and not leave you even a name as having ever been an opponent of the gospel. Let everyone in the world know assuredly that the gospel will win its way, whatever they may do. Poor creatures, their efforts to oppose the gospel are not even worthy of our notice.

We need not fear that they can stop the truth. They're like a gnat who thinks he can quench the sun. Go, tiny insect, and do it if you can. You will only burn your wings and die. Likewise, there may be a fly who thinks he could drink the ocean dry.

Drink the ocean if you can, or fly. More likely, you will sink in it, and it will drink you. Friend, that's the message of this dream. But I remind you again, that's not why Jesus came.

He came first to save. Jesus said it was the rock that the builders rejected that became the chief cornerstone for those who put their hope of salvation in him. That means the choice is yours. You can have a life of meaning and purpose built upon a rock. You can have a temporary kingdom that's just going to crush in the powder. You choose. brand new teaching series called the book of daniel shining in babylon and our goal in being with you here every day on the radio and on the web is to help you dive deeper into the message of the gospel we are so grateful for your partnership and as our way of saying thanks we'll send you a copy of a new resource created especially for our listeners it's titled the same as our current series the book of daniel shining in babylon a nine-part inductive bible study ask for your copy when you donate today at the suggested level of 35 or more please give us a call at 866-335-5220 or it might be more convenient to give and request the book online at jdgrier.com i'm molly vinovich be sure to tune in wednesday when pastor jd continues our study through the book of daniel on summit life with jd greer today's program was produced and sponsored by jd greer ministries
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-25 19:21:08 / 2023-05-25 19:31:38 / 11

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