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The Writing Is on the Wall, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
March 16, 2022 9:00 am

The Writing Is on the Wall, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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March 16, 2022 9:00 am

Have you heard the phrase “The writing is on the wall?” It usually means that something bad is about to happen; that your fate has been sealed. That phrase actually comes from Daniel, Chapter 5.

Delight in Grace
Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
Summit Life
J.D. Greear
Truth for Life
Alistair Begg
The Truth Pulpit
Don Green

Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Welcome back to Summit Life with J.D. Greer.

I'm your host, Molly Butovitch. Have you heard the phrase, the writing is on the wall? It usually means that something bad is about to happen and that your fate has been sealed. Well, that phrase actually comes from Daniel chapter five. King Belshazzar is hosting a party when suddenly a mysterious floating hand appears and begins to carve a message into the plaster on the wall.

Talk about terrifying. It begins etching three mysterious words into the wall and then just disappears. The three words were numbered, weighed, and divided. And they brought in Daniel to help interpret what these words can mean. So let's dive back into our study in Daniel as Pastor J.D.

answers the question, is God still in charge and does he remember us? Number three, we see the writing on the wall for all of us. Party in the face of death, the failure of the wise men. Now we see the writing on the wall for all of us. Your days are numbered.

You've been weighed in the balance and found deficient. Your kingdom has therefore been taken from you and divided. The Bible says that this will ultimately be God's verdict on all of us. This is not just for Belshazzar, it's for me and you.

Let me explain. As Daniel interprets the message, he explains the nature of Belshazzar's sin. First, he recounts what God had taught Belshazzar's grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar. How God humbled him by making him go insane for seven years and eat grass like a cow.

And you're like, that sounds like an awesome story. Go back and listen to last week's message. And how at the end of that seven years, he looks toward heaven and acknowledges that heaven rules. But then Daniel says, verse 22, but Belshazzar, you have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this.

Even though your grandfather, even though he went through this, you didn't humble your heart. Instead, you have exalted yourself against the Lord of the heavens, the vessels from God's house. They'd stolen all these vessels from the Jewish temple that were used in worship.

You took those and they were brought to you. And you and your nobles, your wives, and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods made out of silver and gold, which do not see or hear or understand. You have not glorified the God who holds your life breath in his hand, who controls the whole course of your life. Daniel charges Belshazzar, as I say it, with two primary things.

Two things that I would say, watch this, are the essence of all sin. First, he says, Belshazzar, you have not worshiped God as God. You've not given God glory. You've not credited God with all your power and success.

When you took a victory lap, it was your hands in the air saying, look at me and look at what I did. You did not give God glory for all your success. You have not lived your life in response to God. God has not held first place in your heart. Instead, you worshiped idols because you thought you could control idols and you have lived to please yourself, not God. You've lived, Belshazzar, as if you were God and didn't belong to a god.

That's the first thing. Second, he says, you took the vessels that God had set apart for his purposes and you used them for yours. Now, specifically, Daniel identifies the temple artifacts that Belshazzar is now partying with, you know, knives and plates and candlesticks and goblets that had been consecrated to the worship of God, that Belshazzar is now using for his drunken frat party. But in calling this out, watch this, Daniel is giving us a glimpse into the nature of all sin.

Write this down if you write things down. Sin consists of taking what God has set apart for his purposes and commandeering them, using them for our own. That's what sin is. Sin consists of taking what God has set apart for his purposes and using them, commandeering them for our own.

Let me just give you a few examples of where we might see this in our society today. All right, let's start with an easy one, with your talents. Your gifts and your talents were given to you by God to glorify God and to serve him with. Which means that the first thing you ought to ask about your talents in your life is, God, what purpose did you give me these for and how can I serve you and your kingdom with these?

It means that if you do not do that, even if you are a person who is in church all the time, you know, all the Bible verses, you keep all the 10 commandments, you're a good person and you never break any of the laws, you are stealing from God by not taking your talents and saying, God, what is your purpose for these and how do I use these for the purposes for which you gave them to me? Jesus told a story about three servants who were given different units of money by their master. To the one, the master gives, let's say, $5,000.

To one, he gives $3,000 and to one, he gives $1,000. He leaves and goes on a long journey and tells them, I want you to invest this for me and multiply it. So the guy, when he comes back, the guy who had $5,000 has turned it into $10,000. Jesus, the master, says, well done, good and faithful servant, that's exactly what I wanted. The one who had $3,000 turns it into $6,000.

The master says, well done, good and faithful servant. You get to the one who had the $1,000, he's actually buried it. He was so afraid of losing it that he didn't want to take a chance with it, so he just buried it. He buried it and the master said, okay, what do you have for me? And he digs back up this money and gives him back $1,000 just like he'd received.

What's always struck me and made me shudder in my core is the master's response to that servant is, you wicked servant. Because I read that and I think, what wicked thing had he done? I mean, he didn't like take the money and go out and get prostitutes or party or gamble with it.

He didn't embezzle it. What wicked, he gave him back $1,000. What wicked thing had he done? See, what Jesus was saying is, evidently, there is more than one way to be wicked. You can be wicked by breaking all the 10 commandments, adultery, stealing, murder. We would call that being wicked by sins of commission. But you can also be wicked by failing to leverage your talents for the purposes of God. If the first is a sin of commission, the second one is a sin of omission.

Let that sink in for a minute. You can keep all the commandments. You can come to church all the time.

You can tithe your money and still be thought of by Jesus as wicked because you commandeered the talents that God gave you for his purposes and you used them for your own. You were a model church member. You never did anything wrong.

You never broke any laws. But God simply sees you as wicked because you didn't offer your talents back like a blank check to God and say, God, what do you want to do with these? Why did you give me this? How do I serve your kingdom and your purposes with these? We often say here at the Summit Church that one of the biggest myths at work in the church today is that only a few of us are called to ministry and the rest of us are supposed to be good, keep the commandments, come to church, and tithe. I tell you that, I always say this, the calling to leverage your life and your talents for the great commission was included in the call to follow Jesus. Matthew 4 19, Jesus said, follow me and I will make you a fish or a man. Which means when you accepted Jesus, you accepted the call to leverage what he gave you for his purposes. So we say the question is not if you're called.

The question now is just where and how. All followers of Jesus, all of us, are supposed to lay down our talents, whatever God gave us before him, and say, what do you want me to do with these? And to not do that is stealing from your master. You're taking a consecrated thing and you're using it for your own end, just like Belshazzar did. Here's the second place that Scripture says we steal consecrated vessels from God with your resources specifically. The prophet Malachi said it this way, Malachi 3 10, will a man rob God?

And yet you say, God says through Malachi, yet you say, how have we robbed you? God's answer, by not giving the tithe to me, says the Lord. You see, of all that God gave to you, he says, Old Testament, beyond, that you and I were to give at least the first 10% back to God, he had consecrated that for himself, and to not do that, God considers stealing, misappropriation, just like Belshazzar did with the temple vessels. You are misusing a consecrated thing. Let me give you one more way that we do this, sexual sin. Sexual sin, to use someone else for sexual gratification outside the ways that God has prescribed, God considers stealing, misusing a consecrated thing. I know that because the word that the apostle Paul uses in 1 Thessalonians 4 six to describe sexual sin is a bank accounting term, defrauding. He says, do not defraud one another sexually.

You see, the body is a sacred thing, it's made in the image of God for the believer, it is the temple of the Lord. And he made sex as something to be given and experienced within the safety of the context of a lifelong covenant between two people. And when you use somebody else for sexual pleasure, when you take that relationship, take that reality, that beautiful thing out of that covenant relationship, and you use someone else for your sexual pleasure, you are taking a precious thing and using it for your own gratification, and God considers that very serious.

No less serious than what Belshazzar is doing here. The writer of Hebrews says it this way, marriage is honorable in all and the bed is undefiled. God celebrates it, but those who engage in sexual immorality, God will judge.

When you look at pornography, you are defrauding that girl or guy of her dignity. You are using what God intended and set apart to be holy and sacred, you are using it as an object of personal pleasure, and that's serious. I might even say more serious than what Belshazzar is doing. Belshazzar here, of course, has taken that sin to an even greater degree because concubines, of course, were sex slaves. So now he is taking this precious holy thing by force without even the consent of the person he's having sex with.

Sexual abuse is one of the most damaging things, if not the most damaging thing, that you could ever do to somebody. You're taking something that God considers holy and precious by force and using it for your own pleasure. Belshazzar's story gives you a warning of how serious that God takes this. See, all this is three examples.

There could be many, many more. You see, the apostle Paul said that in whatever we do, we should do all to the glory of God. That's why we exist. And anything that we do that is not first and foremost done as an act of worship to him is stealing because everything should be done to the glory of God. And to not use every part of our body and not use our talents for God's purposes and for his glory is to steal the consecrated thing and misuse it for our pleasure, just like Belshazzar did. So see, those two things, failing to worship God as God and serve him above all things, and number two, commandeering God's consecrated things for your own purposes is something, or we agreed, that we're all guilty of.

I mean, those two things describe the majority of my life. And so that's why I would say that handwriting on the wall is for all of us. Our days are numbered. It is appointed unto you, once to die, and to me. We have been weighted on the balance, and we have been found deficient. How can any of us hope to survive the divine judgment? How can we think that there's more good works on our side than bad works? We have been weighed on the divine.

What if we weighed your life on the divine scales this morning with just those two things I put out there? Have you loved and served God above all things throughout your life? Has he always had the first place in your heart? Have you always obeyed him more than anything else? Have you used your time and your resources and your talents that God gave you for his glory and for his purposes, or have you used them for yours?

If the answer to those questions is not an emphatic and unqualified yes, then the judgment of that last word is for you also. Parson, your kingdom, your life will be taken from you. For what is Scripture's verdict on all of us?

What is it? In the Book of Romans, Paul declares, there's none righteous. No, not one. There's nobody who survives those divine scales, not even one. There's no one who understands, no one who seeks God. For all have turned aside. Altogether, they have become worthless.

No one does good, not even one. For all have sinned, and all fall short of the glory of God, and the wages of sin is death. This is the writing on the wall for all of us. Number four, the finger of God has appeared to this generation. The finger of God has appeared to this generation. Maybe you're sitting there saying, all right, J.D., that's cool and everything, but the severed hand that appears and carves the divine message into the plaster of a wall? I mean, first, that seems a little far fetched.

Second, how is that even relevant to me? I mean, if I was at a keg party and I saw a floating hand that carved a message for me, I'm pretty sure I'd pay attention to. See, that's where you need to see the bigger point of this story. There is some divine imagery at work here that you need to pick up on. You see, this was not the first time that the finger of God had appeared in Scripture. First time, Exodus 8, 19. The Egyptian magicians in Pharaoh's court have managed to mimic the first two plagues.

Abraham, the first one, I mean, it's not Abraham. Moses comes in, he's got this rod, he throws it down, turns it into a snake. Well, the Egyptians have this little trick rod that they could make it look like they had that power, too. But then in Exodus 8, Moses raises the stakes, and this time he throws his staff into the dust, and as the dust poofs up, it turns into gnats and flies. And from there, gnats and flies cover the face of the land. And the Egyptian magicians kind of step back, well, we can't do that.

I mean, create an optical illusion where it looks like a staff turns into a snake is one thing, but this, creating gnats out of dust, that's something on an entirely different level. And so they tell Pharaoh privately, Exodus 8, 19, like, hey, this is the finger of God. This is the finger of God.

We can't do this. Second place you see the finger of God is when Moses gives the 10 commandments. Moses tells the people in Exodus 31 that these commandments were literally etched into stone by the finger of God. In other words, Moses is like, there's no part of Moses in these commands.

These are not my opinions. God didn't tell me what to write. He did it himself. His finger etched it into these tablets. So here's what that means.

Listen to this. The finger of God indicates a power that only God has or a direct communication from God himself with no human messenger to filter it, which makes Jesus's claim to be the finger of God very significant. Jesus did miracles that nobody else could do. He healed the blind.

He walked on the water. He raised the dead, raised himself from the dead. And so in Luke 11, 20, he said that these miracles prove that the finger of God was at work among them. He claimed that to hear his voice was to hear the voice of God directly, not translated through a prophet. But if you've seen me, Thomas, you've seen the father.

If you've heard me, Thomas, you've heard the father. In Romans 12, the apostle Paul says that God, through Christ, engraved God's law into the plaster of our hearts, just like the hand in Daniel 5 wrote God's word into the plaster of Belshazzar's palace. By the Spirit, God brings changes into our lives that only he can make. My point is, in the person of Jesus, the finger of God has appeared to this generation. He appeared to us.

He was verified through prophecy and miracles and most of all, his resurrection. And these show you that God is speaking to this generation, just like this mysterious hand. He was communicating to Belshazzar. In Jesus, we are given a message that was just as serious as what Belshazzar received.

Here's the question. Are you going to listen? Are you going to listen? Belshazzar stood there and did not listen and that very night he died.

Are you going to listen? Let me offer a conclusion for those of you who are not yet Christians, those of you who are not yet fully surrendered followers of Jesus Christ, I'm going to offer you a conclusion and then I'm going to draw a conclusion from this passage for those of you who are already fully surrendered Christians. For those of you who are not yet fully surrendered Christians, mene, mene, your days are numbered.

Y'all, Belshazzar had a rare gift. He was told the day that he was going to die. Friends, you may not know that yet, friends, you may not know that day, but your death is just as certain as his. It is appointed unto you, says the Lord. It is appointed.

There's a day on the schedule. It is appointed unto you once to die. And after that, immediately, the judgment.

It's as sure as anything has ever been sure in your life. You will stand before God to give an account, tackle. You've been measured. You've been found deficient. All of us weighed on the divine scales of God's justice are going to come up deficient. Charles Spurgeon concluded his message on this passage.

This way, listen. I would have every man put himself into these divine scales. These scales are true to a hair. True to a hair.

One grain of sand will tip them on one side of the scale. I'll just put one commandment. Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy soul, with all thy strength. Just that one command. And I would invite any man who flatters himself that he has no need of mercy, no need of washing in the blood of Jesus Christ, no need of atonement, who thinks he is good enough to get to heaven on their own. I would invite him or her to put himself into the scales and see whether he measures up to just this one command.

You see that? We're putting this one command here. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.

And then we put you. And I'm telling you, not one of us is going to say, yes, I keep that command enough. Spurgeon continued, oh, my friends, if we did but weigh ourselves against the very first commandment of the law, we would have to acknowledge ourselves as hopelessly guilty. But then, as we begin to drop in the weight of the other commandments, until the whole sacred 10 are there, there is not a man under the scope of heaven who has anything left to say but must confess that he is woefully short of the market. For all have sinned and all fallen short of the glory of God.

They've all together become unprofitable. We've all turned aside and gone our own way. The wages of sin is not worth our own way. The wages of sin is death. If you marked iniquities, who could stand? And one day, you and I are going to give an account to an absolutely holy and perfect God for every unkind thing, every stray thought, every dishonest action that we've ever taken.

Your days are numbered and you have been weighed in the balance and found deficient. Some of you say, well, I don't like a God of judgment like this. Don't you see? Don't you see how he is reaching out to you in mercy, he did Belshazzar, how he has filled your life with warning after warning. He doesn't want you to perish.

He wants you to repent and come back to him. See in Jesus' words, hear in his words and see in his works the finger of God pointing at you. You see, the core of Jesus' message was that you can never be good enough to get to heaven.

You can never be righteous enough to tip the scales in our favor. So what Jesus offered to you was substitution. He offered to take divine judgment in your place.

He did not come to coach you in how to be a better person. He came to take your place under divine judgment because you couldn't be a good enough person. He lived the life that you were supposed to live, a perfect life. And then he died the death that you were condemned to die in your place, paying the price for your sin. And so when you receive him onto your side of the scales, God puts the righteousness of Christ. And on the other side, he takes away every bit of condemnation that came from your sin because he paid for it on the cross so that there's nothing left on that side of the scale. That means that if you're in Christ or when it comes to the scales of God's justice, you're no longer deficient.

Oh, no, no, no, you are eternally sufficient because nothing in all of eternity could ever tip the scales of justice against you because on your side is the eternally weighty righteousness of Christ. That's the conclusion. That's the conclusion for those of you who are not yet Christians.

That's what's available to you. You see, there's something in here for believers too. Daniel wrote this book for Israelites who were discouraged in Babylon because it's easy to get discouraged in Babylon, isn't it? Because everywhere you look, Babylonians are in charge, and they're partying, and we see them getting away with all kinds of blasphemy and injustice and cruelty.

They sin with impunity. And those Israelites in Daniel's day were saying, has God forgotten us? You and me and our day would say, you know, it's been 2,000 years since Jesus was here. Is he gone forever? There were Israelites there in Daniel five who, like Daniel, had lived their whole lives under captivity, and many were wondering, is God still in charge? Is God still in charge?

Does he even remember us? This chapter is a resounding yes to that question. The days of wickedness are numbered, and the true king, the true king soon will return, and when that king returns, he will restore justice and take us home soon to the promised land so that we can spend eternity with God. Our hope is in that day. Our hope is in that king, and that hope gives us strength to not only survive as exiles but to shine as exiles in our very dark and hostile Babylon. Who can stop the Lord? Our God is a lion. Our God is a lion. He is victorious. Who can stop the Lord Almighty? Nobody, nobody, not you, not Nebuchadnezzar, not Babylon, not today, not tomorrow, not cancer, not Joe Biden, not Donald Trump, not Kim Jong, whatever his name is in North Korea. Nobody stops the Lord. And this chapter tells you, friends, beloved believers, yes and for God.

So do any of those words describe you right now? Let today serve as both a cautionary tale as well as an invitation to a better way. You're listening to Pastor J.D.

Greer on Summit Life. We are in a brand new teaching series titled The Book of Daniel, Shining in Babylon. To hear this message again or to catch up on previous messages in this study, visit us online at While you're on the website, you'll also see our featured monthly resource. This month, it's a Bible study workbook titled the same as our teaching series, The Book of Daniel, Shining in Babylon. Ask for our newest Bible study when you donate at the suggested amount of $35 or more. Call 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220.

Or request the workbook when you visit us at I'm Molly Vidovitch inviting you to join us again Thursday. Pastor J.D.

finally arrives at the most famous story in the world, finally arrives at the most famous story in the book of Daniel, The Lion's Den. So join us there as we continue our study here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-21 18:29:01 / 2023-05-21 18:39:28 / 10

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