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Saints in a Secular Society

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
October 19, 2020 8:00 am

Saints in a Secular Society

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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October 19, 2020 8:00 am

You've probably heard it said that Christians are supposed to be "in the world, but not of the world." In this lesson, Dr. Tony Evans explains why that balancing act is often so difficult and talk about ways to keep our feet firmly planted in the kingdom.

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If your kids get to vote while they're in your house or whether they go to church, you are an embarrassment to the kingdom of God.

They don't get a vote. Dr. Tony Evans talks about preparing our kids to be saints in a secular society. Your job, mothers and fathers, is to stamp your children with God so that when they go to Babylon, their name has already been stamped on them. This is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of The Urban Alternative. No matter how much we try to protect our kids, sooner or later they'll come face to face with the world's value system and start feeling the pressure to conform to it.

Let's join Dr. Evans as he talks about how we can get them prepared. You and I are no longer living in the same country that your mother gave birth to you in. You and I are witnessing at warp speed the devolution of a nation. You're watching the unraveling of a culture spiritually. While there's always been evil, always been sinful people, always been bad things, they used to be called that.

I regularly hear on television, they will talk about the opinions of the people are shifting, that they no longer view things as they used to view them. The great tragedy is that the opinions of Christians are shifting with them, as though God checks with polls before he decides what is legit versus illegitimate. So how are saints to function in a secular culture, in what we might call a post-Christian era?

How are saints to function in a secular society? And as long as we keep church in the four walls, that's fine. But the moment you try to be Christian out there, you now become a problem. This was the situation in the book of Daniel. Verse 2 says, The Lord gave Jehoakim king of Judah into his hand, that is, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar is the king of Babylon.

Babylon is a secular society, a pagan society led by a man named Nebuchadnezzar. When God's people rebelled against God, he turned them over to secularism. That's where the story unfolds. He turns them over. He takes the vessels from the house of God. He invades the church. He brings them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his God. So the secular God takes over the Christian God. Then the king makes an order.

Verse 3 to Ashpenaz, the chief of the officials, to bring some of the sons of Israel, the creme de la creme, cream of the crop, including some from the royal family and the nobles, youth, teenagers, in whom there was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding, discerning knowledge, who had the ability for serving in the king's court, and he ordered him to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. In other words, let's get the next generation. Let's reshape their thinking into who we are, not where they came from. Let's get church up out of them. Let's get their God away from them, and let's reorient them. So how do they do that? The first thing they do is isolate them from their spiritual heritage. They remove them from Israel, from the house of God, to Babylon, to the house of idols, and they relocate them in order to reeducate them. Now if you're going to a Babylonian school located in a Babylonian city by Babylonian teachers teaching Babylonian literature, then you're going to start to think like a Babylonian.

You're going to start to think like the culture's influence on you. And then let's add a little something something to it. Let's entertain them.

Verse 5, the king appointed for them a daily ration of the king's choice food and the wine which the king drank. And then let's do something else. Let's rename them. Their names coming out of Israel, verse 6, was Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. But we're going to rename them, and look at the names. The names are Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. In other words, they're all Babylonian names.

We're going to give you a secular name, because you're part of this secular culture. So right now, we have to raise the question, why did they have to change the guy's names? Why can't you just call them what their mama called them? Why they got to change their name?

So let's learn a little Hebrew right now. Two of the Hebrew boys' names back home, when they were born and their mamas named them, was Daniel and Mishael. Please notice that those two names end with El. The other two, Hananiah and Azariah, their names end with Iah.

So now we learn a little bit about their mama and their daddy, because they're the ones who named them. The ones whose name begins or ends with El, El is the Old Testament word for Elohim, God. It's the singular of the plural.

In the beginning, Elohim created the heavens and the earth. That's plural, because God is plural in His person. It's a majestic plural. God is three persons composed of one God, or making one God, three different persons, making the singular God Elohim.

But if you just want a designated singular, God said, let us make man plural, then He said He made man singular. So you can make Elohim the plural God, or you can use El. Iah, I-A-H is Yah, Hallelujah.

Hallelu means praise, Yah means God. So those two boys were named after Jehovah, which is God's self-revealing name. So now we learn a little bit about these four boys, mama and daddy. They wanted these boys to be baptized with God's name, so that they could never get away from God.

Because every time you called their name, they had to be reminded of El or Iah. They had to be reminded that they had a God stamp on them. Your job, mothers and fathers, is to stamp your children with God, so that when they go to Babylon, their name has already been stamped on them. That they can't go, any time you say, Daniel, Azariah, Mishael, any time they were called God, God, God, I keep bumping into God. Now I know some of your kids are fussing that you make them go to church.

I understand that. But the reason why you should be making them go to church, if they get a vote, you a bad parent. If your kids get to vote, while they're in your house, on whether they go to church, you are an embarrassment to the Kingdom of God. They don't get a vote. You didn't ask them to vote whether they go to public school on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, just because they don't like school. Why?

Because you know that an education is essential to their well-being and being productive in an American capitalistic society. Well, if they don't get to vote on eight hours a day, five days a week, how do they get to vote on two hours once a week? My father never gave me a vote.

Do you want to go to church today? Not unless I lied and pretended like I was sick. And even then, I had to prove it. They don't get that vote.

Why? Because when Babylon captures them in college, when Babylon captures them in society, when Babylon captures them by media, you want to make sure they got an L or an I on their name. In fact, the only reason some of us are in church today is because Mama made you go to church, you got all misdirected at Babylon, but you couldn't get away from L and I. And so God had something to reel you back in on.

You should be not only saying go, but what did you learn and what were you taught? And let's review it, let's memorize it, and let's rehearse it, and let's have devotions on it, because when Babylon gets them, it's going to try to rename them. And look at the names. The names are Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. In other words, they're all Babylonian names, because they're trying to babble. Let's forget this L, let's forget this I, you're now in Babylon.

We're going to give you a secular name, because you're part of this secular culture. But Daniel made up in his mind he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with the wine which he drank. Daniel says, I got my limitations. But Daniel made up in his mind, that is, he established a boundary. Have you established a boundary for your kids?

In fact, have you established a boundary for you on your job? But Daniel. Now, what exactly was Daniel thinking when he set up in his mind, come on Daniel, what's wrong with eating food at the king's table? Got to eat somewhere, the king going to take you to lunch.

What's the problem? Remember, Daniel's last name is, last part of Daniel's name is El, E-L, God. I can tell you what Daniel was thinking. Because see, he's raised in a theocentric, theistic, God-centered environment. He's probably 15 or 16 years old when we read about him in Babylon. So he's had 15 or 16 years being raised in the house of God by a family that wanted him to remind him that he belonged to God, that was instilling him with God.

He had that, and I know exactly what he's thinking. He's thinking Exodus 34 verses 14 and 15. For you shall not worship any other God, for the Lord whose name is jealous is a jealous God.

He doesn't like competition. Otherwise, verse 15, you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice. Stay with us. Dr. Evans will come back in a moment with more about how Daniel kept his spiritual identity intact. There are songs about togetherness, standing side by side, united. We hear a lot about unity, but no one really knows what unity truly is or the power of oneness in Christ united. In his guided prayers and new devotional book, Stronger Together, Weak or Apart, powerful prayers to unite us in love. Dr. Tony Evans shows you how unity is key to spiritual victory and how standing with others in prayer leads to a stronger and impactful life and nation. Find out more about Stronger Together, Weak or Apart at Stronger Together, Weak or Apart is such a powerful book, we'd like you to have a copy as our way of saying thanks when you support Tony's ministry with a financial contribution. And for a limited time, along with the book, we'll also include all 14 lessons in Tony's current two-volume teaching series, Turning a Nation to God. When you make the arrangements online at, you can instantly download the digital copies while we send the CDs and book your way. Just visit today or call us day or night at 1-800-800-3222 and let one of our resource team members help you.

That's 1-800-800-3222. I'll repeat that information for you after part two of today's lesson. Daniel googled food in a foreign land. Up pops Exodus chapter 34 verses 14 and 15. I am a jealous God and in the foreign land they're going to try to feed you food that had been sacrificed to a foreign God and then ask you to come eat with them. You ought to be smart enough Daniel to know this food is not just about eating. This food is about fellowshipping around that God because we've already been told in verses one and two that He took out of the house of God and brought into His house that served His God. He knew the food had been offered to God, so He knew to fellowship around the food was not just to eat, it was to fellowship with Babylon's God.

Watch out when they invite you out to dinner. No, it may not only be about food, like people who do business deals around food. They call you a let's have lunch to discuss the deal. Daniel knew let's have food to discuss the God. He knew that this was about eating, about idolatry, about the worship of another God. And I hope you understand that's what the culture is offering you today in the name of secularism, in the name of political correctness. What they're offering you is another God. He would not eat the king's food, but He did take the king's job. Because God is not asking you to isolate yourself from the culture. I mean, you've got to work somewhere.

You've got to earn money doing something. He even wind up going to the king's school for three years. He went to a secular university. The issue is not did he go to a secular university, it's did he lose his identity in a secular university. The issue is not that he worked on a secular job, the issue is did he lose his identity on the secular job in which he worked. Problem is not that he worked that job, the issue is that the job didn't work him. Daniel said, I've got my limitations.

I'm going to work for you, I'm going to do good for you, the company's going to benefit because I'm here and working hard and being productive, but you have to understand I have my boundaries. Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the command of the officials. Everybody wants God's favor, God's compassion, God's blessing when they've made absolutely no commitment. They haven't said, I'm taking my stand with God and then see now God.

We want to see God now and we want to be blessed first and then we promise what we're going to commit after we get blessed. That's called backwards Christian soldiers. Daniel takes a stand by Daniel and then you see God show up, now God. God bless me on my job when nobody knows you're a Christian but you. Remember the verse? The verse says, I am a jealous God. So whenever we join the world and then still expect God's blessing, that's a contradiction. You can't join the world that's offering you a competitive God and at the same time say, Lord bless me. Every Sunday people come to church, I want my blessing. When they go out on Monday, they eat the food of another God. Verse 8 comes before verse 9.

I don't miss this, don't miss this, don't miss this. It says, but Daniel made up his mind. God didn't make up his mind for him. God's not going to make the decision for you. He will honor the decision if it's the right one made but he will not make the decision for you because then you're no longer the free agent he created you to be but he will respond to the right decision. You're saying, God bless me in my career and God's trying to see whether you've made up your mind.

Are you taking him into that career or you just want him to bless you even though you're going to forget him in your career? This is radical stuff. It used to not be radical stuff because a lot of the people that were around you were like you. Now you will find yourself, like Daniel and the three Hebrew boys, the odd man out.

To make up your mind and not go with the crowd and not be politically correct, you're going to find yourself the odd ball. Let me tell you now, when you don't go with what's politically correct, when you won't go the way of the crowd, when you seek to be a Daniel in a Babylon and still retain the L on your name. I ain't talking about going to church. I'm talking about not compromising with the standards of God in order to be accepted by the culture. Oh, but I love verse 9 because verse 9 says, now God, after we get a but Daniel. So give God a but Betty, a but Ralph, a but Ruth, a but James, and let's see what a now God looks like. Let's see what now God looks like when he sees you have made up your mind. Student, when you go to that secular university, let's see what God can do with you when he sees you've made up your mind.

And then he comes in on the back end saying, now I can do something with that, because I understand that you've made a decision for me in a secular society. America is primed for decline. You're watching a generation without conscience. I hope you're seeing all this stuff that you're seeing kids doing at younger and younger age is because they have no conscience. They don't have a sense of this is wrong, this is shameful.

They don't feel that bad about it. Because all the systems out there has made it sound like it's okay, and everybody's doing it, and you don't have to feel bad about it. And it's no longer sinful. It's no longer evil. It's no longer something you should refrain from. It's no longer something you should say, that's not right. Yeah, I did it and it was wrong.

It's now the end thing. Yes, you are going to look weird because you're living in a culture that says it's no longer weird. So you're going to look strange when you make up your mind that that's not how I roll, because I got L on the back of my name, or Aya on the back of my name. And how did you get L on the back of your name and Aya on the back of your name? And then you can say, let me tell you about my mama and my daddy. They named me this and every time I looked up, it was God this and God that and Jesus this and Jesus that, and the Bible this and the Bible that. Yeah, your kid's not going to like it. It's going to get on your nerves. But when Babylon tries to own them, you've given them a name to remember and something to reel them back in if they depart, train up a child in the way he should go.

And when he is old, he will not depart from. You will give God a fishing reel and a line to reel them back in on. So don't think you're wasting your time when you pray with them and pray for them and ask them, what did you learn in Sunday school and have devotions with them? I know they're falling asleep. I know they're not paying attention.

I know it looks like they're not interested. But if you give them L on the back of their name, Aya on the back of their name, you have given them something for God to use when Babylon takes over. Dr. Evans will come back in a moment to wrap up our time together with a final word of encouragement. First, though, there's a lot more to today's lesson than we had time to present on the air. So check with us for details on getting a full length copy of the message called Saints in a Secular Society. Better yet, get it as a part of Tony's current two volume compilation, Turning a Nation to God.

It contains 14 of his hardest hitting lessons on what it means to be a citizen of heaven living on earth. And as I mentioned earlier, if we hear from you right away, you can get all these messages on CD and digital download, as well as a copy of Tony's book, Stronger Together, Weaker Apart. This entire resource package is our way of saying thanks when you make a contribution to the ministry of the alternative. So get in touch before this special offer runs out.

Just give us a call at 1-800-800-3222 and one of our resource team members will help you make the arrangements. Or visit us online at From the ancient Greeks to Shakespeare to Mark Twain, it's been said that clothes make the man. Tomorrow, we'll discover there's actually a biblical basis to that age old cliché when Pastor Jonathan Evans brings us a special message.

Right now though, Tony is back to close today's program. And so what is God calling us to be? He's calling us to be saints in a secular society. He's calling us to go against the grain when the grain is going against God. Because that system out there is sophisticated. Nebuchadnezzar has got this thing organized to keep God out, to redefine value systems, to redefine morality, to redefine order, to redefine. That system has been set up to own you. That is unless you know your name. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative and is made possible by the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-03 19:58:26 / 2024-02-03 20:07:11 / 9

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