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Message Monday: Disciplines of Devotion : Discipline 1 Resolute Faith

17 Jul

Intro:Related image

  • One of the most striking parts of the SBC Annual meeting that we attended was the commissioning service for IMB missionaries.
    • Since the IMB has come to the point where they can increase the number of missionaries we saw around twenty individuals be set apart for service on the mission field.
    • As each of the missionaries stood in front of the packed convention hall, they shared a brief testimony of how God clarified their calling and drew them onto the mission field.
    • Over half of them had to share their testimony in the shadows due to security concerns about the locations they would go to serve.
    • The convention, missionaries, and the IMB president David Platt all participated in a responsive reading.
    • That reading continue to bring up the fact that these missionaries were willing to give up their lives to share the gospel with the nations.
    • Then as a finale for the commissioning service each missionary follow a banner with their place of service listed into the audience. There we prayed for them.

Hook:

  • Our SBC missionaries are inspiring because they were so willing to give up their lives to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others.
  • Imagine just for a moment, instead of a stirring commissioning service held freely in a nation that protects and preserves our religious liberty, that you stand watching a commissioning of four missionaries to a nation that had imprisoned them a prison-like government barracks.
  • Far from the stirring rhetoric and moving symbols we saw at the SBC, these missionaries are retrained, renamed, all with the hope to replace their stubborn beliefs in the one true and living God.
  • If your nation had been defeated, if you had been taken captive, and if your captors were doing everything they could to eradicate your belief in God; what would your thoughts gravitate towards?
    • Would you set yourself apart to be a witness for your God?
    • Or would you under the tremendous pressure, choose to turn away from your God to serve the most convenient idol or king?
  • Today as we look at the first discipline of a devoted life, we will see Daniel and his friends be commissioned to be God’s witnesses in captivity.

Message Points:

  • Time will not permit us to go into a detailed introduction into the book of Daniel today, however a few points seem wise.
    • Daniel as a book has two major sections chapters 1-6 which record the narratives that will be our focus for a number of Sundays in the summer, and then the prophetic chapters 7-12, which we will return to later.
    • Because of the accuracy of prophetic chapters there has been much debate over whether Daniel wrote the book bearing his name or another later writer wrote using Daniel’s name.
    • Unless we believe that God cannot inspire human writers to author prophecy about the future, there is no reason to believe that Daniel or one of his fellow Jews did not write this book sometime after 537 and before the events prophesied.
    • Daniel is also one of a few books in the Old Testament to contain chapters in Hebrew and Aramaic.
      • Because Aramaic was so widely read in the Babylonian and Persian empire, it can be assumed that portions of the book were intended to be read by individuals other than Jews.
      • The Hebrew portions frame the middle core of the book.
  • With these facts in mind, we begin with chapter 1 of Daniel. This chapter has three distinct parts each of which will be a point in today’s message.
    • Verses 1:1-7 describe how Daniel and his friends become captives of Babylon.
    • Verses 1:8-16 describe the discipline of a resolute faith.
    • And Verses 1:17-21 describes the results of a resolute faith.
  • Daniel opens with the first fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians recorded in 2 Kings 24. Historically this occurred around 605 BC.
  • READ verses 1:1-7.
    • Note with me several verses.
    • Verse 2 says that the Lord gave Jehoiakim into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar along with the vessels of the house of God.
      • It seem reasonable to assume then that though Nebuchadnezzar commanded the deportation of Daniel and his friends that the Lord is the one who gave them into his hand.
    • Verse 4-5 are also important.
      • They were to learn the literature and language of the Chaldeans.
      • This reference is to the people group in Babylon and the astrology they were famous for practicing.
      • It is similar to the way we attach the name of a school as an adjective to the wisdom they teach like: Harvard Law.
      • Notice as well that they were to receive a portion of the king’s food and his wine.
      • Finally notice that he changes their dames to correspond to His pagan beliefs.
        • Daniel’s new name Belteshazzar means “may Bel protect his life.”
        • Shadrack means “I am fearful of god.”
        • Meshach means “I am of little account.”
        • And Abednego means “servant of the shining one”
  • So here is our 1st point: CULTURE CAPTIVATES IN ORDER TO CONFORM.
    • Fathers, this is an especially important point for you to hear this morning, because you cannot outsource to our American culture or to random chance the development of your family.
      • Your home has a culture that holds captive those who live or visit you there.
      • You should not be surprised fathers when you notice that your positive and negative attitudes, passions, hobbies, and habits becoming commonplace in your home.
      • Either it will be a culture that helps your family to follow Christ or it will be a culture that compels them to reject Christ.
      • Ask yourself father, what type of culture you are creating in your home.
        • You may not like the culture you are creating.
        • I know I certainly do always like the culture I create.
        • And I notice it most often when I see my children emulate my bad habits.
      • You father, as the spiritual leader God has ordained in your home have the responsibility and privilege for setting the direction.
      • But fathers, do not think that you have to be super spiritual.
      • The way you love your wife and help her in the home; the way you support your children and show up for them, the commitment to talk with your family about their lives, and the willingness to admit your mistakes all creates a God-honoring culture.
    • Christians, not just fathers need to hear this.
      • Our national culture will not compel us to be Christians.
      • Listen to Paul and James also make this point
        • 1 Corinthians 15:33 says “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
        • James 4:4 says “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?”
        • Both these New Testament writers are warning believers to be aware that culture captivates us to make us conform.
      • Whether it is SnapChat or CNN culture captivates our attention in order to conform us to the discussion or the dress, or the distractions as defined by others.
      • Christian it is our responsibility in the face of a captivating culture to provide a compelling case for Christ, like Daniel and his friend did.
  • Read verses 1:8-16.
    • While it has become popular to look at these verse and see nothing more than Daniel’s diet plan, let me assure you that God wants us to see so much more in this passage.
    • Notice a few things with me.
      • Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself.
      • The idea of resolving is a decision. It is a line in the sand from which he will not turn away from.
      • That line for Daniel was in taking the kings food and drink.
        • It was not the education of the Chaldeans, Daniel and his friends could weigh the Chaldean wisdom against God’s Word.
        • It was not in the new names, Daniel and his friends used them like titles in this foreign land.
      • To receive and eat the kings food and the kings wine was to admit friendship and more importantly dependence upon the king.
      • It was the admission of dependence upon the king that would defile Daniel and his friends.
      • So Daniel’s plan was to request, test, and see what was best.
  • This leads to our 2ND point: A RESOLUTE FAITH COMPELS US TO CHANGE.
    • Friends think about what resolute faith is.
    • Resolute faith is a turning away from selfishness and sin.
      • Put simply it is a turning away from my way of doing things and the world’s way of doing things.
      • The Bible calls this part of faith repentance. To repent is to turn away from a direction or a way that we have been going.
      • For Daniel, his repentance was to turn away from giving in and accepting whatever this foreign king wanted him to do.
      • Perhaps you are here today and have realized that you need to stop giving in to the culture around you and accepting what they offer as important.
      • If so, you are ready to repent.
    • Resolute faith is also a turning to belief in the true and living God of the bible.
      • Put simply, it is trusting that God’s way is better than my way.
      • We prove our belief in God, not by a profession alone, but by actually following Daniel’s plan of request, test, and see what’s best.
      • For Daniel, he believed that God was a better king and more dependable that Nebuchadnezzar. So he requested not to eat the king’s food, tested God’s ability to provide supernaturally, and then saw what was best.
      • Friends this is exactly what our salvation in Christ is like.
        • We request from God that he forgive us in Christ Jesus.
        • We test God’s ability to provide for us by following Christ.
        • And we can readily see by the change in our lives what is best.
      • Anytime we recognize that we have gone astray we can follow this same pattern.
      • 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 tells us that believers are new creations in Christ Jesus, now ambassadors for Christ.
        • In other words, we have changed from participants in the popular culture to witnesses of an eternal culture.
        • And all of this begins when we become resolute in the faith we profess.
      • Have you made that kind of decision today? Do you have a resolute faith? In just a few moments if you would like to talk more about a resolute faith, I will be at the front for the invitation or you can meet me at the door of the bridal room after service. Do not leave here today without making sure you have a resolute faith.
  • To end our message today let’s read 1:17-21.
    • Notice just a few things in this passage as well.
    • Verse 17 says God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom.
    • Also notice that verse 20 says the kings found them ten times better than all the other magi in his kingdom.
  • This is our 3RD POINT: A RESOLUTE FAITH FREES US TO DISPLAY GOD’S GLORY.
    • Because Daniel and his friends had a resolute faith in God, he chose to give them the opportunity to display to the kings of Babylon and Persia His glory.
    • If we are like Daniel and have a resolute faith, it will free us to display God’s glory to the culture all around us.
    • Can I tell you one way that we can do that?
      • We can do that by having a gospel conversation today.
      • A gospel conversation is engaging someone in a conversation with the intentional purpose of sharing the difference Christ can make with them.
      • Some of you will be going to visit a Father who is not a believer today. Why not talk with him?
      • Others of you will go out to eat with your family. Surely there will be someone you can talk with in the restaurant.
      • And the patterns of everyday life will resume tomorrow. Why not seek out a conversation each day in which you can share the difference Christ makes.
      • This is not a challenge to present a fifteen point gospel presentation. It is a challenge to brag on Jesus and how he has changed you.
    • The point is this, if you truly have a resolute faith, you will have freedom to give God the glory with your life.

Conclusion:

  • You may have heard it said that everyone is a missionary.
  • Today, I want to challenge you to make that statement true as we conclude our message today.
  • A missionary will have a resolute faith in the face of a captivating culture.
  • How will you display your resolute faith today?
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Posted by on July 17, 2017 in Ministry of the Word

 

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