There was a Pastor, who after the usual Sunday Evening Hymns, stood up, walked over to the pulpit and, before he gave his sermon for the evening, briefly introduced a guest minister who was in service that evening. In the introduction, the Pastor told the congregation that the guest minister was one of his dearest childhood friends and that he wanted him to have a few moments to greet the church and share whatever he felt would be appropriate for the service. With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit and began to speak.
"A father, His son, and a friend of his were sailing off of the Pacific Coast," He began, "When a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright and the three were swept into the ocean as the boat capsized. The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story. The aged minister continued with his story, "Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life: to which boy he would throw the other end of the lifeline. He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian and he also knew that his son’s friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves. "As the father yelled out, ‘I love you son!’ He threw out the lifeline to his son’s friend.
By the time the father had pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beneath the raging swells into the black of the night. His body was never recovered." By this time, the two teenagers were sitting up straight in the pew, anxiously waiting for the next words to come out of the old minister’s mouth. "The father," he continued knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus and could not bear the thought of his son’s friend stepping into eternity without Jesus.
Therefore, he sacrificed his son to save his son’s friend… With that the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room. The Pastor again walked slowly to the pulpit and delivered a brief sermon… Within minutes after the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old man’s side.
"That was a nice story," Politely stated the boys, "But I don’t think it was realistic for a father to give up his son’s life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian." "Well, you’ve got a point there," the old man replied glancing down at the worn Bible. A big smile broadened his narrow face, he once again looked up at the boys and said, "It sure isn’t realistic, is it? But I’m standing today to tell you that the story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up His only son for me. You see… I was the father and your Pastor was my son’s friend."
You see that old minister had Faith, He had what all of us as Christians should have and that is an unshakeable faith. As Christians we all have faith, but we don’t all have an unshakeable faith. Our subject for this morning is about "Having Faith In The Fire." What is faith? In Hebrews chapter 11 verse 1 it says, that "faith is the substance of things hoped for. That it is the evidence of things not seen." In 1 John chapter 3 verse 23 it tells us that faith is commanded. It says, "And this is His commandment, that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." Let us turn to Daniel chapter 3 verses 14-26: [Then] Nebuchadnezzar said to them. Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image which I set up? 15 Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, dulcimer, or bagpipe, and every kind of music to fall down and worship the image which I have made, very good. But if you do not worship, you shall be cast at once into the midst of a burning fiery furnace, and who is that god who can deliver you out of my hands? 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, it is not necessary for us to answer you at this point. 17 If our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up! 19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury and his facial expression was changed [to antagonism] against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Therfore he commanded that the furnace should be heated seven times hotter than it was usually heated. 20 And he commanded the strongest men in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these [three] men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics or undergarmets, their turbans, and their other clothing, and they were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame and sparks from the fire killed those men who handled Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the burning fiery furnace. 24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king [saw and] was astounded, and he jumped up and said to his counselors, Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered, True, O king. 25 He answered, Behold, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt! And the form of the fourth is like a son of the gods! 26 The Nebuchadnezzar came near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you servants of the Most High God, come out and come here. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the midst of the fire.