"Don’t Let Anyone Change Your Name"
NLF 10/4/2001 Psalm 1:1-6 Acts 14:8-18 Text Daniel 1
Once we understand who we are, we can move through life much more successfully and avoid a lot of pitfalls in life. We would know which messages are for us and which ones are not. If I were out at the airport, and the announcement came over the speaker, would the pastor come to the front desk. I’d think, what pastor are they talking about and keep reading my book.
If the announcement was, would Pastor Rick come to the front desk. I might mosey over and see what this other Pastor Rick looked like. If the announcement said would Pastor Rick Gillespie-Mobley come to the front desk, I’d get up immediately and go to the front desk with the expectation that something was waiting for me at the front desk. Now if somebody had decided to change my name to Pastor BigHead, they could call it again and again, but I would not go over to that desk.
Why? Because I know my name, and simply because you decided to change it, does not mean that I have to accept it. There is something about knowing your name, because a name is powerful. Many of us have asked to use someone else’s name for a reference for a job or letter of recommendation. When we’ve got bad or little credit, a person’s name as a co-signer can help us to get something we couldn’t otherwise have. Names open doors and gain privileges. It is in the name of Jesus, that we are able to enter the presence of God and to make our requests known. There is something special about that name.
The Scriptures tell us that the disciples were first called Christians in Acts. It was meant as a derogatory term, in that they were being called little Messiahs, but the name stuck. Christians were expected to behave like Jesus Christ, since they carried his Name. If we understand that we are Christians and our primary name is child of God, then we should come to realize that many messages that come to us are not for us to receive.
Occasionally, the mail man may deliver a letter to your house with someone else’s name on it. The natural thing to do is to have him take the letter back the next day or drop it off at a mailbox. You don’t open the letter and read it, just to make sure that someone didn’t put your letter in the wrong envelope. Your name let’s you know that this was not for you.
Today on television, there are a whole lot of messages coming at us, but when we understand, my name is child of God, who you are, then you realize those messages are not for you and you should not open them. In our New Testament reading, they tried to change Paul and Barnabus’s names to Zeus and Hermes to make them believe they were gods. Paul and Barnabus would have nothing to do with it. They knew there names where child of God. They wanted nothing to do with the so called gods of this world.
When people ask us our sign, our name isn’t Taurus, or Gemini, or Sagittarius or whatever. Our sign is Jesus Christ, because He is the one that changes us, and determines the course of our lives. When we got saved, we got born again under the sign of the Lord of Lords and King of kings. We need to know who we are, so that we will know when to open the mail and when to send it back with the postman.
If I were to ask you, what did Mishael, Belteshazzer, Azariah and Hananiah do, most of you couldn’t tell me, even though you know the answer. The reason you couldn’t tell me, is that you don’t know them by that name. Somebody changed their names. When a person’s name is detached from what they have done, we don’t appreciate the person for all that has been accomplished by him or her.
Let’s turn in our Bibles to Daniel chapter 1. The history is that the children of God, the Israelites, have been taken away into captivity to the land of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar is king of Babylon, and he’s looking to take away the most promising of the captives, and put them to work for him. After all, if he could control the minds of the elite, the masses would be easier to control.
Look at Daniel 1:3-5 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility-- young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
I want you to notice how the king was only interested in the cream of the crop. His goal was not to educate them to help their own people, but to put them in his service. They were not to learn about their history or their literature, but that of the Babylonians. At the end of the three year period, they were to be more Babylonian than they ever had been Hebrew.
My friends, when God places you in a place to make a difference, make an honest difference for God. Don’t ever forget who you are, and where it is God has brought you from. You were raised up for just this particular time. There will always be some who will stand for God. Make sure you’re in that group regardless of the price, you’re going to have to pay.
Look at Dan 1:6-7 Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. Why is it that when the world wants us to do wrong, they want to change our names. When our boys get old enough to run the streets, their friends change their names. Slick, sly, fingers, hitman, ears, Bubba. They change the names of our girls. Hot mama, candy, foxy, easy, sweetie. The world knows that if they can get us to change our names, we can be made more easily to act out of character.
Why did the chief official give them new names. Well Daniel meant "God is my judge". Mishael meant, "who is what God is". Hananiah meant "the Lord shows grace". Azariah meant "the Lord helps." Each of their names were directly related to the God that they served It was too Hebraic for the chief official. How could he get them into his service without getting them away from their God. Well he gave them new names with God in it, but it wasn’t the same God that they had learned about at home.
Daniel’s new name Belteshazzer, had the Babylonian god Bel in it. Hananiah’s new name Shadrach and Mishael’s new name Meshach had the Sumerian moon-god in it. Azariah’s new name Abednego had the name of the god Nego in it. It’s something how Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stuck with the three, but the name Belteshazzer never quite stuck with Daniel. We all know Daniel as Daniel. Part of the reason may be found in the very next verse.
Dan 1:8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. It says Daniel resolved not to defile himself. He was the first to make this resolution. The problem with the food was that a portion of it had been offered to idols and some of the wine was poured on a pagan altar. Animals that God had told them not to eat were used and other animals were not prepared according to the regulations of the Jewish law.
The food on the other hand was the best in the land of Babylon. It looked good and probably tasted good. Everybody in the king’s training school was eating it. Well not quite everybody. Daniel made up his mind in advance to be true to his name which was God is my Judge. He was not going to defile himself by eating that which God had forbidden. He didn’t care how good it was, or if everybody else was doing it not.
Here is the key to walking a victorious life in Jesus Christ. You have got to make up your mind in advance not to defile yourself with whatever comes you way. There is not a situation you can come across that God can’t keep you from defiling yourself, if you have determined in advance not to be defiled. Daniel knew who he was and where he was going to stand, before the place of having to decide ever came up.
A man will not be faithful to his wife nor a wife to her husband, if he or she has not decided in advance to be faithful regardless of the cost. Those of you who are dating , young or old, if you have not made a decision together with each other openly not to participate in sexual sin, I guarantee you, it’s just a matter of time before you will. Some of you are being tempted by things on your job, if you don’t make up your mind not to be defiled, you are going to give in and you’re going to be sorry.
Your name is Christian, and that envelope you want to open does not have your name on it. That message telling you to use this, is not addressed to you. Know who you are. Don’t let somebody else change your name. Your name is "Forgiven don’t listen to the devil’s condemnation." Your name is "Set Free", you do not have to go back and start doing it all over again.
It took courage on Daniel’s part to make this decision. It was the equivalent of risking a free Ivy League education with all expenses paid just to remain faithful to God in this small area. Some of us would have said, oh God understands, and God I ask you to forgive me for breaking the law in this small area. But God you know I need this position. You know I need this money. You know I need this.
Saints, if Daniel had of done any of these things, there would have been no book of Daniel and certainly no story about Daniel in the lion’s den. As hard as it is to accept, there is no such thing as being unfaithful to God in just this small area. Unfaithfulness is unfaithfulness. Jesus said if we cannot be trusted in the small areas, then we must certainly cannot be trusted with much. What does your behavior say about who you are?
God doesn’t forsake us when we determine to stand firmly for him. Let us grow to the point in which we will be more willing to lose our possessions and our positions, before we lose our character. Sometimes we may lose what we have when we stand for God. Other times God may keep us in the same place.
We never know in advance which way things will come out, because we are called to walk by faith. Because God loves us, we should know that we should not try to keep anything that he does not want us to have. We never know which door God will open, unless we first reach out and take that step.
Daniel had no way of knowing what the chief official would do. But God already had a plan in mind. Look at 9-10 Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, "I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you."
Notice that God can move on anyone’s heart, anytime God wants to. God is in charge and he is always over the circumstances surrounding our lives. We may not know who we are, but God never forgets. God is constantly looking over us. It really didn’t matter to this official if Daniel took a stand for his God or not. He simply wasn’t going to get in trouble for something Daniel wanted to do in serving his God.
Now I want you to notice also that Daniel heard the official’s concern. He didn’t just say, well that’s the way it is and you’ll just have to deal with it. It’s possible for us to take a stand for the Lord, and then expect others to pay the cost for our decisions. That’s not faith, that’s arrogance. No as Christians we should always seek to pay our own way for the decisions that we make. Daniel came up with an alternative to allow the official to escape the fear of the king’s wrath.
Look at Dan 1:11-17 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, "Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see." So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.
Daniel and his three friends did all they could in this situation. They took a risk for God and they ate only the vegetables that had not been defiled. The rest however was left up to God to come and make a way for them. Their eating food in accordance with their beliefs was not going to make that much a difference in 10 days. But with the intervention of the Spirit of God, a tremendous change did take place.
They looked so much better than the other Hebrews who went ahead and ate and asked God to forgive them. They looked so much better than those who justified themselves saying that God understood they needed to eat, and that in the future they would use their position to help the people of God. We do not need the offers of Satan as much as we think we do to obtain in life what we desire to have. The bible tells us to delight ourselves in the Lord, and God will give us the desires of our hearts.
Daniel and the 3 came out so much farther ahead. We don’t lose when we stand with God. One day Peter told Jesus, Lord we have given up everything to follow you. Jesus replied in Mark 10:29, "I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields--and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.
Daniel and the 3 risked losing their Ivy League Education, but ended up with 4.0 average and good looks. Look at verse 1:17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
Daniel, Mishael, Hananiah, and Azariah, all entered the king’s service. They had come to the king with their commitment to God in tact, and nothing that the king’s college threw at them during the past 3 years had been able to change that commitment. They may have entered the king’s service, but they saw themselves as the servants of their God.
Child of God, God is working for you. Don’t let the circumstances around you keep you discouraged. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. You are a child of God. Your life may not be all that you want it to be, but God is saying, I know about it. Come on back home and we’ll get this thing straightened out.
You may have never taken the kind of stand for Jesus Christ that you should have, but God is saying today is not to late to start. Your character can be rebuilt and your name can be restored. No matter what the world may call you, God calls you the one whom He loves. Jesus calls you the one for whom He died. Don’t let anybody convince you to change your name.
5. Daniel Offered A 10 Day Test And Its Accepted
6. Did What They Could & Relied On God
7. It Was The Spirit That Was Making Difference
Dan 1:15-16 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.
H. We Can Get By On Standing For God
1. Satan Offers But God Can Give Us The Desires
2. Jesus--What We Give Up--Is Small Mark 10:29
Mark 10:29-30 "I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields--and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.
3. Daniel & Friends 4 Point Average & Looks
4. King Found Them More Helpful Than All
5. Entered The King’s Service--On God’s Terms
Dan 1:19-20 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
I. Child Of God--God Is Working For You
1. Your Lifestyle Does Not Have To Be Your Name
2. Today You Can Accept What God Says Your
3. The One For Whom I Died And Loved
4. Keep Your Name
Sermon Outline Pastor Rick
"Don’t Let Anyone Change Your Name" 10/7/2001
Psalm 2:1-6 Acts 14:8-18 Daniel 1:1-20
A. Knowing Who We Are- More Successful
1. Know Which Messages Are For Us & Not For Us
2. Pastor Rick At The Airport
3. Pastor, Pastor Rick, Pastor Rick Gillespie…
4. Pastor Big-Head--Name Change--No
B. There Is Power In A Name
1. Names Used For References, Recommendation
2. Changes Our Credit Standing-Opens Doors
3. Name Of Jesus Opens The Door To God
4. Christians First Called In Antioch
5. Laughing At The Little Messiahs.
6. Mailman--The Wrong Delivery
7. Don’t Open--Just Put It Back In Box
C. When The Name Is Not Ours
1. My Name Child Of God---Not Mine
2. Paul & Barnabus--Zeus & Hermes
3. Don’t Play To The World’s Little Gods
4. What’s Your Sign--Taurus, Gemini, Cancer
5. Jesus Determines The Course Of Our Lives
6. Born Under The Sign-Lord Of Lord, KofK
D. Who Were Those Guys
1. Mishael, Beltshazzer, Azariah, Hananiah
2. Somebody Changed Their Names
3. Detached From Name--Miss Accomplishments
4. Daniel 1--Nebuchadnezzar & The Battle
5. Captivity, Training For The Elite Only
Daniel 1:3-5 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility-- young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.
The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
6. Only Interested In The Cream Of The Crop
7. Not To Help Their Own--But Babylonian
8. Goal--More Babylonian Than Hebrew 3 yrs.
9. God Has You There For A Purpose--Remember
10. You’re A Spy For Such A Time As This
11. Let God’s Voice Be Heard.
Dan 1:6-7 Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
E. Why The King Changed The Names
1. To Forget Who We Are--Change Names
2. Change Names To Label Actions
3. Slick, Sly, Fingers, Hitman, Ears, Bubba
4. Hot Mama, Candy, Foxy, Easy, Sweetie
5. Daniel-God Is My Judge, Mishael-Who Is What
God Is, Hananiah--The Lord Shows Grace
Azariah--The Lord Helps
6. Names Related To God They Serve-To Hebraic
7. Beltshazzer--Babylonian God Bel
8. Shadrach, Meshak--Sumerian Moon God
9. Abednego--God Nego In It
10. For Daniel It Would Not Stick--First To Take A
Dan 1:8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.
1.Problem--Offer To Idols, Wine Poured On Altars
2. Some Animals Not To Be Eaten On The Table
3. Best Buffet You Ever Saw--All Were Eating
4. Daniel True To His Name--Made Up Mind
5. Make Up Your Mind In Advance-Regardless
6. Spouses, Friends, Job, Opportunities
7. Envelope Does Not Belong To Me
8. My Name "Child Of God" "Forgiven"
"Set Free", "Another Chance"
F. Daniel Displayed His Courage
1. Saying No To An Ivy League Education
2. But It Was Just A Small Unfaithfulness
3. Jesus Unfaithful In Little-----In Much
4. The Lord Stands With Us When We Stand
5. No Guarantee How It Will Come Out
6. Walk A Life Of Faith --Daniel But What If
Dan 1:9-10 Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, "I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you."
G. God Is At Work Before We Know He Is.
1. God Can Move On Any Heart On Our Behalf
2. Official Didn’t Care About Stand--Just Job
3. Don’t Try To Force Others To Pay For Us
4. Daniel Offered Help--Not Arrogance