Summary: This sermon is part of the "A Christian's Heart" series and deals with having a purposeful heart. It's taken from the life of Daniel. A purposeful heart is a sincere heart, a committed heart, and a heart of self-denial.
A Christian’s Heart
“A Purposeful Heart”
The year is 605 B.C. and Jerusalem has just been taken by the Babylonian army, and Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, gave instructions to one of his top recruiters, Ashpenaz, master of his eunuchs, to bring the best and brightest young Jewish men to Babylon to be trained where they could be top advisors in Nebuchadnezzar’s court.
Daniel, along with three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were chosen with many others and deported to Babylon to train in the top college for Babylon wise guys, the Chaldeans, magicians, and astrologers.
Uprooted from his home and everything he knew, Daniel had every right to be discouraged. He was a captive in an unfriendly and foreign land, and to Daniel’s mind, the kingdom of darkness, a place where God was completely absent from people’s thoughts.
Ashpenaz immediately enrolled them in the College where everything was provided for their physical comfort. They were even given food that the king himself ate. This presented a problem to Daniel and his three friends. It was food that was forbidden by God’s law and unlawful to eat.
What would they do, to refuse was to insult the king and put them in potential danger, even the potential of losing their lives. But to partake would put them directly against God and His word.
A choice had to be made, and so it says that Daniel purposed in his heart not to go against God’s word and defile himself with the king’s offerings.
“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” (Daniel 1:8 NKJV)
Throughout this year we’ve been looking at a Christian’s heart, that is, those qualities that every Christian needs to possess. We’ve looked at a servant’s and wounded healers heart, a courageous and forgiving heart, a grace-filled, spirit-filled, faith-filled, hope-filled, praise-filled and an heart that is filled with integrity
And actually I thought I was done, that is, until this week when I was reading Daniel and I realized that there is another quality, one that is often overlooked, but one that is definitely needed if we truly want to be fully devoted followers of Christ.
It is a heart that is dedicated to God, His word, and His way, or as it says in our text, a purpose-filled heart, or a purposeful heart.
Our study will not only look at the life of Daniel, but will also look at what the Apostle Paul said about Jesus in his letter to the Philippians.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8 NKJV)
If this then is the mindset that was in Christ, it therefore needs to be our mindset as well. But beyond this we’ll also look at what Jesus said that it takes to be fully devoted followers of His.
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23 NKJV)
The first thing we see about Daniel and having a purposeful heart is
1. A Sincere Heart
Daniel was young, and as it is with our children and youth, very impressionable. But Daniel learned God’s ways and word early on as a child, and so as a youth and forced between what was right and wrong, between what the world said he must do and become and what the Lord said, Daniel chose God.
Even in his youth Daniel chose to still follow God’s word and kept himself pure and undefiled, and the Lord rewarded him and his three friends with wisdom and knowledge beyond their years.
Solomon says that we are to train up our children in the way they should go, that is, in the way of the Lord, and when they are old enough to chose for themselves what is right and wrong they will know the difference and hopefully be strong enough to chose what is right, that is, they’ll choose God and His ways based on His word.
Let me just say that if we don’t teach our children to follow Christ, then the world will teach them not to.
To prove out that statement, just look at what’s being taught in our schools, especially in our colleges. They teach that God is dead, that there’s no such thing as God, and that the Bible is just a book, and an old one at that and has no relevance in today’s modern society.