Summary: A look at the life of Daniel and knowing who we are to be identified with.

Series: When Cultures Collide

Topic: First Things First: Know Your Identity

June 2, 2002

Daniel 1

Introduction: Are you a thermostat or a thermometer?

[Are you one who impacts your world, or merely an indicator of what the climate is?]

In today’s ever changing culture we as Christians must decide if we will be mere indicators of climate or God ordained reformers.

[Our world is forever attempting to press us into its mold and mindset. We are told to wear our values loosely; there are no absolute truths. Anyone who disagrees is a right-wing religious fanatic...

Everyone lies a little to get ahead

Who wouldn’t steal if they had the chance

What’s the harm with a little pornography

What I do in the privacy of my own home is my business, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else

What’s the big deal about a few four letter words; our kids hear worse at school anyway

Everybody steals business supplies...Of course I’d keep that spare change..

I wouldn’t tell them I broke the returned product...The Lord helps those that help themselves........]

[Daniel-introduction and background]

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God; and he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god. Daniel 1:1-2, RSV

Lessons From The Life Of Daniel

Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, youths without blemish, handsome and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to serve in the king’s palace, and to teach them the letters and language of the Chaldeans. The king assigned them a daily portion of the rich food which the king ate, and of the wine which he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah......As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all letters and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. At the end of the time, when the king had commanded that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king spoke with them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they stood before the king. Daniel 1:3-6,17-19 (RSV)

1. God Knows Our Potential And Secures Our Purpose. (Vss 3-6; 17-19)

Psalm 139:13 "You created every part of me; you put me together in my mother’s womb."

Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." (RSV)

Philippians 2:13 "It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." (NASB)

"It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." (NIV)

"God is always at work in you to make you willing and able to obey his own purpose." (TEV)

Our identity is in Christ, not our world; nor in a building, nor city, nor anything else.

Our identity begins and ends with Christ. He is our creator, sustainer, and final judge.

Daniel understood this. [textual commentary]

*He would not let the king determine his identity; only God

Romans 12:1-2 "So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life–and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." (TM)

The king assigned them a daily portion of the rich food which the king ate, and of the wine which he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king.....But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s rich food, or with the wine which he drank; therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. Daniel 1:5,8 (RSV)

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