Interrogative: How do I live in this world without becoming like this world?
Introduction: “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself…” Have any of you ever asked this question: How do I live in this world without becoming like this world? If not, then why not? As a Christian, this should be a question of great importance to you. How do you live the Christian life in the face of a non-Christian world? (That is what being a Christian is about…living the life!)
Daniel was a young man that faced this same question that we are addressing today. He was probably between the age of 14-17 when the Babylonians came into Judah and carried his people away as captives. He was uprooted from his home, his family, his church, his life…everything that Daniel knew was now gone. He was now forced to live in a pagan environment where he was constantly being tempted to compromise his convictions. Yet, Daniel chose not to give in to the demands of the culture.
Unless you have been hiding under some rock, you know very well that the United States is becoming more and more like Babylon with each passing day…everywhere you look we are confronted with the spirit of this age….If it feels good, do it!…Believe anything you to want to, just keep it to yourself….A twisted view of tolerance is our main virtue, the only sin is intolerance. Christianity is the but of many cruel jokes. It is portrayed in a bad light in the news and entertainment media. Blasphemy is in, reverence is out!
I want to know how I can live in a culture that hates me and what I stand for without giving in to it’s pressure. Don’t you? Or, do you really care? If you don’t believe that this culture hates us and what we stand for, try this. Tell them what the Bible says about homosexuality…or fornication…or abortion or euthanasia…or… The first thing you will hear is “judge not lest you be judged.” Tell them that character and morality is more important in the lives of our political leaders than what the leader has accomplished for the American people and see what kind of reaction you get.
I believe that through the experience of Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azriah…better known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego we can learn how to live godly lives in an ungodly world. That’s what we need.
We are going to look at three principles that will help us to live in this world without becoming like this world.
The first principle that will help us live in this world without becoming like this world.
I. SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO GO AGAINST THE FLOW (v. 8)
1) Daniel and his friends could have easily chosen to take the path of least resistance and ate the kings food. “I am here in a foreign country…and that pork chop looks mighty good…”(Ever wonder about the rest of the Hebrew captives? What did they eat?)
2) Everybody is doing it is not an excuse that God wants to hear! (Most of the time the crowd is wrong!)
3) How many Christians are giving into the pleasures and ideas of this world? Maybe even you? (Well, I am just a social drinker…it’s just listen to that kind of music for the beat… I don’t think there is anything wrong with living together…we are going to get married later anyway...I am to busy trying to get that big promotion at work to come to church…) Friendship with the world is enmity with God! Heb. 11:24-26)
The second principle that will help us live in this world without becoming like this world.
II. SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE STAND FOR WHAT’S RIGHT (v. 8)
1) The decision to refuse the kings food was not easy for these young men – after all they were in no position to bargain or resist. (Read vv. 9-13)
2) We falsely assume that in order for us to “get ahead in this world,” or to “be accepted,” we have to compromise our principles and values.
3) How many Christians are too concerned about what someone might say or do to them to stand-up for what’s right? (Parents afraid to their teach children right from wrong…people afraid to stand-up for Jesus in their workplace…) Peter and John refused to stop preaching Jesus -- Acts 4:18-20)
The third principle that will help us live in this world without becoming like this world.
III. SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO EXERCISE YOUR FAITH (v. 12-13)
1) These men didn’t just do this and then hope that they were going to be lucky enough to get away with it, they were trusting in God for the outcome. (Whether or not it proved to be good or bad, they still purposed not to give in!)Illus. Dan 3:16-18