Summary: How far are you willing to go in your walk with God?

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August 10, 2008

Morning Worship

Text: Daniel 3:1-30

Subject: Faithfulness

Title: I Won’t Back Down – Four Steps to Great Faith

How strong is your faith? You have probably heard the hypothetical question before, “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would the be enough evidence to convict you?” That’s a good question. The reason I brought this up is because Jesus said that there would come a time when Christians would be persecuted. We will suffer tribulation. Paul says that in the last days that the real church will become irrelevant to the world and that people will gather to themselves preachers that will tickle their ears. From all indications we are in the last days because that is exactly what is happening. Preachers are preaching a feel good gospel and those who preach heaven and hell and holiness and righteousness are considered out of date and narrow-minded. So I guess that is what I am.

Let’s go back to my original question. How strong is your faith? Is it strong enough to stand against the attacks of the world? Is it strong enough that you will hold on to it until the end? Will you allow your friends to laugh at you and make fun of you for your faith and you will still hold on? That’s the kind of Christian God wants each of you to be.

One of my favorite singers from the 80’s was Tom Petty. Some of you know whom I’m talking about. He had a song that was titled “I Won’t Back Down” and here are some of the lyrics.

Well I won’t back down, no I wont back down

You can stand me up at the gates of hell

But I wont back down

Gonna stand my ground, wont be turned around

And Ill keep this world from draggin me down

Gonna stand my ground and I wont back down

Hey baby, there aint no easy way out

Hey I will stand my ground

And I wont back down.

That sounds like it could be a Christian song doesn’t it? As far as I know Tom Petty isn’t a Christian, but those lyrics really say everything about what a Christian should be.

So let me ask you one more time. How strong is your faith? Are you able to say, “I won’t back down”?

Let’s look at four steps to having great faith.

Read - 16Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church…

I. CONSIDERATION (Daniel 1:3-5, 8, 15-17) 3Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility—4young 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. 5The 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. Here were four young men of God taken away from their homes and being thrust into the service of the enemy. Now they were being placed in about as good a position as one could be in considering they were in captivity – being held against their wills. How tempting it would have been to give in and do what everyone else was doing. But God had a different plan for their lives. Do you see what was happening here? These young Jewish men (probably teenagers) were being placed in a position where they had to make a decision. Do I take life easy and enjoy life like the king wants me to do, or, do I hold on to God’s ways and consider what He wants for my life? 3 points of consideration: 1) consider whether or not you will let God into your life. 2) Consider the consequences of your decision. 3) Consider to what degree you will abide by your decision. Verse 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. 15At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. These four men decided to alienate themselves from all that the world said was good, but was against what God wanted for them. This was in accordance with the dietary laws of their religion. You see, that is one of the great lies of the enemy. Things of the world taste better than things of God. At the end of Joshua’s life he challenged Israel to make up their minds – to consider what God they would serve. Joshua 24, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” And their response is found in verse 21, 21And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the LORD!” 15At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. Because of their obedience, God blessed them. 17To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning.

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