Summary: In this message we examine the IF situations that pertains to our hearts.

IF – Part 2

Scripture: Daniel 3:12-18; 1 John 4:11-12, 20; Romans 10:8-10

This is part two of my series on “IF”. Last week I shared with you that in this series I wanted us to think about what the word “IF” truly means as it relates to defining how we interact with God. I shared with you that when we say to God we are “willing to do something for Him “IF” He first does something for us,” that is not how we approach God with the expectation of receiving anything from Him. As I told you last week, placing a condition on something we are willing to do for God only after He first does something for us is the true definition of pride, which will hinder our fellowship with God. And here’s the sad part: when we do this, what we are telling our Father is that we won’t obey you unless You do something for us. In part one I shared with you how pride impacts how we respond to our “IF” moments and this morning we are going to set pride aside and examine the “IF” moments that pertains to our hearts.

As a reminder, “IF” is defined in the dictionary as “a conjunction used to indicate the circumstances that would have to exist in order for an event to happen.” It applies preconditions that must exist in order for something else to happen. In part one I told you that most of the promises in the Bible have conditions and the word “IF” speaks to those conditions. How we walk in our faith with God is dependent on how we use the word “IF” when we are standing in faith according to what He has told us in His word. When we use the word “IF” when thinking about our fellowship with God, it speaks volume as we are either standing in faith or we are standing in pride (doubt.) Also when Jesus used the word “IF” in the New Testament, it was always on man’s side and never on God’s side. This is because God has made everything available to us but it is up to us to take advantage of it. Now before moving on, let me make one final and very important point. Our response to the “IF” scriptures have an impact on our fellowship with God, not our relationship with Him. What do I mean? Let me talk about Clarissa and Victoria as an example. They are my daughters. That’s our relationship. However, the degree to which they complied with what I ask of them growing up often determined our fellowship – our walking in agreement. Now this is very important. You are God’s son. You are God’s daughter. Your response to the “IF” scriptures will not affect your status as a son or a daughter, but it does affect your fellowship with our Father. It’s in the fellowship that prayers are answered. It’s in the fellowship that healing manifests. It’s in the fellowship that we receive His provision.

In part two of this series, we will be examining “IF” situations pertaining to the heart. I want to open with a story that Bro. Stacy mentioned last week during our prayer circle. It’s the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, attacked Jerusalem and took it into captivity. Upon beginning his rule over the Jews, King Nebuchadnezzar chose handsome young men in whom there was no blemish. These young men were skillful in all wisdom, gifted in knowledge and understanding science, and had the ability within them to stand in the king's palace. Four of these young men were Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. While you may remember the story of Daniel and how he survived being thrown into the lion’s den, this morning I want you to see the story of the other three Hebrew boys and how their hearts – how their fellowship with God, as His servants – impacted how they responded to the king’s command.

In Daniel chapter three, King Nebuchadnezzar set up a golden image which he commanded everyone to worship when they heard the signal (the sound coming from musical instruments). So the first time the signal was given, everyone fell down and worshipped the image except Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. When they did not worship the image, it was reported to the king. The king, of course, summoned the three to him and ordered that they worship the image. Let’s pick the story up in Daniel 3:12. “There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded you: they serve not your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up.” (Vs. 12) Can you hear the accusers as they complained to the king? “These men O great king, do you know what they have done? They have blatantly disregarded and ignored you – the king of Babylon! (Notice they didn’t say they had ignored the king’s commandment, but that they had ignored the king.) And not only that, we’ve been watching them and not once have they served any of YOUR gods. Do you see how they are disrespecting you O King in front of all the people? And they are so arrogant that they believe they don’t have to worship YOUR image either. And these are men, O King, that you have put into leadership positions.”

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