Summary: In this sermon you will discover qualities of a person who impacts their country for God
(Show video clip about Fanny Crosby. Number SV 01003 from ScreenVue) You are wondering why I showed a video clip of Fanny Crosby’s life on the weekend we celebrate Independence Day. One word explains my reasoning and the word is impact. Fanny Crosby had a huge impact on her country. Fanny Crosby was blind but she had an impact on many other people. Fanny Cosby was not a politician but she had an impact. Instead of preaching a patriotic sermon I want to challenge your thinking as to how you and I can influence our country for God. I think the real issue this week is not whether you are a good American. The Bible never instructs us to be good Americans. If we are using our lives to make an impact for God then we will be a good American. The Bible instructs us to use our influence to make an impact for God.
• We find an example in Joseph. He was out of his comfort zone and out of his home land yet he made a significant impact on his adopted homeland.
• We find an example in Esther. She was a captive under the ancient kingdom of Persia yet she had an impact for God.
• In the book of Ephesians we find an example from Paul’s life. Paul wrote the slaves who were in captivity under the Roman Empire. He instructed them to be respectful and have a Godly impact, even on their masters.
The Bible instructs us to impact our society. Certainly, our country needs a Godly impact. Consider the following indicators.
In New Jersey – according to the Index of Leading Cultural Indicators, 2001-2002
Violent Crime increased 129% -- from 1967-2000
State Prisoners increased 508% -- from 1965-2001
Illegitimate births increased 578% from 1960-1999
Divorce rates increased 328% from 1960-1999
Children living in single parent homes increased 139% from 1960-2000
Cohabitating couples increased 195% from 1980-2000
(Contributed to Sermon Central GUY GLASS)
I want to use Daniel as the basis for today’s sermon. Daniel lived under the influence of several different countries: Judah (his home country), Babylon and Persia. He had an impact on each of them. He lived much of his life in countries that were not of his choosing. The important thing is that Daniel had an impact wherever he lived.
How did Daniel impact the three countries under which he lived? We can follow Daniel’s example.
1. First, a person of impact lives by Godly convictions. Notice verse 8 of chapter 1. The Bible says Daniel “purposed” in his heart. Twice we see Daniel’s convictions going against the current of popular opinion.
In chapter 1 verse 5 King Nebuchadnezzar offers Daniel and three friends his best wine and delicacies in preparing them for service in his kingdom. Daniel did not reject the Babylonian kingdom. He was loyal to his new government to the best of his ability. He remained loyal until it required him to go against his convictions. Due to personal convictions related to his faith he declined the king’s wine and delicacies. Daniel was convinced this would harm his Christian testimony.
Let me throw in an extra point. Many people cannot understand why many believers practice total abstinence when it comes to alcoholic drinks. There is nothing morally wrong with taking a social drink. There is nothing morally wrong with drinking a little wine. At one point Paul instructed Timothy to take wine for his stomach. Believers who practice total abstinence do it because of their testimony, not because of some legalistic rule or Biblical teaching.
In chapter 6 we see Daniel’s convictions coming to the surface again. He is commanded to worship the king rather than the Lord God of Heaven. Again, due to personal convictions related to his faith he defies the King’s orders. It was the custom of God’s people to bow and pray three times a day, as they faced toward Jerusalem. Daniel continued to exercise his faith and pray to his God. His convictions came to the forefront.
A. Convictions give you courage. Daniel was concerned with doing that which was right before God, not people. Many times we do things based on what people think.
Illustration: There was a story in yesterday’s paper about a young many named Jeremy who was the valedictorian of his graduating class in a small town in New Jersey. Jeremy was to give a valedictory speech. He planned to include a prayer in his speech. The principle got wind of his plans and told him he would have to cancel the prayer or not make his speech. Jeremy took the road of silence rather than compromise his convictions. He displayed courage in his convictions.
B. Convictions will motivate you to take a stand. When you stand by your convictions it will not be popular.