Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Since childhood we know Daniel's story only from his perspective ... God shut the mouths of the lions. Let's reconsider the story from the lions perspective. How frustrating to see a large meal and be unable to eat it. If they don't get Daniel out of ...

Opening illustration: In 1988, Wally Magdangal was pastoring an underground church in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He was a Filipino lay pastor of Christian foreign workers wishing to gather for worship. In 1992, soon after the conclusion of the Gulf War, the house church had grown to over three hundred worshipers, the largest church in the country. The Saudi government became alarmed at the positive impact the church was having and Wally was arrested. While he was in prison, Wally was tortured, abused, and eventually falsely charged with blaspheming Muhammad and Islam. He was tried before the Saudi Arabian High Court and was sentenced to death by public hanging scheduled to take place on Christmas Day 1992. Throughout his terrible ordeal, Wally refused to renounce his faith in Jesus Christ. Outcries from several foreign governments and agencies, including President Fidel Ramos of the Philippines, Amnesty International, and members of the U.S. Congress were made on behalf of Wally to the Saudi Government. And then just a few hours before his scheduled execution, Wally Magdangal miraculously was granted a reprieve. The Saudi Government decided to deport him to the Philippines instead. Today, Wally is itinerant preacher, sharing how the Lord delivered him from persecution. So, perhaps for some in America, the church seems to be irrelevant, but it can still strike fear into the enemies of the Gospel!

Introduction: A friend of mine once remarked, “A lot of crimes are not sins, and a lot of sins are not crimes.” Our text indicates he was absolutely right. In the sixth chapter of Daniel, this righteous man is convicted of a crime which is not a sin. Daniel purposefully committed this crime because he did not wish to commit a sin, which was not a crime.

This scripture passage is so important to modern believers reasoning that we learn the secret of Daniel’s success. Somehow he managed to survive and thrive in a spiritually hostile environment. That point is a good place to begin because Christians live in a world of spiritual hostility where the temptation to compromise our faith is with us every day. The world doesn’t want its conscience pricked and doesn’t reward those who dare to stand up for what they believe. In some parts of the world, standing up for Christ means suffering and death. In America (and in most countries in the West) it means ostracism, ridicule, scorn, being left out and perhaps being passed over and called a bigot. It often leads to tension at home and on the job. The book of Daniel tells us how to live for God in a hostile environment. His example shows us that it can be done but not without discomfort. If you don’t compromise, you are sure to come into trouble sooner or later. The story of Daniel and the lion’s den reminds us that there is a spiritual battle raging all around us. The devil himself is like a roaring lion who would devour us if he could (1 Peter 5:8). Therefore, it should not surprise us if the devil has an army of supporters whose major call in life is to harass us, trick us, and trip us up if they can. You can tell a lot about a person by the quality of his enemies. Daniel must have been a good man because he had the right kind of enemies. The people who hated him were no friends of God. They came after his faith because they could find no fault in him, and they had no answer for what he believed.

How to stand up for your faith?

1. Be faithful to God during testing (vs. 10-11)

• It is very easy to be faithful to God when there are no tests, trials or adversities in our lives. Isn’t it? It was a testimony to Daniel's character that his adversaries knew this plan would work—and that he would indeed remain faithful to daily pray to God. Can even evil people count on us to be faithful to God? These test and trials talk about Daniel’s faithfulness toward His God! What …

• True to their expectations, Daniel faithfully opened up his window—facing toward Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:29, 30, 46-48; Psalm 5:7; Jonah 2:4)—and, three times a day, prayed and gave thanks to God. This was not meant to publically flaunt his disobedience to the king's foolish decree. Rather it was consistent with his daily habit. If he had done otherwise, he would have been false to God and to himself.

• We're told that Daniel did this, knowing that the writing of the decree was signed. He chose to obey God rather than men—even though his obedience to God would cost him his life. May we be more and more like Daniel in our culture!

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