OPEN BIBLES TO Daniel 6 & 2 Timothy 2:13
1. Right or Wrong? Good or Bad? (CHOICES)
2. Faithfulness OR Faithlessness. It’s really an easy choice.
a. We choose FAITHFULNESS. We choose to FOLLOW God.
b. We choose to not FALL away, BUT TO STAND STRONG.
c. We choose to not DRIFT away, BUT TO STEADY ON!
d. To not TURN away BUT TO SEEK HIS FACE CONTINUALLY!
Psalm 27.7-8 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, "Seek My face," My heart said to You, "Your face, LORD, I will seek."
3. Faithfulness or Faithlessness. It’s really an easy choice.
NOW it’s that very choice that often stumbles us. A trial here. Some tribulation there. A little laziness. A dose of lethargy.
• Oh, that’s where the rubber meets the road.
• SURE In a controlled setting, all is well.
• We choose faithfulness! Amen brother!
• BUT when the heat is on and times are tough… then what?
• Well, it’s too bad AND it’s always sad, to see folks choose the route of unfaithfulness! To see them throw in the towel!
Galatians 1.6-7 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
Turning away from God when all the while He’s there for them!
2 Timothy 2.13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
Psalm 27.10 When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the LORD will take care of me.
NOTE: So when we get to a CH like Dan. 6, we’re encouraged. Why?
• Because Daniel was able to remain faithful in the midst of many very trying & tough times.
• He was empowered by God to stand strong and steady on!
• And if Daniel could do it, WE can.
Phil 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
And so we have this wonderful story to encourage & uplift us.
• It’s filled with an interesting cast of characters!
• FIRST There’s Daniel… sure and steady.
• THEN There’s Darius… ruling by convenience not conviction.
• NEXT we have the 120 satraps… Daniel’s peers & subordinates who are agents and messengers of Satan himself.
• They are frustrated & furious over Daniel’s faith!
APP: Even as there might be people around us that come against us as we attempt to live a righteous life in an unrighteous world!
• We all have peers & bosses & subordinates.
• And sometimes, JUST BECAUSE you’re a believer, they have a hard time with it and…
• It’s only a matter of time before THEIR HARD TIME becomes YOUR HARD TIME in a very real way!
• So let’s look and learn, read and receive from Daniel’s example!
I. (6.1-9) THE SET UP
1. (1-3) A Distinguished man!
a. Daniel was distinguished, v3 tells us.
NOTE: IN 539BC with the fall of Babylon, Darius the Mede received the kingdom.
• As he surveyed the kingdom for those men to help lead and rule and oversee, Daniel stood out. He was one of 3 chosen to rule!
NOTE: There was something noticeably different about him.
• We could say, his faith in God changed Him, marked him.
Proverbs 20.6 Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, But who can find a faithful man?
• SO here he is, Daniel.
• IT’S SO TRUE! God blesses the man, the woman who decides to follow Him with all of his heart and does not compromise!
• Daniel was a FOLLOWER… a FOLLOWER OF Jesus.
NOTE: V3 also tells us he had an EXCELLENT SPIRIT in him.
• By this time, he’s about 90 years old and still faithful!
• We would think by now that he would be planning 4 retirement!
• With his years of service, that he might be a little tired.
• But he’s taking on an even greater responsibility!
APP: Don’t think that just because you’re reaching a certain age, that it’s all over and God won’t use you, can’t use you.
Proverbs 20.29 The glory of young men is their strength, And the splendor of old men is their gray head.
• Let’s turn to Acts 2:16ff
• Oh how the Lord wants to use you, no matter your age!
2. (4-5) Let’s find a charge against him!
a. Wow, this is scary. They set out to find something wrong.
b. They dig through his trash, send spies to catch him.
c. And… They come up empty. Why?
d. Because there’s nothing to find! Daniel lived a life that was above any accusation, beyond any reproach!
1 Timothy 3.1-2 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless…
TODAY… they would look at the channels we’re tuned into through the Cable Box or the Dish. They would check what video’s we rent, look at what’s stored on your hard drive, what stores we shop in.
• They would capture the internet sites you browse and books you buy. If they did, what would they find?
• Would they come to same conclusion in v5?
• It’s His God. It’s Her God. That’s all they’re interested in.
• They are so holy. They are so pure!
SO YOU’RE THINKING: Not possible Pastor Ed. This is a tough world!
• The pressure is unbearable. The stress overwhelming!
• And now you’re saying people are watching! Thanks a lot!
BUT Wait A Minute… don’t be bummed out by that.
• You’re right, it IS tough and the temptations keep coming.
John 16.33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
• We have the Sprit of God living in us!
• Let’s flip over to 1 Corinthians 10.13ff
YES people are watching, some more closely than others.
• They want to know if Christianity is true, and measure it from our lives, reading our lives more than they would a Bible.
• That’s not something to be scared with, but it’s an honor!
TRUTH: There are a lot of people out there who don’t have a hard time with Jesus, they have a hard time with the church.
• And if the church behaved more like Jesus, the world wouldn’t have such a struggle with the church.
• So the more we act like Jesus, the more they will be interested in church and the less they will be bothered by it.
• DANIEL WAS A FOLLOWER… and HE WAS FAITHFUL.
3. (6-9) The decree.
a. Don’t miss the weakness in Darius’s rule here.
b. He’s a people pleaser and prone to be buttered up.
c. Worship me? Hmm… that’s a great idea! He signed it!
II. (6.10-17) THE SENTENCE
1. (10-11) He went home and prayed!
b. Here’s Daniel’s response. First look what it’s NOT.
c. No Panic or Pressure. No Concern or Compromise.
NOTE: What would you have done? Would you shut down? Hide?
• After all, it was only for 30 days. You could pray day 31.
• THE EC faced horrible persecution and temptation.
THE worship of the Emperor became, not voluntary, but compulsory. Once a year a man had to go and burn a pinch of incense to the godhead of Caesar and say, "Caesar is Lord."
• DO You KNOW, MANY CHRISTIANS DID IT?!
• They said they really believed that Jesus is Lord, but they were afraid that if they didn’t comply they would die!
DANIEL goes home and prays “as was his custom from the early days.” I LOVE THAT! It was His life, His custom!
NOTE: So the others couldn’t find anything bad in his life, they had to find good, that would be interpreted as bad!
Isa 5.20-23 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight! 22 Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink, 23 Who justify the wicked for a bribe, And take away justice from the righteous man!
They CAME AGAINST DANIEL LEGISLATIVELY… do you see it?
• It’s the same thing happening in our culture right now!
• Laws are changing all around us defining sins as OK.
• Homosexuality is now an ‘alternative lifestyle’.
• Adultery is now having ‘affair’.
• Abortion is just a ‘choice’.
• Drunkenness is another ‘disease’.
NOTE: I’m convinced in my lifetime I will be accused as someone stirring up hate because I say it’s a sin and not just an alternative lifestyle OR for saying Adultery destroys lives, or Abortion is murder!
• Call it a lifestyle. Call it a choice or a disease or whatever.
• The Bible calls it a SIN.
• And as long as I’m in the pulpit, I will call it what it is!
NOTE: Notice, what Daniel’s doing while this going on around him.
• He’s praying. Daniel was a man of prayer.
• He’s not cursing the darkness or picketing for his rights.
• He’s spiritually engaged in changing the world!
• He’s the right witness, with the right weapons!
• His prayer is one of thanksgiving! That’s what supplication is.
NOW I’m not sure I would be thankful after hearing the decree.
• Daniel is probably saying, God, thank you for the opportunity to glorify you soon as I know they will see me pray.
• MY Prayer? HELP ME. HELP Lord. OH NO, I DON’T LIKE LIONS!
FOR DANIEL, Prayer WAS A PRIORITY!
• Well, of course it was. Daniel was young with a lot of time!
• NO WAY: He was 90 years old and the prime minister!
• He was a BUSY MAN but still makes time to pray. DAILY.
4. (12-14) Into the Den… ALIVE!
a. Well, it’s predictable. They got him!
b. And you know the story, a lot of you learned this in Sunday School. Daniel is going to be cast into the lion’s den!
NOTE: Before he does though, the king calls him to himself.
• He’s distraught & sorrowful over this Law… he loved Daniel!
• He tried everthing to deliver him but the Medo Persian empire was not as strong as Babylon, not autocratic.
• He couldn’t alter the law. It was established and that’s it!
• Why does the Holy Spirit include v14-15? PROOF!
• Remember the vision in CH2? The metals weakened in strength as you moved down the image… Medo-Persians were weaker!
5. (16-18) Into the Mouth of the den.
a. Amazing contrast here between the king & Daniel.
b. The King, apart from God was awake, pacing, worrying, filled with anxiety and fear and hopelessness!
c. Daniel, with God, was snoozing! Here kitty, kitty!
d. Turn back to Hebrews 11:30-34 – That’s DANIEL!
e. He’s resting in perfect peace in a perilous time!
NOTE: Why? IN order to live a Right Life in a Wrong World.
• We need to be Faithful Followers and Following Faithfully.
• It’s essential we’re People of Prayer & Leaning on the Lord
III. (6.19-24) SAVED & PRESERVED
1. (19-22) Confidence!
a. Here’s Daniel resting in confidence. The king is anxious.
b. So he rushes to the den and calls out for Daniel.
c. I wonder if he even expected to hear Daniel or was just hopeful there would be some groan or grunt from him?
d. But his answer was SURE… My God sent an angel to protect me King Darius. I’m OK! And you know, King it’s OK.
OK? It’s OK? Look what happened. How can that be OK?
• Well, here’s the point. Please listen carefully.
• It’s another Key to Living Right in a World that’s Wrong!
YES…We need to be Faithful Followers and Following Faithfully.
• It’s so vital we’re People of Prayer & Leaning on the Lord
• And we must be CALM as the world is CAVING IN!
Isa 26.3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
APP: Sometimes when we’re in the midst of a lion’s den of our own, if we react frantically & out of control as they do…
• We miss the opportunity to act like Daniel did.
• It’s gone and so is the chance to reach a frantic soul!
• His behavior followed His belief. He was ready.
2. (23-24) The King was Glad!
• Did you see v23? No injury at all why? He believed in His God! There was no question about it!
SO You’re going out into a fiery trial, a devastating den…
• And you’re scared, you’re wondering, you’re unsure.
• Know this, your belief and your behavior are connected.
• The peace that overcomes your problem is found through prayer and built up as you exercise your faith in Him.
• If you’ve been spending time with Jesus, you’ll respond like Daniel… He’s with you. He’s alongside of you. You’re safe.
Isa 26.3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
IV. (6.25-28) DARIUS DECREE
1. (25-28) Daniel’s Not there
• The life of Daniel inspired YET ANOTHER KING to declare to the world, the wonderful works of God!
• Just as your Right Living in a Wrong World does the same!
NOTE: Faithful Followers and Following Faithfully.
• People of Prayer & Leaning on the Lord
• A STEADY CALMNESS as the world is CAVING IN!
• Let’s close with Matthew 5.13-16