STANDING UP FOR RIGHT EVEN WHEN EVERYBODY ELSE IS DOING WRONG
Intended for Reading on the Lord’s Day June 9, 2013
Delivered By Rev. Kelvin L. Parks
At New Home Baptist Church, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Pastor: Elder Spotts
Youth Day Program
• I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
• My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
• O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.
• WHY ... Because this is the day, that the LORD has made, so, let’s rejoice and be glad in it
Good Morning New Home Baptist Church... and too, God be the Glory!
What a great day... and great opportunity for me to be here with you on this day. For those of you who do not know me.
I am the eldest son of Theodore and Gloria Parks. Leaving Chattanooga at the age of 18; joining the Navy and traveling to and fro I can truly say without hesitation that Dorothy from the Wiz got it right when she clicked her heels together and said “THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME.”
And I do indeed count it an honor and privilege to be able to come home
This is a very special day for me because out of 19 years of preaching... today marks my mother's 2nd time ever seeing me preach.
She has heard a tape or too along the way, but today marks her second time actually seeing me. So this is a very special day for me as I’m sure it is for her.
I am a proud Dad today as well and she is a proud Grandma because, my oldest daughter, who you all know, Whitney, is being baptized today at Piedmont Church in Marietta, Georgia. And we thank God for what he is doing in her young adult life.
With that, I would like to take a moment to especially thank Pastor Spots for this opportunity to stand behind this desk in proxy for him to preach God’s Word (thank you kind sir).
To Elder Butts, Elder Stokes ... and my other preached brethren on the roster greetings... and I solicit your prayers this morning... are you praying for me.
And there is a Word from the LORD...So let us turn our hearts and our Bibles to Daniel 3:10-15
When you find it, please say Amen. It reads:
(v.10) Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image:
(v.11) And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
(v.12) There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
(v.13) Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.
(v.14) Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?
(v.15) Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?
You may be seated...
LET US PRAY...
Our text this morning comes from (v.12) (it reads again)
“There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”
Elder Stokes ... sent me the theme and scripture for this Youth Day. He wrote the theme is:
Training up youth -- who refuse to bow to the gods of this world ... But willing to stand for Christ in the midst of adversity.
Now, I’m going to remain true the scripture and theme, but I want to tag this Sermon this morning with the subject
STANDING UP FOR RIGHT EVEN WHEN EVERYBODY ELSE IS DOING WRONG
New Home ... Have you ever asked the question...“Why Not Me?”
Well ... I’m a firm believer that when things are going good; probably not.
Now, I'm going to get to God's sovereignty in a minute...
But I could get one or two people to be honest with me, if I were to take a poll, that would agree, when the strong winds of life begin to blow on our situations and makes what appeared to be bad; worst ... and we our between a rock and a hard place and we are forced to take a stand.
• You know, when life seems like it is not going our way.
• When we look around and see folks who we know are not living right
• Yet they are the ones who are constantly getting the promotions, the advancements, and opportunities.
• Youth, I’m sure you can relate to this.
• Kids ... who we know are bad as (shut yo mouth) are constantly getting scholarships, and chosen first, and making the team
• And yet – it seems like we are the ones on the "B" Team stuck riding the pine on the sidelines of life
Yes, when this happens... we sometimes find ourselves asking the proverbial question, WHY NOT ME!
BUT, WATCH THIS, HERE COMES THE GRACE...
Yet, even in the midst of our hurt. Even in the midst of our disappointment, or even our lack of faith,
oh, trust me, I am going to get to my text in a minute
But ... isn’t good to know that GOD, still cares and sees (active tense) the very best in you and in me. Can I get a witness?
Walk with me...
Elder Stokes, our text says in Daniel 3:12 that...
There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
Well this is a familiar passage... and I know that there is some great Bible Study going on here and all of you know the story about the fiery furnace.
But, please humor me for a minute while we examine what the text calls these “certain Jews...Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.”
Well ... we often hear of them referred to as the three Hebrew boys but notice our text say ... these men, O king, have not regarded thee.
Well... I think it safe to assume that time has passed and these that we once knew has three Hebrew boys or who Daniel 1:3 refers to as “children of Israel” have maturated (and developed) and gone from 10 to 12 year old boys to men.
With that said... and in order for us to understand how these whom our text describe as “certain men” developed such strong character, fortitude, and perseverance and how they had the ability to stand in the midst of adversity and do right when everybody else was doing wrong...
Well, I think it’s important that we go back and look for clues of what could have helped shape their character and sense of purpose.
Well... my FIRST POINT and what we need to look at is their names. Yeah, that is a good place to start.
Again, our text calls these “certain men” ... Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.”
Well... it is important for us to know that these are their slave names and not their birth names.
Well, that begs the question, what do these names mean?
Well, Daniel 1:6-7 helps us to understand that...
Shadrach’s birth name was (khan-an-yaw'), which we might pronounced today as Hananiah, which in the Hebrew means to properly bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior.
Sort of like when you were younger and your parents arrived home ... and you saw them for the first time and you ran with a big smile on your face and arms open wide... and they properly bent or stooped in kindness toward you
Simply put (khan-an-yaw'), or Hananiah’s name means God is merciful and gracious.
So much so that He is willing to bend or stoop in kindness toward us.
I like that name...
Yet, the prince of the eunuchs changed his name from (khan-an-yaw') or Hananiah to Shadrach, which means inspired by Aku, the moon god
You see his birth name gives us one clue about his character.
Well, let’s take a look at Meshach
Daniel 1:6-7 helps us again to understand that...
Meshach’s birth name was (mee-shaw-ale'), Mishael ... which means who (is) what God (is); in order words his names means who is like the Lord... well, can we all said together, NOBODY!!!
Well, Elder Butts, I like that name...
Yet the prince of the eunuchs changed his name from who is, what God is (who is like the Lord) to Meshach, which means belonging to Aku (the moon god).
Now, Momma them use to say it does not matter what folks call you; what matters is what you answer too...
Well... this just goes to show that (mee-shaw-ale'), not only knew who is was ...but whose is was.
In other words... (mee-shaw-ale'), knew who he really belonged to... he belonged The Lord
As the Music played... he looked up at that 90 foot statue, he realized that he did not have to bow because he remembered his birth name (mee-shaw-ale') ... who is, what God is
You see...(mee-shaw-ale') walked by faith and not by sight. Which means that, he was not concerned about what he saw everybody else doing.
In other words ... when the music started playing and just because everybody else, was twirking, and getting their eagle on... it did not mean that he had teach them how to douggie
Why Because... His thoughts were formed, his actions were regulated and his life was molded by the Holy Scriptures, for we know that, "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom 10:17).
You see... Not only did he remember his name, but perhaps, he recalled the Shema teachings of his grandparents (Deuteronomy 6:7). Where it says...
"And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou rises up.”
I'm talking about God's Word.
Perhaps he heard a Word of Truth and remembered the bedtime story that momma and daddy read to him... Deuteronomy 5:7 where is says
Thou shalt have none other god before me...
Oh, Pastor Spotts, (mee-shaw-ale') ...who is, what God is.
I like that name
So we have ... (1) Shadrach, (2) Meshach, and now (3) Abednego, which means servant of nego. Nego was a pagan Babylonian god of wisdom, hence the name Abed-nego (servant of nego).
But ...Daniel 1:6-7 helps us again, to understand that...
His birth name was not Abed-nego, his birth names was (az-ar-yaw'), which means to surround, and to protect or aid.
In other words his name az-ar-yaw' means God is my help.
Some of ya’ll have lived long enough and gone through a few things, and can relate to this, just like David, and know that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
az-ar-yaw' God is my help.
Oh, I really like that name
You see ... the birth names of these certain men... Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego ... gives us some clues as to how they were able to stand in the midst of adversity and do right when everybody else was doing wrong.
• khan-an-yaw' God is merciful and gracious
• mee-shaw-ale' Who is, what God is
• az-ar-yaw' God is my help
well... What’s in a name? Somebody asked me one day, what yo name is
... well my name is Kelvin and if you look it up in the dictionary, you will discover that my name means
the SI unit of absolute temperature, equal to 1/273.16 of the absolute temperature of the triple point of water, equivalent to one degree Celsius
Well, I don't have a clue what that means.
But what I do know is unlike Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego... my birth name Kelvin will not help me stand in the midst of adversity.
But watch this ... HERE COMES THE GRACE...
Isn’t good to know that we serve a God who is willing to bend or stoop down in kindness toward us and make us a new creation,
…and give us a new birth and new name like redeemed, delivered and set free.
Isn’t good to know that we serve a God who has everlasting arms... that are able to surround us, like a fortress, strong tower and hiding place.
Isn’t good to know that we serve a God that no one, or no thing compares to ... for who is what God is...
Oh yeah,... you may be able to compare
• A ferrair to a Maybach
• Lebron James to Kobe
• Or Tyler Perry to Madear, or even
• President Obama to Martin Luther King Jr
But, isn’t it good to know that no one, or nothing compares God ... for who is what God is...
Well lets me call the roll
For He is
• My Creator
• My Deliverer
• My Father
• My Keeper
• My King
• My Light
• My LORD
• My Redeemer
• My Refuge
• My Rock
• My Shepherd
• My Shield
• And yes, He is my Savior
And if that ain't enough ... who is what God is...
• He is my Advocate
• And My Counselor
• He is Omniscience
• And Omnipresent
• He is Ancient of Days
• He is a Consuming Fire
• Crown of Glory
• And Diadem of Beauty
• He is an Everlasting God
• An Everlasting King
• He is a Father of Compassion
• Father of Glory
• Father of Lights
• Father of Mercies
• And Yes, He is the Father of our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ
So, New Home, I ask you again, Who is what God is... WHO IS LIKE THE LORD and can we all say to together... NOBODY!!!
You see... Youth, some folks will be like the Eunuch and may try to change your name and call you...
• Bad... But God calls you born again
• Dumb ... But God calls you delivered
• Fat... but God calls you faithful
• Guilty... But God says you are forgiven
• Hopeless... But God will give you help, hope and healing
and they may even try to change your name and call you...
• Stupid ... But Jesus say, nun-un, I already paid the price, YOU SAVED!
So, Church, I’m goanna ask you one more time, Who is, what God is, WHO IS LIKE THE LORD, can we all say together... NOBODY!
So regardless of the name that anybody calls you ... as long as you know like mee-shaw-ale, who you really belong too
You will then understand that our Sovereign God has already given you the power to stand in the midst of adversity and do right even when everybody else is doing wrong...
Which leads me to my SECOND point...
#2. Birds of a feather flock together
Now we were just able to glean a few clues from their names to help us understand a little about their character. Now let’s take look at the importance of their friendship.
Walk with me... Daniel 3:12
Notice the charge against them. The text says “these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”
In other words these guys refuse to do what you say...
Now, I am convinced that something happened along the way that caused these three MEN to make up in their minds that they were going to stick together
Their togetherness, and their friendship, and their bond, upset the Chaldeans so much, that I can imagine the Chaldeans conversation with King Nebuchadnezzar went a little something like this:
Look here O King ... there is a few of them Jews out there (how many is it) oh yeah, three, who refuse to fall in line.
You know them boys caught in captivity that you put in charge over me and gave my promotion. Yeah, them
Look here O King... you need to do something or this situation is going to get out of control.
If we keep this up, we are going to be serving their God.
I mean ... look here O King, you providing them with a roof over their head; you feeding them good (in fact the three of them are fatter that everybody else); you put clothes on their back; shoes on their feet; and you even provided them with an all-expense paid, world class education from Nebuchadnezzar University.
And now they have the audacity to STAND... So what you goanna do about that... O King, live forever.
I want you to notice that these same three men who Daniel 1:6-7 helped us to understand, was led away together in captivity as little boys...
Now get this... these same three are still kicking it strong all these years later.
Well, that begs the question, why is that?
Well... I’m a firm believer that birds of a feather flock together
It’s no secret that these Hebrew men had something in common that lasted down through the years of their struggle in captivity.
Now, I will tread very carefully right here, because the Bible is silent on this point
But if I only imagine, in my simple mind, the things these three boys witnessed... as they were being led away into captivity.
The amount of bloodshed that must have saw, as Nebuchadnezzar and his army besieged Jerusalem.
I can only imagine how these little boys must have felt when their young eyes saw perhaps their mothers, fathers and other family members killed. And other children being snatched out of their mother’s arms and massacred.
The torment and torture that their little hearts must have felt when they witnessed their best friends, whom they went to school with, and played with, die in cold blood in the streets, because of the way they looked, or because they were not in the right social class, or family line.
Sad thing is ... this type brutality actually happens today in our streets.
But only, there are no soldiers, are youth are fighting and killing each other over drugs and colors ... and sometimes just because, they have nothing better to do
As a result of what they may have seen... one would think that these 3 MEN would have conformed with the social pressures and do whatever was being asked of them...
Although tragic ... something happened that caused these certain men to come together to form a bond... that would last a lifetime.
Perhaps, as little lads they attended Sunday School and BTU together.
Whatever, it was, I am convinced that something happened along the way that caused these MEN to make up in their minds that they were in it together, forever.
Which, is why I’m also convinced that birds of a feather flock together
Allow me to paint the picture...
You see, these three men had something in common that they discovered early in their youth. I believe that common bond and thread was their faith and love for God.
Yes it was this bond of faith that helped them to understand that even in captivity, in the midst of adversity ... that trouble, don’t last always.
It was that common bond of love and faith that they had for God that helped them understand, even while facing death in a fiery furnace...
...that the God “whom they served was not only able to deliver them from the furnace, but also from under the hand of the King.
Yes, I'm convinced something happened...
Perhaps, along the way, they decided to become pray partners, or even join the boys’ choir
Perhaps, they knew along the way, that every once in a while, one of them would get discouraged and decide that it was better to turn than burn
Perhaps, they made a commitment that if this happened, that it would be incumbent upon the other two to pull him back
Yes, I’m convinced, that birds of a feather flock together.
But, I think this is a good place to throw in a disclaimer... that, not all birds are good.
I’m not suggesting that you go out and flock with a vulchers... In other words, you can’t just flock with any ole body.
Let me help you...
If I were to say, Shadrach, people would automatically associate him with Meshach and Abednego
If I were to say, Lebron James, folks may automatically think of Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh
There was a time when, if I said Beyoncé, we would automatically think of Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, yes Destiny’s Child
If I were to say Kobe Bryant ... well, anyway, that is a bad example, poor Kobe can’t get no good help in LA, these days
My high school alumni weekend is next week and if you were to go by the picnic and say Kelvin Parks, people would automatically associate me with Brian Little and Sean Mayfield.
If I were to say Yolanda Thompson, folks would automatically say, Renee and FeFe Poole.
Well, the question is what if we called your name. Who would they associate you with?
Now, remember, not all birds are good for you
In other words ... who you
(1) hang with,
(2) Chill with
(3) roll with,
(4) creep with,
(5) sneak with,
(6) dip with, or
(7) be with ... matters.
The Questions is ... WHO YOU WIT!!!
So, if YOU chose to hang with the wrong crowd ...
there is no sense in wondering why, every time something goes wrong, or something goes missing, why people always look at you?
The question is why people assume it is you.
Well, the answer could very well be that is because of the people that you have chosen to associate yourself with.
Why, because birds of a feather flock together.
That’s why I’m a firm believer that there comes a time when we have to make up in our minds, and understand that everybody ain't good for you.
Some folks, we need to simply just cut off.
We don’t have to give them a three strikes you out rule ... or have them sign a last chance agreement.
We don’t need to send them an email or text explaining our decision.
We simply need to delete their contact out of our phone and ignore any and all attempts to reach you
Why, because everybody ain’t good for you
As a new creature, new creation... and born again believer we need to be mindful of the company we keep
Why ... because, birds of a feather, flock together.
Live long enough and you will discover that success breeds success
Watch this ... notice that these same three Hebrew boys of chapter 1 who started from the bottom as slaves are now here in chapter 3 “over the affairs of the province of Babylon.”
I guess you can say that they ... started from the bottom, now they are here... here in chapter 3, running things, that is
Notice ... that all three of them made it.
I guess you can say that they started from the bottom, now the whole team is here... here in chapter 3, running things that is
Which speaks to their character, togetherness, friendship and unyielding faithfulness to God
Youth, think of the possibilities of what could happen in your life if you had friends like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
Friends who would be willing to take a stand with you in the midst of adversity, and do right, even when everybody else is doing wrong.
Not only do I think you should be mindful of the company you keep ... but, I also think it is important for you to have mentor.
Which is my THIRD Point.
But, not just any mentor, A Godly Mentor.
• Like your Father, not present
• Call your Brother... no Godly brother
• Call your Uncle ... no uncle
• Call your Cousin... no cousin
• Call your Coach
• Call your Teacher....
• Call your Pastor...
• Call your Friend... no, friend
Well ... always know that you can always call on Jesus.
Let me ... shift gears for a minute and speak directly to the adults
Proverbs 22:6 says... if we train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
With that said ... Our youth need strong positive mentors and role models...
• Jethro was to Moses
• Moses was to Joshua
• Naomi was to Ruth
• Eli was to Samuel
• Elijah was Elisha
• Elizabeth was to Mary
• Barnabas was to Paul
Why, is this important, because studies show that our youth will immolate and become what they see
If all they see is video games of war, violence, and car thefts ...
Then we should not be surprised if they robbed a bank, or murdered someone someday.
In fact, the best gift that we can give our kids sometimes, is the answer NO!
Like, I don't care what other parents are doing ... NO... You cannot stay on the phone all night talking to some little boy, you're only 12!
Now, give me that phone and go to your room. And better not slam that door!
Talking about a Godly mentor... watch this ... Daniel 1:6-7 helps us again.
Notice ... that there were not only 3 boys but 4. And fourth boy being a seasoned teenager, by the name of Daniel.
Who I believe served as a Godly mentor to these certain men of our text.
I'm convinced that these three boys saw their mentor Daniel when he pleaded with the prince of the Eunuchs, to give them bread and water to eat and drink.
Instead of food sacrificed to idols, which would have defiled their bodies (Dan 1:12)
I'm convinced ... that these 3 Hebrew boys witnessed the faith of their mentor Daniel when they faced death by the hand of the king... When he led them in prayer meeting for an answer to the king's dream (Dan 2:17-18)
I'm convinced that it was their mentor Daniel’s examples of Godly living that helped them gain the confidence, even as youth, to stand in the mist of adversity and do right even when everybody else was doing wrong.
You see... the favor on their lives did not start when they became men. The favor on their lives started while they were still in their youth
Which means that YOU ARE NEVER TO YOUNG to be used by God.
Oh yes, GOD specializes in using ordinary YOUTH like you, to do extra-ordinary things.
God used Joseph to save a Hebrew nation (Gen. 50:20)
God used a young shepherd boy name David to kill a giant, name Goliath (1 Sam. 17:46)
God chose Josiah to be King of Judah at the ripe old age of eight (2 Kings 22:1)
All of this simply means that with GOD there is no one:
- To low to be lifted
- To dirty to be cleaned
- To cracked to be cured
- To lost to be found
- To broken to be fixed
- To hurt to be healed
- To fractured to mended
- To oppressed to be renewed
- To wounded to be redeemed
- To bruised to be anointed
- To sinful to be saved
- And too young to be used
I want some YOUTH to know that it does not matter, if you
- Stepped out
- Cracked out
- Dropped out
- Flunked out
- Drank'ed out
- Walked out
- or even been KICKED OUT
- It does not matter ...
GOD will still forgive you, save you, and give you the ability to stand in the midst of adversity, and do right even when everybody else is doing wrong.
And as I close... I want to take my time and talk it, instead of whoop it, because I want you to hear me clearly.
I want to let you know that I am excited about your future and what God is doing and going to do ... in and through your very capable lives.
Most importantly, I’m excited for what God has already done for you through our LORD Jesus Christ.
The price that Christ paid on Calvary’s Cross, when he died for our sins, and rose from the grave, on the THIRD Day gives you the ability you need through Him to stand and face whatever obstacle that may come your way.
Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life, and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven
I want to make sure you thoroughly understand that Jesus is in the business of giving us a fresh start.
And if .. that is what you need; your fresh start, and new life can begin today
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done
It doesn’t matter where you’ve been
It doesn’t matter how bad you think you’ve blown it
Jesus wants to give you a fresh start TODAY!
So the next time you feel inadequate ... just remember that you are in good company and STANDING in the right place to be used by GOD.
Now unto him that is able
to keep you from falling,
and to present you faultless
before the presence
of his glory with exceeding joy,
To the only wise God our Saviour,
be glory and majesty,
dominion and power,
both now and ever.