Sermons

Summary: It's amazing how fickle our loyalties are, isn't it? Dependent upon/external pressures, we get swayed so easily/circumstances/who we want to influence.

Real Christians don’t bow down!

Date: Feb 5, 2012

Scripture: Daniel 3

Introduction

Prior/Super Bowl game years ago, When Ronald Reagan was running for president

 He was leaving/press conference/New Hampshire and someone fired a question at him:

"Who do you like in the Super Bowl?"

 Without hesitation, former gov/Calif. and presidential hopeful said: "The Rams."

Then a light apparently went on in his brain and he paused and said:

"Wait a minute, I'm not running for gov/Calif. anymore, may the best team win."

It's amazing how fickle our loyalties are, isn't it?

Dependent upon/external pressures, we get swayed so easily/circumstances/who we want to influence.

• This is just a part of life for most people.

• I hope as we study/chapter 3 this morning we can learn to draw a line

• Call that line conviction/determine in our minds/hearts that we'll never descend below that line.

• That isn't easy to do.

• Let me give you a simple way to look at it.

Our decisions, our attitudes and our behaviors are determined by one of two things: external pressure, or internal principle.

Let me say it again.

The battle is going/all/time/lives between/two conflicting items.

And we're very good at self-justification\so a lot of times when we succumb to external pressure we define it as internal principle.

o Do we do what we do--say what we say--act the way we act because we have convictions about it

o Or because we feel the pressure coming from the outside?

Are our convictions somewhat altered by the pressures brought upon us?

 When you’re faced with a situation/dilemma….

 Do you say what you believe based on internal principle

 Or do you succumb/external pressure and let them hear what they'd rather hear?

As we approach the third chapter of Daniel

 Going/meet three young men who functioned on internal principle and they didn't really care what the external pressure was.

And as followers of Jesus Christ, I think we have a lot to learn from these three young men.

I want you to put yourself in this situation today, I want you to see yourself here,

I'm not so concerned that you see S/M/A as much as you see yourself.

And that you see how you would respond in a similar situation.

Sermon

You never really know what curves life will throw at you,

 You don’t know what is lurking around the corner.

 You never know when you might be called upon to compromise your actions

 So when you are called on, you need to know what to do.

Life Is full of unexpected events—even for you and me as Christ followers.

o We are not exempt from/painful experiences that come to fallen beings living in a fallen world.

o Unexpected times—bad times—they come to all of us in this room so we need to know what to do when they do.

o That’s why THIS book is written. I mean, one reason God gave us this “handbook for life”—is to help us know what to do when we face the unexpected times...the “Babylons” of life.

___________________________________________________

Okay—before we go any further in our study of the book of Daniel—let’s review a bit.

 Last week/learned/chapter 2/Nebuchadnezzar/his dream.

 2600 years ago

 powerful ruler/had a recurring dream of a statue of a man

 Head of gold/chest/arms of silver

 belly and mid section made of bronze

 legs of iron and toes made of a mixture of iron and clay.

 Remember?

In the dream this statue is just standing there minding its business when a stone comes flying through the air and when it hits the statue it is reduced to dust.

Daniel told Neb/golden head/statue represented him/Babylonian Empire.

Other metals represented other empires/would come after his.

And as verse 44 says, the rock represented God’s coming kingdom,“...a kingdom that will never be destroyed nor will it be left to another people.”

Well, if you remember, when he heard all this, Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face before Daniel.

o He praised Daniel’s God—OUR God—the one TRUE God.

o Nebuchadnezzar seemed to be/verge of giving up his idols.

o He even promoted Daniel—and his three friends.

o Moreover, at Daniel’s request, the king appointed S/M/A administrators over the province of Babylon.”

__________________________________________________

Well, sixteen years have passed since that day.

 As the curtain opens on chapter 3 Neb/18th year/reign.

 And in all these years since his dream none of the prophecies from Daniel’s interpretation have come true.

 There has been no “silver” kingdom...no “bronze” kingdom...no “iron” kingdom.

 And there has been absolutely no sign whatsoever of a magical flying stone.

 So—pumped up with a renewed sense of invincibility—

 The king thumbs his nose at God/builds a massive idol

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