Summary: How tempting to compromise the Christian faith to fit in with the world around us! How do we stand tall, trusting our God, despite the insults and ridicule? A. Serve him no matter how fearful the threats. B. We serve him trusting his merciful power.

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Text: Daniel 3:13-27

Theme: Serve Only the God Who Can Save

A. Serve him no matter how fearful the threats

B. We serve him trusting his merciful power

Season: Epiphany 4a

Date: January 30, 2011

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit leads us to serve Jesus is Daniel 3.

"Then in angry rage Nebuchadnezzar ordered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be brought to him. Then these men brought them before the king. He said to them, "How is it, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you are not worshiping my gods and not bowing down to the golden image I've set up? Now, if at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, zither, harp, pipes, and all kinds of music -- if you are ready to fall down and bow before the image I've made, fine. If you do not bow down at that instant, you shall be thrown into the midst of the blazing, fiery furnace. What god is there who can save you from my hands."

"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king " O Nebuchadnezzar, it's not necessary for us to answer to you in this matter. If it so happens, our God, whom we serve, is able to save us from the blazing, fiery furnace and can save us from your hand, O king. If he doesn't, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not worship your gods, and we will not bow down to the golden image you've set up."

"Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with anger, and the appearance of his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. In response he ordered for the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than it was usually heated. He ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to cast them into the burning, fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their robes, pants, turbans, and other clothing and were thrown into the midst of the blazing, fiery furnace. Now because the king's order was so urgent and the furnace so hot, the flames of the fire killed these men who had taken up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. So these three, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the midst of the blazing, fiery furnace.

"Then King Nebuchadnezzar sprung up amazed. He asked his counselors, "Did we not throw three men into the fire bound?"

"They answered the king, "Truly, O king."

"He answered, "What's this am seeing! Four men walking around loose in the midst of the fire. They're unharmed. And the fourth looks like a son of the gods."

"Then Nebuchadnezzar came close to the entrance of the blazing, fiery furnace and said, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out and come forth. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire."

"The satraps, prefects, governors, and counselors of the king gathered around and looked at these men whose bodies weren't injured by the fire. Their hair wasn't singed, and their robes weren't scorched. The smell of fire wasn't on them." (Daniel 3:13-27)

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