Summary: One of the things we learn from God’s people (the Israelites) is faithfulness to God!
TEXT: Daniel 3
TITLE: “Till we are united by death…”
SERIES: Lessons Learned from God’s people (part 5)
TOPIC: Lesson learned: FAITHFULNESS TO GOD
OCCASION: Burnside Christian Church, May 10, 2009
PROP.: One of the things we learn from God’s people is faithfulness to God!
INTRODUCTION: We are in a sermon series called: Lessons learned from God’s people. The first lesson we studied was: Holiness. The second lesson I want us to study is: Faithfulness.
I have always admired loyalty. Maybe that’s why I’m a fan of Joe Dumars. For 14 seasons he played for the Detroit Pistons. A Pistons uniform is the only uniform he ever wore! Michael Jordan played for the bulls for 13 seasons. He spent the final two years of his basketball playing career playing for the Washington Wizards. And it just didn’t look right to see Michael Jordan in a Washington Wizards uniform did it? We wanted Michael Jordan to finish his career as a Chicago Bull.
How many of you are married? How many of you have been to a wedding? Ok. Good. Then maybe you can relate.
In every wedding I’ve been to or been apart of there is a special time of the service where the couple will exchange wedding vows. Promises they make to one another in the presence of witnesses and in the presence of God.
Those of us who are married, made a vow to our spouse which simply said, “Till we are separated by death”
This is why we celebrate those who have been married for several years! This is it looks weird to have Michael Jordan wear a Wizards uniform. Because deep down, I believe we all appreciate faithfulness.
Today, I want us to be faithful to God. And the sermon title I have for us today is: Until we are united by death.”
Because that’s really what faithfulness is all about. We are living this life as faithfully as possible until we leave this world and are forever united with God in heaven!
Today, I chosen a familiar text. But you’ll soon see why. It is the perfect story that encourages me to live faithfully…and I pray that it will encourage you to live faithfully as well!
It comes from Daniel 3.
CONTEXT OF THE STORY: SO God’s chosen people were slaves in Egypt…
have been freed from Egypt, (because of the 10 plauges)
crossed the red sea,
lived at the foot of Mt. Sinai for a year…
wandered in the dessert for 40 years, (as punishment)
finally entered the promised land…
and have been invaded and taken captive by the Babylonians.
And in the midst of this King Nebuchadnezzar is going to challenge the faithfulness of God’s people. And this story is all about the FAITHFULNESS of God’s people.
So please allow this story to encourage you…
I. First, let’s talk about the challenge they faced (VS. 1-7)
You cannot talk about faithfulness without talking about challenges. Faithfulness means that you are going to encounter some difficulties or challenges. If there were no challenges, then you wouldn’t need to be work at faithfulness, would you? If there were no challenges, we wouldn’t have to talk about faithfulness, would we?
In fact, James chapter 1 verse 2 makes this assumption very clear. “Consider it pure joy WHEN you encounter trials of many kinds…” WHY? Why would I be delighted or glad (that’s what the word for joy means) when I am facing a health crisis? Or money problems? Or difficulties in my family? Has James lost it? He goes on to explain himself.
Verse 3: “Because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”
Notice, it’s not “IF” you face trials. It’s “WHEN” you face trials. If you are a follower of God almighty, you WILL face challenges! Let’s look at the challenge that these three friends faced…
1 King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. 3 So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it.
4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, "This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language: 5 As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace."