Summary: We have detached sacrifice from service and this is a fatal mistake. It is one indication of the lukewarm church and the lukewarm individual.
Where Service Meets Sacrifice
Griffith Baptist Church – 3/23/08
Text: Daniel 3
Elisabeth Elliot writes,
’To be a follower of the Crucified Christ means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss.... The great symbol of Christianity means sacrifice and no one who calls himself a Christian can evade this stark fact. It is not by any means an easy thing to recognize, within a given instance of personal loss, the opportunity it affords for participation in Christ’s own loss." - Elisabeth Elliot
We often talk of sacrifice, but do we really understand the implications?
Do we know what cost means?
Now attach to sacrifice the idea of service or sacrificial service and it gets deeper.
We think making a sacrifice for Christ is coming to church, tithing, reading our Bible or prayer.
o These are things we should be doing because God expects it of us and we do it with joy to please Him.
o Little do we realize that we do these things often with no inconvenience on our part, when we can spare the time, we do them reluctantly and as long as it does not interfere with our lifestyle or personal me time.
o This is the present state of the modern day church
We have detached sacrifice from service and this is a fatal mistake. It is one indication of the lukewarm church and the lukewarm individual.
Well, here we have the true story of three wise Hebrew men who got the idea right that sacrifice and service go hand in hand.
1. The Statue Raised- 3:1
A. In response to the prophecy of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzer wanted to be the whole statue
B. His ego was fed
C. The statue: 90 feet wide, 9 feet thick and 4.5 feet wide
i. The volume is 3,645 cubic feet or 4, 400,000 pounds or 70, 400,000 ounces
ii. Gold was worth $945.30 an ounce on March 19, 2008
iii. 70,400,000 oz. times $945.30 per oz. means the statue in today’s economy would cost approximately $66,549,120,000.
D. What an ego!!!
2. The Worship Required – 3:2-7
A. The call – all important people and authorities in the kingdom under Nebuchadnezzer (2)
B. The congregation – gathered together and standing for the dedication (3)
C. The command – when they hear the orchestra they are to bow and worship the image and understand what the penalty is for non-compliance (4-6)
D. The compliance – the orchestra plays and everyone bows, except . . . (7)
3. The Idol Refused – 3:8-12
A. The Chaldeans nark on the faithful three (8)
B. The report is given in a treacherous tone (9-12)
i. The flattery of the king (9)
ii. The reminder to the king (10-11)
iii. The appeal to the king (12)
4. The King’s Rage – 3:13-18
A. The faithful three are brought before the king (13)
B. The faithful three are given a second chance (14-15)
C. The faithful three make a stand for the Lord (16-18)
5. The Fiery Retribution – 3:19-23
A. Fired up – Nebuchadnezzer hopping mad and the fire heated 7 times more [heated as hot as it could get] (19)
B. Tied up (20-21)
i. It was customary to take the clothes off the accused
ii. This was done in haste and so that was not possible
C. Delivered up (22-23)
i. The furnace was probably open at the top for feeding the fuel for the heat and an opening in the bottom for removing coals and ashes.
ii. The soldiers die from the intense heat, possible by the flames at heat leaping out of the top
iii. The three take a plunge into the furnace
6. The Shocking Revelation – 3:24-27
A. The mystery – The king stands quickly and shocked. He asks for a recount (24)
B. The Messiah – The king sees four men and likens the fourth man to a deity (25)
C. The miracle (26-27)
i. The three walk out on their own
ii. Their bodies were not burned
iii. Their hair was still in place and not one follicle touched
iv. They didn’t even have a fiery smell
v. Everyone is astonished
7. The King’s Response – 3:28-30
A. The declaration (28)
i. The king praises the God of the Hebrews
ii. He acknowledges divine deliverance [angel]
iii. their own God = the king is still not at the point of saying and believing that God is the God, he just has God as a god among other Gods
B. The decree (29)
i. It was a binding pronouncement; the word of the king was law
ii. The Hebrew God must be accorded respect and honor and not be disgraced or dishonored.
iii. The punishment would be dismemberment (common punishment) and destruction of property (will literally be made a toilet) and probably even family.