Daniel 3:8-30 / Do not be Conformed (Sermon notes and Audio)

Posted on September 27, 2012

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This is the seventh in a series of  expositions of the book of Daniel. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the morning of September 23, 2012. This message deals with pitfall of pride, and the importance of not conforming to the world. This contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes and a study outline. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.

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Dan 3_8-30

Study Outline:

Daniel 3_8-30 Outline

SERMON NOTES:

Daniel 3:8-30 / Do not be Conformed

INTRODUCTION:

The devil tempts us to destroy our faith, but God tests us to develop our faith, because a faith that can’t be tested can’t be trusted.

False faith withers in times of trials, but true faith takes deeper root, grows and brings glory to God.

This explains why God permitted the three Hebrew men to be tested and then thrown into the fiery furnace.

The experience of these three men helps us examine our own faith and determine whether we have the kind of authentic faith that can be tested and bring glory to God.

vv. 8-9:
Satan is the accuser.

Revelation 12:10

We also see this in the book of Job.

He is constantly looking for reasons to accuse us before God.

He will find a reason to accuse you, but don’t hand him the ammo to shoot you with.

Do your best to live a blameless life:

1 Thessalonians 5:22

If satan is going to accuse you, make his job hard, make him lie!

Satan is a liar, he won’t mind lying about you.

John 8:44

vv.10-11:
They appealed to the king on the basis of his own law.

They knew that the king would have no choice but to enforce his decree, because in this culture, the kings law could not be changed.

The king had ordered death to anyone who didn’t worship the idol, and death would have to happen.

Just like God’s own penalty for sin, the required payment was death.

Romans 6:23

But unlike God’s way, Nebuchadnezzar’s way didn’t provide for a substitute!

The transgressor would have no choice but to pay the penalty on his own.

v.12:
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were not intimidated.

These three men in the crowd that stood tall when everybody else bowed low.

Their faith was in the True and Living God, and the Word that He had spoken to their people.

True faith isn’t frightened by threats, impressed by crowds, or swayed by superstitious ceremonies.

True faith obeys the Lord, and trusts Him to work out the consequences.

Exodus 20:3-5

Once the Lord has spoken on a matter, the matter is settled and there’s no room for discussion or compromise.

vv.13-14:
The king, in a fit of rage, had the men brought before him.

He questioned them in an effort to confirm the accusation.

v.15:
The king, though angry, had a special respect for these men.

They had proven themselves by their work in the empire. He gave them a second chance to worship the idol.

The king, though had a serious ego problem, very reminiscent of satan.

Nebuchadnezzar thought of himself as a god. “who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”

This pride would eventually be his downfall, it always leads to destruction.

Proverbs 16:18

vv.16-18:
Though the king had become angry, these three men remained calm.

Its as if the knew 1 Peter 3:15

They had no fear of man, only God!

They certainly could have come up with many ways to compromise and justify their disobedience to God, we do it all the time today.

1. Everybody else is doing it
2. Our office demands that we obey
3. We’ll bow our knees, but we won’t bow our hearts
4. We can do our people more good by being officers in the king’s service, than by being ashes in the king’s furnace.

True faith doesn’t look for loopholes, it simply obeys God and knows that He will do what is best.

Faith rests on truth and promises, not on arguments and explanations.

Unfortunately, there is this faith that says “we will obey God if He will reward us for doing it.”

This is the devil’s philosophy of worship.

Matthew 4:9-10

We should get it in our minds to obey God, regardless of the rewards.

We should get it in our minds to obey God, not despite the consequences, but because of the consequences!

The three Hebrew men believed that God would deliver them, but they would trust Him even if He didn’t. They asked for nothing in return.

That is how faith is supposed to operate in our lives.

CS Lewis said “You’ll never know how much you believe something, until its a matter of life and death.” These men certainly believed their Lord!

Times of adversity are usually times of opportunity, especially when God’s people are being persecuted for their faith.

Mark 13:9

In fact, we are to seize those opportunities, and share the lessons learned without fear.

After all, it is God who is in control, and you are valuable to Him!

Matthew 10:27-31

vv.19:21:
The King became angry again, proud men don’t like to be disobeyed.

“Pride is the only disease that everyone around you suffers from except yourself.”

These men had refused the king’s generous offer, and had to suffer the consequences.

These three men were to be thrown into the fiery furnace.

vv. 22-25:
The furnace was so hot that the guards who threw these three men into the furnace were immediately burned up.

The King noticed that there were four men walking around in the furnace, and he was astonished.

He noticed that the fourth looked like the Son of God. It was the Pre-incarnate Jesus Christ.

We know that this was Jesus, because He is the part of the trinity that is manifested in human form.

Jesus was with them, even in the midst of the fiery trial. Jesus never leaves His children alone.

Even if they had died in the furnace, they would have been with Christ!

vv. 26-30:
The king ordered the men out of the furnace; as all of the officials gathered around, they noticed that their hair was not singed, their clothes were unharmed, and they didn’t even smell like smoke!

The king had no choice but to acknowledge the One True God, and ordered that no one would speak against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

By one act of faith, these three men became witnesses of the true and living God to the entire Babylonian Empire.

CONCLUSION:

We are told that there have been more martyrs for Christ during the twentieth century than during all the preceding centuries.

Not every believer has been spared death in the furnace, but they have been spared compromising their witness for Christ and taking the easy way out.

As we move toward the end of the age, the furnace of opposition will become hotter and hotter, and the pressure to conform will become stronger and stronger.

It will take a great deal of grace, prayer courage, and faith for God’s people to stand tall for Christ while others are bowing the knee to the gods of this world.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego stood tall and did not conform to the standards of this world. Likewise, we are to transformed by Christ, rather than conform to the world.

Romans 12:2

No matter how evil and tyrannical the world’s rulers become, or how hot they stoke the furnace, God will be with His people in the furnace and will ultimately defeat their enemies and establish His kingdom.

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