Saturday, July 28, 2018

Gold Glory & Gods


Isaiah 43 KJV
1 ¶  But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine.
2  When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
3  For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour …

About a century after the Prophet Isaiah penned this prophecy a young man was born to a wealthy and privileged family in Israel, the young man’s name was Daniel. Daniel together with several other young men his age was purposefully educated in the Law and the Prophets and raised together to serve in the upper echelon of Jewish society in Jerusalem.

When King Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem and defeated King Jehoiakim, he took several things from the House of God and carried away many of the young, well-educated men captive with him back to Babylon. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were among them.

In the first few years these men distinguished themselves in the sight of their captors, and they gained the trust of the King. He promoted them  because Daniel interpreted the King’s dreams when not one other wise men could. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were also given positions of leadership over the Province and Daniel sat in the gate of the King.

It came to pass that King Nebuchadnezzar commissioned a 90-foot-tall, 9-foot-wide statue made of gold to be erected as an object of worship for all his subjects. All of the King’s officials were summoned to the dedication and instructed to bow down before the image and worship it immediately when the music sounded. Of course, it was noted that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego did not follow the King’s commands.

King Nebuchadnezzar heard that he was being disobeyed by these three young Hebrew captives whom he had appointed to important positions …

Daniel 3 NKJV
13  Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king.
14  Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up?
15  “Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”
16  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.
17  “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.
18  “But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

I do love the faith and the perspectives of these three guys.
·        If you threaten to kill us or follow through with your threats … we are not going to bow down or worship your god, your gold or your glory.
·        But, even if not – even if you don’t follow through with your threats or if the Lord does not rescue us from you … we still aren’t going to worship your gold, your glory or your gods.

These men were educated in the Law of Moses and familiar with the books of the Prophets of Israel. They had read Isaiah 43 and knew it by heart …
·        They knew their God and what He was capable of …
·        They just didn’t know what He was going to do …
·        But they knew what they were going to do …
·        They weren’t going to lose their faith over threats about this life …
·        They weren’t going to trade eternity for this world’s gold; for man’s glory; or false gods that cannot save.

19 ¶  Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated.
20  And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
21  Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
22  Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.
23  And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
24  Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”
25  “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
26  Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire.
27  And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.

Prophecy fulfilled! God will never leave you or forsake you … He may bring you home to be with Him … but He will never leave you in the fire alone!

When this world wants you to bow down to their gold; for their glory; or to their gods or else … just don’t! How can you stand your ground?

·        When you know what your God is capable of
·        And you just don’t know what He will do
·        You can still decide what you will do
·        Don’t forsake the Word
·        Don’t lose your faith over a few threats about this life

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Believe and Embrace


After Jesus had been crucified, dead, buried and raised from the dead, He appeared to more than 500 people in the 40 days between His resurrection from the dead and His ascension into heaven. The last set of instructions that He gave to His disciples before His departure is known as the Great Commission. His final orders would have shocked these disciples if they had only have understood their implications. You see, Jesus was giving them instructions to embrace A New Thing! 

Mark 16 
15  And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 

  1. Go … and as you go into all the world 
  1. Two Thirds of God is Go! 
  1. This is not given as a suggestion but as a command … Go!  
  1. Preach 
  1. Proclaim  
  1. Offering pardon and eternal life to every person on God’s terms of mercy through the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. 
  • Unconditional Surrender … 
  • Just as you are … 
  • All in … 
  1. Gospel = Good News! 
  1. To every creature … 

Every person? From all nations? Wait … This was something new to these Jewish Disciples. They had not before realized the scriptures included those who were not Jews in the plan of God. It was not understood that salvation was possible for Gentiles. This was a new command for these men who had walked so close with Messiah. 

The Apostle Peter encountered this dilemma of faith when he was taking a nap on a rooftop in the city of Joppa one afternoon. 

Acts 10 
34 ¶  Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 
35  “But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. 
36  “The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ — He is Lord of all —  
37  “that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 
38  “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 
39  “And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. 
40  “Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, 
41  “not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 
42  “And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. 
43  “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” 

The best we can understand from the scriptures, Angels of God do not have the privilege, the calling or the responsibility to lead people to salvation. They are messengers and servants who primarily protect and encourage people and they certainly set people up to hear the Gospel, but we don’t see any Angel winning a lost soul to Christ. I don’t know why this is, but we do know that this seems to be consistent throughout the New Testament experiences. For example: 
  •  Angels told the shepherds in Bethlehem to go into the town and they would see Jesus 
  • An Angel appeared to Cornelius in Acts 10 and had him send for Peter who then shared the Gospel with them. 
  • An Angel told Saul of Tarsus to go into the city of Damascus and wait for someone to come to him. 
  • An Angel told Ananias to go share the Gospel with Saul of Tarsus. 

Mark 16 
16  “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 

  • Believing is a matter of the heart and is our confession to God … 
  • Water Baptism is a matter of our obedience and is our confession to the world … 
  • Salvation is the free gift of God to become one with Christ while water baptism is a grace-filled opportunity to become identified with Christ. 
  • There is a dynamic necessity to both Believe and Embrace 
  • Just as Jesus was not water baptized so that He would become the Son of God, we aren’t water baptized so that we can become a child of God either. Jesus was water baptized because He was the Son of God and the voice from heaven sealed His identity.  
  • Romans 10 follows this same idea in the fact that we are told about two necessities concerning Jesus:  
  • to believe in Him as Savior 
  • and to confess Him as Lord 
  • Acts 2:38 renders the best harmony of the Gospel message by encouraging us to repent and be baptized because our sins have been forgiven. 
  • We cannot minimize the compromised position and the loss of potential blessing and impact at risk to the Believer who refuses to identify with Christ through water baptism … one would of reason be left absent of faith concerning their salvation. Refusal would be equal to denial if no greater reason were present.  

17  “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 
18  “they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 
19 ¶  So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 
20  And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.