Daniel chapter 6, Message 7

Daniel chapter 6, Message 7

At his advanced age, we would have understood if Daniel had sought to decline Darius’ placing him over the rulers of the kingdom. He was an old man, a “stranger” in the land (even though dwelling in the kingdom all of his adult life), a respected leader over the conquered nation, now being placed in this position of leadership over the princes of the victorious nation. We do not know if was looking forward to a quiet and peaceable retirement, but it is certain that he did not have one.
Daniel never retired from an opportunity to bring glory to God. He is an example of that which Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus – Ephesians 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory…..
We must never forget – 1 Corinthians 6:20 (KJV) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

We will see this morning that because of Daniel’s testimony –

I. He was Promoted.

A. He was honoured.

Daniel 6:1-3 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first:…

Why was he so honoured? Because –

B. He was honest.

…that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.

Daniel could be trusted in all things and he would allow no corruption in the government. He knew God’s standard for kings –

Proverbs 16:10-12 A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment. A just weight and balance are the LORD’S: all the weights of the bag are his work. It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.

Because of his faithful stand for God and the king –

II. He was Provoked.

Daniel 6:4 Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.

The princes were –

A. Confronted by his testimony for the Lord.
B. Confounded by his faith.

1. He was constantly watched.
2. He was carefully investigated.
3. He was consistently loyal to God and to King Darius.

C. Convinced by his consistency, they determined to prepare a trap using the pride of the king.

Daniel 6:7,9 All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellers, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.…. Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.

The king would have been wise to have known the Word of God –

Proverbs 29:5 A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.
Although Darius promoted Daniel over these men to protect himself from their dishonest practices, his pride blinded him to the purpose of these men. Daniel, though, was aware of their plan and he placed his trust in God –

Psalm 140:5-6 The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me…. I said unto the LORD, Thou art my God: hear the voice of my supplications, O LORD.

III. He was Persistent.

His faith remained strong in the Lord –

Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

Daniel did not allow the fear of death to turn his heart from the Lord. His testimony for the Lord had been open before all and he would not hide now!

Luke 11:33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.

We are to be testimonies in this world which takes courage that must come from the Lord. We see here that God blessed Daniel and –

IV. He was Protected. God testified of His own greatness through this event.

A. The King’s appeasement of his conscience.

Daniel 6:16 Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.

A thing that the king could not do. He had given up that power through his own pride!

B. The King’s anxious cry unto Daniel.

Daniel 6:20-22 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

He’s able, He’s able,
I know He’s able,
I know my Lord is able
To carry me through

C. The King’s anger against the conspirators.

Daniel 6:24 And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.

D. The King’s acclamation of praise unto God.

Daniel 6:25-27 Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

We need to remember the proclamation of praise from powerful empires of this world brought forth through God’s working in the life of one man, this man Daniel. What can I do, I am only one person?

It is not about your power, it is about your position – a child of the most High God, the Creator of the universe, the Lord of Lord and King of Kings. It is about Him and your trust in giving Him your life for His glory.

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Remember: “That we should be to the praise of his glory…”

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Daniel chapter 5 Message The Perfect Word of God – Truth

Daniel Chapter 5 Message 6

The Perfect Word of God –

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

– proved again in the fulfilment of the prophecy given to King Nebuchadnezzar

Daniel 2:38-39 “…thou are this head of God. And after thee shall arise another kingdom…”
Nebuchadnezzar had done everything in his power to insure that his kingdom would not end, but he finally humbled himself before the Lord and proclaimed that God’s will surely would be done. Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom passed to Nabonidus, who married Nitocris, Nebuchadnezzar’s daughter. Their son, Belshazzar became regent in charge of Babylon while his father, Nabonidus, was away.

I. He had no respect for authority. His father, King Nabonidus, was out of the city and

Belshazzar was sitting in the place of the king. He would led the festival without any respect for God or man!

His co-regency explains why Belshazzar promised that the man who successfully interpreted the writing would be rewarded with being “… clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

His careless attitude is seen in that –

II. He had no regard for the danger facing the empire.

As we look at what was taking place on this night, God’s Word was being fulfilled – the kingdom described in Daniel 2:32 “…his breast and arms are of silver…”, the Medes and Persian, had surrounded Babylon. They would capture the city on the same night that Belshazzar rebelled in pride and arrogance against God. He had no idea that this would be his last day on earth.
Jeremiah 50:9-11 For, lo, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country: and they shall set themselves in array against her; from thence she shall be taken: their arrows shall be as of a mighty expert man; none shall return in vain. And Chaldea shall be a spoil: all that spoil her shall be satisfied, saith the LORD. Because ye were glad, because ye rejoiced, O ye destroyers of mine heritage, because ye are grown fat as the heifer at grass, and bellow as bulls;

Jeremiah 50:24 I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, O Babylon, and thou wast not aware: thou art found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against the LORD.
The city of Babylon was divided into the new and the old by the Euphrates River. The river actually flowed under the walls of the city. Cyrus, the king of Persia determined that the river should be diverted and his army could simply march into the city under the wall instead of trying to break through it or climb over it. Belshazzar completely ignored the plan of Cyrus and thought himself perfectly safe inside the mighty walls of ‘Great Babylon’.

III. He rejoiced in his power.

A. He used his power to persuade the people to ignore the danger and celebrate the power of their empire. (Blind following the blind)

Psalm 10:3 For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.

They celebrated each other, using their positions and power to praise one another. Then when they had tired of praising one another –

B. He used his power to mock the God of the universe.

Daniel 5:2-4 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.

Belshazzar was going to find the warning of God to be true –

Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

IV. He was rebuked by God for his rebellion.

Daniel 5:5-6 In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.

V. He was reminded of his open rejection of God.

A. He rejected the lesson learned by Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel 5:18-23 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour…. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will. And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;

B. He reviled the God of the Universe.

But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:

VI. He was removed from power.

A. He was examined.

Daniel 5:24-28 Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written. And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

B. He was executed.

Daniel 5:30-31 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.
Proverbs 8:36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.

Again we see that what God has said He has done! Look at Genesis chapter 1 –

God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

God made the firmament – it was so –
God said – it was so
God said – it was so
God said – it was so…..

What God has said is true and will happen! Do you believe Him today or are you like King Belshazzar – you have heard the truth but have rejected it?

Revelation 20:12-15 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

But –

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Where is your name written – the book of works or the book of life?

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Daniel Chapter 4 Message 5 From Pride to Praise

Daniel 4 Message 5

From Pride to Praise in the life of King Nebuchadnezzar

As we read these beginning chapters of Daniel, we must keep in mind that God is preparing His people to receive His plan for the ages. In order to believe this plan, we must believe Him – that He is true and that He is in control of all things. We begin this morning with –

I. The Proclamation of God’s majesty.

Daniel 4:1-3 Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.
Nebuchadnezzar believed that all men needed to learn the truth that he had learned from God. He had thought that his power created signs and wonders, that he was great and mighty, that his kingdom and dominion would be forever (the golden statue). He recounted what took place in his life that brought him from pride to giving praise unto God. He began be writing of –

II. The Peace and Prosperity enjoyed by Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel 4:4 I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace:
He had not realized that the power, peace, and prosperity that he enjoyed had been given to him by God.

The Lord declared in –
Jeremiah 27:5-7 I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me. And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him. And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him.

Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

III. The Prophetic warning to Nebuchadnezzar from God. Daniel 4:5-27

God used many methods to communicate His will to man before Scripture, the Bible, was completed. He communicated to both believers and unbelievers. God could have warned Nebuchadnezzar directly using dreams. His plan was to give the truth as well as involve Daniel, proving him to be the man of God.
Nebuchadnezzar needed to admit that his power was limited and he needed the help that no man could give him. He needed to know the mind of God and only Daniel could reveal truth to him. Notice that –
A. Daniel was called after all others had failed to interpret the dream –

“But at the last Daniel came in before me…”. Nebuchadnezzar sought counsel from every other leader before finally calling Daniel. He had control over the men in his administration, but he knew that Daniel served God above all others. Asking for his help was an act of humiliation, but his fear drove him to know the meaning of the dream.

B. Daniel was told the dream.

The dream told by Nebuchadnezzar involved –

1. A magnificent tree known throughout the earth.
2. A messenger from God declaring three things to the king.

a. God’s judgment. Tree cut down.

Daniel 4:13-14 I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches:

b. God’s mercy. Tree stump with life was to remain.

Daniel 4:15-16 Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth: Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.

The lesson for all to learn is –

c. God’s sovereignty.

Daniel 4:17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

C. Daniel warned the king.

Daniel 4:27 Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.

IV. The Pride of the king.

Daniel 4:29-30 At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?

Twelve months to consider the truth of God and submit to Him. God gives all of us time to learn and to obey. He is merciful in holding back punishment. God does give a limit to disobedience though.

V. The Punishment of the king.

Daniel 4:31-33 (KJV) While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.

Repentance and humility brought forth –

VI. The Profession of the king.

Daniel 4:34-35 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

Nebuchadnezzar finally submitted to God. His praise is no longer directed to himself. He has humbled himself before God and proclaimed that only God is worthy to be worshipped.

VII. The Praise of the king.

Daniel 4:36-37 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellers and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.

The truth is that God is in control. We have been reminded of this truth in these beginning chapters of Daniel. The foundational truth has been laid on which to build our trust in the revelations that are given to Daniel in the final portion of this book. We can have absolute confidence in the plan of God being fulfilled in His time. Trust Him!

Every person will stand before God and answer to Him.
The saved – will answer for what they have done, good and bad.
The lost – will answer for not believing God. They will not have another chance to be saved, but they must admit that they rejected the truth and deserve their punishment.
Why would you remain lost, when God has given you a way to be saved?

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Abraham and Sarah, the dangerous journey from faith to frustration

Genesis Trust the Lord and wait upon Him.

Lessons in life from Abraham and Sarah

I. The Promise from God. (Given to them at advanced age)

Genesis 12:1-5 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife… (65 years old)

Genesis 13:15-16 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.

II. The Patience needed.

(No timetable given, expected to remain faithful)

Genesis 15:2-6 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

In all of this we notice the testimony of Sarah, that she was faithful, obedient, and loyal. She followed Abraham when God directed them to leave the land of their birth. She was obedient to him when he feared for his life among the Egyptians. She was loyal to him, trusting his trust in God.
Note the testimony given to her –

1 Peter 3:6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

III. The Pressure to succeed.

Genesis 16:1b Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children…..

IV. The Proposition of works. Genesis 16

Genesis 16:1b-5 ….and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

Sarah had become skeptical, impatient, waiting upon the Lord frustrated her and she replaced God’s plan with her own. She followed the custom of the culture and was not at fault as far as the world was concerned, but she rebelled against the plan of God and the Word of God.
Sarah became manipulative and took the role of leader in the family. Abraham submitted to her and they sinned against God.

V. The Problem of losing faith in God.

They should have sought the counsel of God instead of taking things upon themselves. God had answered them in the past when they sought His leadership. Because of their actions, Sarah became suspicious, jealous, accusative, harsh. She set a series of events in motion with long lasting effects.

A. The accusations of mistreatment.

Genesis 16:4-6 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee. But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.

1. From God “The Lord hath restrained me from bearing…”
2. From Hagar “…I was despised in her eyes…”
3. From Abraham. “…My wrong be upon thee…”

a. He should have kept her from this folly in the first place.
b. He should now discipline Hagar for her disrespect of Sarah.

B. The anxiety of Abraham.

1. He realized that they had done wrong.
2. He rejected taking responsibility for discipline in the family.
3. He requested that God change His plan to accept Ishmael as the heir.

Genesis 17:15-18 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!

VII. The Plan of God fulfilled.

Genesis 21:1-7 And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.

We learn from Sarah that we should not lose faith in the plan of God for our lives. Take warning when we notice that we are changing from faith to frustration, from ministry of the Word to manipulation of those around us. We need to trust Him and keep on serving Him day by day. Do not try to do the right thing the wrong way! Remember the words of Jesus when we begin to think God will not accomplish His purpose in us –

Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

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Wednesday night message: Zacchaeus, a changed life

Zacchaeus Luke 19:1-10
His life was similar to that of most people who are outwardly religious but spiritually depraved. He had the knowledge of God but little desire to be right with God in his own life. People generally have expectations of those that claim to believe God but believe those expectations do not apply to themselves. They justify their actions as being necessary to meet their own material, emotional, and spiritual needs.

I would like to Illustrate with the attitude of Greg, an engineer that I worked with, of Irish descent and strong catholic ties that we might remember that the case of Zacchaeus is not buried in the past, but part of people’s lives today. He told me that he loved being Catholic as he could do almost all that he desired to do and then simply confess and receive works that he must do to receive forgiveness. We often spoke of the Lord and I believe that if he heard that Jesus was going to come to town, he would do all that he could to see Him, as Zacchaeus had done. I told Greg that he could see the Lord in the Scriptures anytime he would and that if he ever truly saw the person of the Lord in the Word, he might repent, turn to Him for salvation and be changed forever – saved through the glorious power of God.

In the account of Zacchaeus, we are introduced to a Jew that would keep the law in order to maintain his position, depending on religious works to satisfy his conscience, but had no interest in spiritual things. We see him characterized as –

I. A Challenged person

Luke 19:1-4 And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.

A. In his stature

He may have struggled in life because of being shorter than most of the people. They sometimes will try to “feel tall” by work harder and being “more successful” than others in their community.
We might only wonder if he ever realized how his short stature became a great blessing. If it were not necessary for him to climb up the tree to see Jesus, he may have been just another man among the crowd of people lining the streets as Jesus passed by.

He not only had a physical challenge but also a social challenge –

B. In his standing in the community. The head of the tax collectors in their region. A position despised among the people.

Matthew 9:10-11 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
Zacchaeus was know to be –

II. A cheating official.

A. His community accused him

Luke 19:7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.

B. His own admission –

Luke 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

The Lord Jesus testified that Zacchaeus was –

III. A Changed person

Luke 19:9-10 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

A. He was a new man through the new relationship with God in His Son, Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

B. He had a new view of life.

Colossians 3:1-2 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

C. He had a new testimony in his community.
Luke 10:27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

The lesson we see tonight in the life of Zacchaeus is that salvation changes the person. It is not enough to confess with your mouth, belief must be in the heart!

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Preaching Outline of Daniel, Chapter 3 Message 4

Daniel chapter 3, Message 4

A familiar account of God’s protection, or is there a lesson we often overlook?

I. The Plan. Daniel 3:1

Daniel 3:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.
The king had requested the interpretation of his dream, received the revelation of God’s plan for the nations, and rejecting the Word of the Lord, refused to submit and determined to overrule God by creating his own plan for the future – to be more than the ‘the head of gold’, he would have all of the power!

II. The Proclamation. 3:2-6

Daniel 3:2-6 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellers, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellers, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. (See Jeremiah 29:22)

III. The Prejudice. 3:12 (envy, jealousy)

Those who bowed in worship of this idol were jealous of the courage of these men. The integrity and determination of the Hebrews illuminated the weakness of these leaders. They could either take courage and turn to God or cause the Hebrews to be killed. They chose to stand against God. Do their actions sound familiar?

Daniel 3:12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

IV. The Proud King. 3:15

Daniel 3:15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

V. The Proof of faith. 3:16-18

Daniel 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

They were aware of the consequences of their actions and did not seek to argue with the King. Their trust was not in the conscience of the king or compromise with his demand. Their trust was in God – in life or in death, God is all in all!

VI. The Protection from God. 3:19-27

A. The king’s fury was unleashed against them.

Daniel 3:19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.

B. The king’s folly – his own servants were killed by the raging inferno –

Daniel 3:22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.

C. The king’s frustration.

Daniel 3:24-25 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellers, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

D. The king’s fear –

Daniel 3:26-27 (KJV) Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellers, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

The king learned that he could have no power except it was given to him from God. God reminded Nebuchadnezzar that the plan of God would come to pass and it was not about glorifying Nebuchadnezzar – it is about the glory being given to God who only rightly deserves worship and glory.

VII. The Praise unto the Lord. 3:28-30

Daniel 3:28-29 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

‘The most high god’, proclaiming superior position, but not claiming Jehovah as his God! Nebuchadnezzar came short of saving faith in God, even though he praised the power of God! Just because people praise Him does not mean they trust in Him.

VIII. The Problem.

Most often we focus on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego when we read these verses, which is good in that we are reminded again of the grace of God working out His will in His power, but we miss the lesson from God that no one is above Him! No one, no matter how exalted by God in the pursuit of accomplishing His purpose on earth, is excused from submitting to Him in all things. The truth that has been revealed by this occasion is that this was simply another confession by Nebuchadnezzar based on emotion, like that the previous confession to Daniel –

Daniel 2:47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.

– not a true confession of the worthiness of God who is due all worship, submission, and obedience.

We have met many people over these years that confess that Jesus is Lord, yet this confession is simply based on a need they had in their lives –

Physical healing
Personal relationship
Emotional problems

– All of which the Lord helps with, yet none of which are true confessions of faith.

What is a true confession then?

We are sinners, not able to save ourselves.

We need a Saviour that will satisfy the justice of God, bringing us into relationship with Him.

We ask for His forgiveness and His salvation, believing that Jesus is the only way of salvation.

Romans 10:9-13 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

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Preaching Outline The Book of Daniel Chapter 2, Message 3

Daniel chapter 2, message 3

God used this situation to bring glory to Himself and to place Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego into positions of leadership in the kingdom by which their testimonies for the Lord would be noticed by all. God used them to encourage Israel to trust in Him and to teach the unbelieving to recognize His power over all the world.

We begin this morning with –

I. The Demand Daniel 2:1-3

Nebuchadnezzar dreamed a dream and woke up in a panic, determined to know its meaning. What brought him to this emotional state?

A. He reviewed his empire and thought about how best to ensure its continued glory.

Daniel 2:29 As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass.

In the quiet moments before sleep, he did as many of us also do, think about what the future holds for us and those that come after us.

1. He was concerned about how he would be remembered.
2. He contemplated the future of the empire.

B. He received the answer, but could not remember what it was!

To seek answers, to receive the answer, then to forget! He became desperate to know both the dream and the interpretation. He was the conqueror of empires, proud of his accomplishments – what would become of them?

II. The Distress Daniel 2:4-7

Nebuchadnezzar called his wise men as he had many times in the past, but this occasion was different. He not only wanted them to tell him the meaning of the dream (which they could interpret according to what they knew he wanted to hear), he wanted them to tell him the dream itself! They again besought him to tell them what the dream was. They knew they were in trouble. They had gotten by for years being able to satisfy him, but not this time. “…be sure your sin will find you out.” Now they faced –

III. The Danger Daniel 2:8-13

A. The confession of the counsellors –

Daniel 2:10-11 The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.

They realized that they had no more hope of knowing the truth through supernatural means than they did trying to work out the meaning through their own human logic. They could not depend on communicating with a spirit and if they were wrong, they would be killed.

B. The command to execute all of the wise men that stood before the King.

Again, Nebuchadnezzar revealed his character: he was an able leader and administrator, but extremely proud and immature. He would destroy anyone that kept him from having what he wanted!

IV. The Dependence on the Lord Daniel 2:14-13

Daniel had a precedent for his trust in God: Joseph and Pharaoh. We all should learn from history and especially from God’s Word, the Bible. –

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning…”

A. Daniel’s plea.

Daniel 2:14,16 Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom… Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation.

B. Daniel’s prayer.

Daniel 2:17-18 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret….

C. Daniel’s praise.

Daniel 2:19-23 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: …..I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.

Daniel 2:27-30 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these; As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass. But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living…

The Lord through the inspiration of His Holy Word has brought us to this point that we might see His power working out His plan for the ages –

V. The Dream Daniel 2:31-45

A. Described the dream. Daniel 2:31-36

The image representing the four empires from Nebuchadnezzar through the ages until finally overthrown by the Kindom of God.

Daniel 2:31-35 Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

B. Disclosed the meaning. Daniel 2:37-45

1. The Gold Kingdom. Daniel 2:37-38

Daniel 2:37-38 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory…..Thou art this head of gold.

2. The Silver Kingdom. Daniel 2:39 “…inferior to thee…”
3. The Brass Kingdom. Daniel 2:39 “…bear rule over all the earth.”
4. The Iron Kingdom. Daniel 2:40-43

This Iron Kingdom has overthrown the kingdoms before it and ruled with power and strength. Eventually this kingdom divided into two, known as East and West. It lost much of its power but not its influence and is still influencing the world today –

Daniel 2:43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

5. The Final Kingdom – the Kingdom of God.

Daniel 2:44-45 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

God revealed to man His plan for the ages. Daniel did not understand the details of what God revealed to him and continued to keep these things on his heart and mind. We will learn more of this as the Lord used Daniel throughout the 70 years captivity of Israel. We do learn at this time that God used Nebuchadnezzar’s concern for the future to bring Daniel to the forefront in the kingdom and establish him in a position that he may never have thought possible –

VI. The Dignity. Daniel 2:46-49

We learn that in the plan of God, there is no unimportant moment. God knows everything and He takes note of all that goes on, even the thoughts hidden in our hearts and minds. God took notice of Nebuchadnezzar as he thought about the future in the moments before drifting off to sleep and he used this moment to bring glory to Himself, promoted Daniel to be ruler of Babylon, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego over the administration of the affairs of the government.

Hebrews 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
What is in your heart today? God knows what you are thinking, all that you are considering. How will He use that which He knows? Will He bring blessing or judgment? Only you and God know – what will you do about it this morning?

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