Sermon for January 30th


Romans 5:1-2


            This week I want you to know that we are not propped up into our standing position by any external human influences. Listen to this story:

            The air was hot and dry in Babylon, and they didn’t mind the heat, after all, it was quite similar to their homeland of Israel.

As they thought about it, Israel was just a distant memory as their homeland, their temple and their king were just reminders that God’s presence was gone from them.

Now the reality was setting in and the sweat had begun and the sting of it was in their eyes. The fire was so strong and so hot that it must have blinded them.

The king ordered the fire to be heated seven times hotter than ever before to make sure the fiery furnace would erase these men.

The heat from that furnace was so hot that it overwhelmed the best and strongest of the king’s men! This was it…it was show time!

These men could have avoided all of this if only they had bowed down and worshiped the ninety-foot-tall image of gold representing the king. But they would not do it! They decided to stand up for what they believed.

There was so much more at stake than just simply saving their own skins. So, in their minds they were willing to burn for what they believed!

They even told the king that if we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God they served would be able to save them from it and that He would rescue them.                                

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down to the whims of this king and so turn their backs on the God of their salvation.

They told the king that they would not serve their gods or worship the image of gold that had been set up. In other words, they proclaimed, “Here we stand!”

These three Hebrew men that we read about in Daniel 3 were not propped up by any human hand but by the mighty hand of God!

Listen if we see outward props by which we can stand, we will only look like scarecrows in the middle of the field – just a part of the scenery. The crows will fly down and lodge on our shoulders to better survey the field and find out where the grain is the thickest or the corn tender. They will use us as their vantage point to begin their pillaging.

The props the world uses can sometimes out do us as Christians. It is possible for sinful man to develop courage, charity, kindness, politeness, thoughtfulness, tolerance, gentleness, patience and a thousand other virtues.

I have seen it happen when the world has more compassion than that of the church!

This does not mean that they are marks of true Christianity because they are only works and attributes! In a Christian they are gifts and graces and they come from an entirely different source – God!

The gift and graces in the life of a believer come from Christ Himself. These gifts and graces abound as the believer surrenders his life to the dominance of the Savior!

What happens is our props aren’t from the world, but from Christ. As we grow and mature in our faith our life becomes more in tune with Him as we acknowledge our dependence on Him.

I am reminded of an old hymn that I grew up with called, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms. Listen to the lyrics:

“What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms! What a blessedness, what a peace is mine, leaning on the everlasting arms! Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms!” (Sing to the Lord, Lillenas Publishing Company, p. 596)

 Can you imagine what it would be like if you and I just said, “Here I stand, I can do no other!” Think about the reactions that would take place!

It’s not popular to be that dogmatic and to be quite honest with you the word has a negative connotation nowadays!

It’s more socially acceptable to call something your opinion than to call it your confession of faith. And be so very careful that it doesn’t infringe or offend anyone else’s already formed credo.

Actually, the phrase, “Here I stand,” has actually morphed into “How can I have it both ways?”

Who would have thought even 15 years ago we would be where we are today! Think about speaking the truth to a world who believes everything is relative especially truth!

Some people today say it much easier to say nothing rather than speak the truth of God! So, they keep quiet about the issues that the Word of God calls sin. Instead of holding for dear life to the truth that sets you and I free, they want to hold hands with anybody, regardless of what the Word of God says!

I don’t know about you this morning, but I appreciate the stand those who came before us took!

Our failure to stand on the promises of God and to keep hold of Him so that we can stand up for holiness comes from the same lie that Satan told Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

It boils down to this simple lie – you can be happy, fulfilled, and at peace. All you need to do is dismiss what God has said!

Do you think that the devil was whispering in the ears of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? I do and this is what I think he was telling them…Come on guys, just bow down! How foolish to stand so boldly before such a powerful king. Do you really think that God is going to save you from death? He allowed your enemies to rip you from the Promised Land and now He has abandoned you! Come on, just bow down!

What was it that kept them standing up instead of bowing down from the face of danger? They had the promise of God!

Reminds me another old hymn called, Standing on the Promises. Listen to the lyrics of the second verse:

Standing on the promises that cannot fail! When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, by the living Word of God I shall prevail, standing on the promises of God.

Who is that we need to be leaning on? God!

In 2022, what do you have in which to take your stand when the fires burn hot, and truth and life are on the line? What do you have to say when the devil rubs your nose in the shame of your past?

What do you have? You have what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had. You have the Word and promise of God. You have Christ – the One who perfectly took His stand, taking your place under the law, bearing your sins, and enduring the flaming wrath of God on the cross – all so that you would never have to.

Let’s close with this passage found in Daniel 3:24-25, “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.’ ‘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.’” (NKJV)

Let us say, “Here I stand, I can do no other and I am leaning on the everlasting arms of God!”