- Sermon Notes
Intro: Wedding Guard
Today we will be reading in Daniel Chapter 1. This is the story of a young man who found his faith and his faithfulness tested. Jerusalem had been conquered by the Babylonians, and the King of Babylon commanded that the best of the “sons of Israel” be taken and educated so they could one day serve in his Court. These young men were considered the best, brightest and most promising of Israel.
In this foreign land, Daniel would be taught the language and literature of the local rulers and he was to be fed a select diet of the King’s choice food. Babylon sought to strip Daniel of his Hebrew heritage and practices, they even tried to change his name -the representation of his identity. Everything Daniel believed in was threatened to be torn from him, but he was faithful to the one true God. And to demonstrate that faith, Daniel took a stand that would ultimately bless him, and glorify the God of Israel.
Read: Daniel 1:8-17
- When everything he stood for was under siege, Daniel drew a line in the sand. This foreign land was hostile toward his faith, everything he had ever known was so far away. Yet, Daniel still had The Lord’s favor, and he wasn’t about to lose it. This righteous young man’s story is an inspiration to us in the trials of today. When we find ourselves in unfamiliar and ungodly territory, when our faith is challenged, we must stand tall and…
I. Be Committed To The Lord
- Daniel finds himself in the center of the Babylonian empire. He is surrounded by powers and authorities that want him to conform to the ways of their kingdom.
- Forcing him to eat the diet chosen by the King was part of grooming Daniel to serve that King, but for Daniel it would mean eating foreign, likely un-kosher, food. While we aren’t called to this as Christians (1 Corinthians 8:8), this was a problem for Daniel because God had given the people of Israel very specific instructions about what food was clean and what food wasn’t. For Daniel to eat it would mean breaking Jewish law.
- The food was, however, very high quality. It was the King’s Choice food. Any citizen of the empire would be privileged to eat it! I can only imagine how tempting it would have been for Daniel.
Illus. Royal wedding.
- What Daniel sacrificed was not minor. Not only was he giving up the best food of the kingdom, he was potentially jeopardizing his opportunity to be successful in this new land.
- Like Daniel, many of us will soon find ourselves in strange territory. For some that’s college, for others that’s a new job, new classes, or perhaps just a new season.
- In this new season, there will likely be temptations. The things that the world offers may seem good, but we cannot let ourselves be compromised.
Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
- In everything he did, Daniel was committed to acknowledging God.
- It isn’t always easy for us, but we are called to acknowledge Jesus in everything we do, regardless of our circumstance. Even if we are far from the place we call home, the Lord wants us to remain committed to Him like Daniel did. And like Daniel, you are a child of God.
A.Remember Who You Are
- Although the Babylonians took him, changed his name, and began to fill his mind with the words of their kingdom and their gods, Daniel would not abandon his God.
- Daniel was a child of Israel, scripture suggests that he may have even been royalty. He did not forget who he was.
Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
- You are a child of the King of kings! Your inheritance is the kingdom of heaven. That is a high destiny, that’s the greatest identity anyone could find. Through faith in Jesus, you are counted as royalty, this is who you are!
- Still, there are many things in this world that may be tempting, may move us ahead in this world, or give us favor in man’s eyes. It is important that we always remember that we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. Don’t trade the riches God has given for what is fleeting.
Illus. Freshman Musical
Romans 12:2 "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."
- Daniel refused to be conformed to the world around him, even though it seemed like the path to success in the king’s court.
- We cannot allow ourselves to be molded sinfully, even if that seems like the quickest path to winning in this world.
- As followers of Christ, we are being transformed to reflect Him. Don’t forget your true identity, and be resolved to stand in it.
B.Make Up Your Mind
- Daniel 1:8 "Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself.
- Daniel had already decided that he wasn’t going to defile himself. His mind was made up. Even though he was a prisoner with no personal power to resist
the will of the king, he refused to let himself be spiritually compromised.
- That determination aided Daniel in his trial. He was intent on finding a way to avoid eating anything unclean. Even when the initial answer to his request seemed like a no, he was persistent and God showed him the favor he needed.
- Situations come, and, like Daniel, we have to remain focused on and dedicated to the calling God has given us.
Illus. Walking the tight rope
- To stay on the path that God has laid out for us, our focus needs to be laser-like. Just as the laws of physics worked against me on the tight rope, the current of this world will work to pull you off of God’s path.
Hebrews 12:2 "Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
- We have a calling to keep our eyes locked on Jesus, and you know what? It’s a beautiful view.
- Certainly, He knows how to walk us through the trail in righteousness. Not only that, committing to Jesus opens up a fountain of blessings greater than anything the world can offer.
II.What God Gives Is Better
- While most of the young men around him feasted, Daniel and his three friends ate only vegetables. Those in charge of Daniel would expect him to be less nourished and weaker than his peers. Yet, at the end of the test, Daniel and his friends looked heathier than all the other boys. Because of this they were allowed to remain on God’s meal-plan.
- Throughout Daniel’s story God blesses him with gifts and favor beyond what anyone else could give. God grants him “favor and compassion” with the overseer, and He also gave him gifts of knowledge, intelligence, wisdom, and understanding.
- There are so many desirable things in this life that may seem easy to attain. Remember, something cheaply attained is probably inexpensive for a reason.
Illus. Pokemon Game
- God can afford to give us good things. His gifts are good, genuine, often eternal, and more precious than anything the world can offer.
Psalm 107:9 "For He has satisfied the thirsty soul and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good."
- Just as He blessed Daniel so greatly, the God who can out-gift anyone wants to bless you! So, don’t stoop down to pick up what belongs in the dirt,
stand tall and receive what God wants to give!
- Later in scripture we see all the young men presented before the king. It quickly became evident that Daniel and his friends outclassed all the rest, and they were chosen to serve the king personally. Not only that, they were found to be 10 times better than all the men of wisdom and understanding the king could find!
- In Daniel, the Lord found a faithful young man who was unwilling to settle for what the king could provide. If you want more than this world has to offer, then you have to stand your ground in favor of God’s path and purpose.
Illus. The Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-22)
- As those dedicated to following Christ, it may look to some like we are needlessly sacrificing the pleasures and choice things of this life, but we can remember that what we are blessed with in return is beyond worth.
- If you fill your life with the riches of this world then how will you have room to receive God’s greater riches?
Philippians 3:7-8 "But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ."
- Everything the kings of this earth can offer you is rubbish when compared to just knowing Jesus. Know that our God’s provision is surpassingly good.
B.Rely On Him
- Our God is dependable, and He is worthy of our trust.
Psalm 73:26 "My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
- When all that Daniel stood for was on the chopping block, he had one hope: the Lord. God gave Daniel favor and blessing where he most needed it. He was right to rely on the Lord.
- When we stand tall for Jesus, the truth is that we are standing tall by Jesus, we lean on Him to find our strength.
2 Corinthians 12:9 …“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
- Rely wholly on God. He will walk with you and guide you as you follow the calling He has placed on your life.
Illus. Zooman and the Sign
- The Lord wants to fill your life with blessings that only He can provide. So, stay true to Him, no matter what!
James 1:12 "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him."
When the trails and temptations come, will you stand tall for Jesus?