- Sermon Notes
Through the fire
Intro: Story of catching lawn on fire
Often in our lives, we can feel like we are in the midst of a fire. Maybe we started it, or maybe we were thrown into it. As Christ followers, we have
an incredible opportunity to pursue faith in the midst of any fire. Faith in Christ allows you to stand tall and know that God is with you in the fire
when others bow to culture.
In this morning’s message, we will be in Daniel, chapter 3, where we see certain men bring forward charges against three young men who would not bow down to the king of that land. These three men—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—are faced with a choice, to bow down to an idol as the king had commanded, or be forced into a deadly fire.
Read Daniel 3:13-27
Faced with the fiery furnace, these three young men, kept their faith and trusted firmly in the lord. Refusing to worship anything other than the Lord their God, even if that meant entering a fiery furnace that outside of divine intervention, would mean sure death. The ramifications of placing the Lord first meant that they would enter into the fire, but it would be the Lord Himself who would ensure they made it through that fire.
In response to what culture would have us bow down to, it is more important than ever that we have faith in the midst of whatever we face or even fear. This truth should not drive us away but toward the Lord.
I. Stand Tall
- Your faith is essential, no matter the cost.
- Faith is a willingness to trust in, rely on, and cling to God.
- It is the conviction of things not seen (Heb. 11:1). If you have the substance before you, or you can already see the outcome, there is no need for a conviction of what is unseen. The outcome, or substance of what you hope for, is already yours.
Hebrews 11:24-27, By faith, Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith, he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.
- Moses had the keys to the Egyptian kingdom; he considered Christ greater riches then the treasures of Egypt.
- Moses had it all… the best education, food, constant stability, and power.
- Yet he chose to follow God and turned away from the earthly riches and privileges he had. By faith, he knew that God was calling him to more.
- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew that they had to proceed with their faith in God.
- In light of what they were facing, it would have been the most comfortable scenario for them to continue keeping the “in crowd” happy.
- Others might say: “You guys are facing a fiery furnace; you’re going to die if you don’t bow down,” or “Just bow down; who could blame you?”
- Their faith was firmly in the Lord. They decided to place their trust in God, knowing that He would make a way.
Isaiah 41:10; ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
- In what we face, there are many times where the easy way out is not the right way. We get the choice to pursue God, place Him first, and know that He will make a way…or place our priority on what others, society, or culture thinks would be best.
- I encourage you to keep your trust and faith in the One who Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego kept theirs in.
A. Trust God to make a way.
- After being reported, brought before the king, and given another chance to bow down to the golden image; Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego get the opportunity to address the king.
Daniel 3:16-18, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter.If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
- The men knew that God could deliver them, but they did not want to assume what the Lord would do. They would say “Even if we die, He will deliver us from your hand.”
- When it seems like there is no way to stand, stand with the Lord. Trust that there is a way He will make, even when all you see is a dead end with no way out.
- He will always provide a way of escape.
Illus., Not delivering pizza.
- No matter what something may seem like on the surface, the apparent difficulties of placing your faith first; stand tall, trust God to make a way and…
B. Remain faithful.
Daniel 3:19, Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled withwrath, and his facial expression was altered toward Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. He answeredby giving orders to heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated.
- When Nebuchadnezzar called for it to be heated up 7 times hotter, they could have negotiated and bowed down. They could have thought: “This is too much; it’s going to be too hot in there. This pressure is too strong.”
- They could have easily begun to think that they made the wrong choice: “If God is with us, why do we need to enter into the fire?”
- God was going to work in their situation and do what only He could do.
2 Chronicles 16:9, For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those who heart is completely His.
Illus. - In Numbers, Moses sent 12 spies to go look at the land of Canaan, of the 12, only Joshua and Caleb were standing in a place of faith.
- They all went and looked at the same land, yet the 10 other spies came back faithless: “This land flows with milk and honey and there is fruit, but the people are strong, the cities are fortified and large. This land devours people, and its inhabitants are of great height, we are grasshoppers compared to them.”
- The people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. Joshua and Caleb did not see it this way.
- With Joshua being called to lead the Israelites, there would not be another 40 year wait. He boldly proclaimed: “Set yourselves apart. Fill up with faith. God is going to do wonders among you.”
- That’s the perspective I want, the type that trusts in the Lord, no matter the size of the giant or fire. There may be a fire in your life, at your job, or in your family. Choose to remain faithful despite the situation heating up.
Illus., Stoking the campfire.
- When you are faced with a fiery trial, there will be times you will be able to feel the heat long before you are even in the midst of the fire.
- Sometimes that fire is unavoidable, but know…
2. God is with you.
Daniel 3:25, He said, “Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!”
- Knowing God is with you will help you focus on HIM, not the SITUATION.
- Many times, in our trials, all we see is the trial. We can’t see anything or anyone else around us. We lose sight of God.
- Some would think: “We’ll remove the trial and we can focus on God again.” No! our greatest need in those moments is not to remove tough situations; it is to regain our focus on the Lord.
- Know that God is with you. Right now, in your trial, He is watching and walking with you.
Isaiah 43:2; When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.
- You might feel pressed and pulled. You must trust God and keep your focus on Him.
C. Know that people see you in the fire.
Illus., A call from an old friend
Joel 2:25; Then I will make up to you for the yearsThat the swarming locust has eaten.
- You would not believe how many people notice and watch as you go through a trial. Those are people God can reach in your life without even saying a word.
- God can use your difficulty and bring about a testimony. He can bring beauty out of the ashes. (Is. 61:3)
- When you go through it, people around you are watching. Not only while you are in it but when you come out of it.
D. Don’t fear the flame.
Psalms 66:10-12, For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid an oppressive burden upon our loins. You made men ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water, Yet You brought us out into a place of abundance.
Illus., Silver Smith refining fire.
- God uses these fires in your life to refine you and make you more like Him in the process.
- The trail might be painful, but on the other side, you can look more like Christ if you keep your trust and focus on Him.
- There are others standing at the door as you come through the fire. You must point them to the One who got you through it. The One who looks after your every need.
- People’s hearts will change, and they will look to Him because of your testimony.
Daniel 3:29-30;Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation or tongue that speaks anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego shall be torn limb from limb and their houses reduced to a rubbish heap, inasmuch as there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.”Then the king caused Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego to prosper in the province of Babylon.
- The King, who only a few moments prior was raging with fury against them, is now bowing before their GOD.
For this reason at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and brought charges against the Jews. They responded and said to Nebuchadnezzar the king: "O king, live forever! You, O king, have made a decree that every man who hears the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, and bagpipe and all kinds of music, is to fall down and worship the golden image. But whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire. There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, namely Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. These men, O king, have disregarded you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up."Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and anger gave orders to bring Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego; then these men were brought before the king. Nebuchadnezzar responded and said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready, at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery and bagpipe and all kinds of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, very well. But if you do not worship, you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?"