- Sermon Notes
Sometimes in life we encounter people, circumstances, or forces that seem bent on tearing us apart. These lions jump at any opportunity to take us down. Whether it’s a malicious peer, our own sin, or any other enemy, the threat of attack can nudge us away from the calling laid before us. However, there is a way that we can move ahead boldly in the face of such threats!
If we are committed to following Jesus and His will for our life, then those things which prowl around looking to take us down will have no real power over us! We will become Lionproof! To help us absorb such a huge claim, we are going to look at the story of a man who faced all sorts of lions and came through unharmed.
Read: Daniel 6:1-28
The story of Daniel is one of victory by the Lord’s favor. His relationship and devotion to God set him apart from all of his peers, and defended him from their jealous attacks. God had a plan to work out through Daniel, and the same is true for me and for you. The Lord has a calling on your life that may lead you through a lion’s den, but if you let Him establish your steps (Proverbs 16:9)you can make it through to your destiny. So, the question is, what does it take to become Lionproof?
- Be Blameless
- It didn’t take long for King Darius to see what an extraordinary man Daniel was. He was a clear standout among all the other leaders of the kingdom, and the king started making plans to put him in charge of everything.
- The rest of the leaders resented Daniel, clearly for the favor he was receiving. They also likely had been exposed in their own corruption and shortcomings by Daniel’s keen oversight and even by simple comparison to such an upstanding leader.
- This is the sort of man Daniel had always been, diligent, brilliant, and most importantly faithful to God. Daniel knew that the Lord was the wellspring of all of his blessings and success.
- That realization is one of the key steps to becoming Lionproof. We need to acknowledge that our blessings are gifts from the one who created us.
James 1:17Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
- Daniel’s life was so steeped in the Lord and His favor that, even though numerous kingdom leaders and competitors tried, no one could find any fault in his work or character! Daniel did his work as if he was serving the Lord Himself.
- At home, work, school, anywhere and everywhere we go we are called to live a life totally immersed in Jesus!The calling He places on our lives is lofty and better than what we dream for ourselves.
- If we walk in the joy of God’s plan for us, it’s naturally going to set us apart from many of our peers who have chosen to head in a different direction, and distinction is often met with friction.
Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
John 15:18-19 If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
- Daniel’s righteousness frustrated every evil plan that his enemies would draw up. If they had found even a hint of misconduct or error, they would have pounced on him like the starved lions they were. Yet, Daniel seemed untouchable, and his blamelessness was a barrier.
- So, that is all that we have to do! If we are perfect in every evident way, then no one can touch us, right? Well, if that were the case I think we would all be disqualified.
- Even Daniel’s righteousness only protected him for so long, because eventually his enemies found a way to use it against him!
Read: Daniel 6:5
- That is an incredible thing to have said of you, and I would encourage every Christian to live a life that would warrant such a reputation. Like Daniel, however; our righteousness alone cannot carry us through every struggle or attack. We just are not made to be self-sufficient in that way.
Illus. Ping Pong
- This is a reality that many of us have or will face. It doesn’t matter how good you strive to be, troubles come. Whether it’s an attack from the enemy, the envy of a peer, or some unexplainable calamity, our right walk before the Lord can be the thing that put a target on our back.
John 16:33These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
- When we walk with the Lord, we know that challenges will present themselves, but we can be courageous! God has already overcome, and His victory imbues meaning to our struggle.
- Called for this purpose
- Daniel’s enemies convinced the king to pass an injunction that ordered everyone to cease preying to their god’s and to solely pray to King Darius. This cast Daniel into life threating circumstances.
- When we find ourselves in what seems like desperate trouble, it is easy to become discouraged. “Why would God allow this attack to come against us? Why would He allow us to struggle?”
1 Peter 2:19-21 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps
- This life comes bundled with hardship, that is out of our control, but we do have some say in the cause of our struggle.
Illus. Lanyards and contact forms
- When we suffer for our faith in God and for the sake of the Gospel, we are not struggling purposelessly. Our patience and endurance are reflective of the character Jesus had on His march to the cross.
- By following in His steps, we can start to find the purpose in the pain. It’s not always easy to see, and we likely won’t see the full scope of purpose until we walk in eternity, but we can have confidence God can use any struggle for good. (Romans 8:28)
- With inevitable hardships in life we are presented with a choice. Will we face hardship because of our sin or because of our faith? Well, for Daniel the choice was faith!
II.Be Courageously Constant
- The Bible says that Daniel knew that the injunction was signed into law, and what did he do? He marched right up to his usual spot, and continued to pray like he always had, windows wide open for anyone to see!
- Daniel boldly walked the way he knew he was called to. It didn’t matter how much pressure was on him to disregard his faith. His very life was at stake, but Daniel didn’t even hide his constant prayer (three times a day).
- I pray that we would all have such courage in our trials and that we would all be so constant!
Illus. What we throw off the boat
- We need to hold on to our most valuable asset. For us, that should be our relationship with Jesus, because there is nothing else that can truly save us, and because it’s beautiful.
Philippians 3:8 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
- As difficult and hopeless as things may get, we can’t allow ourselves to be driven away from God, even if we think that would solve our problem.
- God is the one we need most when the troubles of life hit. Daniel knew this, and he had the courage and understanding to cling to God, no matter what.
- It’s safer with Him
- Unsurprisingly, Daniel gets caught. His enemies reveal this to King Darius, and to them it looked like a checkmate. So, Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den, and sealed away for the night.
- Can you imagine how terrifying that would be? Cast into darkness, surrounded by apex predators. The sheer fear that would induce, my heart pounds just thinking about it. Hour after hour wondering when they lions will get hungry.
- All Daniel could do was wait, and hope. That is one of the hardest things we are called to do.
- When we are called into periods of waiting on the Lord, when we don’t know what He is planning to do or how He will do it, it can be gut wrenching.
- This is where –more than ever– we need to be Lionproof, and it’s where we learn what that really means.
Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against you will prosper And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord.
- God is our defender! There is no force in the universe that can overpower Him, and if He is determined to save us from our lions, then by His side is the safest place for us.
Illus. The tongue of the ocean
- Our Savior saves. He has a plan to bless us and pull us through every trial of this world and into a beautiful forever with Him. Everything we walk through now serves a greater purpose, and every pain and fear will seem so small in the grandeur of eternity.
- Your story is for His glory
- After a long night, the morning finally comes, and Daniel is alive and unharmed! The loin’s mouth had been shut. God had more for him to do in the kingdom.
- Now to King Darius’ credit, he was overjoyed to see this! As we read, he was “deeply distressed” when he realized his favorite servant would be condemned because of his injunction. Even as he threw Daniel to the lions he said “Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you.”
- You see, Daniel was already known as a servant of our God, his reputation had been long established. So, when this trouble arose, even the king turned to God as the savior of this circumstance. The stage was set for God to do something incredible!
- When we find ourselves in a situation that only God could get us through, the potential is there for an amazing testimony to be born.
- When we are with Jesus the lion’s mouth can be shut, our suffering can have purpose, our darkest night can break into our brightest sunrise.
Psalm 30:11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy
- After Daniel was saved from the lions the king was in awe of our God! So amazed, in fact, that he sent out a message to all of the citizens of his empire declaring the magnificence of the Lord!
- In life there are many lions that may threaten us, but if we stand by Jesus, we can be Lionproof! Our story, no matter how difficult, can become a beautiful example of God’s power and love for us!
It seemed good to Darius to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom, that they would be in charge of the whole kingdom, and over them three commissioners (of whom Daniel was one), that these satraps might be accountable to them, and that the king might not suffer loss. Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom. Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him. Then these men said, “We will not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God.” Then these commissioners and satraps came by agreement to the king and spoke to him as follows: “King Darius, live forever! All the commissioners of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the high officials and the governors have consulted together that the king should establish a statute and enforce an injunction that anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, shall be cast into the lions’ den. Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it may not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.” Therefore King Darius signed the document, that is, the injunction. Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God. Then they approached and spoke before the king about the king’s injunction, “Did you not sign an injunction that any man who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, is to be cast into the lions’ den?” The king replied, “The statement is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.” Then they answered and spoke before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the injunction which you signed, but keeps making his petition three times a day.” Then, as soon as the king heard this statement, he was deeply distressed and set his mind on delivering Daniel; and even until sunset he kept exerting himself to rescue him. Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Recognize, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or statute which the king establishes may be changed.” Then the king gave orders, and Daniel was brought in and cast into the lions’ den. The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you.” A stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing would be changed in regard to Daniel. Then the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him. Then the king arose at dawn, at the break of day, and went in haste to the lions’ den. When he had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?”
Then Daniel spoke to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime.” Then the king was very pleased and gave orders for Daniel to be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den and no injury whatever was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. The king then gave orders, and they brought those men who had maliciously accused Daniel, and they cast them, their children and their wives into the lions’ den; and they had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones. Then Darius the king wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language who were living in all the land: “May your peace abound! I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel; For He is the living God and enduring forever, And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, And His dominion will be forever. “He delivers and rescues and performs signs and wonders In heaven and on earth, Who has also delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.” So this Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.