Today is Fathers’ Day, and I want to start my message by congratulating all the Fathers because by no stretch of the imagination, being a Father is an easy task. My good friend Gangai Victor once said, being a Father can be scary sometimes. Although fatherhood is an enormous privilege a man can have, it can be confusing, frustrating, and even painful sometimes.
New Atheists have become very much active on Social Media ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 or Corona pandemic. Who is a new atheist, you might wonder? A new atheist is a follower of the philosophy called New Atheism, which is a much more innocent term for Antitheism or Anti-God.
Motivation is a very powerful virtue. When studying the life of successful people it becomes evident they were able to overcome failure and be successful because of motivation.
Consider Colonel Harland Sanders. The early years of his life were filled with failure you might think he was cursed. But his life was driven by one simple belief that motivated him to keep trying. ‘It’s never too late to pursue your dreams.’ Today he is known as the founder of the highly successful fast food restaurant chain ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’ better known as KFC.
About 5 years ago today, I wrote a blog post about “Spiritual Maturity“. In it, I answered a few common questions about spiritual maturity. But I couldn’t answer one crucial question. How do we mature spiritually? The answer is we must start growing spiritually in order to mature spiritually. We cannot grow spiritually unless we are intentional about our spiritual growth. Today let’s look at a strategy we can use to boost our spiritual growth.
It’s Father’s Day once again and I want to consider the life of Eli for my sermon. Here’s why? In the Bible 1 Samuel 4:21-22 perhaps records the saddest words we will ever get to read. ‘Israel’s Glory is Gone!’ (NLT) These last words of a dying woman were a precise description of the plight of an entire nation. As tragic as it is, the word of God shows this was a disaster that could have been prevented if not for a man who failed as a father. Eli was the name of that man.
A photograph, taken at the time of the launch of the German Army Vessel, “Horst Wessel” on 13th June 1936 shows, hundreds of men and women holding up their arms in salute and allegiance to the Nazi Party and its leader, Adolph Hitler, except for one man standing with his arms crossed. The man was August Landmesser and better known as “The man who refused to give a Nazi Salute.”
Although impressive, August’s bravity landed him and his entire family in trouble. He was arrested on the grounds of treason several times, before being sent to the battlefront where he died. His wife, a Jewish woman was sent to a death camp in which she also died. His two daughters were sent to foster homes.
We find a similar story in the Bible also. It is none other than the third chapter of the book of Daniel, in which King Nebuchadnezzar threw Daniel’s three friends into a fiery furnace because they refused to bow down before his golden statue. A lot can be said about this passage, but I just want to share three truths with you tonight.
1. Nebuchadnezzar’s rebellion against God
In order to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s behavior correctly, we need to understand the link between the physical image that Nebuchadnezzar built and the image he saw in his dream in Daniel 2:1-49. In chapter 2 Daniel likened Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom to the head made of gold. Daniel also said that Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom shall fall and another inferior kingdom will rise to power.
Now Nebuchadnezzar, although he rewarded Daniel greatly, wasn’t happy to hear that he was only the head and his kingdom was temporary. Therefore in contradiction to God’s declared plan, he deliberately made an entire statue of gold, to say that the day of his reign and authority would never end.
He demanded that all the officials in his kingdom will bow down before it as a sign of allegiance to him (Daniel 3:1-7). It was total chaos but it doesn’t seem that Daniel’s friends were bothered. They knew God is always in control, no matter what.
The world today rebels against God in many different ways. (Ex: gay marriage and homosexuality are accepted as legally binding practices in many parts of the world; People claim that the Bible is outdated and irrelevant.) We may feel shaken by the presence of ungodliness in the world today but we cannot let the circumstances overwhelm us. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not let their circumstances overwhelm them.
The world has been in rebellion against God, since the beginning. It’s nothing new. It is also true that God was on the throne then and he is still on the throne now. He was in control of it all then and he is still in control of it all now. Therefore let us not lose our peace when we see all the rebellion going on against God, His Word, His authority, and the church. Ultimately its his plan that will prevail.
2. Daniel’s friends were very Stubborn
The demand that all come to the dedication ceremony means that Nebuchadnezzar meant to use the worship of this image as a test of allegiance. As for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego however this was also a test of allegiance to the almighty God. The friends attended the ceremony but stubbornly refused to bow down before the statue even once. Their allegiance to God exceeded their allegiance to the king. The king’s threats could not shake them. Their faith was so stubborn they said to the king they will not serve his gods or worship his golden image, even if God will let them die! (Daniel 3:8-23)
On September 03rd, 2015, despite a court order the Kentucky County Clerk, Kim Davis was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples with her name on them. She was released later on the condition she will comply with the orders. However, she said she will not and said if need be, she will return back to jail.
Men and women of God, need to develop a stubborn faith, so the world will not be able to pressure them into its own sinful mold.
It will definitely cost us many things. Even our lives sometimes. But we can rest assured that our souls will be safe.
3. These three men stood against Evil
According to Daniel 3:24-30 when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood firm against evil, God also stood by them. He rescued his servants. In the end, the king was so amazed by what happened and issued a new decree saying anyone that speaks anything against the God of the three friends shall be torn limb from limb and will have their houses reduced to nothing.
Kim Davis, continued her fight until the Kentucky Governor finally signed a law, which a marriage license that doesn’t require the clerk’s name to be on it. It’s not a solution to the issue of gay marriage. But Christians like Kim are now able to fully follow the law without being forced to compromise their religious liberty.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that Goodmen do nothing.
God has placed us on this earth to fight against evil, not to back down or join hands with it. I challenge you tonight, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego continue to fight against every form of evil, even if it will cost you your life.
In closing I want to encourage you to pray every day, that God will give you the strength to stand firm and resist the temptation to give in when the world pressures you into its mold.
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An atheist, offended by the fact both Jews and Christians in America have many religious holidays but atheists themselves have none challenged the tradition in courts. The Judge, however, dismissed the case. ‘Atheists’ he said, after listening to the long, passionate presentation by the man’s lawyers, ‘do have a holiday already’. According to Psalm 14:1 & 53:1, it’s the first day of April!
The late Rev. Billy Graham once said, “We all talk about the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. But we seldom talk about the sacrifice he expects from us!” Of course, Pastor Billy wasn’t implying we shouldn’t remember the price Jesus paid in exchange for our redemption. He was saying mere head knowledge of Jesus’ sufferings is useless unless we do something with it because knowledge demands a response. The Bible says,