Archive for February 25th, 2013

Obey, Pray, and Act

February 25, 2013

Here are the sermon notes from 2/24/13.

Introduction:  I have been reading in Daniel. When most people think of Daniel the first thing that comes to mind is Daniel in the lions’ den.  The second thing that most people would think of is Daniel’s friends and the fiery furnace.  Today’s message is about neither of those, although the first point does come from the story of the lions’ den.

I.  Obedience to God: Daniel 6:10

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.

The king had been convinced to proclaim a law that no one was to petition any man or god, besides himself for thirty days.  The law could not be revoked and the penalty for breaking this law would be to be cast into the den of lions.

Daniel was fully aware of this new law and still prayed in front of an open window three times that day.

Martin Luther, and others have talked about our dual citizenship.  We are members of a kingdom here on earth, and we are members of the kingdom of heaven.  We are to obey the laws of our earthly kingdom.  Even Jesus said that we are to “render to Caesar, the things that are Caesar’s”.

However, if there is a conflict between the laws of the worldly kingdom, and the laws of the heavenly kingdom, we are to obey the laws of God.

II.  Prayer and Trust: Daniel 9:19

 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

This verse comes at the beginning of a marvelous messianic prophecy.  I love the basic outline of prayer that it gives to us.

O Lord, hear!  God hears our prayers.  We do not have to wake Him up.  We do not have to gain His attention.  He is always listening.  This beginning reminds us of the truth that God does indeed hear our prayers.

O Lord, forgive!  If we think about our country as a whole, there is a lot of sin that needs to be forgiven.  If we think about the Christian church as a whole, there is a lot of sin to be forgiven.  If we are honest, we will recognize that none of us have yet reached perfection.  We fall short in word or deed, or thought;  by what we have done, and by what we have failed to do.  We all need forgiveness,

O Lord, act!  Our God is able to take action in our lives.  He is able to intervene in the activities of this life for our sakes.  He does not simply stand off and watch, He is able to act in the affairs of this world.

III.  Take Action:  Daniel 11:32-33a

Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. 33 And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame;

This verse comes before a prophecy regarding the end times.

The people who know God refers to all of us who are living our lives in a relationship with God.  We can know Him.  It is exciting to know that we can know Him better.  We do not have to remain stagnant in our relationship with God.

We can be strong in the Lord.  Whatever difficulties may come our way, we are able to stand in the day of adversity because we are strengthened by the Holy Spirit.

We will be a people who act.  We are not merely spectators.  We take part in the ongoing work of God in this world.  Even seemingly small things can be great when they are done according to the will of God.

Those who understand will instruct many.  When the day comes, many people will be open to hear the things of God.  Those who know God, and understand will be able to share that faith with many.

Since I was a young boy, I have heard people speak as if the end is near.  Still today, many believe that the closing days of earth’s history are at hand.  They could be right.  Even if they are not, it is important for the people of God to follow the laws of God, to pray and trust, and to take action in times of trouble.