Thursday, December 29, 2011

Daniel 3 – Is What You’re Living For Worth Dying For?

Merry Christmas and Happy (almost) New Year everyone!   This week’s commentary will be short, though the outline will be about normal.  Our reading is Daniel 3, the story of the fiery furnace.  The question we want to impress on people is whether what they are living for is worth dying for.  There is a saying, generally attributed to missionary martyr Jim Elliot, that says “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”  Most people live for what they cannot keep.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew better, and were willing to lay down their lives, even if God did not save them.  By God’s grace I pray that others will hear this message and trust in God, as those faithful men did.

I pray that your True Gift of Christmas reading was fruitful.  Ours here in San Jose was amazing!!  Thousands of tracts went out, we had some amazing conversation, and I believe God was greatly glorified.  I will be sharing some of our experiences from the outreach, along with pictures, and I hope many of you will do the same.  They are always an encouragement.  Thanks for your faithfulness, and we’ll see you for Project Ezra in the New Year!

All for His glory,


Today I would ask you to consider the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, three men who were willing to die for what they believed. 

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were men of influence in the most powerful city of their time.  Yet they considered that worthless compared to serving God.

So today I ask you to consider what you value, and who you serve.

All of us serve and live for something.   Is what you’re living for worth dying for?

These men understood something that many of you might be missing.  That truth is your standing before God is the only thing of true value in this world.  If you don’t have that, you have nothing.
So what do you live for?
Do you live for money?  You can’t take it with you when you die, and you will be dead much longer than you will be alive.

Are you living for power, or influence, or fame?  Nothing outside of God can give you power over death, or allow you to influence your fate, and fame is fleeting.  100 years from now no one will remember you, but your eternity will be decided.

Are you living for pleasure?  Are you trying to enjoy every minute while you are here?  There is nothing wrong with enjoying yourself, but if you spend your life on pleasure that won’t last, what were they really worth?  The Bible asks, what good is it for a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?

One day, every one of us will have to stand before God and give an account for our lives.  For it is appointed unto men once to die, and after that the judgment.  When that day comes, will what you have lived for have any value?

You may not believe this to be true, but please realize that your opinion mean anything, and neither does mine.  The only thing that is important is what is true.  And all of us, in our hearts, know that this is true.

So what are you trusting in for your eternity?  When you stand before God, will he see you as right, and worthy to enter His kingdom?

If you are trusting in your own goodness, you do NOT have a right standing before God.  The Bible says there is none good, and none who truly seek after God.

If you have not repented of your sins and trusted in Christ alone, if you have not been born again, then you do NOT have a right standing before God

The Bible says none of us is right before God on our own.  It says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.   Since God’s  moral laws are absolute, and since we were created for His glory, that means we are in trouble.

Take a moment to look at yourself in the light of God’s commandments, and you will see this to be true.

Have you always put God first in everything you do?  The Bible says we are to worship the Lord our God and serve Him only, that we should love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.  On our best day we have not done this.

Have you committed idolatry?  Even if you have not built or bought a golden image to bow down to, if you have created an image of God in your mind that you feel more comfortable with, and worshipped that instead of the true God, then you are an idolater and worthy of God’s wrath and judgment.

Have you ever lied?   We all have, and God does not take lying lightly, as we often do.  His word says that lying lips are an abomination, and that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire.

Have you ever stolen something, even if it’s small?  If you’ve stolen one dollar or a million dollars, you are still a thief, and God’s word says no thief will inherit the kingdom of God.

Have you ever coveted?  So much of the Christmas holiday is desiring material possessions you really don’t need, rather than being content with the good things God has given you.  If you have coveted, than you are guilty before Him.

If you have done any of these things, and all of us have, then you are guilty before God.

The Bible says that God will do right, and that He will show His justice by punishing sin completely.

The Bible saysBut as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, will be in the lake that  with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Hell is a very real, very terrible place, and I pray that none of you ever go there.  But there is only one way to escape the just judgment of God, and the righteous punishment of hell.

That is the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. 

Jesus Christ, the creator and sustainer of all that exists, humbled himself, became a man, lived the perfect life that we could never live, and then died on a Roman cross.

The one person in history who never sinned, God’s own son, died for our sin so that through Him we could be made right with God.

Jesus died for sin.  Then He rose from the dead three days later, proving His power over sin, and sat down at God’s right hand.  He is our advocate, our lawyer, and the only mediator between God and men.

So today, while God has given you time, repent, or turn from your sins, and to trust God as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did.

They put their trust in God alone.  They threw caution and doubt aside, and put themselves wholly in God’s hands.   They knew that even if God did not choose to save their bodies, their only eternal hope was in Him.

Today, we plead with you to do the same.  Repent of your sin, and put your trust in Jesus Christ alone.  Because as with those men of old, your only eternal hope is through trust in Jesus Christ.

We won’t promise that trusting in Christ will make your life better.  The Bible promises trails, temptation and persecution for the Christian.

But God promises that everyone who calls on His name will be saved.  Through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, and only through that sacrifice, we can be cleansed of our sin and seen as righteous, as right before Him.   And He promises an eternity beyond what we could possibly imagine.

So turn today, and put your trust in Jesus Christ.

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