When Faith Is In The FireSeptember 1, 2018
The noose is tightening. The war is getting hotter. If our Lord tarries, you're going to have to stand alone and teach your children to stand alone. They're going to face a world different from even the one we're living in. And I pray God they’ll be ready for it.
In the 4th century, an early Christian leader named Athanasius was confronted by the Roman emperor Theodosius. Athanasius was a bold, strong Christian who stood firm in his beliefs when others called him arrogant, stubborn, and narrow-minded. The emperor said to him, “Athanasius, the whole world is against you.” He replied, “Then Athanasius is against the whole world.”
It takes courage to stand alone, but more and more it will be necessary. And if necessary now as the days get darker—in your office, your neighborhood, your community—how much more so will it be for your children?
You must learn to stand alone, not out of stubbornness, arrogance, or narrow-mindedness, but for Jesus and the principles of God's Word, for that which is true and will last throughout eternity. And teach your children to stand.
Daniel 3 tells the familiar story of three young Jewish men thrown into a fiery furnace. They wouldn't budge, they wouldn't bow, and we found out they wouldn’t burn. They came out of that furnace. We all rejoice. But the Bible is not just a record of what God has done and has said; it is a record of what God is doing and is saying.
They lived under Nebuchadnezzar, a king illustrating the coming Antichrist ruling during the Tribulation. But today before the Antichrist arrives, the “spirit of Antichrist” is already permeating every aspect of our culture. “Little children, it is the last time. And as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now there are many antichrists” (I John 2:28).
The Fury They Faced
Social pressure: “Everybody” was worshipping the image (Daniel 3:2-3). Today people are under incredible pressure to conform. If you don’t fall in line, you're looked upon as an oddball.
Government enforcement. “And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (v. 6). You’re going to face that too. We're moving quickly to a one-world government. The America we’ve known is being diluted and absorbed into a globalism spurred on by those who will not stand for what is right. Determined to make everyone conform, government more and more says, “We will arrest you for contempt of court,” or “We will take away your tax-exempt status because you’re in the way of progress.” Jesus said that in the last days, those who kill you will think they do God a service (John 16:2). When you stand and say “The Bible says this is wrong and this is right,” you will be persecuted—or accused of “hate speech.”
Diabolical purpose: The deadly power behind all this is Satan. Learn this about the devil: he does not want casualties, he wants converts: “And whoever does not fall down and worship…” (Daniel 3:6). The devil wants worship; Antichrist will want to be worshipped (Revelation13:7-8). That's what we're up against. Satan is behind all this.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow to this pressure. Soon you’ll find yourself in some incendiary circumstance where, like these young men, you’ll have to stand alone.
What will enable you? What enabled them? What will empower your children in the coming dark days?
The Faith They Followed
Theirs was a settled faith. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered,
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter…. our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” (v. 16-18)
They’re saying, “We don't have to get in a huddle. We don't we don't have to ponder it. We don't we don't have to say, ‘Now, king, give us a night to sleep on it.’ We don't have to have a committee meeting.” They had God's word hidden in their hearts. They already knew what was right. When you make a decision—when you say, “This is right and this is wrong,” then when you are challenged, you say, “I don't have to think about it.” Their faith was settled.
The average carnal Christian would say, “When in Babylon, do as the Babylonians do. Go along to get along. Better to compromise a little bit here and live a little longer so you can do some more good, than simply be stubborn. Christians are supposed to get along with everybody and everything. So don't stand alone.” But these men did and how did they do it? Their settled faith.
It was a strong faith. “Our God is able” (v. 17). You must believe that. When the enemy says “Who is that God that shall deliver thee?” you must believe there is a God who said, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee” (Psalm 50:15). That's the word of a holy God. He will deliver us. If He doesn't deliver us through the fire, He'll deliver us in the fire. But He will deliver us.
It was a steadfast faith. Now here's something very interesting. In verse 18 they say, “But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
“God is able to deliver us. We don't have any doubt about that. And He will deliver us, no doubt about that. But if not, we're not going to serve your gods. We're not going to worship your image. When you throw us like chips of wood into a fiery furnace, if we're consumed, fine. We're still not going to worship your god.”
They have no doubt about God's power. Does your faith have an 'if not' clause? “Our God is able to deliver us.” We all like that. “But if He doesn't,” are you still going to serve Him? In His sovereignty God might have let these boys die in the flames. You can die in the flames.
Now we're getting down to the nitty-gritty. Hebrews 11:32-34 speaks of one miracle deliverance after another. We love the stories of Daniel and the lion’s den, David and Goliath, our Lord raising the dead and healing the sick, Peter coming out of prison. If it stopped there, we’d say, “Great! Victory after victory!” But it doesn't.
And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. And others had a trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy) they wandered in deserts in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. These all, having obtained a good report through faith. (v. 35-39)
It’s one thing to have faith to escape. It’s another to have faith to endure. It’s one thing to have faith to be healed. It’s another to not be healed and still praise God. It’s one thing to be delivered. It’s another to die. You say, “If they’d just had enough faith, they’d have been delivered.” No. These got A+ on the report card through faith, and they were not delivered in the way you and I would call deliverance. That takes greater faith.
God is sovereign; He knows what’s best. He may not always deliver you from your trials. If He doesn't, what are you to do? Stand by faith. Faith is not primarily receiving from God what you want. It is accepting from God what He gives.
Do you have a fairytale faith? Somehow at the last moment the Lone Ranger is going to come riding over the hill and deliver you? There is a God in heaven who is going to take care of you in the fire, through the fire.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword? As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” Romans 8:35
The world will start respecting the Lord Jesus Christ when you and I, by the grace of God, stand alone. Teach your children, because the spirit of Antichrist is already in the world.