Our Walk Is Our WitnessSeries: THRIVING IN BABYLON. James Dewhurst September 23, 2019
Thriving In Babylon
Our Walk Is Our Witness
Today, as we jump into our Thriving in Babylon series, I want to wrap our series up together, talking about the critically important reality that – Our Walk is our Witness!
When you become a follower of Jesus (A.K.A. – “A Christian”), you put yourself on the worlds stage, whether you want to or not. We live in a culture today where people aren’t rooting for Christians to succeed, they are looking for flaws to exploit. Because of this, it is more important than ever to live like the Jesus we claim to be following. Character always communicates credibility! When Jesus followers self-righteously point out the sins of others but live their lives with no higher standard, the world just mocks our God.
On the other hand, when Jesus followers humbly walk the walk, the world not only takes notice, but they start asking questions.
Our character brings credibility to the cross!
It’s our life, not our words, that makes the biggest difference!
Billy Graham, the greatest witness of our time: “We are the Bibles the world is reading.”
Someone else said – “Your life as a Christian should make non-believers question their disbelief.”
Unknown – “If we would let God do the judging, we would find a lot more time to do the witnessing.”
It’s the Holy Spirits job to convict, God’s job to judge, and Our job to love!
Jesus assigned our greatest purpose as Christians in:
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (ESV)
The problem is, the world is looking for anything they can find to silence that witness!
16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (ESV)
1 Peter 2:12
12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (ESV)
Daniel, who was living exiled in Babylon, and had already refused Nebuchadnezzar’s diet decree, found himself serving under a new King by the name of Darius. Darius, just like the previous king, fell in love with Daniel and even though he would only worship the one true God, because of his character, he was given great favor in the kingdom.
The world took notice, and set out on a mission to destroy Daniel’s life because of it:
3 Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other presidents and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 4 Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. 5 Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.” 6 Then these presidents and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! 7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. 8 Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 9 Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction. 10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. 11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. 12 Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 13 Then they answered and said before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.” 14 Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him. 15 Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.” 16 Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” 17 And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. 18 Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him. 19 Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” 23 Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. 24 And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces. 25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. 26 I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. 27 He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.” 28 So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian. (ESV)
+Daniel, who was loved by a foreign king, was one of the greatest witnesses for God in the entire Bible. As hard as they tried, the world couldn’t dig up any dirt on him!
+Life was going well for Daniel, until one day he found himself the victim of personal attacks, simply based upon his personal faith God.
+Motivated by jealousy over Daniel’s favor and success, a group of lobbyists and politicians went to King Darius one day to manipulate him into signing a bill that for the next 30 days, no one in the kingdom could pray to anyone but the King!
+To make matters worse, these same lobbyists had gotten a previous law passed that stated – If the king passed a law, he could not reverse it!
+After the decree was signed, these men went directly to the king and turned Daniel in for praying 3 times a day. They also reminded the king of his irreversible decree!
+Realizing what had been done, Darius reluctantly orders Daniel to be thrown into the lion’s den. After staying up all night, the king returned to find Daniel unharmed!
+In a twist of fate, the mob of manipulators was thrown in and devoured by those lions!
People always end up Reaping whatever they Sow!
So, how did Daniel prosper as a follower of Jesus, in a world of resistance?
1. Daniel distinguished himself in his Work!
3 Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other presidents and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 4 Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. (ESV)
We can’t preach a gospel of character, and then possess none ourselves!
Our work is our Witness!
23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, (ESV)
2. Daniel separated himself in his Worship!
(Daniel praised in spite of his pressure!)
10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. (ESV)
M.L.K. Jr. – “I would rather be a man of conviction, than a man of conformity.”
Notice – Daniel didn’t make a public show of his worship and draw attention to himself. He practiced his faith privately, and when he was challenged he stood up publicly!!!
Daniel prospered because he continued to praise!
3. Daniel trusted in the power of his God!
(Daniel trusted regardless of his troubles!)
22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” (ESV)
Notice – God didn’t keep Daniel from the lion’s den, he kept him safe in the lion’s den!
God doesn’t always remove us from every situation, but he always sustains us in them!
Daniel was delivered because he focused on the deliverer, not on his dilemma!
Ministry: Pray for all of us to grow in our ability to love this world right where they are, and live our lives in a way that our walk becomes a powerful witness!
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