Fireproof Your Future - Preparing for Times of Uncertainty
Future - Preparing for times of uncertainty
A godly life brings opposition
A godly life brings hard choices
Life requires that we know Who we believe in
A godly life brings blessing and peace
We are living
in very uncertain times.
We have a financial system that cannot seem to find its footing.
being foreclosed on
Retirement savings have been decimated
Jobs are being lost by the thousands
The Cost of living
continues to rise
This is not only in America, but across much of the world
in for a change of administration for sure
We are certain to have a president that scares a lot of people, whether that
is John McCain or Barak Obama.
We live in a different society that we did 10 years ago.
affects all of us now.
Our country has always been a bastion of liberty.
Liberty is freedom with responsibility.
of the greatest things about our country was that people understood and took their responsibilities seriously.
= License, not Liberty
We now live in a world that doesn’t view freedom as a liberty but as a license – a license
to do whatever I want to do and you can’t do anything about it.
Maintaining liberty in that environment is very
Even more than 150 years ago, French Historian Alexis De Tocqueville saw that. As he travelled America to
discover why the American experiment was so successful, he noted, “America is great because she is good. If America
ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
And he noted that “Liberty cannot be established without
morality, nor morality without faith.”
When America believes that
freedom is more of a license to do what
we want rather than a liberty that carries with it responsibilities, or
when those responsibilities are not defined by
a faith based morality,
we will see the nation cease to be great, because she has ceased to pursue goodness by the power
and strength of the Living God.
We see the struggle today to maintain liberty in the face of a society that no longer
has a faith based morality.
We struggle with things like the Patriot act, which gives the government unprecedented
powers in denying what were once constitutional freedoms, so as to protect us from terrorists, from abroad as well as from
To be safe in a society that is not good, means limiting freedoms and giving authority over to others to protect
But if we have a government that is “of the people, by the people and for the people” (Lincoln’s
Gettysburg Address), and the people as a whole are not good or do not have a faith based morality, do we expect them to wisely
use, or at a minimum to not abuse, the unprecedented power they have been given?
Challenging and uncertain
times are certainly what we are living in.
As we view these things, it is easy to focus only on these changes and uncertainties
and become discouraged.
We may even wonder where is God in all of this?
Well, often it is in times of hardship
and uncertainty that God shows up in unbelievable ways in the live of His people.
We have been
talking over the past month about how we fireproof our relationships.
We need to have a relationship with Christ and
keep our eyes on him if we are going to
experience a great marriage, if we are going to
overcome temptations against
things that will be parasites in our relationships and
Forgive others so we do not wind up in the prison of an unforgiving
and bitter heart.
This morning I want to talk about how we can Fireproof our Future, not just in our relationships, but
in all of life.
We are going to take a look at 3 individuals that lived in very challenging and changing times but,
as we will see, they had Fireproofed their future.
Turn with me to Daniel 3 (p. 627)
little bit of Background before we get to Daniel 3 and our main characters Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Jews who were taken captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar.
Nebuchadnezzar was a king who was about himself, surrounded by
many advisors who were concerned about themselves.
Anyway, in the first chapter of Daniel, we find that Daniel and
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, refuse to dishonor God by eating food from the kings table.
These men, even in this
less than ideal circumstance, kept their eyes on God.
And God blessed them.
Now in chapter 3, these three young
men are striving to follow God the best they can as foreigners in this pagan society that worshipped multiple gods and was
filled with people that were all about themselves.
This sounds a lot how Peter tells us to live.
1 Peter 1:17 -
live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.
That is what these men were doing as they lived in Babylon.
knew who God was and had a reverent fear of Him which helped them live in a way that glorified the Lord.
As we look
at their lives and particularly this event in Daniel 3, I want us to see
what we can expect as we strive to live godly
how we might better prepare ourselves to live godly lives
during these uncertain and changing times that
Those are some of the questions that we are going to be seeking to answer as we jump into Daniel 3.
3:1 King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plain of
Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates
and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. 3 So the satraps, prefects, governors,
advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image
that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it.
4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, "This is what you
are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language: 5 As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither,
lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set
up. 6 Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace."
7 Therefore, as soon
as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and men of
every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
8 At this time some astrologers
came forward and denounced the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "O king, live forever! 10 You have issued a decree,
O king, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music must fall down
and worship the image of gold, 11 and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12
But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon-Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego-who pay
no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up."
stop here a moment.
Here we have Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, going about living there lives, doing their job,
when times start to change.
Notice that nothing they did changed, but their culture and society and circumstances changed
that made their beliefs stand out a bit more and brought about opposition.
A Godly Life will Bring Opposition
seems counter intuitive to us.
If we are living a godly life, shouldn’t we have an easy life?
is the problem with that thinking.
We confuse a blessed life with an easy life.
Now I fully believe that God will
bless us as we live a godly life.
The Scriptures speak about this all throughout.
Proverbs 3:33 - The LORD’s
curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous.
Psalm 128:1 - Blessed are all who fear
the LORD, who walk in his ways.
God blesses us as we live godly lives, lives that show we “walk in his ways.”
blessing does not always equate with ease of circumstances.
There are times when God does bless us with that, but being
blessed by the Lord is more about experiencing His presence in the midst of life, whatever that brings.
blessing is often finding Comfort in the midst of Suffering.
2 Corinthians 1:5 - For just as the sufferings of Christ flow
over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
Or it is Finding peace amid trouble
- "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I
have overcome the world."
Living a godly life does not guarantee ease of life.
In fact, It guarantees just the
2 Timothy 3:12 – “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”
need to realize that as we strive to live a godly life, we are going to face opposition and persecution, especially during
times of change and uncertainty.
Well, let’s continue the story to see what else living a godly life will bring.
13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before
the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or
worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and
all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you
will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?"
Not only does living a godly life bring opposition, but living
A Godly Life will Bring Hard Choices
guys have to choose between
worshiping a false idol and keeping their physical life or
worshipping the living God
and most likely losing their physical life.
Now, we could make rationalizations and argue that God has given us this
physical life as a gift and we should do all in our power to save our life for God’s glory so in this case it might
be ok just to outwardly bow down but not to really worship inwardly.
However the second commandment says
20:4-5 – "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or
in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God
the New Testament, Jesus says in
Revelation 2:10 –
Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give
you the crown of life.
That is a tough choice for these young men.
They know what God wants them to do, but that
It is not too often in this country today, that we are facing a choice that is
going to risk our life, like these young men.
In many other parts of the world they do, however.
Muslims who seek
to live a godly life in Christ face death.
While we don’t typically face life and death choices based on living
a godly life, we still face choices that are hard and could greatly affect our life.
Now, I am anything but a legalist
when it comes to regular church attendance.
Things come up on occasion, special events happen, work emergencies happen,
some jobs, for the good of the people, require that we work on some Sunday’s, like firemen, police, doctors and nurses.
there are many situations that we face that we do have a choice, even if it isn’t always an easy choice.
Our child is good at a sport so we want him or her on the traveling team.
They only play on Sunday mornings for
the next 3 months.
If you can’t play then, your child can’t be on the team.
If they don’t play travelling
sports, it will be hard to play in High School.
If they don’t play in High School, they won’t get that scholarship.
they don’t get that Scholarship, they won’t get a good job and their life won’t be as good.
word says in Hebrews 10:25 - Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage
one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
What do you do?
In this election
year, perhaps your union or work place favors one candidate over the other and you are being pressured to support a candidate
that you have moral disagreements with on some of their stands.
Not supporting them may affect your job and your ability
to make a living.
Do you support them outwardly but inside say I will not vote for them,
do you stand openly
for certain positions saying I can’t vote for a candidate who holds certain positions that are in opposition to God’s
word, even if there is no candidate that deserves your support fully.
What do you do with hard choices?
is the choice that these 3 young men are faced with.
What choice do they have, really?
Dishonor God by bowing down
and live or
Honor God by refusing and die.
Let’s see what they do.
16 Shadrach, Meshach
and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we
are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O
king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold
you have set up."
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them
changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his
army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes,
trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent
and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and
these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
These guys made the hard choice and the consequences
We respect that kind of stand, but really how do you make those kinds of choices in the heat of the moment
I will tell you this.
The responses that we make to hard choices we face that concern how we live a godly
life are not made on the spur of the moment.
You need to prepare ahead of time to make choices like that in those moments.
need to prepare ourselves to live godly lives in times of change and uncertainty
And to truly live
A Godly life requires
that we know Who we believe in
Look at what these three say to the king.
Daniel 3:17 - If we are thrown into
the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it
They know who they believe in and serve.
that the God they serve is good.
They know that the God they serve is able.
They know who it is they have put their
trust and their hope in and it shows up in their actions.
They don’t serve themselves.
They don’t serve
the king, although there are times that as they serve the Lord, they will serve the king.
They serve and believe in
God almighty, a God
who is powerful, who is able, who is mighty to save.
They know the God they believe in.
you believe in Matters
You see it is not just about having faith or believing.
It matters what and who you believe
I could put my hope in an idol, but it has no power to save me.
I could put my hope in a god that I make up,
but that “god” is not able to do anything
I could put my hope in myself, but I will soon find out that I will
People put their hope in things that offer no hope.
Even God is astounded by this. Listen to what
He says in Isaiah 44.
Isa 44:6-7, 9, 13a, 14-15, 19
6 "This is what the LORD says--Israel’s King and Redeemer,
the LORD Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.
7 Who then is like me? Let him
Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is
yet to come--yes, let him foretell what will come. ..
9 All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure
13 The carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker…
14 He cut
down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain
made it grow. 15 It is man’s fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread.
But he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it. …19 No one stops to think, no one
has the knowledge or understanding to say, "Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat
and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?"
Who are you serving?
whom do you believe?
Is it the one true God who revealed Himself in Jesus Christ and showed His power by resurrecting
from the dead never to die again?
Or is it a block of wood?
A block of wood in the form of our self?
of wood in the form of our job?
A block of wood in the form of our desires?
We say we believe in Jesus Christ as our
the God who came and put on flesh,
the God who always was and always is and always will be
the God who
resurrected from the dead to never die again
the God who offers eternal life to all who put their trust in Him.
God who displays his glory throughout the heavens.
The God who created each of us in our mother’s wombs
who spoke the earth and the entire universe into existence.
The God who sustains all things.
The God who conquered the
The God who is mighty to save.
If we really believe in a God who is so able, then how is it that we end up
worshipping other things in our actions?
So often we are like, I am like, those Pharisees that Jesus said this to in
7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
8 "’These people honor me
with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
The reason is that we are not preparing ourselves well.
need to be growing deep
in our relationship with the Lord,
in knowing truly Who it is we believe in,
knowing about who we say we believe in.
When we really know Him and trust Him, He enables us to stand in the face of
all things knowing that He will watch over us and protect us and if not in this life, then for the next life which is far,
far more important and permanent than the life we live right now.
How do we prepare ourselves?
How do we prepare
ourselves to live godly lives?
Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:18 to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ.”
Bible Study, prayer, worship, service
We grow in our grace and knowledge of him by spending
time with Him in Bible study, prayer, worship, & in serving Him.
Join a group
If you aren’t in a Bible
study you need to be in one.
We have a study on Tuesday and one on Thursdays that have several openings.
You can jump
Set a time to pray
Begin spending time in prayer.
Get up 15 minutes earlier during the week
and spend time praying.
Read the Bible. If you have had trouble understanding, read what you are studying in your small
group or pick up a Daily bread or a Today in the Word and begin doing these short devotionals daily. This alone is not going
to make you mature, but it is a good place to start. Just like a baby starts with milk, and then moves to solid food, just
begin with some nourishment.
Peter tells us to “crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your
salvation” - 1 Peter 2:2
Make corporate worship a priority
Being out of church worship service for extended
periods of time will only weaken you in your ability to live godly lives.
Start serving the Lord through
the church or in your neighborhoods by being a light for His truth.
All of these actions will help us keep our focus
and that divine perspective that each of us need and will prepare us to live a godly life even in uncertain and challenging
As we are prepared and actually do live a godly life, We are going to find that living a godly life not only
brings opposition and hard choices, but that living
A godly life brings blessing and peace
Even as we face
opposition and hard choices.
These 3 young men had a great peace as they went to what appeared to be certain death.
let’s look at the end of this story after they are thrown into the blazing furnace.
King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren’t there three men that we tied up
and threw into the fire?"
They replied, "Certainly, O king."
25 He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the
fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods."
26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening
of the blazing furnace and shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!"
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded
around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not
scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach
and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and
were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that
the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces
and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way."
30 Then the king promoted Shadrach,
Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
These three young men were able to stand firm in the strength and
power and might of the Lord, trusting Him fully, even unto death, and God blessed them and glorified Himself by saving them
out of the fire.
Our God is mighty to save.
But the even more amazing thing is that these young men trusted
Him even if they died. That is the peace that God gives that surpasses all understanding.
Listen, there are many who
will go to their death and suffer for living a godly life.
The apostles did
Many missionaries throughout history have.
But when we truly know who we believe in, we can face the opposition and hard choices with peace and blessing
knowing our eternities will be in the presence of the One who is mighty to Save and has provided eternal salvation through
We are going to close singing Mighty to Save. (Worship team come up)
Worship the Living God and His Might
your prayer to Him to be strong like these young men who knew who they believed in where able to say to the King
17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us
from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship
the image of gold you have set up."
If you feel that your future is not fireproof, if you don’t know the God who is mighty to
save, and you would like to talk with someone about trusting Jesus as your Savior
if you would like someone to
pray with you regarding some issue in your life, we have some people that will be up at the front that you can come up and
pray with immediately following the service.
Now let’s sing the last course and truly worship the God who is
mighty to save.
Savior, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.
Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.
Jesus you did conquer
the grave and You are mighty to save.
Lord as we continue on in this life you have given us, we pray that you would help
us by strengthening us to be able to stand firm in the face of opposition so that we can make the right choice when it is
hard. Help us to prepare now by guiding us to your word so we can grow in our knowledge of you and bring glory to you as we
experience your presence and are blessed by it.
Thank you for the salvation you have given through your sacrifice upon
You are mighty to Save.