Finding Hope in Babylon


The story of Daniel’s life shows us five things that we need to remember in order to live a godly life in an ungodly world.

Alright. Hey everybody. Welcome to Valley Creek Church. I am so glad that you are here with us. And we want to give a big welcome to all our campuses and everybody who’s watching online. Let’s welcome each other. We are so glad that you are here, and what an interesting season. Here’s what I want you to know, you are still alive, the world is still turning, and God is still in control. That’s good news.

And so maybe your candidate won, maybe your candidate lost. Maybe you didn’t have a candidate at all. And the truth is it’s been a really interesting season, as you’ve been looking at people and what’s been happening in the world around us. And it’s been fascinating to just look at the condition of the human heart, the reality of humanity and just seeing the fear and the anxiety and the hatred and the discouragement and the confusion, and all the stuff that’s come out in these last months and really last even few years and seasons of what’s been happening in the world around us.
And I would be that you’ve probably learned something about yourself over these past few months.

I bet there’s some things you’ve discovered inside of your own heart because the reality is external pressures reveal internal impurities. When there’s an external pressure that’s pushing on your life, it kind of reveals some internal impurities you weren’t even aware that were there. And they come out and they get exposed and God gives you an invitation to deal with them. And the reality is at the end of the day, what you believe comes out not by what you say but how you respond. You can say what you believe all day long, but it’s in the moment you have to respond to some things in the world around you that you really discover what you believe. And so here’s my question for you, what’s been revealed in you? What have you discovered about what you believe? And maybe the most important question of all is, have you lived a life worthy of your calling over the last few days, last few weeks, last few months?

Ephesians 4 says, “Live a life worthy of your calling.” Have you lived a life worthy of your calling? I mean this is kind of what we’ve been talking about in this series. We’ve been in a series called In The Lion’s Den. We’re taking a look at the Book of Daniel and we’ve been talking about living a godly life in an ungodly world. And just as a reminder of the story, Daniel, the Israelites, the people of God, they’re taken over by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian army and they’re taken back to Babylon, and they have to live in this ungodly world and empire. And over the next 70 years, Daniel serves ungodly kings in a godly way. He positions himself for influence and greatness by humbling himself and being servant. God raises him up, he influences the entire empire over the next reign of the four kings. And he shows us what it’s like to live a godly life in an ungodly world. And that’s what we’ve been talking about. And what we have chosen to do as a church is we’ve chosen to stay above the fray.

We’ve not gotten down into the individual issues that everyone is so polarized by. We’ve said, okay, let’s be eagles and let’s fly up here and take a 30,000-foot view of what God has to say, a heavenly perspective. And if you’ve been with us these last few weeks, I’ve given you so many Scriptures. And the reason I’m giving you so many Scriptures is because I’m not trying to address issues, I’m trying to change the way you think. Romans 12:2 says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” I want you to change the way you think because that will change the way you live. And if you learn to think like a kingdom person, you’ll be able to deal with all the issues in front of you. And so I kind of want to wrap it up today. We’ve talked about what Babylon or what the world wants to do to you. And then last week, we talked about how do we respond as we live in Babylon.

And what I want to talk about today is how do you have hope in the midst of Babylon. And again, if you’ve been with us, here’s the deal, I’ve told you, this is like I need eight weeks to do this series. I’ve gotten three. That’s why you’ve gotten so many verses and we’re just packing it in there, baby.

So we’re just going to go with it. And this is basically, I would say, it’s like this, it’s part 3. So everything I’m saying is in context of the last two messages. So if you’ve missed them or you don’t like anything I have to say today, you have to go back and listen to the first and second one because I told you I’m breaking every preaching I have because I don’t have the time to do it in eight weeks, so I have to just build it the way that we’re building it, okay? So this is in context of where we’ve been. And one more time, I want to ask you, can you lay down your walls and can you lay down your stones, open up your heart and let’s have one more conversation about how do we have hope in Babylon. Sound good?

Five things I want you to remember about having hope in Babylon. First thing is this, remember our citizenship is in heaven. Our citizenship is in heaven. Daniel understood that Babylon was not his home. He was an exile, he was part of the people of God living in an ungodly realm. But he understood, that was not his citizenship.

And this world is not your citizenship. You’re a part of the Kingdom of God. Listen to these verses, Philippians 3:20, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:11, “Dear friends, I urge you as aliens and strangers in this world, you’re an alien and a stranger on this planet. So abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.” John 18:36, Jesus says, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place. We can do a whole message just on that verse alone, that Jesus says, his kingdom servants respond to circumstances differently than the people of the world. And what I want you to understand is the moment that you get born again, your citizenship changes. It’s no longer a part of this world, it’s now a part of heaven. Think about it like this for a moment. Let’s say you got relocated, for whatever reason, your job of your family, whatever. You got relocated to North Korea for a season, okay? That would be fun, wouldn’t it?

You got relocated to North Korea, you had to participate in their customs, eat their food, follow their laws. Okay, does that then make you a citizenship of North Korea? Does that mean North Korea is your home? No. It makes you a visitor within and incredible gratitude for the home that you do have, and the citizenship that you do hold. The same is true with you as a follower of Jesus. The kingdom of heaven is your homed and it is your citizenship. You are just a visitor on this earth and in this country. Now, hear me really clearly on this, okay? I love America. I love it. It’s the greatest nation on the face of the earth. There’s a reason everyone wants to come here. There’s a reason we influence so much — this is the greatest nation. I love America, but I love the Kingdom of God more.
I am proud — I am proud to be an American, but I am humbled to be a part of the kingdom. The truth is you have more in common with Christians in China than you do with unbelievers in America.

And when you lose sight of that, everything gets disoriented. Like catch me on this. America is not the Kingdom of God. Our American think, our American individualism, and in a sense the way we view America and how it should influence, it’s messed us up as followers of Jesus because we somehow confuse America and the Kingdom of God as the same thing. The Kingdom of God is far superior to America. And we’re not the only ones that have messed it up. Jesus’ disciples in Acts chapter 1, the resurrected Jesus shows up, he’s about to commission them. And here’s what they say, the first thing they say to Jesus is they look at them in Acts 1:6 and they say, Jesus, are you now going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

In other words, they’re saying, hey Jesus, are you going to get rid of the Roman rule, the Roman opposition and give us back a geopolitical nation with borders where we can rule ourselves and have our own nation. Is that what you’re going to do, Jesus? And I can picture poor Jesus’ face. He’s just taught them about the Kingdom of God, his only message for three years. The resurrected Jesus is in front of them. And they want to know if they’re going to get their nation back. And he so he looks at them and the very next verse, Acts 1:8, and this is — I love how he responds. He says, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. And you’ll be my witnesses to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth. In other words, the kingdom is not for Israel, the kingdom is not for America, the kingdom is for the nations. It is for the redemption of humanity. Listen to me, if we are more passionate about America than we are about the Kingdom of God, something is really wrong. Matthew 6:33, seek first America and her prosperity and everything else will be given unto you.

That’s why you had to listen to one and two so you don’t get offended. Seek first his — Say it again. Seek first his — and his righteousness and everything else will be added onto you. Matthew 4:17, the only message Jesus came to preach, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Change your mind, the superior reality is here. The Kingdom of God has come. It is a different way of thinking. We are in this world, but we are not of it. The world is winding down, the kingdom of God is winding us.

Now, in Hebrews 11, which is the hall of faith is the passage that tells us about these amazing guys of faith, Moses and Abraham and Jacob and Joseph and it talks about — and listen to what it says about them. It says, “They admitted they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things are not looking for a country of their own. If they were thinking of the country they left, they would have had an opportunity to return. Instead they were looking for a better country, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God for He has prepared a city for them.

These are the people with the giant faith that we want to be like, and emulate, and what it says is, is they weren’t looking for a nation or a state, to bring them peace, they were looking heaven-ward, safe focuses on a superior reality. 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary, what is unseen is eternal.” All these is temporary, guys. Only his kingdom is eternal. Psalm 90:12 says, “Team us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Wisdom comes when you live with an eternal perspective. If you live for today, you’ll have no hope for tomorrow, but if you live for eternity, you’ll have faith for today, and you’ll have hope for tomorrow.

His Kingdom will outlast all the kingdoms of this world. Listen to this. Daniel 2, I love this. Daniel is interpreting, he’s interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, and this is a prophetic picture of the Kingdom of God.

Here’s what he says, he says, “You looked, o king,” he’s telling him his dream, “You looked, o king, and there before you stood a large statue, an enormous dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. The head of the statue was made of gold, it’s chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly baked of clay. While you were watching a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron, the clay, and smashed them. The iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, the gold, were broken to pieces, at the same time, became like chaff on the threshing floor in the summer, the wind swept them away without leaving a trace, but the rock that struck that statue, became a huge mountain, and filled the whole earth.”

He’s telling them about his dream, it’s a dream Nebuchadnezzar has. And then he goes on and he interprets it for him, and he basically says, hey king, that big statue is a picture of the kingdoms of this world. And when we look back at history, you can go through it as the kingdom of Babylon, the Babylons, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans.

And then what happens? A rock is cut out, but not by human hands. Who is the rock? Remember, the old testament is Jesus concealed, he’s there, you just got to look for him. A rock was cut out – not by human hands, and it struck the statues, they came crumbling down, and that rock started to fill the whole world. He goes on to say, “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven, will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people, it will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it, itself, endures forever.”

He’s saying, hey, there’s going to be this guy named Jesus, he’s a rock from heaven, and he’s going to show up, and he’s going to outlast every kingdom on this earth. Nations will rise, and nations will fall, but the Kingdom of God lasts forever. He’s our rock. And what is amazing to me is that, Jesus came not to bring prosperity to a nation, he came to bring the kingdoms to make the kingdom to nations, and there’s a big difference. And he’s our rock, I mean Matthew 7, or no, you know what, let me just tell you this, and I love that it says, it fills the whole earth, see, I’m excited, it fills the whole earth, right? It’s growing.

So the world is winding down, the kingdom is winding up, like I’ve been telling you back in Habakkuk 2:14, “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 9:7 “Of the increase of His government, and His peace, there will be no end.”

He’s our rock, and His kingdom is coming. And when we build our life on Him, we have nothing to fear. Matthew 7, you know this, “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine, and puts them into practice, it’s like a wise man who built his house on the rock, Jesus. The rain came down, the steams rose, the winds blew, beat against the house,” in other words it got cray cray, “yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice, is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.”

The rain came down, the steams rose, the winds blew, beat against that house, it got cray cray, and it got even more cray cray, because it came down with a crash. He’s our rock, and when we build on him, we don’t have to be afraid, because he’s kingdom will outlast everything on this earth. And here’s the good news, the king is our dad, okay? And listen to this, when your dad is the king, you don’t have to be afraid of middle management. Think about it.

If it’s your dad’s kingdom, you don’t have to be afraid about middle management, why? Because we looked at it last week, Romans 13, all authority comes from God, they’re his servants to do his agenda, he can use even evil people to do amazing things, and Proverbs 21 says that king’s heart is in the hands of the lord, he can direct it wherever He wants it to go. You have to be right, like Jesus wasn’t afraid of the Pharisees, of Pilot, or the soldiers. Why? Because when your dad’s the king, you’re not afraid of bad middle management, okay?

So, take that to your life. Any leader or authority in your life, you don’t have to be afraid of it, because your dad is the king. You’re not surprised by who got elected, come on, you think God’s like, what happened? He uses all things together for the good of those who love him. Your dad’s got this, so start thinking that way. Luke 12:32, “Do not be afraid little flock, it pleases your father to give you the kingdom,” okay? You got that? Your citizenship is in heaven, you got to change the way you think about America and the kingdom, the kingdom is where you come from, the kingdom is who you are. Second thing is this, we have been empowered to solve earthly problems with heavenly solutions. I love this.

Daniel uses his divine wisdom, to bring heavenly solutions to Babylon, he brings signs and wonders, interprets dreams, gives insight and understanding, makes Babylon a better place. Why? Because he understood, he had a responsibility to demonstrate the superior rule and reign of God to Babylon. And so do we. We are the church, the church, the people of God, united by the spirit of God, under the lordship of Jesus, sent to change the world, the church. The people of God, united by the spirit of God, under the lordship of Jesus, sent to change the world, and our primary mission is to bring heaven to earth.

2 Corinthians 5:20, it says, “You are Christ’s ambassadors.” There it is again, you’re an ambassador, ambassador is not a citizen of the place that they live, they are a representative, they represent the nation, the king, the ruler, the way of life of the people they came from, to the people they are currently living with. They’re there to represent, represent that way of life, and they always live from there, to here.

Like if you could think of an American ambassador to Iran, an American ambassador to Iran lives with American realities in Iranian circumstances. They live from there, to here, they take the realities of America, and they show up in Iran, they have to deal with those circumstances, but they live with a superior reality, they have access to resources, and wisdom, and different rights, and understanding of things. Okay, that’s us., we live with heavenly realities in earthly circumstances, we have different realities that we draw from, and bring into this place, and we’re there to represent, or represent our king in His kingdom.

Okay, but how are you going to represent the king if you don’t spend any time with him, and how are you going to represent the kingdom, if you’re not sure what it’s all about. Okay? Our job is to demonstrate, and that’s what demonstrate, the rule and reign of God to the world. And so here’s the deal. We have got to stop expecting the government to do what the church has been called to do. So much of, I’m sorry, don’t clap, don’t clap, just amens today, we’ll do that because we don’t have time for clapping today. I’m already behind, so I’m going to keep going, okay.

Listen to me, so much of the anger that is currently sent towards the government, should honestly be redirected to the church. We’ve abdicated our responsibility, we’ve expected the government to do it, but you have to understand, the government is not commissioned to do the things the church has been called to do. The government is not commissioned to feed the hungry, to serve the poor, to heal the sick, to live generously, to train people in the ways of righteousness, to release them into their destinies, to solve heavenly, or to bring heavenly solutions to earthly problems, we’re called to do that. I mean listen to these words with Matthew 10:8, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons, because you have freely received, so freely give.”

Matthew 25, Jesus says, “I was hungry, and you the church, gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you the church gave me something to drink, I was a stranger, you the church invited me in, I needed clothes, and you the church, clothed me, I was sick, and you the church looked after me, I was in prison, and you the church, came to visit me.

Luke 4:19, “The spirit of the Lord is on Him, but He’s now given it us, so we are now anointed to preach the good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight from the blind, to release the oppressed, and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” That’s what we’re commissioned to do, I mean you have to understand that when Jesus showed up on this earth, He came to an oppressed people group. We don’t think about it that way, but it’s true. He showed up as a Jew, as an Israelite living in Israel, they were oppressed by the Romans. The Romans had conquered them, the Romans lived in authority over them. So He came and showed up and submitted himself as part of an oppressed people group. And He came to a political chaotic system.

When you read your bible, you’ll hear about people like this, the Essenes, they were the isolationists, they just wanted to pull away from everybody. They had the Pharisees, the political party, these were your legislators, they just wanted to keep passing new laws, but they wanted everyone else to follow, you know? And then you have the Zealots, and the Zealots wanted to passionately, with force, overthrow the Roman government, and then you had the Romans who were the overruling, oppressive government, and this is what He came to.

And what’s amazing to me is, out of His 12 disciples, Jesus picks two people on the far opposite ends of the spectrum. He takes Simon the zealot, and Matthew the tax collector. Just understand the difference of this, Simon the zealot would have worn a hat that said, “Make Israel Great Again,” passionately overthrow Rome, and Matthew the tax collector, worked for Rome, so he wanted big government and increased taxes on the wealthy. Come on, this is for real. Two of his 12 disciples. Don’t act like everything that’s happening today is brand new to humanity, like whoa.

Like for real? And what did he do? He united them. How? Because he never complained about what Rome should do or shouldn’t do. Read it, I mean, when is Jesus constantly saying Rome should be doing this or Rome shouldn’t be doing that? No, he just saw a need and he met them. And then he told these 12 to go and do the same.

You have been commissioned to be a Jesus-focused spirit-filled life giving person. The problem is, is the church has abdicated our responsibility. We’ve given it to the government, the government has stepped into it, it’s created chaos. Now, I don’t have time to get into all this, but in a very basic level, here’s what I want you to understand, the government’s role is to create an environment where people are free to choose. Their main role is to create an environment where people are free to choose and protect human life. So their job is to literally create an environment where you are free to choose right or wrong, good or bad, what you want to do, how you want to do it to go after your own destiny, to kind of pursue it, make that thing happen but they also are there to protect human life.

So when you make some of those choices and they start hurting people, that’s where they step in. Okay? That’s the very basic foundation of what the government should do. And what happens to us, especially as Christians, we get to like elections and we have this thing where we want the government to take away people’s choices. We want the government to say, “You must believe this, you must do that, you must act like this. This is moral, this isn’t moral. You have to behave in this way or you can’t behave in that way.” Okay, you understand that’s coercion. And you say, “No, I like that.” Well, you only like it if you agree with what the government’s telling you what to do. Because the truth is, it’s telling you what to do, that’s how Iran and North Korea function. That’s why you don’t want to live there.

So go all the way back to God’s original — to God’s original government in the garden, you understand God created an environment where there was freedom to make a choice.

Wait, so God actually gives people the freedom to sin? If they want to reject him, yes. Here’s the tree of life, tree of knowledge of good and evil, don’t eat from this one. But freedom only comes when you have the option to choose. And if you go even one farther back, you go to — in heaven, you realize there was freedom for Satan to choose to reject God. Control is the absence of freedom. And we act like all these different things with the government, the government’s role is to create an environment of freedom where people are free to choose even if it’s a choice you don’t like and protect human life. Our job is to solve earthly problems with heavenly solutions.

Matthew 16:19, “I have given you the church, the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.” We have the keys, the government does not have the keys. So as long as you’re expecting the government to solve all of the world’s problems, you’re always going to be disappointed because Jesus gave him to us. Keys represent authority and access.

If I give you the keys to my house, you have the authority to access my house and use anything you want at any point in time, right? So we have the authority to access heaven and bring the wisdom, the resources, the healing, the love, the life of heaven to this earth. So when we sit there and expect the government to do it, we’re already setting up a chaotic system because they don’t have the keys, the door is locked. We have them.

Like an example would be my son is so confident in his relationship with me that he expects to use all my stuff to impact his world. I’ll come home and he’ll say, “Hey dad, I used your tools to fix my bike. Hey dad, my friend Shawn was thirsty, so I gave him one of your Gatorades. Hey dad, I had a lot to take to school today, so I used one of your backpacks to carry it.” He uses my stuff to impact his world. In Jesus, we can be so confident of our relationship with the Father that he actually wants us to use his stuff to impact our world. “Hey dad, today I saw someone who was broken, so I gave him some of your healing.”

“Hey dad, today I saw someone in a need, and so I gave them some of your finances and your resources. Hey dad, today I saw someone and they didn’t know how to solve a problem, so I gave them some of your wisdom.” And God says, “Yes.” You have to understand that over here are all the needs of the world and over here are all the solutions for the world’s problems. And you know what’s right in the middle? You. So start solving earthly problems with heavenly solutions because you have the keys. You realize when the disciples have the 5,000 people in Jesus’ teaching and they see the hunger, they go to Jesus and say, “Jesus, these people are hungry, send them away so they can go get something to eat. And you know how Jesus responds? He says, “Go ask the government to do it.”

You give them something to eat. And he was teaching them in the moment, stop passing off the responsibility for the brokenness of this world to other people. “Start picking up the keys and unlocking heaven and solving the world’s problems with the authority I have given you.”

And when I tell you about the government’s job is to create an environment where people are free to choose. If we would just demonstrate the Kingdom of God, they will choose him. Maybe they’re not choosing him because we’re not putting him on display. Okay. That’s all I got for that point.

The third thing is this. People are not our enemies. People are not our enemies. Daniel understood his oppressors were not his enemies. He understood they were broken people and a broken heart is actually easy to love. You understand all the people you disagree with, that you’re angry with, that you’re frustrated by, they, them, they’re not your enemies.

Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood.” There it is. Your fight is not with them. “It’s not with another person, but against rulers and authorities and powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

That’s where our battle is in the spirit realm. In 2 Corinthians 10 tells us, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” So we’re not fighting people, we’re fighting a spiritual battle in the spiritual realm. And you will never defeat Babylon with Babylonian weapons. You will never defeat the world with anger and hatred and rebellion and rage and division, you will defeat them with faith, hope and love.

You have to understand the people you’re disappointed by, the bible says they’re blinded by the God of this age. They literally can’t see the gospel or Jesus. They’re trapped in their sin, they’re stuck in their death and their darkness. They’re sinners and what does sinners do? They?

So why are you expecting something different? Why would you expect life giving solutions from people who are stuck in death?

And yet, they’re made in the image and likeness of God and Jesus came to die for them. That’s why when John and James want to call fire down from heaven and burn up the Samaritan Village, Jesus stops them and says, “Guys, I didn’t come to condemn the world, I came to save it.”

Matthew 5, “You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemies.’ But I say to you, love those who are your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. You’ll be part of the Father’s family in heaven.” People are not your enemy, they are your mission. We need to not be filled with condemnation but compassion. Jesus hung on the cross and said, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” This is a planet of orphans in need of a father. And understand that without God’s grace, you would be them. I really don’t need to say anything else after that.
I’m serious. Without God’s grace, you would be them. So now that you have God’s grace, you’re called to rescue them, okay?

Fourth thing is this, the shaking is making us stronger. Obviously, there’s a shaking happening in this world. At every kind of level, globally, economically, relationally, spiritually, there’s a shaking in this world. It’s making us stronger. I mean, if you take the whole series title that we have, In The Lion’s Den, you have to think about it like this. The story of Daniel in the lion’s den was this, the government outlawed prayer, you could no longer pray. And so Daniel said, “Hey, I’ll submit to the government but I can’t surrender my values. That’s sin for me to stop praying, so I have to pray.”

And so he gets down on his knees, he prays, he’s caught praying and he’s taken, he’s thrown into the lion’s den, they roll a stone over it. And the next day, the king is terrified that Daniel is going to be dead because he’s been a source of wisdom. And this is what it says, “At the first light of dawn, the king got up, hurried to the lion’s den. When he came near the den, he called Daniel in an anguished voice, ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you serve continually been able to rescue you from the lions?'”

Has my God been able to save me? Nothing is impossible for my God. He can save whether by many or by few. “Daniel answered, ‘Oh king, live forever. My God sent his angel and he shut the mouth of the lions. They have not hurt me because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done anything wrong — never done any wrong before you, oh king.’ The king was overjoyed and he gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him because he had trusted in his God. So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the rain of Cyrus the Persian.

Come on. The king gets saved and Daniel gets promoted. And what we learn is that the lion of Judas is the king of the pride. He shuts the mouths. Luke 10:19, Jesus says, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and lions to overcome all the power of the enemy, nothing will harm you.”

And not only do we learn that, we learn that God lifts up those who bow to him. Daniel bowed and prayer was thrown into the pit but he was lifted up. 1 Peter 5:6, “Humble yourself under God’s might hand that he may lift you up.” God not only protects, he promotes those who are willing to go through the lion’s den. And so as the shaking is happening, don’t be afraid. Don’t pull back, it’s purifying us, it’s making us stronger, it’s actually promoting us and the gospel and the agenda of what God’s doing. So don’t condone what God condemns, don’t start to compromise the gospel and don’t be afraid of man.

Psalm 56:11, “In God I trust, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” You see, in all the shaking — are you still with me on this? In all this shaking that’s happening, here’s what’s happening, consumer Christianity is dying and that’s a good thing. Consumer Christianity, the whole identification with Jesus but not willing to live the lifestyle it’s going away.

I mean, verses like this are just amazing to me. Isaiah 4:1, “In in that day, seven men will take hold of one man and say, ‘We will eat our own food and provide our own clothes, only let us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace.’” Does that not sound like modern day consumer Christianity?

Hey, Jesus, we’ll do our own thing, we’ll go our own way, we’ll live our own life only we want to be called by your name. Or how about Titus 1:16 that’s says, “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him.” Or 2nd Timothy 3:5, “They have a form of godliness but they deny its power.” So, consumer Christianity is going away and what I mean by that is the French is falling away but the core is getting even more committed and you can see it. You can see it in your small groups, in your serving teams, with your neighbors, your coworkers. You can see with people in this church.

The French is moving on but the core is rooting in and getting a little deeper and that’s a good thing. Because you have to understand, consumer Christianity, your social identification with Jesus is so dangerous because of inoculate us from the truth.

It’s like we’ve been given a vaccine in America. Think of what a vaccine does, they inject you with just a little bit of the virus. It’s alive and your body builds all these antibodies to fight that virus off so that you’ll never get it. And in a sense, living in America, we’ve been immunized by the vaccine of the gospel. We’ve gotten just enough of it to know who Jesus is but not desperate enough to pursue him as our savior, so we can walk through this gospel saturated country without ever catching the gospel.

It’s like if you got vaccine for polio, they put a little bit of polio in your body and your body builds antibodies, immunity to it, so you can walk through a polio saturated country and you won’t get polio. We’ve gotten just enough to saturate or sort of immunize – create antibodies. Thank you. In our — in our body. And so you see, this whole consumer Christianity movement and here’s what they say, “Oh, yeah. I prayed the prayer. I’ve been to church. I know that whole thing. I’m good.”

You understand consumer Christianity as modern day Phariseesism. We think the Pharisees are the religious people that sit in church and yell at everybody. That’s actually not true. Matthew 15:8 Jesus says, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” That’s consumer Christianity. I identify with them, but I really don’t want anything to do with them. John 5, Jesus says, “You study the scriptures but you refused to come to me to have — like, you identify with me but you don’t want to follow me.” I mean, you understand Christian is not a nation you live in, it’s a choice you make. It is not a box you check, it’s a person you follow.

Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Mark 8:34, therefore, if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross, follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will find it.” Matthew 4:19, “Come follow me, I will make you fishers of men.” Just because we have In God We Trust on our money and say one nation under God in our pledge, and lived in what was called a nation that was founded on Christian values does not make us Christians.
And to tell people otherwise, is to immunize them from the gospel. I mean, Matthew 7, Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my father, who is in heaven — which is what is god’s will? To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” That’s all. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, lord, did we not prophesy in your name?

And in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you away from me you evildoers. In other words, Jesus says a whole bunch of people are going to show up and they’re going to say, “Jesus we went to church like 6 times a year, we gave a little bit of money. We voted according to the evangelical block, up and down the ticket. We lived in a nation called a Christian country. And I’ll say, but you never knew me and I never knew you.

Revelation 3:15 says, “I know your deeds that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other so, because you are lukewarm neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” We read that verse and we think Jesus is saying, I wish you were passionate and on fire for me or that you hated me. That doesn’t sound like Jesus, does it? So if God is love and everything he says is loving, so put a love hermeneutic to that verse. Think of it in a loving way, what is he really saying?

He said, I wish you were cold or hot. I wish you were cold and what he means by that is think of the stone tablets that the law was written on. The cold stone. He says, I wish you were under the full weight of the law of the cold stone or I wish you are hot that you’re under the fullness of the finished work of the grace of Jesus that purifies and redeems you. He says I wish you were under the cold tablet of the stone, so that you would feel the weight of the fullness of your sin, so it would make you so desperate you would understand your need for me and it would drive you to the cross.

Or I wish you were fully under the grace of Jesus that you would be so understanding of who you now are in me that you would be part of my mission to reach these people who are lost. But the worst place you can be is the lukewarm in the middle where you just jetty here, because you’ve been immunized to the gospel. You’ve got just enough to know about it, but not enough to be desperate for it. And so, this shaking of removing consumer Christianity as God’s goodness to move people to the fullness of grace or under the law, so that they’ll get desperate enough to come and seek after His finished work of the cross. That’s the grace of Jesus, guys. For those of you that are panicking like the Christian nation aspect of us is going down, it’s the goodness of God to take us out of the jetty. I get up here every week and preach to people, the hardest people to talk to are the people in the jetty. Been there, done that, said the prayer, I know it, bro. So my question for you is in the shaking, is it moving you to under the fullness of your understanding of your sinners and moving you to this desperate need for the fullness of his grace?

You can’t help people be found if they don’t know they’re lost. And you can’t help people get healed if they don’t know they’re broken. So, it’s God’s goodness to move us to one or the other, the shaking is making us stronger and remember whatever god prunes, brings new life. So, it’s a good thing and the last thing is this, we have hope because Jesus is our lord and savior. Our savior and our lord. One really last verse for you, Peter just says, “Hey repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ.

For the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you and your children and who all who are far off. The kingdom isn’t for a nation, it’s for the nations, for all whom our Lord will call with many other words he warned them, pleaded them, save yourselves from this corrupt generation. Those who accepted his message were baptized.” Here’s what he says, he says, you need to confess. Confess that you’re a sinner and in need of a savior. Be under the full weight of the law that you can’t measure up to God’s standard.

So confess you’re a sinner in need of a savior and then repent. Change your mind and change the way you live. No longer live your way, with your thoughts, the way the world system is. Now get into alignment with the kingdom of God, then received the spirit of the living God. Same spirit that raise Jesus from the dead comes into you and makes you alive. And then be baptized. Be water baptized as a sign to say, I’ve died, buried, and raised to a new life in Jesus.

Next weekend is baptism. For those of you that say, I want to know Jesus and I want to follow him, but I haven’t been baptized. As soon services are over, go to the information center. Let us get you sorted out for next week. You see, Jesus is our savior. Save as the words so, save, heal, make whole. American Christianity has said, God is here to give you a ticket to heaven. God is here to bring heaven to you now. To save you, to heal you, to make you whole and he wants to be Lord. Lead you into green pastures even though you don’t get it.

If he’s your lord, you give up the right to determine the direction of your life. He wants to give you eternal life, but he wants to give you abundant life, okay? Our hope is not in politics or in a party, it’s in a person and his name is Jesus. For three weeks, I’ve pushed on you. And I’m trying to take you out of the fray of the world system and give you a kingdom thought life and bring you up here to be an eagle like Daniel. Because you can live a godly life in an ungodly world and you can be so full of hope and you can prosper and succeed with the kingdom of God. You can be like Daniel. We are Valley Creek church. We are a Jesus-focus, spirit-filled, life-giving people.

We don’t get in the fray, we don’t throw stones. We don’t do junk on Facebook. We don’t do junk on Facebook. Because we want to live like Daniel. We want to be a godly person an ungodly nation, because we believe that by serving others and doing it His way, we’ll position ourselves to influence an ungodly world that they may repent and come to know the goodness and the grace of Jesus just like we have.

May you be that kind of person. So, Lord Jesus, we thank you for who you are and what you have done. And today, we choose to declare that we have hope in you. We want to live a godly life in this ungodly world. Would you teach us how to live in this worldly system and bring heaven to earth? Would you change our thinking, God?

And so, if you’re here today and you never put your faith in your trust in Jesus, you will never have hope until you do that. Peace comes when you finally kneel yourself before the Prince of Peace. And so, maybe just do those things, confess, Jesus I’m a sinner in need of a savior. And I repent, I change my mind, I change my thoughts, I change my life in the direction I’m going and I choose to follow you.

Holy Spirit, I invite you to fill and overtake and overflow my life. And I will choose by faith to get water baptized as a sign to say, I have been saved from the brokenness of this world and raised to a new life in Christ.

Lord Jesus, we want to live a life worthy of what we have been called to. So, may we have the grace to live a godly life in an ungodly world. May this series be a turning point in our thinking which will be a turning point in our living. We love you, Jesus, in your name we pray, amen.

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