13 Feb 2022
Life is filled with decisions, and every choice we make at every crossroads of life will determine who we will become. We can either make compromises and go with the flow, or we can stand our ground and live for the Lord. This week, we will be looking at the life of Daniel and see how he handled decisions that compromised his value and belief system.
Today the sermon text is taken from Daniel, chapter one. But before I start, I want to ask you this simple question. Do you know where you can see this word in the Bible, ‘Belteshazzar’? Where do you see this word in the Bible? For those of you that are scholars, or you are well versed in the Bible, you will realize that this name is found in the book of Daniel. In fact, it was the Babylonian name that was given to Prophet Daniel, and that is where we want to study the Word of God today, in Daniel, chapter one.
The title the sermon today is “no compromise”, and you will see that in the book of Daniel, Daniel and the friends and the people of God, they were living in a place, a foreign country, in a foreign place full of idolaters, full of idols, full of worshipers of other gods, and they were given into another environment where they are prone to compromise with their values, with their belief system, with all that they have been taught in Jerusalem by their parents, by the laws of the Bible. And you will see how Daniel is going to resolve and purpose in his heart, even though he's living in a world that is against the values of God, he stands firm, and you will see how God prospers him, how God makes him successful, and how God honors him, as he honors God.
You see, in our life, we are filled with many decisions. In your life and in my life every single day, there are decisions that we make: whether to go left or whether to go right, whether to eat chicken rice or Hokkien Mee, whether to go to this church or that church, whether to compromise a little here or a little there. In life, we are filled with choices. Daniel, the people in the Bible, Daniel was given a lot of choices then, you will see that later, and how he stands firm, despite all the different values system that is pricking him and all surrounding him. It is very similar to today where we are living in Singapore and there are a lot of value systems and things that do not honor God, and how we handle all these issues, and that's exactly what we want to discover from the book of Daniel.
It is the story of Daniel and his three friends and how they will be brought into Babylon, to ‘Babylonise’ them. King Nebuchadnezzar will want to brainwash them in many areas and how you will see these young people - by the way, they were about 15 to 16 years old, when they are plagued with so many distractions, so many temptations, so many things that causes them to compromise. But yet, at the age of 16, their friends stood firm. How do they do that? How did God make all these things happen? Let's look at the Bible in Daniel, chapter one. You know, as I was reading Daniel, chapter one, I have
observed, I have observed these three simple things. I see the problems that the people there are facing. I see how God protected them as well and I see how God promoted them in their life.
First, let's see the problems that Daniel and the three friends were facing. Number one, they were given a new place. They were all brought up in Jerusalem in the city, in Judah, and they have probably been taught by their parents about the law of Moses, about the law and all the laws in the Bible, and they are taught that they are supposed to be worshiping the one and only God, the one and only God, Jehovah God, and that there is no other God before them. They are taught about the wisdom of the Bible. They are taught about the laws or the laws in the Bible, and now they're given a new place. And what happened in this new place, the Bible tells us, “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and beseiged it” (Daniel 1:1). So what happened is that they were living in Jerusalem, in the city of Judah, enjoying God's presence, worshiping with God's people but one day King Nebuchadnezzar came in and beseiged the city. The country and they were all taken into captivity, and exiled to a new place. They were under a new environment, they were under a new government, they were under a new value system. “And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his God, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his God.” (Daniel 1:2). Daniel and the three friends were all brought into a new place, a new environment, a new culture. You know, when we go to a new place, a new culture, we have to learn new things, isn't it? I was reading and doing some research, and I realized that they are different cultures that's happening all around the world. There is a place in Kenya where they will spit on their hands before shaking their hands. Can you imagine if we were to do that in Singapore? You will probably slap the guy's face if the person spits on your hands and shakes your hand? And there's another country - they love to be arriving late.
Because that is their culture and that is their system. And then because it is a very relaxed pace and relaxed place. And when it comes to business or big social events, arriving late simply means taking a big entrance. Can you imagine doing that in Singapore? Your boss is going to kill you. Your boss is going to mark you down. In another country, South Africa, it is their tradition to throw their furniture out of the window as a celebration of the new year. Do that in Singapore and the government will come and fine you. Of course, in our Middle Eastern countries, our neighboring countries, never use your left hand when you eat food because it's just rude and unsanitized. When we go to different cultures, different places, culture changes and value systems change, and King Nebuchadnezzar were trying to bring the world’s culture into the people of God. You will see that more and more. In fact, when Daniel and the three friends went to visit Babylon, they realized that Babylon is an amazing country. They will have the Seven Wonders of the Ancient Wonders. It is called the Hanging Gardens. It is debatable.
Historians have debated about whether it is here or another place, but whatever the case, it is an amazing country, full of worldly wisdom, full of worldly architecture, and it's an amazing place. And Daniel and the three friends were exposed to all these things. They were not just exposed to the new area. They were exposed to the false god that King Nebuchadnezzar was worshipping. In Babylon, they will have seven temples worshipping different seven deities. They have been worshipping the Aku God which means the moon god, they will worship the fire god, they will worship the god of wisdom, and they will worship all kinds of God. And Daniel and the three friends were exposed to all these things. So now we see that there's a problem because they're transferred into a new era, new place,
new culture, and not just that - they were given a new kind of knowledge. King Nebuchadnezzar knew that in order to influence people, the best person to target are the young people because they are like a sponge. They will absorb whatever that you teach them, that you will be teaching them. King Nebuchadnezzar I knew that. That's why King Nebuchadnezzar “commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility” (Daniel 1:3), which means they're new and all the three friends that we're going to look at today, that they come from the royal family, they have been well versed with the Word of God, they've been well taught of the things of God. King Nebuchadnezzar commanded them to find youth without blemish, which means handsome (not me), of good appearance, skillful in all wisdom, with knowledge, with understanding, with learning and to be competent to stand in the king's palace. And what King Nebuchadnezzar wants to do is to teach them the literature, the language of Chaldeans, which is Aramic. King Nebuchadnezzar wants to change not just the location, they want to empower them in a sense with new knowledge with new wisdom that is not from the Word of God, but from the world. Can you imagine now, in our day and age, what our young people are exposed to? All kinds of wisdom of the world. They will tell you, “Hey, young people, YOLO! You only live once. Don't care about what your parents say. Don't care about what your teachers say. Do what you love, do what you like. Self-love, love yourself more than any other things.” These are what the world is teaching our young people. King Nebuchadnezzar knew in order to win over the people, start from the young. And can you imagine the young people nowadays, what they are facing, what they're struggling with? All the lies and other wisdoms of the world. And that's exactly what Nebuchadnezzar was trying to do. New place, new knowledge, and now they were given a new diet. What is this diet? The king assigned to them a daily portion of the food that the king ate and of the wine that he drank. And they were educated for three years. Three years of brainwashing them, changing who they are, changing their identity, changing their culture, changing their belief system. And at that time they were to stand before the king, what is so big a deal to eat of the food of the king and drink of the wine that he drank? Isn't that amazing? If you were there, of course you would want to eat all the T-bone steak or the ribeye steak and all the amazing food the king would provide, isn't it? If you and I were in that place, we want to enjoy what the world has to offer - the abalone, the yusheng or whatever would come to your mind. We want to enjoy the food because the king eats good food and drinks good wine. But what to us may seem like just food right, but do you know that Daniel, the Hebrews boys, were taught in the Bible to honor God because food is offered to idols, you shall not partake of them. King Nebuchadnezzar was a very religious person. He will be worshipping many false gods, and probably, there is a high chance, most of the scholars say that he will be eating food that is offered to idols, and he'll be eating all these things. And Daniel knew in his heart. The Bible tells us that in Exodus chapter 34, that “you must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you. You shall not make any treaties of any kind with the people living in the land. They lust after their gods, offering sacrifices to them. They will invite you to join them in their sacrificial meals, and you will go with them.” A little compromise here and you will end up going with them and following their culture and traditions and stuff. Daniel and the three friends knew that it is not just food but it is food that is offered to idols and it is food that is going to defile them as Hebrews boys and girls. Their problems, place, knowledge and so on and so forth. Now there's another problem that you will see in this text.
They were given a new name. Name are important in the Old Testament. Names represent who they are in their actual life. You will see that Daniel (please forgive me, my names pronunciation is not that good). Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah from the tribe of Judah, and the chief of the eunuchs gave them names. From Daniel, he changed to another name: Belteshazzar. Hananiah has changed to Shadrach. Mishael, he changed to Meshach, and Azariah he changed to Abednego. To us, nothing wrong what.
When we look at the book of Daniel, we just skim through it, right? But if you go back to the original word, Daniel means ‘God is my judge’. Hananiah means ‘The Lord is gracious’. Mishael means ‘Who is like God’. Azariah means ‘The Lord is my help’. This is who they are because they represent God as the Hebrew boys. Their names are identifying them for who they really believe in. But when they changed their name, guess what king Nebuchadnezzar changed their name to? He changed them to Babylonian names. Change to Bel protect the king. Bel was one of the most famous gods during the time and they will be worshipping, everyone will be worshipping the God of Bel. Belteshazzar means ‘Bel will protect the king’. Another person’s name was changed to ‘command of Aku’, Aku was a moon god they were worshipping. Who is like our moon god? Servant of Nebo. You see, they're given a new name. They're given a new culture. They're given a new diet. They're given new knowledge and wisdom. You see in our life, in Singapore, in the young people's life and even in your life, they are exposed to all kinds of wrong things. They are taught now. They will have to make many choices in their life. They are taught to challenge their thoughts on sexuality; challenge their thoughts on abortion, nothing wrong with it as long as you love it and you like it, there is nothing wrong with all these things things; challenge your thoughts on cohabitation; challenge your thoughts on sex before marriage, when the Word of God is clear in the Bible of certain things, values and principles and systems. But the world will come in and challenge our young people. The world will creep in and challenge our youth, our children, our varsity and even our young adults. God help us. You see, as we journey through life, there are going to be constant attempts by the devil and the world to let us let down our guards, to conform and give in to the world’s standards, and to do things that we know to be wrong.
I don't know about you, I have experienced it so many times in the youth ministry, where the youth will come and tell me, “Hey, my friends are trying to tell me.” Just yesterday, one of the boys, the same boy last week, he said, “I was texting my friends and wanted to share with him the gospel and he was sharing with me, “Do you think the LGBTQ people - is it a sin or is it not a sin?” And the world is changing. Our culture is changing in Singapore and in the world. What are you going to do as parents? What are you going to do as a church? Are we going to stand for the Word of God? Are we going to stand for the system of the world? Are we going to give in - are we going to give in to God or to the world? The world tells us many things. A little compromise there - don't worry, just date as you want, just like you change your clothes, just keep dating and dating and dating until you find the last person you like that gives in to whatever you want. That's what the world tells us. Sex before marriage is perfectly fine and cohabitation is perfectly fine. If you don't know, if you haven't tried it out, then how will you know he is your partner? The values of the world can subtly, slowly, creep into the world and creep into the church, and Christians, can give in a little here and a little there. That is the problem that Nebuchadnezzar was trying to give to them. And that's the problems that Daniel and the three friends were facing. Today, I can list down many, many, many, many things, how the world has plagued our life and our church. But you will see some amazing things. Daniel and the three friends, they purposed in their hearts to do something.
Despite the environment they were in, they resolved in their hearts, they purposed in their hearts, and let's look at their purpose. The Bible tells us that they said no to what the world was giving to them.
They said no to the food that will defile them. The Bible says in Daniel 1:8, “But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him to not defile himself.” He knows because in Exodus 34 and 35 says that you shall not eat food that's offered to idols. He knows. He knows that and he resolved in his heart. In King James, the Bible tells us that he purposed in his heart that he will not defile God.
Well, many of us give many excuses, right? But it's just a small thing! Well, everyone is doing it. Why can’t I do what the world is trying to tell me? Hey, all the young people around King Nebuchadnezzar were handsome, well knowledgeable, and skillful in all these things. Well, they're all doing it. Why can't I be doing it? Maybe you give excuses - “You know what? I will obey King Nebuchadnezzar outwardly and I will eat the food but inside my heart, I worship God.” We just keep the faith to ourselves. Maybe some of the things that we say are, “We are already in the world. What difference will it make in our life?” Hey, my father, my parents, they are besieged, they are being held captive. They will not know what I am doing, isn't it? I'm in my own room eating the food. Nothing wrong! Nobody would know. “Well, I'm forced to. I have no other choice.” You know, King Nebuchadnezzar says that if I don't eat the food, my head will roll. I am forced to, I have no other choice! That is rubbish. He has a choice. And we all have a choice. “Well, God will understand right? Our Jehovah God is a God that forgives.” Aiya, just compromise a little bit here, a little bit there. God will forgive me, isn't it? The Bible says that as far as the east is from the west, God will remove my sins. Isn’t it that in New Testament, the Bible tells us there's no condemnation in Christ Jesus our Lord, and we can do whatever we want. We know God is forgiving. And we can find excuses after excuses. God understands, right? But Daniel did not do that.
Daniel did not do what the world is doing. Daniel focused in his mind to do what is right. You can always find an excuse when you, our deceitful heart, do not want to do what is right, do not want to honor God, do not want to obey God because He loves us, because we want to honor Him, that kind of thing.
You cannot corrupt a man from the outside. You can change the culture, you can change the environment. But you cannot change character, a corrector that's anchored in the Word of God, a character that loves God, a character that honors God for the rest of his life. Daniel purposed in his heart that he will not defile himself. He wants to honor God and God honors him. Daniel resolved and guess what happened when he made that decision to honor God. The Bible tells us another beautiful word, “and God”. Every time when you choose to honor God, God will do something. The Bible tells us if you honor Him, He will honor you. And God, after Daniel made the decision in his heart, he purposed in his heart “I will not defy God” and God gave Daniel favor, compassion which means empathy, in the sight of the chief of eunuchs, and the chief of eunuch said to Daniel, “I fear my lord king (Nebuchadnezzar), who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age?” You see in his mind of course it is fair if you don't eat anything, you don't eat food is offered to idols, that is offered to the king, all the good food, all the amazing wine, of course in his mind he would think that the health would deteriorate, would become worse and so on so forth; “So you would endanger my head with the king.”. It is a legit concern.
But God gave Daniel favor and Daniel said to the steward of the chief of eunuchs assigned over Daniel and the three friends, “You know what? Let's do this. I know that I don’t want to defile God and I want your head to be still attached. Let's do this. Let's test your servant for ten days. Just give us vegetables and waters to drink, cereals, just anything that is vegetarian give it to us and these are the foods that will not defile my body and these are the foods that will honor God and I will do that. Just give us vegetables and waters to drink and to eat. Then I will let our appearance and the appearance of our youth who eat this food be observed by you and deal with your servant according to what you see. If you see that my health and my body fats becomes lesser and lesser and lesser and I become weak, okay, you do whatever you want, just kill me or whatever.” But if you don't see that, then what is next? Then you will see that in the next verse. Some of you may be thinking, wow, are you calling us to be vegetarian just like Daniel? Let's see what happens later, okay? And he listened to them in this matter and tested them for 10 days - that's wisdom from Daniel. He did not demand his way. He tackled the problem with wisdom and thankfulness. He did not say, you know what, I am not going to eat, just do whatever you want but I'm not going to eat. But God gave him wisdom to know how to handle that situation. Just like how we need wisdom to know how to say no to the world in the most tactful, in a most wise way and loving way - this is wisdom from Daniel. And at the end of ten days, it was seen that they were better in appearance, fatter in flesh than all the youth who ate the king's food, all the meats and juicy steak. Some of you are vegetarian - praise the Lord! You see, there you go, the Bible tells us to be vegetarian so that we can be fatter and all that stuff. For those, of course, if you know in the book of Romans, chapter 14, and in First Corinthians, God says that we can eat la, don't worry, okay, don't worry, you can eat all the food, you don't need to go vegetarian. But in the olden times, in the life of Daniel, they know that food is offered to idols so they cannot and so they chose to eat vegetables and water. And they appeared to be better, fatter than those who eat steak and drink good wine. Isn't that amazing? How God honoured him when he chose to honor God - miracles happened. And the steward took away their food and the wine and they were to drink and to give them vegetables. Amazing, isn’t it? He purposed in his heart.
You genuinely don't experience blessing until you stand up for what you believe in. God honors those who honor him. Tested and proven. There are so many times where I want to testify in my life, when the world tries to creep into our life and we say no to the world because we're saying yes to Jesus, God honors that step of faith. In our human mind, we may or may not understand. We may be struggling with the decision or the compromise but God knows it, God honors it, and God will grant you something even better in His own wisdom, in His own time, in His own way; not our way, not our time, our our thinking. Blessings come through obedience in this sense. God honors those who honor him.
When your heart truly belongs to God, you can go wherever you are placed. You can face any situation and you will be okay. What if I don't do this, then my boss will do this and this. If I don't do this, all my friends will be laughing at me. If I don't do this, this will happen. If I don't do that, this will happen. And sometimes we think in the most logical way, but not the biblical way, not the way that we want to honor God. Whatever situation situation or circumstance you will be placed in you will be okay. You can live in the most worldly country, Babylon, full of idolaters, and you'll do fine because even though you are in the world, but yet you are out of the world; even though you are in the world, but your eyes are fixed on Christ, and your eyes are fixed in heaven, in His kingdom. You see, Daniel purposed in his heart in
Daniel chapter one, that he will not defile God. And you may think that it is just one incident, right? But you will see in Daniel chapter three, three of his friends continue to purpose in their hearts that they will not defile God. King Nebuchadnezzar made a statue of himself and asked anyone who does not bow down to worship the idol, him, that they will be beheaded. They will be thrown into a fiery furnace and they will be thrown to be burned. What did the three friends do? They chose to honor God because they knew from the Word of God that they shall not bow down to any images or gods because there is only one God. The three friends stood firm in the midst of all the pressures that the people are facing and challenging them. They stood firm, anchored, because of their belief in the Word of God, in their Jehovah, because they love and they honor what Christ has done. They have heard stories after stories. They have experienced who God is, so they stood firm and not caving to the pressures of the wall. And guess what? They had to face certain consequences. They were thrown into the fiery furnace. And when that happened, the Bible says that even though they are burned, nothing happened to them. Their hair was not burned, their clothes are still attached, because there was a fourth person. When King Nebuchadnezzar and the servants were seeing what happened in there, they saw the fourth person. It is not Daniel. The Bible says that it is like a Son of Man. It is the imagery. It is the
pre-incarnate Jesus. God was with them when they chose not to compromise with the world and to stand firm despite where they are. If God is with you, it doesn't matter whether you are outcasts, whether you different from the world. When God is with you, everything will be just fine.
And not just in Daniel chapter three; in Daniel chapter six, Daniel tells us that the King put a decree that you cannot pray to anything but you can only pray to their gods and all that stuff. And Daniel says, nope, I will pray to God. I will open my window and I will pray three times because that is his belief system. He believes in God and he continued to pray. And King Nebuchadnezzar says, oh, you know what? You defile again. You are super ti ki. I'm going to do this. I'm going to throw you into the lion's den and the lions will consume you again and again and again. And guess what? When God is with you, nothing can happen, nothing can happen to you because you are in the center of God's will. It is better for us to be in the will of God than to be outside of the will of God. It is better for us to be in the will of God in the stormy area than to be in an area where we are not in the will of God. Even though it may be peaceful, God honors that. And Daniel, you know the story, Daniel stood firm and the lions did not do anything to him. In fact, the lions became his friends. You see, Daniel purposed in his heart, Daniel and the three friends purposed in their hearts that they will not defile their body because they want to honor God. They believed in God and they wanted to obey God. Isn't that amazing?
But guess what? In our life, we are faced with so many compromises. We give in to so many things in the world. For students, we give in by cheating, we give in by peer pressure, we give in when our friends give us a disgusting text, a dirty image. We give in and we look at it and look at it and we save it and we consume it. And then lo and behold, our young people, and I'm not just saying young people, I'm saying in general, they are plagued with many things. In the past, for the young people to be engaged in sexual activities, they have to go to magazine stores; for other older people here you have to go to a magazine store to buy an indecent magazine so that you can watch it and look at all the dirty things in the magazine, and then when your parents found out you put in the bag and hide it somewhere. But now young people, you don't need to go to a place to use money to consume all this dirty sexual things. They can just use their phone. In the middle of the night when your parents are asleep, they can just turn on their phones and just open it and watch everything that they want to
watch, consume all the things that the world wants to allow them to consume - the dirty thoughts, the dirty things in the phone, whether it's the movies, YouTube or apps, you know it and I don't even want to elaborate. The world has crept into the church. We have to stand firm. Let's not compromise, for young people. Maybe you're not young people, you are businessmen, you are blue collars, white collars, or whatever colors you want to call it. I don't even know what it means. But sometimes we make deals, sometimes we have friends, sometimes the world tells you to compromise here and compromise there so that you can earn that deal, so they can earn that big buck. What do you do when that happens?
What do you do when the world tells you it is okay that even though you're married, you can just enjoy the company of the opposite gender. Let someone of the opposite gender be your best friend and share everything with that opposite gender except for your wife. A little compromise here and a little compromise there. A little meetup, a little chat, a little heart shape that you send to the opposite gender besides your wife is a slow fade. One will lead to another. Let us not compromise and let us stand firm with what we believe, and we believe what is right according to the Bible.
“I believe that one reason why the church of God at this present age, at this present moment has so little influence over the world is because the world has so much influence over church and God's people.” (Charles Spurgeon). May God help us all. First, I see the problems that the people, that Daniel and the three friends are facing. Second, I see how Daniel and the three friends purposed in their hearts to not defile themselves and to honor God. Third, I see their promotion. Our call in life is to be faithful to God because God is first faithful towards us, knowing that in the end, whether on earth or in heaven, no one will ever regret standing for Jesus. Daniel knew that and the friends of Daniel knew that. And guess what God did - “As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. At the end of the time, when the king commanded that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them before Nebuchadnezzar And the king spoke to them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel and the three friends. Therefore they stood before the king. And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the King inquired of them, King Nebuchadnezzar found them ten times better than all the magician and enchanters that were in all his kingdom.” (Daniel 1:17-20). The words “ten times” means many, many times in the language. They were many, many times better. They chose to eat food that are not offered to idols because they do want to defile themselves and they are fatter, they are more wise, they are better in every single way. Why? Because they choose to honor God. And God gave them promotion, in a sense. They found favor in the eyes of God. And Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus.
You know, when Daniel made that choice in Daniel chapter one, he was 16 years old, 15 to 16 years old. He purposed in his heart at a young age that he will not do all these things because he wants to honor God. In Daniel chapter six, he was about 80 years old, 70 years to 80 years down the road, he still chose to be faithful towards God. Whether you are young or whether you are old, there will be many, many decisions that you have to make in life. Some decisions that you are going to make will shape you for the rest of your life, like Daniel. Some decisions that you're going to make will make you fall. Some decisions that you make will draw you closer to God. And some decisions that you make in
your life will draw you away from God and away from the community of God and away from your marriage. What decision will you make? No compromise.
And now I'll end with two more illustrations. There was a song that I loved when I was young by Casting Crowns. The song was ‘Slow fade’. And every time when I look at this song, I was reminded about myself and how I'm prone to wander, Lord I feel it. We are all prone to wander. We are all prone to compromise. And the song says this, “Be careful little eyes what you see / It’s the second glance that ties your hands / As darkness pulls the strings / Be careful little feet where you go / For is the little feet behind you that are sure to follow / Be careful little ears what you hear / When flattering leads to compromises, the end is always near / Be careful little lips what you say / For empty words and promises leave broken hearts astray / It is a slow fade when you give yourself away / It is a slow fade when black and white (the truth of God) are turned to gray / And thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid / When you give yourself away / People never crumble in a day / It’s a slow fade; it’s a slow fade.” A little compromise here and a little compromise there, and the effects are great.
I was reading this illustration. There was this gigantic tree in California. But one day this giant tree crumbled and fell to the ground. What happened? How can this majestic tree crumble? Is it because someone cut it open? No. It's because there are little beetles that crept into the trees and the little beetles will bite a little trunk, a little trunk, a little root, a little stem and one day from the outside it will still look grand, but one day it will just crumble because the little beetle is eating and rotting from the inside. May God help us all, including myself. We are all prone to wander. Someone said this, “Show me a person who has fallen away from their walk with the Lord, and I will show you a person who started making compromises in his or her life long ago.”. May God help us to resolve in our hearts to honor God to love God because of all the things that Christ has done for us in our life. “When we lose our wonder, we are prone to wander.” (John Piper). When we lose our sight on Christ, we will put our sight on the world. When we put our faith and hope in Christ only, the world and the things of the world will slowly fade away. My prayer for us and for myself and for the church is that we will take a little step of faith every time when a decision comes our way that will draw us away from God. And whenever you are saying no to compromise, you are saying yes to Jesus. Every time when I say no to lust, I'm saying yes to Jesus in purity. Every time when I say no to sin, I'm saying yes to Jesus because I want to honor Him. Every time when I say no to stealing, to all kinds of things, you fill in your own blank, every time when you say no to something “good” or worldly in the eyes of God, you're saying a better thing - you're saying yes to Jesus. My prayer for all of us, for myself again, is that we will learn to say yes to Jesus all the time. My prayer is that whenever God is speaking to us and the Holy Spirit of God is prompting us in our hearts, let's learn to say yes to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Let's not grieve the Holy Spirit.
Let’s not quench the spirits in our hearts. Let's not compromise. You see, when we fix our eyes on Jesus, the world begins to fade away. Things in the world that we hold so dearly become nothing because we have Christ and we have God.
Maybe you ask this question, what if I have fallen? What if I have compromised? And there is this good news? The good news is God says that your sins can be forgiven. And if you are not a Christian today, I am pretty sure we have compromised everything because there is no value, there is no system, and we
are just following the world. And what should I do with all these things that I have done? God says there is forgiveness that can be found in our Lord Jesus Christ. You can be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. You can have a new family, you can have a new identity. If you're not a Christian today, my plea with you is to go and investigate our Lord Jesus Christ. He is someone that we hold dearly to because of what he had done on the cross 2000 years ago. He went to the cross because of our sins. He went on a cross because of all the compromises that we did in our life or we have not done. All these sins, he bore them on the cross because he loves you and because he wants to redeem you.
And if you are a Christian today, maybe there are compromises that you have made yesterday, the day before, years ago, and it's still creeping up on you and you have no peace and you're just feeling guilty over and over again, I want to tell you something. The Bible says there is no condemnation to those who are in our Lord Jesus Christ. You are free, God save you from the penalty of sin but at the same time, God has saved you from the power of sin. Now, you have the power to say no because you have the Holy Spirit in you, empowering you to live a victorious Christian life, because of all that Christ had done for us in our life. When we say no to something, we're saying yes to Jesus. Wherever you are, for myself and speaking this to myself, I have made compromises in my life before and I have to repent, and I have to ask God to forgive me. And I have to believe that God loves me the same. And then I will obey him over and over and over again. This cycle repeats in my life, repent, believe, obey; repent, believe, obey. I repent of my sins because I want to turn to Christ. I believe that God still loves me and God wants to use me and I turn to Him. And not just that, I choose to obey him over and over and over again. No compromise.
Let us bow with a word of prayer. A lot has been said. Some hearts are stirred; the Holy Spirit of God is working. You feel uncomfortable because I believe that God is working in your heart, in a certain area of your life. I do not know what but I know that God knows. And I pray that you will deal with God, wrestle with God, and give in to God because that is the sweetest thing ever. God we want to commit everyone in this place unto your hands, those that are on Zoom, on YouTube, online. God, ultimately, we want to obey you, we want to love you because we are redeemed people, we are forgiven people, we are adopted by your son. We now have a new identity and we are a new creation because of Christ. God, help us not to live in the way of the world. Help us not to live the way of our own life because now you have given us a new life, a new purpose, a new desire to love you, to honor you. God, forgive us as individuals, forgive us as a church that we have compromised in so many ways and in so many times. God, we ask for your forgiveness, we ask that you give us a revival in our hearts that we will run away from sin and run to our Lord Jesus Christ. God, will you help us all. God, we want to pray for those that are not saved in our midst. God, will you work in their hearts, stir their hearts to know that there is only one true God just like Daniel and and the three friends who knew that there is one true God and they worshipped and bowed down to the only one true God, Jehovah God. God, we want to pray for your people that they will stand firm, even when the world asks us to cave in, when the world’s pleasures and the pressures of the world come into our hearts, that you will allow us to stand firm, anchored on the cross, unto our salvation, that we will lean to the Spirit's leading and not lean to our own flesh. God help us all. We are all prone to wander but we know that you have the power to give us a victorious Christian life. Thank you. We love you. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
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