25 May 2014

No Compromise
  • Topic: Babylon, CHRISTIAN LIVING, FAITH, God, King, King nebuchadnezzar, SPIRITUAL GROWTH, SPIRITUAL LIFE


Sermon Transcript


Daniel Chapter Three in your Bibles if you would please. Daniel chapter three, I want us to look at a very, very familiar passage of scripture.

It was in the fall of 1996 that a newlywed couple left their wedding reception in the wee hours of the morning and I think that the groom must have been a little blurry eyed or tired from the long evening, but he placed a black zippered pouch upon the top of his car, and in that black zippered pouch contained all of his wedding money. And as you can see what is coming, he drove off. And when they made it to their destination, of course, that $12,000, the money that they collected from their wedding, the money they were going to use on their honeymoon was now gone. What a horrifying place to be. Well, the young man by the name of David Yee, a man who was at that point unemployed and struggling with his debts, he found that black zippered pouch, and in it was the $12,000. And although he could have desperately used the money, he chose not to keep it. But to great pain, he tracked down this newlywed couple, and he gave back the entire $12,000. And when later he was asked why, why did you do that? I mean, you needed it, you could have kept it, why did you give the money back? And here's what he said. He said, It didn't matter whether it was 50, 1000, or a million dollars, the money wasn't mine. It was simply a matter of right and wrong.

Now, I don't know about you. But when I hear a story like that, a story of a man who does right simply because it's the right thing to do. You know, my heart leaps and I want to shout and I want to say yes, may there be more people just like him. And I think that all of us are kind of the same way. We love to hear a person who does right, simply because it's the right thing to do. We love to hear stories about men and women of character and integrity, men and women who do right, even though doing right is the hard thing to do. Maybe that's why we like movies such as Gladiator. Now these are men movies, right? You know, Star Wars or Act of Valor, because you know, we all love a hero. We all love to see and to hear of somebody who did right, even though doing right was the hard thing to do. You see, we love to hear stories of men and women of character. And one reason we love to hear stories of men or women of character is because character and integrity is so rare in our day. Isn't that true? Especially when we hear of politicians who take an oath to uphold the law, breaking the law, or we hear of men and women who took a vow to be faithful to their spouse, breaking that vow, or when we hear of charitable organizations, you know, who are responsible for handling donors money, you know, misusing that money, and thus leaving the needy in need. You see, when we hear stories like that, it begins to rock us because all of us love to hear stories about men and women of character; men and women of integrity. And all of us have met people who on the surface seem to have character, on the surface they seem to have integrity until we scratch that surface. And we realized something different.

Like this man I once heard of, in the city of Los Angeles, he wanted some Kentucky Fried Chicken. So I went into a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, and he ordered some chicken takeaway. And so after he got his order, he was driving in his car and he opened the box of chicken. Lo and behold, inside the box was not chicken, but it was full of cash. You'll see the restaurant manager had put the night's receipts in the box of chicken in order to camouflage it so he could safely take it to the bank the next day. And so inadvertently, he gave the man the cash instead of the fried chicken. And so when the man saw the cash, he said to himself, I can't keep this money. And so he turned his car around, went back to the restaurant handed that box of cash to the restaurant owner. And of course, the restaurant owner was a little bit amazed. I mean, he looked at him and said, I can't believe you did this, I cannot believe there's still a man of character. There's a man of integrity alive today. And he says, you know, the entire community know needs to know that you are a man of integrity. Here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna call the newspaper reporters and, and I'm going to have them take your picture and write an article and let everybody know that they're still a man of character in this community. And so the restaurant owner said, Go get your wife out of the car. And come and let us take your picture. The man said, I cannot do that. The restaurant owner said well, why can't you do that? And he said, because you see I'm a married man and the woman in my car is not my wife.

We've all met men and women who claim to have character but when you scratch the surface they don't. And what we need to know today is that character is still important. It is still very, very important because it is character you see that keeps us truthful in our conversations, and honest in our dealings with money. It is character that keeps us faithful to our spouse, and enable us to be a role model to our children. It is character you see, that makes a person worthy to be trusted and a leader worth following. You see this character that enables a young person to stand and to say no to what is wrong, and to look to God and to say yes to what is right. You see, it is character that enables us to do right, even when doing right is the hard thing to do. It is character that enables us to stand firm with conviction in the pressures of life. You see, character is still important. It's important to you, it's important to others. And of course, it is important to our God, because you see, our God wants us to be men and women of character. He wants us to be people of integrity, he wants us to be able to stand firm in the pressures of life, He wants us to live a life without compromise, so we're able to do right even when doing right is the hard thing to do.

And so when we come to Daniel, chapter three, you know, we meet three young men, young men of character, young men who went toe to toe with the most powerful man on the face of the earth. And these three young men had every reason to do wrong, but they willingly chose to do right. And because these three men chose to do right, and they stood without compromise, standing firm in the pressures of life, you know that they brought the most powerful man in the world, to their knees, or to his knees. And from their example, here's what I want us to see. I want to see how you and I can stand firm and the pressures of life, how we can live a life without compromise, how we can do right even when it's hard to do, right. So let's pick up the story here in Daniel chapter three. And I know it's a familiar story. And as some of this is a little bit repeat, don't worry. Just don't worry. Say, why don't worry? I don't know why you shouldn't worry, but just don't worry about it. Okay? Because that's just the way it is.

Right, so Daniel, chapter three. When we come to Daniel, chapter three as Pastor Jason has so well said over the last few weeks and months even, we meet a king by the name of King Nebuchadnezzar. You remember King Nebuchadnezzar, right, you remember him? He was without a doubt the most powerful man on the face of the earth in this day. I mean, he was greatly feared, his empire stretched throughout the Middle East. And in the 40-year period that he reigned, he never lost a single battle, never one. And one of the cities that King Nebuchadnezzar conquered, of course, was the city of Jerusalem. And after Jerusalem fell, the Babylonians marched into the city and went to the MIT and the Harvard of the day. And there they marched off 75 of the best and the brightest of men and brought them back to Babylon. And three of this young man, these Rhodes Scholars, these, you know, top of the top, the cream of the cream, that they brought back to Babylon was who? It was Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. And these three Rhodes Scholars entered Babylon as slaves, and they soon rose to prominence and became the managers of the entire city of Babylon. These were three young man who quickly had it made. I mean, they were on a first name basis with the king, they had all of their needs met, and they had absolutely no reason on the face of the earth ever to challenge the authority of the king. In fact, we could say in modern vernacular, these three men, Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego. They were men who had a 12,000 square foot penthouse apartment with an infinity pool. They had their Audi R8 parked out in front and they were Facebook kings with the king. You get the idea? Okay, these guys had it. We're kind of bringing it down. So you got it? These guys had it made, you and I want that job. It's out there somewhere. Okay, but these guys, I mean, they had it made.

And so what we need to understand a little bit about Babylon is this is that Babylon in this day was like, was like New York City. It was like London. It was like Singapore. It was a country that was filled with people of various backgrounds and various nationalities. And so the king he wanted to indoctrinate the foreigners in Babylon in the ways of the Babylonians. And so he erected this massive tower outside the city, about 90 feet tall, 12 feet wide covered in gold. And his desire was regardless of a person's religious background, when certain music in the city was played, people were to bow down and they were to begin to worship at this image. You say why? Because King Nebuchadnezzar wanted the foreigners and the land to know that he and his God were the supreme authorities in their life, that he, King Nebuchadnezzar and his gods dictated their future. And so when this music was played, everybody was to bow down and worship at this image. And if you refused, as you read in Daniel, chapter three, you are to be put to death. In fact, the Scripture says, “Whoever does not fall down, and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:6).

Well, when Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego heard of the king's edict, they decided that they were not going to play along. They said, No way. We're not going to do this. Because you see, these young men knew, because they were Jews, they had studied the Scripture. They knew that for them to bow down and worship this golden image would violate the Scripture and these men knew the Scripture. In fact, I know by this time, they probably had the 10 commandments memorized. And so they chose not to play along, they were not going to give their allegiance to the king, to this visible king, King Nebuchadnezzar, when they had already given their allegiance to the invisible King, the God of heaven, so they chose not to do it.

And so having said, No, we're not going to do this in their own hearts. Do you think that they were? Do you think they were a bit tempted? Do you think these guys were a bit tempted to compromise? Do you think these three men realizing that it's life or death? I mean, you bow, you live you don't, you die. Do you think they're a little bit tempted? Do you think that they were attempted to cave in to compromise to give into the pressure? I would say absolutely yes. Because consider their options. I mean, they were pretty limited, you know, there was not a third door, okay? It was, hey, listen, you, you obey and you can live, you disobey and you can die. And I think when these young men understood this, I think they probably had a huddle together and say, Guys, come on, we got to talk this through. And I can almost see in my minds, they gathering together, you know, and saying, guys, um, you know, if we don't do what the king says, if we don't bow and worship at this idol, you know, we're gonna lose everything, we're gonna lose our future, we're gonna lose our career. In fact, we can even lose our head. And, you know, I think that these guys could have easily justified their compromise. I think they could have easily done wrong and justified in their own mind, because all they had to do is look around and say something like this. Well, everybody else is doing it, because everybody else was doing it. Right? I think they could have said, you know, you know, guys, I think we can, I think we can bow our knee. But you know, we don't necessarily have to bow our heart. And so maybe things like this are going through their mind, maybe they were saying, Hey, listen, you know, we're the city managers and our office demands that we that we bow and we worship, or maybe, you know, one of these guys came and said this, you know, we can do our people more good if we are officers in our king’s service, rather than being ashes in the king's furnace. And so I think, obviously, they could have made an excuse, and they could have justified humanly speaking their own actions.

You see, but these three young men were unique. They were different. They had a true living walk with God, these were men of character and integrity. And these young men chose rather to die rather than to dishonor their God and lower their standards, and cast aside their convictions, and abandon character and integrity. They chose to do right, even when doing right was the hard thing to do. And you know, the same thing happens to us, doesn't it? Have you ever been in a position where you feel pressured to lower your standard and to compromise your convictions and your integrity? You ever felt that pressure? I'm sure you have. I'm sure some Would Be King has come and whispered in your ear and said something like this? Listen, if you don't lower your standards, if you don't compromise your convictions, if you don't cast aside your integrity, then who's going to hire you? Who's going to buy your product? Or who's going to trust you? Or who's going to follow you? Or who's going to invest in your idea? Or who's going to pay your bills? Or who's ever going to marry you? You'll never have any fun. You'll never see any success. Have you ever had a Would Be King, come and whisper something like that in your ear saying, Listen, if you don't lower your standards, and cast aside your character, you're never going to achieve your goals and you will never fulfill your dreams. Has that ever happened to you? Maybe you've come to a point in your life where you have thought, you know, there's no other options for me. If I am going to be the person that I want to be, and if I'm going to achieve my goals and fulfill my dreams, then I must in this situation, lower my standards and temporarily abandon my character and my integrity and maybe you've come to the point you think, hey, that's my only option. Can I say something to you this morning? That is not your only option. Do you know that you as a believer do not have to abandon your character, cast aside your integrity, lower your standard to achieve your goals and to fulfill your dreams.  There is another option.

For let's carry on in the story, notice what happened. When the king heard that these three young men would not play along if they weren't going to bow and worship this golden idol, the king as you could well imagine he was furious, right? But you see, the King had a special relationship with these three young men. And so he gave them a second chance to obey. And here's what the king said, Listen. He said, “Is it true Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image, which I have set up?” In other words, listen, have I heard this correctly about you? He gave him a second chance, why? They had a special relationship.

He said, “But now if you're ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, the flute, the harp, the lyre, and the psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made”, he says in that will be “good” for you. “But if you do not worship”, here it is, “you shall be cast immediately in the midst of a burning fiery furnace, and who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” (Daniel 3:14-15)

Do you know when King Nebuchadnezzar made this statement, to these three young man he thought that he could buy their allegiance with the promise of life. He thought that he could buy their allegiance with the promise of life. Because this king was a wise man. He was a wise man, actually, I mean, these three young men were teenagers and the King had been experienced already. You know, many years as the king of Babylon. I mean, I think he had eaten more salt than they had even rice in their life. And he knew something about men, he knew something about the heart of men, he knew that every man has his price. He knew that people will lower their standards and temporarily abandon their character if the price is right, and the price for these three young men was the price of life or death. Gave them an option, set a price. The king soon realized that these were unique young men. These are men who had character These are young men who had integrity and see they already made a choice, they would rather die than to dishonor their God. The King soon realized that these three young men could not be bought and they were not for sale. Because as I have said, most people have a price, don't they? Many people will compromise their convictions temporarily. They will lower their standards temporarily if the price is right.

I remember a few years ago, maybe you remember, this movie was called indecent proposal. What a title for movie huh? I hope nobody will see, I never saw the movie okay, just have read about it but indecent proposal. It starred Robert Redford and Demi Moore. Thank you very much. I got it. Demi Moore and Robert Redford. The character played by Robert Redford offered Demi Moore, a million dollars if she would sleep with him for one night. And the money that she would receive through this immoral act would settle her husband staggering gambling debts and of course pay off their mortgage. In the movie, which was kind of an incredible theme. It did create a lot of controversy and all talk-on-talk shows and one talk show host by the name of Oprah Winfrey picked it up. And she asked her television audience this question. She said, How many of you would sleep with somebody who was not your spouse one time for $1,000,000. And 55% of the studio audience raised their hand and they said a million dollars? I would do it. You see that was their price. They were willing to lower their standards, compromise their character and cast aside their integrity for what? For a million dollars. That was their price. Let me ask you a question. What is your price? What would it take for you to compromise your convictions? Would you sleep with somebody who was not your spouse once for a million dollars? Would you lie to your client in order to secure that contract? Would you marry an unsaved person because you see your opportunity of having a family slipping away? So what is your price? What would you do to achieve your goals and to fulfill your dreams?

You know, although people have their price, do you know that a person of character and a person of integrity is not for sale? Such as the preacher Charles Spurgeon, do you guys know his name? Charles Spurgeon? About 100 years ago, he was without a doubt the most popular preacher in the world. I mean, from the day he started preaching as a young man. I mean, his church was overflowing with people coming to hear the Word of God. In fact, there was not a building large enough to hold the crowds that wanted to come to hear this man of God preached the Word of God. And not only did he have a packed-out church, but he was without doubt the most well-known preacher in the world simply through his writings. I mean, back in the Western world, there probably wasn't a believer alive. In fact, I would probably just say there were very few people alive who did not and had not heard of Charles Spurgeon. Well, as Charles Spurgeon was preaching the gospel in the City of London, drawing in the crowds, there is another man by the name of PT Barnum. Now maybe you know the name PT Barnum from the circus Barnum and Bailey Circus. Are you with me? Communicate, you with me? Okay. Well, Spurgeon was in London preaching and drawing in the crowds into his church, PT Barnum's job was to fill his circus tent with people. And so when he heard that Charles Spurgeon was just packing people in, he decided that he was going to see if he could buy Charles Spurgeon. So he wrote him a letter and he offered him an incredible amount of money to come to the United States, and to speak in his tent, his circus tent, in order to draw in the crowds. What do you think Charles Spurgeon did? I'll tell you, he wrote him a letter. But on that letter was simply one Bible verse. And here's what he said, it's found from Acts chapter eight and verse 20. He said, Your money, Can you finish the verse? “Your money perish with you because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money”.

And friends do you know why a man of God does not compromise? Do you know why a man of God does not temporarily set aside his character and his integrity? Do you know why a man of God does not lower his standard? Because he doesn't have to, he knows he doesn't have to lower his standard and cast aside his character and abandon his integrity to achieve his goals and fulfill his dreams. He knows he doesn't have to do that. Let's go back to the story. These three young men now have been given a second chance, like King Nebuchadnezzar. And as they were still standing in the presence of him after he had given them the second chance, they responded to the king. And here's what these three young men said. They said, “O, Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. Because if that is the case”, in other words, you're asking me to choose life and death. He says, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O, King. But if not, let it be known to you, O, King, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image in which you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)

You know, when I read that, I just say, Wow, I mean, could you imagine these three young teenager standing in the presence of the most powerful man on the earth, being pressured to choose life or death? I mean, sometimes when they read the Word of God, we got to try to slip into the shoes of those who are being talked about, you know, I mean, just think about it. I mean, you're 19 years of age, and you're standing before the most powerful man on the face of the earth, who claimed to have power over your future. And he says, if you don't do what I say, you will die, and your inside is screaming, because you know what you need to do, you know what is right, and yet, you're being incredibly pressured to do wrong. I mean, this is the situation that these three young men found themselves in. And I can imagine their knees were shaking, but their heart was firm. As they cast their head up, they look square to the eyes of the king. And in modern vernacular, they said, and I believe they said it sweetly, softly and with reverence. They said, O, King, we will not give into your pressure. And we will not bow our knee to that image. That's character. These are men who are possessed by integrity. Have you ever wondered as you've read this story, probably a couple 1000 times, or at least you've heard it. Have you ever wondered to yourself what gave these three young men away from family and friends any kind of support system, what gave these three young men the courage to go toe to toe with the most powerful man on earth? Have you ever wondered that? What gave them the courage? What enabled them to stand? What enabled them to do right? Even when doing right was hard to do? Have you ever wondered? Can I give you the answer? Here it is. They did right because they knew something about their God.

God was the source of their success and He controlled their future”

Do you know what they knew about their God? They knew that God was the source of their success and he alone controlled their future. Listen, do you get it? You see why they could stand? Do you see why they had the ability to do right, even though doing right was hard to do? Because they knew something about their God. It wasn't them. It was God. And it was knowledge of God and knowing that God, not King Nebuchadnezzar controlled their future, and He and He alone was the source of their success. You see, they knew. They knew that everything that they had in life, they knew that their rise to prominence, their position as the managers of the city, all that the money they had in their pocket that Audi R8 parked in front of their 12,000 square foot penthouse with that infinity pool, they knew that that came from God. And God, not the king was control of their future.

Are you guys with me? Now I'm going to play this in just a moment, show you how it works in our life. But I want you to get the truth. This is it. It wasn't that these guys were special Aha, you know, the best and the brightest, these three guys from Harvard and MIT of Jerusalem, you know, that I could never be like them, so I could never do as they did. Listen, it wasn't about them, it was about who? It was about our God. It's the fact that they realize that yes, God, He is the source of my success. And he controls my future. You see, they knew that it was foolish to abandon their God who controls their future and serve King Nebuchadnezzar who claims to control their future. You see, they knew that it was foolish. To abandon the principles of God, in order to attempt to maintain the blessings of God, are you with me? Because they realize that the source of their success was God. And that God controlled their future. You see, they knew that.

And so when we are tempted to cave in, and when we feel ourselves under pressure, and some would be king, come to you, begins to whisper in your ear. And he says, Listen, if you do not lower your standards, and if you don't temporarily cast aside your character and abandon your integrity, at least for a time, listen, you will never fulfill your dreams, you will never achieve success. When we're tempted, and we’re pressured by all those would be kings who whisper in our ear, friends, we need to remember, we need to remember that God is the source of our success. And he and he alone is in control of your future. Listen, it is not man, it is not a situation, it is not a circumstance, it is not your company, it is not your boss, it is not your boyfriend, it is not your girlfriend, it is not that relationship, they do not control your future. But God does.

“You can do right when it is hard to do right when you understand that God controls your future and He is the source of your success”

And I'm telling you, when we get to understand that it gives us freedom. It frees us to do what? To do right. Even when doing right. It's hard to do. You see when you're tempted remember this, remember that you can do right when it's hard to do right. When you understand that God controls your future. And He and He alone is the source of your success. And friends, listen, you got to get this. Because when we got that, I mean when that is in the core of our soul, it gives you freedom. And produces freedom, it gives you freedom. You see it frees a young girl, not to cave into the pressures around her and to do things that she knows in her soul she shouldn't do. Why? Because she knows that it's God who controls her future, it is God that is the source of her success. You see, when we understand this, it gives freedom it frees a young man to say no to his boss who comes to him and says, Listen, you secure this contract no matter what. It produces freedom in the heart of a father who says to his company, I'm sorry, I'm not going to take that promotion because if I take it, it's going to take me away from my family and this is a critical time in our life. And why does he do that? He knows even though it might hinder his future with a company he doesn't, why? Because he knows his company is not in control of his future. God is and his company does not control his success. God does. It frees us. It frees us to do what? It frees us to do right, even when doing right is hard to do. Do you see that? You're getting it? You're sitting there like, so we'll go on. Because freedom empowers a person to give back that money or not take that money even though they might desperately need it. Why? Because they know that God is the source of their success, not an act of dishonesty and it enables us to do right even when doing right is a hard thing to do. It empowers us to live with conviction and to live without compromise, and to stand firm in the pressures of life.

I don't know if you guys know this name. His name is Ken Wales. Back in the late 1950s and early 60s, he was a struggling actor in Hollywood. And he secured a part in a movie that would have just propelled him to stardom. The movie is a 1958 movie called Some Came Running. And I'm sure nobody here knows that movie. But maybe those of my generation would know these actors and actresses. It starred Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine and everybody 50 above smiles. And everybody 50 blows and says, Martin, who? Well, I'll just say it this way. They were the Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt of our day, okay. And so this man, Ken Wales was, was asked to star with these three superstars of the day. And when he ran over the script, he realized that he had a part that he could not act because he knew being a believer that this part would compromise his Christian convictions. He was in the movie supposed to get a lady drunk and then sexually take advantage of her. And so he went to the director of that movie, a man by name of Vincente Minnelli, you probably don't know that name either. But he would be the Ridley Scott of our day. All right. I mean, he was huge in that day. Of course, those who are 50 above you know the name. Vincente Minnelli. All right. And so when he came to Minnelli and told him, hey, listen, I'm a Christian, I can't do this. This compromises my Christian values. And I'm sorry, I can't act this part. And here's what Minnelli said. He said, You know, you are under contract. And if you refuse to do this, here's what's going to happen. You will be suspended, you will get no pay for a year. And I guarantee you because I'm the most powerful director in Hollywood, you will never ever again work in this city. In other words, you might as well go sell used cars, because you're never again act or direct a film in Hollywood. Well, he looked at Vincent Minnelli and said, I'm sorry, I can't do it. You're going to have to get somebody else. I am not going to compromise my Christian convictions and he walked out. And sure enough, he was suspended. And Vincent Minnelli slandered his name throughout Hollywood. But you know what's amazing? Even though Vincent Minnelli tried to destroy this man's career, his career in Hollywood was not over. In fact, in the next 50 years, he would go on to be one of the most acclaimed film producers and directors in Hollywood history, directing many films that we would know of, and most recently, the 2006 film, entitled, Amazing Grace. But do you know why this Stan did not ruin his acting career? You know why this Stan did not ruin his career in Hollywood? You know why? Because he knew something. He knew that it was God that controlled his future, not man. He knew that God was the source of his strength, not Vincent Minnelli and friends, the same is true with us.

You see, when we understand that God controls our future and he is the source of our success. It gives us freedom to stand without compromise in the pressures of life. And we got to get that because all of us have would be kings that whisper in our ear and are constantly pressuring us to cast aside what we believe and temporarily abandon and what we stand on in order that we might achieve success and fulfill our dreams. We go back to Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego. Although they took their stand what happened? You say Oh, Pastor, come on, you know, what are you talking about? They were thrown in the fiery furnace. Well, were they? Okay, you talk to me, were they? Absolutely. But what happened? They were what? They were delivered. Okay, let me just say it this way since you're not playing along today. All right. You guys got to come with your lattes in hands alright. Or your espresso or double espresso or triple? I don't know what. Hey, listen, they were throwing the fiery furnaces. But do you know what? They were delivered. And here's what it reminds us. It reminds us this. If you take a stand, and you do right, even when doing right is not easy. It may cost you something like Ken Wales, it might cost you your job. It might cost you a promotion, it might cost you that relationship. Please know this. Because God controls our future, and He is the source of our success. We can bank on the fact just around the corner, God has something planned for you. Because that's exactly what happened to these three, Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego. Notice what happened.

Having a ton of the fiery furnace, they were delivered by God. And here's the king's response. “Nebuchadnezzar spoke and he said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who sent His angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king's word and yield their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!” (Daniel 3:28) I mean, what a testimony. Okay, and then notice, then the king was that word. “Then the king promoted, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.” (Daniel 3:30).

Here's what happened. You see, they took a stand, and they lost something. And yet at the end of it, God turned it all around and He gave them a promotion. Yes, He gave them a raise. And friends, why? Because you see, it's not the king that controls their future. It is God that controls their future. It's the same God that controls our future. And yet, I wanted to say this more important than the promotion. More important than the pay raise, do you know that because these three young men took a stand. Because these three young men did right even when doing right was hard to do. Do you realize that their testimony, their character, the fact that they got to stand for their God? Do you realize that this impacted the heart of the king, and eventually, it brought this King to his knees. Their testimony, the fact that they took a stand, listen, it spoke to the heart of the king and eventually brought him to his knees. One chapter later, Daniel, chapter four, we see King Nebuchadnezzar bowing his knee and worshiping the God of Israel. Because you see, that's what happens when we live a life without compromise. And we make a choice to stand firm in the pressures of life. You see, friends, when we make a choice, knowing that God is in control of my future, and he is the source of my success, and we willingly do, right, even when doing right is hard to do. Do you realize that impacts the world that's watching us, you realize that our character and our integrity and our stand for Jesus, it impacts the people who are watching your life? It impacts them, knowing that God have a plan for you, and knowing that does not just give us freedom to stand. But my friends listen, it impacts the people who are watching your life.

I want to close with this story. There was a pastor in a particular city, and he was in a hurry, but he needed to pick something up. So he walked in the mall picked it up. And as he was, as he was going out of the mall, he looked over and he saw a music shop that advertised two CDs for $9.99. Being a music lover, he decided, hey, this could be a good deal. So he walked into the music store, found two albums that he wanted, he purchased them and he walked out. And as he was going back to his car, he was reading the receipt and realized that he was undercharged, two CDs for $9.99 but the young lady at the counter gave them two CDs for $1.99. And he did what you and I do when that happens. All of a sudden, the mind starts to justify her actions. Well she made a mistake, not my problem, and he kept walking. And Spirit of God said to him, No, you need to settle it, you need to go back. You just can't let this happen. All right, you know, obeyed. And he went back to the shop and he walked up to the cashier and he says, You know, I think you made a mistake. Two CDs for $9.99 but you only charged me $1.99 Can you correct this? And she looked at me. She said sir, I did not make a mistake. He said yes, you made a mistake. Look, the sign says two CDs for $9.99. The receipt says that you only charged me $1.99. You made a mistake. Can you correct it? She said sir, I did not make a mistake. And so he stopped for a moment and says well, what do you mean? And she said Sir, it’s like this. She says for 17 years I have been out of church. But recently my life has been falling apart. And I knew that I needed to get back in church and to get back into a relationship with God. And so she said I looked for the nearest church around and so I went to this church on Sunday and the pastor was preaching on integrity. And when I saw you in line, I realized you were the pastor that was preaching on Sunday. And I wanted to see if this is something that you preach on Sunday, or something that you also live on Monday. So she said, I charge you $1.99, I wanted to see what you would do. And then her countenance changed. And she looked at him with these piercing eyes. And she said, Sir, I don't even know the question to ask, but whatever you have, I want. And she began to cry. The manager came out and relieved her of her duties, and the pastor went back and spent a couple hours and brought that lady into a living, loving relationship with Jesus Christ.

“You can stand firm in the pressures of life and you can do right when it is hard to do right… when you understand that God controls your future and He is the source of your success”

You see, friends, people are watching you. And God wants us to live without compromise, and to stand firm in the pressures of life and you know what, as believers, we can, we can do that. You see, we can do that, when here's this when we understand that God controls your future, He and He alone, is the source of our success. People are watching you. And may we ask the God of heaven today, to so fill us with His Spirit. And so give us an understanding of who God is that when these would be kings come and whisper in our ears that we might be able to stand and not cave in and compromise and cast aside our character. We can stand and do right even when doing right is the hard thing to do.


Let's bow for prayer shall we, with our heads bowed, and our eyes closed. Lord, we just want to say thank you today for the great example of these three men. Lord, I know that you've left this story, as simple as it is in the Scripture, to remind us, of you and who you are. Lord, I want to thank you today that you are a sovereign God, that you are a God who is in control. And you are concerned for every aspect of our life. Lord, I know that every single person here, every hair upon their head is numbered. And nothing happens, Lord, that escaped your attention in our life and thank you. Lord, I pray today that you would strengthen each and every person maybe Lord, there are some in the audience today who are struggling with the pressures of life. Lord, maybe there are some young people today, who are ready to cave in because of the pressures of life. Lord, I pray that they would cast their eyes upward. And today that they would see you and make the Spirit of God so burned into their heart that they would know that you are in control of their future and you are the source of their success. Lord, I pray today for each and every person that we today would live without compromise and stand firm in the pressures of life. Take your Word, speak now we pray. In Jesus’s name, Amen. God bless you this morning.