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But If Not

Notes & Transcripts

 TEXT:  Daniel 3:8-18

TOPIC:  But If Not

Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point, Alabama

Sunday Morning, July 12, 2009

(Sermon outline and topic taken from Dr. A. Burge Troxel from www.sermons.logos.com)

            A few weeks ago I had one of those moments we sometimes call an “ah-hah” moment when you since God speaking to you in a powerful and very personal moment.  I was praying in our church’s prayer room and reading in the book of Daniel the Prophet.  When I came to the 3rd chapter and began to read, I was blessed when I read the testimony of the three Hebrew children.

            It was the year 587 B.C. during the 18th year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign over Babylon that this conceited and neurotic King decided to erect a 90 foot tall, by 9 foot wide golden statue and declared that everyone in the kingdom must fall down and worship the statue, which was really a image of the King and thus worship of the King himself.  They were to do this whenever they heard the sound of the music.  (Read Daniel 3:1-7.)

            Beginning with verse 8, we see the conflict followed by the challenge presented to God’s true followers who refuse to compromise their commitment by worshipping a false god or giving in to a world system around them.

8 Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews. 9 They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 10 You, O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the gold image; 11 and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.” 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, 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. 18 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 which you have set up.” Daniel 3:8-18 (NKJV)

            Look again at verses 15-18.  (Read again these verses and emphasize the phrase “But if not,” at the beginning of verse 18.

            What a tremendous statement of faith!  “But if not.”  When I read verse 17, I thought wow, that’s faith.  But then I read verse 18 and these three words, But if not, and I realized that this is an even stronger and greater faith to have in God.

God can rescue you, BUT IF NOT, what will you do?

I’m concerned that we have heard so many messages about God’s: Miracle working power, Healing power, Providing power, Delivering power,

That sometimes we just take for granted that God will: Heal every sickness, Meet every financial need, Open every prison door, put back together every broken marriage,

But, sometimes God does not heal! Sometimes God does not perform a miracle! Sometimes God does not repair the broken home! Sometimes God does not provide financial relief!

WHAT WILL YOU DO IF THE ANSWER IS NO? DOES NOT DELIVER? DOES NOT HEAL?

Sometimes we become so conditioned to the fact that God will say yes that we don’t know what to do when He says no!

 I know God CAN heal, I know God CAN put homes back together, I know God CAN provide our financial needs,

BUT IF NOT, I’ll still love Him! I’ll still trust Him! I’ll still serve Him!

God can rescue me, BUT IF NOT, I will serve Him no matter what knowing that He will be with me until the end!

What we’re going to see this morning – Three young men, practically teens themselves, in a strange land, surrounded by enemies where it would have been easy to go along to get along.  But because they have:

1. Biblical Convictions

2. Biblical Confidence

3. They experience Biblical Comfort

I.     The Importance of Biblical Convictions, Daniel 3:16

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.

 

“Biblical Convictions are basic biblical principles which we purpose to follow, no matter what the cost!”

Daniel 3:5

“As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.”

 

Daniel 3:6

“Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”

Daniel 3:12

“But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon— Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego —who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”

 

Even their enemies and those jealous of these young men knew of their biblical convictions!

 

Daniel 3:15b

“. . . But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

 

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.

 

Do you have the biblical convictions of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? 

The lesson we learn from this is that it is important to have some strong convictions we hold without compromise.  Before the moment comes in our lives when we will be tempted to compromise, or we’ll be asked to make a moral or ethical decision; do I do this because all my friends are or because everyone else is doing it? 

Someone has said, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything!” 

It’s important to know what you believe but even more important to know Who you believe! You can trust God at all times.  He’ll not let you down.

T/S – Not only did these young men have biblical convictions, but secondly, they had and were empowered by biblical confidence.

II.    The Empowerment of Biblical Confidence, Daniel 3:17

 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. (That’s confidence, that’s faith!)

“Biblical Confidence is faith in God’s sovereignty and goodness without demanding a particular outcome.”

 

They said:

We know that God is able to deliver us out of the fiery furnace

We know that God can send angels from heaven to bear us up and out of this crowd

We know that God could kill each and every one of our persecutors if He so chose

We know that the same God that opened up the depths of the Red Sea so our forefathers could walk through on dry ground can also keep us from a measly furnace!

We know that our God is able to deliver us, Oh king,

BUT IF NOT, WE STILL TRUST HIM!

And, this statement was made BEFORE they knew what the outcome would be!

For all they knew, they were speaking their final words!

For all they knew, they were writing their own death sentences!

For all they knew, they would wake up in eternity!

ILLUSTRATION:  Columbine High School shootings a few years ago, “Do you believe in God?”  If they answered yes, they were shot.

These brave men answered the King and said, “We believe in God!” 

We will never bow down to a graven image!

We will never bend our knee to worship a lifeless graven image!

We will never turn our backs on God!

There’s an old Gospel song that says, “They would not bow, they would not bend and they would not burn.”

 ILLUSTRATION – When our Lord Jesus was struggling in the Garden of Olives on the night before His crucifixion, He prayer a wonderful prayer of confidence we need to learn to pray often. 

Matthew 26:39

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

 

1 John 5:14

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”

T/S - Because these three young men had Biblical Convictions and Biblical Confidence, they experienced Biblical Comfort.

 

III.  The Experience of Biblical Comfort, Daniel 3:18-30

 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

“Biblical Comfort is the certain knowledge that Jesus will be with you in the midst of your ‘fiery furnace.’”

Do you understand what it was that brought about the wonderful experience of comfort and peace to these three young fellows in the midst of this burning fiery furnace?  It was the presence of a fourth man!

The fourth man (3:24–30)

1. The discovery (3:24–25): Looking into the fire, an amazed Nebuchadnezzar sees two incredible things:

a. The three young men are still alive (3:24–25a).

b.Another man has joined them, and he looks like a divine being (3:25b).

Daniel 3:24-25, Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, O king.”He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

2. The deliverance (3:26–28): At the king’s urging, the three men walk out of the fire, not one hair singed or even smelling of smoke. Daniel 3:27b

. . . “They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.”

3. The decree (3:29–30): Nebuchadnezzar imposes the death sentence upon anyone who speaks against God, and the three men are promoted to higher positions.

Conclusion:

 Daniel 3:29

“Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”

 

God can rescue me, BUT IF NOT, I will serve Him no matter what knowing that He will be with me until the end!

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