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Topical - Standing Firm In Spiritual Integrity

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Introduction:

Daniel 6:1-28

Introduction: We Live In A World Of Compromise—in a society that has abandoned moral standards and Christian principles.  Tolerance Is The Operative Ideology In Our Society. 

1.       The Church Adopts A Similar Perspective To Reach The Unsaved.

a.       Many churches now look for ways to give the Gospel to people without offending them. Yet the very nature of the Gospel is offensive because it confronts sinners with their sin. Ignoring that, many churches willingly compromise God’s Word instead of “standing firm” on the Gospel, and they give the world a watered-down version that can’t effect any change.

2.       The Spirit Of Compromise Hits Closer To Home In Our Personal Interactions.

a.       We may have had opportunities to proclaim Christ to unbelievers, yet out of intimidation or lack of confidence, we have kept silent.

b.      Perhaps we’ve found ourselves compromising God’s Word on some ethical issue at work or in our neighborhood and convinced ourselves that such compromise was necessary to maintain our credibility as an employee or neighbor.

c.       Yet our Christian testimony is predicated on our:

1.         Complete devotion to God’s Word as the highest authority—no matter what the consequences may be.

d.      God draws sinners into the kingdom through Christians who prove to be:

1.         Different from the world—who reveal their true allegiance by their commitment and obedience to God’s standards.

3.       Our Difficulty In Living Like That Is The Opposition We Encounter From The World. R.C. Sproul, in his book Pleasing God, describes the pull the world has on us:

The world is a seducer. It seeks to attract our attention and our devotion. It remains so close at hand, so visible, so enticing. It eclipses our view of heaven. What is seen contends for our attention. It entices our eyes lest we look up for a better country whose builder and maker is God. It pleases us—much of the time, anyway—and, alas, we often live our lives to please it. And that is where conflict arises, for pleasing the world so seldom overlaps with pleasing God… The divine call we receive is this: “Do not be conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2). But the world wants us to be partners with it. We are urged to participate in the fullness of it. It presses upon us with the ultimate peer pressure. ([Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House, 1988], 59)

4.       Paul’s Prayer In Philippians 1:9–10 Outlines The Path To Spiritual Integrity.

a.       It begins with “love” that abounds with “knowledge and all discernment” (v. 9) and progresses to the pursuit of excellence (v. 10).

b.      The result is sincerity and blamelessness—two characteristics of godly integrity.

c.       The Greek word translated “sincere” in verse 10 speaks of genuineness and authenticity.

1.         Literally , “sun tested”; “without wax.”  Some Pots would crack in the fire.

2.         Remember, God is the potter and we are the clay.  When He allows us to be put through the fire, will we stand the test or will we “crack” in the fire?

3.         ILLUSTRATION OF LUCY AND THE FLOWER CONTEST 

5.       Biblical Integrity Requires That You Be Without Wax, having no hypocrisy or secret sins that show up when you’re under pressure or facing temptation.

a.       “Blameless” or “without offense” speaks of consistency in living a life that doesn’t lead others into error or sin. Your standard is to be the same away from church as it is at church.

b.      Being blameless isn’t easy in a world that unashamedly flaunts its sinful practices.

1.         We must guard against losing our sensitivity to sin and become

2.         Desensitized and begin to tolerate or even accept the sin that once shocked us. That’s when you lose integrity and begin to cause others to stumble.

For all his laws are constantly before me; I have never abandoned his principles. I am blameless before God; I have kept myself from sin. The Lord rewarded me for doing right, because of the innocence of my hands in his sight." (Psalm 18:22-24, NLT)

6.       God’s Word Develops Integrity Instead of Compromise.

a.       The American Heritage Dictionary (Houghton Mifflin, 1992) defines integrity as “steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code,” “the state of being unimpaired; soundness,” or “the quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.” It comes from the word integer, which means “whole” or “complete.”

b.      Integrity essentially means being true to one’s ethical standards.  In our case, God’s standards. Its synonyms are honesty, sincerity, incorruptibility. It describes someone without hypocrisy or duplicity—someone who is completely consistent with his or her stated convictions.

7.       To The Man Or Woman Of Integrity, God Promises Blessing (1 Kings 9:3-5)

a.      When Solomon finished building the house of the Lord, the Lord appeared to him and said:

In this chapter we spend a day in the life of the Prime Minister of the Medo-Persian Empire—Daniel.

8.       Daniel Is Not A Teenager In This Chapter; He Is A Man In His Eighties.

a.       Age is no barrier to serving Christ, nor is it any protection against temptation and testing.

b.      Because Daniel started young as a man of faith and prayer, he was faithful to the Lord even in his old age because, Daniel Maintained His Daily Walk With God!

9.       This Chapter Emphasizes Satanic Hated And Persecution.

The Holy Scriptures declare "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12, NKJV)

You And I Live In A Lion’s Cage, The World. And there is a roaring lion prowling up and down the cage.  And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the Lord and said, From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”" (Job 1:7, NKJV)

 Peter Calls Him Our Adversary, The Devil "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8, NKJV)

1.       Standing Firm In Promotion (Daniel 6:1-9)

a)        I pleased Darius to set over the kingdom… Three governors, of whom Daniel was one (v.1-2)

1)        God Had Honored Daniel For His Faithfulness… He Became the Second Ruler In the Land. 

(a)      There Were Actually 124 Persons Involved In The Leadership Of The Land:

1.         Darius the king, the three presidents (with Daniel as #1), and 120 princes.

2.         Darius was so impressed with Daniel, he was planning to make him second ruler.

2)        Daniel’s Promotions In Babylon Are Proof That God Is The One Who Promotes Not Man.

"For exaltation comes neither from the east Nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, And exalts another." (Psalm 75:6-7 cf. Prov.3:3-4)

"The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man and his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand." (Genesis 39:2-3)

"So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority." (Genesis 39:4, NKJV)

The Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field." (Genesis 39:5, NKJV)

"But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison." (Genesis 39:21, NKJV)

"The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper." (Genesis 39:23, NKJV)

(a)      A Believer Does Not Have To Compromise To Succeed: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)

b)        Daniel Distinguished Himself (v.3)

1)        He Proved Himself To Be More Capable Than Others… Marked By A Good Reputation 

(a)      Paul put it this way, "Let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:27)

(b)      The word “worthy” is also very significant, It means, to fit, correspond, be suitable.

(c)       The Greatest Weapon Against The Devil Is A Godly Life, "You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men;" (2 Corinthians 3:2, NKJV)

You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you" (1 Thessalonians 2:10, NKJV)

Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12, NKJV)

c)         An Excellent Spirit Was In Him (v.3)

                                                                                                                                          

1)        This Is The Life Of The Holy Spirit Within Us.

(a)      The Spirit of the Holy God was in him (5:11,14)

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NKJV)

d)        They could find no charge, error of fault… because he was faithful (v.4-9)

1)        A Plot Against Daniel Is Conceived—They Sought to find a Charge against him (v.4-5)

(a)      Daniel was found faithful (Luke 16:10-13)

(b)      Only Daniel’s Commitment To God Could Be Found Against Him.

1.         You cannot keep people from talking about you, but you can live in such a way (integrity) as to make them liars when they do talk about you:

No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn  (Isaiah 54:17, NASB95)

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world," (Philippians 2:14-15, NKJV)

I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men." (Acts 24:16, NASB95)

2)        The Danger of Flattery (v.6-9)

(a)      Darius Yielded To His Weakness, Pride: The Lord Hates Pride (Prov.8:13; Is.65:5)

They speak falsehood to one another; With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak. May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, The tongue that speaks great things;" (Psalm 12:2-3, NASB95)

For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit. But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know… — God is witness (1 Thessalonians 2:3-6)

Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits." (Daniel 11:32, NKJV) Compromisers Are Enticed By Flattery But Those Who Know Their God Will Stand Firm On Biblical Convictions

There is no room for boasting: Jeremiah 9:23-24

3)       Adulteress’ Lips Drip Honey (Proverbs 5:1-20; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8).

2.       Standing Firm In Prayer (v.10-15): Voice Mail—What would it be like if your trying to talk to God in prayer, but heaven installs voice mail.  Imagine praying but getting this:

 

   Thank you for calling heaven: for English press 1, for Spanish press 2, for French press 3, for all other languages press 0.  Please select one of the following options: press 1 for requests, 2 for thanksgiving, press 3 for complaints, press 4 for all other inquiries.  I’m sorry all of our angels are busy helping others right now, however, your prayer is very important to us, and will be answered in the order it was received, so please stay on the line.  If you would like to speak to the Father press 1, to the Son press 2; to the Holy Spirit press 3.  To find out if a loved one has been assigned to heaven enter his or her social security number and then press the pound key.  If you get a negative response, try area code (666).  For reservations at “My Father’s House” press letters, “JOHN” then “316”.  For answers to nagging questions about dinosaurs, the age of the earth, and where Noah’s Ark is, please wait till you arrive.  Our computers show that you have already prayed today, please hang up and try again tomorrow.  The office is closed for the weekend to the observation of a religious holiday.  Please pray again Monday after 9:30 a.m. if you are calling after hours and need emergency assistance; please contact your local pastor.  Have a blessed day.  

a)        Daniel knew the writing was singed but continued to pray three times that day (v.10)

1)        Daniel Did Not Fear & Them Become An Undercover Christian  

(a)      Daniel Could Have Followed The Easy Path And, Let Go Of His Standards Of Integrity.

(b)      The Fear Of Man Caused King Saul To Sin By Disobeying God… Saul admitted, “Yes, I have sinned. I have disobeyed your instructions and the Lord’s command, for I was afraid of the people and did what they demanded." (1 Samuel 15:24, NLT)

(c)      We are to fear God… And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him… Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God." (Luke 12:4-5, 8-9, NKJV)

2)        “LET YOUR FATIH BE KNOWN” (DANIEL 3:16-18)

From the pages of church history there is a story told of a Christian who was arrested and brought before the Roman Emperor and told to deny his faith in God or he would be put to death.  The Emperor said to this Christian, “renounce your faith, give up Christ, if you don’t I’ll banish you!  The Christian said, “you cannot banish me from Christ, for God said I will never leave you nor forsake you”.   The Emperor said, “then I will confiscate your property”, the Christian said, “my treasures are laid up in heaven, you cant touch them”.  The Emperor said to him, “then I’ll kill you,” the Christian said, “I’ve been dead to this world in Christ for 40 years, my life is hid with Christ in God, you can’t touch it.”  The Emperor turned to some members of his court and said in discus, “what can you do with such a fanatic.”    

3)        Daniel Obeyed God Rather Than Men (Acts 4:13-21)

(a)      Daniel sought the mercies of God in (Daniel 2:17-18)

(b)      Daniel set his face toward the Lord God: prayer, supplication, fasting, sackcloth (9:3)

(c)      Daniel set his heart to understand & humble himself before God (10:1-3, 10-13)

3.       Standing Firm In The Lions Den (v.16-23)

a)        Daniel was cast into the den of lions (v.16)

1)        The Promise Of Persecution (6:16)

(a)      Expect Persecution I You Desire To Live A Godly Life.    

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;" (1 Peter 4:12, NKJV)

For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake," (Philippians 1:29, NKJV)

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also." (John 15:18-20, ALSO JOHN 17:13-18)

(b)      Daniel Was Cast Into The Lions Den for righteousness sake.

Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matthew 5:10-12, NKJV)

Peter Goes on to say, But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter." (1 Peter 4:15-16, NKJV)

 

b)        Your God whom you serve continually, He will deliver you (v.16-20)

1)        Daniel’s Faith And Life Of Integrity Left A Strong Impression On The King (unbeliever).  Darius was willing to give credit to the true God because he had witnessed Daniel’s uncompromising life.

c)         My God sent His angel and shut the lions mouth… I was found innocent… & done no wrong (v.22). 

1)        The Promise of Protection (6:22-23)

(a)      Daniel Was Not Kept from Danger but Kept through Danger!.

The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them." (Psalm 34:7, NKJV)

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you." (Isaiah 43:2, NKJV)

I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”" (Hebrews 13:5-6, NKJV)

And David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage… do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord." (1 Chronicles 28:20, NKJV)

4.       God Is Glorified (v.24-28)

a)        The men who accused Daniel, their children and their wives were cast into the den of lions (v.24)

1)        Our Sin Effects Others!

b)        Men Must Tremble and Fear before the God of Daniel (v.26)

Psalm 96:1-9

 

The Lord Says, “On this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word." (Isaiah 66:1-2, NKJV)

       Voice Mail—What would it be like if your trying to talk to God in prayer, but heaven installs voice mail.  Imagine praying but getting this:

   Thank you for calling heaven: for English press 1, for Spanish press 2, for French press 3, for all other languages press 0.  Please select one of the following options: press 1 for requests, 2 for thanksgiving, press 3 for complaints, press 4 for all other inquiries.  I’m sorry all of our angels are busy helping others right now, however, your prayer is very important to us, and will be answered in the order it was received, so please stay on the line.  If you would like to speak to the Father press 1, to the Son press 2; to the Holy Spirit press 3.  To find out if a loved one has been assigned to heaven enter his or her social security number and then press the pound key.  If you get a negative response, try area code (666).  For reservations at “My Father’s House” press letters, “JOHN” then “316”.  For answers to nagging questions about dinosaurs, the age of the earth, and where Noah’s Ark is, please wait till you arrive.  Our computers show that you have already prayed today, please hang up and try again tomorrow.  The office is closed for the weekend to the observation of a religious holiday.  Please pray again Monday after 9:30 a.m. if you are calling after hours and need emergency assistance; please contact your local pastor.  Have a blessed day.  

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