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Standing Firm Through Success

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Stand Firm  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:53:30
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Looking at some common test we go through in life. All of these test come out of the book of Daniel with Daniel going through most of the tests, his friend going through one of the tests and even King Neb going through a test.
I have been saying that...

Before Every Success there is a test

God wants to see if you can handle what he is about to give you: greater blessing; greater success; prosperity; or even spiritual experiences. God want’s to see how you handle what you have before he gives you more.
Luke 16:10–12 NLT
10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?
So far we have looked at five tests.

Standing Firm When Your World is Rocked

Standing Firm When You’re Pressured to Conform

Standing Firm When Your Beliefs are Belittled

Standing Firm When You’re Faced with the Impossible

Standing Firm When Through Persecution.

Today We will look at this one:

When God Tests You with Success

Even Success has a test in it!

Success is more Dangerous to Your Soul than Suffering

People let success go to their heads and they think crazy. It sometimes changes their character…
Proverbs 27:21 NCV
A hot furnace tests silver and gold, and people are tested by the praise they receive.
Compliments are a test and if you let them go to your head, you fail the test.
We are going to talk about the danger of pride, arrogance and ego when you are successful, because it’s easy to forget God.
Daniel 4 will talk about King Neb and how he lost everything because of His pride, his arrogance and his ego. It’s 32 years after the last dream Daniel interpreted for him… he is in his 50’s.
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Daniel 4:1–37 NLT
1 King Nebuchadnezzar sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world: “Peace and prosperity to you! 2 “I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me. 3 How great are his signs, how powerful his wonders! His kingdom will last forever, his rule through all generations. 4 “I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living in my palace in comfort and prosperity. 5 But one night I had a dream that frightened me; I saw visions that terrified me as I lay in my bed. 6 So I issued an order calling in all the wise men of Babylon, so they could tell me what my dream meant. 7 When all the magicians, enchanters, astrologers, and fortune-tellers came in, I told them the dream, but they could not tell me what it meant. 8 At last Daniel came in before me, and I told him the dream. (He was named Belteshazzar after my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.) 9 “I said to him, ‘Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery is too great for you to solve. Now tell me what my dream means. 10 “ ‘While I was lying in my bed, this is what I dreamed. I saw a large tree in the middle of the earth. 11 The tree grew very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see. 12 It had fresh green leaves, and it was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. All the world was fed from this tree. 13 “ ‘Then as I lay there dreaming, I saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven. 14 The messenger shouted, “Cut down the tree and lop off its branches! Shake off its leaves and scatter its fruit! Chase the wild animals from its shade and the birds from its branches. 15 But leave the stump and the roots in the ground, bound with a band of iron and bronze and surrounded by tender grass. Now let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him live with the wild animals among the plants of the field. 16 For seven periods of time, let him have the mind of a wild animal instead of the mind of a human. 17 For this has been decreed by the messengers; it is commanded by the holy ones, so that everyone may know that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world. He gives them to anyone he chooses— even to the lowliest of people.” 18 “ ‘Belteshazzar, that was the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now tell me what it means, for none of the wise men of my kingdom can do so. But you can tell me because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.’ 19 “Upon hearing this, Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) was overcome for a time, frightened by the meaning of the dream. Then the king said to him, ‘Belteshazzar, don’t be alarmed by the dream and what it means.’ “Belteshazzar replied, ‘I wish the events foreshadowed in this dream would happen to your enemies, my lord, and not to you! 20 The tree you saw was growing very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see. 21 It had fresh green leaves and was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. 22 That tree, Your Majesty, is you. For you have grown strong and great; your greatness reaches up to heaven, and your rule to the ends of the earth. 23 “ ‘Then you saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, “Cut down the tree and destroy it. But leave the stump and the roots in the ground, bound with a band of iron and bronze and surrounded by tender grass. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven. Let him live with the animals of the field for seven periods of time.” 24 “ ‘This is what the dream means, Your Majesty, and what the Most High has declared will happen to my lord the king. 25 You will be driven from human society, and you will live in the fields with the wild animals. You will eat grass like a cow, and you will be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses. 26 But the stump and roots of the tree were left in the ground. This means that you will receive your kingdom back again when you have learned that heaven rules. 27 “ ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and be merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.’ 28 “But all these things did happen to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later he was taking a walk on the flat roof of the royal palace in Babylon. 30 As he looked out across the city, he said, ‘Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor.’ 31 “While these words were still in his mouth, a voice called down from heaven, ‘O King Nebuchadnezzar, this message is for you! You are no longer ruler of this kingdom. 32 You will be driven from human society. You will live in the fields with the wild animals, and you will eat grass like a cow. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses.’ 33 “That same hour the judgment was fulfilled, and Nebuchadnezzar was driven from human society. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven. He lived this way until his hair was as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails were like birds’ claws. 34 “After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever. His rule is everlasting, and his kingdom is eternal. 35 All the people of the earth are nothing compared to him. He does as he pleases among the angels of heaven and among the people of the earth. No one can stop him or say to him, ‘What do you mean by doing these things?’ 36 “When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored as head of my kingdom, with even greater honor than before. 37 “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud.”
You can expect to be tested with your successes. If you pass the test, you get more… if you fail, you don’t.
We are going to look at 3 things today.
What do we need to remember to keep us from making the same mistakes the King did?
What are the steps to recovery after you’ve failed?
What are the things I need to remember about God that will stabilize me though success or suffering.

WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU NEED TO REMEMBER THAT WILL KEEP YOU FROM MAKING THE SAME MISTAKE THE KING DID?

1. DON’T BECOME COMFORTABLE & COMPLACENT WITH SUCCESS.

Daniel 4:4 NLT
4 “I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living in my palace in comfort and prosperity.
That doesn’t sound like someone who is depending on God… When things are going good, you don’t pray, you go to the beach.
Daniel 4:29–30 NLT
29 Twelve months later he was taking a walk on the flat roof of the royal palace in Babylon. 30 As he looked out across the city, he said, ‘Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor.’
He was caught in himself…
Proverbs 16:5 NLT
5 The Lord detests the proud; they will surely be punished.
You don’t want God against you.

2. PAY ATTENTION TO THE WARNING SIGNS.

Success can be like being on a stage with the bright lights in your eye, it can blind you… make you think you are something that you are not.
Look at this…
Daniel 4:24–25 NLT
24 “ ‘This is what the dream means, Your Majesty, and what the Most High has declared will happen to my lord the king. 25 You will be driven from human society, and you will live in the fields with the wild animals. You will eat grass like a cow, and you will be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses.
God clearly warned NEB, he did not just remove him. He gave him a chance to change.
1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT
13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

What are the Warning Signs in Your Life?

Pride, Conflict, forgetting God, Confusion - not knowing what to do right now shows you are not as connected to God as you need to be; Temptation...
God warns NEB. Daniel tells the king what to do…
Daniel 4:27 NLT
27 “ ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and be merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.’

Repent - Stop Sinning & Do What’s Right

change your mind… attitude… the way you think
Repent takes humility and humility is a choice.
Pride -when I accept credit for the things God has done in my life and through my life.
Humility - is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. It’s know you are loved by God with all of your limitations ands having a realistic assessment of yourself.
Repent and humble yourself… it’s a choice.

Show Kindness to the Poor and Oppressed

It gets the focus off of yourself and onto others. You begin to think about other people’s needs instead of your own. It also keeps you in touch with reality. In America, we don’t realize how blessed we are.
If you have coins in your pocket, laying around the house, in a jar… you are wealthier than 90% of the world.
Refrigerator with food - wealthier than 50% of the world.
Most people in the world would love to be poor in America. If you live in America you are rich.
When you show kindness to the poor and oppressed, it helps keep you in reality… Missions trips can do this.
Here’s some Biblical reasons to do this...
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Proverbs 14:21 TEV
21 If you want to be happy, be kind to the poor; it is a sin to despise anyone.
Proverbs 14:31 NCV
31 Whoever mistreats the poor insults their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
Proverbs 21:13 NLT
13 Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need.
This happens in Connect Groups. When you care for other’s needs in your group, they will be there for you in your time of need.
Proverbs 29:14 The Message
14 Leadership gains authority and respect when the voiceless poor are treated fairly.
You gain respect when you treat those who have no voice with respect.
Proverbs 31:8–9 NLT
8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. 9 Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
We are to repent and then Show Kindness to the Poor and the oppressed

3. DON’T PUT OFF DOING WHAT YOU KNOW IS RIGHT.

Daniel 4:28–33 NLT
28 “But all these things did happen to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later he was taking a walk on the flat roof of the royal palace in Babylon. 30 As he looked out across the city, he said, ‘Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor.’ 31 “While these words were still in his mouth, a voice called down from heaven, ‘O King Nebuchadnezzar, this message is for you! You are no longer ruler of this kingdom. 32 You will be driven from human society. You will live in the fields with the wild animals, and you will eat grass like a cow. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses.’ 33 “That same hour the judgment was fulfilled, and Nebuchadnezzar was driven from human society. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven. He lived this way until his hair was as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails were like birds’ claws.
NEB Had 12 months to repent, but he did not. He put off doing what he knew he needed to do. This will also be a reason you and I fail, we put off doing what we know is right.
Question - If God warned you in a dream that you were going to lose everything that you ever worked for in your life if you didn’t change, would you wait 12 months?
Truth is … He has warned us… The Bible says that if we do this, he will bless us and we will succeed. If we don’t do this, we will not.
NEB lost everything for about 2 years… not sure.
Here’s how that looks today. a friend will leave his wife and kids for someone else…
A friend will all of a sudden do something self destructive...
NEB’s life collapses very publically, but God has mercy on hIm and restores him.

God Had Mercy On Nebuchadnezzar and Restored His Mind.

God restored his mind, his power, his wealth, and his kingdom… everything to him.
Here is what NEB did on his road to recovery.

3 STEPS TO RECOVERY AFTER A FAILURE

Neb did 3 things that brought him back. He Looked Up… woke up … and spoke up

1. LOOK UP TO GOD.

Daniel 4:34 NLT
34 “After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever. His rule is everlasting, and his kingdom is eternal.
If you are here and you are i a mess, You need to lift up your eyes to heaven… to the Lord. He is the one who can help you, not the government, not someone else...
Re-focus on the Lord.

2. WAKE UP AND START WORSHIPPING THE LORD.

Wake up to god’s greatness, not your own. Begin worshipping Him. Worship puts your focus on the Lord and off of yourself and whatever problems or successes you have.
You need to must develop the habit of daily QT. Read the Word, Worship the Lord, Pray - - - Daily.
You need to find a connect group you can attend consistently.
Don’t let success take you away from your relationship with the Lord or from serving him. You can’t name one thing that is better for you than worshiping the Lord. Some need to re-commit to worshiping the Lord every week.
Daniel 4:34b NLT
34 “After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever. His rule is everlasting, and his kingdom is eternal.
When his sanity returned, he began praising the Lord and being grateful for the things in his life.
I don’t know what you are going through right now, but (write this down)

We Get Better When We Replace PRIDE with PRAISE.

1,000 years before this, Moses said the same thing to the Israelites.
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Deuteronomy 8:2–20 NLT
2 Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. 3 Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell. 5 Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good. 6 “So obey the commands of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and fearing him. 7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. 8 It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. 9 It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills. 10 When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 “But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. 12 For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, 13 and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! 14 Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. 15 Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! 16 He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. 17 He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ 18 Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath. 19 “But I assure you of this: If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods, worshiping and bowing down to them, you will certainly be destroyed. 20 Just as the Lord has destroyed other nations in your path, you also will be destroyed if you refuse to obey the Lord your God.
America needs this verse so much because we have forgotten God. America was formed by Christians called Pilgrims so they could worship the Lord freely. For 300 years the Bible was a text book in classrooms. It’s only been removed from classrooms in the last 75 years. We have forgotten God, and it’s scary to think what couldhappen to our nation of we don’t repent.
Your greatest test might not be when you lose your job, but when you get a new one. All of a sudden you are so busy and your forget the God who ave you the new job. Your greatest spiritual test might not be when you depend on God to pay your bills, but when you get a raise and now you go buy a bunch of stuff that takes your mind off of the Lord… boat to the lake…
While Nebuchadnezzar is going through this recovery he learns four things about God.

4 TRUTHS ABOUT GOD THAT STABILIZE YOUR LIFE

1. GOD’S KINGDOM WILL OUTLAST EVERYTHING YOU DO

Daniel 4:34 NLT
34 “After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever. His rule is everlasting, and his kingdom is eternal.
God’s kingdom will outlast everything… Why Jesus said seek first...

2. GOD IS GREATER THAN EVERYONE OR EVERYTHING ELSE

Daniel 4:35 NLT
35 All the people of the earth are nothing compared to him. He does as he pleases among the angels of heaven and among the people of the earth. No one can stop him or say to him, ‘What do you mean by doing these things?’
It doesn’t mater what anyone else thinks, but God.

3. GOD HAS MORE POWER THAN ALL OF US COMBINED

Daniel 4:35 NLT
35 All the people of the earth are nothing compared to him. He does as he pleases among the angels of heaven and among the people of the earth. No one can stop him or say to him, ‘What do you mean by doing these things?’
He is more than big enough for your problem.
Daniel 4:37 NLT
37 “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud.”
Daniel 4:36 NLT
36 “When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored as head of my kingdom, with even greater honor than before.
That means

4. GOD NEVER MAKES ANY MISTAKES.

God used the time of NEB insanity to make him into the person he wanted him to become. We may not know why God allows some things to happen, but he has a reason and it’s always for our good.
So NEB Wakes up and Worships the Lord

3. TELL OTHERS HOW GOD HAS SAVED & CHANGED YOUR LIFE

This is a humiliating Experience… the most important man on the planet drooling in the desert like an animal. But he is not shy about it, he tells the whole world.
Daniel 4:1–2 NLT
1 King Nebuchadnezzar sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world: “Peace and prosperity to you! 2 “I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me.
This whole chapter is NEB’s testimony.
Has God done anything for you? Are you telling anyone? We need to tell the whole world what God has done and is doing for us.
It will help us remember that God is God and we are not!
Pray like NEB
God I don’t want to be complacent with my life. I want to pay attention to the Warning signs. I want to stop putting off what I know is the right things to do. I want to humble myself to you God.
Here is what you do.
Look Up to the Lord! Focus on the Lord and not on others, your problems…
Repent … replace pride with praise… stop focusing on me but want to focus on you. Recommit to being in worship every week.
Forgive me for worrying about the approval of others. Help me to remember, I just need your approval to be happy because you are in control.
Salvation PRayer and Altar time.
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