Series Code: 15GYC
Program Code: 15GYC000009A
00:32 I am persuaded that neither life nor death, nor principalities,
00:38 nor powers in heaven, or on earth, and hell can separate
00:42 me from the love of Jesus, and Christ our Lord.
00:45 Thank you so much for the music.
00:47 I have been blessed and greatly inspired by the
00:51 service this morning.
00:53 I've been here all week.
00:54 This is, I think, the tenth or eleventh GYC meeting
00:58 that my wife and I have attended.
01:00 And every time we come, I think we leave more inspired
01:06 than when we came.
01:08 GYC represents the finest, and the best of what it means to be
01:16 a Seventh-day Adventist young person preparing for the coming
01:20 of Christ in the final generation.
01:22 And so we are deeply thankful for the way that God is using
01:28 the GYC leadership, for the way He's using young people to play
01:33 a meaningful part in the finishing of His work on earth.
01:37 I've been praying that God would touch all of our lives,
01:41 and the Spirit would work powerfully during the message
01:44 this morning, so let's pray.
01:46 Father in Heaven, we thank You with all our hearts that we live
01:54 on the knife edge of eternity.
01:56 We thank You that Jesus, the One who died on Calvary's cross,
02:02 reaches out to us today as the living Christ,
02:06 the resurrected Christ, in the sanctuary above,
02:11 and that from that sanctuary He longs to minister grace to our
02:18 hearts, strength to our lives.
02:21 He longs to impart to us power for mission.
02:26 And so we open our hearts to You this morning.
02:30 We sense that this is not an ordinary hour
02:33 in earth's history, and we recognize that in this
02:39 generation you are raising up young people, and adults,
02:43 to empower them by Your Spirit for the finishing of
02:47 Your work on earth.
02:49 And so we open our hearts for the special
02:51 blessing of this hour.
02:53 Whatever blessings we received in the past are not sufficient
02:58 enough for the present.
02:59 So we pray Thee that You would come with Your almighty power,
03:04 and bless in a special way, as we open Your Word.
03:08 In Christ's name, Amen.
03:13 This past summer the General Conference of Seventh-day
03:17 Adventists was held in San Antonio, Texas, and it was
03:21 historic in many ways.
03:23 One of the ways that it was historic is that for the first
03:28 time in the history of our Seventh-day Adventist church
03:32 we had sixty-five delegates from mainland China with us
03:38 at the General Conference Session.
03:39 And they brought so much to the session.
03:42 I spent time with them each afternoon at the session
03:46 studying the Bible together.
03:48 We left the main meeting and opened Scripture,
03:51 and spent an hour or two studying.
03:53 Once the General Conference Session was over,
03:56 I had the privilege, with my wife, of traveling for two,
04:00 two and a half weeks with the delegates from China.
04:04 They came to the General Conference.
04:07 We visited Washington, D. C., and then we traveled to
04:11 early Adventist history sites.
04:13 And in each of those sites we studied the Word of God.
04:17 We went to the Miller farm and studied the
04:20 significance of the sanctuary.
04:22 We traveled to Washington, New Hampshire,
04:25 the first Seventh-day Adventist church,
04:27 and studied the significance of the Sabbath.
04:30 We traveled to Hiram Edson's farm in upstate New York,
04:34 and spent time in that barn, reconstructed, of course,
04:38 studying the sanctuary message.
04:40 Traveled across to Battle Creek, Michigan and visited the old
04:46 sanitarium, and studied the origin of the Adventist church,
04:50 and the Adventist health message, and went on to
04:52 Andrews University.
04:53 As we traveled together during this period of time,
04:58 the stories, the testimonies of these stalwart,
05:03 faithful brothers and sisters from China deeply impressed me.
05:08 I'll tell you the story of somebody that I will call,
05:11 not their real name, Mr. and Mrs. Wong.
05:15 Mr. Wong was a member of the Red Guard Chinese Army.
05:19 And I should say we were grateful, and thankful to the
05:24 Chinese government for allowing these delegates to come,
05:28 and we are thankful to God for the officials that have given
05:32 the measure of religious liberty that they have in China.
05:35 But many, many years ago in 1991 to 1993, Mr. Wong was a
05:42 member of the Red Guard.
05:44 He was an avowed atheist.
05:46 He felt that all Christians were ignorant fools that believed
05:52 fables that you couldn't have any confidence in.
05:55 When he came home from the Army on leave,
06:00 he discovered that something amazing had
06:02 happened in his city.
06:04 From 1991 to 1993 in one city in China,
06:10 there was a mighty spiritual revival.
06:13 And in one Seventh-day Adventist church in that city
06:17 for three years there were between two and three thousand
06:22 people baptized each year.
06:24 That local congregation grew to well over ten thousand.
06:30 It was an amazing moving of God's grace,
06:33 an amazing outpouring of God's Spirit.
06:36 When Mr. Wong came home from the Army he discovered that his wife
06:42 had become a Seventh-day Adventist,
06:45 that some of his brothers had become Adventists,
06:48 and his father and mother had become Adventists and joined
06:50 that local congregation.
06:52 He was furious. He was incredibly angry.
06:56 As he told me the story he said, Pastor, I could not understand
07:01 why my own wife would accept such fables, such nonsense,
07:06 such intellectual superficiality.
07:10 He said, I was angry.
07:11 I ranted, I raved, I yelled at her.
07:15 He said, I threatened her in a variety of ways.
07:18 I would go to the Adventist church and break up their
07:21 worship services with my rants, and anger, and rage.
07:25 He said, Then one day I came with rocks and stones
07:30 and threw them through the windows of the church.
07:32 I felt I had to do everything I could to dissuade my wife
07:36 from this foolishness.
07:38 His wife developed a very serious eye infection,
07:44 and that eye infection threatened her
07:48 with loss of sight.
07:50 She was taken to the hospital for a very serious operation
07:55 to save her vision.
07:57 And as the surgeons operated on her she, of course,
08:01 had a patch on one eye.
08:03 And her physician said to her, We don't want you to strain
08:08 your other eye by any reading, because if you do that
08:12 you may lose total vision.
08:14 One day her husband came into her room and he saw her reading
08:20 the Bible, with a patch on one eye, looking at the Word of God.
08:26 And he said, I thought the physicians
08:28 told you not to do that.
08:29 And she said, Well, I needed strength.
08:32 I need the strength that comes from God's Word,
08:35 and I could not go for months without reading the Word of God.
08:40 He looked at her and he said, You are foolish.
08:43 As your husband, I'm not going to allow you to go blind
08:47 reading the Word of God.
08:49 Give me that book and I'll read it for you and to you.
08:52 Praise God! Praise God!
08:56 He said, What do you want me to read?
08:59 She said, Read the book of Job.
09:03 Now I am not sure that that's the first book I would introduce
09:08 people to in the Bible.
09:09 Read the book of Job.
09:11 But God's ways are mysterious.
09:12 Mr. Wong said to me, Pastor Mark, I began to read the book
09:16 of Job, and I saw the trials that this man was going through.
09:20 And I recognized that I was putting my wife through
09:23 some of the trials.
09:24 She was the modern Job!
09:26 And he said, I kept reading, and reading,
09:28 and faith grew in my heart.
09:30 And so I saw Job trusted God in spite of the trials.
09:33 As I saw Job trusted God in spite of what was going on
09:37 in his life, he came to the end of the book
09:40 of Job, and he was amazed.
09:42 If you have your Bible, and I know you do, take it and read.
09:45 Turn to Job 42, Job 42 and look there at verse 10.
09:52 Mr. Wong said, Pastor Mark, I read the book of Job to my wife.
09:57 I saw Job's faith. I saw Job's courage.
10:00 I saw Job's confidence in God, and I was absolutely amazed.
10:05 He then said, I came to the end of the book and I read,
10:10 Job 42:10, and the Lord restored Job's losses
10:17 when he prayed for his friends.
10:19 Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
10:24 And Mr. Wong said, Pastor Mark, I was so amazed
10:28 in a God like that.
10:30 As his wife continued to have treatment, Mr. Wong did not
10:36 admit what God was doing in his life.
10:39 As she would go to treatments to see the physician,
10:42 he would take the Bible out of the drawer
10:45 by her bed and read it.
10:47 And secretly he read the Bible until that day in that hospital
10:52 room Mr. Wong knelt down and said, Jesus, I'm Yours!
10:57 Jesus, I can resist You no longer.
11:00 Mr. Wong today is a part of a Pastoral team that in one
11:07 pastoral district has 20,000 members,
11:11 and 400 churches and groups.
11:15 If God can take a member of the Red Army, an atheist,
11:21 one who believes that Christianity is nonsense,
11:25 and lead him to be a mighty pastor for God,
11:29 what can God do for your life?
11:31 What can God do with my life?
11:33 When I asked Mr. Wong, What was the most significant thing that
11:38 led you to make that decision?
11:41 What led you to your conversion?
11:44 If he were here this morning giving his testimony,
11:46 this is what he would say.
11:48 He would tell you there was one major reason.
11:51 His wife was faithful to God, and did not
11:56 compromise her integrity.
11:58 The Holy Spirit used her powerfully to reach her husband.
12:03 Now there's one thing for certain, a half-hearted
12:06 compromising Christianity is not going to impact
12:10 the world for Christ.
12:11 One pastor put it this way, God will not use a compromised
12:16 life to reach a compromised world.
12:18 God will use a life that is given over to Him,
12:22 that is a demonstration of the message that through the power
12:25 of Jesus Christ and His love, He can transform
12:27 our lives and set us free.
12:29 If the world is looking for anything today,
12:31 it is looking for young people, it's looking for adults,
12:34 that have authentic, genuine Christianity.
12:38 A sham, a pretense, hypocrisy will never reach the world.
12:42 A sugar coated gospel will not transform a society.
12:47 By the grace of Christ, and the power of the living Christ,
12:51 no formal, ritualistic Christianity will do,
12:54 no half hearted Christianity will do.
12:56 Young people with divided hearts, and compromised lives,
13:00 will not impact a world for Jesus Christ.
13:04 Ellen White adds this...
13:05 Ellen White makes an amazingly penetrating comment in a
13:11 Manuscript 16, written in 1890, she says: Let it be understood
13:18 that Seventh-day Adventists can make no compromise.
13:21 In your opinions, and in your faith there must not be the
13:25 least appearance of wavering.
13:27 One of the sterling examples in Scripture of an undivided
13:33 heart, of an uncompromised faith, one of the sterling
13:38 examples in Scripture is Daniel.
13:42 Throughout his life he stands as a sterling example of
13:45 faithfulness and loyalty.
13:46 And this morning we want to spend some time studying
13:49 the life of Daniel.
13:51 We're going to look at chapter 1 in the book of Daniel,
13:54 then fast forward to chapter 6.
13:57 In Daniel 1, Daniel is approximately 17 years old.
14:02 He's in his teens, and he faces an incredibly amazing test.
14:07 In Daniel 6 it is about 65 or 66 years later,
14:14 and Daniel is 83 years old.
14:16 He faces an amazing test.
14:19 Wherever you are on your spiritual journey,
14:23 whether you are young or old, Satan is an equal
14:29 opportunity employer.
14:31 He does not have any prejudice in those whom he tempts.
14:37 You may be young, you may be old, you may be Hispanic,
14:42 or Asian, or African, or from North America.
14:46 Your language may be Spanish, or your language may be Italian.
14:53 Your language may be Portuguese.
14:55 Your language may be Tagalog.
14:58 You may speak one of the African dialects.
15:01 You may speak English.
15:02 But that does not exempt you from temptation.
15:06 Satan is an equal opportunity tempter.
15:09 He tempts men and women, young and old.
15:11 Merely because you have walked with Christ, and been faithful
15:16 to Christ for 20 or 30 years, does not mean in any way
15:21 that you're exempt from the temptations of Satan.
15:24 And one of the things we see in the life of Daniel is the life
15:29 of faithfulness from the beginning to the end.
15:32 Daniel did not merely start the journey,
15:35 Daniel finished the journey.
15:37 And he found in Christ One that was the author
15:41 and finisher of his faith.
15:43 He found in Christ One who he could hold the beginning
15:48 of his confidence strong to the end.
15:50 So I invite you to take your Bible
15:52 and turn to the book of Daniel: Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah,
15:58 Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Daniel 1.
16:02 Daniel 1 begins with the Great Controversy's scene.
16:09 Look at Daniel 1:1.
16:13 Here we begin with the Great Controversy.
16:16 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah
16:21 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to
16:24 Jerusalem, and besieged it.
16:26 So here you have two kings: Nebuchadnezzar and Jehoiakim.
16:30 You have two cities: Jerusalem and Babylon.
16:34 Babylon the citadel of evil, Babylon the
16:38 center of idol worship, Babylon the center of egotistical,
16:43 proud, manmade religion.
16:46 Jerusalem, the sanctuary of God, the Shekinah glory of God,
16:52 the people of God, the law of God.
16:55 Babylon, the city of falsehood and error.
16:58 Jerusalem, the city of truth.
17:01 Nebuchadnezzar attacks Jerusalem,
17:05 and Jerusalem falls to Nebuchadnezzar.
17:08 So in chapter 1 you see the Great Controversy.
17:11 Verse 1, the Controversy between good and evil,
17:14 the controversy between Christ and Satan.
17:18 Daniel and his young teenage friends, are taken captive.
17:22 Nebuchadnezzar longs to bring the brightest,
17:29 the most intelligent, those that are handsome,
17:34 and physically attractive.
17:35 He longs to bring a group of youth that have the potential
17:39 for leadership that will be educated for three years at the
17:46 University of Babylon, so Nebuchadnezzar can send them
17:50 back as his emissaries to Jerusalem.
17:53 The Devil loves to attack the brightest, the best,
17:59 the most intelligent, because he knows that if he gets
18:02 the leaders, the followers will follow.
18:05 And the Devil still uses that strategy today on Christian
18:10 Seventh-day Adventist young people.
18:11 If he can capture the minds of the brightest, and the best,
18:16 if he can lead them from faithfulness to God,
18:21 he knows that if he gets the leaders,
18:23 the followers are going to follow.
18:24 So here, in the book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar takes captive
18:30 the most intelligent, the brightest young people,
18:35 brings them to the university, to Babylon, to educate them
18:40 in the University of Babylon.
18:43 Early in that captivity, Daniel and his friends are ushered into
18:48 the banquet hall of Babylon.
18:50 Everything is set on those tables to tempt the taste,
18:56 to satisfy the palette, to delight the eyes.
19:00 The music is playing, the tables are set,
19:06 the royal banquet is there.
19:08 Now there's an interesting aside that I want
19:11 you to see in Daniel 1.
19:14 Notice it in verse 2.
19:16 And the Lord... Now that word for Lord there is a word that
19:22 means the One who is in control over all.
19:25 In spite of the captivity, in spite of the apparent defeat,
19:29 God is still sovereign; He is still on His throne.
19:34 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand,
19:37 with some of the articles of the house of God:
19:39 What are the articles of the house of God?
19:41 The candlestick from the sanctuary.
19:44 What are the articles from the house of God?
19:46 The articles that were in the sanctuary that the Shekinah
19:50 glory reflected off.
19:52 Those golden emblems that were in the sanctuary of Jerusalem,
19:56 were taken, and where were they brought?
19:58 Daniel 1:2, And he brought the articles to the
20:02 treasure house of his god.
20:04 Who was his god? BelMarduk, the chief god.
20:07 There were thirteen chief gods of Babylon.
20:09 BelMarduk was the chief god.
20:12 BelMarduk sat in a golden temple, on a golden throne,
20:15 before a golden table.
20:16 Can you imagine it?
20:18 The very candlestick in the sanctuary, the very emblems
20:22 of the sanctuary that reflected the Shekinah glory of God,
20:26 the very presence of God.
20:28 Nebuchadnezzar came into the sanctuary, took those out,
20:31 brought them to the temple, the pagan temple of
20:34 the idol of BelMarduk.
20:36 He put them there.
20:37 Daniel and his friends are ushered into that banquet room.
20:40 They see some of those glittering golden articles
20:46 that had been in the sanctuary.
20:47 And I can just imagine that Nebuchadnezzar was in effect
20:52 saying, If your God is so supreme,
20:54 why are you in captivity to us?
20:56 If your God is so supreme, why are the articles from
20:59 the sanctuary here?
21:00 If your God is so supreme, why is Jerusalem
21:04 in ruins and defeated?
21:05 Here Daniel and his friends go in to that sanctuary,
21:11 and they're invited to defile their health,
21:16 and defile their minds.
21:19 The food on those tables was offered to the god BelMarduc.
21:24 To eat that food was to worship and give
21:29 tribute to the pagan gods.
21:31 Also Daniel was wise enough to know that that wine
21:39 would defile his mind; that those alcoholic beverages would
21:43 destroy brain cells; that they would effect conscience, reason,
21:49 and judgment; and make him less capable of responding
21:53 to the Holy Spirit's impact on the mind.
21:56 He recognized that the unclean foods on that table would
22:01 destroy his health.
22:02 And so Daniel knew that the decision that day
22:06 was not a small one.
22:08 He recognized that it was much more than a glass of alcohol,
22:13 much more than unclean foods, but that it was the
22:17 compromising of his integrity.
22:19 He recognized that it was much more than simply that one
22:24 choice, because that choice would lead to another choice,
22:27 and another choice, and another choice.
22:29 So in one of the most magnificent passages
22:32 in Scripture, Daniel 1:8, The pressure
22:38 to conform was enormous.
22:40 With the destruction of Jerusalem Nebuchadnezzar
22:42 claimed that his god's were superior to the God of Jehovah.
22:46 Notice what Daniel says; what it's recorded about Daniel.
22:51 Daniel 1:8, But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not
22:56 defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies,
22:59 nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested
23:03 of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
23:06 The Scripture says, Daniel purposed in his heart.
23:10 What is the word purposed mean?
23:12 Purposed means he decided.
23:14 Purposed means he determined.
23:16 Purposed means he chose.
23:19 In the heart, in the Old Testament the heart is the
23:23 seat of the intellect.
23:25 It is the center of the emotions.
23:28 It is the center of our thought processes.
23:32 There are two passages in Proverbs that are helpful here.
23:35 Proverbs 4:23. Now keep your finger in Daniel 1.
23:41 We're going to go back to it.
23:42 Proverbs 4:23. We're studying this idea,
23:50 Daniel purposed in his heart.
23:52 What is this heart?
23:55 Daniel 4. In the Bible the heart is the center of the intellect,
24:00 the center of emotions, it is the thought center from which
24:07 decisions are made.
24:08 In Proverbs 4:23 the Scripture says: Keep your heart with all
24:16 diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
24:20 Keep your heart, keep your mind, guard your mind.
24:25 Proverbs 23:7 adds: As a man or a woman does what?
24:32 You know the text. Say it with me.
24:34 As a man thinks in his what? heart, so is he.
24:39 You know, a number of years ago Isaac Newton,
24:42 that famous hymn writer...
24:44 You know, Isaac Newton wrote between 650 and 750 hymns.
24:48 Some scholars say it was 650, some say 700, some say 750.
24:53 You know, he wrote those great hymns like,
24:55 When I survey the wondrous cross upon which
24:58 the Prince of Glory died.
25:01 Isaac Newton, who had written so many of those hymns,
25:04 was not a real large man.
25:05 He was about 5'3", 5'4", quite thin.
25:09 And one day in London there was a parade in Isaac Watt's honor.
25:15 And people gathered to pay tribute to this mighty
25:20 hymn writer of God.
25:22 And they gathered along the streets of London.
25:26 Many of them got up on balconies so they would see
25:28 this mighty man of God.
25:29 They had sung his majestic hymns, and they had pictured
25:33 a man 6', 6' 1", 6' 2".
25:35 Many didn't know him.
25:37 They had pictured this huge man.
25:38 Isaac Watts was riding in a open covered,
25:43 kind of like carriage.
25:46 And as he was riding in this horse drawn carriage,
25:48 he was kind of hunched over.
25:50 By now he was old, and he didn't even look like he was
25:52 5' 4", he looked like he was about 5' 1" or 5'.
25:55 He was kind of hunched over.
25:56 And there was one of these high society women that was sitting
26:01 in the balcony, and she looked over and saw this carriage.
26:05 And she looked, and as the carriage passed, she was one of
26:09 those women that often spoke, or men, too.
26:12 I've got to be careful that I don't get
26:13 myself in trouble here.
26:15 She was one of those individuals... Now that's good!
26:18 ...who thought second, and spoke first.
26:24 Have you ever met anybody like that?
26:26 It's always good to think before you speak,
26:28 not to speak before you think.
26:30 But anyway, she blurted out...
26:32 Isaac Watts is coming by and she bursts out and says, What?
26:36 Are you Isaac Watts?
26:38 She was so surprised because he was a
26:41 little shriveled up man.
26:42 You know, Watts just always thought in poetry.
26:47 And, you know, one time his father said, Why are your
26:51 eyes open in prayer?
26:52 And Watts said, I could not say my prayers when
26:57 the mouse ran up the stairs.
26:58 So he always thought, you know, in poetry.
27:00 So this woman says, What? You Isaac Watts?
27:03 And he motioned for the carriage to stop.
27:07 It did. He stood up to his full 5' 3" or 5' 4" length,
27:11 and he said, Madam, could I in fancy grasp the poles,
27:16 or hold creation in my hand, I'd still be measured by my mind,
27:22 for the mind is the measure of a man.
27:25 The great battle in the last days of Earth's history is not
27:29 a battle in the Middle East.
27:30 It is a battle for your mind.
27:33 And the Devil is focusing on every young person today,
27:38 doing everything he can, with mass media, with video.
27:44 He's doing everything he can through the party culture,
27:49 the pleasure culture.
27:50 He is doing everything he can to capture your thought patterns,
27:56 because what you habitually think about develops attitudes.
28:03 Attitudes lead to actions.
28:07 Repeated actions lead to habits.
28:10 And habits develop character.
28:13 Who are we? We are the sum choices of our thoughts,
28:21 our attitudes, our actions, and our habits.
28:25 Character is what defines us, and the choices we make
28:33 determine the characters that we will have.
28:37 The battle is a battle for your intellect.
28:41 It's a battle for your mind.
28:44 It's a battle to control your thoughts.
28:46 And Satan will do everything he can in this godless, secular
28:51 society to influence the thought processes, because the mind
28:56 is the seat of our emotions.
28:59 Now writing of Daniel and his friends courageous stand
29:03 for right, Ellen White makes this telling, this incredibly
29:07 telling observation in Prophets and Kings, Page 483.
29:12 She's commenting on Daniel 1:8 that says Daniel purposed in his
29:17 heart to serve God.
29:18 And she says: Should they compromise with wrong
29:22 in this instance, by yielding to the pressure of circumstances,
29:28 their departure from principle would weaken their sense of
29:32 right and their appearance of wrong.
29:34 Now lets pause on that sentence.
29:36 What happens if I compromise my integrity?
29:40 What happens when the Holy Spirit convicts me to do
29:45 something, and in spite of the Holy Spirit's conviction,
29:49 in spite of the clear teachings of the Word of God,
29:52 I compromise that integrity? What happens?
29:56 What happens is my perception of what is right,
30:01 and my perception of what is wrong is colored,
30:05 so I can no longer fully discern rightness and wrongness,
30:10 and as the result of that, I will then ultimately think
30:16 that what I'm doing is okay, and justify that.
30:20 So the danger of compromise is that not only does it lead one
30:25 on a path contrary to the will of God, it creates a fogginess,
30:32 a murkiness's in the mind so that sin cannot be discerned.
30:37 Ellen White continues, in which she says: Should they compromise
30:43 with wrong in this instance...
30:44 This is Prophets and Kings, 43.
30:46 ...in this instance by yielding to the pressure of
30:49 circumstances, their departure from principle would weaken
30:53 their sense of right, and their appearance of wrong.
30:55 The first wrong step would lead to others until their connection
31:00 with heaven would be severed.
31:02 They would be swept away by temptation.
31:07 Samuel Johnson, a popular author put it this way:
31:10 The chains of habit are too weak to be felt,
31:15 until they are too strong to be broken.
31:17 The chains of habit are too weak to be felt,
31:23 until they are too strong to be broken.
31:26 C. S. Lewis, in those Screwtape Letters, that famous narrative
31:33 of Lewis, makes an interesting observation.
31:36 One of his characters, Wormwood, says this: Indeed, the safest
31:42 road to hell is the gradual one.
31:45 The gentle slope, the soft under foot without sudden turnings,
31:50 without milestones, without sign posts. you see courage
31:53 You see courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God
31:58 upon His people, and it brings God's blessings.
32:02 Daniel made a rock solid decision.
32:05 He purposed in his heart to serve God,
32:08 and as the result of that he opened his mind to
32:12 the blessings of God.
32:14 Back to Daniel 1. Daniel graduates three years later
32:20 from the University of Babylon with honors.
32:24 He graduates three years later from the University of Babylon,
32:29 at the head of his class.
32:30 Daniel's decision to purpose in his heart to serve God,
32:37 not only to refuse the wine, not only to refuse the unclean
32:41 foods, but to negotiate with Melzar, the chief host,
32:48 for a ten day trial on a vegetarian diet.
32:51 Daniel demonstrates mentally, spiritually, and physically,
32:57 the superiority of God's way of life.
33:00 And there on that vegetarian diet Daniel excels in class,
33:05 not simply because of his diet, but because of the blessing of
33:10 God upon one's life that was totally consecrated to Him.
33:15 We look there at Daniel 1, and we see at the end of Daniel 1,
33:21 the Scriptures recording the faithfulness of this man of God.
33:26 Daniel 1:17. As for these four young men, God gave them
33:32 knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom:
33:35 and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
33:39 Verse 20. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding,
33:44 about which the king examined them, he found them ten times
33:48 better than all the magicians and astrologers
33:50 that were in his realm.
33:51 Does it pay to serve God?
33:54 Does it pay to live an uncompromised life?
33:58 Does it pay to have an undivided heart?
34:00 When we come to Christ and we say, Jesus, everything I have,
34:05 all that I am is Yours.
34:06 All I want to know is what pleases You.
34:09 All I want to do is the will of God.
34:11 When we make that decision in our lives, and we purpose
34:15 in our hearts to please God in the things we take into our
34:19 body, and to please God in the things we take into our mind,
34:22 to please God in every aspect of our worship.
34:26 When we make that decision, we open our lives
34:29 for the abundant blessings of God.
34:32 The last verse of Daniel 1 is significant.
34:36 Daniel 1. Let your eyes drop down to the last verse.
34:41 Thus Daniel continued until the first year of king Darius.
34:46 Nations rise and fall: Babylon comes on the scene of history,
34:51 Medo Persia comes on the scene of history,
34:53 but Daniel continues.
34:55 Kings rise and fall: there is Nebuchadnezzar and his son,
34:59 and his son, and finally Darius the Mede, and Cyrus the Persian.
35:04 Governments rise and fall, kings come and go,
35:08 but Daniel continues.
35:10 God is looking for a generation of young people today that are
35:14 powerful witnesses in the Babylon of this world.
35:17 And God will use them to touch the kings,
35:20 and queens, and princes.
35:21 God will use them to impact a postmodern secular society
35:26 in the Western world.
35:27 God is looking for young people today that purpose in their
35:31 heart like Daniel did.
35:33 He's looking for adults that make a decision to live an
35:37 uncompromised life for God.
35:39 And when God gets that group of Daniel's today,
35:42 that group of Esther's today, that group of Joseph's today,
35:45 when God has that group of faithful men and women today,
35:49 who want only one thing, who long for heaven more than they
35:52 long for earth, who long for eternity more than they long
35:56 for the things of time, for the things of heaven appeal to them
36:01 more than the things of this earth.
36:02 When God has that group of people, He will pour out His
36:06 Spirit in abundant measure, and the work of God will be finished
36:10 on earth rapidly, quickly.
36:12 Daniel was faithful to God when he was 17 years old,
36:15 but throughout the years, Daniel maintained his faithfulness.
36:21 And we turn to Daniel 6.
36:24 We come now to the end of Daniel's life.
36:28 Daniel 6, and we come to the end of Daniel's life.
36:32 Daniel now is 83 years old.
36:36 Medo Persia overthrows Babylon.
36:40 Durias appoints Daniel, along with two others as governors.
36:47 The nation of Medo Persia is divided into a 120 areas.
36:54 There's a prince over each area.
36:56 Then there are three governors in charge of those 120 areas,
37:02 and Daniel becomes the first.
37:04 Now here is the interesting thing to me.
37:07 How old was Daniel at this time?
37:11 Well, if he was in his late teens in chapter one,
37:15 about 20 when he graduated from the University of Babylon,
37:18 and if Nebuchadnezzar overthrew Jerusalem in 605,
37:22 and if Medo Persia overthrew Babylon in 539,
37:28 there's 66 years there.
37:30 And if Daniel was about 17 when he was taken into
37:33 captivity, he's about 83.
37:34 Now the interesting thought to me is this, Do you take an 83
37:41 year old Jew and put him in charge of the entire
37:45 country of Medo Persia?
37:48 There must have been something so incredibly special
37:52 about Daniel's life.
37:53 At 83 years old, because he had followed the principles of God
37:58 in making positive choices in his life, and had not defiled
38:03 his physical, mental, or spiritual health,
38:06 he was still incredibly sharp.
38:09 He still had razor edge thinking.
38:13 The health practices that he had followed, and the decisions
38:18 to live an uncompromised life that he had followed,
38:22 with the blessing of God, enabled him to serve
38:27 for generations in his life.
38:29 Living an uncompromised life is not some ritualistic legalism.
38:36 It is rather an accepting the abundant life that Jesus
38:41 Christ offers to us.
38:42 Anything that Christ asks us to give up
38:46 is only destructive anyway.
38:48 The way of the cross, and the way of self denial through
38:54 the cross of Calvary, is the way to the abundant life,
38:57 because Jesus said in John 10:10 I have come that they might have
39:01 what? life, and they might have it more abundantly.
39:06 So Daniel, faithful to God.
39:10 The governors became concerned about that.
39:14 The princes became concerned.
39:17 They became jealous.
39:18 And there's one thing that one notices here in this chapter,
39:23 Daniel 6:4, and onward.
39:26 Sin never gets smaller.
39:29 It always gets larger.
39:32 They look, in verse 4, So the governors and the satraps sought
39:38 to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom;
39:42 but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful,
39:47 nor was there any error or fault found in him.
39:51 They searched everything they could about Daniel.
39:58 They bugged his royal telephone.
40:01 They hacked his royal e-mail.
40:04 They opened every mailbox.
40:07 They even checked his Twitter account.
40:11 And they said, We know that everybody is somewhat dishonest.
40:20 We know everybody pads their pockets a little bit.
40:22 Maybe Daniel is putting something away
40:25 for his retirement account.
40:27 Nobody's perfect! They examined his private and public life.
40:32 They checked his finances, they analyzed his words,
40:37 they looked at his commands and decrees.
40:40 Everything he did was scrutinized, and they found
40:45 nothing, absolutely nothing.
40:48 Because Daniel was in private what he was in public.
40:52 What are you watching on the internet when nobody else knows?
40:59 What are you looking at on television
41:02 when nobody else knows?
41:04 What are you cramming into your mouth when nobody else knows?
41:09 Are you the same person in private as you are in public?
41:16 Are you the same person when you go to university or college
41:22 when you come to GYC?
41:24 Daniel's heart was undivided.
41:30 And when they examined his life there was nothing,
41:36 nothing that they could find.
41:39 By the grace of God, not by some super human willpower,
41:46 It was not that Daniel overcame by willpower,
41:52 it was that Daniel's will was surrendered to the
41:57 One that had power.
41:58 He did not overcome by willpower,
42:01 but his will was surrendered to the One that had power.
42:04 When he purposed in his heart to serve God,
42:07 God gave him the power to accomplish that choice.
42:10 You and I are weak, but God has given us the capacity,
42:16 God has given us the power of choice.
42:19 Daniel made that choice, Daniel 6, to serve the living God.
42:29 And even when the decree went forth that anybody who served
42:39 any other God except the king, would be cast
42:43 into a den of lions.
42:45 Daniel recognized that he had nothing to hide.
42:49 It's a wonderful thing in life when you have nothing to hide.
42:52 And if somebody checked your private life and saw what kind
42:55 of books you're reading, what kind of magazines,
42:56 what kind of television programs, or internet you're
42:58 surfing, that that was in harmony with God's will.
43:02 The, in verse 5, the wise men say, the Satraps say,
43:10 Wise only in the wisdom of Babylon,
43:12 the rulers of Babylon would be more accurate to put it.
43:15 Verse 5. But these men said, We shall not find any charge
43:19 against this Daniel, except we find it against the law of God.
43:22 The unchangeable law of the Medes and Persians came in
43:29 contact with the immutable law of God.
43:32 Church and state united, and worship was
43:39 decreed and enforced.
43:41 But God had a man, God had an individual who sensed that his
43:50 loyalty was to the King of Kings,
43:53 not to the king of Babylon.
43:55 Once again, at end time there will be, according to the
44:00 prophecies of the book of Revelation,
44:01 a union of church and state powers.
44:06 But once again God will have men and women that witness to the
44:11 glory of His name, that witness to the might of His power
44:16 in a final generation.
44:18 The Bible says, as you look at it there, these Satraps,
44:26 these governors, become jealous of Daniel.
44:29 Jealousy leads to envy; envy leads to something else.
44:35 Verse 7. They come before king Darius.
44:38 King Darius, live for ever.
44:40 All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators,
44:43 the Satraps, the counselors, the advisers have consulted together
44:47 to establish a royal statue.
44:48 What do you know about that statement immediately?
44:51 What do you know about it?
44:53 It is a bold-faced lie!
44:54 Did all the governors meet?
44:56 Was Daniel one of those three governors? He was.
44:59 Did Daniel meet with them? He did not.
45:02 So notice carefully, first you have jealousy.
45:05 The jealousy leads to envy.
45:06 The envy leads to lying.
45:08 And the lying leads to the willingness to put an
45:10 innocent man to death.
45:12 Starting down the road of compromise,
45:14 one never knows where that compromise is going to end.
45:19 Envy to jealousy, jealousy to lying, lying to the willingness
45:22 to put the innocent man to death.
45:24 Daniel 6:10, Daniel 6:10.
45:31 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed,
45:35 he went home, and in the upper room with it's windows open
45:39 toward Jerusalem, he knelt down upon his knees three times a day
45:43 and prayed, and gave God thanks as he did before.
45:48 Daniel knew that without prayer there was no power.
45:52 Daniel would not allow his allegiance to Darius
45:56 to compromise his relationship with God.
45:59 Daniel remembered some things.
46:01 He remembered that God had impressed him, and empowered him
46:06 as a teenager, 65 years before, to keep his
46:10 heart pure before God.
46:12 Daniel remembered the God that gave him wisdom to excel in his
46:17 comprehensive exams in Babylon.
46:19 Daniel remembered that God had given him wisdom,
46:21 and knowledge, and skill.
46:23 Daniel remembered that God had preserved his life,
46:26 and enabled him to interpret the king's dream in chapter 2.
46:29 Daniel remembered that God had delivered Shadrach, Meshach,
46:32 and Abednego from the fiery furnace in chapter 3.
46:35 Daniel remembered that God had enabled him to hold the
46:38 Babylonian empire together for seven years,
46:41 when Nebuchadnezzar ate grass.
46:42 Daniel remembered that God had translated the writing
46:46 on the wall for him in chapter 5,
46:48 when the Babylonian empire fell.
46:50 Daniel remembered that God had given him the position
46:54 of the first governor of the empire.
46:56 Daniel remembered these things, and Daniel knew that God
46:59 was the source of his strength.
47:00 What ever test you face, what ever difficulty you face,
47:04 what ever challenge you face, remember that God is the
47:08 source of your strength.
47:10 God is bigger than the mountain you have to climb.
47:12 God is greater than the problem you have to face.
47:15 God is larger than the challenges that lie before you
47:18 when you leave GYC.
47:19 We serve not a small narrow God, but our God is great,
47:25 our God is powerful, our God is greater than the powers of hell.
47:30 On the cross of Calvary He triumphed over the
47:32 principalities and powers of hell.
47:34 He lives in the sanctuary above, and our God reigns.
47:38 Now for Daniel prayer wasn't a few trite phrases repeated
47:42 over and over, or some ritual memorized formula.
47:45 To Daniel prayer was the breath of the soul.
47:48 It was the vitality, the life of the soul.
47:51 Daniel kneels to pray, and as he does, those governors and
47:56 princes come running, if they can run.
47:59 Because they have been eating of the royal banquet hall,
48:02 and they are somewhat rotund, and they can't run too fast.
48:04 I imagine them curling behind bushes.
48:07 I imagine these slithering snakes looking up to
48:11 condemn the man of God.
48:13 And Daniel prays. They run back to the king and say,
48:17 King, King, Daniel is praying!
48:21 He doesn't regard your decree.
48:23 He doesn't regard you.
48:24 The king tries to deliver Daniel, but he can't.
48:28 He can't and keep his position, and he's not willing to risk his
48:32 neck by violating the law of the Medes and the Persians.
48:34 So the king goes home that night to sleep,
48:40 and Daniel's thrown in a lion's den.
48:43 Now the Bible says that as the king goes in to the palace,
48:47 his royal musicians want to play sweet lullabies,
48:54 and he says, No music tonight.
48:56 They want to feed him Babylonian foods, a good supper, a banquet.
49:04 No food tonight. The Bible says he says, No music,
49:07 and he fasts all night.
49:10 He gets in to bed, slips on his royal silk pajamas,
49:14 puts his head on some royal pillow, and there in a palace,
49:19 in a mansion, in the most lavish building in the then known
49:24 world, the king who has everything can't sleep.
49:28 He tosses and turns.
49:30 His stomach is in knots.
49:33 He's got some kind of headache, and sweat's
49:36 running down his face.
49:37 And he tosses and turns all night.
49:39 But the Bible says Daniel's thrown into a lions' den.
49:42 And in this preacher's imagination, Daniel is in some
49:46 stinky, smelly lion's den, with lions that have not been
49:51 house trained, with lions' that may not have been washed
49:55 for awhile, and he puts his head on some big
49:58 cat and goes to sleep.
49:59 What a contrast. What a contrast.
50:04 When there's peace in your heart,
50:08 that peace passes all understanding.
50:11 Peace comes not from what my hands possess,
50:15 but from what my heart possesses.
50:18 Peace comes not from what I have,
50:22 but from the One that has me.
50:24 And when our lives are surrendered to Christ,
50:28 even in the lions' den, even in the lions' den, there is peace.
50:37 There is peace here in that lions' den.
50:42 The sun rises over the lions' den.
50:47 It rises over the kingdom of Darius.
50:51 The king runs to that lion's den.
50:55 And in Daniel 6:22 it says: The king cries out
51:02 to Daniel in verse 20.
51:04 Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God,
51:07 whom you serve continually, been able to deliver
51:09 you from the lions?
51:11 Now what does Daniel say?
51:12 My God has sent His angel, and shut the lions' mouths,
51:16 so that they have not hurt me: because I was found
51:19 innocent before Him.
51:20 My God has shut the lions' mouths.
51:23 There is a lion tamer in the house.
51:29 When the lions of lust roar in your ears,
51:33 there is a lion tamer.
51:34 When the lions of anger, or bitterness roar in your ears,
51:38 there is a lion tamer.
51:40 When because of a past, your life feels shattered and broken,
51:44 because of what happened to you in childhood,
51:46 there is a lion tamer.
51:48 When the words of criticism are about ready to come out of your
51:51 mouth, there is a lion tamer.
51:53 When you're ready to reach for a glass of alcohol,
51:55 there is a lion tamer, Jesus Christ.
51:58 The Bible says the Devil is walking around like a roaring
52:02 lion, seeking whom he may devour.
52:05 But the lion of the tribe of Judah, Jesus the living Christ,
52:10 is stronger than the temptations that we face, stronger than the
52:15 little impish devils lion.
52:17 I thank God for the testimony of a heathen king,
52:21 echoing and re-echoing down the centuries.
52:25 A heathen king makes his declaration because of the
52:29 faithfulness, because of the loyalty of Daniel.
52:32 Daniel was called by God.
52:34 Daniel was chosen by God.
52:36 Daniel was faithful to God.
52:39 And when you're chosen by God in a final generation,
52:42 when you're called by God in a final generation,
52:45 when you're faithful to God in a final generation,
52:48 your life will be a testimony before kings and queens,
52:52 before your neighbors, before your friends.
52:56 It will be a testimony in the university where you go,
52:59 in the computer lab where you work.
53:02 It'll be a testimony, a powerful testimony to others.
53:05 Here a heathen king cries out.
53:08 Look at what Darius says.
53:10 He says seven things about God.
53:13 Notice: He is the living God.
53:15 Who is this God? He's alive!
53:18 God has not wound this earth up like a clock,
53:21 and He's not some absentee landlord in our lives.
53:26 God is alive! He is the living God.
53:28 He is steadfast forever.
53:30 He is just when I need Him; Jesus is near.
53:32 Just when I falter, just when I fear.
53:34 Just when I need Him most.
53:36 Jesus is steadfast forever.
53:37 Who is He? 1. He's alive.
53:41 2. He's steadfast forever.
53:42 3. His kingdom is that which shall not be destroyed.
53:47 The kingdoms of Babylon, the kingdoms of Medo Persia,
53:50 the kingdoms of Greece, the kingdoms of Rome,
53:52 the kingdoms of this world have faded away into insignificance.
53:56 But there is an eternal, ever lasting kingdom coming that will
54:01 never, ever pass away.
54:03 Daniel's eyes were on the eternal kingdom,
54:06 not on the kingdoms of this world.
54:07 Notice: He is the living God; He's alive.
54:11 He's steadfast forever.
54:13 He never changes. That's two.
54:14 His kingdom is going to last forever. That's three.
54:17 His dominion shall insure to the end. That's four.
54:20 He delivers. Five.
54:22 He is the God that delivers.
54:24 What are you facing today?
54:25 What temptation, what challenge, discouragement, despondency,
54:30 fear? What do you face?
54:32 He is the living God.
54:34 He is steadfast forever.
54:36 His kingdom will never be destroyed.
54:39 His dominion shall endure to the end.
54:42 He delivers, He rescues.
54:44 And in your life He wants to show signs.
54:47 In your life He wants to show wonders.
54:50 In your life He wants to do something miraculous for you.
54:54 God is once again looking for young people who, through His
54:59 strength, and by His power, have undivided hearts,
55:02 and live lives of loyalty.
55:04 God is one again looking for young people who are wholly
55:08 consecrated, totally sold out for Him.
55:10 Their commitment to Christ, and heaven's principles,
55:13 will impact their families.
55:15 It'll impact their neighborhoods.
55:17 It'll impact their schools.
55:18 It'll impact their universities.
55:20 It'll impact their jobs.
55:21 It'll impact their world, their workplaces.
55:24 These are God's world changers.
55:28 Every place they go, wherever they find themselves,
55:31 their positive influence is for the kingdom of God.
55:34 Their lives speak of honesty.
55:36 Their lives speak of purity.
55:38 Their lives speak of integrity.
55:39 Their lives speak of diligence.
55:41 Their lives speak of faithfulness.
55:42 They can be depended upon.
55:44 Through them the earth is lightened with the glory of God.
55:48 Through them Christ's character is revealed before a waiting
55:53 world and a watching Universe.
55:54 This is your destiny.
55:56 This is your calling.
55:58 Do not sell out cheap!
56:01 This is God's plan for your life.
56:04 Will you accept God's plan for your life?
56:06 Will you say, Jesus, I want to live an uncompromised life.
56:11 If you want to be a Daniel in this generation,
56:14 if you want to live a life uncompromised,
56:18 I want you to stand, and I want to pray for you.
56:20 You just want to say, Lord, with all of my weakness,
56:24 all of my frailty, all my brokenness,
56:26 You know what my heart is.
56:28 That's the kind of life that I want to live.
56:30 That's the kind of person I want to be.
56:33 I don't want to live some half-hearted Christian life
56:36 that is a life of compromise.
56:38 That is the kind of person, God, that I want to be.
56:42 Now a special appeal for somebody here.
56:49 Is there somebody here that as I spoke today,
56:53 God brought to your mind certain areas of
56:57 compromise in your life, and you began to think about it.
57:03 And you said, Lord, I want to be done with that compromise.
57:07 I want to be done with it.
57:11 As we pray, do you just want to give that thing to Jesus now?
57:15 Somebody here God's heart is touching;
57:18 something He wants you to surrender to Him.
57:21 Some attitude, some habit, something in your life that's
57:27 not in harmony with His will.
57:30 For somebody this is decision day.
57:32 For somebody, you're going to leave this auditorium different.
57:36 You want to just raise your hand and say, God, I'm giving You
57:39 that thing; you know what it is.
57:40 God, I'm giving You that thing.
57:41 God, I'm giving You that attitude.
57:43 God, I'm giving You that habit.
57:46 We make the choice, and God's power comes down.
57:52 We don't overcome by willpower.
57:54 Our wills are united with Divine power.
57:57 You can put your hand down.
57:59 One last appeal. Last evening I met with an individual
58:06 who said, Pastor Mark, as I've come to GYC,
58:08 I've never been baptized.
58:12 And God just touched my heart, and I want to look
58:15 forward to Bible baptism.
58:17 There may be many of you in two classes: first maybe as a young
58:25 person you've come to this meeting, and you've never yet
58:28 made that decision to follow Jesus in baptism.
58:31 And God is speaking to your heart right now.
58:35 God is touching your heart right now.
58:38 And you want to leave this place saying, God,
58:41 I want to follow Jesus all the way.
58:45 I want to purpose in my heart, like Daniel, to follow Christ.
58:49 And right now you want to make that decision.
58:51 Maybe there's somebody here that you were baptized once,
58:55 and you drifted away from Christ, far away.
59:00 And you want to look forward to re-baptism.
59:04 We can talk to you about it, and counsel with you about it.
59:07 Somebody here, by raising your hand you say, I want to look
59:10 forward to baptism.
59:11 Not done that yet. I want to look forward to baptism.
59:13 I want the Spirit of God to touch my life.
59:15 I want to look forward to following
59:18 Christ in Bible baptism.
59:19 Somebody here that the Spirit of God is saying, I want to be
59:23 re-baptized. I just feel God calling me.
59:26 You know, if you're looking forward to baptism,
59:28 or re-baptism, we're going to gather with a group of young
59:31 people right here at the front, and I'm going to invite you to
59:34 come down, and I want to pray over you right now.
59:37 So just come down. I'm going to come to the side over here.
59:40 I'm going to come off the stage and come down to the side.
59:42 If you want to look forward to baptism...