Fully Committed

May 14, 2017

You know with babies you get babies up on stage and it's kind of an adventure well you know in the first service we had Elliot being dedicated in the second service I'll tell you some of the other kids that are going to be dedicated. To. Kids are sick go figure you know and it's always going to happen that way but Desmond. Lehmann he is in A.J. Skelly those are two kids and I made and let me start with this I made a observation as I was looking at all these kids this is kind of odd it's been a while since we've had this but we had no firstborns being dedicated today it's been a while since that has happened so Elliot is a second born Desmond is a second born A.G. was a force born. Judy White in second service over here he's a second born Savannah O'Donoghue is a second born Joseph Kincaid is like a seventeenth born or something like that the king caves fifty born right and then Nora Nora Bennett is the third born and we all know that third born children are the best children that's just scientifically proven some science somewhere has proven that and you know I look at these parents and the good news is all of them they knew exactly what they were getting into if this was not their first child and yet they went ahead and they did it again you know they knew about the dirty diapers they know about the sleepless nights they know that at some point these kids and I think none of the kids none of the parents I have kids that are old enough for this but there's going to be some SAS talking bad mouth thing against the parents don't tell me what to do or maybe some of the parents already know that right now there's going to be called wishing to pay for there's going to be weddings to pay for and they did it anyway and they did it because they have so much love that they want to share with another person and so they bring these children into this world and they know it takes a lot of commitment but it's worth it you know what today being Mother's Day I think we can forever be grateful for the commitment that her mother she showed us and. So if you're here today and your mother is still alive and she was a good mother I know not everyone is honored and blessed to have a good mother but if you have a good mother and she's still alive and encourage you if you haven't already done so to let her know how much you love and appreciate the example that she set for you well just like being committed to raising kids is worth it being committed to God is worth it it's worth it in this life and also the life to come that's worth it in this life because when we're committed to God and I think if you if you place your faith in Jesus Christ you know how this is true if you're committed to God in this life you will have a peace that nothing else nor the commitment in this life can give you and if you have a commitment to God You're going to have a sense of purpose that no other commitment in this life can give you and so we have that benefit in this life but also obviously in the life to come when we will be rewarded for faithfulness and commitment. You know here at church a couple weeks ago we had our congregational meeting and we voted to bring on some additional staff members hopefully all of you are aware of that and so we have this last Thursday we had the first ever staff meeting at Grace Bible Church of Phoenix and I was really excited about this I'm the only full time person here and we have several some part time people so we had Steve McFadden as the worship leader Sarah Kincaid as the children's ministry director Angie gray as the church business correlator my commute Fadden is moved from the youth pastor position into the the family life pastor and Zach short has moved into the youth leader position and so all of us are sitting there and it was so fun for me I think we have great staff and the first thing that we did is we focused on the reason why we exist I'm not going to have you actually say this or raise your hand but how many of you can say in one sentence the reason why church of Phoenix exists if you need any help it's painted right on that wall is you walk in it's our mission statement we exist. To develop committed followers of Jesus Christ through the teaching and encouraging of God's word and we intentionally chose that word committed because if you're a follower of Jesus Christ it's more than just saying yes I believe that he died and then he rose again it takes a firm commitment and the nice thing is through the teaching and encouragement of God's Word sometimes we get great examples of that commitment when children are Bible so Daniel Chapter six. Daniel Chapter six we are moving through the Book of Daniel and we are in what is probably one of the most if not the most famous story in The Book of Daniel. That if someone were if you were to ask somebody you know what is the Book of Daniel what is in the Book of Daniel they'd probably say one of two stories and pick this out this would be one of them the fiery furnace in chapter three is probably the other one but this is Daniel in the Lion's Den I'm not going to do an entire recap of the entire Book of Daniel Hopefully you've been here for most of these and if not you can always listen to those on line but here in Daniel Chapter six we get what is most most likely the most well known story in Daniel and in this chapter we see Daniel's commitment to God Last week we saw a bad example an example of what not to do and not to follow through Belshazzar and this week we get to see a great example of how to live and Daniel shows us how to live based on commitment and so what I'm going to do through this incredible story we're going to look at two ways that Daniel reveals his commitment to God We know he's committed because of these two things and the first thing is this first way we know that Dana is committed to God is through his integrity. It's through his integrity that we see that he was committed let's go ahead and read Daniel Chapter six and I'll just start off in verse one I'm reading from the E.S.P.N. Oh Last week I think I read from the the Living by a what I'm going back to the city. Again a Chapter six verse. One. Pleased Various to start over the kingdom one hundred twenty satraps to be throughout the whole kingdom and over them three high officials of whom Daniel was one to whom these Satcher aps should give account so that the king might suffer no loss. Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials in satraps because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom so that we're kind of seen this repeated over and over in Daniel's life at this point he's probably in his early to mid eighty's Daniel come to distinguish himself when he was a late teenager but see Daniel his integrity is seen throughout his whole life time for. Then the high officials and satraps ought to find grounds for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom but they could find no grounds for complaint or any fault because he was face full and no error or fault was found in them then these men said. We shall find we shall not find any grounds for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his god. And what a great testimony for Daniel his integrity was obvious to everyone and so I was reading this it talks about all these satraps hundred twenty satraps. Let me tell you what a job description of a satrap was I don't know everything that they did but their primary job was to collect taxes OK So they were to collect the taxes and they were to give it to King barriers now what do you think someone who is crooked and does not have integrity wants to do when they collect taxes want to put a little bit of the in their own pocket right and so if you are a crooked satrap I don't think that phrase has ever been set in motion in the entire history of the life of mankind but if you are cooking and you're getting all this money and you want to put some in your own pockets and there is a man of integrity over you what's going to happen. He's going to find your dishonesty and he's not going to let you get away with it and so the satrap said well we have to get rid of him because we're not able to graft from the taxes and keep it for ourselves as long as he is over us. So you see the problem that the satraps had Daniel would not allow them to be dishonest so King various you know Daniel had integrity because no matter who his boss was he ultimately served God you notice as you go through the Book of Daniel there are different men in positions of authority over Daniel and there's one thing that never change and that is in Daniel's mind who he was ultimately serving. That's a kind of an example that I think all of us are supposed to have for ourselves there's a passage in the New Testament cautions three twenty three and twenty four somebody might be familiar with this but it says whatever you do work hardly As for the Lord and not for men knowing this from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward you are serving the Lord Christ and so this is what it means to have integrity no matter who is your boss who is your employer no matter what government officials or over you we all know a person of integrity is someone who says I'm serving the Lord and so in every area of my life I want to have that integrity were my actions and my face are in perfect alignment and we see this with Daniel all throughout his entire life and the satraps knew this and so that's exactly how they wanted to trap him and to get rid of him. Well. Well I think we're supposed to do with every passage of Scripture in every story I think we're supposed to look at this and maybe make some personal application. So I ask you. Can people see your commitment to God through your integrity is there any area in your life where you're you're tempted to make some short cuts thinking no one will ever know I think all of us deal with that from time to time but this is one way. That we can reveal to the world around us that we are serving the Lord and through our integrity just like Daniel's example to us also move on to point number two. The second way Daniel reveals his commitment to God is through his habits. Through his habits and this is slightly different than the first point integrity is in some way it's the way that we respond to situations we respond to temptation How that are the actions that Daniel filled in to his life so that he would remain faithful while it's read about the one specific outburst six. So this is the way that the trying to trap Daniel and they knew it was based on this how they were six and these high officials in Sach ups came by agreement to the king and said to him oh king various live forever all the high officials of the kingdom and the prefects and the satraps and the councillors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction that whoever makes petition to any God or man for thirty days except to you a king shall be cast into the den of lions now do you see that they're lying here and he says that they all came to him and they were all in agreement Well guess who wasn't there Daniel wasn't there or do you wouldn't agree to anything like this but they lied verse a now looking establish the injunction and sign the document so that it cannot be changed according to the laws of the Medes in the Persians which cannot be revoked therefore King Dariya signed the document and then junction This is similar to a King Nebuchadnezzar he never can as are made in China and Chapter three when he had Everybody bowed down to the stature that he arrested this is a way of kind of making sure people are loyal to you and so there's a new administration here and King Barry says thinking well this is a good idea it will make sure everyone who served under Belshazzar and have a can as Or now that I'm in charge of the kingdom they'll be loyal and honest to me first then. When Daniel knew that the document. Been signed he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open towards Jerusalem. And he got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks be for his God as he had done previously another words this was a habit that Daniel had established and they knew exactly how they were going to trap him and this is exactly what they did verse eleven. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plead before his God then they came near and said before the King concerning the injunction. Did you not sign an injunction that anyone who makes petition to you to any God or man within thirty days except to your king shall be cast into the lion's den the King answered and said this thing stands fast according to the law of the Medes and Persians which cannot be revealed. Then they answered and said before the king Daniel who is one of the exiles from Judah pays no attention to your king or the injunction you have signed but makes his petition three times a day. And as we keep reading you can tell the Dariya says a little upset they tricked him and you read this story and I think all of us are thinking OK if Daniel knew that this was now the law and he did this three times a day the obvious question that we should ask is why didn't he just close the blinds why didn't he just continue to do what he was doing and just do it in the privacy of his own home why did he do this he knew he was going to get caught and so we might not know every reason why Daniel continued to do this knowing that he was going to get caught I think a couple of reasons that he did this was number one maybe he wasn't afraid to die. Maybe he was thinking you know what I'm in my mid eighty's now and I don't want to be in charge of one hundred twenty people that's fine take me Lord or maybe he thought the Lord. The Lord can deliver him there's two parts of the story that we don't know about unless we go back to other parts of scripture and I want to give them to you right now because I think that they are very important the first thing the first reason I think why Daniel continue with this habit is because he knew through the prophet Jeremiah that the exile was almost over it was almost over look at Chapter nine verse one Daniel Chapter nine first one. And so this is a very short and close proximity to what is happening here in Daniel Chapter six but in Daniel nine one it says in the first year of various The son of. Every pronounce that by descendant of Mead who was made king over the realm of the Caledonians in the first year of his reign I gain a perceived in the Book of Numbers a book of the number of years that according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet must past before the end of desolation of Jerusalem namely seventy years and so if we do the math and I think this is going to be close at this time in Daniel's life he was probably eighty three eighty four years old roughly and he probably came over as a teenager sixteen seventeen years old so this is like year sixty six sixty seven sixty eight and so this is just within a couple of years of them being able to return to Jerusalem and so why would he stop now if he's this close and he truly believes that God is going to do this why would he stop just because this thirty day injunction had been placed on there. There's another reason why Daniel continued to do this and you have to ask the question why was the opening the windows and why was the praying towards your son what does that have to do with anything is there or is there a precedent set for that actually there is and I want you to turn over to first kings to read about it first Kings Chapter eight. I think this is good this is maybe a passive some of you never read before and I think this is good because it really adds to what is happening here Daniel Chapter six. First Kings Chapter eight beginning in verse twenty seven. And what we're reading about is the dedication of the temple this is right after Solomon King Solomon had built a temple and this is a prayer at the dedication for the Temple and this is what. King Solomon is praying for the descendants of Israel moving forward first Kings Chapter eight beginning in verse twenty seven. King Solomon says. But we will God indeed dwell on the earth behold heaven in the highest heaven cannot contain you how much less this house that I have built yet have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his PLEASE OH LORD my God listening to the cry and to the prayer that your servant prays before you this day that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house the place which you have say said my name shall be there that you may listen to the prayer Listen to this that your servant offers towards this place and listen to the plea of your servant and of your people of Israel when they pray toward this place and listen in heaven your dwelling place and when you hear forgive so that Solomon is saying the Lord when people in Israel believe in you and they look towards the temple and they pray towards this place hear their prayer and so this is something that all the Israelites and all the descendants they know about the sacredness of the temple and so their plane towards the temple and this is something that Daniel took very seriously in the build this is a habit into his life there is another section in verses thirty and thirty nine to say the same thing but I want to go to the third place were King Solomon praised this and asked for this go to the first forty six. In verse forty six this is specifically dealing with Daniel situation and so I think this section of King Solomon's prayer is really at the forefront of Daniel's mind in why he continued to pray towards Jerusalem verse forty six. King Solomon continues. And he says if they sin against you for there is no one who does not sin and you are angry with them and give them to an enemy so that they are carried away captive to the land of their enemy far off or near it if they turn their heart in the land to which you have been carried captive and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors saying we have sinned and have acted perversely and wickedly if they repent with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who carried them captive and prayed to you toward their land which you gave to their fathers the city that you have chosen and the house that I have built for your name then here in heaven your dwelling place their prayer employee and maintain their cause and so here is gan you living in exile and these reverses are these this dedication ceremony from King Solomon is probably near and dear to his heart and so this was a big deal to Daniel that he would pray three times every day towards Jerusalem believing that God was going to hear him and so if he had been doing this and establish this daily habit for years and years and probably decades why would he stop then. If he were to stop that would be an act of cowardice and unbelief in God but he believed that God would hear him and he believed that God would answer his prayers and so he built this house that into his life. You know what kind of habits have you built into your life you know our habits really show us what our commitments are I think we all realize that right some of you may have built into your life some dietary habits right you know make sure you eat the right kinds of food if you some of you built in your life some financial habits whether that's giving or investing and all of us realize that we build into our lives bad habits that's what New Year's resolutions are for right now to get rid of the bad habits Well this is what happened Daniel reveals his commitment through his integrity and through his habits. And this is what happens verse fourteen. Then the King when he heard these words was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel and he labor till the sun went down to rescue him then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king now old King that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction ordinance of the king establishes can be changed then the king commanded and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions the king declared to Daniel may your god whom you serve continually deliver you and a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den and the king sealed it with his own Signet and with the signature of his lords that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting no diversions were brought to him and sleep fled from him. And we're going to stop right there and you'll have to wait till next week to find out what happens no reading ahead you can you know you know as I was reading this I realized that we were not going to have enough time to really go through the entire story and so what I wanted to do is today to break this up really into two sermons today I just wanted us to be very aware of Daniel's complete devotion and commitment to God no matter what what the outcome is next week you can go ahead and you can read you probably already know what happened but next week we're going to see how God responds to Daniel's commitment that's what we're going to study next week but for today I want us to be encouraged by Daniel's commitment because this is one of those stories where we read it and this is a commitment unlike most other people ever demonstrate in this lifetime Daniel chose to live his life to bring on or to God and so should we now I think an appropriate verse for us today is found in second Corinthians five twenty. Five twenty it says Therefore we are ambassadors. For Christ God making his appeal through us. God bore witness to himself in the Old Testament through the prophets and through man like Daniel and his commitment and guess how God is doing that today he's doing that through you God bears witness to himself through your commitment. And so you can think of me in your mind right now maybe some coworkers some friends and family members you might be the only witness they have of who the true God is and so I ask you today to seriously consider how obviously your commitment is to God and if there's anything in your life that is showing the opposite of a commitment to God It might take you to stand before God and say God help me to remove this from my life and the other side of that is if there's anything you realize that you should be doing to further your commitment to God then I hope you will deepen your faith in him and you will make it a habit that God can use well so close in prayer and ask that God will truly inspire us with this demonstration by day their Lord and we just come before you this morning now as we've looked at the first half of the story. Some of us obviously know what's happened at the end of the story but Lord the first half were kind of where Daniel was in his mind not knowing for sure what's going to happen. But no matter what happened Daniel was not going to fall back on his commitment to you and we see that today and we thank you for the testimony of Daniel and Lord I just pray that we're all here today will desire to not only just place our face Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior but to make our commitment to Him Our top priority that we will be committed to him like Daniel was in our integrity the no matter what relationship we have in this life no matter who are our boss or supervisor is or those in authority over us that we will ultimately seek to serve you first and foremost and that's your habits. As well Lord that people see through the way that we live our lives on a daily basis that we are committed to above but everyone and everything else lord my Also we also pray this morning for the mothers that are here today I just pray that they will truly feel honored and appreciated for all the hard work and the commitment that they showed towards us as their children but now Lord as we leave this place in has some people go to the Sunday school classes or to just continue to continue to pray that you will help us as our mission statement says to be committed followers of Jesus Christ and we thank you so much for your work that gives us this encourage me today were present crisis Amen and now me the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all amen.

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