Preacher: Josh White
Donna set up a table back there with some information so if any of you have any questions about any of the ministries or anything from G.M. I please let them know well today is is a big day for America isn’t it it’s the Super Bowl No what I want you to do on the count of three I want you to shut off the team that you’re rooting for to win Ready one two three Care as.
You know that Lance A in New England and who cares I’m looking forward to a good game and some good barbecue hamburgers that’s what I’m really looking forward to but America is a great country unfortunately have two teams that are playing that I don’t care about it’s also a big country and I have had the privilege I don’t know if most people have a privilege like this but I know the problems of living in three different parts of our wonderful country I grew up in Spokane Washington lived there for nineteen years and then I moved to Grand Rapids Michigan and I lived there for thirteen years and the last ten I have been here in in Phoenix Arizona and all three of these locations that I have lived in are there different there are some significant differences there’s a significant difference with the weather of all three places and the terrain of all three places in fact you know growing up in Spokane it was surrounded by mountains but I didn’t really realize that and so I went to Grace Bible College and when I came back for my first Christmas break I remember my mom driving us home and I’m like where do all these mountains come from I’ve seen in my whole life in Michigan you just see the tops of the trees you know and then moving down here to Phoenix which is which is very unique and very different compared to other parts of the country but you know as we look at our our United States it is a very you know somewhat unified country we have same traditions and cultures but there are some differences for those of you we live kind of on the West Coast and the people on the East Coast have kind of a different stereotype especially for those of you maybe grew up on the east. Because it’s kind of represented by people who are are busy and bossy and loud in and rude some people say that I’m not just saying that and then you come out to the west coast and everyone is just laid back for the most part very very relaxed everyone sleeps in until noon out there on the West Coast but things are definitely different I came across a couple I love looking at these different lists I came across this one I’ll read a few of these and it says you know you’re from the Midwest I know I’ve done some of these before about already a few of those for you how many how many of you grew up with spent time in the Midwest or on the East Coast OK so most of you will probably understand this you know you’re from the Midwest if casserole is a food group.
You look people in the eye smile and say hello and walking down the street if you know what need higher by the Fourth of July means years and what that means corn that’s right if you’ve ever vacationed in the Wisconsin Dells.
Water parks in the Wisconsin Dells you’re OK If you consider the Great Lakes me better than any ocean you might be from the Midwest medium potatoes are your diet if you’re from the Midwest. If you or someone you know owns a lake house complete with pontoon boat if you crave blue moon ice cream make your tongue all blue is wonderful even if you don’t call it a bubble or you know what it is you know what a bubble or is it’s a drinking fountain that’s right instead of going camping you always say that you’re going up north that’s true in Phoenix to say that you can in name at least three people have hit a deer while driving.
You make a mean puppy chow that’s what’s really good you have no idea what a hill is you might be from the Midwest and the last one there is many more but if you’ve ever gone trick or treating with snow pants on you might be from Midwest. Well Phoenix we have our own things about Phoenix. There is a list of people from Phoenix would only understand that no Mexican food anywhere else in the US especially the East Coast is as authentic and as amazing as it is here in Phoenix I love Mexican food another one there are a few extreme pains that you experience as often as coming in contact with the seat belt buckle during the summer time.
If you’ve ever left Chapstick in your car and it melted the room the upholstery you might be from Phoenix if you don’t understand what daylight savings time is you might my kids have been here pretty much their whole life they probably have no idea what that is if you’ve ever been inside or within a few miles of those massive end of the world looking her boobs and we know I don’t pronounce those things there isn’t a great lack of earthquakes tornadoes hurricanes and other natural disasters or Grange but we have our own terrors in the various insects reptiles arachnids and plants the plants will hurt you here in the in the Southwest also if it’s a dry heat is basically your unofficial slogan. And the last one if you’ve ever felt genuine happiness because today was going to be under one hundred degrees. Oh it’s less than a hundred today it’s wonderful but you know you talk about those differences from the Midwest and the East Coast in the West Coast but the bottom line is it’s still America and we still have the same essential foundation we all celebrate the Fourth of July we celebrate it on the Fourth of July just like Christmas is on Christmas Fourth of Julys on Fourth of July we have thanksgiving same holidays the post office is closed everywhere in the United States so if you’re in America things are very very similar and what I’m doing today is I’m going to be introducing a new sermon series and before I tell you a book it is what I want you to do is I want you to imagine something very terrifying is going to happen today OK So imagine you’re watching the game and it’s half time and you hear a knock on your door and you open it up and you see this terrifying sight.
The Royal Canadian Canadian Mounted Police are at your door Canada is going to invade us today that’s right they’re going to invade and that the whole country because it’s too much but they want Phoenix because of the nice weather so Canada invades Phoenix today they knock on your door and they say you’re coming with US A and they’re very polite very polite and they say you’re coming with those who are going to relocate you although we have to Edmonton Alberta.
How would your life be different. There’s a couple benefits you have much more Canadian bacon and maple syrup is one of the benefits you know you think of Canada and it’s probably not that much different of a let’s say something like this were to happen and you had to move whether by choice or not your choice to a city where everything is going to be different maybe Iraq or Baghdad Iraq or Kabul Afghanistan.
Or Timbuktu or some some other place Kathmandu Nepal or somewhere where the culture is very very different like Los Angeles California have to go someplace that is very different you know parts of your life would be different and you would adapt to those things but there are some things in your life that should not change in fact a person can live their entire life in the same location and everything around them will slowly hand slowly become different and we have this choice will we adapt to what is new or will we hold on to the things that we’re supposed to hold onto. You know play a short video clip from Paul Harvey how many of you remember Paul Harvey good day you have to say that I’ve just say Paul Harvey and he did this back in nineteen sixty five some of you may have heard this before I think it just went around Facebook recently where Paul Harvey in one thousand nine hundred eighty five so we’re talking about fifty two years ago said this commentary on if I was the devil if I was the devil how. I try to influence the world and so let’s show this and this is already have been for years ago.
If I were the Prince of Darkness I’d want to wind up the whole world in darkness and I’d have a third of its real estate and or bits of its population but I wouldn’t be happy until my obscene the ripest apple on the tree.
So I set about however necessary to take over the United States I’d support the churches first I began with a campaign of whispers with the wisdom of a serpent I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve it was me use. To the young I would whisper that the Bible is a myth I would convince them that man created god instead of the other way around I would get by did want to add is good and what’s good is square and the old I would teach to pray after me Our Father which art in Washington.
And then I get organized I dedicate authors in how to make a lot of literature exciting so that anything else that appeared on the not interesting I’ve written T.V. with dirtier movies and vice a versa I don’t not comics to whom I could I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction I tremble as the rest would build if I were the devil I’d soon have families at war with themselves churches at war with themselves and nations at war with themselves until each in its turn was consumed and with promises of higher ratings I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames if I were the devil I wouldn’t go to schools during fine young intellect neglected discipline emotions just let that was run wild until before you knew it you’d have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors and every schoolhouse door within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing I’d have judges from holding pornography so I could have picked not from the courthouse and from the school house and then from the houses of Congress and in his own churches I would substitute psychology for religion and began by science I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls and church money if I were the devil I’d make the symbol of Easter Egg and this. Christmas a bottle if I would the devil I know to have and to those who wanted until I had killed the incentive not the ambition What do you bet I couldn’t get old state you promote gambling as the way to get bridge.
I would caution against extreme. And hard word in patriotism and moral conduct. I would conventional young that marriage is old fashioned and swinging is more fun that what you see on T.V. is the way to be and I wish I could under as you in public.
And I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure.
In other words if I were the devil I just keep right on doing what he’s doing.
Thousand nine hundred sixty five yeah good day that’s also a good day one thousand nine hundred sixty five in Paul Harvey was saying this is kind of the direction America is going and yeah.
And we see it today and yeah Satan is at work in this shouldn’t surprise us because Satan has always been at work in every culture in every society and this is exactly what he always does well I’m getting in a short series a new series a new sermon series and it’s on four young men who found themselves living in a nother city in another culture in another society and what we do is we see in these four young men what it means to stay strong in their face and these young men throughout their entire lives stay committed you know our mission here and Grace Bible Church of Phoenix is developing committed followers of Jesus Christ through the teaching encouragement of God’s word we want to see people who don’t just say I’m a follower of Jesus Christ but people who are there committed. If things change in your life it shouldn’t change your commitment and so I want you to imagine we’re probably not going to be invaded by Canada or. Some other place but if something in your life were to change would your commitment to Christ change like if you had if you won the lottery would your commitment to Christ change definitely tempted I’m sure if you lost your job. Would your commitment change if you lost a family member would your commitment change if you if you gained a family member if you if you became permanently disabled how would your commitment change if you were diagnosed with an incurable disease would you commit to Christ change well the truth is that our surroundings change all the time but our commitment to Christ should not and so the book that we’re going to do a series on is Daniel so you probably figure that out by now you can open your Bibles are right now this kind of right in the middle of the Bible Daniel. And also we’re going to be doing this Daniel’s Chapter twelve chapters chapters one through six are narrative their stories and that’s were mainly in be focusing on in the series that’s going to be a short series and James was about four or five months in First Corinthians was an entire year we will be in Daniel for nearly that long but also next month just kind of a heads up next month as March and we have not done this in a while and so we’re going to be looking at Daniel and then for March we’re going to have man month again and some of you are like what in the world is man month you have no idea what it is well during the month of March we’re going to do is a series directed specifically or primarily to the men it’s time for us to be leaders and to step up and take responsibility that God has given to us and so we’re going to do a variety of things in the month of March only men will be up on stage not that women shouldn’t be on stage is just man let’s stand up and let’s take some leadership and some ownership and we’re going to have a gun event on the second Saturn second Sunday so we’re going to want to the desert and shoot things and blow things up and you know have fun with that we’re going to have man meals in between the first in the second service guys make some really great meals and then also at the very end of the month we’re. To do what I’ve done before we did man month twice a back in two thousand and eleven and two thousand and twelve and they are now four guys teaching to do kind of like a crash course on how to do a sermon and they’re going to preach the last Sunday in March and then also the first Sunday in April they’re going to switch the two in the first service to a second service and they’re going to switch and I’ll let you know who those guys are soon as I get those commitments but we’re looking I’m looking forward to that and so that will kind of be right in the middle of our series on Daniel but if you’re in the Book of Daniel what I want to do is we’re just going to do a very brief introduction on Daniel before we really get into the first story by what I want to do is I want to read Chapter one The first seven verses so let’s go ahead and read this and kind of get ourselves for MIL you’re with The Book of Daniel. Daniel one verse seven new one one hundred seven it says. In the third year of the reign of joy king of Juda never can as your king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it and the Lord gave joy king of Juda in his hands in some of the vessels of the house of God and he brought them to the land of Shiner to the house of his God and placed the vessels in the treasury of his God Then the king commanded Ashton as the chief unic to bring some of the people of Israel both of the royal family and of the nobility use without blemish of good appearance and skilful and all wisdom endowed with knowledge and understanding learning and competent to stand in the king’s palace and it teaches them the literature and the language of the hell DNS The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate and of the wine that a drink they were to be educated for three years and at the end of the time they were to stand before the king among those were Daniel and in Iowa Michele and Azariah of the tribe of Judah and the chief of the UNIX gave them the names Daniel he called as our he called Shadrach Michel he called me Shad. And as he called a Ben ago and so here’s a little background on Daniel this happened according to the study notes that I have from the years six zero five B.C. to five hundred thirty six B.C. And so Daniel and his three friends were in captivity for roughly seventy years sixty nine or seventy years and one of the methods that we see the Babylonians did instead of going in and trying to conquer and destroy a nation what they did was ingenious they took the best and the brightest and they tried to make them like themselves tried to assimilate them try to force them to become Babylonians teach them how they think how they act and if you can get the best and the brightest in the future leaders to buy in whole heartedly to your way of life what are they going to do to the rest of the people and so this was their methodology and so this is what the Babylonians were doing a couple other things about this god of war in the nation of Israel that if they obeyed God they’d be blessed but if they disobeyed God something like this could happen I want to go and look at a couple warnings that God gave to the nation of Israel and here we see in Daniel those are still men of these warnings in these prophecies go over to Leviticus Chapter twenty six.
Leviticus Chapter twenty six. And this is right as the Israelites were taking possession of the promised land.
And God warned them Leviticus twenty six beginning in verse three.
He said to them he said if you walk in my statutes and obey my commandments and do them in other words watch what you think what you believe in what you do first for he says then I will give you your reigns in their season and the land show yields its increase and the trees of the field shall you’ll bear fruit your threshing shall last is the time of the great harvest and they repurpose last of the time of the sowing and you. Eat of your bread to the full and well in your land securely I will give peace in the land and you shall lie down and none shall make you afraid and I will remove harmful bees from the land of the sword shall not go through your land and so God is saying if you follow my commandments if you believe what I tell you and if you put that into practice you will be secure and then God gives Israel this warning look at verse fourteen.
But if you will not listen to me and you will not do all these commandments if you spurn my statues and if your soul a boar’s my rules so that you will not do any of my commandments but break my covenant then I will do this to you verse thirty three he says I was gather you among the nations and I will and she’s the sword after you and your land shall be a desolation and your cities shall be a waste and jump down the verse thirty nine says and those of you who are left shall water away in your enemies lands because of their iniquity and also because of the iniquities of their fathers that they shall rot away like them and so unfortunately we get to the time of Daniel and his friends in the nation and turn their back on God And so this prophecy or this warning is being fulfilled there is another specific prophecy that took place against the nation of Israel because of one of their king this king has acquired and this is found in Second Kings Chapter twenty. So turn over the Second Kings Chapter twenty.
KING As acquired did this and there was a prophecy against what was going to happen because of it and this is about one hundred years before Daniel takes place so Seven Kings Chapter twenty verse twelve it says at that time Murdock ballad on the Son of God and King of Babylon sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick and Hezekiah welcomed him and he showed him all the treasures his house the silver the gold the spices the precious oil his armory and all that was found in his store houses there was nothing in his house or in all his. That Hezekiah did not show them the nose Isaiah the prophet came to King as a kite and said to him what did these men say and from where did they come to you and Hezekiah said well they have come from a far country from Babylon he said What have they seen in your house and Hezekiah answered Well they have seen all that is in my house there is nothing in my storehouse that I did not show them and so you have to think Hezekiah What were you thinking this is probably a mixture of arrogance and ignorance he is showing a foreign country everything and so what do you think that’s going to do they’re going to go back to Babylon and tell them this is a wealthy nation one hundred years later he had to pay for that but in verse sixteen Isaiah tells Hezekiah what’s going to happen then Isaiah said he has a quiet hear the word of the Lord behold the days are coming when all that is in your house and that which your fathers have stored up till this day shall be carried to Babylon nothing shall be left as the Lord and some of your own sons whom you will will come from you whether you will father whom you will father shall be taken away and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. Then Hezekiah said Isaiah the word of the Lord you that you have spoken is good for he thought why not if there will be peace and security in my days.
That’s a good lesson to learn sometimes we say I don’t care what happens in the future as long as my present situation is going to be taken care of but there are consequences for our actions and sometimes those consequences they might not happen immediately but they will and so that’s the setting for the Book of Daniel and so we find ourselves kind of thrown into this this period of time in Israel’s existence where Babylon came in and displaced the nobility of Israel and they brought them to Babylon Well there are four main themes in in.
Daniel that I want to look at I’ll just briefly give those to you right now won’t say too much I think you’re. Kind of see those as we go through just like James had it’s main main theme or main focus of the book of James was maturity to be mature we see these course themes and there’s more but these four main themes and that is this the first thing is that God’s children can be faithful even living amidst a corrupt generation God’s children can be faithful second second theme I have some passages that I was going to get into I won’t right now I will get into those as we’re going to go into the series the second one is the God will use his true children to influence the last and global and national leaders God uses his children to influence others in fact I do want to read this passage I want you to turn over the first Peter to. First Peter chapter two here Peter is really encouraging the readers of this book to live good lives among the pagans and so he says this first Peter chapter two we’re encouraging says this beloved I urge us Sojourners and as exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war against your soul. Verse twelve keep your conduct among the Gentiles on arable so that when they speak against you is evil doers they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day a visitation and so if we as God’s children watch our conduct it will be used by God as a testimony to the nations and to a corrupt generation. Another theme that we’re going to see and this is something we see also Scripture and that is that God opposes the proud but exalts the humble we see that also Scripture says when pride comes then comes disgrace but was wisdom the hope but with the humble there is wisdom and the force a key theme that we’re going to see and we see especially see that in the last. Six chapters of Daniel which we won’t spend too much time in but that is that God is in control of human history God is in perfect control of human history in efficient chapter one Paul writes to those an emphasis and he writes to us and he says in him we have obtained an inheritance having been predestined No Listen to this according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will and other words God knows exactly what is supposed to happen what will happen in the future and there’s nothing that mankind can do to subvert or stop God’s plan from taking place and so we see that taking place in the Book of Daniel and we see that taking place in our lives today and so when we look at the world around us when we get scared and confused we can relax and know God’s in control and God’s timeline is exactly where it should be and all we need to do is humbly live our lives for him and be used by God for His glory.
You know like Daniel and his friends I’m looking forward to the series for those of you who have never read or heard any of the stories in the Book of Daniel These are some of the really good ones Jim you’re going to enjoy some of these stories are wonderful and what we’ll do is we’ll try to get some inspiration from Daniel and his friends and they were able to be aware of the cultural influences that were going on around them and they made a decision early on in their life they said you know what we might be living in a foreign land but we are Hebrews we are children of the One True God and my commitment to God is not going to change so we’ll see these different events that come up in their life and how they’re able to stay committed and so I hope that what we will do as we see the world around us always changing and maybe will be inspired by their fierce commitment and loyalty to God that we will continue to develop our commitment to Jesus Christ No Paul says in Philippians two to forty. In fifteen he says do all things without grumbling or disputing that you may be blameless and innocent children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation among whom you shine is lights in the world. That’s what God wants from us to be lights in a crock generation N. and I think it’s wonderful how it says in verse fourteen do all things without grumbling or disputing it’s amazing how our piece in our patients will really be a shining testimony to the world around us well for the next couple months I hope the testimony of these four young men these four faithful servants of God will inspire us to be faithful as well as we live in this day and age Let’s close in prayer. Dear Lord I thank you for giving us your entire word and we see men and women. Showing in developing their commitment and you from Genesis all the way through the Book of Revelation and lore we just take time these next two or three months as we look at Daniel Shadrach Meshach and Abednego and we look at these men and how they chose to be committed to you Lord I pray that that will increase our awareness of of of what are our enemy the devil our adversary is doing in the world around us he is he is roaring like a lion looking for someone to devour and so help us to be aware of these cultural influences and to develop that firm conviction and commitment the Lord the things that should not change won’t and may we just be inspired by the testimony that you’ve given to us in the Book of Daniel so now Lord I pray that you’ll keep us safe and especially as we come back next week to continue to worship you pray these things in Christ.
And I mean the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all meant.