Face the Fire

Idolatry, Compromise, Persecution - Facing the Fire

 

Biblical Truth

When believers are called on to stand publicly for their faith, they must refuse to compromise.

 

Verses and Outline

Threatening Demand (Dan. 3:1-2, 4-6)

Determined Defiance (Dan. 3:8, 12-14)

Confident Defense (Dan. 3:16-18)

Amazing Deliverance (Dan. 3:24-26, 28)

 

Most people in America are not faced with a law that tells them they have to bow down before an idol. However, everyday we are faced with smaller challenges to our Christian faith. Eventually, the small, daily compromises we make to the current culture put us on a collision course with our allegiance to Christ.
 
George Barna wrote a book about "The Frog in the Kettle." The parable indicates that a frog will stay in a boiling pot if you begin by putting him in cold water and then gradually turn up the heat. In other words a person is more likely to compromise his or her faith gradually over time without even realizing it.

 

Dan. 3:1-2, 4-6

King Nebuchadnezzar built a statute 90 ft tall and 9 ft wide (about like a nine story building) and demanded everyone bow down to the idol when they heard the music play. The punishment for not doing so was to be thrown into a fiery furnace.
 
Do believers live under that kind of threat today? If not, what kind of threat do we live under?
 
What people, things, or ideas compete in your life for God’s rightful place? In what subtle ways do we fall into the trap of worshipping people and things other than God?

 

Dan. 3:8, 12-14

Some of the Chaldeans reminded the King what he had said and then started attacking Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They accused them of 3 things:

  • Disregarding or ignoring the King
  • Not serving the King’s gods.
  • Not bowing down – worshipping the idol

This made the King furious and had them brought to him so he could ask if it was true.

  • Why do you think some of the Chaldeans out to get the Hebrew men? What would they gain from the death of the three men?
  • Why are a Christian work ethic and a Christian lifestyle a threat to many people?
  • Does living out our faith automatically lead to social problems? Why or why not?
  • What do unbelievers gain when a believer suffers for taking a stand?

Sometimes trials give us a larger platform to share our faith.

 

Dan. 3:15-18

Do you think the king was giving them a second chance to obey him?

Some say yes, others say no, not really…he was going to follow through with his plans anyway. He was too angry to reason with.

Why did they choose to declare their convictions rather than let the music play again (Dan. 3:16-18)?

 

The three Hebrew men showed their confidence in God by being obedient. Their confidence was not that He would spare their lives. Their confidence was that He would accept their obedience.

 

  • Think about the various types of relationships that mean a great deal to you and the people in those relationships.
  • What risks would you be willing to take for some of those people?
 

Think about how much your relationship with God means to you. What risks would you be willing to take for the Lord?

What sacrifices would you be willing to make for God? The quality and depth of one's relationship with God will influence just how bold he is willing to be when his allegiance to God is at stake.

 

  1. How insulated are we in our culture from the serious tests of faith experienced in other parts of the world?
  2. Does knowing that Christians in many places all over the world are persecuted everyday increase our own willingness to stand for Christ?
 What adjustments do we need to make to become a bolder witness for Christ?

 

Dan. 3:19-30

  • How did the miraculous deliverance of the three Hebrew young men affect the king? What impact did it have on the kingdom?
  • How did God use the faithfulness of the three young men as a "platform" for a miracle?
  • When were the men victorious?
  • Was the men's deliverance for their safety or for God's glory?

 

Summary

  • Ungodly demands may be placed on believers that threaten their very lives.
  • Determine now to reject all forms of idolatry.
  • People of true faith refuse to compromise in the face of grave danger.

 

Think about situations you may face this week that may cause you to compromise your faith.

  • Things on TV, radio, or in Movies
  • A supervisor may ask you to do something unethical.
  • A friend wants to share gossip.
  • You may feel the need to lie to cover up an embarrassing situation.
  1.   This week let’s try to honor God at every opportunity and boldly stand for Christ when called on to do so.
  2. Look at Daniel 3:16-18 and 1 Peter 3:15-16 to help prepare for unexpected attacks.

Remember this verse when you are faced with the fire: Read Isaiah 43:2

God is with us in our times of fire just like He was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

 

 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16