“Faith in the Fire?” or “Faith in Jesus Christ?” (Part 6)
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” – Daniel 3:16-18.
This is the last sermon in my six-part sermon series on “Faith” – “Faith in the Fire?” or “Faith in Jesus Christ?” Separate or are they one-in-the-same???
Let be begin with this question: Is your faith strong today? Strong enough to face a danger? The Bible says if you have the Faith of a mustard seed you can cast mountains into the ocean!! Do you know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you are right with GOD??
Sometimes when circumstances are difficult – it can be tough to keep the faith. But God desires that we trust in Him even if our prayers are not answered.
II. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Originally known as Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah – the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the fiery furnace of King Nebuchadnezzar – is one that many of us have heard since childhood.
These three men were faithful followers of God. They refused to compromise and bow before the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had made for people to worship.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego though captives in Babylon – stood in front of the most powerful man of his time and boldly proclaimed that under no circumstances would they worship the giant image of gold towering above them.
Together they declared: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But EVEN IF he does not, we want you to know we will not worship the image.” (emphasis mine)
These three men were thrown into the fiery furnace – and God miraculously delivered them. They were prepared to die but their trust in God was unconditional – “even if” they knew it was possible that they would be killed for not obeying the king’s order – and yet they remained loyal to God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were ready to serve God – regardless of the circumstances. Can you say that you are also that ready to serve God? That is a question for every one of us.
III. Life’s Not a Bouquet of Roses.
All of you know that life’s not a bouquet of roses. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” – Psalm 34:19.
We all go through difficulties – – None are exempted! Problems are impartial. Problems are totally insensitive! In Matthew 5:45 Jesus said, “It rains on the just and the unjust too.”
Being a person of faith doesn’t exempt us from the trouble of life. Every problem has a dual nature! They can either draw us closer to God or they separate us from Him. When some believers are facing trials
they give up their faith in God: They stop praying – attending church – giving to the things of God – and reading Bible. But it ought not to be so! The purpose of life itself is in solving problems. Some are even going through theirs right now. It may be in your marriage – business – health – ministry – relationship – job – school – or finances.
But please know this – Every problem has an expiration date – because Problems are transient. The Bible calls it our “light affliction” in 2 Corinthians 4:17. This light affliction is but for a moment – for a short time – and then it will be gone. It’s also written in Psalm 30:5 – “weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.”
No storm lasts forever – the wind will stop blowing – the battle will end – the rain will stop and your sun will shine again! Don’t give up in your trials. The night with its darkness will soon be over. Nothing lasts forever!
(ILL) When I deployed October 2001 to Afghanistan at the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, our orders had a place for the deployment date and the return date. Of course, we knew our date of deployment but in the place for the return day it had five letters – “INDEF” (Indefinite). We had no idea when we would be returning home. Sort of like our World War II dads and grandads who deployed for the duration of the war. I was blessed however and came home after 189 days in combat.
There’s an old Cherokee saying that goes like this: “Only the rocks last forever.” And we have a life line in Psalm 50:15 – “And call on me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
IV. Unconditional Faith!
Sometimes when circumstances are difficult – it can be tough to keep the faith. But God desires that we trust in Him – even if our prayers are not answered. We must never let our trust in God become conditional because we don’t see His goodness. Our trust and faith must be unconditional.
Faith is trusting God even when it doesn’t make sense. Abraham had to wait for 25 years before he saw his son Isaac. Soon afterwards God tested his faith and asked him to sacrifice his son. And when Abraham obeyed, He showed that he had unconditional trust. When God saw it – He was excited to reward his obedience.
When you have unconditional faith in God you can never be frustrated. Faith believes in God regardless of the circumstances.
A. What is Unconditional Faith?
So . . . What is Unconditional Faith?
1. A faith in God that is not subject to any condition.
2. It is to trust God without limitation or reservation.
3. Unconditional faith is total faith in God.
4. It is absolute trust.
5. Unconditional faith is a complete trust in the Lord.
6. Unconditional trust is believing God
when we don’t understand or see what He’s doing.
7. Unconditional trust is blind faith in God and His promises.
B. Trusting God Unconditionally.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego trusted God unconditionally. They were committed no matter the outcome. Even if God choose not to deliver them the way they desired – they were determined to stand firm and be faithful. That is the proper attitude we should all have. It is not a matter of whether things turn out as we hope – the issue is whether we will be true to God.
C. Unconditional Faith is to Love God.
Unconditional faith is to love God – all the time and regardless of circumstances. We trust Him because He love us unconditionally. Your trust requires you to believe in Him and follow Him wholeheartedly. There is no limit to what God can and will do if you fully believe in Him. So give Him your unconditional trust and faith today.
D. Because God Has a Plan.
Why should we have unconditional faith and love for God? Because God has a plan – and it’s much
better than anything we can ever do. After all – He’s busy working behind the scenes!
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” – Romans 8:28-29.
Faith believes that God always knows best. Faith believes that God has our best interests in mind. Faith believes that He is in control – and therefore we can rest easily.
V. How to Develop Unconditional Faith.
So . . . how do we develop unconditional faith?
A. Know God – Then Know Yourself.
What gave Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego the confidence to speak so boldly? They knew their God and they knew what He could do.
Do you know God? Do you have a relationship with Him? Don’t only seek the Hands of God for miracles – seek to please Him.
Knowing God you must then come to know yourself.Do you know who you are? Let me answer that for you – You are a child of God. You are redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb.
B. Love God Unconditionally.
If you know who God is – His power – his authority – His faithfulness and love – your faith in Him will grow.
C. Feed Your Faith Daily.
The Word of God is alive. What we listen to affects what we believe. Go deeper into the Word through study, reflection, and questions.
D. Exercise Your Faith.
Every believer has been given a measure of faith by God. Hence, we must put our faith into action. Practice what you read – Trust what the Bible says.
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you” – Romans 12:3.
E. Speak to Your Faith – Speak light in the dark –
Speak life in the valley of dry bones – Speak testimonies.
F. Free Your Faith from Doubt and Negativity.
From Scripture comes the best answer:
“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” – James 1:6.
G. Share Your Faith With Others.
When your faith is strengthened strengthen others – share your faith with others.
H. Endure Trials.
Remember – everything has an ending. Nothing lasts forever.
I. Be Obedient.
Obedience is submitting to what God requires of us.
J. Give Thanks.
Give thanks for the results before you see them. Don’t complain – that shows you doubt God’s love and God’s answer to your situation.
“Give thanks in all circumstancess; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
K. Develop a Life of Praise and Worship.
Praise drives the powers of darkness away and brings the throne of God into your circumstances. Praising God is an act of faith and helps your faith to grow. Your victory is guaranteed when you praise Him. You can praise God even in your problems. [2 Chronicles 20:21-25, Acts 16:23-30.]
VI. Conclusion – “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” – Job 13:15a.
These were words from a man determined to serve God despite his loses. Job was set on following and trusting God – with complete disregard of his circumstances. He lost everything – but Job’s faith was unshaken and unconditional.
We cannot say we believe in God while our faith is in question during trials – Dare to trust Him. Not just when things are going your way – but even when you don’t understand it.
Is your faith in God conditional or unconditional? If God says no to your prayers and desires – will you still serve Him? Even if God left Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the furnace – He would still be God and Our God is able to heal and to deliver – but even if He doesn’t – will you still serve Him?
If you are in the middle of difficulty today – look to God. The Bible says that He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. What you are facing is only temporary. Victory is on the way – and it’s closer than you think! Keep standing – keep praying – keep believing – keep praising – keep hoping – keep serving – and keep confessing the Word.
Cease from worry and fear – Refuse to doubt. Have total faith in God – Trust Him unconditionally. God honored the faith of the three Hebrews men. He delivered them from death – and His name was glorified. Your case is not hopeless – God cannot abandon His own. Only He has the final say.
I can best close with these words from Isaiah:
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze” – Isaiah 43:2.
Let Us Pray – Father God, we come to You right now confessing that You are an all-powerful – all knowing – all present God. When we fail to put our trust in You change our hearts from disobedience to a heart that will obey You. With our new hearts, we will believe that it is because of our weakness and disobedience that You came into this world – You died for our sins – take away our problems – fill us up with Your Holy Spirit – write our names in the Book of Life, and make us brand new in Your mighty name. O God our Father, manifest Your power in our lives, in Jesus name – Amen.