- Growth Tracks:
- Men’s Ministry - Guys, we’re excited to let you know that our Men’s Ministry has kicked off their fall study, Monday's at 7:00pm . We’re going to be doing Tim Keller’s study on “The Reason for God,” and would love to have you join us!
- Womens Ministry: The Ladies have launched their fall study as well, Wednesdays at 10am and 7pm. We are studying with the video series "The Armor Of God" with Priscilla Shirer. Come join us!
Lots of options for you...
** Very Important : Please click on the link below for the week # 2 Leader video :
[vimeo 182770893 width="640" height="360"]
Main Text: Daniel 1:8-16
Sermon Title: Messy, Part 2: Resolve Your Allegiance
Sermon Topic: (Not to be read or e-mailed to your group … this is for the leader’s review and recollection)
- Daniel finds himself taken from Jerusalem as one of the many Jewish exiles. He is now in Babylon and that changes everything. So much of the law was built on Israel’s theocratic governmental structure. But that government has toppled. The law was built on their relationship to the land, but now they can’t even travel to Jerusalem for the feasts. The law was built on the sacrificial system. But the temple is destroyed. Everything is changed. What does holiness to the Lord even look like? They are in exile, and it’s messy.
- On top of that, Daniel and three of his friends find themselves in the Babylonian King’s court being trained to be his advisors. Which is basically being trained to be a sorcerer. How can they be classified along with these other practitioners of witchcraft. Still worse, their names are changed from declarations of praise to God, to names that are declarations of idolatry. They can’t even introduce themselves without feeling like they are sinning. It’s messy.
- BUT God is with them in the mess. And He helps them know when and how to take a stand.
- They take a stand on the issue of their diet. It was one thing it looked like they had control over. It was one of the perks of the job. It wasn’t an easy sell, but they wisely and graciously found a way to take a stand.
- But it all started with RESOLVE. They resolved in their hearts that they would not defile themselves.
- Christians are also in exile. We live in a pagan culture. The next time we will be living in a theocracy will be heaven. But for now, we are trying to be godly in a culture that isn’t conducive to godliness. So when and how to take a stand?
- Step 1: RESOLVE YOUR ALLEGIANCE
- In the end you have to know where your main allegiance is. Is it God or something else. Because if your allegiance is divided, then you will end up compromising. You have to know what will win - godliness or success. Will it be God’s way or that relationship you are in.
- If you have an area of weakness, then ask a Christian friend or leader to weigh in.
- Step 2: DISCERN WHEN
- Wait on the Lord. He has work prepared before for you to do. You WILL have to take a stand at some point. But pick God’s battles. You are not the Messiah, it’s not every battle and not all in your timing. Wait on him.
- Discern the difference between things you are getting exposed to and things that are beginning to influence you. It’s one thing to be exposed to sin. It’s an entirely different situation if that is starting to lead you into sin.
- Step 3: CHOOSE HOW
- When you take a stand it doesn’t have to be combative. Be gracious, respectful. Ask for God’s wisdom on how to make it a win for the person you report to. Don’t be self-righteous and demanding. Be loving and humble.
SUGGESTED DISCUSSION QUESTIONS...
(Please feel free to modify questions to accommodate your specific group!)
HIGH/LOW: What was the high point of your week and the low point?
Please read: Daniel 1:8-16
- How is living in exile so different than living in Israel, for Daniel and his friends?
- What are the parallels between Daniel living in exile, and us living in our present context?
- Why do you think Daniel picked this particular issue to take a stand on?
- Why is resolving our allegiance the most important first step in operating as a Christian in a messy context?
- What is strategic about how Daniel went about this particular stand?
- How do you discern what battles God wants you to fight?
- What does it look like to wait on the Lord, when choosing which battles to fight?
- How can being too combative or too conflict-avoiding affect how well we engage the world?
- What is your tendency: to be too combative or conflict-avoiding?
- What is one messy situation you find yourself in right now?
- Imagine you show up for the first day of class, sit down at the desk and pull out your books and your laptop. You are ready to go. Then the professor walks in, and begins his intro lecture. That’s when you realize. You are in the wrong class. You now have to make the walk of shame to the exit. Maybe you’ve been in a place where you feel like you don’t belong. It couldn’t have been worse than what the biblical character Daniel felt. For him it was a spiritual issue. How could he possible be a godly person, in an environment completely opposed to that effort? That’s life in exile. And if you are a Christ-follower, the Bible says you are in exile too. Maybe you’ve felt that before. It’s difficult to live a godly life in an environment that is not set up to promote godliness. That’s Daniel’s story. We can learn a lot from him. Particularly instructive is what he did first… he resolved his allegiance.