Sunday, July 23, 2006

True Faithfulness

By: Dr. H. D. Cockerham, Pastor Emeritus, Zion Baptist Church; Chairman, Board of Trustees, Simmons College of Kentucky

Daniel 3:16-19

"(V16) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
(V 17) If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
(V18) But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
(V19) Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace once seven times more than it was wont to be heated. "
True faithfulness requires a willingness to be faithful to God no matter what happens in our lives. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were pressured in their circumstance to deny God, but they chose to trust God to be their deliverer. “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king (v. 17)."

We should be faithful to serve God whether He intervenes in our fiery circumstances or not. Our eternal reward is worth any suffering we may endure. We should not magnify ourselves and get too “kingly.” Christians should be different, and love those who offend them, but they should not do so at the expense of God’s glory.

Oftentimes, we make excuses for bowing down, “We will worship this one time, and ask God to forgive us;” “The King appointed us, and we owe it to him;” “We’re not hurting anybody if we bow down.”

We know how to make excuses when we want to make something up, “I would support Simmons, but….” However, Simmons needs to survive because the world is looking on and wants her to fail. Excuses are dangerous rationalizations. What excuses do you use for not standing up for what is right?

God said, “Thou shalt have none other gods before me (Deuteronomy 5:7)." The Hebrew boys would not break the rules. They would magnify the Excellency of God.

The king tried to attract their attention, and ordered them to be put in the fiery furnace, “…he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace once seven times more than it was wont to be heated.” (Daniel 3:19) Sometimes we are tempted to fret and go in a different direction. The king ordered the boys to be tied up and laid down. He had the bravest and strongest men throw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into the fiery furnace. The heat was so severe that the men who threw them in suffocated.

Later, King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished. He asked his counselors, "Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king (V 24)." King Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire…and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God (V 25)."

God is able to make a way out of no way! Stay put. Pray in season and out of season. Give Him praise, give Him thanks, and lift up His name. He is faithful in His promises. He will deliver. He will save. Simmons will survive. Even with friends lost, God is able to raise new friends. Trusting God requires true faithfulness. Be faithful!

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Noon Chapel Service Message Notes for April 24, 2006. Message summarized by Angela Lee Price, Student, Simmon College of Kentucky. Reprinted with permission of Dr. H. D. Cockerham. Audio cassettes of sermons are available at the Simmons College bookstore.
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Remember, it is not Mohammad, Buddha, Confucius, nor New Age that saves. Jesus Saves!



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