If You Don’t Stand for Something, You’ll Fall for Anything (Understanding the convictions of Daniel)

Sunday, March 29th, 2009
Sermon Series: Daniel

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You Have to Stand for Something

or You’ll Fall for Anything

Understanding the convictions of Daniel

Turn to Luke 18:8.  There were times in our Lord’s ministry that He became very transparent and allowed us to get a glimpse inside to see what was really going on, and this is one of those times.  I am going to isolate a phrase out of this chapter, and as you read through Luke 18, the phrase almost appears out of context.  He is talking about prayer, but when you come to verse 8, He mentions something in the last part of the verse that doesn’t seem to fit.  I realize this is one of those times when His guard was down, and He allowed us to sense the beat of His heart.  This is a question I have often asked, maybe you have too.  Luke 18, the last part of verse 8, “However, when the Son of man comes, will He find faith on the earth.”

The original adds the definite article, translated literally it would read, “However, when the Son of man comes, will He find the faith on the earth.  Will there be anyone who believes in Me, or will all of them have sold out?”  Will anyone still stand with me when I come, or will all have compromised?  It is a very penetrating question.

It has been my observation, and with a lot of statistical back-up, that half of all students involved in a youth ministry today, one-half after high school graduation will walk away from Christ never to return.  It is the same way in many churches, where they press people to make decisions to accept Jesus, about half are not genuinely saved and later depart from the faith.

I think of Demas.  Could you be on the downward spiral of Demas?  His name occurs three times in the New Testament.  The first time it says, “Demas, my fellow laborer.”  The second time it says, “Demas.”  And the third time it says in 2 Timothy 4:10, “For Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me.”  Demas sold out, walked away–he deserted Paul in his hour of need.

Selling out is nothing new to Jesus Christ.  He faced it all of the time.  In Matthew 4:25 it says, “And great multitudes followed Him from Galilee and Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.”  Multitudes is plural, not just one crowd of people, but many crowds.  They came by the thousands.  Jesus Christ was big press.  When He entered into a town, it was like a mega-concert for free–Paul McCartney with Kenny Chesney, the Eagles and Dave Matthews band.  People poured out to see Him in multiple multitudes.

In John 6, He fed 5,000 men plus women and children–some people estimate a crowd in excess of 20-25,000 people.  Jesus preached a scorcher of a sermon, and the bottom line was this, “You are following Me for the wrong reason; you came to get a free lunch, that’s all.  If you want to be My follower, you must partake of Me, not just the food I miraculously produced.”  And when He was through preaching, He gave the invitation and the people turned their backs and one by one they walked away.  One by one they left–they crumbled under the pressure.

And when the dust settled and Jesus looked around—I’m sure it was one of the saddest days in His life.  He looked around and all He saw were the twelve.  Twenty-five thousand down to twelve–and Jesus turned to the twelve, and I believe with sadness asked a very penetrating question.  He said to them, “Will you also go away?”  They had all sold out.  And Peter pushed the other eleven behind him and said, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You alone have the words of eternal life.”

But when the pressure was on, he was the first to crumble.  In front of a little maid girl, three times, “I do not even know the man”–he sold out.  Praise the Lord for His forgiving grace.  In the gospels, the disciples said, “Lord, we have left everything to follow you.”  But then at the end of His life it says of the disciples, “They all left Him; He died alone.”

Paul started churches all over the world, but in 2 Timothy 4 he died almost alone.  It says, “Demas is departed; only Luke is with me.”  What about you?  How much will it take?  What’s your price?  What does this world or Satan have to do to cause you to sell out?  When the Son of man comes, will He find faith on the earth, or will we all sell out?  Good question.

Maybe you heard about the woman who had a job as a secretary, and her boss approached her one day and asked her to have an affair with him, a sexual encounter.  The woman responded, “I am a married woman, I have a husband and children.  I couldn’t do that.”  Her boss realized they were having some financial difficulty, and so he said to her one day, in the privacy of his office, “If I give you $1,000, then can we have an affair?  One time, one act, no one will know, for $1,000.”  She hesitated, she thought, and said, “Let me get it straight.  One time?  Just once, and no one will know, $1,000?”  He said, “That’s right.”  She said, “OK.”  His response, “How about for $100.”  She became livid, and screamed at the top of her voice, “What kind of woman do you think I am?”  His answer was profound.  He calmly replied, “We’ve already determined what kind of woman you are–now we are merely dickering over the price.”

What is your price?  You say, “Why are we talking about this?”  Because . . . you’ll never understand Daniel and his three friends unless you understand convictions.  There are truths that must never be compromised.  There is behavior that is non-negotiable.  There is teaching which we must never sell-out.  For if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.  Do you have any convictions?

A conviction is to the spiritual life of the Christian like a skeleton to the physical body–it gives it substance and support.  But you ask–what are they?

#1  What are convictions?

Ask yourself this morning, do you have any convictions–in your beliefs and in your behavior?  Any non-negotiables you would never alter, never change, never sell out under any circumstances?  What is it that you would never compromise?  With Daniel, he couldn’t compromise God’s Word on dietary restrictions.  What truths would you never compromise?

What’s incredible to me is our judicial system understands convictions better than many Christians.  Some decades ago, the Supreme Court faced a difficult case.  Can a parent send their child to a Christian school and not a public school if they choose to?  A certain public school system was attempting to prevent parents from that choice.  The public school system lawyers said no, because the private schools were not adequately teaching.  The parents were saying yes, because the public schools were exposing their children to pornography, profanity, etc.

It was a court case, not our church position–we believe schooling is a parental decision.  What was the Supreme Court decision?  The Supreme Court decided if it was a preference for these parents to send their kids to a private Christian school, then they could not do it–but if it was a conviction, they could.  Listen carefully to how the Supreme Court defined the difference between a preference and a conviction.  The Supreme Court made three assumptions:

l.  A man can’t hold a belief if he cannot somehow describe his belief.  (“You can’t say, ‘It seems to me,’ or ‘I can’t find it in the Word.’”)

2.  A man must have a knowledge of his beliefs.  He must know what he believes.  (“You can’t hide behind the title Christian or reformed.”)

3.  A man must understand if his belief is a preference or a conviction.  Every belief you hold is either one of two types–preferences or convictions.  Sadly, people of conviction are very rare.

Listen to how they described a preference.  It’s a strong belief that states:

l.  I am willing to go into full-time service for this belief (be a missionary, be a pastor, be a teacher for this belief)

2.  I am willing to give all my wealth to this preference

3.  I desire to persuade others to follow this belief (I will give my energy, my heart, and all my time to this belief)

4.  I would want to teach this belief to my children

But a preference is a belief that would change under circumstances.  Because of peer pressure, family pressure, going to jail, or if your life is threatened, you might change this belief.

Now listen to how a conviction is described.  It’s a belief I will not change under any circumstances.  It is a belief God requires of me.  It’s God-ordered.  So how do you test a conviction?  (Evaluate yourself and see if you have any convictions)

l.  Is this belief something that I purpose in my heart?  Is it a fabric of my belief system?  (Did you make it up, or is it a part of a bigger system?)  So many Christians think they have convictions over what they believe, but they can’t explain what they believe.  Others have strong beliefs, but no convictions in their behavior.

2.  Do others have to stand for this belief before I will stand for it?  (Do you need anyone else?)

3.  Would I be willing to negotiate my belief with anyone?  (Would I be willing to bend my belief for others?)

4.  Must I be assured of victory before I accept this belief?  (Only if it goes well/only if it works/or no matter what?)

5.  Can this belief be seen in my lifestyle?  (If you bring out witnesses (friends, family) can you confirm this belief is found in my lifestyle?)

6.  Is this belief consistent in my life?  (It’s a pattern in my life–it’s more in my life than not in my life.)

Only if it was a conviction would they allow these parents to send their kids to a private school.  They did, and so they got to go.  What kind of convictions do you have?  A conviction is like gravity, it keeps you firmly grounded on the rock.  “But,” you say, “Chris, where do I get convictions?”  I am so glad you asked, because the foundation for any true conviction is the Word of God.

Turn to Jude 3 and let’s discover what a Biblical conviction looks like.  In the midst of a book that blasts false doctrine, errors of truth and heresy, the half-brother of our Lord says in verse 3, “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

“Contend earnestly” is to agonize–to win the contest

“The faith”–because of the definite article used here, we know this is the body of Christian truth, the sum of what Christians believe, the Bible

“Once for all”–means this is it, that’s all there is, nothing added, nothing taken away

“Delivered”–means entrusted, committed, handed down from God

What am I getting at?  The Christian faith is built on a foundation of unalterable truth—this is it.  It’s not only the Word of God, it’s the final Word.  It cannot be changed, adjusted or altered, no matter what.  Do you remember when your Dad said, “That’s it”?  True convictions are like that.  They are governing.  They watch over your life, order your actions, and control your behavior.

The foundation for any true conviction is the Word of God.  If the Bible requires it, it is God-ordered.  If it is God-ordered, it is a conviction.  If it’s a conviction and God-ordered, what is it if I don’t do it?  It’s sin.  Before I can say it’s a conviction in my life, I must be prepared to say the opposite of it is sin.

Do you have any Biblically-based convictions?  A conviction is like a guard rail–it keeps you from going off cliffs, and guides you along the road.  Therefore, convictions are . . .

#2  The importance of convictions

The Bible models for us the importance of convictions, and get this, the Bible does not merely call for convictions about beliefs, but the Bible calls for convictions about behavior–your lifestyle.  And God shows us in His Word, He honors His children who live by convictions based upon His Truth.

Last week, in Daniel chapter 1, Daniel showed us his conviction over diet–his food and drink.  In verse 8, Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food.  Daniel set his heart.  Why?  The diet consisted of foods that were forbidden in the Old Testament Scripture.  As a result, God blessed and used Daniel (and the three) greatly.  Daniel had a conviction over a minor dietary issue in the law.

In Daniel 6, under a new kingdom and a new ruler, the jealous advisors tried to find something against Daniel.  But he was blameless.  So they got the king to agree to be ”god” for a month, so now everyone had to worship the king only, or be tossed in a lions’ den.  And what was Daniel’s response?  He went and openly worshipped the true God in prayer.  Daniel had a conviction over prayer.

Did Daniel need others to agree before he would pray?  No.  Was he in need of negotiating?  Did he plead with the king?  Was he assured of victory?  Did he pull all the lions’ teeth and claws?  No, Daniel had a conviction over prayer.

In Daniel 3, Nebuchadnezzar wanted to solidify his new kingdom, so he makes a statue (from his dream in chapter 2) so everyone in the entire conquered world can affirm their loyalty by bowing down to that statue, or be thrown into a fiery furnace.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego did not bow down.  They had a conviction as to who the true king was.  They had a conviction about worshipping the one true God alone.

In Genesis 39, Joseph now sold into slavery, has been purchased by Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s body guard.  The Lord was with Joseph, so he prospered and was elevated to be in charge of the entire house.  But trouble began to brew.  Trouble–that starts with “T”, that rhymes with “P”, and that stands for Potiphar’s wife.  Potiphar’s wife wanted to have an affair with Joseph.  But Joseph had a conviction, see verse 9, “How then could I do this great evil, and sin against God?”  Joseph had a conviction over personal purity.  As a result of a conviction for purity, Joseph spent two more years in prison, unjustly.

Turn to Acts chapter 4.  Peter and John healed a lame man, preached the Gospel, and thousands responded.  Peter and John were arrested, and told in verse 17 to speak no more to any man in this name.  And what was their response?  Verses 19 to 20 say, “But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20 for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard.’”  Sharing the gospel was a conviction they were willing to be jailed for.  They refused to shut their mouths about Christ, and today we won’t open them.

Jesus had convictions; otherwise he would not have made a whip and cleaned out the temple, or verbally blasted the Pharisees, calling them a bunch of snakes.  A conviction is like a lighthouse–it points the way in the darkness.  Or convictions are like a compass, they’ll never let you get lost.

Christian, do you have any convictions, or will you sell out for a price?  A belief is what you hold–a conviction is what holds you.  Convictions are absolutes sunk so deeply into your life–they drive you in one direction and keep you from all others.  They’re the incontestable absolutes of your life.  Do you have any?  You need to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.

If you’re to stand, you must have convictions–and every true Christian will have convictions.  If the Bible requires it, it is God-ordered.  If it is God-ordered, it’s a conviction.  If it is a conviction and God-ordered, then not doing it is sin.  The world says, “Whatever the majority votes is morally right.”  Thus, for society, abortion is right–but not for the Christian.  The world says, truth is subjective–truth for you is not truth for me.  What you decide is your truth–your view determines your lifestyle.  But not for the true believer–truth is objective, God is Lord and He determines what we believe and how we live.

The world says our law determines what’s right.  But God says, His Word is the only truth.  And what Jesus says is right is always right, and what He says is wrong is always wrong, and what He commands is always best and good, and what He forbids is always wrong and damaging for us.

If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.  What are you going to stand for?  What are your non-negotiables?  What are some truths you need to have convictions over?  There are so many, let me just share a few the Bible makes clear, and that FBC’s ministry leaders believe are crucial for this church family.

#3  Developing areas of convictions

If you had to write them down, what would be areas of conviction for you?  Hopefully you’d say . . .

First  I belong to Christ alone, and follow Him in everything

Romans 14:8, “For if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”  We who are true believers don’t belong to ourselves, we don’t own our lives, we don’t do our own thing, we don’t take time off from church, we don’t take vacations from God, we don’t take breaks from Jesus, we live and die for Him, we are His.

Second Corinthians 5:15, “He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.”  We don’t live for ourselves anymore, we live for Him.  We don’t do what we want anymore, we do what He wants.  Our lives are now His. Jesus said so clearly in . . .

John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”  Those who don’t follow Christ and live for Christ in everything are given some frightening and pointed warnings.

Luke 6:46,”Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.”  Get this right, friends–if you don’t follow Christ, you are not His child.  And when you fail to follow Christ, you are broken over it, confess it, repent of it and in your heart, you wish you had followed Christ.

Yes, you are saved by grace, and you live by grace–but your life will want to follow Christ because you belong to Him.  Do you have a conviction that your life is no longer yours, but His?  All true Christians follow Christ–and if you are not following Christ, then you need to repent or admit you are not His child.

Second  I believe the Bible alone is the will of Christ

Second Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.”  Inspired means God-breathed, the very words of God, the very words God speaks and means and says.  Therefore, the Bible is absolutely true, and the final authority in my life–period.  Like the bumper sticker reads:  God said it, I believe it, that settles it.  In reality, the truth is:  God said it, that settles it, whether you believe it or not.

To do anything other than what this Book commands would be to sell out.  It is not optional for Christians.  We’re living in a day where people want opinion.  Being a Bible teacher, there is a lot of pressure to preach opinion–to water down God’s message.  Teachers feel it all the time.  You don’t want to be offensive–you don’t want to sound inflexible, or arrogant or unbending.  But remember, if you’re teaching God’s truth and doing it in love, it’s not your opinion, it’s God’s wisdom–His very words, His will.  Therefore, don’t you dare water it down when the Bible speaks directly.  God help us.  The sell-outs are everywhere.

In I Thessalonians, 4:8 Paul said, “He who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God.”  That’s the fire you have in your teaching.  I know no fear when I preach, because I know as long as I declare this truth, I’m declaring the Word of Almighty God, and if you reject it, it’s not me you’re rejecting, but the God who wrote it.  Therefore I know no fear, and neither should you–in teaching or living it.  The Bible has one meaning, and when it’s clear, die for it. The Bible is not a smorgasbord where you pick what you like and skip the rest.

In a day of subtle sell-outs, let’s be those who declare the Bible as the only book inspired by God, therefore absolutely true, and the final authority in our lives.  God said in Ezra 7:10, “For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.”  Let’s study it to live it, then we teach it.  You have to stand for something, or you will fall for anything.

Third  I love the Church as the heart and plan of Christ

The Church is the bride of Christ, it is the body of Christ–we are the sheep and He is the shepherd.  And even though Christ loves His children individually and personally, every one of His true children belongs to something bigger and grander.  We are a part of His body–we together make up His bride, His flock.

Speaking of the Church, Paul says in Ephesians 4:16, “From whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”  We function like gears in a machine.  We function like organs in a body.  We all are a part of something that can glorify God together, that we personally could never accomplish on our own individually.

We together can represent Christ to others far more effectively than we can individually.  The Church is so important, you can’t parent Biblically without the Church, and you can’t fight spiritual warfare without the local church corporately.  Develop a conviction to love the local church.  What’s that look like?  You faithfully serve in the local church, you sacrificially give to the local church, you are relationally knit to the local church.  You say, “No,” to everything possible that keeps you from attending weekly corporate worship, you refuse to tear her members down with your tongue or malign her purity with your gossip or criticism or impure actions, you honor Christ’s appointed under-shepherds, you pray for her efforts to make Christ known locally and worldwide, and you love her people with sacrificial agape love–we gather to love.  What about having a meal with another family you don’t know once per month?

Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us we are a community who faithfully gather, “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.”  Is there any club, any organization, or any business that has your heart more than the local church?  How can you say you love Christ, and not passionately be committed to His bride?  Do you have a conviction about the local church?  If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.

Fourth  I see my marriage and children as my stewardship

Just like the Church, your marriage and family is also a representation of Christ to the watching world.  Husbands and wives must work at being one with each other, like God is one, and like each of you are one with your own body, and like Christ is one with His body.

Ephesians 5:28-30, “So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body.”  Love means sacrificial action to benefit another.  We have to sacrifice for our marriages so they display more of Christ.  For most of us, that means making time, giving up personal wants, denying our individual preferences, turning off the phone, walking away from the computer, turning off the TV, not watching the game, getting a date night without the kids to make sure you are pursuing oneness.  The only time your marriage glorifies God is when you delight in, cherish and enjoy each other more than any other person, thing or child–and friends, that takes constant work and commitment.

Psalm 127:3 says, “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward.”  Children are given to you to influence for Christ–they are not yours, they are His.  They are on loan to you, they are going to leave you, and your goal is simple.  Disciple them like the great commandment–teach them to obey all that Christ has commanded them.  Don’t just educate them, don’t merely teach them–but train them, model for them, show them what it means to follow Christ.

Dads, as they get older, schedule time to take all the kids, and make time to get regular individual face-to-face time with each one.  Always know where their hearts are–help them discover their gifts and strengths, and show them how to deal with their weaknesses.  Model a commitment to use your gifts in the church, and to share the gospel in the world.  This is why Christ gave them to you, so they would bring Him glory.  Do you have a conviction about being one with your spouse, and discipling your children?

Fifth  I realize faithful service is a part of my calling

In the midst of rebuking religion and false spirituality, Jesus says in Matthew 23:11, “But the greatest among you shall be your servant.”  The greatest person here is the servant; true Christians are servants.  We are commanded to serve one another, we are commanded to serve in the Church, and we are even gifted to serve in the Church.  We are supposed to serve our spouses, parents and children, but we must also love the lost with service, with attractive deeds that point to Christ.

The work of Christ is being greatly hindered everywhere because of the reluctance of His children to roll up their sleeves and get personally involved.  There are no part-time Christians.  There are no days off from loving Christ, and there is no unemployment in the kingdom.  There are people who will volunteer for a one-time event, and all of us have been moved at some point by a great need.  But what Christ is looking for, and how we measure maturity is faithful service.  Luke 16:10a, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much.”

The mature servant is a faithful servant, a trustworthy servant, a servant who can be counted on, the one who is dependable, the one who gets the job done without being asked, and without recognition.  Daniel was such a servant.  Later in Daniel 6, when the advisors are looking to find something against Daniel, it says in Daniel 6:4b, “They could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him.”

Women leaders in the church are to be (1 Timothy 3:11), “Women must likewise be . . . faithful in all things.”  In Revelation 2:10, churches that are persecuted are exhorted to “be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”  Do you have a conviction over being a faithful servant?  What are you doing with your life?  What are you giving your time to?  If you won’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.  Faithfully serve the Lord.

Sixth  I am passionate about my purpose to represent Christ

In heaven, the two things I don’t get to do is sin and share Christ, thus I will give my life to sharing Christ.  The Great Commission is my mission.  Is the Great Commission a convenience or conviction?  Is making disciples an option or obedience?  Have you made a disciple, or are you in the process?

What if Peter and John said (Acts 4:19-20), “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge.  Well, since you are the judges, we will stop witnessing and not say anything more about Jesus, okay guys?  Listen, we’re sorry about the confusion we caused.”

No, they said, “For we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard.”  Why?  Simple–witnessing was a conviction.  Are you in the process of going out, bringing others in, and teaching believers to obey God’s Word?  The Great Commission is a commandment–therefore it is to be a conviction.  Is it one of yours?  Stand for something, or you will fall for anything.

Seventh  I respond to authority like I do to Christ

God has placed me under divinely appointed authority for two reasons–my protection and my direction.  God has placed me under divinely appointed authority.  There are a number of them:  employers, parents, government, police, and elders.  All are God-appointed authority in my life.  He protects me and leads me through those He has placed in authority over me.  Therefore, I will obey those God has placed in authority over me with a joyful attitude until I am required to disobey the Word of God–that is not optional.  That is the Bible.

The word rebellion is not in the vocabulary of the Christian.  In I Samuel 15:23 God says, “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.”  Rebellion is equal to the sin of witchcraft.  Rebellion is the willing exposure of my life to the realm and the power of Satan.  God forbid that I should mimic Satan’s behavior, when five times he shouted in the face of God with a heart of rebellion, “I will.”  You’ve got to stand for something, or you will fall for anything.

Eighth  I protect my mind since it’s the root of all my behavior

My brain controls the way I live, and I will not fill it with garbage.  The Satanic lie–”You are what you eat.”  Biblical truth–”You are what you think.”  Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.”  I am amazed at how many of us will examine every ingredient we pump into our bodies, but not give a second thought to TV, DVD’s, movies, books, magazines or computer images.  Without any resistance, we allow Satan to pump his garbage in.  If you say, “I can handle it,” you’re a liar.  Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”  What are you putting into your brain?  If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.

Ninth  I fear little compromises for the way they dishonor God

Listen to what Paul says right after he declares God as sovereign–Philippians 2:13, “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  Notice verse 14, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.”  God is working out His plan, and anytime we start complaining, grumbling or arguing, we are attacking the character of God.  God is sovereign, and that means God controls all things.  So when we complain, we attack God’s control–His sovereign design.

When we talk about others inappropriately, when we gossip or slander, when we second-guess people or assign motives, we are acting as if we have the mind of God, acting as if we know people’s hearts, arrogantly asserting our omniscience, as if we’re all-knowing.  Therefore, like Satan, we are declaring, “I will be like the Most High.”

The little compromises, or as Jerry Bridges calls them, the acceptable sins, like worry, frustration, discontent, pride, selfishness, lack of self-control, impatience, irritability, anger, slander, gossip, envy, jealousy, judgmentalism and worldliness are all attacks on God’s character.  Therefore, like Daniel, I take those sins seriously.  Do you have a conviction about the way you speak?  If you don’t’ stand for something, you will fall for anything.  Finally . . .

Tenth  I realize I can’t live convictions in my own strength

The most important conviction you must own is the fact that you and I can’t develop or live convictions in our own strength.  Since I am separated from God because of my sin, I must turn to Christ who took the punishment I was due for my sin, by dying on the cross in my place, rising from the dead, and providing a way for me to be forgiven and transformed from the inside out, so I would actually want to live according to the Scripture.  And even as a Christian, I was never meant to live the Christian life in my own strength, I must daily depend upon the indwelling Holy Spirit to empower me to live for God’s glory.

So, if you are going to stand for something and not fall for anything, then Christ must save you, and the Spirit must empower you.


ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.
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