Title: Being pure amidst defilement
Focus: We can see in the example of Daniel that remaining pure in a defiled land involves remembering your distinct identity by refusing to blend in religiously, ethically, or otherwise. It also involves respecting authority and maintaining respectful, upright speech.
Function: To motivate the hearers to maintain their holiness in their community
Text: Daniel 1
Intro: 1. No one want to be a misfit - Trying not to be misfit can be bad 2. God has set us apart to be holy, to be pure 3. What to do when world wants you to fit in? 4. Text: Daniel 1:1-8 I. Staying pure involves REMEMBERING WHO YOU ARE A. Only by remembering can you be faithful to heritage in Christ B. Daniel lived in a foreign land 1. Went to Ivy league school - Emperor University of Babylon a. Best education, choicest food b. Hey, this exile thing not so bad after all c. He could go along with it, or rebel and die 2. (v.8) Daniel made up his mind ahead of time to stay pure 3. Pressure tremendous to fit in a. Wanted him to talk, walk, think, dress like a Babylonian b. Name changes - Hananiah (The Lord is Gracious) Shadrach (Command of Aku) - Mishael (Who is what God is) Meshach (Who is what Aku is) - Azariah (The Lord has helped) Abednego (Servant of Nebo) - Daniel (God my judge) Belteshezzar (Make Balak protect us) 4. Text still calls him Daniel - He born Daniel, would die Daniel C. Watched roots with my boys last year 1. Kunta-Kinte - Called him Tobi 2. Always Kunta-Kinte on the outside 3. Heart was always in Africa 4. Psalm 137 - NEVER will forget my heritage in strange land D. World wants you to conform, but we have heritage in Christ 1. But our citizenship is in Heaven - Don’t get too comfortable 2. Am I an American who is a Christian, or vice versa? a. Christian who a teacher, or vice versa? b. Truck Driver, Programmer, Technician, Truck Driver 3. Do you have purpose in your heart not to defile? a. Have to start by remembering who you are b. You are not of this world II. Not defiling self also involves RESPECTING AUTHORITY A. But this was a pagan arrogant king! 1. Took them away into exile 2. Worse, tried to brainwash them into being Babylonians! B. What this have to do with staying pure? 1. Would you agree that person is defiled if against God’s will? a. So who was responsible for Babylon, exile, etc.? b. (Dan 1:2) God is responsible for all authority - Assyria is the “Rod of God’s Anger” (Isa 10:5) - Cyrus of Persia is “God’s Annointed (Isa 45:1) 2. (Rom 13:1-7) - Respect governing authority 3. (Col 3:22-24) - Slaves to serve masters as the Lord 4. Result? Daniel respected his superiors (Dan 2:37) C. We live in a time where it culturally acceptable to disrespect authority 1. Whether God, civil, parental, or otherwise 2. Randal Terry - Take up arms to defend religion a. Cited nations forefathers b. But early Christians did not rebel and fight 3. Seems that the idea of freedom has become perverted a. 18th Century - Freedom to do right b. 19th Century - Freedom to develop innate potential c. 20th Century - Freedom to choose (pro-choice) 4. But God wants you to respect authority D. What does this mean for you an I today? 1. Fulfill your obligations - Tax to whom tax, honor to whom honor 2. (1 Tim 6:1) - All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. 3. Daniel was typically valued by his superiors Trans: 1. But what if the authority try to make you do something wrong or evil? 2. What if they try to force you to displease God? III. Refuse Syncretism A. Definition: Blending of various religions and philosophies (melting pot) B. The text does address this challenge 1. Takes more than a mere “remembering” of who you are a. If you “blend” you will forget who you are b. ILL: Like a Coke taking ice cubes, it blends and ...YUK 2. (Dan 6:6-10) - Daniel in the Lion’s Den a. Also Dan 3:14-18- Shadrach Meshach and Abednego b. Acts 5:29 - Must obey God rather than men 3. Later part of Daniel - Apocalyptic a. Important to those ruled by ungodly ones b. Theme: Overthrow of evil, deliverance c. Purpose: Encourage faithfulness (Look at Daniel) 4. Rev. 13 - Dragon, Sea Beast, Another Beast a. (v.11-17) - The Mark (not having it could mean death) b. Rome’s policy on religions and Emperor worship c. Christians seen as obstinate, suspicion of treason C. Not having the Mark was worse than not wearing Green on St. Patrick Day 1. No one wants to be a misfit 2. The beast is still giving out Mark’s today (not UPC code) a. Subtle - Boss wants you to fudge, get a Mark b. Teens, A little drink, just to be cool - MARK c. Overtime to climb up ladder fit in. MARK D. (Rom 12:2) - Not conformed, but transformed 1. Conform = Mark ; Transformed = Seal (Holy Spirit) 2. Washing of regeneration and renewing by the Spirit (Tit 3:5) 3. You renewed, transformed, not of this world 4. Purpose in your heart not to defile self IV. Staying pure also involves RESTRAINT A. There is more than remembering, respecting, and refusing 1. (Dan 6:21) - Daniel’s speech always respectful 2. What does this have to do with purity? B. (James 3:6) 1. How can tongue defile you? (Mk 7:14-23) a. Would think it the other way around b. If thought of wallowing in mud, that not make you muddy, but if you act on it, you will become dirty and defiled 2. (Jas 3:7-12) a. Spring cannot have both bitter and sweet - It all dirty b. Same with tree, it all fig, or olive c. So what is his point? C. How many of you have a cat? 1. What if I came over, took a snack from the litter box? 2. Then proposed a holy kiss? YUK 3. That how it is when curse, lie, gossip, revile, then bless God 4. Both from same opening?? YUK D. But is it really that big a deal? 1. I go to church, worship, teach sound doctrine, give, don’t steal 2. (Jas 1:26) - Not bridle the tongue, it is all worthless! 3. Why? Cannot approach God if you are defiled. Concl: 1. All boils down to one word - REFINE YOURSELF (make more pure) a. (Ps 24:1-6) - Who can approach God? Those with clean heart b. Jesus said blessed are the pure in heart, they shall see God (Mt 5:8) 2. That means your heart not defiled with worldly thinking and worldly action 3. In order not to defile yourself, must remember, respect, refuse, restrain