Welcome to I Dare You, a series through the book of Daniel with Skip Heitzig.
Let's pray. Lord, just to hear the involvement that we have heard on these little videos of different ones who are feeling prompted by you to engage in certain areas with their lives, whether it's to pray, or to not judge others, or to share, whatever it might be, how thankful we are that it is a direct result of your Holy Spirit working through the Word of God.
We truly believe that the Spirit of God, through the Word of God, to the people of God, is our most powerful asset. Strengthen us today, and we pray that you would just help us to focus on what's going on here in Daniel, these life changing truths, in Jesus' name, amen.
When it comes to our attitude toward the world, there's really only a couple of options we have. Option number one is to escape the world, to turn away from it, to sort of have a blind eye, wash ours hands of it, so to speak. The other is to engage in it. Not to escape it, but to engage by serving it, rolling up our sleeves, and figuring out a way to integrate what we believe with where they're at. Now, part of doing that is sharing a witness with them vocally. What Peter called giving to every man an answer, a reason for the hope that lies within us?
When I first met my wife—of course, she wasn't my wife when I met her. But when we were dating, we decided to go street witnessing. Actually, I asked her on a date and I said, "Tonight let's, let's go share our faith on the street." And she said, "What does that mean?" "So we're going to actually go out on the street, in this case the Huntington Beach Pier where a lot of people were coming and going. And I'm going to walk up to them and I'm going to share my faith with them. Are you up for that?"
And she goes, "I I guess." You know, that was just so awkward and strange to hear. I said, "Tell you what, you don't have to say anything. All you have to do is just stand at a distance and just pray for me, and just kind of watch what happens." And it was a wonderful evening, and by the end of night she thought, "I want to try it. It's my turn now." And she turned into a fiery little evangelist.
What's interesting is that in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was shot, it took the world about two to three hours to get the news. In 1999 when John Kennedy Jr. was killed in a plane crash off the East Coast, it took the world two to three minutes to get the news. Here's the saddest part: Jesus died on a cross two thousand years ago and a huge part of the world still hasn't heard the message of redemption.
And so the dare here, as seen in the book of Daniel, is to speak out as Daniel does to this king. You've heard it said on a few occasions if you've come here that a church that does not evangelize will eventually fossilize. Now, that's true also for individuals. If you personally don't share with other people the hope that is in you, you too will become relegated to fossil status.
Silent Christianity, secret agent Christianity. Jesus spoke of those who put their light under a bushel, and he said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father who is in heaven." You see, secret discipleship doesn't really work very well. It's an oxymoron. You can't have a secret disciple, because eventually the discipleship will demolish the secrecy, or the secrecy will destroy the discipleship.
In the second half of Daniel, chapter 2, we're going to look at twenty six verses. Now, these are long chapters, especially this one; it's forty nine verses, so I've cut it in two. And even today twenty six verses is a large chunk to tackle. [speaking rapidly] So I'm going to talk really fast, if that's okay with you. [laughter] And we're going to read this and we're going to make application.
But of these twenty six verses, twenty of them are Daniel speaking out to King Nebuchadnezzar. So, if this were a red letter edition where the words of Daniel were in red, the pages before you would be, like, all red. It is Daniel's speech. He is speaking out to the king, and we're going to analyze the way he speaks out to Nebuchadnezzar. And it's all based upon a dream that the king has, a remarkable dream, a time machine, as he takes a sweep of history into the future and looks at a succession of world governing empires from Nebuchadnezzar all the way to the second coming of Christ.
Some of what we read is history, it's already taken place; some of what we read is prophecy—all of it is practical. So we're going to begin in verse 24 of chapter 2, and we're going to note four ways that Daniel, this young prophet in Babylon, spoke out to Arioch the ambassador and to Nebuchadnezzar the king.
Number one, he spoke out with authority. Listen to what he says, "Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and he said thus to him: 'Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; take me before the king, and I will tell the king the interpretation.' Arioch quickly brought Daniel before the king, and said thus to him: 'I have found a man.' You liar, Arioch. You didn't find anybody, he came to you, man. But here's a typical scenario of somebody trying to hone in on the reward that he wanted to be a part of.
" 'I have found a man of the captives of Judah, who will make known to the king the interpretation.' " What is noteworthy here is Daniel's confidence. Notice it says in verse 24, "I will tell the king the interpretation." Scoot down a little further, look at verse 36. Now he's speaking to King Nebuchadnezzar, he says, " 'This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation.' " Go down a bit further, verse 45, " 'The dream is certain, the interpretation is sure.' "
There's no hesitation in Daniel's voice. He doesn't say, "Did I get it right, Mr. King, sir? I hope I did, because I sort of felt this impression that what you dreamed was . . . and what it means is . . ." None of that. There's a ring of authority in his voice. Why? Because this is the Word of God he's speaking. He got a direct revelation from God, probably the night before, and now he goes to the king with what it is and what it means. He heard from God.
In the early days of the Billy Graham Crusades when he was filling stadiums all around the world, he came to Dallas, Texas, and every night filled the stadium to overflowing. Seventy thousand people poured into that great stadium. In the following days one of the newspapers in Texas decided to run an article about the events with Billy Graham.
And one of the journalists wrote an article in which he said, "How can a young man without any seminary education draw such a crowd of people when some of the highly educated, enrobed, downtown ministers preach to half filled churches on Sunday mornings?" Then the journalist answered his own question by writing, "It's because Billy Graham preaches what the Bible says. He has a note of authority in his message, a 'Thus saith the Lord . . .' " And he does, he did, he always has. One of his trademarks is: "And the Bible says . . ." And then a couple of sentences later: "The Bible says . . ." And he believed that the Bible was God's truth.
That ring of authority is what the prophets had. Four hundred fifteen times in the Old Testament is that phrase: "Thus saith the Lord." One of the most notable things of Jesus Christ was the same ring of authority. As he was speaking to the crowds preaching the Sermon on the Mount, when he was done, the crowd marveled the Scripture tells us. The Bible says, "The crowd marveled because he spoke as one having authority, not like the scribes."
We keep reading the book and we find that the followers of Christ had that same authority. Acts, chapter 4, the early church was threatened by the councils. They hit the streets of Jerusalem after praying and the Bible says, and I'm quoting, "They spoke the word of God with boldness." There's Steven in the book of Acts, that's chapter 6, he stands up before the council, and it says, "They were not able to resist the Spirit and the wisdom by which he spoke."
All of them spoke with boldness, with clarity, with authority. Now, by "authority" I don't mean arrogance, I mean confidence. Arrogance is one thing, confidence is yet another. Arrogance is the know it all attitude: "You're a pagan. I know everything, because I'm enlightened." Nobody wants that. But confidence that the message you share is God's truth, that's yet another thing.
The most effective people in sharing their faith are those who are confident in the believing of their faith. They believe what it says in Hebrews: the Word of God is alive and powerful, and sharper than a two edged sword, it pierces, it penetrates between the soul and spirit, it reveals the thoughts and the intents of the heart—that's Daniel. "This is the interpretation. It is clear. I will tell the king," he speaks with authority.
Second thing that is noteworthy is that Daniel spoke out with humility. Now we're going to balance out the authority. Look at the very next verse, 26, "The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, 'Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?' " Now stop right there. Daniel has a vulnerable moment right here. He has the answer in his hip pocket.
He knows what the king has dreamed and what it means. He could easily have promoted himself and say, "Well, yes, I do. I happen to be the man of all men, the wisest guy on earth." But I want you to notice his humility: "Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, 'The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king.' " In other words, "There's not a man on earth who can tell you what you want to hear."
" 'But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these: As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and he who reveals secrets has made known unto you what will be. But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.' "
Can you see the contrast between Arioch and Daniel? Arioch says, "I found a man." Daniel is the man, comes before the king: "Are you the man?" "Nah, God's the guy. There's a God in heaven who knows everything. And I'm not better, or smarter, or wiser than anybody else, but God has revealed this to you, and he's revealed to me the interpretation. So it's not me, it's God." Arioch would say, "It's not God," God isn't even mentioned in Arioch's speech, "it's all about me." Daniel has humility.
There's an old saying: "Empty trucks make the loudest noise." Arioch is an empty truck making lots of noise, bringing Daniel before the king; Daniel, on the other hand, with notable humility. You see, humility will make a hard message softer, makes you believable.
There's an old saying: "You'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." Sweeten it up a little bit, soften it up a little bit, humble yourself. When you speak to an unbeliever, humility is so important. Authority needs humility. If you have authority without humility, you are arrogant. So you need the mixture, the blend of authority and humility. And when you blend those two together, you have integrity, your message will stick.
What does it mean practically to us? How do you have humility? Well, if you're talking to somebody, if you're speaking out God's truth in a conversation, listen to them every now and then. Find out what their questions and their concerns are. It doesn't help a thirsty person to have you open a fire hose on them. You're thirsty? [pretends to hold a fire hose and makes sound of water gushing out] [laughter] Give it to them in doses, in increments. Don't point to yourself, point to him. [points upward] So Daniel speaks out with authority, but he also speaks out with humility.
Number three, here's probably the most noteworthy part of the whole chapter, as far as historians are concerned and people interested in prophecy, is that Daniel spoke out with accuracy—that is, what he interprets the dream to be actually was. These things actually happened in history.
Now, we're going to begin in verse 31 to get that rendering. " 'You, O king,' " Daniel continues, " 'were watching; and behold a great,' " or a colossal, " 'image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome.' " So he was a California prophet. [laughter]
" 'This image's head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.' "
Now, about this time Nebuchadnezzar is riveted in his seat with his mouth partially open as he realizes: "Bingo! That's exactly what I dreamed. This kid nailed it. That's what I saw in my dream: a polymetallic image standing in front of me completely stationary until suddenly out from nowhere like a missile from heaven, like a sci fi movie, this stone hit the bottom of it, destroyed the image, and in its place was a mountain that filled the whole earth.
A couple of noteworthy things before we continue. Don't you find it interesting that what he saw was a statue? What's noteworthy about that? Well, they're in Babylon, the capitol of idolatry. There's statues everywhere. God speaks to an idolater in a language an idolater can understand. He would be familiar with the imagery, and so he sees an image.
Second, it's an image of a man because we're dealing with man's rule, man's kingdoms, "the times of Gentiles," as Jesus called it. A third thing that is notable about the dream itself is that it's top heavy; it's heavier on top than on the bottom.
The specific gravity of gold is 19, the specific gravity of silver is 11, the specific gravity of bronze is 8.5, of iron 7.8, and the specific gravity of clay is around 2—that being, this image is unstable. It's top heavy, and that is how every nation and kingdom of man on the earth is. It's top-heavy, it's unstable at best.
As you work your way down the statue—from the gold, from the top; down to the toes, the clay—there's a decrease in value from gold being the most expensive, to clay being, like, worthless. As you decrease in value, however, you increase in strength, except for the very last one—that is, the clay. The iron is stronger than the bronze, which is stronger than the silver, which is stronger than the gold being the softest. So we have a decrease in value, a decrease in specific gravity, but an increase in strength.
Now, let's continue, verse 36, " 'This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. You, O king, are the king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and whoever or wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, he has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold. But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth.
" 'And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom will be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.
And in the days of these kings,' " those final kings as represented by the toes, " 'the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed; and the kingdom will not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God.' " Notice, the great God. He's speaking to a king who worshiped thirteen different gods as the chief deities of Babylon. " 'The great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, the interpretation is sure.' "
Now I need your attention because I'm going to work quickly through what he sees, and what this means, and what has happened with accuracy as Daniel peers into the future from Nebuchadnezzar's time onward. We'll revisit it at other times in Daniel; we'll get a snapshot today.
We begin with the head of gold. Daniel says, "That's you, King. You're the head of gold. You're, you're the king tuna. You're the big enchilada. You're the big kahuna. You're the guy, you're the world governing empire—and he was, he was at his peak of glory, at this time governed the whole world—of a nation and of a city that was called the City of Gold.
About ninety years later the historian Herodotus visited Babylon and said, "This city has more gold than any other city I have ever visited in my life. Gold leaf on the palaces and on the public buildings. It oozed," he said, "out of every pore of Babylon." It was the golden city.
And Nebuchadnezzar had reign over that city until 539 BC when another coalition of kingdoms came together against it as represented in verse 39, " 'After you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours.' " Nebuchadnezzar probably bristled as this point. He had built Babylon to last forever. And now this young upstart says, "Here's your dream . . ." —that was right. "Here's what it means: You're going down, another one's coming up."
We're not told who that is here. We will be told who that is in subsequent chapters. It is the Medo Persian Empire, a coalition of Medes and Persians under Darius the Mede, who will take the city and oust the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, that's chapter 5, and Cyrus the Mede or Cyrus the Persian, accuse me, will reign over the kingdom in a dual capacity.
What's interesting is Darius the Mede will establish a new form of government called the tribute, where every one of his captives will be demanded that they pay him silver. Silver was the metal of that empire. It will be much larger geographically. It will be much inferior or weaker because it will lack central government. And it is that weakness that a young, Greek yuppy named Alexander, who thought he was really great, will take advantage of.
And Alexander the Great will be the next world governing leader as also mentioned in verse 39, "Then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over the earth." Alexander the Great was very ambitious. In 334 BC he, through a series of brilliant battles, took over Medo Persia, and the world for that matter. It surprised even him how quickly he gained control.
What is noteworthy for us is that the metal that this empire was known for was bronze. In fact, historians called them the "brazen coated Greeks," because the soldiers bore a new amalgam of metal, on their chests, their breastplates, their shields, their helmets, were bronze.
FYI, when Alexander the Great was pillaging, and killing, and marshaling his way throughout the world, and he was coming against Jerusalem—this is according to Josephus the historian. Anybody hear of Flavius Josephus the Jewish historian? Josephus says that as he was coming against Jerusalem, Jaddua the high priest at the time came out to meet Alexander the Great with a scroll of the book of Daniel, and opened the scroll of Daniel, and showed Alexander the Great where he was predicted, prophesied, as one who would take over the world. According to the historian, he dismounted from his horse and Alexander the Great paid homage to the God of the Jews.
But the story continues. The bulk of the focus is on the fourth kingdom mentioned in verse 40, "Shall be as strong as iron." Again, we're not told who this is, but if we look back at history—again, they were looking forward, it was prophecy, to us it's history. A nation came and the description given befits the kingdom of Rome. The iron legions of Rome, like a steamroller, slowly but definitely took over the world that these three other kingdoms had occupied.
Now, if you were to look at the images Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream, you would notice that the legs form the longest part of the statue. As Rome would have the longest era of ruling, a thousand years. I mean, Babylon ruled, what? Sixty, almost seventy years under Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, and then it was over. A thousand years Rome would rule. But even as the image shows a bifurcation, a split in two different legs, a kingdom became divided into east and west in AD 395. And eventually, as the image would even depict, it weakened and it became brittle and fragmented.
And at last, there are ten toes at the bottom of that image partly of iron, partly of clay. Ten toes, ten toes, ten toes. I want you to remember ten toes, can you tell? I'm not going to uncover it all now, but keep that in mind, because we'll get to chapter 7 and the same truth but in a different image comes. You'll see a beast with ten horns.
And that same image will be seen in the book of Revelation, chapter 17, a beast with ten horns. And the angel will tell John who writes these things down, "The ten horns which you saw are ten kingdoms." And ever since Daniel 2, and Daniel 7, and Revelation 17, for thousands of years scholars have anticipated some form of a revived Roman Empire; more to say about that later.
" 'And in the days of these kings,' " says Daniel. Christ, a stone cut out of heaven will come. Now, here's what's amazing, here's what's interesting: If we were given the job to depict world history in the form of a statue, we would do exactly the opposite of what is revealed. We would begin with clay: "After all, those we were primitive people back then. But then we became better, and more educated, and more enlightened, so we'll use iron. And then we became more enlightened, and much better, and much smarter, and so we'll use silver. But then we became like totally really brilliant—gold!"
And here we are today in the twenty first century, "the golden age of technology." And God would say, "Now you're really dreaming," because he tells you what it's really like. You might begin refined and beautiful, but like every kingdom, like every era, like every epoch, there is a deterioration. This is how God reveals it.
The best part is the last part, the everlasting kingdom: " 'In the days of these kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed.' " Man, here's Nebuchadnezzar wondering what the future holds. He's getting the future given to him in spades. He's getting the full scope of what is coming. He's being shown that all kingdoms of men will halt when a stone cut out of heaven comes to the earth.
Question: What is that stone? Who is that stone? It is Christ. In fact, he is even called by that in other portions of Scripture. Isaiah, chapter 28, God says, "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone . . . Whoever believes in him will be not be [ashamed]." Jesus' own words, Matthew 21, "Whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder."
So, good ol' King Nebuchadnezzar is getting a history lesson. He's getting schooled by God. He's been shown that God controls history. And here's king Nebuchadnezzar, he won't last long, there will be others after him. And the kingdoms that are, will soon become the kingdoms that were, as Daniel's vision will unfold throughout history very, very accurately.
Now, some in listening to this might have this thought, it's a predictable thought: "Okay, well this is a pretty amazing kind of a thing that they saw all that was coming. And, okay, I'll grant that. That's pretty fascinating. That's pretty cool. And, yes, it could be, might be, inferred that it's Greece and then Rome, etcetera, etcetera." I just say, hold onto your hats, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Wait until you get through the rest of Daniel. It is so pinpointed in its accuracy.
But see, people will look at the passage like this, and go, "Okay, that happened, and that's interesting, and that's cool and quaint, but I don't believe that Jesus Christ is literally going to come back to this earth and set up his kingdom." Well, I feel sorry for you. If you can look at a text of Scripture that predicts things and they actually happen, happen, happen, happen, and then there's one element that hasn't happened yet: "I don't think that's going to happen. That could never happen." Really? Wouldn't you say that what has happened proves what will happen?
Did you know Time, Newsweek magazine put out an article some time back, there's a significant number of Americans that do not believe we made it to the moon. They don't, they think it's a conspiracy. The article says the reason these people don't believe we made it to the moon, because they can't understand the physics of space travel that would propel a human being from earth to the moon. So because they can't understand it, they won't believe it.
I'm sorry if you can't understand the astrophysics of Christ's return; I can't either. But as I look at prophecy which is now history that has been fulfilled so accurately, and I look at that last little piece, I say, "I think that's going to happen too. It's a matter of time."
So here's Daniel, comes before the king, speaks with authority, with humility, and with accuracy—speaks out. And now what I consider the very best part of the story: the results. And that takes us to the last couple of verses. Look at verse 46. Daniel spoke out with victory. He achieves his desired result. "Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face." Ouch! That wasn't an accident, it was on purpose. "He fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel, and commanded that they should present an offering and incense to him. And the king answered Daniel, and said, 'Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.' "
Just let that wash over you. Do you understand what's happening? Here's a pagan, polytheistic king who is making a confession of faith—however deep, however shallow—that all of his gods are wrong and he believes in that God, Daniel's God. Because all the thirteen gods of Babylon and their priests have remained silent and could not give him the interpretation nor the dream—Daniel and his God have. And he says, "Your God is the God."
"Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over the wise men of Babylon. Daniel petitioned the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed Nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but Daniel sat in the gate of the king."
So he is promoted now, which will give him greater influence in the future—all of this because Daniel dared to speak up God's truths in a pagan culture to a pagan king. Now, I want to close this off. I want to bring it down to its takeaway: you never have to be afraid of truth.
If you have truth, why are you afraid to tell people the truth? God's straight truth is mightier than the Devil's crooked lies. Never be afraid of the truth. Hey, can you echo what Paul said in Romans, chapter 1? Here's what he said, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes." Can you echo that: "I'm not ashamed of the gospel"?
Now, I understand not everybody is an initiator. Not everybody's vocal. Not everybody likes to go up to people and go, "Hey, can I have a minute of your time?" We're not all wired that way. I get that. I understand that. I had friends that used to go door to door, knock on doors, just cold open the door, tell them about Jesus. I wasn't wired that way. I had friends that went along with them one time, and when they knocked on the door they then immediately prayed, "God, don't let anybody be home, in Jesus' name." [laughter] They were scared stiff.
I'm not trying to force you into a mold that God hasn't put you in, but I do dare you to get out of your comfort zone, and I want you to take away two things. I dare you to care, first. I dare you to care. You'll only talk to people if you care. If you really believe the gospel message, and you believe that those who trust in Christ will spend eternity with him in heaven, and those who refuse Christ will drop into hell; if you care about that, that's what will motivate you beyond that point. If you don't care, you won't say anything ever.
Jesus, when he looked at the crowd didn't see an annoyance, he saw sheep having no shepherd, they were weary and distressed. And the Bible says Jesus, when he saw them, had compassion on them. That's caring. I dare you to care.
And second, I dare you to share. Because if you care, you will eventually share. That's the hard part. This is the nervous part. This is where we get tongue twisted. You say, "How do I do it?" Simple—not really simple, but the directions are simple. You first pray for boldness, for love, and for boldness, and then you open your mouth and see if it worked. If it doesn't work, then you can get on the video and say, "I'm here to tell you it doesn't work. That's my testimony; it doesn't work."
But if you were to dare to care, to pray, to ask God for boldness, and then say something, anything, to somebody about Jesus. It could be your own personal story: "Hey can I tell you what happened to me? This is just my story. Let me just tell you what happened to me." Or, "Can I invite you to church?" Just, just start there; just invite them, or give them a Christian music CD, or a book, or a booklet, or something; just say something. Share the news. It's good news. It's great news.
In 1949—true story—a man by the name of John Currier was convicted of murder, sentenced to life in prison. Eventually, he was paroled to a work farm near Nashville, Tennessee, and he worked in hard labor until 1968. His case was looked at again and this case was terminated. He was a free man. A letter was written to John at the work camp, a letter which he never got, the message of freedom that he never read. He worked on that work camp for another ten years hard labor.
He's a free man; the letter said so. He didn't know about it. How would you feel if the most important message that you could ever hear year after year, after year, failed to be delivered to you?
God's come with a message of freedom: two thousand years ago his Son died on the cross to take away punishment, to open up the doors of heaven, and to give us everlasting life. That's not just good news, that's great news! And I know we're all not wired the same way, but if you just dare to get out of your comfort zone, to care, and to share, you'll be so far ahead of the game.
You see, Jesus said, "You're the salt of the earth." And what he implied is by the text itself, you and you only are the salt of the earth. You and you only are the light of the world. The world doesn't see you or hear it from you; they won't get it from anybody. God is saying, "You are my last hope for the people of your generation."
Well, Father, that just seems like an appropriate place to close. You've entrusted to us a sacred trust of truth. You could have used angels; you decided to use fallen people who get redeemed. Because they're redeemed they have a story that they, in their imperfection and fallenness, have found that God loves them and has a plan for their future. So, Lord, help us to boldly proclaim, to engage in intelligent conversation, and by Spirit led persuasion reason with them the truths that are so precious.
We all recognize it makes most people feel uneasy, but if we care, if we're concerned, if we believe the message, if we believe there is authority in it, then we in humility will approach, and appeal, and reason, and invite. Help us, in Jesus' name, amen.
For more teachings from Calvary Albuquerque and Skip Heitzig, visit calvaryabq.org.