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June 3, 2018

Sermon: Not of This World: The Fiery Furnace

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Scripture Lesson

Daniel 3:1, 8-12, 16-18, 23-28; Acts 5:27-29

The Golden Image

King Nebuchadnezzar made a golden statue whose height was sixty cubits and whose width was six cubits; he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. Accordingly, at this time certain Chaldeans came forward and denounced the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘O king, live for ever! You, O king, have made a decree, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble, shall fall down and worship the golden statue, and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire. There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These pay no heed to you, O king. They do not serve your gods and they do not worship the golden statue that you have set up.’ Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to present a defence to you in this matter. If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up.’ But the three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down, bound, into the furnace of blazing fire. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up quickly. He said to his counsellors, ‘Was it not three men that we threw bound into the fire?’ They answered the king, ‘True, O king.’ He replied, ‘But I see four men unbound, walking in the middle of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the fourth has the appearance of a god.’ Nebuchadnezzar then approached the door of the furnace of blazing fire and said, ‘Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!’ So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counsellors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men; the hair of their heads was not singed, their tunics were not harmed, and not even the smell of fire came from them. Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants who trusted in him. They disobeyed the king’s command and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.

When they had brought them, they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them, saying, ‘We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.’ But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than any human authority.

Sermon Outline

Rev. Jonathan Swanson
Not of This World: The Fiery Furnace
Daniel 3:1, 8-12, 16-18, 23-28; Acts 5:27-29

I. Introduction: Hagar the Horrible
II. Series: Daniel: Not of This World
III. The story (Dan. 3:1-28; Acts 5:27-29)
     A. The king’s idol (3:1)
     B. The Jews are denounced for not worshiping (3:12)
     C. The king confronts the Jews (3:15)
     D. The reply
         1. Deliverance is not important (3:17-18)
         2. Obedience is what is important (3:18:5:29)
     E. The furnace
         1. Three men thrown in (3:23)
         2. Four seen inside (3:25)
         3. The fire does no harm (3:27)
     F. The king worships God(3:28)
IV. What’s here for us?
    A. Deliverance should not be the focus
    B. Obedience should be the focus
    C. Trust God in trials
    D. Worship God (like the king)
V. Conclusion: Harriet Tubman (1822-1913)


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