NEW - WHAT ARE YOU STANDING FOR?
By John Aldworth
Published: Sept. 7, 2015
Eph. 6:13: Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day and, having done all, to stand.
Background reading, Daniel chapter three.
It would have been easy for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to do what many who name the name of Christ do in this present evil day - nothing. They go along with flow. Teaching about evolution, OK. Use corrupt bibles? OK. Homosexual ministers? OK. End Christian prayer at citizenship ceremonies? OK. And in some churches, gay marriage? OK.
These three Jewish captives might well have said: Oh, we can't stop worship of the golden image - everybody's doing it. Better to give in and follow the crowd. But Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego didn't. Yet as rulers over Babylon they stuck out like sore thumbs when they refused the king's command to bow to the disgusting image he had erected. It was an asherah, an image of the male that is still a criminal offence to expose in public. Yet Nebuchadnezzar, according to the Companion Bible, wanted it worshipped as 'the tree of life', and even more blasphemously as the 'Lord of Hosts'.
Surely, some would say, there was room for compromise. Let's kick for touch, seek a win-win solution for both sides. After all the church has to change to be relevant in a changing world, doesn't it? We must always obey the Government mustn't we? But Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego would have no part of pussy
footing around. Accused of breaking the emperor's command to worship the obscene image on pain of death, they boldly declared:
O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter' (Dan. 3: 16).
Importantly, they told this sole ruler of the then known world exactly what God told them to say: 'We will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden
image thou hast set up' (Dan. 3:18). They then said in no uncertain terms that if God, whom they served was able to deliver them, He would deliver them from the burning fiery furnace. If not, they wouldn't bow down to the image anyway. Strong words that caused the king to rage.
And today in New Zealand there is also outcry when, for example, one disputes public acceptance of false religions such as Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism on equal terms with Christianity. I know, I've personally experienced it.
Thankfully, today nobody in New Zealand is compelled to cele attend the hugely popular military commemorations such as the annual ANZAC Day services commemorating the huge loss of New Zealand lives at the First World War Gallipoli landings but, of course, many choose to do so. Bible believers, however, absent themselves, not because they do not honour the fallen, but because the name of the Father and his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, have been expunged from prayers said on these occasions, in order not to offend those of other 'faiths'. And we do not want to be part of that.
Now what motivated Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to defy the king? Answer: fear. Not fear of the king or of a fiery death, that is, but fear of and love for God. Armed with this they took their stand. Can I ask, is there anything that you as aChristian, like them, will refuse to do? Is there an issue over which you will
take a public stand, come what may?
You see, in Daniel chapter three we find principles we would do well to follow. First, when accused, these three young Israelites did not hesitate to speak out boldly. What's more I believe the Lord then and there told them what to say. In Matt. 10:19 didn't Jesus say to his disciples, 'When they deliver you up take no thought what ye shall speak ... for it shall be given you in the same hour what ye shall speak'? And isn't Christ the Lord God of the Old Testament too?
Second, note that when the three stood up and took their stand a stupendous miracle followed. They fell down bound into the fire and were then seen walking, free and unbound without any harm in the tremendous heat. All of Nebuchadnezzar's rage and evil could not destroy them. What's more, as we shall see, the Lord Himself walked there with them.
And that occurrence raises an important question about miracles. Today many seek after miracles. Pentecostal 'healers', dead Catholic saints, robed priests, televangelists and supposed financial wizards like Creflo Dollar all claim to deliver them but the truth is they usually don't.
So, is there a surefire, 100% formula for ensuring you will get a miracle from God? Yes, there is, and we learn from Daniel chapter three. It's to stand up for God's truth when the whole world is against you. It's to put your neck and your life on the line in such a way that only God can deliver you. That is what the Apostle Paul means when he talked about 'withstanding' and to 'stand' in Eph. 6:13.
And the third principle is that when you 'stand', you find yourself doing so in the Lord's strength and not your own. This what the Apostle Paul meant when he urged the Ephesian believers to '...be strong in the Lord and in power of his might' (Eph. 6:10).
What's more the Lord Himself will be with you on the stand. After all He was there walking in the furnace with Shadrach, Meshach andAbenego (Dan. 3: 25). He was also with Daniel in the lion's den (Dan. 6:22). And He was with Paul when he stood alone on trial before cruel, bloodthirsty Nero
(2 Tim. 4:17). So if you want to experience God's power working in your life? If you want to get closer to Jesus, to really know Him up close and personal? If you want to see his grace and love working powerfully and continually in your life? Then get into the battle, speak out, and take your stand.
You see the issue about seeing miracles come to pass is not whether you believe in them or pray long enough for them; it's whether you believe in and trust God enough to stand up in the fight.
And here's the thing. In Rom. 12:2 Paul said, 'And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind'. Guess what? By faith in God Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego not only transformed themselves but also the world in which they lived. Shaken to the core by seeing God come through to deliver Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Nebuchadnezzar's first act was to bless the Most High God who had saved them. His second was to officially sanction and decree worship of this one true God, 'the most high God" (Dan. 3:29) and slaughter anyone who said anything against Him. And his third act? Why, that was to promote Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to higher positions of rulership within his kingdom (Dan. 3:30).
So can you win when led by Him you take a stand for his truth? In God you can, for as the Apostle Paul said in Rom. 8:37: 'Nay, we are more than conquerors through Him that lived us'.
Now I'm privileged to be in Bible believing fellowship with friends who variously have publicly stood to be counted on some of the following
- Holding to the King James Bible in preference to the often corrupted modern versions.
- Understanding scripture, according to the Bible's own principles of interpretation, in particular 'right division' (2 Tim. 2:15).
- Recognising the new and different revelation of the dispensation of grace and the mystery given the Apostle Paul especially for Gentiles.
- Publicly voicing objection to acceptance of false religions, such as Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, in place of Christianity in the public life of New Zealand.
- Choosing to home school children, rather than submit to them teaching of humanism, evolution and other false science in public schools.
- Refusing to take any part in pagan, idolatrous festivals such as Christmas and Easter.
- Opposing legitimisation and legal sanction for homosexuality and gay marriage.
- Resisting Muslim infiltration and acceptance of this cruel, false religion in New Zealand.
And there are other issues some among us have stood up for. But, may I ask, what are you standing up for?