In 2019, when I prayed about the direction for our church’s sermon series in 2020, I was convinced of a few directions, but I never could have imagined the level to which we would need to be reminded of these biblical truths.
- Financial Proverbs – We started the year discussing the need to be prepared financially for a person or public rainy day, and then the economic crisis hit.
- Philippians – We moved to learn how Paul could find joy right where he was when he was dislodged from what was normal and comforting, and then the quarantine began.
- Psalms [Vol. 2] – We studied how to express our concerns, anxieties, and fears to the God who hears our prayers as our country has been literally on fire.
Which brings me to fear and trepidation regarding the Fall series that we start on August 23rd.
We are studying the Book of Daniel.
I sensed direction for this book due to my concern about the upcoming presidential election. Regardless of who wins on November 3rd, half of the country is going to be ready to burn the other half of the country to the ground on November 4th. The hostility is at an all-time high in the United States. I thought it would be bad during the election, but I never could have imagined all that we would experience leading up to that time. So, why Daniel?
- I wanted to prepare our church family with how to live for God in a culture that has turned from God.
- I wanted to remind our church family that no leader is in authority outside of the sovereign hand of God.
- I wanted to encourage our church family that no matter what happens, God has a plan for the future.
- I wanted to unleash our church family to know that God has missional opportunities for us in the midst of it all.
That’s why I chose Daniel a year ago, and I am truly thankful for the direction as I look at the landscape now. If you are in the Greenville area and do not have a church home, I would love for you to join us as we study this on Sundays. If you are outside the area but want to follow along, you can subscribe to the podcast or get the sermons here every Sunday.
Daniel – Courage in the Chaos
Daniel learned how to stay faithful to God in a culture that was hostile toward his faith. Navigating through promised persecution, prideful politicians, and petrifying predictions, Daniel and his friends maintained their commitment regardless of the outcome. Much like those days, our culture is ever-increasing in their hostility toward biblical faith, and each of us must determine whether we will stand firm or fall away. God’s people must not compromise to the culture but display courage in the chaos.
- August 23, 2020 – Expectant Exiles [Daniel 1:1-7] – When Babylon conquered Judah, the pagan king gathered a group of exiles to alter their worldview in order to reconstruct the whole nation. A small group heeded the biblical command regarding exile expectations and remained expectant of how God could use them during that time.
- August 30, 2020 – Convictional Courage in a Compromising Culture – [Daniel 1:8-21] – Daniel and his friends had to decide whether they would be transformed by the culture or transformers of the culture. Just like them, we must resolve to show convictional courage in a nation increasingly hostile to biblical values.
- September 6, 2020 – That Platform Isn’t Meant for You [Daniel 2:1-49] – God gave Daniel the ability to interpret the king’s troubling dream, but instead of taking credit at an opportune time, Daniel unashamedly gave God the glory. Our goal should be to use any platform to represent God rather than present ourselves.
- September 13, 2020 – When God Meets You in the Fire [Daniel 3:1-30] – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego risked their lives when they refused to worship the golden image. When it seemed that God abandoned them in their suffering, He actually met them within the fire.
- September 20, 2020 – God Is in Control of Who Is in Control [Daniel 4:1-27] – Daniel interpreted the king’s disturbing dream and showed him that all of his power had been given by the one with all authority. No matter who is in charge, God is sovereign over all.
- September 27, 2020 – How the Haughty Are Humbled [Daniel 4:28-37] – Through King Nebuchadnezzar’s humiliation and restoration, he learns an important truth: God can do whatever He wants to do whenever He wants to do it. None of us can block God’s will from coming to pass.
- October 4, 2020 – When God Has Had Enough [Daniel 5:1-31] – When King Belshazzar took the vessels from the temple and used them for idolatrous purposes, God sent a frightening message to the people. The writing on the wall seeks to remind us that when God has had enough, He puts an abrupt end to sin.
- October 11, 2020 – Muzzling Lions [Daniel 6:1-28] – Daniel refused to pray to the king and was cast into the lion’s den because of his devotion. Not only did his bold stance make a statement about his faith, but it successfully witnessed to others as well.
- October 18, 2020 – Make Way for the Coming King [7:1-28] – Daniel’s frightening vision of future kings alarmed him until he beheld the coming King who would reign forever. Amid polarizing politicians and combative kingdoms, our great hope is in the true King who is on His way.
- October 25, 2020 – Throwing Truth to the Ground [8:1-27] – In Daniel’s remarkably detailed vision of two coming kingdoms, God’s enemies are described as those who throw truth to the ground. No matter how powerful they may seem, God’s truth will endure, and He will ultimately defeat every remaining opposition.
- November 1, 2020 – When God’s People Turn Aside [9:1-19] – As Daniel studied the scriptures, he was dismayed at how far the people had drifted from God. His prayer of corporate repentance provides a helpful guide as we seek a needed wakeup call from God.
- November 8, 2020 – When the Future Seems Unclear [9:20-27] – In Daniel’s concern about the future, the angel Gabriel provided a needed amount of clarity yet permitted some level of confusion. While the details may be debated, the vision is clear – Christ is coming at an appointed time for a specific outcome.
- November 15, 2020 – The Spiritual Warfare All Around Us [10:1-21] – God sent messengers to Daniel to reveal how earthly conflicts are connected to spiritual warfare. If we don’t acknowledge that we are in a war, we will most definitely experience significant defeat.
- November 22, 2020 – Even the Antichrist Has a Term Limit [11:1-45] – Daniel foresaw a clear progression of prideful rulers culminating in the reign of the Antichrist. For all the power amassed by God’s opponents throughout history, their end will be sudden and sure.
- November 29, 2020 – What We Know for Sure About the End [12:1-13] – While we may be uncertain regarding the timing of the end, God is clear regarding the testing leading up to that end. Daniel’s final vision provides a vague progression of events accompanied by a clear expectation for His followers.