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Daniel 3:1-30 HOW TO FIGHT FIRE: GOD'S WAY

Intro: Often, we see the Bible use times of trouble in the lives of its characters to teach the rest of us some extremely valuable lessons about faith, God and life itself. This familiar passage is no exception. In these verses, we see the testing, the faith, and victory of three of the great heroes of the faith in the Bible. As we look at what they endured, there are lessons that we too can learn this evening. Lessons about how to fight the fires we find ourselves burning in as we journey through life. Let's reexamine these verses this evening as we consider the thought, How To Fight Fire: God's Way.

I. V. 1-12 STEP 1: CONSIDER THE FIRE

A. V. 12a It Touches The Saint - Nowhere does the Bible guarantee the saint of God freedom from the fires and storms of life. On the contrary, the Bible is filled with references to the fact that storms will come and that they will be part and parcel of the life of every believer. (Ill. John 16:33; Job 14:1; Eccl. 2:23.)

B. V. 12b It Touches The Servant - Some people feel that being a servant of God should guarantee them freedom from troubles. Just this week, I heard a man say these words during a time of stress and difficulty, "Why is this happening to me? I have tried to do everything the Lord wants me to do!" What he failed to understand is that the Lord does not promise His servants freedom from trouble. It can, and will touch all of us!

(Ill. John Wesley was used to trouble in his life. One day, as he road to a preaching obligation, it dawned on him that no one had even thrown a rock at him all day long. It bothered him that his day had been so trouble free. He got off his horse and started to pray to the Lord, seeking to confess every sin he could find in his heart. About that time, a piece of a brick sailed past his head barely missing him. The brick was followed by the curses of some men who heard him praying. Wesley jumped up and shouted glory to God and continued his journey. He knew that trouble stalked the servants of God.)

(If you don't believe me, just ask the Apostle Paul. He labored for the Lord while fighting the fire of an afflicting thorn in the flesh. A thorn, by the way, that God refused to remove! Ill. 2 Cor .12:7-10!)

C. V. 12c It Touches The Separated - There are some who feel that a clean life is a hedge against trouble. It is almost as if some saints use holiness and separation like some kind of a voodoo charm to please the Lord. If I can be good enough, then nothing bad will happen! If something bad does happen, then it must be that there is a sin in my life. This isn't necessarily true! Consider Job. He suffered like few other men ever has, yet God's own testimony about his life was that he was a man of God, Job 1:1, 8. A clean life does not mean a protected life. Sometimes, God will take the holiest, the cleanest and the best He has and put them in the fire. Not so that He can watch them squirm, but so that He can use them for His glory to prove that He is still God!

(Ill. The more we know about the fire when we are called on to face it, the better off we are! When we realize that it isn't for the bad, but that God will sometimes take the cream of the crop into the fire, it changes our whole perspective.)

I. Step 1: Consider The Fire

II. V. 13-18 STEP 2: COMMIT THE FIRE

(Ill. These 3 men committed the fire to the Lord. When they faced the fire, they knew they were unable to face it alone. Therefore, they committed it to the power of the Lord and trusted Him to take them through. When we face our fires, we too, should commit them to the Lord. There are 3 basic truths that we need to keep in mind and they are given to us by Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.)

A. V. 17a Remember Your Connection To God - Take special notice of the words "our God." These men knew that they were in a special relationship with the Father. These men were the sons of God by faith and that is a good relationship to be in when the fire comes near your life.

(Ill. The same is true for you and me this evening. We need to remember that we are not bums wandering through this world tonight. We are the children of the King! Our God is the Creator! He is all-powerful. He owns it all and is perfectly capable of aiding us in our time of crisis! If you are His child, you need never fear Him bailing out on you! He has promised to be there through it all - Heb. 13:5.)

B. V. 17b Remember The Control Of God - Two words used by the Hebrew 3 make all the difference. Those words are "is able." These are the words of faith! These men knew that the fire was hot. They knew that the fire was able to destroy them. They knew that there was no escape, at least from a human standpoint. As they faced the fire, they knew what it could do to them. However, as they faced the fire, they were also able to "faith" the fire! They knew that even if they were thrown into the fire, their Heavenly Father had the necessary power to bring them through the fire.

(Ill. God hasn't changed! He is still "able" to do anything that needs to be done in your life or mine! He is still God and He is still able, Eph. 3:20! Even if you go into the fire, God is still in control. He has His hand on the thermostat and He is in control of the situation. In fact, if the fire comes about in your life, it had to pass through the filter of God's perfect plan for you before it ever came your way. Remember Rom. 8:28 when the fire is belching in your life. Hey folks, God is in control!)

C. V. 18 Remember Your Commitment To God - Way back in Daniel 1:8-21, when these men were younger and new to Babylon, they took their stand for God and committed themselves to living for Him and for Him alone. This is a commitment that they took seriously. Here they are faced with their own deaths and still they are determined to serve the Lord. They stood in the day of testing!

(Ill. When the fire comes to your life and mine, often it will be accompanied by the temptation to quit on God. However, God has promised us help for our times of testing and trials. When you are tempted to quit, remember 3 things if you will.

1. God has promised not to allow you to be tempted above your ability to bear it - 1 Cor. 10:13.

2. During the worst trial Jesus ever faced, He didn't quit, Luke 22:42. He endured and kept His commitment because He loved you.

3. The hour of temptation and trial is when the truth of your profession is proven. It is easy to vow things to God when you get saved and it looks like the world is going to be perfect. However, when the tough times come, and they will, it is then that you get to honor the commitments you have made to the Lord. Commitments, may I add, that are binding and that you will be accountable to keep.

I. Step 1: Consider The Fire

II. Step 2: Commit The Fire

III. V. 19-30 STEP 3: CONQUER THE FIRE

A. V. 24 Overcome By The Presence Of God - Remember that when you face the fires of life, you will never face them alone, Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20!

B. V. 26 Overcome By The Preservation Of God - Remember that God did not save you to lose you to a fiery trial. He will meet you in the blaze and He will strengthen you in the day of trial. Remember, it did not come to stay, it just came to pass! (Ill. 2 Cor. 4:17)

C. V. 27 Overcome By The Power Of God - Again, we are reminded that the God we serve is all-powerful and is able to take care of His children. It doesn't matter what you may be facing this evening, God is bigger then it is!

(Ill. Just ask David about Goliath. Ask Noah about that Ark and that flood. Ask Samson about those blinded eyes and a temple filled with Philistines. Ask Moses about those 40 years in the wilderness. Ask Joshua about Canaan land. Ask Abraham about having to offer up his son. Ask Joseph about the pit, the prison and the palace. Ask Mary about virgins having children. Ask Paul about a Pharisee preaching the Gospel. Ask a dying thief about a saving Lord. Get the picture? God is able!)

D. V. 29 Overcome By The Program Of God - Notice that God had a higher agenda in allowing these men to go through the fire! He did it to being glory to Himself and to speak to the hearts of a few heathen! God brought His child through to prove that He is God and that He is able to take care of His own. By the way, He is still doing it! He will let one of His children go through the fire, and He will bring them out in such a fashion that He gets all the glory and that men learn about Him. He may be using the fire in your life to spread His message.

E. V. 30 Overcome By The Promotion Of God - One of God's primary reasons in sending us through the fire is to purify us to promote us. Folks, the truth of the matter is that you probably won't be much use to the Lord until you go through some fires in your life. You see, fire has the remarkable ability to burn off impurities and to cleanse the object committed to its power. When God melts you, He is about to mold you into a vessel He can use for His glory!

(Ill. Remember Simon Peter? He wasn't much use until the Lord melted him and burned off some pride and some of his strong-willed nature. God melted him and molded him and fashioned him into a vessel of great honor and power. Another that comes to mind is Jacob. His name means "heel-catcher, trickster", and he lived up to it every day! However, one night, he met God by a river and the Lord melted Jacob that night. God renamed him "Israel", which means "a prince with God." After he faced that fire, he was useful to the Lord! Even someone as pure as Joseph was melted in the fire before he was promoted to the glory of God. With all this in mind, rejoice when the fire is kindled in your life. It may be tough for a season, but the Lord is about to use you to do some great things for His glory!)

Conc: I remember as a teenager, one day the woods behind our house caught on fire. We went into the woods to help extinguish those blazes. Being inexperienced, we boys tried to beat the fire out. We only succeeded in spreading it! Then, the firemen and rangers who were there told us to take our shovels and sling blades and move ahead of the fire to help build a fire break. When we listened to the professionals, we were able to help put the fire out. Left to ourselves, we would have just made things worse! There is a spiritual lesson here as well. When we try to fight our fires our way, we only succeed in making them worse. Let's do it God's way!




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