Exiles as Missionaries

Exiles as Missionaries

Scripture: Daniel 7:14, Isaiah 39:5-7, Matthew 24:14-15
Date: 08/01/2015  Lesson: 5
"Think how easy it would have been for Daniel to have compromised, especially given his circumstances. What does his example teach us about how lame our excuses for compromise often really are?"

Winsome Witnessing by Gary Gibbs

Winsome Witnessing by Gary Gibbs
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Welcome to Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church. We are so thrilled that you have decided to join us to study God's Word together. A special welcome to those of you who are joining us live on the internet, across the country, around the world - however you're joining us, we know that it is by no mistake that we are studying together as God's remnant family, ready to go to heaven. We want to know everything we can to get us there to see our Savior face to face. Before we begin our study, let's sing together as we always do.

We're going to start with hymn #434 - we speak of the realms - we're going to sing the first and the last verses of hymn #434. We speak of the realms of the blest, that country so bright and so fair, and oft are its glories confessed; but what must it be to be there! We speak of its pathways of gold, its walls decked with jewels so rare, its wonders and pleasures untold; but what must it be to be there! Do thou, 'midst temptation and woe, for heaven my spirit prepare, and shortly I also shall know and feel what it is to be there. Then o'er the bright fields we shall go in glories celestial and fair with saints and with angels at home and Jesus, himself, will be there you know, this week, as we've been studying the exiles as missionaries, we are all exiles as missionaries. We are trapped here on this planet, ready to go home, and that's what these songs are about this week, we're singing about looking forward to the day that we can be with our Savior face to face and while we are here occupying this planet, that we continue to be the missionaries that God wants us to be so that we can finish his work. Let's sing the glory song.

This is the culmination of all of our efforts coupled with the Holy Spirit, that we will be singing 'glory, glory' forever and ever. The glory song - hymn #435 - we're going to sing all three verses. When all my labors and trials are o'er, and I am safe on that beautiful shore, just to be near the Lord I adore, will through the ages be glory for me. O that will be glory for me. Glory for me, glory for me, when by his grace I shall look on his face, that will be glory, be glory for me.

When by the gift of his infinite grace, I am accorded in heaven a place, just to be there and to look on his face, will through the ages be glory for me. O that will be glory for me. Glory for me, glory for me, when by his grace I shall look on his face, that will be glory, be glory for me. Friends will be there I have loved long ago; joy like a river around me will flow, yet, just a smile from my Savior, I know, will through the ages be glory for me. O that will be glory for me.

Glory for me, glory for me, when by his grace I shall look on his face, that will be glory, be glory for me. You know, this week I was chatting with my three nieces that are visiting and we were chatting about heaven. And I just invite you, as you go through this next week, to just picture heaven in your mind for just a little bit, and picture what it's going to be and the Holy Spirit will enlighten you and continue to grow and we will soon be there together. At this time I would like to invite pastor - or dr. Derose - up for prayer and he will take us into our study.

Let's pray together. Father in Heaven, we thank you so much that we can lift our voices. Thank you for pointing our minds heavenward. And we pray now, as we prepare to open Your Word, you would do just that: bring us into the audience of heaven. We ask in Jesus' Name, amen.

Well, thank you so much for that ministry in music and thank you for joining us - whether it be by air or whether it's here live in this venue, it's wonderful to be studying the Lord's word and as we do, here in the Sabbath School Study Hour, we have a special free offer that we're offering today. It's offer #114 - it's called death watch in siberia - that's our free offer, offer #114 - and you can get it by calling -788-3966 - that's 866-study-more. Well, we are continuing our journey about biblical missionaries - biblical missionaries. Today we're tackling lesson #5 - lesson #5 is themed exiles as missionaries. And we've already had a nice foundation for the lesson as we've been singing together and reflecting on just how God leads an exiled people.

You know, in Hebrews, as it's speaking about the heroes of faith, we're reminded that we're all strangers and pilgrims in this place. This is not our home, as it's been said, we're just passing through. Well, with that back ground, our lesson especially focuses us on the personage of Daniel. There's a number that are mentioned in this lesson, but most of the lesson focuses on Daniel. I invite you to turn in your Bibles to Daniel chapter 1, to get a little bit of background into a book that's become very familiar to Seventh-day Adventists and to those who fellowship with us, because Seventh-day Adventists are a people of prophecy - a people of Bible prophecy.

So Daniel is familiar because in that book it speaks with quite, quite surprising to many people if they've never studied it before - quite surprising clarity as to our day. But Daniel also, not only has prophecies, but it has stories. And the narrative portions of Daniel - the stories of Daniel - show us the kind of character that we need to have in the last days. So, with that background, let's begin in the very beginning of the book of Daniel. It starts in verse 1 of chapter 1, with a little bit of background, it says "in the third year of the reign of jehoiakim king of judah came Nebuchadnezzare king of Babylon unto Jerusalem and besieged it.

" Now let's just stop right there, because in antiquity, everything in the mind set of the ancients was under the control of the Gods and if one nation beat another nation it was because their Gods were better than the Gods of the people that they conquered. So I want you to get this picture in Daniel chapter 1: the God of heaven, his people, have been overrun by the Babylonians, and not only is Jerusalem conquered for the first time under Babylon - there'll be three conquests - but under this first conquest, even the temple precincts are defiled. The enemy comes in and takes articles out of the house of God and brings them - where? To Babylon - to Babylon. And so what is happening in the minds of the Babylonians? 'Our God is better than your God - our God's better than your God. We've won and you lost.

' So contemporary society is telling the jews that 'you are following a losing religion. You're losers. Get on - you know, come on, join the real world. Get with it because that's a thing of the past. Now it's all about Babylon.

' Now some of you might say, 'we'll, that's kind of a stretch' but it's really not. That is the mind set of antiquity. And so they were saying that God's temple, God's sanctuary, God's worship is irrelevant. Now Nebuchadnezzar was a very wise ruler. And what Nebuchadnezzar would do when he would conquer a nation - he would take some of the own royal seed, if you will - some of the lineage - those in that nation that were designated - that were in line to be leaders, to be Kings, to be royalty - and he would bring them to Babylon and he would bring them to the schools of Babylon and he would train them to be Babylonians, at least in mind.

And so that's the situation that, not only Daniel finds himself but, no doubt, many young Hebrew men groomed to be leaders and then go back to their own countries as puppet rulers being manipulated, if you will, by Nebuchadnezzar. That's the training program. And so it says in verse 5 of Daniel chapter 1, "the King appointed for them a daily provision of the King's delicacies, and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the King. Now from among those of The Sons of judah were Daniel, hananiah, mishael, and azariah. To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name belteshazzar; to hananiah, shadrach; to Michael, meshach; and to azariah, abednego.

" Now there's something interesting about all their Hebrew names, they all have a form of God in their names. So if you look there, those names that have 'ah' like azari(ah) or hanani(ah) - those are derived from the name for God: yah - okay? And those that have the form el in their name like misha(el) or dani(el) that is another form for the name of God 'el' or from 'elohim'. So these are Hebrew young men that have been given names by their parents that reminded them of the true God. Now they are given names by the Babylonians - all of the names they're given are names that point them to Babylonian Gods. Do you get the picture? So this is a brain-washing process.

They're being indoctrinated into Babylonian culture. Now the King, wanting to train these young men to be leaders in their own nation, is going to take good care of them. And you notice what food they're given: in verse 5, it is actually of the King's own food and drink that they're given. Now let me ask you a question: do you think that the King was just eating and drinking just any old thing? Actually, I'm sure the King was following the cutting-edge wisdom of the professors of Babylon at the time and he was eating the finest diet that you could eat, according to the secular standards of the day. Now some of you may think, if you're Seventh-day Adventist or have been associating with Seventh-day Adventists, or have been viewing programming from Seventh-day Adventists, that Seventh-day Adventists, you know, they're right on the cutting edge of nutritional science and every seventh-day adventist now realizes that what they've been promoting for years - a vegetarian diet - has now been vindicated by world scientific circles.

Well, there is some truth in that, but I will tell you that the world authorities on nutrition have not got it all straight. You can find many fine nutritionists who are telling us that we should be enjoying more of those foods and drinks that were on Nebuchadnezzar's table, like those fermented beverages. Are you aware of this? Many researchers - I would say blinded by cultural bias. Now you can say, 'this is a strong charge you're making, dr. Derose.

' But I would say it's a cultural bias. And you can look through the medical research literature and you're not going to find strong evidence that we should be drinking some alcohol. In fact, you'll find the opposite if you look objectively. And you say, 'well, you're being pretty arrogant to act like you can look objectively at the medical research literature when others aren't.' But I'm just telling you, there's plenty of literature out there showing us that even in moderation alcoholic beverages are harmful for our health. Not alone - not alone our physical health, but our moral health.

Let's come back to Daniel and see what - Daniel's take on it. You know the story, don't you? In Daniel chapter one, verse 8, it says, "but Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the King's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself." Do you catch the operative word in that verse? It appears more than once. That word is what? Defile. Defile. Now I don't know if you've thought much about tHis Word 'defile', but can you defile the dirt? You can't defile something that's - defilement is only something that applies to something that's holy.

You can only defile something that is holy. So what Daniel's saying here is that it may look like the sanctuary is destroyed or the sanctuary service has been violated, at least, at this point. It may look, from a secular perspective, that Babylon has it right - that they're the - they've - they're in the position of rulership, but God tells me that my body is his temple. It may look like God's sanctuary message is irrelevant, but it's not. And my body is a sanctuary and I am not going to defile my body.

His argument, interestingly, is not primarily an argument from physical health. His argument is primarily an argument from moral defilement and he's saying, 'I am going to live - I am - I have been taken and I'm in a situation where I'm not in control, but I am not going to allow my body to be defiled. I am living in the sight of a holy God who's looking down on me. And this is a fitting place to stop in the story because I really believe this context of Daniel speaks to us eloquently in 2015 because we are in the midst of a culture where many are trying to tell us that Christianity is irrelevant. 'If you're a Christian you're just not with it.

You haven't heard all the evidence that's out there. And once you did, you'd realize that all this stuff about the Bible and the sanctuary and all this is irrelevant.' And God is calling us to be like Daniel - to say, 'you know what? The scholars at harvard may say something. The scholars at stanford and oxford may seem to be in agreement. They may be telling us that our lifestyle and even a Godly way of living is not relevant. But you know what? I have compelling evidence that, in spite of how it may look at times, that God is still on the throne.

Amen. And God calls for that witness today, from all of us, that we're going to live as Daniel lived, in the sight of a holy God. And so, as the book of Daniel plays out, is actually founded on that initial decision Daniel makes - and you know what he does? He actually puts his life on the line. And we know that because when Daniel requests the vegetarian diet that he requests - and, by the way, that is exactly what he requested - if you look at verses 8 and 9 as it plays out, and then into verse 10 and onward, you'll see what Daniel asked. Verse 12 is the operative verse: "please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink.

" And so that request is not borne out of some narrow-minded view of healthful living, it is borne out because Daniel believed and respected the God of heaven and his counsel. And as a result - you know the story, most of you - Daniel is blessed not only with physical blessings - within ten days it says that when they actually studied those young men, they were fairer and fatter in flesh, as some of the translations render it, but they definitely were healthier. They looked better. And some of you are saying, 'well, dr. Derose, you know, it wouldn't hurt you to look a bit, you know, fuller in flesh.

' Well, listen, we all have different genetic make ups. Some of you are blessed that you can hold weight a little bit more effectively than I can. Others of you think that I'm more blessed. But that is not - that is not what the story's about. The story is about faithful living - faithful living.

Well, as the book of Daniel plays out, not only do we have this background that is mentioned and specially highlighted in Daniel 1 and in - Sunday, in Sabbath's lessons, but we have some very interesting things then that develop based on that stand that Daniel took because you know the story, but we need to take some time and look at this. But maybe before we do, I want to point something out to you. As we've been looking at Daniel 1, a lot of you might be able to relate to Daniel and you say, 'you know what? Daniel was a real good' - and I hate to do this, but I'm going to put a label on Daniel - a label that's sometimes used in contemporary Christian circles: 'Daniel was really a good conservative, Daniel was. He followed the health message and, you know, followed all God's principles. With that background I just have to fast forward because, as you go through this lesson on exiles, in Thursday's lesson, even though most of the lesson all the way through Wednesday is dealing with Daniel and, by God's grace, we'll come back there before too long, we're reminded that there were some other exiles as witnesses whose story was a little bit different.

One of them is identified, who we'll study more in future lessons, is Esther - Esther. So we're looking at Daniel 1 in some detail, let's jump over now to Esther chapter 1. Just a little bit of background, Daniel was taken captive in what most historians believe was 605 b.c., During Nebuchadnezzar's first conquest of Jerusalem. And some 70 years later, you know that the exiles were allowed to return home and this story actually takes place many years after that, so roughly 537 b.c. Is when cyrus issues his decree to allow the jews living in what was first Babylon, now conquered, at that time, by the medes and the persians, allowed them to return home.

The book of Esther is set around 483 b.c. So if you're doing some quick math, you're talking over 50 years. And why that's significant is, if we were to take the time today to look at the book of Ezra, you'd find that when that decree from cyrus went out allowing the jews to go back home - they were exiles - they were given the invitation now to go back home - maybe - I know we're jumping around a little bit, but Ezra isn't that far from Esther. Maybe we should look at Ezra 1 - just turn a few books back - we'll come to Esther in a minute. Ezra chapter 1 - so cyrus is making this proclamation allowing the jews to return back to Jerusalem and in verse 5 of Ezra 1 it says, "then the heads of The Fathers' houses of judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the levites, with all those spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.

" So God gives a message - a lot of what we've been talking about is - we've been studying about biblical missionaries - is how God gives us calls throughout history 'to go' - to go - and so, here's this call that comes. It comes through a heathen ruler, cyrus, and the call is to go. It's to go from Babylon back to Jerusalem. But not everyone heeds that call and so, when we come to Ezra, we get the background. And when we jump a few books ahead to Esther, we find that among those who did not go back - and, by the way, there was more than one opportunity to go back in those fifty years - Esther and those of her clan are still in Babylon.

Do you understand the dynamic here? But it's even worse than that because, you notice what her name is, don't you? Her name is what? We call her 'Esther' but as you read through the background of the story, you learn that she actually had another name, hadassah. Sounding familiar to some of you? What is the - where does the name 'Esther' come from? Do any of you know? It's actually a Babylonian name that comes from 'ishtar' which actually is the same name that was transformed into ashtor and ashtoreth - this is a - is a name of secular Gods in the Babylonian mind set. And so, as you realize that you say, 'well, it was just to conceal her identity that maybe she was given that name, so that she could mingle a little bit more effectively with the people.' But as you read through what happens in Esther chapters 1 and 2, you find some things that should make us just a little bit uneasy. Well let's look at it: Esther chapter 2, verse 7 - this is where it refers to her two names. It says, "mordecai" - a near relative of Esther - older - "had brought up hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter, for she had neither father nor mother.

The young woman was lovely and beautiful. When her father and mother died, mordecai took her as his own daughter." Now some of you say, 'well maybe Esther was the name given by the Babylonians - at least the Babylonian influence there in the medo-persian realm.' Well, perhaps. Maybe. But look at verse 8: "so it was, when the King's command and decree were heard," - and the command was that because vashti, the queen that we're introduced to in chapter 1 of Esther - stood for principle. When the King was in a drunken feast, she apparently would not show her beauty to the degree the King wanted her to.

She was punished. She was de-throned and now the king is looking for a new queen. And so they bring these beautiful young women to the King's palace. Now look at verse 10 of Esther chapter 2. "Esther had not revealed her people or family for mordecai had charged her not to reveal it.

" And as you read what the preparations were for these women, it was an extensive, long-term preparation. Verse 12 tells us how long their preparation was. Do you see it there in Esther 2, verse 12? Their preparation was for twelve months. How do you conceal that you're a jew for twelve months? How do you do it? Do the jews do anything distinctively - as far as what they did on a weekly basis? Yeah, how about what they ate? Was there a way to conceal - now, again, what I'm just telling you - I'm not saying Esther did anything wrong, I'm not saying that Esther was not faithful. If you look at Esther's background - if you look at where she was, I would suggest to you that if you want to put labels on people, you would say that Esther was from a liberal family and a very liberal background, doing some things that, if they were not questionable, they surely would raise in the mind of people, questions.

Now, fortunately, like I said, we're not just studying - talking about Esther today, but next week you'll get to hear another opinion on it and can set everything straight. So just make sure you know that if you're disappointed, you find out who's teaching the lesson next week and make sure you get, you know, the right perspective. But what I'm trying to share with you here is what we tend to do is we tend to put people in categories. Do you realize, in the book of Daniel, where we're going back to - there is not one wrong act recorded of Daniel? Not one thing. Not one.

Daniel's an example of what some have called living the sanctified life. What I think is so significant about this lesson is that we tend to label people and when we label people, we disqualify ourselves, oftentimes. You say, 'I could never do what Daniel did. I don't have that kind of a track record. I couldn't do it.

' 'I couldn't be like Esther. I would - I mean, she was really on the edge. I mean, if they called me in that, you know, I would say, 'I cannot do this. I cannot spend the night with the King.' By the way, that's the time period that they had to spend with the King - the evening hours - you can read it in Esther 2. Some have thought that that meant that there were certain activities that they engaged in that would be less than commendable.

But maybe Esther stood for principle in that very setting. I don't know what happened. All I'm telling you is if one of your daughters or granddaughters said that they're an intern at the white house and they're spending the night with a congressman, you would not think that this was probably going to be an all-evening Bible study, right? And this is the - so I'm trying to help us see is we somehow think that in order to be the right witness, we have to, you know, look right. We have to be perfect. And I've had people tell me that in so many words.

They said, 'but dr. Derose, do you know what I did?' Or 'do you know how I look, dr. Derose? Do you know I have this - this health problem?' And 'how can I tell people about a better diet if I have this health issue or if I tend to have weight problems?' Listen, thank the Lord you only weight 400, really. I mean - I mean, I've had patients weight over 600 pounds. And you say, 'well that's no consolation!' But the point I'm making is we've all got different genetic backgrounds and we've lived in different environments and whether you have an auto-immune disease or whether you've had cancer or whether you're overweight doesn't mean that you're disqualified from being a witness for Jesus.

The point is, we're all exiles. Daniel and Esther, it seems like they're coming from two different poles but the point is, at the end of the story, both of them end up doing the same thing. Let's look at Daniel 6 and see one of the telling examples of Daniel's commitment to the God of heaven. So Esther, you know, she said, 'if I perish, I perish. I'm going to do what God's calling me to do.

' We see that very same spirit in Daniel. We saw it there in Daniel 1. The head servant charged with taking care of those Hebrew young men, he felt that the request that Daniel and his friends were making was going to endanger his head. If it was going to endanger the head of one of the officers, what do you think Daniel was doing? He was putting his life on the line. I mean, to go against the King? Come on, do you realize what happens when you go against the king and say that you know better than the King about how you should live your life? Daniel 6 - amazing story - the realm has changed.

Daniel 5 tells us the story of belshazzar, the last on the throne. And maybe - maybe I just need to pause here. If you've never studied the historical background of Daniel , it is one of the most convincing evidences for the authenticity of the book of Daniel. You see, throughout history, many secular scholars said the book of Daniel is just a farce. The prophecies in there are so compelling that they could not have been written when Daniel said he lived.

They had to be written after the fact. You know, how could Daniel have known in advance all these kingdoms that would come one after another? How could he mention, by name, an empire like greece that was not to come for hundreds of years? This all had to be written after greece came on the scene. And so many try to date Daniel centuries and centuries later. But here's the interesting thing that comes out to us in the book of Daniel. In Daniel chapter 5 there is a ruler named belshazzar on the throne.

For centuries and centuries - millenia - belshazzar was lost from history - no record in heroditus, the great historian, of a belshazzar. Belshazzar didn't exist - that's what secular theologians thought for many years. And, in fact, because they could find no record of belshazzar - he wasn't in the King list of Babylon. They said Daniel was just a fabrication - made up the name of a king - until inscriptions were discovered - inscriptions that actually showed that belshazzar, even though he sat as king, when Babylon was conquered, he was the second in charge. His father, actually, was the king but he was away at that time - that a whole other story - and belshazzar, just as Daniel 5 records it, was sitting on the throne of Babylon.

That's why he could only offer Daniel the third highest position in the Kingdom - because he was second. His father was first. So in Daniel 5, when Daniel is offered to be the third ruler, that's the highest position belshazzar could give him. Now why do I say this is so compelling? It's because belshazzar, shortly after the conquest of Babylon by the medes and the persians, was lost from history. Daniel 5 establishes that the book of Daniel was written when it was written - when it claims to have been written - during the time of Daniel - during the time of Babylon's reign.

And so, now when we come to Daniel 6, belshazzar is no more. The Babylonian empire has crumbled. The prophecies of Isaiah 38 have been fulfilled. And now, in Daniel 6, there is a new ruling power. And this is unheard of.

The medo persians now take over. And Daniel, who was in a leading position in Babylon, is now put in a leading position by the conquering people. I mean, this just does not happen. It doesn't happen in America. I mean, can - you know it happens.

When there's a, you know, when there's a change of party in the white house, how many times do you say, 'well, you know what? These four cabinet members did a great job for president obama so now that we have a republican president - by the way, I'm not trying to be prophetic here, but let's say there's a change of party. They're not going to keep those four cabinet members in. They're going to clean house. It was even more amazing in antiquity. And so it says in Daniel chapter 6 and verse 1, "it pleased darius to set over the Kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the King would suffer no loss.

" And then as the account goes on, Daniel excels. All the others in leadership - and what happens? the King is about to promote Daniel and everybody starts to get jealous. And so they induce the King to make a very foolish decree - very foolish decree - and you know what happens, darius signs this decree - it's described in verse 7 - that whoever petitions any God or man for thirty days, except king darius, would be cast into a den of lions. And so the decree goes out. It's a foolish decree because they all knew what Daniel did.

Daniel would pray three time a day towards Jerusalem. Now's a fitting time to stop, because some of you already thought that I implied that Esther and her family couldn't have been too holy because they didn't go back to Jerusalem when that decree went out from cyrus, but Daniel never went back to Jerusalem. Nehemiah never went back. But I'm just saying they weren't following that call to country living that some of you have followed. I mean, Jerusalem, back then, after it was destroyed by the Babylonians, it was pretty - pretty bleak.

I mean, they didn't even have a wall, okay? So back to the story. What does Daniel do? What do you do when your faith is under fire? You say, 'well, in the book of Esther - Esther, you know, just kind of kept it quiet. What does Daniel do? Daniel does not change his habitual practice because of human laws and he continues to pray openly to the God of heaven. Now some might say, 'well, there's no law. There's no biblical principle that says that you have to pray with your window open.

Why did he keep doing it?' Because he always did. Because he always did, some of you say? You know, here's the point: we're reading about exiles - we're reading about missionaries. You know, I can't tell you how God's leading you. I can't tell you, you know, because you're working in this place, you're obviously not following the Lord, you know, because those people are all messed up over there. I mean, you know how messed up they were in the courts of Babylon? So Daniel, forcibly brought into exile - Esther - it wasn't her choice to be there in the King's palace - and God used them powerfully.

And, by the way, both Esther and Daniel were quite young, right? That's what the evidence indicates - quite young - so some of you say, 'so that's what disqualifies me, dr. Derose, because I'm a bit older than that. No one would choose me for a beauty queen. No one would take me as a young person that they could indoctrinate. I'm over the hill, dr.

Derose.' But these missionary stories we're looking at actually cut across gender, age, background, labels. Look with me real quickly at psalm 90 - psalm 90 - most people don't know who wrote psalm 90 unless they look at it and read the footnote that's in most Bibles. Psalm 90, who wrote it? Moses. Moses. Did you know Moses wrote a psalm? And the psalm that Moses wrote has a very interesting verse in it.

And that verse is found in verse 10 - psalm 90, verse 10, "the days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away." In Moses' day, how long did people live? Seventy years. Seventy years, maybe eighty, okay? What's the life span today? What number do you want to put on it? What would you say if someone's, you know, if they're really fortunate they'll live to how long? Ninety. Ninety? Maybe a hundred. Seventh-day Adventists. Seventh-day Adventists? How old was Moses when he was called to be the great missionary to the Egyptians? Eighty.

He was eighty. Do you understand the implications of when Moses was called? Moses was called when he was a dead man. (Laughter) really. He was called when he was a dead man. And so you're sitting here today - you're saying, 'it's over for me, dr.

Derose, I've lived my life. I mean, I'm retired. I can't even drive myself. They took away my driver's license from me. What can I do?' But it doesn't matter who old or how young you are.

It doesn't matter when the person next to you says, 'boy, I hope those liberals don't sit next to me in church.' Or 'boy, that guy is so conservative he's disgusting.' I mean, we - we - do you see what I'm saying? We, among ourselves, we label each other and then, what do we do? We look at ourselves in the mirror and say, 'what can I do? I'm not like Daniel. I'm not like Esther. I'm not like Moses. But the whole point - why there are so many stories - is because we're like all of them. We're like all of them.

Daniel, in Daniel 6, is thrown in the lion's den. And what is the outcome of Daniel's experience? What's the result? The result in Daniel 6, is we have this amazing proclamation - it's referred to us in chapter - or in Tuesday's lesson. It actually quotes this powerful passage in Daniel 6:25 through 27. It says, 'then king darius wrote to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, that in every dominion of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel: for he is the living God and he endures forever.

His kingdom will not be destroyed. His dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves. He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth.' He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions. And what's interesting - what's pointed out in the lesson, as well, is a preceding verse.

Before Daniel was thrown in the lion's den it reminds us of verse 20, right there at the beginning of Tuesday's lesson, because what - what it's likely darius was saying before Daniel was thrown in, are the very words that come out of his mouth at the end of that evening that Daniel spends in the royal lion chamber. And he says, in Daniel 6:20, "o Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?" And the answer, of course, is 'yes.' God was seen as the living God. Daniel was seen as continually following Jesus. You say, 'but I haven't been seen that way. I mean, I've messed up already.

' Listen, they didn't even realize Esther was a jew. They didn't say that to Esther. They didn't say, 'the God that you serve continually.' They didn't even make the connection. The point is, wherever we've been at in our past, God gives us the opportunity today, and this week, to do what? To be missionaries for him. To go and represent him.

Not to disqualify ourselves. Not to say, 'well, I haven't done things right and if I said I was a Christian where I work, I mean, you know, they've seen what I've been watching. They've seen the magazines I bring. If I tell them I'm a vegetarian they'll say, well, they saw me at burger king last week. Getting a - eating a hamburger.

' Do you see what satan tries to do? Satan tries to throw in our face where we have slipped - where we have fallen. And what God is trying to do is trying to get our attention saying we all have this missionary calling and that missionary calling is most powerful when we have to stand for something when it seems like the world is pointing in another direction. Go back with me to Daniel 2. It's another story that's highlighted, actually, in Monday's lesson. I know some of you like the, you know, systematic approach to lesson study and so you're very thankful that I'm not up here much, but I tend to like to integrate things in my own mind and my mind jumps around.

And some of you say, 'well, I'm glad that some people have a more smooth-flowing mind than yours, dr. Derose.' But I'm trying to pull all of this together and say, 'what does it say to me?' And as I look at these comparisons and these contrasts, God has a call for me. And even if some of you don't think that that calling is probably applicable to this individual up front, that's okay, because you've been written off by some people too, haven't you? No, really. And it doesn't mean that God doesn't have a ministry for you. 'But dr.

Derose, do you know who told me that I should never open my mouth and say anything about Jesus because I always make a fool of myself?' I don't care who told you that, God wants to use you. God wants to use you. Chapter 2 of Daniel - again, a very familiar story. In Daniel 1, we have that amazing prophecy where God, in - in a way that could speak to a heathen king, gives him an image of an idol - an idol made up of various metals that foretold kingdoms that would come and go after the time of Babylon. Babylon, of course, being represented - Babylon - it's king Nebuchadnezzar as the head of gold in that image.

In Daniel chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar basically, at this point, rejecting the vision of Daniel 1. He says, 'no, there is going to be no succession of kingdoms. Babylon, the head of gold, is going to rule forever. I'm going to build an image just like the one God gave me and I'm going to make it all of gold. Babylon is going to rule forever.

' And he calls a big worship service. It was a worship service - a big festival on the plain of dura, where they're going to consecrate this idol. It was to be a worship service, there is no question about it as you read the context. And so, what happens in the midst of this? The call goes out. The call goes out in Daniel 3.

I have you looking at Daniel 2, I know, but in Monday's lesson it starts with Daniel 2 and then transitions us into Daniel 3. In Daniel 2 you have that initial vision and then in Daniel 3 you have the three Hebrews that stand faithfully. When this call goes out on the plain of dura, and it says in verse 8 of Daniel chapter 3, certain chaldeans (Babylonian intelligentsia) come forward. They accuse these three jews - shadrach, mishach, and abednego - of not bowing down. It says, very clearly, in verse 11, "whoever does not bow down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

" - They're quoting the King and they're saying, 'that's what these men deserve. They have not worshiped.' And so Nebuchadnezzar gives them another chance and they say, 'we're going to be faithful. God can save us, but even if he doesn't, we're not going to capitulate.' And so, in that time of adversity, they're thrown into the fiery furnace. And you know what happens? God delivers them. Would they have been delivered if they hadn't have stood faithful? Would God's people have been delivered, in the time of Esther, if Esther hadn't stood faithful? Would Daniel have been delivered from the lion's den if he hadn't stood faithful? You say, 'he would never have been thrown there.

' The whole point is, God is seeking to do what we read about in Revelation - give a message to every nation, kingdom, tongue and people. Nebuchadnezzar tried to do it on the plain of dura - tried to get everyone to worship a false God, but in the end, when we stand faithful as God's missionaries, the God in heaven will be worshiped. That's the challenge for me. It's a challenge for you. It's the challenge today as we interact with one another, and the challenge this week as we go about asking the question of the Lord, 'what would you have me to do? Where would you have me to go?' And then praying for the strength to follow.

Amen. Well, we do have a free offer that builds on this message, actually, deathwatch in siberia - deathwatch in siberia - it's offer #114. You can get it by calling -study-more - that's 1-866-788-3966. I invite you to be back here in the Granite Bay seventh-day adventist church next week. Actually, as we pick up the study of Esther, we invite you that are joining us by way of camera to join us as well, as we study more about biblical missionaries.

Amazing Facts began in 1965 with a God-inspired concept. Hello, this is Joe Crews and the Amazing Facts broadcast - facts which affect you. These radio broadcasts would begin with an amazing fact from science, nature, or history, followed by a Bible message that touched the hearts of listeners from every walk of life. The program was an instant success and the ministry soon began expanding to include Bible lessons. In 1986 Amazing Facts added the medium of television to its growing outreach efforts, offering soul-winning evangelistic messages for viewers around the world.

In 1994, Pastor Doug Batchelor assumed leadership of the ministry, adding the Bible answers live call-in radio program and new ministry tv programs began airing on multiple networks around the world. For 50 years, the driving vision of Amazing Facts has been the bold proclamation of the everlasting Gospel and, with a team of evangelists circling the globe and thousands of men and women being trained through the Amazing Facts center of evangelism program - afcoe - the ministry is helping God's church see a rich harvest of souls. Amazing Facts - God's message, our mission. Amazing Facts changed lives. My greatest wish is that my children will see me the way I see my - my own father.

He's a very devoted man and that kind of framed my childhood going forward from there, where I was always involved in church work and I had a very rich experience with the Lord at a young age - all the way up through college. Then after I got married I got in a company called comcast and I spent the past, roughly eight and a half years - nine years at comcast and I was actually watching television with my son and a comcast commercial came on the air and he said, 'oh daddy, that's comcast. That's where you work, daddy.' And most fathers would be proud with something like that, but it really struck me that, you know, my son's getting older and he does not see me as a servant of the Lord, he sees me as a servant of my company. And I knew that I would have to make some changes because I wanted him to know me as a man of God. I never thought I would be a preacher or anything like that, but I knew that there was room in the work for me and for my - for my talents and I wanted my son to see me operating in the work.

That's when I knew that my time there was coming to an end. I was sitting in my office one day and I was kneeling in prayer and I said, 'God, you know, show me what you want me to do because this seems like a big move here and, you know, everyone's thinking I'm crazy and I don't know exactly how, you know, things are going to go if they don't go well.' Crazy thought when you're thinking about God and I lifted my head up in prayer and there were just like a flock of, I don't know, maybe three hundred birds that were just flying and they were swooping down over the water and they would fly back up and then they would chase each other around and, you know, I was just looking at the pattern of the giant flock and the promise of the Lord came to me, where he says that, you know, he takes care of the sparrows and you don't see them worrying about how they are going to be taken care of from day to day. You know, they don't wring their hands wondering, you know, will there be any worms to eat tomorrow? And that promise really stood out to me and he said, 'you know, how much more do I love you? You know, I'm not going to send you on a mission to do my work and leave you high and dry, because you claim to be my child. You claim to be my son and everyone knows that.' That assurance allows me to know that whatever happens here, whatever happens after here, we're sons of God and there are certain things that we shouldn't worry about. From the day we arrived at afcoe, it's been obvious that God has blessed the Amazing Facts ministry, the afcoe program - and I will be using my afcoe experience, no matter where I go, to reach people because the personal touch of face-to-face evangelism, speaking and sharing the word of God out of your own mouth - there's no replacement for that and Amazing Facts has been very instrumental in helping me find the area of the work of God and showing me how large and how broad it is.

It's been a tremendous blessing to be in a place where we're around people seeking to do God's will and listening for his voice in their life and that's very, very important today. Together we have spread the Gospel much father than ever before. Thank you for your support. For life-changing Christian resources, visit afbookstore.com

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