The Introduction

The Text

Daniel 1:1–7 (CSB)
1 In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it.

2 The Lord handed King Jehoiakim of Judah over to him, along with some of the vessels from the house of God. Nebuchadnezzar carried them to the land of Babylon, to the house of his god, and put the vessels in the treasury of his god.

3 The king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the Israelites from the royal family and from the nobility—

4 young men without any physical defect, good-looking, suitable for instruction in all wisdom, knowledgeable, perceptive, and capable of serving in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the Chaldean language and literature.

5 The king assigned them daily provisions from the royal food and from the wine that he drank. They were to be trained for three years, and at the end of that time they were to attend the king.

6 Among them, from the Judahites, were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.

7 The chief eunuch gave them names; he gave the name Belteshazzar to Daniel, Shadrach to Hananiah, Meshach to Mishael, and Abednego to Azariah.

The Meditation

1 In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it. 2 The Lord handed King Jehoiakim of Judah over to him, along with some of the vessels from the house of God. Nebuchadnezzar carried them to the land of Babylon, to the house of his god, and put the vessels in the treasury of his god.

Who chooses us? Sin chooses us all

Romans 5:12 (CSB) Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all people, because all sinned.


3 The king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the Israelites from the royal family and from the nobility—> 4 young men without any physical defect, good-looking, suitable for instruction in all wisdom, knowledgeable, perceptive, and capable of serving in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the Chaldean language and literature.

Who chooses us? The world picking and choosing

1 Samuel 9:1-2 (CSB) There was a prominent man of Benjamin named Kish son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, son of a Benjaminite. He had a son named Saul, an impressive young man. There was no one more impressive among the Israelites than he. He stood a head taller than anyone else.

If we do good, we hope to be picked by people in the world. Social media has made this infinitely times worse. Do you know that there are people who are crushed when nobody likes their post or comments or they don’t get a lot of followers. They instantly try to figure out what is wrong with them and what can they do in order to get more likes and followers. It sometimes leads to depression. Our kids are growing up in a world where their value is based on how much the world loves them–and the world honestly doesn’t really care for you. They don’t care if you know God. All they care about is what you can give to them. What they can consume from you. And when you have nothing more to give, they move on to the next person that can give them something.

If you don’t struggle with this, don’t be so quick to judge. Because that is most Christians have treated the church. That is how some people in power within the church treat the flock.


5 The king assigned them daily provisions from the royal food and from the wine that he drank. They were to be trained for three years, and at the end of that time they were to attend the king.

Who chooses us? The world offers

The king offers in order to pursue their own end. These provisions are nice but look at the indoctrine process.

They were to be trained for three years, and at the end of that time they were to attend the king.

Everything in the world is centered on the self. What can I gain from this transaction? From this relationship, friendship, porn habit, marriage, my children, this church, this job.


6 Among them, from the Judahites, were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.

7 The chief eunuch gave them names; he gave the name Belteshazzar to Daniel, Shadrach to Hananiah, Meshach to Mishael, and Abednego to Azariah.

Who chooses us? The world identifies

There have been two streams of thinking in the world: Theology and Philosophy.

  • Theology - the study of the nature of God
  • Philosophy - the study of knowledge

And you will never catch me putting Theology and Philosophy at odds with one another. Why? Because I will always examine Philosophy and not the other way around.

In light of proper, historical, orthodox theology, philosophy is probably the best gift from God to examine not only the world we live in today but what will culture and society be like 50 years ago.

Examine where we are at today. Sexual and gender identification and confusion. You might ask, “How did we get here?” and most people would agree, “because of the Sexual Revolution in the 60’s and 70’s?” But then asking the question, “How did we get there?”


The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution
by Carl Trueman

   


How we got here? Dr. Trueman explains it this way:

The intuitive moral structure of our modern social imaginary prioritizes victimhood, sees selfhood in psychological terms, regards traditional sexual codes as oppressive and life denying, and places a premium on the individual’s right to define his or her own existence. All these things play into legitimizing and strengthening those groups that can define themselves in such terms. They capture, one might say, the spirit of the age.

Trueman. The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self.

And what should be the Christian’s response?

Every age has had its darkness and its dangers. The task of the Christian is not to whine about the moment in which he or she lives but to understand its problems and respond appropriately to them.

Trueman. The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self.

I do see so much judging on younger people because they turn to the world in trying to figure out who they are and figure out their worth. We are not to judge them but to examine why are they turning to the world and not God. But these kids, the millenials and the generation z’s, perhaps grew up in churches where either the preached one thing but behind closed doors did the opposite or grew up on preaching that focused on the self and the individual rather than the person of Christ.

You and I should not be surprised nor shocked why we are here with struggles with identification and deconstruction. And a tiny bit of reading your Bible and a tiny bit of studying Philosophy will open your eyes.


Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution
by Carl Trueman. Release Date: March 2022.

   


That’s all fine and good. We see where we are at now and we can now see where we are going. None of that looks good. Now what?

The Gospel

Mankind tries its best to fixs its own problems. That is what we call Humanism. If we are advanced enough, evolved enough, woke enough, safe enough, studied enough, we can fix our own problems.

The problem with philosophies such as Humanism and Secularism is that they never want to point at the indwelling sin in all of mankind as the problem. No, that cannot be it. Because if we acknowledge sin, we must acknowledge the God who is the standard of goodness and righteousness.

Just as in with sexual immorality, racism, bigotry, prejudice, and philosophy on its own, the answer is completely supernatural. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

God’s judgment: All have sinned

Romans 3:23 (CSB) For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God;

That judgment is real. We are all doomed to hell on our own. I don’t care how many problems we can fix. Without some sort of power outside of us, we are destined for death and destruction.

But don’t stop reading Romans 3…

God’s grace:

Romans 3:24 (CSB) they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

God’s mercy:

Romans 3:25 (CSB) God presented him as the mercy seat by his blood, through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his restraint God passed over the sins previously committed.

God’s justification:

Romans 3:26 (CSB) God presented him to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so that he would be just and justify the one who has faith in Jesus.

God’s election:

1 Samuel 16:7 (CSB) But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature because I have rejected him. Humans do not see what the LORD sees, for humans see what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.”

Romans 8:28-30 (CSB) We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.

Well, how did God choose his people? I am glad you asked:

Romans 5:6-8 (CSB) For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God did not look down on the corridors of time to see which timeline you were going to choose him and redeemed that timeline. God looked down all of time and saw that you and me were sin-filled and in complete rebellion against Him:

Titus 3:3 (CSB) For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another.

That is you and me.

How does God respond?

God’s provision:

Titus 3:4-7 (CSB) But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. He poured out his Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life.

He provides the world with his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

God’s identification

And Christ did not come to simply exist. Christ came preaching the good news:

Matthew 11:28-30 (CSB) “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Christ came to give you new identity:

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (CSB) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come! Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and he has committed the message of reconciliation to us.

Galatians 2:20 (CSB) I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

The world is going to give us poop. The world is going to constantly change its mind on what is good and acceptable and call it “progression”. It will be so bold yet foolish enough to argue with God on what is sin and not sin.

The word responds with, “If you break one of God’s law, you have broken all of the laws.”

But Christ does not pause, “Give me your sin. Place it on me so I can bury it in the tomb forever removed from you. Instead of sin, I am going to give you my righteousness so that you can be with me and live forever.”

That is how God sees you. Perfect, righteous, holy, pleasing, well-done, good and faithful servant. Now you get to enter the joy of the Lord forever.

The Discussion

1. In what ways does the world's declarations contrast and conflict with God's declarations?
2. In the midst of changing sexual and gender identification, is there a sin that prevents sinners from being redeemed from God?
3. Is the sin of sexual immorality better or worse than pride in the eyes of the God?
4. How can we give more grace to the lost?

The Prayer

My Only God
Seal me with your love.

You are my king.

Amen

The Resources

The Preacher’s Commentary - Vol. 21- Daniel.
by Sinclair Ferguson.
Thomas Nelson. 2002.

   


Daniel (Reformed Expository Commentary).
by Iain M. Duguid.
P & R Publishing. 2008.