The Harvest Is Ripe!
"He will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner"
(From radio broadcast of Bro. Julius Adewumi)
Let's see how faith was manifested by the three Hebrew men. I want you to see how these men got to where they were by the episode in chapter three. In the book of Daniel chapter one, we saw that these men, along with Daniel, purposed in their heart to not defile their bodies. Daniel and these three Hebrews purposed to stay away from the king's meat because of their religion.
It made them have favor with the Lord because they stood up for their God. They were blessed by the Lord. In verse 20: "In all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm."
So it was not only Daniel that had favor from God. These three men also had favor. When Daniel interpreted the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, he requested that Shedrach, Meshach, and Abednigo also be rewarded by Nebuchadnezzar.
I want to emphasize to you that just as these Hebrews stood up for God and were blessed, you and me as believers must be ready and not ashamed to stand up for Christ. The Lord said: "he that confesses me before men, him will I also confess before my Father and before the Holy angels."
We must dedicate our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ before we can expect great reward. Now anyone that dedicates his life to the Lord must remember there will be a time of test. God will not accept any son until they are proved. Job was proved to reveal that he loved God. These Hebrews were confronted with their own test of their faith and commitment to their God in this story.
After the interpretation of the dream in chapter two, Nebuchadnezzar purposed to do something foolish and proud. This is the story in chapter three. Nebuchadnezzar raised up an image.
(Dan.3:3) "Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold… Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up".
I want you to note that he did not call the whole public. Only the rulers of the provinces were called. I put it to you that the reason why Nebuchadnezzar set up this image was to defy the prophecy concerning his dream which was interpreted to him by Daniel the prophet, in chapter two. Wherein he said there would be other kingdoms after Babylon: Babylon would be the head of gold, but after him would be another kingdom - the arms of silver- to rule the world, and so on. Nebuchadnezzar wanted to defy this prophecy so as to say, "Babylon will reign forever!" Isn't that how every empire desired it to be?But God has another mind. Where are the earlier empires of the world, the Roman, the Egyptian, the British, and so on. The scripture says God raiseth up kings and bringeth down kings!
Nebuchadnezzar made the image of pure gold, from head to toe, and he called all the rulers of the provinces to come and bow to the image, with a threat if they don't. He called all provincial rulers who could lead a rebellion, to spiritually subdue them under Babylon through this image.
That was what was really going on here.
When the rulers were gathered, an herald cried aloud, "To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace." (Dan.3: 4-5). That was the threat. When all the people heard the sound of the musick, they all fell down and worshipped. Now there were three men that refused to fall down. These were the three Hebrews we are talking about. This was their confrontation, their challenge, the trial of their faith. You and me can say we follow God, we worship the Lord Jesus Christ, yes, we have faith in our God. But the time of test will come. This is the time of test for these Hebrew men. They had been enjoying the blessing from God for a while. Now is the real test, and this is what happened.
v.8, 12: "Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews". They spoke to Nebuchadnezzar that "there are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."
When they reported these Hebrews, Nebuchadnezzar asked them to be brought before him. When they arrived he gave them one more chance, to bow or burn.
v.15: "Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?"
Now that is where Nebuchadnezzar was wrong. After repeating the threat for not bowing, he added "who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?" These men's eyebrows were really raised now!
He has challenged their God.
v.16: "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thy hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."
That was the confrontation. This is where the men stood up for their God. They were ready to die! Anyone that will follow the Lord Jesus Christ must be ready to lay down his life. That is what the Lord Jesus Christ said in his sermons: Count the cost of being a disciple. You that read this, maybe you don't believe yet, there is none other way to the Father except through the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are a believer, remember the Lord said, "carry your cross and follow me". The cross is what they used in those days for executing criminals, and those that kick against the government of the day. The Lord was crucified on that cross though he did nothing wrong. He was accused of blaspheming God, yet He is God.
He was crucified for our sins. He declared to everyone that will follow him that you must carry your cross and follow him. That is, be ready to be crucified, be ready to be executed for your faith! Those who do not love their lives unto the death are the overcomers; these are the people that can really please God.
When you throw away your life for him, then can you find your life, because those whom God will hold in his hand, no devil can take them out of God's hand.
These men confessed the two sides of faith. Firstly, Our God is a big God, able to deliver. Secondly, they confessed the sovereignty of God that he doeth what he willeth, and so even if they are not delivered, they still will not bow down to the image. That means, God is sovereign, and we don't have to twist his hand to do anything. He doeth what he willeth in the armies of heaven! Amen!
He is almighty and can deliver. But if he chose not to deliver, we that are following him must still be ready to lay down our lives for his cause. That is what the Hebrews were saying: "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thy hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up". Brethren, this is faith! Faith is that which can confess the two sides of God. In Hebrew chapter 11, it listed the heroes of faith from the faith of Abel, through Enoch, and Moses, and so on. But at the end of the list was listed other men, which we may not know about; they didn't do wonders that we could hear about: men that died for their faith. They were also listed as men of faith. Men that refused to bow, preferring a better resurrection, were also listed as men of faith. It is not only when wonders happen that people are classified as men of faith. Those who stood firm in the God they believe, and suffered for it, though in this world they may be classified as foolish, but they are men of faith before God.
In the book of revelation 6 v9-11, the souls under the altar, which cried for vengeance, were consoled to wait a while longer. They were men of faith who died for their faith. In Rev.20: 4 "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them and judgment was given unto them, and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years".
You may say all Christians in the first church-age were killed in Rome, thrown to lions, as if they had no God to deliver them. Those whom the world governments cast away as unwanted in this world, and killed for the testimony they held, are the people God raised back to life and are given this planet again, to live and reign a thousand years. These are men of faith!
We also are called to be men of faith. Whether we die for Christ or we go away in the rapture, we are to be men of faith. What we are saying is that, there will be a time when your faith will be tested. Maybe it's being tested right now, as in those moslem countries where Christians are being persecuted: stand firm for Christ. If we suffer, we shall reign with him. "The suffering of this present time cannot be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ."
As a form of testimony, before I gave my life to Christ, my unbelieving parents gave me portions and lotions and voodoo to protect myself, even though I was still attending a church. When it was preached to me that I could not continue to mix the voodoo with Jesus and that I had to choose one. I made up my mind to throw away the voodoo. I gathered them all and went to a river-side, made a declaration before God to cast my life into his hand, while I threw the voodoo away into the river. That was between me and the Lord. When my parents asked whether I was still using the voodoo and I confessed that I threw them away to trust Jesus only, they thought I threw my life away. Yes I threw my life away as the Lord Jesus said. "He that loseth his life shall find it!"
You that read this, perhaps you are still holding unto some charms, and voodoo, or pistols, and weapons for protecting your life, afraid to trust Jesus only. That is why your prayers are ineffective.
In Rev 12:11 "they overcame him by the blood of the lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death." The saints overcame the dragon as the word has said. The devil threatens mankind with death, but once we believe the power of death is no more in the devil's hand we are not afraid of the devil anymore. Christ said, "I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive for ever more, Amen; And have the keys of hell and of death." (Rev.1:18).
This sermon is to make you be bold enough to confess Jesus, be bold enough to stand for Jesus. Even if he does not deliver, be ready to die for him.
As the story in the book of Daniel concludes, they were cast into the fire.
v.22: "Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo".
Go read the rest of the chapter. God was there in the fire with them. The Angel of the Lord was seen in the fire with these men by Nebuchadnezzar. When he called them out, these men came out of the fire unhurt.
v.28: "Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, that every people, nation, and language, which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort."
See how these men brought glory to God? When we Christians stand for God, ready to die for our faith, that is when we can bring glory to God. That is also the only time God can show his supernatural power -- when we are ready to die for him. He can show forth his wonder when we stand for him. And if he does not deliver, stand firm still. "He that endureth to the end shall be saved."
"As the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the son quickeneth whom he will."
"For as the Father has life in himself even so has he given to the son to have life in himself."(Jn.5:21,26).
When we come to the stature of Christ, we also will have life in ourselves as joint-heirs with Christ.
In Luke 7 from verse11, we read the story of the dead boy raised by Jesus in the city called Nain. "Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother: and she was a widow ... when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said unto her, weep not. And he came and touched the bier: And they that bare him stood still. And he said, young man, I say unto thee, arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother."
Christ came to demonstrate and manifest to us the stature of a son of God. Consider this story: This boy was dead and everybody was weeping . He was the only child of his mother, who also was a widow. This ought to bring compassion to any man that see or hear of the situation. As a son of God, if you have the power to do something about this, you will do something. But mankind has not been able to do anything about such situations. Doctors are dumbfounded; every man, no matter how powerful or how weak, how rich, or how poor; they couldn't do anything about it when death strikes. But here comes the CHAMPION for mankind: Jesus Christ; and he could do something about it. Why? Because that is the stature we all ought to be in the first place. He came to manifest to us that when we become sons of God, we will be able to do something about such circumstances. That is the full redemption, which he brought. We are not enjoying it yet, but that is the immortality which Christ has revealed in the bible. (2Tim.1:10). "Christ has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."
Now we know that it is available to any man, whosoever will, jump into the boat, and you can live without death, forever. Christ is coming soon. When he comes, there will be no more death. But we have to believe it right now. We that are alive by the time he comes, there will be no more death for us from that time forward. He is going to transform our body into a glorified body for eternity. That takes power! Considering all the evils which are in the world right now from animals, bacteria, viruses, visible and invisible perils by living things and by nature itself; it takes power to turn those things around. Christ said he is going to turn those things around.
In Rev. 21:4, it says "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes ...". Some people say that is in the "bye and bye". Yes! But remember, apostle Paul said in Hebrews 6:4-5 that we are people that are beginning to enjoy the power of the world to come. By faith! Walking with God by faith! In Heb.11:5-6 the bible talks about the faith of Enoch. He walked with God and God translated him that he should not see death. In Jn.8: 51, Jesus said "verily, verily, I say unto you; if a man keep my saying he shall never see death."
An experience I had many years ago had taught me to believe what Christ said that he has abolished death. It was one night in 1976; my soul was captured by some spirits.
(..to be continued …)
Bro. Julius Adewumi
Gospel Distribution Ministry
Box 30387, Phoenix, AZ 85046, USA.
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I want to thank those that have been sending offering to this ministry. Your offering is used to send the literature to believers and send the word on radio. That is one sure way we can send our money ahead of us to heaven, as the Lord said: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Mat. 6: 19-21).
"For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out." (1Tim. 6: 7).