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Take a Stand

October 01, 2016

Learn a lesson from three Hebrew men who refused to bow.

FROM A SERMON BY Ron Gaddis

Who? What? When? Where? Why? And how? These are six questions considered foundational to good journalism. Let’s consider how these “Five Ws and One H” relate to Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

Who?

First is the Who? And that would be you! Galatians 5:1 was written to you and for you.

I’ve noticed that a lot of young people walk around our church  campground in packs: two-pack, three-pack, four-pack, sometimes I even see a twelve-pack! And that’s good if you are encouraging one another to stay with the Lord.

There was a notable three-pack in the Bible who encouraged each another to stand. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were three Hebrew young men who had been taken captive to a land of idol worshipers, and they decided to stand together—from the very beginning, no matter the heat.

What?

For these three Hebrews “standing fast” literally meant standing. King Nebuchadnezzar had said “at the sound of all of the instruments, I want you to bow down.” But they believed in the one true God who had commanded them not to bow down to idols (see Exodus 20:3-5). So instead of bowing, they stood up!

Somebody out there was snitching. They said, “I see three guys over there who are not bowing down. Go tell the king we have some people who are not obeying.” The king decided to give them one more chance and went over the rules with them again: When you hear the music, then you bow down. That is how this is supposed to work. But our three Hebrew friends looked at the king and said, “We are not even careful to answer you in this. We will not do it. We will not bow down. Even if our God does not deliver us, we will still stand!”

We need to adopt the same attitude toward sin. “Standing fast in the liberty” means that we are to continue to walk in the freedom from sin that Christ has provided for us. We must refuse to be “entangled” with the “yoke of bondage” of the sinful habits which used to control us and were displeasing to God. And if questioned, we should not hesitate to answer. We must be determined not to go back into sin no matter what consequences we may face for taking that stand.

When?

When I think of those three Hebrews, I think, What a terrific time to stand for the Lord! That era was notable for heathen worship. Those three young men were confronted by a king in an environment that was completely inundated with idols. But they had made up their minds. They knew the God they served.

The world needs to know that we mean what we say and we say what we mean when we call ourselves Christians. You don’t ever want someone to point at you and say, “I thought you were a Christian.

We are also living in a time when our culture is inundated with idols—not necessarily of gold or silver, but idols nonetheless. People worship money, fame, and pleasure. For many, self has become their idol. And this is the time, if there ever was a time, that we have to be able to stand. This is not the time to be wishy-washy or straddling the fence. The world needs to know that we are authentic. The world needs to know that we mean what we say and we say what we mean when we call ourselves Christians. You don’t ever want someone to point at you and say, “I thought you were a Christian.” Like our three Hebrews, we want to have our minds made up. We want to know the God we serve. The Lord would have us stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free…today!

Where?

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not in a place they wanted to be. They had been taken captive from their homeland and were living in a country that was new and strange to them. They had nothing to do with where they were, but they realized that God was with them. And if God is with you, you are in the right place.

Wherever we may be standing physically, we need to be sure that spiritually we are standing “in the liberty.” Nowhere else. We must be sure that we have been saved from our sins and determine never to go back to that bondage. We must stand fast in the liberty of the salvation Jesus Christ provides.

Why?

Standing fast is ultimately a matter of life and death. The immediate future may be unknown, but if we do not stand, our eternal destination is known… and it is not good! We must remember that if we are saved today, we are free, and God did that! Christ gave His life for our freedom. We don’t want Jesus’ sacrifice to be in vain. We need to be young people who will say to the world, “We will not bow! God means too much to us. We love Him too much to allow our souls to be lost.”

How?

Galatians 5:1 indicates that diligence and commitment will be required to maintain our freedom, saying that we must “stand fast” so that we will not be “entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Ephesians chapter 6 tells us how, encouraging us to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” and “put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (verses 10 and 11). The writer then lists a number of pieces of that armour, including: loins girt about with truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit.

In the day that we are living in, you need your sanctification. You need the baptism of the Holy Ghost. You need to be prepared for the battle before it comes.

We need those weapons! In the day that we are living in, you need your sanctification. You need the baptism of the Holy Ghost. You need to be prepared for the battle before it comes. These three Hebrews were prepared. They had proven God before their idol worship challenge. They had determined ahead of time that they would stand for God, no matter what. And when it came time for them to “face the music” for the choice they had made, they were not alone.

You see, the punishment for not bowing to the idol was death by a fiery furnace. And when the three Hebrews refused the second chance that King Nebuchadnezzar offered, he was so angry he ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than its usual temperature. In fact it was so hot that the men who threw our friends into the fire died in the process. But the heat of the fire only brought the three Hebrews liberty; the very ropes that they were bound with burned up and the three walked around victoriously in the flames! And then the king started counting: one, two, three… four. Four, two, three, one. Three, two, four, one. Any way he counted there were four—and he recognized the fourth as the Son of God!

Our three-pack had become a four-pack, and that’s important for us to remember. When you take a stand for God, you don’t stand alone. It will always be at least a two-pack because the Son of God will show up every time. Oh, how great it is to know that! The assurance of Jesus’ presence destroys fear. God can help you to be a young person who will say, “I will not be afraid. I will stand.”

Well?

So, we have looked at the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions. Perhaps one additional should be: Well? If you had been there when King Nebuchadnezzar demanded that everyone bow to his idol, would you have stood the test?

With diligence and commitment, armed with the weapons God provides, and backed by His presence and power, you too can stand fast without fear, no matter what comes. God loves you too much to allow you to be inundated with fear. He has called us to freedom. He has given us the liberty to stand and show that it is the power of God that keeps us.

About the author

Rod Gaddis is pastor of the Apostolic Faith Church in Richmond, Virginia.