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DANIEL, GOD'S MAN IN THE FIELD (PART VI)
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE HIGH HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
6 AUGUST 1989
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
1 Corinthians 11:17-34
The Preparation: (Isaiah 49:13)
13. Shout for joy, O heavens!
And rejoice, O earth!
Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains!
For the LORD has comforted His people,
And will have compassion on His afflicted.
Over the past several weeks we have been looking at the Book of Daniel, and in particular at the ways in which God was witnessing to King Nebuchadnezzar and to the Chaldeans, so that they would repent of their sorceries, idolatry, and other worldly ways, and seek our One true God.
Nebuchadnezzar did make some proclamations concerning who God is, but so far
he hasn't shown any submission. He still wants to be in control.
This morning as we open the Book of Daniel to chapter 4, verse 1, we see that Nebuchadnezzar is making another proclamation about God.
Scripture Reading: Daniel 4:1-3
1. Nebuchadnezzar the king to all the peoples, nations, and men of every language that live in all the earth: "May your peace abound!
2. "It has seemed good to me to declare the signs and wonders which the Most High God has done for me.
3. "How great are His signs,
And how mighty are His wonders!
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And his dominion is from generation to generation.
Well, what Nebuchadnezzar has said sounds pretty good, doesn't it?
And it should sound good, because it is true.
In the world today there are many people who call themselves Christians, but they really don't believe; for if they really believed and had even a small measure of faith, they would do God's will, and we would be able to see the fruit of that faith.
Many of them go to church.
Occasionally they will proclaim some Christian words.
even take communion, but they are not saved, because they have never truly
repented of their worldly ways, and committed themselves to live in the will of
Just because someone makes a proclamation, such as Nebuchadnezzar has done, does not mean that we can draw any conclusions about them. We must look further into their lives.
And next week we will look further into the life of Nebuchadnezzar and the things that God is telling him in his dreams and through the true witness of Daniel and his friends, and see if Nebuchadnezzar is truly becoming a servant of God.
In the meantime, let's take a look at another person's relationship with the Lord Jesus Himself, as recorded by Matthew in chapter 26, beginning at verse 20. This event took place during the Passover, just prior to His crucifixion.
Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:20-25
20. Now when evening had come, He was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples.
21. And as they were eating, He said, "Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me."
22. And being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, "Surely not I, Lord?"
23. And He answered and said, "He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me.
24. "The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born."
25. And Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, "Surely it is not I, Rabbi?" He said to him, "You have said it yourself."
Jesus and his twelve disciples had been together for three years. The twelve lived together, prayed together, ate together, and together they saw and heard all that Jesus had done and said.
One would think that there would be very little of their personal traits that they didn't know about each other.
But when faced with the accusation of betrayal, they could not imagine who it might be, for each one outwardly looked and acted very pious; thus each said, "Surely not I, Lord?"
Nevertheless, right in their midst was one who would betray the Lord. And there are many Judases in the churches of our land even today.
Perhaps there is even one in this very church, but I pray that there isn't. And until the Lord calls us home, we may never know who they are.
But one thing we do know. We know if our own faith and belief in Jesus Christ is real or hypocritical.
This is why our salvation is not through any church, but through the Lord Jesus Christ, and on a personal and individual basis. We cannot save anyone else, and they cannot save us.
And as part of the Passover Seder, a piece of horseradish, which represents the sin in our lives, and is very hot and brings tears to your eyes when you eat it, is dipped into a sweet mixture of fruit and nuts called charoses; and when it is eaten together, all the sting of the horseradish is gone.
In the same manner, when we truly repent and confess our sins to the Lord, He
is faithful to forgive us, and his blood removes the sting of our sins which
In offering the sop to Judas, it was as though Jesus was saying to him: "If you will repent of your evil thoughts, I will forgive you; but if you carry them out, it will be too late."
And this morning we will share the Lord's Supper together, in remembrance of Him and of His redemptive power.
If we come forth with a repentant heart, we will receive the blessing; but if we come forth with the heart of a Judas, there is no redemption.
Each of us should prepare our own heart and soul.
Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:26-30
26. And while they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body."
27. And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you;
28. for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.
29. "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom."
30. And after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Jesus knew that He was facing death and that He would not celebrate the Passover with them again; but He gave them hope of His future coming again, and that those who believe will be with Him.
Note what we are told in verse 28: That the blood of Jesus is poured out for many, not all, for the forgiveness of sins.
There is a false teaching in the world today that says that God is so loving that He will forgive everyone, and we will all be in heaven. This lie, if we believe it, can send us to hell.
Yes, God is loving. And, yes, He will forgive us; but only when we repent of our sins. All who do not repent are not forgiven.
And it doesn't seem to even matter if they know Jesus, but that they truly seek to become transformed into a servant of our One true God, because once they get to this point, God will reveal Jesus to them.
This is why we have our church services and Bible studies, and come together for Communion: that through these constant reminders we would no longer be conformed to the world, but be transformed into the likeness of Christ Jesus.
In 1 Corinthians, chapter 11, beginning with verse 17, we see Paul addressing a problem in a church and doing his best to correct the situation. Let's take a look at these verses.
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:17-22
17. But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse.
18. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part, I believe it.
19. For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you.
20. Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper,
21. for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk.
22. What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God, and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you.
In the early church, part of the fellowship among the members was their coming together for their meals, much like our covered-dish suppers; but theirs would usually end with a service and, most often, it included Communion.
At these gatherings they would also share the letters and messages from other churches, and collect money for widows and orphans and for other needs.
And here at the Corinthian church there were members who were wealthy and those who were poor; just like many of our churches.
At these covered-dish suppers all the food is set upon common tables, and that which is brought by those who have much, or those who have little, are shared equally, just as it should be.
I know that if someone came in off the street here and had nothing, but was hungry, that they would be welcome and they would be fed.
But at this time in the Corinthian church, there were factions, and the wealthier members did not want to share their food with the less fortunate members, and they didn't want to eat the food that they brought, if in fact they brought any.
These wealthier people would eat earlier, so that when the poor arrived, there was nothing left for them.
They would also drink much wine with their meals, even to the point that some would get drunk.
Even then, the church had its snobs.
Thus Paul is justifiably angry with them.
And most often these people who don't care about other people are also those who don't care if animals suffer for their pleasure or that they rape the environment around them, which is totally against the will of God.
Everything that Christians do should honor God.
Then Paul reminds them what the Lord's Supper is all about.
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
23. For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread;
24. and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."
25. In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
26. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.
This sort of puts in a nut shell the reason we should be having our celebration of Holy Communion today.
That which the Lord gave to the apostles on the night before He was crucified has been handed down through the generations to us; that in sharing it together, we would not only have communion with each other, but have communion with the Holy Spirit who consecrated it; that we might truly remember what Jesus did for us and repent of our sins, not just at this time, but at all times.
Then Paul continues and reminds them of the consequences, if they don't behave in the proper manner.
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:27-34
27. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.
28. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
29. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly.
30. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.
31. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged.
32. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world.
33. So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.
34. If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you may not come together for judgment. And the remaining matters I shall arrange when I come.
Paul doesn't pull any punches. He says it like it is. If we come before the Lord in arrogance, with an unrepentant heart, particularly in the celebration of the sacrament of Holy Communion, we receive a curse rather than the blessing.
Holy Communion speaks of the atoning death of Jesus Christ for each of us personally, and if we mock His act of love, we become guilty of causing His death upon the cross and of shedding His blood.
But if we judge ourselves honestly, not someone else, and come forth with a truly repentant heart, then the blessing is ours.
But if we do not honestly judge ourselves, we eat and drink the Lord's judgment upon ourselves.
God truly loves us.
He doesn't want to have to judge anyone for their sins.
He would rather that we would come before Him spotless and blameless.
And this will happen, if we come before Him humbly, repentant, and have let our hearts be broken and opened to receive all that the Lord has for us.