Daniel-Wayne Barber/Part 9
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2006|
|Do you understand conviction? There is a difference in being convinced and being convicted. The Holy Spirit is the only One who can convict our hearts. You can be convinced about something and still never do anything about it. But when a man’s convicted, he is automatically committed and there’ll be action that’ll come out of his life.|
Characteristics of Convictions – Part 1 (Daniel 2:48-3:18)
Well, let’s turn to Daniel 3, moving right along in the book of Daniel. The narrative just flows like a river and I so appreciate the music, especially “Our God is an Awesome God.” Well, we saw that He’s got the whole world in His hands. Kind of like putting pieces of a puzzle together. Have you ever worked a jigsaw puzzle, like at Christmastime or something and you have all these pieces around, you put this piece there and this piece there, but you want to look at the box over and over again so you can know what it’s supposed to look like when it’s finished. Kind of that way. God already knows what it looks like, we’re just finding the pieces and trying to fit them wherever we can fit them. He’s already got the picture in control.
Bob Peterson gave me this poem this morning. He wrote this, and I’d just like to read what he said. I thought this goes right in line with how the Lord is putting everything together and how we just need to find out what He’s up to. That’s the whole key to the Christian life, folks. Find out what God’s up to and cooperate with Him. Don’t try to come up with your own plan and ask God to bless it. He’s got it all under control. Watch this:
- Have you ever done a puzzle piece by piece and bit by bit?
- Tried to get a section finished when a piece just wouldn’t fit.
- Oh, the shape is almost perfect with the lines or shape or hue
- Though you tried you couldn’t force it. Makes us think of me and you.
- We see others in their place, it may be home or church or work,
- We see what God is doing, oh, their lots they never shirk.
- Would be nice if we could be there, do their job or sing their song.
- But it wasn’t in God’s planning. It would make the puzzle wrong.
- Yes, the puzzle makes a picture, oh, but not before it’s done.
- There’s a place for every Christian, there’s a battle to be won.
- God’s designed a place, my brother; it’s for you and you alone.
- So don’t try to be another, don’t you fret and gripe and groan.
Isn’t that beautiful? By one of our own, inspired by the Word of God. You see, since God’s in control, just find your little piece of the puzzle, wherever you fit, and just cooperate with whatever God’s doing, friend. He’s already got it in control; He’s already got the design cut.
Well, in chapter 3 we move right along and we’re going to find characteristics of conviction. We’re going to talk about characteristics of conviction, and I won’t finish this message because we’ve got a wealth of material here in chapter 3.
Characteristics of conviction
Look in 2:48-49. We need to understand here the situation that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are in. Remember now, that’s their Babylonian names. I’ll refer to them that way since that’s the most common names that we understand. Verse 48, “Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. And Daniel made a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego over the administration of the province of Babylon, while Daniel was at the king’s court.”
Well, Daniel hasn’t forgotten his friends. Because he’s interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar has lifted him to a high office. So he says, “Hey, I’ve got three buddies and I’d like for you to remember them.” And so they put them in these high places of responsibility. Now, the plot begins to thicken. Great jobs over in a pagan country, but everything was going their way. I mean, you could not ask for it any better. But remember in chapter 1:8, it says “Daniel made up his mind,” and when you see that Daniel made up his mind, you’ve got to write down that so did his three friends. They made up their minds they would not defile themselves.
You see, these were four convicted men. Do you understand conviction? There is a difference in being convinced and being convicted. The Holy Spirit is the only One who can convict our hearts. You can be convinced about something and still never do anything about it. But when a man’s convicted, he is automatically committed and there’ll be action that’ll come out of his life. These men were convicted men: they did not want to defile themselves; they did not want to dishonor their God. Conviction is a powerful word.
This past week I had the opportunity to go with my son out to Lake Tahoe in California. Now, somebody had to go, and I just made up my mind I’d go ahead and go with him. You know how it is. I struggled with it for days but finally decided to go! I had some frequent flyer points I’d saved up and so we had tickets already to get out there and we ski at a place called Northstar. It’s right outside of Tahoe City in California. Gorgeous place. My son was on spring break and we decided to go together. Well, we get out there and he kind of goes his way sometimes and I go my way, but we get back together later in the day. And there was one place, one run, when you catch the forest lift and you go up to the top of the mountain. Boy, when you get to the top of the mountain off of that forest lift, first of all, you get the little village and you get your ski stuff and you get your tickets and all, and then you get on this little gondola and you get inside it and it takes you on up. Oh, you’re going way up the mountain. Then you get off of that and put your skis on and get on another lift and it takes you to the very top of the mountain. When you get up there you look down and see Lake Tahoe down in the valley.
Well, you get off the lift there, you turn right. You ski down but you only ski to another lift called Rendezvous. And you get on the Rendezvous lift. Now, this time, friend, you’re really going to the top. And when you get up to the top of that lift, right as you get off that lift there’s a run right there to your right. Scary! Scary! Folks, it’s a black run, it’s called the Powder Bowl. It’s one of those runs that you can’t see the mountain. All you see is like the edge of this pulpit: it just drops off. Every year that I’ve been out there, and this is the fourth year we’ve been able to go, and we stay with friends there in Tahoe City, every year that I’ve been out there I have just wanted to ski that run. I’ve been convinced that I could do it! But being convinced has never motivated me to action! For the first time this year, last Thursday, I went up and I said, “You know, all I can do is fall. And if you fall, all you can do is go down, so what’s the problem?” I knew that if I skied up to the edge of it and looked down, no way! It just does something—chills get up my spine, even right now thinking about it. It’s like you have to be either crazy or convicted or something to go over it. So I got back about 20 feet and I decided. I’m not only convinced, I was convicted. “I can do this, I’ve skied all week long, I’ve skied on some black runs, I’m going to do it!”
Boy, I just took off and not looking over the edge, and the next thing I knew I was in the air. It was the funniest feeling! But I want you to know I had moved from being convinced to being convicted. Now, I’m committed folks, and that’s what the word is talking about. Once I got over, I had to ski. There was no choice. You have to do everything you know to do. It’s the survival of the fittest if you’re going to make it down. And I made it! Boy, I got down to the bottom, didn’t fall. I was just shouting and hollering. I thought, “Hey! I can do this again!” Stupid! I went back up and sure enough, I did it again and I was getting very arrogant, very cocky, boy. There is nothing to this.
Friday morning—I did not know something about those runs that I do know now. And it will benefit me greatly other times if I ever have a chance to go back—the runs in the morning freeze. And so in the morning, if you go early, it’s nothing but ice. There’s no snow to ski in. I mean there’s nothing but ice. So here I am, first time up Friday morning. I’m thinking, “Man, this is the last day to ski. I’m going to make this right!” Did I ever! I went flying over the edge of that thing and I got to the edge of that hill and I tried to cut into it. Ice! Next thing I knew it was just shooo! I fell down, but I really was standing up, it’s so straight down. That’s the funniest feeling. It’s like being on an elevator and somebody drops the bottom out of it. Whew! I got about three-fourths of the way down and finally it stood me up. I didn’t have to do a thing. It looked like I knew what I was doing, and I just kept right on skiing down the mountain.
Well, that’s a crazy way to get to tell you that story, but I’m trying to convince you of what conviction is! Being convinced is one thing, being convicted is another. You see, a lot of us say we’re convinced about something but we never do anything about it. But brother, if God the Holy Spirit convicts you about something, that moves you to commitment, that moves you to action.
And we’re going to see this. You know, it’s interesting; there’s a recurring theme in Daniel, and that theme is how God uses the conviction of four godly men to change the whole history, the course of everything with the king. You see, folks, the problem is not with our government; the problem is not with those kinds of things; the problem is with us. And if we would get convicted and get in God’s Word and let His Holy Spirit speak to our heart and we start making the decision that Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego made, brothers, we’d see some changes in this world. Don’t ever blame anybody else. Always look within: are you convinced or are you convicted? Are you committed to action, have you made up your mind you will not defile yourself?
Well, let’s look at the setting; verse 1, chapter 3. They’ve got high offices now; they’re doing well, living over in this pagan land. Verse 1, “Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold.” Now, I can’t help but think that somehow he was enamored by that dream that he had in chapter 2. It doesn’t say that, it’s reading between the lines. I almost get the feeling that, “Hey, I like being the head of gold,” as he was told he was in chapter 2. So he makes an image out of gold.
Now the word for “image” means a “human form.” So he makes a big statue of a human being. I personally believe he made a statue of himself. It was a tendency of pagan kings in that day to do that very thing: to make a statue of themselves and require the people to worship them. So he makes this statue. Now, let’s go on in the verse, “the height of which was sixty cubits and its width six cubits.” Now a cubit is a foot and a half. So by 60 cubits, that means 90 feet tall. How tall is 90 feet? Well, three telephone poles, stack them up on each other. That’ll give you an idea. It was 90 feet tall and it was six cubits wide. Now for six cubits wide, that means it was nine feet wide.
Anybody that knows anything about design or architectural knows that that’s a little bit exaggerated. You don’t ever put something ten times its width. Sometimes maybe four or five, but you don’t make something ten times its width. And it says, “he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.” Now the word “Dura” means a long plain. Now we know it was flat there in Babylon on the Euphrates River, we know that. But perhaps there was an area of hills or something, and there was a plain in the midst of it and right in the middle of that plain he put that 90 foot statue of himself. What a vain guy. He gets up in the morning and looks in the mirror and sings “how great thou art.” He was really impressed with who he was.
Now look at verse 2, “Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent word to assemble” all the biggies of the country. Look what he says. First of all “the satraps,” now a satrap is the head of a province. “The prefects,” the prefects were governors or superintendents. Then he says, “The governors, the counselors,” the counselors were ones that were arbitrators of the day. “The treasurers,” they were masters of the treasury. “The judges,” they were actually those who made decisions, guardians of the law. “The magistrates and all the rulers of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.”
Now it’s interesting. He sends out an invitation to all the Who’s Who in Babylon. All the biggies come. I mean, and friend, there’s no RSVP! If you don’t show up, you’re dead. You have to come. He’s the king, he wants everybody there. Big dedication, big celebration. He’s going to unveil the statue to all these leaders in his country. I can’t help but think of the day that a member of our church got me to go and pray with a bank that was opening up. And all the biggies were there, the mayor and all the people were there. It kind of gave me the idea as I was looking at this. And when it was over, I was walking out in the parking lot. And I said, “Do you realize what you have done? You have asked me to come and pray for this bank and I have not been able in all of my life to even balance my check book?”
So it was a big celebration that way. He had the statue built; he had all the biggies coming in. Now watch, verse 3, “Then the satraps, the prefects and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates and all the rulers of the provinces were assembled for the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then the herald [Now this guy as a herald simply gives a command. He says, he loudly proclaims, and that word “loudly” means in such a clear way that everybody could understand] loudly proclaimed: ‘To you the command is given, O peoples, nations and men of every language, that at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, bagpipe, and all kinds of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up.’”
Now we have the royal orchestra there. All the leaders of the country are there and he makes this decree and says everyone must, at the sound of the music, bow down and worship this idol. You know, I had a side thought and it doesn’t cost you a thing extra and I’ll go right on after I say it. Isn’t it interesting the power that music has, anyway? At the sound of the music you bow down and worship the man-made idol. Take that home and chew on it for awhile and see what the Holy Spirit says to your life.
I remember one time I was doing a youth retreat and I mentioned something about music and as soon as I finished, I knew. You know you can shoot at a pack of dogs and the one that hollers is the one got hit! Boy, I mean two of them come out of that audience towards me. I mean, they had smoke coming out of their ears. And they came down and said, “You mean to tell me that some of my music is wrong?” I said, “I’m not telling you anything. I’m just telling you what the Word of God is trying to say.” And I wasn’t even preaching on music that night. I just happened to make a statement about that. Well, they stood there toe to toe, nose to nose, and tried to defend their music. And it taught me something. Anything you ever think you have to defend, friend, usually, 99.9% of the time, is wrong if it’s not found in the Word of God. Hang on to that. Because in the service of the Lord, we don’t have any rights to begin with. How in the world I ever got on that I don’t know.
Okay, he has the royal orchestra and he tells them to bow down. Look at verse 6, “But [Here’s where the plot thickens] whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire.” Now you see the plot thickening. Here we’ve got four convicted men, men that say that regardless of the price, we are going to honor God. We are not going to dishonor ourselves. And yet they are told that they’re going to be thrown into a fiery furnace if they don’t bow down and worship this man-made idol on the plain of Dura.
Now we’re going to see the characteristics of conviction begin to work themselves out. Some of you perhaps say tonight, “I’m convicted, Wayne, I’m convicted to live holy before the Lord.” How long will it take you tomorrow when somebody threatens your job before you’ll start relaxing those so-called convictions? When all of a sudden you find out that you can cheat a little here or do something over here in order to keep that job. They had great jobs! They were in danger of losing those jobs. But they were in danger of losing a whole lot more, guys. They were in danger of losing their lives. Now what are they going to do? Are they convicted or are they just convinced? You can talk somebody out of being convinced. Friend, when you’re convicted, it motivates you to action.
The inevitable result of conviction
What do they do? Okay, first of all, I wanted to see the first characteristic and that is the inevitable result of conviction. When you’re convicted, when God speaks to you about a conviction in your life, maybe about your music, maybe about something else, but whatever it is, is somehow going to defile you if you do it. When you’re convicted about it and you make a move toward obeying what God’s told you, the inevitable result will always be, and you can write it down, persecution. You can write that wherever you want to write it. Put it in blood on your forehead. You’re going to be persecuted.
Young people, when you make up your mind that you’re going to serve God, you’re going to be persecuted. Write it down. That’s all of us. As believers, when it doesn’t coincide with what the world is doing, we are definitely going to be persecuted.
Well, look at verse 7, “Therefore at that time [now watch this wording here], when all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, bagpipe, and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and men of every language fell down and worshiped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.” Now, friend, when everybody else—notice it said “all”—when everybody else is bowing down to what man has made and you are daring to stand up for what God has said, you better duck, because it’s on its way. Persecution is moving in.
Keep your finger right there and turn to 2 Timothy 3:12. And this is a promise, it happens every time. It’s the mark of people that are convicted; people that are convicted to the point of commitment and activity. It says in verse 12, “And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be [what?] persecuted.” Look over in Matthew 5. Surely Jesus wouldn’t have said that. He was so nice about everything. Surely He wouldn’t let us know we’re going to be persecuted. “I thought when you got saved you were going to be healthy and wealthy.” Matthew 5:10-12, and it’s written in red so you know it’s inspired: “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Now friend, listen. The plot has already thickened. We know that all the people bowed down to that image. We also know that there are four men in the kingdom, only three of them mentioned in this chapter, that are not going to bow down, and we know they’re going to be persecuted. I’ve shared many times this story about Dave Weaver. I know you’re tired of hearing about it, but every time I think of persecution I think of that illustration so fresh in my mind. He said when he was in the Navy Seals, when he said the biggest enemy was not the enemy in the bushes shooting at him; it was his roommates in his barracks.
Each one of them, they had four to a barracks, he said they called him Preacher Man. He called them Pervert #1, Pervert #2, Pervert #3. He said Pervert #2 was in the bed above him. He said at night he would pray for him, get on his knees, and while he was praying for him Pervert #2 would spit on his head. Talk about persecution. And so he kept praying, “Oh God! Kill him!” He said you have to tremble with your voice to make sure that God knows you’re serious. So he’d pray for him that way.
But wherever you go, you’re going to be persecuted. I’m going to be persecuted. Here come the perverts beginning in verse 8. Watch this. They decided they’re not going to dishonor God. Watch what happens. Verse 8, “For this reason at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and brought charges against the Jews.” Now notice how it differentiates between Chaldeans and Jews. There’s something to that, folks. I guarantee you there were jealousies running out these people’s ears. “Here are these captive Jews coming over here and here they are in the highest positions of the land. We’ll get them, we’ll watch for where we can find a loophole in something that they’re doing or not doing.”
Verse 9, “They responded and said to Nebuchadnezzar the king: “O king, live forever!”” Boy that would be a mistake. “You yourself, O king, have made a decree that every man who hears the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, and bagpipe, and all kinds of music, is to fall down and worship the golden image.” As if he has to be reminded, they tell him about what he had made in his decree.
Verse 12, “There are certain Jews,” man, you can hear the spite in what they’re saying. Oh, they just love to get people that are godly, trying to put them in a position to where they can be harmed. “There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, namely [Namely? Namely? If you’d like to have their names. Are you awake? They made sure he knew who they were] Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, have disregarded you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.”
Now friend, listen: it’s going to come and when you’re at school and you’re trying to live as a believer, you watch. They’ll try to find something in your belief and something in your walk to use that against you to bring persecution down on you. It’ll be the same way in your job, wherever you are. The world cannot stand godliness. It’s light against darkness and there’s going to be a conflict. Look what Nebuchadnezzar does in verse 13, “Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and anger gave orders to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; then these men were brought before the king.”
And I think you get the idea here it was in a very rough way. He sent some of these men out to get them and dragged them into the court. Verse 14, “Nebuchadnezzar responded and said to them,” now watch what he does. In verse 14 he gives them a chance to deny it. Now you’re going to find out if you’re really convicted, when you’re brought on the spot if you’re going to lie your way out of it. A lot of people do this. They’ll lie in a minute to protect their job or to protect their life. They’re not convicted, they’re only convinced. But true conviction will never do that. It gives them a chance to deny it, and in verse 15 he gives them a chance to comply with what he’s done. Watch. He gives them a chance to deny.
Verse 14: “Nebuchadnezzar responded and said to them, ‘Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up?’” You know, it’s interesting to me in Ephesians 6 it talks about the armor that we put on for spiritual warfare. Have you ever noticed the first piece? It’s the belt of what? Truth! How many times have you heard sermons preached on the fact that’s the Word of God? Anybody ever heard that preached? I have too. I think I might have preached it. I’m wrong. There’s no definite article used there. He’s not talking about the Word alone. Certainly the Word is a piece of our armor; certainly it’s where faith comes from. But I think what he’s talking about is honesty. Just like it says in Colossians: “lie not to one another.” You see, the first way of bringing down the barrier to allow Satan to have his way in your life is when you’re not willing to be honest when it comes to making your stand for Jesus Christ.
Have you ever been on an elevator someplace, well certainly you didn’t risk losing your job or your life. But you certainly risked losing some popularity with the people on that elevator and somebody sees you or knows you’re a Christian and starts talking to you about something at church and you don’t want your boss or whoever you’re working with to know that is where you go, and all of a sudden you start trying to weasel your way out of it, and before it’s over with you almost catch yourself being totally deceptive because you don’t want to make a stand for the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s the same thing. Is it really true? Come on, guys.
Can you imagine all the whispering, “Hey, let’s lie our way out of this. Let’s just act like we haven’t done it and let’s just go through with the game. We can be secret service Christians.” Well, a lot of people are, aren’t they?
He gives them a chance to deny it. Then secondly, he gives them a chance to comply. He gives them a chance to comply. “Now if you are ready, at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, and bagpipe, and all kinds of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, very well. But if you will not worship, you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire;” Now watch the next phrase. I love it! “And what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?” Oh, I love that. If he hadn’t have said that up to that point, it would have been a little boring. And he puts them on the spot and puts God on the spot. “What god is there that can deliver you out of my hands.” Oh, son!
The immovable resolve of conviction
Now the first inevitable result characteristic of conviction is persecution. And you’re going to be put on the spot; I’m going to be put on the spot to make a stand for what God has convicted us of in the Word of God. But the second thing I want you to see, and that’s as far as we’ll go, is the immovable resolve of conviction.
We see an inevitable result, don’t you like the way I’ve alliterated this? Secondly an immovable resolve. I want you to see what they do. You see, when you’re convicted, when you’ve made up your mind, you do not budge under the face of persecution; you will not budge. But if you’re only convinced and that’s it, friend, you put a little pressure on somebody and they’ll run in a minute. When you’re convicted, you will not budge.
They’re not going to budge. They make three statements in verses 16-18 that are beautiful characteristics of a truly convicted person. Now, watch this. First of all is the statement of admission, of guilt. “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego answered and said to the king [I love this], ‘Oh Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this.’” “You’ve got us, hands down! You are exactly right; we’re not going to worship.” Now they didn’t have the kind of integrity I’m trying to throw out, they had much more than what I’m saying. “We’re not going to bow down to your stupid statue. We’re not going to do it. You’ve got us, we’re guilty. Honest, there’s nothing we can say. We have nothing to say to you whatsoever. You know exactly what we’re going to do.”
You see, that’s the characteristic of what conviction will do. It’ll make you honest, buddy, in the face of persecution. When you know you’re going to pay a price for being honest, you’ll be honest. The second, in verse 17, you see a statement of faith. It says in verse 17, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.” Now, don’t get the idea from that statement that they’re not believing that God can do it. There not saying “if our God can,” what they’re saying is, and a better way to say it is, “if God in His plan—which we don’t know right now—sees fit to it to deliver us, He can and will deliver us. We have no doubt about His capacity.” They absolutely put their statement of faith in that passage.
But then look at verse 18; they have a statement of submission: “But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Statement of submission. “Buddy, if He doesn’t come through, we’re not doubting His character this much. As a matter of fact, we will not bow our knee to that statue you have set up out on that plain.”
You know, folks, the more I think about it in my own personal life, how much in my life is conviction? Do you think about that? How much is conviction and how much is just understanding or you’ve been convinced about something. You know it’s true but you’ve never been convicted of it in your life.
You know, I had a note passed to me the other day. Thirty years ago, they said Jack Paar, on his television show, Jack Paar was kicked off of a radio for simply saying “water closet.” Now, you know what a water closet is? It’s a bathroom over in Europe: WC. If you’re ever over there, by the way, remember that. It may help you! It’s a bathroom, and he made the statement “water closet” on a national radio and was kicked off the radio just for saying that word. Now, we talk about conviction; look how far we’ve come, folks. Look at what we’re laughing at; look at what amuses us, look at how the world has gotten into our life. And you ask yourself the question—and I’m not pointing a finger at you, I’m pointing it back to me—where’s the conviction? Where are people who won’t watch it? I don’t think we’ll ever have the power to keep it from happening. God alone has that power. But brother, you don’t have to watch it and I don’t either. You don’t have to listen to it; I don’t either. If you’re convicted, make up your mind. And I guarantee you what you can expect. You can expect persecution. But brother, you can also expect the grace to be bold and to be honest in the midst and in the face of that persecution.
I had a lady call me one morning years ago; I was in youth work. And she said, about 6:00 in the morning, “Wayne!” That was the way she started the conversion. Well, it really thrilled me. You can really tell the people that have been walking with the Lord and been on their knees before Him early in the morning. And I said, “Ma’am!” You always say “ma’am” when a woman screams at you like that! She said, “What are you teaching these kids on Wednesday nights?” And I had the Wednesday night service at that time like we do here. We divided our youth out and I had charge of them on Wednesday night. And I said, at first I had to think what city am I in and where am I and all this kind of stuff. And finally I said, “You know, I don’t even remember. What are you talking about?” It was on a Thursday morning and we had service that Wednesday night. She said, “My son came home last night and he said he took all of his rock music,” and this was before it ever got as bad as it is now, “took all of his rock music,” and she said, “We have spent hundreds of dollars for this stuff, he came home, took it and put it in a box, took it out in the back of the yard and put it in the incinerator and burned it!”
I said, “Well, praise the Lord!” Wrong! She said, “What do you mean, praise the Lord?” And then, I was struggling for words. What do you say? I don’t know what to say. She made a statement. “Just how far are you going to take this Christianity?” Ha! Thank You, Lord! I said, “No ma’am, that’s not your problem how far I’m taking mine. I think it’s pretty clear. Your problem is not how far your son is taking his. Your problem, ma’am, is how far you’re willing to take yours?” The biggest problem I ever had in youth work was parents who were not willing to live up to the convictions of their children.
If we’re convicted, friend, we’re immovable. And we’re being persecuted right and left for standing up for what God has convicted in our hearts to stand for. Well, that’s just part of it. We haven’t even gotten them in the furnace.