HOW TO GET ON FIRE FOR GOD
Intro: This is a story most of us became acquainted
with in the early days of our religious education. Maybe
it was in the Beginners Class, or perhaps it was during
Vacation Bible School that we were first exposed to
three Hebrew boys named Shadrach, Meshach and
Abednego. Back then, we marveled at their courage,
we were amazed that God would protect them and we
learned to fear pagan kings, who held the power of life
and death in their hands.
As we grew and came to know the Lord in a
personal way, many of us began to experience pressure
being applied on our walk with God by the world, the
flesh and the devil. Most of us have come to
understand the truth that this thing called the Christian
life is difficult! We have found that we are at odds with
the world and how they live, Rom. 12:2. We are at
odds with the devil and what he wants, 2 Pet. 5:8. We
are even at odds with the flesh we live in and what it
wants to do, Gal. 5:17.
With all of this conflict, there comes the temptation
to conform to all the influences around us and go the
way of the world, the flesh and the devil. And, that is
what much of the so-called Christian community is
doing! We see churches, homes, families, and
individuals who have left the high road of separation
and have sold out to the world, the flesh and the devil.
That is why this story about Shadrach, Meshach and
Abednego is so needed in our day. These men teach
us the valuable lesson that it is possible to be on fire for
God when most of those around us are headed for the
fires of Hell. These verses teach us How To Get On
Fire For God! Friends, where there is genuine faith in
Jesus Christ, there is fire! Our enemies, the world, the
flesh and the devil will try to extinguish our flames and
mold us in their image, but we can live for God! We can
stand and we can be on fire for God in these days.
These verses tell us how! Will you join me as we look
at these steps today?
I. V. 1-7 BE DIFFERENT
(Ill. The context. Evidently, Nebuchadnezzar had
not been content with Daniel's interpretation in
chapter 2, and he wanted to establish his kingdom
forever. So, he made an image of solid gold. He
set himself up as a god to be worshiped. His decree
was for all men to bow. Those who didn't were to be
sentenced to a death by fire in a furnace. Shadrach,
Meshach and Abednego faced a serious dilemma.
There were temptations they had to overcome in
three specific areas. By the way, these are the
same areas also faced by the child of God in our
1. To Guard Their Positions - There was the
temptation to look after self in this matter and
guard their personal interests. They may
have been tempted to say, "After all, we are
in positions of great influence in the
kingdom, 2:49. Who knows what we can
accomplish for God? But, if we get
ourselves killed, we will be of no use
2. To Avoid Persecution - According to verse
6, anyone who refused to bow was to be
burned! No one relishes the thought of that
happening to them. They may have been
tempted to say, "A living dog is better than
a dead lion! Isn't it better to be a living
coward than a dead hero? Besides, that
furnace looks like a painful way to go.
Surely God does not intend for His
children to suffer like that!"
3. To Conform To Their Peers - There was the
temptation for them to be like everyone else.
Perhaps there was the temptation to say,
"After all, all the other people here are
bowing. What's it going to hurt? I will
just bow on the outside, but I'll be
standing in my heart."
Whether they faced such temptations or not is
purely a matter of speculation. However, you
and I certainly do think in the manner I just
illustrated. We have a tendency to seek that
which is best for self in any situation. While that
may be true, if we want to make an impact for
God in the world around us, then we must be
different! Notice how these three men were
different in their day. The same needs to be true
concerning every child of God today!
A. Be Separated - These three men were willing to
be different from everyone else who was around
them. There aren't many in this day who are
willing to be different. Yet, this is just what we
need in our day! Think about it. Who wants to
be called weird? That's why people follow the
fads in hairstyles and clothing. That's why
everyone learns the newest terms and hip
expressions. That's why millions get hooked on
the same television shows. We don't want to be
different! We all want to know the same things,
look the same, talk the same and act the same
as everyone else around us. Nobody wants to be
different! But, that's just what the Lord has
called us to be, 2 Cor. 6:17! God wants His
people to look different, to talk different, to dress
different, to think different, to walk different, to
act different than the lost world around us. He
wants us to be separated! In fact, He wants us
to be so different, to stand out so much that we
draw the world's attention to Him, Matt. 5:13-16.
God really does want us to be a "peculiar
people", Titus 2:4.
B. Take A Stand - While everyone else in Babylon
was bowing before Nebuchadnezzar's idol, these
three men were standing straight as arrows.
Why not just "Bow and repent?" Millions do
that everyday! Not these men! They had made
up their minds that they would not bow and they
didn't! Certainly, their's is a good example for
believers in this age! There are some things that
are wrong! It doesn't matter who may be for
them, they are still wrong, and we need to make
up our minds that we will take a stand against
that which is wrong and for that which is right.
God's call for us is that we stand, 1 Cor. 15:58;
Eph. 6:10-18. The church needs to realize that
there are still some precious things that are
worth standing for, and some wicked things
worth standing against!
(Ill. If you want to get on fire for God, Be Different!
I was reading about ermine. Ermine are animals
that are covered with beautiful, snow white fur and
they are prized for the coats they wear. When
hunters go after these ermine, they will find their
dens and put filth and mud all around the opening.
When the hunters turn their dogs on the ermine, the
animals will run for their dens, but when they find
the dirt and filth, they will refuse to enter and as a
consequence, they are more easily caught. They
refuse to get dirty. God's people need that same
level of commitment in our walk with God!)
I. Be Different
II. V. 8-18 BE DETERMINED
(Ill. When these fellows refused to bow before that
idol, some other folks, who were just jealous of
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, went and told
the king. As a result, these men were called on the
carpet and given another chance to do it the king's
way! While they chose to be different when they
were with the crowd, here they choose to be
determined when they stand in the presence of the
king. Their determination stands as an example to
each of us today.)
A. V. 8-12 In Spite Of Insinuation - These verses
tell us that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
were accused of being enemies of the king. It is
true that they would not worship the king's
image, but they were faithful servants of the king.
However, where the king's commands violated
the commands of God, they chose God's way
over man's way! Friends ,when you decide that
you are tired of the world's games and you begin
to stand for Jesus, you can count on the world
turning against you, 2 Tim. 3:12. They hated
Jesus and they will hate His people, Luke 23:31;
But, when they rise up against you, be
determined that you will stand for Jesus! When
the time came He stood for us. The least we
can do is stand for Him!
B. V. 13-14 In Spite Of Interrogation -
Nebuchadnezzar seems to be offering these
boys a chance to save face. He gives them to
bow where no one else would have the
opportunity to see them do it. I can almost hear
him whisper, "I know you boys are believers in
the God of the Hebrews. But, nobody's
looking right now. Why not just bow down
real quick and it will all be over? You can
keep you jobs and people will still respect
your testimony." Even if Neb didn't offer them
the opportunity to save face, he was certainly
offering them the chance to save their hides, v.
15. Yet, they stood determined to stand for God
even when they were under the gun!
There will be times when the world will try to
pin us down about what we believe. They will
tighten the screws on us and try to make us
squirm because we think differently than they do.
My friends, I submit to you that we have no
reason to back away from what we are. We
have no reason to be ashamed of what we are.
We have no reason to be ashamed of Who we
belong to. The advice Peter gave us 2,000
years ago is still just as valid today, "But
sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be
ready always to give an answer to every man
that asketh you a reason of the hope that is
in you with meekness and fear: Having a
good conscience; that, whereas they speak
evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be
ashamed that falsely accuse your good
conversation in Christ.", 1 Peter 3:15-16.
Therefore, even when the world doesn't
understand you, be determined to stand for God
C. V. 15-18 In Spite Of Intimidation - In these
verses, Neb really tightens the screws on our
three friends. He reminds them that they face a
terrible death at his hands. He is even quick to
point out that God can't save them! He is trying
to intimidate them into bowing before his idol.
Notice how they respond to his threats, v. 16-18.
In effect, they are saying that this is not their
problem! Whether they live or die depends
entirely upon the will of the Lord. In fact, they
seem perfectly content to do either! In their
resolve they remind me of Job, Job 13:15 and of
Paul, Phil. 1:21.
The example they set for us is priceless!
These men loved God and could not even be
intimidated into doing something they knew was
evil! God help us to stand even when the world,
the flesh and the devil all start to growl at us and
threaten us with harm. We are the Lord's and
He will see to us!
(Ill. What we do not want to miss is the truth that
regardless of what Nebuchadnezzar threw at these
men, they just stood their ground! What a lesson for
us! We live in a day when many churches and
professing Christians are crumbling under pressure
from the world. If there ever was a day when we
determined we would stand, it is this day in which
Do you want to get on fire for God? Then Be
Different and Be Determined.
I. Be Different
II. Be Determined
III. V. 19-30 BE DELIVERED
A. V. 19-23 Delivered To The Flames - Neb was
so angry at their words that he ordered the
furnace heated hotter than it had ever been. He
ordered these three men to be bound in the
clothes they were wearing and then he
commanded some of his mighty men to throw
them into the flames. The fire was so hot that it
killed the soldiers who threw them is, and these
boys fell into the fire.
(Ill. I just want to make something perfectly clear
today: Just because you are save and living for
Jesus, you have no guarantees that you will be
protected from trouble. In fact, often the very
opposite is true. Look at what the world did to
Paul, 2 Cor. 11:23-33. Look at John the Baptist,
Matt. 14:6-11. Look at what they did to Jesus,
Isa. 52:14; Matt. 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John
19. If they treated the greatest of men this way,
why should we expect to be treated differently?
I will remind you again that the Bible promises
persecution to every person who lives differently
and with determination for the glory of God, 2
Tim. 3:12; Matt. 10:22; 1 Pet. 4:12-13; Phil.
3:10. Friends, this isn't a pleasure cruise we
signed up for! If you are living for Jesus you will
make some enemies as you pass through this
B. V. 24-25 Delivered In The Flames - Ill. The
context an the humor of these verses! Why
didn't the Lord spare them from the fire? He got
more glory in sparing them through the fire!
While they were there, they were met by the
Lord and He protected them and taught Neb a
valuable lesson in Who was really God! Jesus
told the fire to "Cool it!" and He told these men
"Never let them see you sweat!" Neb meant to
do them in, but God meant to set them free!
They walked around in that fire unbound and
(Ill. Friend, God may let you go into the fire as
you pass through this life, but you can rest on
His promise that when you find yourself in the
fire, you will find that Jesus is right there with
you, Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20. He didn't keep
them from the fire, He kept them through the fire!
You see, what the world and the devil means for
our destruction, God uses for our good and His
glory, Rom. 8:28; Gen. 50:20! By the way, that
fourth Man is still there!)
C. V. 26-27 Delivered From The Flames - Neb
called them out of the fire and determined that
they had not been burned and, in fact, they didn't
even have the smell of smoke on them! (Ill.
(Ill. Here's the point, God may let you go through
the fire. If He does, you will not go alone, but He
will go with you. In the end, He will bring you out
again, 2 Cor. 4:17. If He brings us out, or even
if we die in that furnace, we are winners either
way, Phil. 1:21; 2 Cor. 5:8!)
D. V. 28-30 Delivered After The Flames - After
Neb got them out of the furnace, he made a
proclamation honoring God and then he even
promoted the three Hebrew men in Babylon. By
the way, the enemies you make by taking a
stand will have more respect for you than the
friends you make straddling the fence!
(Ill. When we go through the fire with Jesus, He
will be honored and we will grow as a result, 1
Pet. 4:14. In that fire, we will see Him in a new
way. He will be more precious and we will be
more determined than ever to be different from
the world around us and to take our stand for
Him despite the consequences we may face.
Conc: Let's face it, there are times when we are faced
with the fire! Sometimes, if we were honest, we would
have to admit that we backed down instead of facing
the flame. Maybe that describes you! If so, you can
come to the Lord today and get forgiveness for that
things and take your stand with Him.
Others may be in the fire even as I am speaking.
Jesus is there with you! Have you met Him in there
yet? If you need to seek His face and His help for your
furnace, now is the time to come to Him.
Others of you are more like Neb than you are the
three Hebrews. By that I mean, you only have a
nodding acquaintance with God. You know Who He is,
but you do not have a relationship with Him. Friend,
you just need to be saved.
Wherever this message has found you today, you
need to deal with it before the Lord. There is hope and
there is help in His altar. Will you come to Him as He
calls for you?