For the final session, Mark took us to the vital subject of the future. We cannot see what will happen. There are some difficulties we face currently. There are threats to the freedom of religion. Entrenched secularism dismisses the value of Christianity. Our ideas are marginalized. There is a new phenomenon of legal intolerance towards Christianity. Certain statements about other faiths and sexual practices are likely to be considered “hate speech” and become illegal, i.e. we may be told it is illegal to say that another religion is wrong. Many of our brothers around the world face opposition. If we become subject to such restrictions, what should we do?
Mark took us to the book of Daniel to learn three lessons which expose a myth about our future.
- God is our only hope—The myth of a godless future. We have a hope. “No other God can save.” The point of the book is not Daniel’s faithfulness, it is God’s faithfulness. In the furnace, in the place where earthly power would seem to be the greatest in dealing out death, there God showed his true greatness. God will perform his promises. Study God’s sovereignty and his loving kindness. See what he has done with his sovereignty.
- We can survive—The myth of the hopeless world. If Daniel can survive, that should inspire us in the circumstances we face. It’s like he was playing with lions for decades, but made it! Daniel is not afraid to confront the kings with their rebellion against God. Daniel prospered time after time. Let us treasure the Gospel because this is how we will survive.
- We will face opposition—The myth of the moral world. The world is so fallen that it is normal for the godly to face opposition. When evangelizing, we shouldn’t sound like “used car salesmen!” Righteousness is no guarantee of avoiding trials. We, just like Jesus, will face opposition. The big news of Daniel in the end is that God wins! But there is a theme of trouble and attack in this world. We will face suffering. We cannot avoid or eliminate persecution. We have to accept it when he takes us through suffering. He will turn those difficulties into good. We must remember that however culturally sensitive we may be, people will hate us as Christians.
We are righteous because we have found something we value more than this world’s praise or pleasure and ease. We will never face a trial that we will not outlast.