Category Archives: Faith

Larry’s thoughts on faith.

Romans: Week 9

Pastor Dan Borgelt
Pastor Dan Pulpit 3

Audio: [29:38]

Audio Transcript:
“There are really two types of people at church… there are clappers and non-clappers (LAUGHTER)… and leave it to the ‘crooked section to start such a rebellious act of expression of motion :~)

My daughter came to me during the greeting time and said that she thought I should explain to you why I’m wearing this big boot on my leg.  Otherwise you might wonder, so I guess I’ll go ahead and talk about that for a little bit.

Friday I was here all day long and on my feet. We were setting up for an event we had here Friday night, and by the end of the evening I was hurting and my foot starting to kill, and it just started getting worse and worse, and finally came to my wife and said “I’ve got to go home, I cannot walk on this foot anymore”.

Some of you remember that I had this same boot on about three years ago.

I didn’t get any sleep all night it was it was throbbing constantly, and the next day I woke up Saturday morning and my wife Amanda, like many of you ladies, went off to the women’s retreat… and thank you by the way Cecilia who made that happen… are you here somewhere (APPLAUSE). Yes, and for all the ladies who went, I hope you had a good time.

And so my wife Amanda left_me_crippled (LAUGHTER)… with five kids and three soccer games to attend.


But before she left to hand it she went to the basement and got me my boot (LAUGHTER).

So nonetheless I went throughout the day, and I was really hurting… and just a sidebar, not for you… this is what God did for me, not the point of this sermon, but I was sitting in the car having a pity party at the soccer game. It was cold and the kids are crying in the back and kids are out playing, and I’m sitting there with this hurting foot, and on the field next to me, this coach who’s clearly in a wheelchair permanently, rolls out onto the field with a special-friendly wheelchair.

Then he rolls into the goal, and allows his team to start taking shots at him while he plays goalie.  He’d roll over here, block a shot; roll over here, and block a shot; and it was just like, you know, “Thanks God…” like (LAUGHTER).

I was no longer feeling sorry for myself, but it was a miserable day yesterday, all day long this big toe on my right foot was throbbing so bad it just ruined my day.

Finally, Amanda walked in the door at eight o’clock last night and I went off to the E.R.  A few hours later they gave me medicine and they said that I had gout in my foot. The nurse confirmed that I was old enough to have gout (LAUGHTER).

And they gave me a couple pills and said go home right away because you’re not supposed to drive yourself home with these pills but you don’t have a driver so we’ll give it to you; it’s going to knock you out, it did, and I feel a little bit better this morning thanks to the medicine.

While Sophie did want me to talk about my foot, in some ways it does help me illustrate where we want to go this morning.



We’re continuing the series through the book of Romans, which is in the New Testament portion of your Bible. We did that for a while, took a pause around Easter, and we’re going to pick it up and finish it off.

And here we are in Romans Chapter six and the Bible is talking to us about this idea of sin. And in some ways what happened with this gout in my foot is similar to what the Bible is trying to say about sin in our lives–like there’s a period of time where sin absolutely reigns and dominates… and it has complete control–like the pain, it’s all consuming.

But then it introduces to us a sort of the medicine for sin. And it starts to bring healing and where I’m at today is like, “OK I’m better, but it’s not as if there’s no gout there anymore… I’m still wearing this boot.” And the Bible’s trying to say that to us about sin, like its effect on us is not like it used to be once we get the right medicine, but it’s still there.

In fact, our BIG IDEA for you this morning is this:

The moment we enter into a relationship with Jesus, sin’s reign in our life comes to an end.

The moment we enter into a relationship with Jesus, sin’s reign in our life comes to an end.

Let me just point out a couple things about that before we dive in our passage this morning. The first thing is notice the moment we enter into a relationship… not with your husband, not with your wife… some of you are thinking, “Oh I’m struggling with sin, as soon as I get married, I’ll have it all under control.” No.

No one else can do that for you. There’s no other relationship that you can enter into with someone who’s going to do this. This is a profoundly deeply spiritual problem that only the Son of God can cure and take care of, the moment we enter into a relationship with him.

And notice the moment… it’s not something that’s like, “Hey maybe someday sins reign in my life will come to an end. No, what we’re going to see from the text today is that not only is this relationship a relationship with Jesus but it happens immediately… that it’s reign does. It comes to an end.

But that implies that until we have a relationship with Jesus sin is what? … reigning in your life.

Some of you have discovered this in a spiritual way, and you don’t even know it. By not being a follower of Jesus Christ, and struggling with your sin, and hating some of the things you do, and trying to battle against it…  you’ve actually proven our big idea right, year after year, decade after decade, because you tried to quit drinking, you tried to quit treating your spouse or your children the way that you did… all these types of things but you’re failing at doing so because sin has its mastery over you and you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

So the moment we enter into relationship with Jesus, sin’s reign and our life comes to an end.  What an encouraging thing to think about.

As I said, we’re going to go to Romans Chapter six together this morning. And while you’re turning there, I’ll just confessed to you that the real reason that I started with that story was to lower your expectations as to what’s going to happen in the next twenty minutes…. I was at the hospital people… I’m on drugs (LAUGHTER).

Gold Dividing Line

The moment we enter into relation of a Jesus sins reign and are alive comes to an end.  Romans Chapter six, the very first verse. If you have a Bible open its says something like “Dead to sin, Alive in Christ”,  as the heading… and here’s the first verse, it says,

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

Romans 6: 1
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?

I think you can probably pick up on whether you’re familiar with the Bible or not if you just hear that verse, that he’s actually continuing a conversation from something that he started earlier. And since we haven’t been in Romans five for a while let’s look at what he’s continuing. So he says, “What shall we say then”, and then here’s Romans five… this is the end of what would have been last week,

Romans 5:20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,

But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,

This is a great summary… if you haven’t been with us for Romans one through five, this is a great summary in one sentence here of what we’ve been looking at.

One, “where sin has increased“, we’ve been saying that the Bible’s emphatically trying to say to us that each and every person is a sinner–all people have sinned. And so

 “where sin is increased grace though has increased all the more”.  


That’s a really encouraging Word.

You mess up God’s got that covered… you mess up even bigger God’s got that covered with something even bigger.  Where sin increases Grace is increased all the more.

Now it’s such a radical teaching, that some people are going to have a hard time hearing that.

21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, 

Notice again, sin has reigned, that’s why we chose that for our big idea. We didn’t say that sin is like “kind of impacting people a little bit, or kind of influencing them”, or they “kind of struggle with sin”… no apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ, sin reigns in your life–it is your master.

Also then he says “grace might rain”…

21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So we transfer through relationship to Jesus from sin dominating and reigning in our life, to Grace reigning in our life,

“through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Now let’s go back to the first verse…  so that’s where we ended last time, and now he comes along and says, so

Romans 6: 1
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?


So he’s raised the idea that if we sin Grace will cover it. As our sin increases Grace will increase all the more. But as Paul often does he sort of anticipates people’s objections to what he’s just said, and so he’s anticipating someone saying, “Oh, well if that’s the case… then why don’t I just go ahead and sin more, and therefore God’s grace will increase. If my sin increases, then God’s grace will increase, so I’ll just…”

Is this just a license? Is the Gospel a license to just do whatever I want to do?

Gold Dividing Line

Well the first thing we ought to take away from him raising this question is that he’s not denying this theological truth, that where sin increases Grace increases all the more… it’s a point he’s made.

And while he understands that people have a problem with that–they’re going to think that it’s a license–he’s not going back on that statement. In fact he’s emphatically behind the idea that where our sin increases, God’s grace increases in our life–it covers us.

So that while we used to be viewed and marked as a sinner, our new covering is the grace of God, if you will.

Gold Dividing Line

I want you just to imagine that a professional fashion designer came to you when you were a wee little child and said, “I would like to clothe you for the rest of your life”. They’re going to clothe you and take care of you.

OK, so that happens and as you start to grow as a little kid they’ve first chosen some clothes for you and then as you start to grow they’re going to have to give you new clothes; and they find some new clothes to cover you.

As you keep getting taller and taller, and you hit puberty and you shoot up, and every six months they’re having to get you new clothing and they’re covering you with this new clothing. And then eventually we grow up and we mature and we stop getting taller, but some of us keep growing–we grow wider and wider… no problem the designers and seamstress have that covered as well, they’re going to give you knew clothing for that issue as well… you just keep growing and growing and they’re going to keep covering you.

In the same way, the Scripture saying that as our sin increases, God’s grace increases all the more–it keeps covering us.

But the question that Paul’s raising is, “Are we going to grow that way on purpose… just so we can keep getting covered?”

And his answer is

2 By_no_means!


In the Greek he’s essentially saying, “That’s a really stupid thought.” (laughter)… that’s a really dumb idea, who would conclude that–that’s not the Gospel that’s not the truth that’s not the point I’m trying to make it all.

By no means!

Now whats his rationale? Why would we not keep sinning on purpose? And he says this,

By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

Listen, this is highlighted for a reason because it unlocks this whole passage that we’re looking at together this morning. “We’ve died to sin,” he says.

We have to try to take a look at understanding what this expression means, “to die to sin”  He says,

So we’ve died to it, we can’t live in it any longer…

But what does he mean when he says, when the Bible tells us “We’ve died to sin?”

Well, we’ve already said it certainly doesn’t mean that we no longer sin at all. All of us would prove that that’s not the case. It certainly also doesn’t mean that we no longer desire to sin at all–that’s not what it’s teaching either.

There’s a whole bunch of things that it might possibly mean, or that might even be true, but that isn’t what’s being addressed here in this passage. When Paul comes along and he says, we died to sin, he’s talking about the idea that sins reign in our life is going to come to an end.

That’s why we use the big idea that we did that…

The moment we enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ it’s not that we stop sinning, it’s not that we stop desiring to sin, it’s that sins reign in our life has come to an endit’s no longer your master, it’s no longer the one who’s in control over you.

Gold Dividing Line

I love pastor and author Tim Keller who gives us this analogy to think about for our time together this morning. He says:

“I want you to imagine this I want you to imagine a land where an evil government and military is in control over that land.  And they are the ones who have complete control and mastery over all the laws, all the rules, everything is completely dominated by this evil government and by this evil military.

Now I want you to imagine a good and righteous military and government comes in and defeats them. And they take up shop, they’re now in charge. They now make the laws of the lands, they’re now the ones making the decisions they’re now ruling…

BUT… in the process of defeating the evil and wicked military, they did not necessarily kill each and every one of those people, so many of those people ran off to the bush, they ran off to the woods, they ran off to live in remote places.

And while they’re no longer in charge, they still live in the land. And because they still live in the land they have the ability to wreak havoc from time to time. They have the ability to tempt others to come and join them and their efforts.”

And he’s saying in the same way, we have died to sin.

Meaning that sin was in charge of our lives, and Christ came in, and yes, Christ is now in charge. He is dethroned sin in your life. But it doesn’t mean that sin has no presence in your life anymore… that you no longer desire it at all, or you no longer sin in any way, or behave and act as it would want you to. But it still has a presence there in your life.

And that helps explain why the Bible can say that we have died to sin, and yet we are still struggling with sin in our lives.

So he goes on and says,

“We’ve died to sin,” and then he goes on and tells us, “how can we live in it and a longer?” and he’s about to explain to us how it is that we have died to sin. Paul says in,

Romans 6:3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. (then vs 6 says) 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”


The most important thing of all that he just said is to point out the name of Jesus.

He’s made the point to us that we have died to sin, it is no longer in charge of us; and the big question is, “How does that happens in my life?

We know gathered here in this room together, some of you want to know, how that happens in my life? And the most important thing to point out of all these verses is the name of Jesus that is mentioned here. Because it is through a relationship with Jesus Christ, and Him alone, that sin’s reign comes to an end in our life.

Notice, he says “we are baptized into Christ Jesus”  but listen to how he compares Christ’s physical journey to our Spiritual journey. Here’s what he says about Jesus. He says in 6:3

“all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death, therefore we are buried with him through baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father we too may live a new life.”

So as Christ was physically dead and buried and then raised to a new life, the Scripture tells us that in a same way spiritually, we go through that journey–we die, and that we die to sin as the Scripture has told has told us.

But this is not just about getting rid of sin, it is about the ushering in of new spiritual life–a new righteousness that comes to us, it’s a righteousness not by one that is earned, but a righteousness that is received. And so we follow a spiritual path similar to Christ’s physical path–we die spiritually with regards to our sin, but then we are raised spiritually with regards to righteousness. And so we follow that same pattern.

And then of course the other illustration he’s using in the midst of all this, to help us see how we have died to sin is the word



The word baptism creates a lot of tension and issue in the church today, but the word baptism as it’s being used here is not just a word as many people think of that refers to the idea of immersion, it’s not just merely like to immerse a person in water; it was used in a much stronger sense than that, it was the word like,

if you wanted to intentionally sink a ship… boom there goes; it was the idea to completely cover something up.

In that way it was often associated with the idea of death and burial–buried by something, not just the act of putting someone in water. And therefore that’s how Paul is using this term.

Notice he’s not using the word water at all; when he’s speaking of baptism here he’s speaking of baptism in that sense… he’s connecting it to the idea of death.

But yes it is cool when we immerse an adult right in water, we’re not just talking about cleaning, but we’re talking about that idea of burying them, in this sense, to their sin, and raising them into new life. And that’s what’s being spoken of here–this idea that as in baptism in the visual act of baptism that happens.

And it’s of course connected to the name of Jesus, because the Bible tells us that when we hear the Gospel, when Peter, for example, preached a great message, and the crowd said, “What do we do with this?” he said. “Repent and be baptized.”

Gold Dividing Line

This is kind of a side bar, but we just want to let you know here this morning that if you’re someone here who’s repented in the name of Jesus and you believe in him, but have never been baptized to please let us know.

It’s not an act that somehow earns your salvation… to believe this is to completely misunderstand what this passage is teaching. But I do think it would be an act of disobedience to not be baptized if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

To repent and be baptized, to see him, to have experienced this. We would love to come alongside of you and walk you through that baptism journey and help you come to this place where when you read this passage, you can see that have happened in your life is well. Die to sin.

He says in verse eight,

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin…

There’s that expression, “dead to sin” again. But he prefaces that this time with the expression “count yourselves” This is like saying,
“Hey, believe this. I’ve told you a theological truth that might just be sort of floating out there in your mind right now. Now I really want you to hear it in your heart of hearts that you are dead to sin. “Count yourselves”, like recognize this truth in your life.

And what we discover from this is that it’s possible to walk around as a brother and sister in Christ, and kind of know, kind of realize that maybe it is true, that that I’m no longer a slave to sin, that sin’s mastery is no longer in my life… but to continue to make decisions and live as if we really are actually slaves to sin–where we haven’t fully embraced it and begun to see a change, and transform our life. And he says,

count yourselves as someone who is dead to sin

… like recognize that you’ve been freed.

I love what one pastor and an author compared this situation to–our spiritual journey again to someone else’s physical journey. He mentions this about this passage. He says,

Take the case of those poor slaves in the United States of America about one hundred years ago (of course from the time he was writing). There they were in a condition of slavery, and then the American Civil War came and as a result of that war slavery was abolished in the United States.

But what had actually happened?

All slaves, young and old, were given their freedom but many of the older ones who had endured long years of servitude found it very difficult to understand their new status. They heard the announcement that slavery was abolished, and that they were free, but hundreds, not say thousands of times in their after lives, and experiences many of them did not realize it, and when they saw their old master coming near them, they began to quake, and to tremble, and to wonder  whether or not they were going to be sold.”

You see you can still be a slave experientially even when you are no longer a slave legally. Whatever you may feel, whatever your experience may be, God tells us here through His Word, that if we are in Christ we are no longer in Adam, we are no longer under the reign and rule of sin.

“And if I fall into sin, as I do it is simply because I do not realize who I am. Realize it, reckon it.”

And that’s essentially what Paul saying… realize this and begin to act as who you really are. For when we live according to our sinful flesh we are living as a people who have been declared free but we still act as if we are slaves to sin.

He says in verse twelve,

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires

So it’s actually not reigning, because of what Christ Jesus has done, but we can act as if it still is reigning.

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 

Notice the contrast… he’s saying, “When we lived with sin as our slaves, it ruled over us, it dominated us, and like good obedient people we offered our entire lives over as slaves.”

Some of you who have lived along in your life without a relationship with Jesus Christ can testify to this… you know what it’s like to act according to exactly how your sinful flesh wanted you to act. Whatever was your strongest desire for years, many of you behaved that way:
If you felt like eating it, you ate it;
If you felt like drinking it, you drank it;
If you felt like smoking it, you smoked it;
If you felt like sleeping with it, you slept with it;
If you felt like hitting it, you hit it.

You know what it means, right? You just lived your life according to whatever was the strongest sinful desire pushing you that way, as offering yourselves as slaves to sin, and he’s saying, “That’s how we used to live!”

But in Christ Jesus there’s a reverse, and the same allegiance which we pledge to our sinful nature we now pledge to God in His plans and purposes for our lives.

offer every part of yourself to him 

That’s what he’ll say later on Romans Chapter 12:1,

“Offer your lives as living sacrifices to God,

So we make this change in this transformation of switching all of our allegiance as slaves to sin, to that which God would want us to do.

Oh how our lives would look different. Just imagine what God might do in and through your life and how your life might look different… if… you began to follow him as wholeheartedly as you once followed your sinful nature.


So, I think many of us, we leave our sinful nature, and we begin to kind of follow God, but he never gets the same type of allegiance that our sinful nature did.

Whatever sinful nature wanted from us we gave it… and about half maybe of what God wants from us we give it.

How might your life look different as we begin to follow him with the same level of the allegiance as we followed our sinful nature.

The Scripture then concludes,

14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Once again, you’re completely covered by this grace.

Where our sin increases, God’s grace increases all the more.


This would be a time, church, for us to close in prayer… a passage that hopefully moves us to a desire to go and speak to God directly and privately. This is why church’s traditionally and historically have silent times of prayer, so that they can confess to God the very details and specifics of their lives, and I pray that this passage, by God’s grace, I pray that He’s moved you in that way.

Some of the things that you’re doing that are contrary to who you are in Christ, that he’s speaking to you about through our time together this morning and we want to give you the opportunity to bring that to God in prayer.

“Hey, God here are the ways in which I have acted like a slave to sin, and allowed it to continue to reign in my life. And I don’t want to act that way anymore.”


Father God, I begin by just giving those people in the room who perhaps are in a relationship with Jesus Christ the opportunity to just talk to you and speak to you. Perhaps one of the ways that you’ve drawn them to you this morning is by helping them to realize that they have struggled with sin in vain. And they’re realizing that they can’t be the God of their lives, that perhaps in Christ Jesus they indeed can find the strength to have this sin completely conquered.

We THANK YOU Christ that’s what you do in our lives. We pray that those people in this room might come before you at this time and just acknowledge what Christ is able to do in their life and ask that and seek that of you.

For others of us in the room, we know the name, the wonderful name of Jesus that we sung about earlier. We even maybe theologically believe that he frees us from sin, but we’re coming before you this morning and just bringing to you our ongoing struggle with sin. And I mean, that the way that we treat our spouses, our kids, our coworkers, the things we do in our private lives, the thoughts that we are capable of entertaining… all remind us that at times that, yes, we’re not just continuing to struggle with sin, but at times we just wholeheartedly follow sin, and act like it’s still our master.

And so, we pray that by your grace this expression of the Bible that says like, “Count it to be true, realize it and live according to it,” would be the case for us this morning.

Oh that today and that this week moving forward, we might have one of our most encouraging times in relations and walks with you, recognizing our status with you.

And we ask these things in Christ’s name. Amen.


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Faith Over Fear: Week 3

Pastor Dan Borgelt
Pastor Dan Pulpit 3

Audio: [30:47]

Audio Transcript:
We’re talking about this series called Faith Over Fear… and two weeks ago when we started off this series by saying that, although the Bible talks a lot about not being afraid, the Bible does talk about this idea of being afraid when it comes to the idea of the proper fear of the Lord. 

And it’s only when we get into right relationship with God and have the proper fear of the Lord that He begins to drive out the rest of our fear in other circumstances in life.

And then last week we looked at this passage of Scripture from the Book of Daniel where we saw these three famous guys, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; we looked at them and saw that sometimes God calls his people to act counterculturally even though they might be afraid of the consequences of doing so. And so hopefully we’re inspired by their Faith over fear.


Today we’re going to be looking at this idea of living a life of Faith over fear and seeing the opportunities that God calls us to… to act, and that act is going to require Faith over fear.

Ironically then, I want to start off by a recent realization of a failure in this area in my life, a time where I feel like I really chose fear over Faith.
What happened, as some of you know here in the congregation, back in October we returned home with our fifth child, adopted Judah from China, and we were just sort of recovering from that whole experience when some time in November, what had happened here in the community was that there was a pastor who was at church one morning, and they were there by themselves, when preparing for services one Sunday morning, and a woman walked in with her five children and said to him, “I don’t want these children anymore,” and turned around and walked out.

So the pastor had these five kids just sitting there with him. 

Someone from our church knew about that circumstance and knew that it was not this pastor’s first desire to care for these five children, and so they began praying about who should care for these kids. And a couple days later my wife got a phone call.

You know where this is going, right? (LAUGHTER)

Okay, did you hear the part where I said we already have five kids…? (laughter) OK. OK… I just want to be clear.

So my wife comes to me says, “I got this phone call and someone thinks that we should care for these five kids.” And she was looking at me like… you know what I mean, ‘the look’… right guys?  She was looking at me like this was a real possibility. And so I sort of condensed and boiled down this conversation to some sort of agreed upon, “We’ll pray about it.”

And we did pray about it. We prayed about it several times, and eating together. before we went to bed, and eventually, over some time, enthusiasm faded and we found out the kids were kind of being cared for in a different circumstance, and you know, we just sort of went on our way.

It wasn’t really until I was preparing the sermons for this series that I felt like God had really kind of spoken to me and really challenged me with this idea that I had acted in fear over Faith.

Now let me let me clarify that… and by that I mean, when I was praying about it, I wasn’t actually open to what God’s answer was. Did you ever have one of those prayers before?

I prayed about it makes, makes me feel better, but I’m not really open to the answer that God might have for me.

Now I’m not saying that I know that God wanted us to care for those kids… it may be that had I been open-minded and acting in Faith over fear, he still would’ve not had us care for those kids.

What I am saying to start off our time together this morning, is that it was a clear reminder for me that I acted in fear over Faith. 

And that just led me to start thinking, “I wonder how many more times in my life that has happened?  I wonder how many more times in my life God has presented an opportunity, and because I was someone who had fear over Faith maybe I didn’t even see the opportunity, or the opportunity came and went quickly.

That’s like when you are in a Bible study, or a small group, or something like that, and someone else in your group says something about leaving their career… their lucrative career to go do what they feel like God is calling them to do for the Kingdom of God, and maybe God’s trying to speak to you through that voice, and you don’t even consider that because immediately fear comes in like, “I could never I could never do that”.

Or maybe someone in one of your contexts is talking about inviting someone to church, or sharing their Faith with someone, and you hear that, and God is actually going to speak to that and present you with an opportunity as well, but you never go there in your mind  because immediately fear comes in and sort of quenches the moment.

We want to be Faith over fear, not fear over Faith people.

And what happens when we do that, when we operate out of fear over Faith, is we miss some of the really amazing things that God is doing in the world around us. In fact our BIG IDEA for you is this…. that 

The good, the perfect, and the pleasing will of God is most often (not all the time) but is most often carried out through those who choose Faith over fear.

That the good the perfect and the pleasing will of God is most often carried out through those who choose Faith over fear.



And we’re going to see that played out in our passage of Scripture together this morning. I want to invite you there with me.

In the Book of Numbers, yes that’s a book in your Bible, in the Old Testament portion of your Bible, Numbers, Chapter thirteen, we’re going to be looking at that. If you have a Bible, we would love to have you turn there with us.

If not, we’ll have the Scripture on the screen as well. In Numbers, Chapter thirteen, starting in the very first verse… I warn you ahead of time, this is the most Scripture I’ve ever tried to deal with in a single sermon, but it’s one of those narratives that has a beginning, and a middle, and an end, and you don’t really get the point until you’ve seen the whole thing.

And so we’re going to be doing that, sort of in a quick overview together this morning.

There are so many Scriptures, so in case you’ve got one of those ADHD things going on or something, and we lose you, we’ll give you the thirty-second Cliff Notes — here it is:

This is a significant, significant moment in Israel’s history. God has a chosen group of people known as the Israelites and he has freed them from slavery at the hands of the Egyptians… they are now wandering in the desert and he is trying to move them into a land, their own space. All the other land around them is inhabited by people. And God is trying to move them into their own space where they can grow and become a light unto the nations.

But because all the other land is inhabited by other people, there’s going to be a military conquest that has to come through this; and that’s why a lot of the violence in your Bible exists. And so these people are going to be forced to choose either Faith over fear, or fear over Faith as God leads them on this military conquest.

Here’s what the Scripture says, Numbers 13:1-2

The Lord said to Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites.

Let’s just look at that.. so to be clear, Moses is the leader of the Israelites, and God is the one initiating this. God is the one who’s making this happen, and not only is he saying it, but he’s saying, “I’m going to give this over to you.”

Now, Moses heard this, but we don’t know for sure whether the men had the ability to hear this or not. Whether or not Moses ended up passing this message on to them, or do they go blindly?

In all likelihood Moses passed on this message to them and let them know why he was sending them out.

But if you think about it, it’s still sort of secondhand isn’t it?

So we’ve created an opening for fear over Faith because they didn’t hear from God Himself. And I point that out because most of us like to think, I’m sure, that if we knew that God was speaking to us and telling us to do something, we would do it.

But most of us, if we’re honest, the best that God ever communicates to us feels kind of like second-hand information.

And so fear sort of starts to creep in… like, “Did God really say this to me? Is this really the message for me?”… it starts to make me think again about all the opportunities that maybe God was leading us into that we ended up not even the recognizing, or allowing fear to quickly quench.

Here, God is clearly the one behind this. He says,

 From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.”

So at the Lord’s command Moses sent them out from the Desert of Paran. All of them were leaders [they were leaders people, these weren’t the bottom of the barrel–they were leaders] of the Israelites.  These are their names:

from the tribe of Reuben,

Let me just say this, this is not going to be pretty here in the next minute, okay? (LAUGHTER). I was thinking about skipping over this, but it’s God’s Word, so we’re just gonna fight through it here.

Shammua son of Zakkur;

from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat son of Hori;

from the tribe of Judah, Caleb

 Caleb [now Caleb’s highlighted for a reason… not just because my son’s here, but because… well, you’re gonna see why. 

Caleb son of Jephunneh;

from the tribe of Issachar, Igal son of Joseph;

from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea 

Now Hoshea is highlighted as well, because Moses is going to give this guy a new name and his new name is going to be Joshua. Hoshea means “saves”, Joshua means, “The Lord saves”. So he’s going to get a new name, and Joshua is going to be the new leader of Israel. There’s a whole book in the Bible named Joshua.

Alright, so Caleb and Joshua are highlighted. Now let me just ask you… do you know anyone in your life named Caleb or Joshua? …Yes.

Do you know anyone named Palti or Gaddiel? … No, you don’t.

Why is that?

It’s because Caleb and Joshua are easier names? Well they’re only easier names because they’re more common names. Why are they more common names? Because no one wanted to name their kid after what these other people do. But they do want to name their kid after Joshua and Caleb.

So that’s a little foreshadowing of how they’re going to act… who’s going to be Faith over fear and who’s going to be fear over Faith.

Let’s go to verse ten,

10 from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel son of Sodi;

11 from the tribe of Manasseh (a tribe of Joseph), Gaddi son of Susi;

This is why people don’t go to small Bible Studies… they’re afraid that the leader will call on them to read this passage of Scripture (LAUGHTER).

Verse 12,

12 from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel son of Gemalli;

13 from the tribe of Asher, Sethur son of Michael;

14 from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi son of Vophsi;

15 from the tribe of Gad, Geuel son of Maki.

16 These are the names of the men Moses sent to explore the land. (Moses gave Hoshea, I told you this was coming, son of Nun the name Joshua.)

17 When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, 


Now as I was reading and studying this I was imagining myself as one of these sort of spies. What if God had sent me on this mission and I was thinking like, how do you go and say, “Oh, the people there are strong, or the people are weak”?

I’m picturing myself in the gym, like, “Oh, he’s pretty buff you know…”

But anyway, he wants to say how many are there? And then in verse nineteen,

19 What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? [I think I could’ve reported that] 20 How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)

21 So they went up and explored the land from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, toward Lebo Hamath. 22 They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, lived. (Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 When they reached the Valley of Eshkol, they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the Valley of Eshkol because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut off there. 25 At the end of forty days [this was not a short mission; at the end of 40 days they come back with all the information] they returned from exploring the land.


Now here we are, at this point in time in our series, we’re wondering, “Are they going to bring back a Faith over fear report? Or are they going to bring back a fear over Faith report?”

And here is what the Scripture then goes on to tell us. Also, here’s our big idea again, we were wondering right?

Are they going to get to see God work through them in an amazing way or they’re going to be people who missed out on it because they have a fear over Faith report?

So here’s their report, the Scripture says in verse twenty-six,

26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! 

Listen to that… they’re not saying, “Hey guys, what God has prepared for us isn’t that good, He’s not actually sending us into something that we want…” That’s not the problem here, that’s not what kills this whole event.

The land is flowing with milk and honey,
it is desirable,
it is something that they would want,
it is a place where they would want to live…

But… the people who live there are powerful.

Now you can start to see the reported fear over Faith,

and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anakthere [a group of people known for their warrior abilities]. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”

And so we have a clear fear over Faith report. This is our first indication that these people are going to miss out on the amazing thing that God is going to do in the midst of the Israelites.

The land’s good, that’s not the problem–the problem is they’re unwilling to go to the good thing that God is leading them into because their fear is holding them back.

ButCaleb… remember that name.

The Scripture tells us,

30 Then Caleb [he stands up, right?] he silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

Man, I just love this whole scene… you can imagine everyone around him is reporting differently, they’re gaining attraction and attention, momentum with the crowds… everything’s sort of leaning this way, and Caleb’s willing to stand up and say in the midst of all of them,
“No, I disagree”… with this fear over Faith report. And he comes in with a very clear Faith over fear report. And I think one of things we ought to take from this is the realization, the reality that Faith over fear is not the norm.

Faith over fear is not the norm for people. It is not the norm even for the people of God to choose Faith over fear. Which means that if you decide today or are already living as a Faith over fear person, you should be prepared to be in the minority. You should be prepared to have people surrounding you who are telling you a fear over Faith report.

There are a few churches even, that get to the place where the majority of the people in the church are operating with Faith over fear.  Most churches have the majority of people operating with fear over Faith.

But when a church tips those scales and begins to operate as a majority with Faith over fear it becomes a beautiful thing to see what they can do for the Kingdom of God.

The Scripture goes on and tells us,

31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 

Just look at that expression, “they are stronger than we are.” Listen, this is clear… that whenever we focus on our own strengths and abilities we’re likely to be people who are fear over Faith. Fear over Faith people are people who focus on their own abilities and strengths.

YES… they are stronger than you are, but you’re focused on that and you’re missing a big part of the equation…


32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim

Some of you remember them from Genesis Chapter six… The story that leads right up to the global flood in Genesis six where these great, giant men and warriors ravage the land and did what they want with whoever they wanted to do it with.

Here they are, they see some connection there; this is the type of fear they have.

(the descendants of Anakcome from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

 And again, if we focus on our own ability and strength we’re going to be just like these Israelites who regularly choose fear over Faith.
The Scripture goes on to tell us this,

Chapter 14
That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud.
 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt!
 [WOW, really?] Or in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword?

There’s such an absence of Faith, they’ve already determined that they’re going to lose and die.

 Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?”

You know I had heard and maybe even read at times, this whole idea that the Egyptians say something about going back, but I’d always kind of taken it as if it was just sort of a flippant statement–they didn’t really mean it they were just mad and angry and grumbling and sort of overstated their grumbling kind of like you know your kids might do at times.

But here’s what they say next … this is not just some sort of thing that they don’t really mean…

 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”

It’s like a real plan of there’s. That’s how much they’re being driven by fear over Faith—that they’re willing to step back into a land of slavery, in a position that was difficult and terrible for them, because they fear what God might be leading them into.

Gold Dividing Line[00:19:39]

In trying to contemporize this… I was thinking about a single woman out there who’s been mistreated by just constantly finding the wrong guy. She’s in an abusive relationship… and has this moment of Faith over fear, where with God’s strength, they leave that relationship, despite some of the dangers and consequences of doing so.

But then they in this kind of wilderness situation in life… they’d not been alone like that, they’ve not been in a situation where they weren’t being mistreated, and their uneasiness of the unknown drives them back into this abusive relationship.

I think about Egypt doing this… I think about the dying church, and how many dying churches there are out there, that caught a glimpse of saying, “Hey we’re dying; there’s got to be something better.” They might even hire a pastor or a leader to try to lead them into something new.

And they start making some sort of changes, and they start to sort of move in that direction, but also, and it’s like, “Whoa, we’re in the wilderness.” And they start grumbling and complaining amongst each other and say, “Hey, even though we were dying before, at least it was comfortable… at least it was familiar, at least we knew what was going to happen to us… it’s a better death than maybe what we’re being led on to.” And they go back and make the change and resort back to where they were.

Here’s Israel so driven by fear over Faith… “Let’s go back to Egypt.”

Scripture goes on to tell us then,

Then Moses and Aaron fell face down in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land,


Notice when we said earlier:
Fear over Faith people focus on their own strength and ability,
Faith over fear people focus on the strength and ability of the Lord.

If the Lord wills this, if he’s behind this, He can make this thing happen.

There’s a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid_of_them.”

So Joshua and Caleb come along and they give a clear, although it’s the minority report, a clear Faith over fear report, and answer, “Do not be afraid.” is repeated by them.

Gold Dividing Line[00:22:25]

Then the Scripture goes on and tells us this happened. It’s not easy being a Faith over fear leader…

10 But the whole assembly talked about stoning them.

That’s why I think one of the most important qualities in a church when choosing its elders, is a group of men and women who will seek the mind of Christ, and regardless of where Christ leads them, no matter how much Faith it’s going to take, no matter how much fear it’s going to instill in them and their congregation, they are going to be Faith over fear leaders.

And being a Faith over fear leader is not always going to make you very popular person.

10b Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. 11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt?

Listen to God’s reasoning here…

 How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them?


What he’s referencing is what happened in Egypt; he’s referencing all the miracles that he performed amongst them to free them in Egypt. He’s saying, “I’ve been that faithful to you; I’ve done that many miraculous things in your presence, how could you possibly still be a fear over Faith people?

For us today, we find might some great confidence perhaps from what we read in Exodus, but our greatest source of strength and relying upon God to be of Faith over fear people isn’t necessarily found from Exodus, but it’s more found from what we hear about Jesus Christ, and what he’s done in our life.

Jesus Christ is the one who we look back to and see, “Here is how God has been faithful to us on a regular basis. Faithful to rescue us on the cross through His Son Jesus Christ… faithful to draw all us into a relationship with Him, and faithful to do a great work in our lives ever since we entered into a relationship with Him.”

We see that repeated pattern in our life… how could we still be a fear over Faith people?

And so let me just ask you this question.

How has God been faithful in your past?

And what might he be building up to?

Faithful to Israel in the past, and then building up to go ahead and take the land. How has God been faithful in your past? And what might he be building up to?

Trust me, he hasn’t been faithful to you in the past so you could be comfortable today. How has he been faithful to you in the past, and what might He be building up to?

Let’s ask that of the church.

How has God been faithful to Kirkmont Presbyterian Church in the past and what might he be building up to?

Gold Dividing Line[00:25:02] 

He says,

12 I will strike them down

The Scripture told us earlier in Numbers that “Moses was the most humble man on the earth”… and listen to what he does, he intervenes on behalf of his people, and out of zeal for the character of God.

13 Moses said to the Lord, “Then the Egyptians will hear about it! By your power you brought these people up from among them. 14 And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard that you, Lord, are with these people and that you, Lord, have been seen face to face, that your cloud stays over them, and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. 15 If you put all these people to death, leaving none alive, the nations who have heard this report about you will say, 16 [Listen to this]…‘The Lord was not able to bring these people into the land he promised them on oath, so he slaughtered them in the wilderness.’

So Moses is saying, “Your name… if you end the Israelites here, your name will suffer as a result. And then he intervenes further and says,

17 “Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared: 18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’ 19 In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people,just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.”

So he answers and he says,

~19 God forgive these people for what they’ve just done.

And in verse twenty,

20 The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked.

What a comforting passage of Scripture that is… for those of us who are able to quickly say look I have repeatedly in my life operated with fear over Faith. We’re reminded that there’s forgiveness for even those who operate in fear over Faith.

Gold Dividing Line


This isn’t a salvation thing…

Our big ideal is not, “Hey those people who operate in Faith over fear will get into heaven.”  We’re not trying to be good enough people to earn our way into heaven.  No, in heaven God will by the grace of forgiveness in Jesus Christ, there will be many people who lived out their entire Christian life operating with fear over Faith.

What we’re saying here is, God most often works through those who operate in Faith over fear.  So we miss out in this life to be a part of God’s amazing work for the Kingdom of God when we operate out of fear over Faith.

So there’s forgiveness he says here,

21 Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, 22 not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times— 23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised…

They’re never going to go there. They’re forgiven but they never get to see it. And that’s why we’ve been saying our big idea is:

Most often God works through those who choose Faith over fear,

and these people have chosen fear over Faith and they’ve missed out on this.

23 No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. 

In the end God’s will is accomplished, right?  But it’s just not through those who chose fear over Faith. And it’s a sad thing to think about. And it’s sad to think about for our lives how many times we might have missed out on what amazing things God was doing.

Then the Scripture tells us this, finally to conclude… in verse twenty-four.

Numbers 14:24 But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.

I just want to ask you this morning.

Are you going to have a different spirit when…

  • When even your own husband or wife who’s a brother or sister in Christ is operating in a fear over Faith lifestyle… are you going to have a different spirit?
  • When the rest of your Bible study, or small group, or those at work around you are operating in fear over Faith, are you going to be someone like Caleb who stands up and has a different spirit?

And just a final diagnostic question…

What could God ask you to do that might tempt you to choose fear over Faith?

Our BIG IDEA one last time for you is that,

The good, perfect, and pleasing will God is most often carried out through those who choose Faith over fear.

God is on the move, he’s doing amazing things, and the real question is are we going to be a part of it?


Heavenly Father we thank you for this passage of Scripture. Indeed some of us would like to confess that we identify with those who went out and reported, and knowing that you were behind this that you were trying to make this happen we still reported a fear over Faith type of mentality.

We do that often in our lives. We confess that to you, We pray that you would remind us by your grace of your incredible Faithfulness to us through your Son Jesus Christ, that our Faith in You might increase.

We long to be a part of what you’re doing in this kingdom, and we trust and know that you’re doing amazing things. We want to be a group of individuals, and a church family that is a part of that. So we ask that by your grace and mercy that you would give us FAITH, which is a gift from God above. We pray you would grant us an increased measure of Faith in you and what you’re doing, and we ask these things in Christ’s name.




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Faith Over Fear: Week 2

Pastor Dan Borgelt
Pastor Dan Pulpit 3

Audio: [31:22]

Audio Transcript:
“God is quite impressive and faithful when it comes to his timing… as he’s given us this series this idea of “Faith Over Fear” to talk about for these few weeks, and that this week would line up with the message that Pastor BJ just talked to us about, and the song that we just sang, and the life of Andrew Brunson is something that I don’t think of as just a coincidence.

Backstory on Andrew Brunson:
Andrew C. Brunson is an American prisoner in Turkey, arrested in the purges occurring after the aftermath of the 2016 Turkish coup d’état attempt, imprisoning tens of thousands of Turkish military personnel, civil servants, educators, academics, dissidents, and journalists. Brunson is an evangelical pastor of the Izmir Resurrection Church, a small Protestant church with about 25 congregants.

Brunson is married with three children. His wife, Norine, was initially arrested alongside him but was released after 13 days. 

Brunson, 48, who was applying for Turkish permanent residency, having lived there 23 years, was imprisoned on 7 October 2016, accused of being a member of the Gülen movement, which the Turkish government considers to be a terrorist organization.

 The charges were later amended to include spying and attempting to overthrow the government. Brunson shares a small cell with 17 Turkish prisoners also allegedly in some way affiliated with the Gulen movement.

Pastor Dan (Audio Transcription)
“We’re looking at this series this idea of choosing faith over fear. I think when we talk about the idea of choosing faith over fear we look at sort of the Andrew Brunson’s of the world, and we can kind of like imagine ourselves sort of being the type of person who would choose faith over fear in a circumstance like that… like us looking at someone who’s in great physical shape and saying like, “Oh I can see myself maybe someday looking like that person.” Like you just use you strive for that, you would love to imagine sort of being that type of person.

I think we do that with the idea of faith over fear… we like to think that if we were put in the same situation as someone like Andrew Brunson was, and has been, that we would repeatedly, as he has, choose faith over fear.

We can even imagine going further with it… we think of the martyrs as we learn about church history, who gave the ultimate price of their life for their faith. And we can imagine ourselves and we want to we want to be the type of people who would indeed choose faith over fear even in those types of circumstances.

And you know as commendable as it is for us to be thinking about choosing faith over fear, and big picture in these extreme situations, it may unintentionally come at the cost of us missing the reality that we have daily, perhaps, right here in America in our current culture and society, opportunities to choose faith over fear.

Is it possible that you may be unintentionally missing some of those opportunities to choose faith over fear, and perhaps, is it possible that you’ve been choosing fear over faith in some of the opportunities that God has been giving you?

Gold Dividing Line
[00:02:16] ​

So it’s what we’re going to talk about this morning, and in fact our big idea is this as we continue in this series. We’re going to see that sometimes, not all the time, but… 

Sometimes we will need to have the faith to act against the cultural norm, even though we might fear the consequences of doing so.

I love the release, if you will, that comes from embracing the second half of that sentence… even though we might fear the consequences of doing so.

We’d love to think that we might get to a place in our faith where when we are forced to choose to go against the grain of the cultural norm and we hear about the potential consequences we have no fear of them at all, but nonetheless we identify with those who often do have fear.

We’ll see biblical characters today who I think probably had fear and had to wrestle through but ultimately chose faith over fear.

Sometimes we need to have the faith to act against the cultural norm even though we might fear the consequences of doing so.  

Gold Dividing Line

To see this big idea played out we’re going to look in a book of the Old Testament known as The Book of Daniel. It’s in the prophetical section of your Bible–the Major Prophets. There are five major prophets and Daniel’s one of them.

For those of you love to turn your Bible and open up with us we’d love to have you turn to the Book of Daniel.

The narrative that we’re going to be looking at this morning is found in Daniel Chapter three but we’re going to spend just a few minutes looking at Daniel Chapter one starting in the first verse, and the reason we’re going to be doing that is because although this is not the narrative that we’re looking at, is the important backdrop and information that surrounds the narrative that we are going to be looking at.

Daniel’s always been one of my favorite books of the Bible, and we’re going to be looking at it now here. Daniel chapter one starting in the very first verse, This is the backdrop to our narrative that we’re going to be looking at, as we see that God puts his people in cultures and circumstances where they’re invited, through faith, to choose to go against the cultural norm. [00:04:15]

Daniel 1:1
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, [somewhere around 605 BC] Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon [so this is different King] came to Jerusalem and besieged it.

So this is the first of three waves that Babylon waged on God’s people, and ultimately Judah falls around 586 B.C.  But in this first siege they come in and they make great military conquests.

And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand,

And so we see that actually God was judging his people by allowing a pagan nation to come in and win and have victory over them.

Along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god.

Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.

So you can see that many people of course when Babylon came in and waged war against Judah would have been put to death, but not everyone was put to death. It was quite customary to take some of the people of the of the nation that you conquered and bring them back to where you came from, and that’s the King’s plan.

Only not just to use this group of people as like lowly servants, but he’s going to use this group of people, these young men from Israel who are smart, and attractive, and all these types of things, and he’s going to train them up and teach them, coach them up to a place where they’ll be serving around him; like this sort of daily trophy of like look who I’ve conquered, and look what I’ve done with the people that I conquered.

It says in verse five,

 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.

I suppose if you’re going to have to get conquered this is probably the best gig to land in the aftermath of it.

In verse six,

Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar [So if you’re ever trying to get my attention and you go, “Hey Pastor”, and you can’t remember what comes next you can say Belteshazzar… (laughter) or Daniel either one]; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

So these people are brought from their nation, their land, their culture that they’re totally used to, and brought into a completely foreign land, the nation of Babylon.

What an incredible cultural shock this must have been for them… to have to learn to live in this new environment, to go from living in a place where the society reinforced God’s laws and principles, to also going to a place where there’s really no word of the truth of their God, and all kinds of false gods are being introduced. They’re having to learn what it’s like to live in this new society, and experience an incredible cultural shift.

And I share all that background information with you to help you see, to help you identify, as someone living in our current culture in society, that although we may not have had some nation come in and take over us and completely change our culture and society, many people feel like they’ve experienced a dramatic cultural shift like these Israelites would have experienced.
There’s a book out there called “Who Stole My Church,
and the book was written for the purpose of helping people who’ve been used to church a certain way for years and years, and then some young pastor comes in and makes all these changes… and it’s like, WHO_STOLE_MY_CHURCH?…

Some of you are looking for the book on the shelf that says, Who Stole My Country?… thinking ‘What I see today is not at all what I’m what I’m used to, what I grew up with… this is not the way it’s always been.

And so what I want to suggest to you is that many people, to identify with what these young Isrealite men experienced here, many people in this room feel like they’ve experienced that same thing right here in our society.

I think it’s one of those things that the older you are, the more perspective you’re going to have to offer on a subject. The younger you are, you’re probably not going to see the shift as much. But those of you who have lived in our culture and society longer are probably able to testify to a greater sense of change on many issues and subjects.

I want to suggest to you these four indicators of a declining society, and then I’ll just let you be the judge as to whether you think our nation is shifting, so that Christians who are living in America might be experiencing a similar type of change, as if they once lived in Israel, and then they got moved to Babylon.

Gold Dividing Line[00:09:36] ​

I think one of the first signs of a decline of society is that true faith is removed.

  1. True Faith is Removed
    Before you can start inserting a bunch of stuff into society that shouldn’t be there that you’ve got to take the conscience out of society–true faith is removed. I think we’ve clearly communicated to God over the last few decades that he’s not welcome in our schools, that he’s not welcome in our workplaces, that he’s not welcome in our Government, and he’s not welcome in our legal system either.

Then, for whatever reason, one of the first things that seems to fill the culture in society after faith is removed is this idea of sexual immorality rising.

  1. Sexuality Immorality Rising
    I see it all over the Bible, it’s just sort of right there soon as it happens. Romans chapter one.

For those of us who went through that, there it was, and here we see it in our culture and society as well. Do I really need to convince you of a declining sexual morality that exists in our culture?

The next thing you see is sort of an unethical behavior that becomes required,

  1. Unethical Behavior
    I’m thinking about like the workplace particularly. I’m probably one of the few people in this room who has a work environment that is still ethical. No one’s asked me to do something that I didn’t think I should do. But many of you are experiencing a work environment that’s changing.

Someone would have never asked you to do what they’re asking you to do now, or they would have asked you to do it sort of under the table, or with some sort of guilt or something like that in a subtle way.

Now it’s just much more overt. “Hey you want to climb the corporate ladder, you want to keep your job, you want to get a promotion, you want to get a pay raise? … here’s the behavior, here’s the expectation that we have for you.”

I know many of you have been forced to make some of those decisions along those lines.

I drew a line between 1-3 and #4 because I think there’s a strong argument to be said that these first three things are indeed happening, that we’re shifting to what many people refer to as a digital Babylon, a modern day Babylon in our culture and society.

Where we haven’t gotten so far is what we’re going to see in our text this morning which is number four, and I think one of the final points of a declining society is that not only you go full circle, true faith is removed to the place where false faith is required.

1. True Faith is Removed
2. Sexuality Immorality Rising
3. Unethical Behavior

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
4. False Faith is Required.

So now someone above you, a government or a law is instilled that says you must believe this, you must worship this, and it’s a false form of faith.

Gold Dividing Line[00:12:06] 

All right so let’s then move on to our passage… one last verse to kind of help set the scene so you understand what’s happening.
In Daniel 2:49, right before chapter three our narrative begins, the Scripture tells us this,

49 Moreover

Now some time has passed since these young men have been brought to Babylon, and Daniel has risen right up the ranks, he’s a pretty important person in Babylon at this point.

49 Moreover, at Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court.

Now this is important to realize because these three men have come to a position of leadership as well. So when the king is about to call all the important people to gather together, they show up–they’re there.

The Scripture tells us then and in Daniel chapter three verse one this… and now we’re getting into our narrative; thank you for your patience in that background. The Scripture says,

Daniel 3:1-3

King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, 90 feet high and 9 feet wide,

They say a human is usually six to one in ratio… this is much different, it’s a really tall, skinny person… it’s not a statue of me in any way at all (laughter); it’s not even a statue of King Nebuchadnezzar most likely… it was most likely a statue of some sort of false god… it’s plated or covered, at the very least, in gold.

 and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it.

So, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, they’re there… they’re invited because there now in a position of leadership.

Then a verse four it says,

4-6 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do [no one is exempt from this]: As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.  Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”

I guess you can’t blame the king for not having clear expectations and clear punishments that’s been set up… right?

Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the nations and peoples of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

So everybody’s doing it people… everybody’s worshipping; they’re all doing exactly what they were told to do… but in verse 8,

8-12 At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews.  They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “Oh king, live forever! [kiss up, right?] Your Majesty has issued a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold,  and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”

There’s a lot of text there so just in case you drifted off here’s a summary:

The king makes of decree that everyone’s going to come and worship this image he’s built when the music plays. The first time comes around the music plays, and almost everyone around bows down and worships.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego have had their first opportunity to choose faith over fear.

They had a decision to make. As soon as they heard the decree they would have started talking amongst each other… “How are we going to do this… how are we going to handle this situation?”

I wonder who first had the suggestion, “Let’s not bow down and worship.” I wonder if one of them at first said, “No maybe we should!”

And so they eventually come to the conclusion that they’re going to do this thing together–they choose Faith Over Fear, not fear over faith, and they decide, decree together, form alliance with one another–we’re not going to bow down and worship this thing.

And so they make this decision.

And they would have had so many reasons, so many excuses for why they should have just done what everyone else did. Some of the very excuses that you and I come up with for why we just sort of fit into society when God would call us not to.

Of course the first one is, “Hey, everyone’s doing it.” … right? “If everyone’s doing it must not be that bad… surely God’s sense of morality is guided and directed by the majority. How could this many people get it wrong? So if everyone‘s doing it, then surely it would be OK for us to do as well.”

We might come up with the excuse that says something like, “Hey I’m trying to blend in… if I don’t follow along, I’m not going to blend in.”

Then we might use theological missional language like, “Hey I’m even trying to be incarnational… I’m just trying to fit in with the crowd and be amongst the rest of them. God doesn’t really want me to stand out.. I’m just going to fit in… I’m going to blend in.”

We might come up with an excuse that says, “But if I don’t follow the cultural norm I will be viewed as weird.” “What kind of witness, oh God, will I be for your name if everyone thinks I’m a weird person?”

We might come up with excuses to say, “But listen, I know what I’m doing outwardly, but that’s not a good reflection of what’s in my heart.”  “So why don’t we just go ahead and bow down and worship… we’ll pretend like we’re worshipping, we won’t get in trouble at all… but in our hearts we’re really only honoring God and therefore, like, we’re all in here.”

“We’ll save our lives, and God will be honored, and surely that’s OK with him.” You know that’s NOT the excuse they use… but we might say things like, “God, what good would I be to you, if I get fired… from my job?”  “What kind of representative in your workplace will I be if I get fired, or if I get kicked out of this, or if I get kicked off of that.”  

“How will I provide and give to the church and be a witness to the world if my business has to close for going against the cultural norm?”  Or the excuse that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego must have been thinking for a moment… “What good can I be to the kingdom of God here on Earth, if after all I’m put to death? “Maybe I should just bow down.”

But no, see, we’re convinced that our faith needs to move us to a place in our BIG IDEA that…
Sometimes we go against the grain of the cultural norm despite the fear that we might be experiencing.

Gold Dividing Line[00:19:12] Continue reading Faith Over Fear: Week 2

Faith Over Fear: Week 1

Pastor Dan Borgelt
Pastor Dan Pulpit 3

Audio: [34:40]

Audio Transcript:
“Good job Debbie… but I got to say though [the song], it’s a little upbeat for a series on fear… do you know anything that’s a little scarier than that… like the Halloween theme song or Jason or something along those lines? (laughter).

Let me ask you… what is your earliest memory of being afraid? Surely we were we were afraid and experienced fear before we can remember being afraid… but let me just ask, when was your earliest memory of being afraid?

I know mine… I think I was like five years old, I’m not sure exactly, but I know I was living in our house up in Ann Arbor Michigan, and I had two older sisters. And parents, you know how it is… like, you’re kind of super cautious with your oldest kid, and then you get a little more lenient with the next kid, and each kid that comes you just start exposing to them to stuff sooner because you know part of is because your other kids are watching these things.

I had two older sisters, and I don’t think they were old enough to be watching the Halloween movies, but we were watching them, with Mike Meyers in our living room.

And there I was five years old or so and I was sitting just feet away from the T.V. by myself on a little blanket with apples and peanut butter watching this Halloween movie and my sisters were in the dark back in the back of the living room on the sofa.

And I remember the first time that I saw Mike Myers. What happened was this person gets out of the car and there’s this kind of ominous sort of scene the camera pans over and you see this guy in this white mask and he’s you know clearly after this person.

And I saw Mike Myers, and I threw my apples and peanut butter as high as I could up towards the ceiling. My mom claims I put peanut butter on the ceiling.  I don’t know, but I through these apples and peanut butter up and I turned around and I ran to my sister’s and I kind of like dove into the couch seeking some sort of refuge around them.

I know it’s not a very flattering story of me but it happened.

Needless to say, I spent many years in my childhood, often sleeping with one of my two older sisters because I was afraid at night.  In fact somewhere along the line I got the idea that I was safer sleeping in the hallway than in my bedroom. So I would grab my pillow and blanket and put it out in the hallway and sleep out there. That’s not safer, by the way, but nonetheless I did that.

Gold Dividing Line Continue reading Faith Over Fear: Week 1