[These message notes are from the Truth or Dare series]
This week we continued our 3-week series entitled Truth or Dare. The idea of the series is that as Christians we need to both know and grow in the truth of the Gospel and also dare to live it out in our day-to-day lives. While the game truth or dare allows us to choose one or the other, our faith requires that we do both.
Risks, American Idols, and a Bunch of Lions
When I was a young kid, I was pretty much afraid of anything. I was afraid of swimming, even with a life-jacket on. I was afraid of eating taco bell; I actually cried when I was forced to try taco bell for the first time. When I was a kid, everything seemed to be too big a risk. In life, there will always be certain things that have some element of risk to them. And this is especially true when it comes to our faith. There are risks that comes with living out your faith. The risks may be losing respect, friends, popularity, or something else. Taking the truth of the gospel seriously, to the point that we are willing to live it out everywhere, can sometimes be risky.
Recently I have been watching American Idol and have been interested in the success of one of the artists named Colton Dixon. Dixon is unashamedly a Christian performer; he even sang a worship song by Lifehouse during one of his performances. During this season of American Idol it recently came out that because of his strong faith he was asked to not post so much religious language on his social networks. He was told that his language might turn off potential voters. Now if you follow him on twitter, it's obvious that he didn't heed their advice. Dixon took a risk. Losing votes, upsetting producers, and not winning American Idol were not too risky for Dixon. It was more important to him to live out his faith as he performed on the Idol stage.
This is probably not a risk that we will ever have to take for our faith, but just like Colton Dixon had risks for living out his faith on American Idol, all followers of Jesus have some type of risks when it comes to living out their faith. There are risks to living out your faith in your school, in your home, in your neighborhoods, on the field, or even on the stage. Throughout history, the Bible has recorded a ton of people who have risked their lives in order to live out their faith, one of the best examples of that is Daniel.
Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or man except to you, O king, would be thrown into the lions’ den?” - Daniel 6:10-12
Daniel knew the truth about who God was and dared to follow Him even if that meant he might die in the den of lions. The truth about God was so powerful that he was willing to die for his faith. And this is not something new if we look at the history of the Bible; the Scriptures are full of people who are willing to die for their faith. The New Testament only exists because the writers were willing to die for their faith. There was a huge risk for them to live out their faith, but it was certainly worth it.
Daniel's Risk Leads to People's Worship
When Daniel dared to live out his faith, the result was a bunch of people worshipping the true God. When the apostles dared to live out their faith, the Christian church expanded. When we dare to live out our faith, God is at work in us expanding his kingdom and spreading the message of the truth.
"For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions." - Daniel 6:26-27
When Daniel was thrown into the den of lions, the people around him didn't believe in God. But because Daniel dared to follow God anyways, God used that situation to bring a ton of people to worship him. God rescued Daniel and the people responded in worship of the true, living God. The reason that we worship Jesus today is because early followers of Jesus dared to live out their faith even though it was difficult, dangerous, and potentially deadly. The reason that we worship Jesus today is because people in our lives dared to take Jesus' words seriously and live out their faith. Hopefully you will never have to die for living out your faith, but there will certainly be times when it is difficult to live it out.
Photo Credit: cyberslayer