"In a furious rage Nebuchadnezzar said to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then these men were brought before the king. Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods and that you do not worship the golden statue that I set up? . . . But if you do not worship, you will immediately be thrown into the blazing fiery furnace. What god will be able to save you from my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “We have no need to answer you about this matter. Since our God whom we serve exists, he is able to save us from the blazing fiery furnace. So he may save us from your hand, Your Majesty. But if he does not, you should know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods, and we will not worship the statue of gold that you set up.” Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with rage, . . . and they were thrown into the middle of the blazing fiery furnace. (Daniel 3:13-23 – EHV)
What would you have done if you had been Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? The king has just issued a decree that you must bow down and worship a golden statue or you will be sentenced to die in a fiery furnace. You, however, worship the true God. Your enemies, who don’t really like you because you are a Jew and worship a different God, are watching you to see if you will follow the king’s decree or will you continue to faithfully worship your true God. So, what will you do? Will you bow down and worship the golden statue or will you continue to only worship the true God and risk dying in a fiery furnace? This is a tough dilemma! Will you publicly do one thing and in private do another? Will you value your earthly life more than your spiritual life?
It didn’t take long for the three men to decide what they were going to do. They didn’t bow down to the statue and they were brought before the very angry king who sentenced them to death. They were determined to remain faithful to the true God. They were confident that God was able to protect them from any attacks this world might make against their faith in the true God. We know the ending to this beautiful account, and we can see that their confidence in God was not disappointed. After being thrown into the fiery furnace, God had kept them alive. Their lives were saved.
It’s a great blessing to live in a country where we don’t have to face the exact dilemma that these three men faced. But that doesn’t mean we don’t face similar challenges to our faith. Daily we face pressures to hide our faith. Daily people tell us, perhaps not in so many words, that it would be better for us not to be so public about believing the Bible – or at the very least we can’t really believe that all the Bible is true and without error. Our culture makes it very clear that those who do show their love for Jesus in the way they live will face, not a literal death sentence in a fiery furnace, but metaphorical we might face the sentence of people who hate us, attack us and ridicule us for being a follower of Jesus and the Bible.
But none of this gives us any reason to back down or hide our faith. Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, we can keep on living our faith and sharing it with others without any fear or worry of whatever sentence this sinful world might threaten us with. We know that God is more than capable of overcoming any problems our faith may face. In fact, he has already overcome the most dangerous problem of all, Satan himself, through the work of his Son Jesus. If Satan cannot harm us, then neither can anyone else. And we can boldly live our faith, confident that the God whom we serve can—and will—be with us through any of the problems that we may face because of our faith in the true triune God.
Pastor Mark Gartner
Bible Information Class
We are looking to start a new Bible Information Class (BIC), otherwise known as an Adult Instruction Class. We highly encourage our members to attend as a simple review of the Christian faith—or better yet, invite someone new and come with them! If you are interested in attending or know someone who may be, please speak to Pastor Frey.
On Sunday mornings, Pastor Gartner is leading a study on the practice of Stewardship—how God wants us to use all the gifts that he has graciously given to us—whether it’s the use of our time, our talents, our treasures, our bodies, his great creation, etc. Plan on joining us for this study on Sunday mornings at 9:15am.
On Monday mornings and Tuesday evenings Pastor Frey is studying the letters of John the Apostle. In his first letter John expertly weaves doctrine with practice—a practical letter filled with passages on the love and mercy of Christ. Please plan on joining us as we study these interesting letters to God’s people.
NOTE: We do have audio recordings and the Lesson Sheets of these Bible Classes. If you have been unable to attend and would like these sent to you, please email Pastor Frey or Pastor Gartner.
School of Outreach
There are a few extra spots available to join us for the School of Outreach. If you thought about signing up but didn’t pull the trigger, you still have a very little time to do so. If you are at all interested, please talk to Pastor Frey or Pastor Gartner ASAP. More information is below.
Saturday February 8, a School of Outreach will be hosted at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schofield, WI. A School of Outreach is a one-day WELS workshop to assist churches with putting together a plan on how to reach out with the Gospel in their communities. Since we just established a Board of Evangelism here at St. John, we have decided it would be a good start for us to attend this School of Outreach. If you are interested in reaching out to the lost with the Gospel or want to learn more about Evangelism and Outreach, this is a great opportunity.