Stones Hill Community Church
Living in the Lion's Den: The People of God in Exile
What is happening to our world? You and I are witnessing at warp speed the devolution of a nation. If things move toward a “post-Christian nation” and some are now arguing that this is the case, then how should the people of God operate when relegated to the cultural margins? What is the way forward in a hostile world? Welcome to the Old Testament book of Daniel!
Locations & Times
  • Ligonier, IN
    151 W Stones Hill Rd, Ligonier, IN 46767, USA
    Saturday 7:00 PM
We welcome you to Stone's Hill today!

A typical Stone's Hill service has:

* music (so feel free to sing out);

* some announcements (things that are upcoming that you can be a part of);

* a message out of the Bible (God speaks to us through his Word);

* and an opportunity for you to respond to the message (either immediately in the case of a decision that needs to be made OR in the future as you live out the message in your daily life.)

So relax and enjoy your morning! We're so glad you are here!

Overview of the Book of Daniel

By the BibleProject

The Way of the Exile

by the BibleProject

Living in the Lion's Den: The People of God in Exile

PowerPoint Message Slides
Living in the Lion's Den: The People of God in Exile
Post-Christian Culture
It has been said that our world is becoming a “post-Christian” world. Post means after. Christian means an era of time when Christ and His teachings were a dominant influence in society. Culture means the way we think and value things. This means that, over the course of recent generations, there has been an observed decline in the Church’s influence in society. In a post-Christian culture, the dominant worldview is no longer founded on Christian principles — or at least we can no longer assume that they will be.

As the church enters this time of exile from the center to the margins, we must have a vision through the unique challenges that are presented. As a Christian, in a hostile environment where the dominant values run counter to one’s own, you now experience exile while you REMAIN in your homeland. Just demonstrate that you are unwilling to conform to the tyranny of majority opinion, and you’ll know exile while still at home – forced removals, cancellations, disenfranchisement, job losses.

The Way Forward
What is the way forward in a hostile world? Discerning the meaning of the present moment requires sobriety for no one knows how hostile it may become. Eventually, a post-Christian society moves from assuming Christian values to ignoring them, to resenting them, to repressing them, and eventually to persecuting them. What was once Christian and is now post-Christian will eventually become anti-Christian, led by those who actively destroy it.

Strangers, Aliens, Exiles
God’s people do their best work when in exile. We always have. Exile infuses communities with new creative energy that rises to meet the challenges of new cultural circumstances. The way forward is to look around and understand our context, to look back and gather the resources the Word affords to us, and then to look forward with a clear vision of how we can function as the Lord’s people in a time of contemporary exile.

That’s why we have transitioned to “A Biblical Worldview Church.” It’s a vision for how to do life in cultural exile and it empowers you to come together with a game plan that will prepare your family to live in this world rather than just integrate with dominant culture. It’s the local church that can form a vibrant counterculture.

Exiles on Assignment
How do we build biblical worldview communities within our condition of internal exile, and under increasingly hostile conditions? Can we live with joy and confidence though marginalized? If you’re caught between a host empire you cannot embrace and a church that has no worldview mission, where do you go?

For much of recent history individuals and Biblical Worldview institutions could plan, execute, and flourish with their visions of a better world. That may no longer be the case in a few years. But don’t despair. For in the midst of the chaos of a crisis comes opportunity. The history of the church tells us that crisis always precedes renewal, and the framework of renewal offers us new ways forward. A Non-Anxious Presence shows how that renewal happens and offers churches and leaders strategic ways to awaken the Church and see our culture changed for Christ.

The question is: How? How can we engage a post-Christian society? How can we influence a culture which is desperate to press you into it’s mold? This is not to say that God isn’t at work in dominant culture. He has his “Daniel’s” strategically placed to do His bidding in the “Babylon’s” of the world. There are others who are being prepared to become “Esthers” (in Persia) and “Jonahs” (in Ninevah) and “Josephs” (in Egypt) – those who bring a biblical worldview to the culture, but within the culture itself.

So our primary job is not to make everything “Christian” in culture. Our job is to live out a Biblical Worldview wherever we find ourselves and bear witness to the truth. But, there’s no room for neutrality. The corrosive soil and polluted air of a secular worldview will have to be breathed by your children. You will face marginalization for living out a Biblical Worldview.

Living in the Lion’s Den: The People of God in Exile
Daniel 2:24-49
Daniel gives these incredible insights as to how we can live in a post-Christian culture, a secular age that wants to push a Biblical Worldview to the margins, if not completely out of the picture. So far, our sermons in the Daniel series can be succinctly stated:

Jer.29:1-14 – Live your life
Dan. 1:1-7 – Stamp your child
Dan. 1:1-7 – Draw your line
Dan. 1:8-21 – Stand your ground
Dan. 1:8-21 – Love your people
Dan. 2:1-23 - Face your crisis
Dan. 2:24-49 - Know your prophecy

The Passage Contents
In his dream Nebuchadnezzar had seen a large colossus or statue. Its head was made of gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, and its feet of iron and clay. A rock then smashed the feet of the statue, causing it to tumble and shatter. The rock then grew into a large mountain. And it ruled the entire earth.

Daniel explained to Nebuchadnezzar that the dream pertained to world history. The gold head is Nebuchadnezzar. After him come other kings and kingdoms of lesser quality. The silver chest and arms history has shown us is the Medo-Persian kingdom. Note the two folded arms. The bronze belly and thighs are the Greeks. The iron legs represented a fourth empire – the Romans, which, like iron, would be especially powerful. They were never really conquered; they just fell apart from within. The mixture of clay and iron indicated that this empire would eventually divide and become vulnerable to attack. We’ll say more about these kingdoms in upcoming sermons.

It's the final kingdom that we want to focus on: God’s kingdom (represented by the rock that grew into a mountain) that would conquer the present and all world empires, bringing Gentile human rule to a violent end. Like a mountain His kingdom would be incapable of destruction and would exist forever. Only one kingdom will be left standing. Make sure to be in alignment with this Kingdom!

Some Passage Applications
Prophecy can be a fascinating thing to study. God truly has a plan for the ages. But what about today? Are there some things that our passage presents to us that we need to think about when we get up tomorrow morning to start a new work week?

Three practical THINGS to listen for in today's message...

First, you have a family to raise and support, so work hard and get promotions even if you’re in a hostile culture. Don’t make your job an idol but do great work.

Second, you have a fallen human nature to keep in check, so watch your motives and intentions while living in a hostile culture. It can suck you in.

Third, you have a life foundation that you are building your life and happiness on. Make sure it is in alignment with the uncut stone of Daniel - the Lord Jesus.

Ironically, the rock is the least valuable substance in the dream. You have gold, you have silver, you have bronze, you have iron and clay, but even iron mixed with clay would be something that takes processing. Gold is heavier than silver and silver is heavier than brass and brass is heavier than iron and iron is heavier than iron and clay mixed. In other words, gold at the top is more than twice as heavy as the bottom. The whole thing is top heavy. It’s top heavy. It’s getting more and more brittle as it goes down.[1] The rock, a simple rock, is the least valuable of all of the substances, yet that’s the thing God chooses in the dream to characterize his kingdom. Why? In the eyes of the world, the kingdom of God is always poor. It’s always less valuable. It’s always weak. It’s never something the world thinks that highly of. Is your life top-heavy? Are you fragile at the foundation and prone to topple over? Will you go down in one smashing blow at your foundation? Why don't you receive Christ today?

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