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!
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  • Ligonier, IN
    151 W Stones Hill Rd, Ligonier, IN 46767, USA
    Saturday 5:00 PM
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* 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.)

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Overview of the Book of Daniel

By the Bible Project

The Way of the Exile

By the Bible Project

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 3:1-30
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
Dan. 3:1-30 - Trust your Savior
Dan. 3:1-30 - Understand your culture

The Passage Contents
Living in the Lion’s Den: The People of God in Exile.
The golden image is being built as I speak. Economic Babylon and Ecclesiastical Babylon is forming at an alarming rate.
World Economic Forum - Pay Attention Church!
I want you to watch out for something. Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF)—a famous organization made up of the world’s political, economic, and cultural elites that meets annually in Davos, Switzerland. The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) has as it’s theme ‘The Great Reset’ and argue that the COVID crisis was an opportunity to address the burning issues facing the world.
It's comprised of powerful, wealthy elites who claim to know better than everybody else and they’re discussing how countries could come together to facilitate “the Great Reset,” a reordering of social and economic priorities. The Great Reset is the global elite’s plan to instate a socialistic world order by abolishing private property while using COVID-19 to solve overpopulation and enslaving what remains of humanity with vaccines. It’s a corporate takeover of global governance (many big corporations are in on it). WEF partners include some of the biggest companies in oil (Saudi Aramco, Shell, Chevron, BP), food (Unilever, The Coca-Cola Company, Nestlé), technology (Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple) and pharmaceuticals (AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna). The Bill Gates Foundation buying up farmland. Another organization buying up homes is main cities, driving up prices, making home ownership harder. All these corporations affects our food, our data and our vaccines. The Great Reset actually means giving corporations more power over society, and democratic institutions less. Corporations can create a crisis like
In practice, corporations become the main stakeholders, while governments take a backseat role, and civil society is mainly window dressing. So even if the WEF is not responsible for the COVID pandemic (though some can make this argument), even if the vaccines are not to manipulate our DNA (and some are making this case), something really strange is going on in the realm of global governance. If you value your right to public health, to privacy, to access healthy food or to democratic representation, be wary of the words 'stakeholder capitalism’ when they pop up at the next Davos summit. The World Economic Forum through corporate partnerships will be accelerating a designed Economic Collapse that will be blamed on Russia. Crash the economy; blame it on Russia. Reset everything. American leadership in compliance.
WEF has a religious wing to it. They understand in order to get everyone to fall down and worship at the golden image of Economic Babylon, you need Ecclesiastical Babylon on board to platform and advance the agenda. You need to infiltrate the worldview’s of people, manipulate them into compliance, suppress the opposition, and get them to concede their freedoms just to feel safe from climate change and diseases. It’s interesting how the WEF has proposed a transhumanism where they hack the human organism, manipulate DNA, and control people through technology and biomedics. Rumor has it that the WEF has recently removed this type of information from their website. The WEF is proposing a digital id system that will determine access to services, that will allow them to monitor online behavior, and track your biometrics. This will allow the implementation of a Social credit system – already implemented by China – where people can be controlled by the government. And you’ve seen this recently: banks freezing accounts, push for electric cars with universal shut-off switches so if there’s a freedom convoy you don’t like, you can disable any vehicle at any time – all under the guise of the Babylonian golden image of climate change and eco-care.
Here’s what that WEF push will look like from Ecclesiastical Babylon: You are free to believe whatever you want; but don’t practice it publicly. In our current cultural climate – which values religious pluralism – publicly claiming (key phrase – believe anything you want in private) … but publicly claiming that the primary way to hear from the one true God is through Jesus Christ is considered a great offense. The Christian claim that Jesus is God’s final and best word is considered hateful in a pluralistic, multi-cultural world.
Religious Pluralism - Current Religious Trend!
The dominant philosophy regarding religious truth in the world today is pluralism. Defined, religious pluralism is: “The belief that every religion is true. Each provides a genuine encounter with God. No one religion is any better or any truer than any others.” Pluralists contend that no one religion can know the fullness of spiritual truth, therefore all religions are valid. No one should make the claim that they have the absolute truth. To do so would be arrogant and intolerant. All views are equal, as long as your view doesn’t make a claim of exclusivity.
I don’t reject religious pluralism because somebody wants to emphasize a certain truth or visualize God in a certain way. I don’t reject other cultures, ethnicities, and traditions. I reject religious pluralism because religions teach contradictory ideas; so they can’t all be right. Jesus was not a pluralist. Christianity asserts Jesus died on a cross. Islam says He didn’t. Both can’t be right. Hindus say many Gods. Christianity says one God, three Persons. Both can’t be right. Present-day Judaism says Jesus wasn’t the Messiah. Christians say He was. Both can’t be right. It’s the law of noncontradiction. You can’t affirm a square circle.
World Religions and Worldviews
People who claim that all religions are valid and true have not looked closely at the core of these religions. I cannot buy that all religions are the same. They are only superficially similar, but fundamentally different. And if all religions are not the same, then they can’t all be true. I’m sorry if you find that offensive; but it’s sloppy thinking, sloppy reasoning, and sloppy logic. It has to be cleaned up. Ruthless with ideas; compassionate with people.
In Christianity, death is final, followed by eternal reward or eternal punishment. In Eastern religions, death is a door the soul passes through many times as it works out its karma in reincarnation. Some teach there is not life after death. Can you see the problem? When someone dies, they might go to heaven or hell, or they might be reincarnated, or they might simply turn to dust, but they can’t do them all at the same time (Koukl). This is not bigotry. It’s simple logic.
All world religions are attempting to answer those four basic worldview questions that we answered clear back in October of 2021. Man is searching for answers to four essential questions: Origin—Where did I come from? Meaning—Why am I here? Morality—How should I live? Destiny—Where am I headed? If you’re unsatisfied how your worldview addresses those issues, you need a new worldview – one that is anchored to reality and history. Four major uncertainties about life that the various faiths strive to address:
Creation – Who made us? And if there is a God, what is He like? Hindu’s tell you there are millions of gods. Muslims tell you there is no Trinity. Atheists tell you there is no god. And Christians hold to One God, three persons.
Rebellion – What does it mean to be human? We’re made in God’s image, so there’s beauty in us? What went wrong with us? Hindu’s tell you it’s ignorance. Muslims tell you its weakness and rejects the sin nature. Christians hold that we are sinners by nature. We broke with God and are morally corrupted.
Redemption – What can be done to fix this? Hindu’s - meditate. Muslims - subject everybody, do good works and do jihad and die for your faith. Christians - look on the cross of Jesus who died in our place and live self-sacrificially for Him out of gratitude, not obligation. Only God in Christ can solve the crisis of our hearts.
Restoration – What is the solution? Hindu’s tell you many reincarnation cycles. Muslims hope for 70 virgins and a party. Christians hold that all things get restored in Jesus: forgiveness, mercy, repair, rebirth, new life, and hope. That’s what your soul longs for.
One’s answers to these questions not only determines your religion, but also exposes the falsehood that worldviews are essentially the same. They are NOT the same. Because when one looks closer, we find that often, these different religions contradict Christianity and a Biblical Worldview in many important ways. The Pluralist maintains that other religions are equally salvific paths to God. Listen, it’s not "triumphalism" where Christianity rules over other religions. That's not it at all. We believe there is one reliable way of ascertaining the truth - Jesus Christ is that way! Besides, we're not looking for the victory of Christian Churches over the world. That's not our mission. Instead, our hope is in the coming Kingdom of God! And in the meantime, to send out Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s into the world to serve in government and places of influence with a Biblical Worldview.
Tolerance used to mean that everyone has a right to their beliefs. But the new pluralism demands that you must not say that anyone else’s belief is inferior or, worse yet, flatly mistaken. To say someone is wrong is to be intolerant, to be close-minded, to be extreme, and impossible to reason with. “The new tolerance (Religious Pluralism) is called positive tolerance, which says this: every single individual’s beliefs, values, lifestyle, and truth claims are equal (Josh McDowell).”
Jesus did not say, "Friends, God is your only true home. I am one way among many. Now you must decide for yourselves which way is best. Good luck." John 14:5 Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 14:6 Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. He's saying "I am the only one for you. You have made the right choice. No one can lead you to God better than I can." He’s the only one capable of rescuing us from judgment and restoring us to a relationship with our Creator. That’s his view. I’m just the messenger. "The notion of God's love coming to us free of charge, no strings attached, seems to go against every instinct of humanity. The Buddhhist eight-fold path, the Hindu doctrine of karma, the Jewish covenant, and Muslim code of law - each of these offers a way to earn approval. Only Christianity dares to make God's love unconditional."
Daniel 3
Nebuchadnezzar has conquered the world and imported people into Babylon. So, it’s multicultural and diverse. It seems as if King Nebuchadnezzar here is bringing together in Babylon a representative group who were scattered at Babel, in order to redo in a sense what was done at Babel. The people were scattered; now Nebuchadnezzar brings them back together. And now, he’s implementing a policy change. He’s saying, “Sure, you can worship what gods you want; but in the Babylonian public now, bow down to the image.” “Your Biblical viewpoint doesn’t matter here in this public space; you bow the knee to the Spirit of Babylon.” What Nebuchadnezzar understands is, “There’s only one way we’re going to have peace in a multicultural empire. Everybody has their own god, and that’s fine, but nobody can believe their god is the true god. Nobody can believe their faith is the true faith. Nobody can believe their truth is the truth. If that happens, that can lead to one group judging another. That can lead to one group oppressing another.”
What this all means is that in the Babylonian culture, you had to privatize your faith. In private you could worship the God of Israel; but in public, you had to be like everybody else. The values, the way you lived, had to be like everybody else.[4] What all pluralistic societies say is, “You can privately worship the way you want; but in public culture, you must be like everybody else. Do not think that your religion has exclusive claims to truth.”[5] All pluralistic societies put this pressure on us to assimilate to the public culture by privatizing our faith. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had none of it.[6] And as to our current age: “God has not only ordained this dark hour, He has ordained men for this dark hour.”—Mike Riccardi. The Great Reset or another Great Awakening? I choose the Great Awakening.
These three Hebrew boys are doing what Jeremiah 29 said they should do as exiles. They should love the city and pray for the city and work for the prosperity of the city and engage themselves in the cultural and economic activities of the city, but when they’re asked to privatize their faith, they say, “No, for we believe in one true God superior to all other gods and we don’t care what the consequences are, we have chosen to love Him for who He is – Total Truth. There’s no God like him and we’re sorry that offends everybody. But we’re not bowing and blending in.” Well, that ticked everybody off. But note what happened at the end after the furnace episode. Nebuchadnezzar said: "Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”
And as to our current age: “God has not only ordained this dark hour, He has ordained men for this dark hour.”—Mike Riccardi. The Great Reset or another Great Awakening? I choose the Great Awakening. Why don't you come to Christ today?

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