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 1:00 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 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
Today's Text: Daniel 7:1-28
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
Dan. 4:1-37 – Guard your mind
Dan. 4:1-37 – Surrender your pride
Dan. 5:1-31 - Honor your God
Dan. 6:1-28 – Remember your home:
Dan. 6:1-28 – Show your loyalty:
Dan. 6:1-28 – Embrace your leadership:
Dan. 6:1-28 – Check your attitude:
Dan. 6:1-28 – Maintain your integrity:
Dan. 6:1-28 - Establish your consistency:
Dan. 6:1-28 – Welcome your humility:
Dan. 6:1-28 – Seal your legacy:
Dan. 7:1-28 - Quiet your panic:
Dan. 7:1-28 – Resist your (rogue) government:
Dan. 7:1-28 – Worship your God:
Dan. 7:1-28 – Protect your space:
Dan. 7:1-28 - Define your reset:
Dan. 8:1-27 - Improve your serve:

The Passage Contents - Daniel 8
Living in the Lion’s Den: The People of God in Exile.
To sum up Daniel 8: A goat (Alexander) fights a ram (Darius). It’s very violent. The goat wins. The goat’s single horn is broken and is replaced by four horns. From one of the four horns, a small horn sprouts and assumes god-like proportions. And this "small horn" that grows represents a leader that hated the Lord’s people.

How can we relate to visions of animals that represent nations and kingdoms of long ago? And what are we to think of little horns that rise up to destroy other horns? This is great prophecy. It was 300 years in the future for Daniel, but it’s now history for us. And we wonder if any of this can be practical and applicational.

Today, we focus on Alexander the Great. He was into "empire building". But is this how we should go about trying to be truly great? What is true greatness? We want to be significant and shown to have value. We crave acceptance. Every single one of us, whether we’re consciously aware of it or not, has a deep desire to leave this life and be able to look back and state, “I’m leaving this to the world.” “This is my legacy and my contribution.” “This is why I was here.” Each of us wants future generations to be able to say, “Wow, she was here; and she left the world a better place because of the life she lived.”

Here are the 4 Ps we tend to use to measure greatness here in our world: Power- A person’s greatness is measured by the things that they have the ability to control. Prestige- A person’s greatness is measured by the accolades / reputation that they receive. Position- A person’s greatness is measured by where they are in life. Possessions- A person’s greatness is measured by the things that they own. People think greatness is power, status, and wealth, and when that doesn’t happen, can they still be great? Princes and potentates, conquerors and leaders of armies, statesmen and philosophers, artists and authors–these are the kind of men whom the world calls “great.”

True greatness is not found in a petty spirit or empire building. “Whoever wants to be great must become a servant.” "Greatness" in a phrase is "self-sacrificial love". We become great by honoring the greatness in everyone else by serving them. It is the thousands of little deeds and tasks of service and sacrifice that constitute the giving or losing of one’s life for others and for the Lord. If you really want to be something then you must become nothing. If you want to go up in life then you must learn to come down. If you want more of God then there must be less of you. Selfish people can succeed. But you must serve something bigger than yourself to be great. You can gauge how far along you are in developing a servant’s heart by taking note of how you respond when someone treats you like a servant. When feelings of resentment, bitterness, or anger emerge when our acts of kindness seem unappreciated that is a good indicator that we still have a way to go in our pursuit of true greatness.

We want a life that matters. We want a life that means something. We want a life that makes a difference. The question is, “How?” How do we live a life that matters? Why do we miss it? Selfishness has us turned in on ourselves. Setbacks have us distracted. To be sure, living a life of significance will involve setbacks. The end result may not always be clearly visible, but it seems that it always requires regular, consistent, small, and sometimes ordinary and mundane steps over a long period of time. These things do not usually receive the attention or the adulation of the world. And the truly great aren’t really concerned about being great – rather it’s about honoring God with their life in small ways. Here there is such rest in the humble service of others, no longer jockeying for power, obsessing over our reputation, and constantly comparing ourselves with others. If we want to live a life that matters, we must sacrifice, suffer, submit and serve. We don’t like those words, because they seem to be steps down to obscurity, but in Christ’s Kingdom they are steps to true greatness.

Jesus sacrificed all the 4 Ps (Power, Prestige, Possessions & Position) given in heaven for life on earth so that we can be with Him. He gave up the praise of the angels to hear the insults of sinful men. Jesus gave up the position in heaven to take up a position on the cross. And lastly, He wasn’t only betrayed by Judas, Peter betrayed him too and even the rest of his disciples during his darkest hour. Self-sacrificial love is the way forward to be truly great. Why don't you receive Him today?

Dismissal Song

First Love (Lyrics) - Kathryn Scott ft. Martin Smith

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