March 7, 2018

Celebrate Your Citizenship this Lent

Mid-Week Lent 4

Sermon Text: Daniel 2:44

Preacher:  Loren Lucht

Dear Friends,

Did you ever have a weird dream? King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had one and the prophet Daniel tells us what it means. I think you’ll like the ending. It’s really kind of a “happy ever after,” dream for those who believe and trust in Jesus. Our text tonight is the conclusion of Daniel’s interpretation.
The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people.  It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. [Daniel 2:44]
We find ourselves in the court of the Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel has been summoned to interpret the king’s weird dream. The king had dreamt of a huge statue, with a golden head, it’s chest and arms were silver, its mid-section was bronze, its legs were iron, and the feet were partly iron and partly clay.
Nebuchadnezzar said, “Daniel! What does this mean?”
Here’s a quick break down of Daniel’s interpretation:

  • First, o king, the head of solid gold represents you and your kingdom of Babylon.
  • Second, the torso of silver indicates that your kingdom will end and be followed by a great kingdom of Assyria.
  • Third, the midsection of bronze indicates that the power of Assyria will crumble and the Persians will dominate the land. And,
  • Fourth, the Roman Empire will appear, stronger than any force before it, but the Roman empire will also crumble and be destroyed.

So what? Daniel’s interpretation was absolutely correct. From the time of Nebuchadnezzar until the time when God sent His Son, there were these 4 great empires. . . and they all came to an end. The point is that these great western kingdoms and powers all have vanquished. God was always in control. And when Jesus came, God revealed a great kingdom, unlike any the world had ever seen.
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son. [Gal 4:4]
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. [Rm. 5:6]
Let’s fast forward from Daniel’s day to the time when Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea.
Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” [John 18:33, 36, 37]
There is a new kingdom, greater than Rome, that was established when Jesus came to Jerusalem, to suffer and die for the sins of the world. By this atonement Jesus reunited a world of sinners with the God who created the world and rules eternally. Although Daniel never knew or met Jesus, he was aware that a time would come when God would send a Messiah, a Savior into the world.
Let’s go back to the courts of Babylon. Daniel was still the prophet of God sixty years later when Belshazzar, was the next great king of Babylon. He too had a dream, different than his great-grandfather, but Daniel gave him the same interpretation, in Daniel, chapter 7. There’s no easy way to describe “the Ancient of Days.” It’s Jesus.

Then the Ancient of Days was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. [Daniel 7:14]
The greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High.  His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’ [Daniel 7:27]
If you’re 9 or 10 years old I think you can understand how big of a number 100 is. 100 years is a long time. Now imagine 200 years and add 42 more years. That’s how long the United States of America have been around. It seems like a really, really long time. The great empires that we’ve talked about tonight only lasted 77 years, 105 years and 13 years. The Roman empire lasted 360 years.
Many of us grew up believing that ours was the greatest country in the world. We believed that ours was the richest and the strongest country that has ever existed. Maybe we don’t feel that way anymore. There are a lot of scary things going on in the United States right now. Sometimes it may seem that we’re falling apart as a nation. 
Should we despair? Should we be surprised? Should we expect that we’re going to see the collapse of this nation whose freedom we celebrate on the 4th of July? No, we should not be afraid. No, we should not be surprised that violence and immorality are all around us in our world. And, maybe we will see our government change. But remember this, because it’s the promise of God, verified, certified and sealed by the death and resurrection Jesus Christ.
The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed. . . but it will endure forever. [Dan 2:44]
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever.” [Rev 11:15]