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Keep An Eye On the Scoreboard

Daniel 7:13-14

13 "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He 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.

SERMON

Do you ever get wrapped up in the day, age and location in which you live in? Getting wrapped up in those things can lead to 2 different responses. It can lead to either pride or discouragement. I’ll explain what I mean.

Getting wrapped up in today can lead to pride. And don’t misunderstand me here, there’s nothing inherently wrong with being proud to live in a day, age and place. It truly is a blessing to live in the time period we do. We enjoy medical and technological advances that the world has never known before. In addition we truly do live in a special nation. It’s a blessing to live in America. There is what you might call a healthy pride in regard to these things. By healthy pride I really mean gratitude. We can certainly feel grateful and thankful that we live in the day, age, and place we do. However, getting wrapped up in our circumstances can lead to and UNHEALTHY pride as well. I would call it UNHEALTHY when we slip into the thinking that we live in the single greatest time—we live in the single greatest nation—that the world has ever known or will ever know. It’s unhealthy thinking because it’s just not true. No earthly era or nation will ever be heaven. They will all have their weaknesses, flaws, and blind spots.

We said that getting wrapped up in today can lead to either pride or discouragement. And really, we’ve been talking a little bit about this for the last few weeks since we’re in end times. But to review this point… when we look at the things that are going on around us—the shootings, natural disasters, political tensions, world tensions, violence, hate, persecution, et cetera—those things can cause us to feel discouraged about the world in which we live.

Today we’re going to discuss the solution to those wrong ways of thinking—the solution to an unhealthy pride about the here and now and the solution to becoming discouraged about the here and now.

Last week we talked a little bit about the setting under which Daniel was written. Let me just briefly remind you. The glory days of Israel were gone. Over a 20 year period, the Babylonians attacked that which remained of God’s people 3 different times. Daniel was among those who were taken into captivity after Babylon’s 1st attack.

God protected his people throughout all of this, but that doesn't mean life was picture perfect. They faced trials. They faced hardship. They faced persecution. They needed the comfort that God brought them through Daniel.

The first 6 chapters of Daniel are—for the most part—historical. We hear of Daniel and his friends being taken into captivity. They were taken out of Jerusalem and relocated to Babylon. In Babylon, they enter the kings service. They’re even given positions of authority. But life’s not perfect. Daniel is thrown into a lion’s den and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are thrown into a furnace.

Chapters 7-12 of Daniel are a vision of future events that God gave to Daniel. Before we get to our verses, we’re going to want to talk about the opening verses of chapter 7 because they tie into one of the things we talked about in our introduction. At the outset today we talked about how getting wrapped up in the here and now can lead to an unhealthy pride. It would be silly for us to think that if the citizens of every nation on earth were to be polled, ONLY American citizens would say they live in the greatest country in the world. That’s just foolish. There’s people around the world that have a sense of pride for their country, just like we have for ours.

I’m sure there was a time when the king of Babylon and the citizens of Babylon thought that they were the greatest nation on earth. But the vision that God gave to Daniel said differently. In that vision, God showed Daniel that there would be another world power to enter the picture. The Medo-Persian empire overcame the Babylonian empire. I bet the rulers and citizens of the Medo-Persian Empire thought they were the greatest nation the world—but God said differently. God showed Daniel another nation that would become the dominant world power—that would be the greek forces under Alexander the Great. And boy...talk about a candidate for greatest nation on earth. Alexander and his forces conquered the known world in 12 years! By age 30 Alexander the Great and his 30,000 men had conquered the world and defeated hundreds of thousands. Impressive...but they weren’t the greatest nation on earth either. God revealed another nation that would come after them. We know now that nation was Rome. The greatest nation of that day? Maybe. The greatest nation the world would ever know? Nope. They too would fall.

And that’s where God’s vision to Daniel about the rising and falling of various nations ends. So God lays out for Daniel a brief explanation of the world powers that would rise and fall until the time of Christ. He also gives Daniel a brief explanation of the antichrist but ultimately says that the antichrist will fall too….he will be destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. So after all that, the vision just moves on and begins to focus on the one true God, and the one true king—the son of man—Jesus Christ. Our verses for today are about that one true king.

Before we move on to speak about the one true king that we read about in our text for today, there’s something to be learned from the verses that come before it...the ones we just discussed. If God wanted to, he could have lengthened the vision he gave to Daniel and told Daniel about every single nation that would rise and fall from then until the end of time. But in all honesty, I’m glad God didn’t do that because it would have made for really boring reading. It would have just been chapter after chapter that essentially repeats one thing over and over again...A nation rises and has its glory days. Then other nations rise and have their glory days. Followed by other nations that rise and have their glory days. History tends to repeat itself. Here’s the lesson for us to take from all this: There will never be a heaven on this earth, and there will never be an earthly ruler who will bring about heaven on earth. So by all means, give thanks to God for the time and place in which you live but don’t get so wrapped up in it that you forget where your true citizenship is. Your citizenship is in the everlasting kingdom. A kingdom whose glory days will last for eternity.

Let’s read about that kingdom and that ruler… 13 "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He 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.

Talk about the greatest kingdom to ever exist….Talk about the greatest ruler the world will ever know. As the verse says, God the father, the creator of the universe, has given to Christ all authority, glory, and sovereign power. On that last day, all people will recognize Christ as the one true king. And as the verse also says, Christ’s kingdom is a kingdom that will never pass away. Christ’s kingdom stands in direct contrast to everything we have talked about in regard to earthly kingdoms. Here on earth, nation after nation rises then falls….but not Christ’s kingdom. Christ’s kingdom already exists now and will continue into eternity. When the Pharisees asked Jesus to point to the kingdom of God, he responded by saying that the kingdom of God is within you. Christ rules in our hearts through faith. This side of heaven, his kingdom is found in the hearts of believers. And as we share this message about what Christ has done for us, Christ’s kingdom continues to advance. And on that last day when Christ returns, all other nations and kingdoms will fade away for good, and his kingdom will be established for eternity.

Alright….I’ve thrown a lot out there today. I usually try not to do that because I personally don’t appreciate having a lot thrown at me. So let’s boil down all these thoughts from today into a single illustration….

Firstly, I just want to let you know that I’ve been up here preaching for a little over 4 months, and in all that time, I have not yet used a sports illustration...so I’d say I’m entitled to one today. However, I have purposely chosen something that happened almost 100 years ago so that we don’t ruffle any feathers… On December 8, 1940, the Chicago Bears beat the Washington Redskins in the National Football League championship game 73 to 0. Whether you watch football or not… You have to know that a score of 73 to 0 is not a common thing. It’s what they call a blowout...in no situation is 73 to 0 a good thing—whether we’re talking sports or not.

Let’s say for a moment, that in that game that was 73 to 0, there were 10 minutes left… and let’s say that the team that had 0 points managed to score. Is the team with 73 points going to start to worry? No way. The game is essentially won. The other team just so happened to score…. So be it, it’s no big deal.

As a Christian, you are on that winning team. The game is already won in Christ. The score is 105 to… who cares? Maybe 5 or 6? Now, how do we keep from getting wrapped up in this life? How do we keep from getting discouraged by this life? Keep an eye on the scoreboard. When you’re discouraged because it seems like the other team has had a couple of good plays, take a peek at the scoreboard. It’s 105 to 6. Christ, the one true king is winning. Whenever you find yourself getting caught up in the here and now and starting to become a little too attached to this life… take a peek at the scoreboard. It’s 105 to 6. Christ, the one true king is winning.

Don’t get too caught up in this world. At times we can become obsessed with this world and slip into the thinking that we’ve achieved heaven on earth. At other times, the trials of this life can seem overwhelming. The solution to both? Keep an eye on the scoreboard. Christ is winning. It’s 105 to 6. The game is almost over. There’s no chance of a comeback. He is the one true king. He is the one true ruler. His kingdom will extend into eternity. It’s in his kingdom we have our citizenship. Amen? Amen.



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