When the Chaldeans, the astrologers, the sorcerers, realized they could not tell Nebuchadnezzar What he dreamt and what the dream meant, the Chaldeans said to the King, there is none other that can show it before the king except the gods whose dwelling is not with the flesh. The Chaldeans, the astrologers, the sorcerers, they realized, they knew, they had some awareness of a power beyond themselves. They were aware that there was a power beyond them that could tell the king his dream . And so, they are telling the king, if you desire to know what you dreamt along with the interpretation the only person who can tell you that, we can recommend is the gods, whom they really did know quite well, because they might have been referring to the God of Daniel without knowing it. Since their gods could not tell them what the king had dreamt and so they went a level above, there is a power whose dwelling is not with flesh, that power alone can reveal to you your dream. They were recommending a stranger because they did not, know Him. Is God a stranger in your life? When you personally recommend God to other people, do you recommend a stranger?
Recommending a StrangerOpening prayer –
Our Father in Heaven, we thank you that we can come into your presence without the fear of persecution or prosecution. We thank you for this freedom dear God and we ask in the name of Jesus come very close to us in the person of your Spirit. I pray that you open our eyes and our understanding that we may receive the Word as it is brought to us, that we may receive it not only into our heads but into our hearts. I ask you to take possession of my mind, all of me, as I offer myself to you that you may use me as your loud speaker tonight.
I humble myself before you dear God, I just want to lift you up, not me. Help me to do that. I pray a special blessing on those who are with us for the very first time tonight Father, grant them a double and a triple blessing in every area of their lives. If they’re those still on their way bring them safely dear God. Remember our faithful friends joining us by the internet wherever they are, bless them I pray please. Let them sense your Spirit and though they are miles away, let us be one in heart and spirit. I offer this prayer in Jesus name, let God’s people say amen and amen.
Recommending a stranger
Daniel chapter 2 reading from verse 1 and we will read from the King James Version of the Bible. 1And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him. 2Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So, they came and stood before the king. 3And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream. 4Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live forever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation. 5The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, the thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill. 6But if ye shew the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honors: therefore, shew me the dream, and the interpretation thereof. 7They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it. 8The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. 9But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore, tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can shew me the interpretation thereof.
Now, the king is in a fix, a bind. He had a dream, he cannot remember the dream. He calls the magician’s the astrologers, the sorcerers, the Chaldeans. And I guess if the book were written today we would include the psychics and the fortune tellers, and those who read cards, and those who read the palms of your hand and witchdoctors and diviners, and also read the entrails of animals. He called all the experts that they might tell him two things – what he dreamt and what the dream meant. They could not tell him what the dream meant until they knew what he had dreamt. But he couldn’t recall. He wanted them to tell him what he had dreamt, which is an impossible task, and then to explain, and he threatens them with death if they couldn’t tell him.
Verse 10, 10The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, there is not a man upon the earth, how do they know that? that can shew the king’s matter: therefore, there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. 11And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh. Now some people make sweeping statements, there is not a man upon the earth, but they were wrong. There was a man upon the earth, to whom God will reveal the dream. We live in a world which says:
- There is not a group of people on the earth, where all the races get along
- There is not a church on the earth, where there’s no backbiting and infighting and backstabbing for positions at election time
- There is not a community on the earth, where this doesn’t happen and this doesn’t happen
The wise men, the Chaldeans, the astrologers or sorcerers they were wrong. There was a man, but they went on to say in verse 11, 11And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh. What’s our subject? Recommending a stranger. The Chaldeans, the astrologers, the sorcerers, they realized, they knew, they had some awareness of a power beyond themselves. Are you following me? We can infer that from the verse, except the gods, whose dwelling is not flesh. They are aware that there is a power beyond them that can tell the king his dream. And so, they are telling the king, if you desire to know what you dreamt along with the interpretation the only person who can tell you that we can recommend is the gods, whom they really did know quite well, because they might have been referring to the God of Daniel without knowing it. You know Paul on Mars’ Hill said, whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you.
They did not know the God of Daniel, they did not know the God of creation, but they knew there was a power above and beyond them and beyond their own gods on whom they depended to practice their magic. And their gods could not tell them what the king had dreamt and so they went a level above, there is a power whose dwelling is not with flesh, that power alone can reveal to you your dream. They were recommending a stranger because they did not, know Him. They might have known about Him, but they did not know Him personally.
Now before you and I look down on the Chaldeans, that is applicable to a lot of so-called Christians who attend church regularly. We know that there’s a God whose dwelling is not with flesh. We have heard His name, we have read His book, we have listened to others speak of His movement in their lives. But for all intents and purposes in our lives He is nothing more than a stranger. And when we tell others you want to give your life to God, we are recommending a stranger because we don’t know Him.
In John chapter 17 let’s go there reading from verse 1, as we continue with the subject recommending a stranger. The theme for these two weeks is one with him, but how can we be one with a God who’s a stranger to us? John 17 reading from verse 1 the Bible says, 1These words spake Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2As thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. Stop. Salvation cannot be separated from a knowledge of God. This is life eternal says Christ in a prayer, that they meaning His disciples might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent. Listen to the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy chapter 1 verse 12, 12For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless, I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Paul says, I know God and because I know him, I have confidently committed my life into His hands because I know He will keep it. Why should I commit my life into the hands of a God that I don’t know? Paul knew God personally.
My brothers and sisters, you must be sure that you’re more than a church member, because the men who said crucify Him there were church members. They were not children of God. Paul was not just a church member, he was a child of God. He knew God and so when Paul preached about God he was not preaching about a stranger, he was preaching about someone he knew. And the thing about God is that God is over eager to reveal Himself to us. He tells us in Jeremiah 29 verse 13, 13And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. It is a guarantee of results.
There are scientists in laboratories all over the world, they are seeking the cure for this and that, they are searching with all their hearts and every year they write proposals for funding and they receive millions of dollars of funding and there is no guarantee they will get the results they desire. God offers us a search, a pursuit for which no funding is required and the results are guaranteed. Seek me, search for me, but if you do it how? With all your heart. What’s the outcome? You’ll find me.
Let me speak directly but with respect. If you as a church member, a so-called Christian, a believer, have not found God, it’s because you have not looked with all your heart. God is the most findable person, if there such a word I just made. He’s the most findable person in the universe. He is quick to lift the veil of darkness that we may catch glimpses of who He is, because it is only as we know Him that we grow. It is only as we know Him that our lives change.
And so, the same Paul in 2nd Corinthians 3 verse 18, 18But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. What Paul is saying, as we look at God, as we study God, as we learn of God, that experience changes us and we become like God. You become like Him as we behold. So, Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30, 28Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. He says, take my yoke upon you and learn of me and in learning of God what do we receive? Rest unto our source.
- When you know God, you can handle adversity with a calm mind
- When I know God, I can handle a setback without needing the intervention of a psychiatrist
- When I know God, I can take abuse calmly
And so, in Romans chapter 4 from verse 20 speaking of Abraham the Bible says, 20He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform. Now, why was Abraham fully persuaded? Because Abraham knew God. And because he knew God, he accepted the impossible from God. What was the impossible? Sarah’s womb was dead, his loins were dead, verse 19. From a dead loin and a dead womb, Abraham believed that life would issue. Ah you didn’t hear me. You talk about impossible. It’s a law that life begets life, am I right scientists? Life begets life.
By the way, I don’t want to steal brother Ben’s thunder, but a good reason for not eating meat is that if you bury a piece of beef, a cow doesn’t grow. You didn’t hear me. Because that piece of beef can’t give life. If you bury a seed what happens? A tree grows. Life gives life, so when God arranged for us to eat, He arranged us to eat what gives life. You bury fruit, the seed will produce a tree. You bury a piece of baby-back-rib and all you get are worms and a bad smell. And so, when we eat, let’s eat life, come on somebody say Amen, amen.
God is the resurrection and the life. This (Bible), when we eat this, we know God. When we take in divine nutrition, we develop a constitution like God. We can’t become God, but we become like God and so I am recommending, Abraham knew God. Because he knew God he believed what God said, I will bring life from death, which is contrary to what the scientists say. The scientists also say matter can neither be destroyed nor created, but that does not apply to God. God created matter and he can destroy it. So, God is above the law, I didn’t say God is lawless. I’m saying you cannot bind God by law. Laws flow from God, laws don’t create God. So, when a scientist says matter can neither be created nor destroyed it does not apply to God. When scientists say, life must create life, it does not apply to God, because from the deadness of Sarah’s womb and the deadness of the loins of Abraham, up came the life of Isaac. Why? Abraham believed that because he knew God. God was not a stranger.
Tonight, I am recommending to you a God with whom I desire that you develop a friendship. God is a very individual God. That is one of the subjects I love to present because it is often overlooked. The individual approach God takes to people. You look at the parable of the lost sheep in Luke chapter 15 from about verse 3, 3And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4What man of you, having a hundred sheep, hundred means a totality of sheep, if he loses one of them, – now for you statisticians, 99 and a hundred are the same thing. Statistically we round up, 96 is a 100, 91 is 90. You see you round up and down. God does not round off, but we’ll round off tonight. What man of you having a hundred sheep if he loses one of them does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after that which was lost until, what did I say, until he finds it. Until presents to us the determination with God which God pursues every individual to save that person. There’s not a living being God hasn’t found, but without taking the parable of sheep too far when a shepherd finds a sheep he picks up the sheep. Now the Shepherd needs our permission to pick us up. Until he finds it. When he findeth it he lays it upon his shoulder rejoicing. God leaves the ninety and nine in the wilderness and he goes after that sheep by Himself. So, when he finds it, it is just the sheep and Christ, are you with me? That’s one to one.
But let me introduce something else, that search is conducted at the risk of the life of the shepherd. You remember that David killed a bear, remember that, that tried to eat his sheep. David also killed what other dangerous animal? A lion. There were lions and bears in that part of the world. Hyenas, wolves, they were dangerous – now they’ve all been hunted to extinction in that part of the world but understand in the days of David, in the days of Jesus, there were wild animals in that part of the world. So, when Jesus gives the parable of the shepherd going out looking for the sheep, He is doing so at the risk of His life to save one. Because the Shepherd doesn’t want to be a stranger to the sheep. He wants to be a friend, He wants to be a God, He wants to be a Savior.
My brothers and sisters, many of us suffer for no other reason than that we do not understand God desires to have a personal relationship with us. Salvation has no room for stranger-stranger relationship. Through faith in Christ, He and we share the same blood and we become one through faith in Christ. That’s why the Bible says He’s not ashamed to call them brethren, because He came as one of us. God is knocking on our hearts tonight, my son, my daughter, I want to have a relationship with you. Not with the church first and foremost. When Christ met Paul on the road to Damascus in Acts chapter 9 the Bible says in verse 3, 3And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? 5And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. Now Jesus meets with Paul one-on-one first, introduces Himself, I am Jesus. Paul and Christ. After that introduction in verse six, 6And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. Now Jesus goes from just Himself and Paul, then He introduces Paul to the church. Are you following me? But tonight, I’m stressing first of all that one-to-one contact with Christ. It does not begin with contact with the church, it begins with contact with a man called Jesus, who was God still is God and still is man. Tremendous mystery but one which when we study it, it changes our lives. This man God or this God man, desires a relationship with you.
And so, he says in Matthew 11:28, come, to me, that’s a personal invitation and it’s not a joke. Come, to me. Who is he talking to? All ye that labor, men, women no gender discrimination; rich, poor, educated illiterate, white, black, red, yellow, blue, green, come to Me and I will give you what? Rest. Why will He give it? Because you can’t give it to yourself. Anything you can do for yourself God doesn’t do, I’ve said it before. That’s why when He parted the Red Sea He did not pick them up, they had to cross. When He sent the manner, He did not pick it up, they had to pick cook it. Whatever God does for us is because we cannot do it for ourselves. So, when He says I will give you rest, it means the kind of rest we cannot give; no human being can give himself rest from guilt. A guilty conscience can be put at rest only by God. Now a guilty conscience can be suppressed by a human being, but it cannot enjoy rest unless that rest is given by God. And so, Jesus says come to Me. But is Jesus being funny? Why do I ask such a question? Go John 6:44, our subject is recommending a stranger.
John 6:44 listen to what Jesus says, 44No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: Now Jesus says no one can come to me, but He says in Matthew 11:28, come. We have a problem so it seems. What Jesus means in John 6:44, no sinner, listen to me carefully, no sinner, no human being of his or her own self can just get up and go to Christ. It’s impossible, because we’re born with what kind of nature? The sinful nature and the sinful nature instinctively, naturally, reflexively and genetically avoids God. No mouse gets up and goes to a cat, are you with me? So, when Jesus says come to me, it appears as if he’s asking the impossible. But Jesus can say come to me, because He has first come to us, are you with me? He has to come to you first. This meeting maybe the way a Christ has chosen to come to somebody. If God does not move first, no one comes to Him.
And so, when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, in verse 8 of Genesis 3 the Bible says, 8And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: they heard, but having heard, instead of moving to the voice which they had heard on previous occasions they hid themselves. That’s the natural response of the sinful nature that’s the way we’re born. So as God had to come in the garden, God is always the one who has to move first. And I say again, these meetings may be God’s way of moving first in somebody’s life. Now He’s waiting for you now to react to His initial movement. And so, Jesus says come to me. When he said it back then, people just came physically. Now we come through the Word. Back then they also came through the Word because when they came, they were obeying what he said come to me. Now the equivalent of the presence of Christ is His word. Let me say that more simply, Christ is not on the earth anymore, we can’t hold Him and touch Him like the disciples did, but we have the Word, There’s no difference. That’s why Jesus says, if ye abide in me and my words abide in you. Christ abides in us through his Word. And so, when He says come to me, we come in obedience to his Word. And he has promised him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out.
A man may reject you, a woman may reject you, your spouse may reject you, the professor may reject you, your friends may reject you, not God. Let me say it again, not God, not Christ. When you come, you say, Lord receive me, yes! Why? Because God right now is standing at the door of your heart, that’s what He says in Revelation chapter 3 verse 20, behold I stand at the door and knock. As I said last night, or was it the night before, for Christ to do that He must be standing on the territory of your heart. So, He has come and He knocks. The devil kicks the door down and comes in, not Christ. You see, you must make a choice. He knocks and all He wants is for you to just open the door. And He says, if any man opens the door, I will come into him and will sup with him and he with Me. So, you’re no longer a stranger, He’s a companion.
You see the word companion comes from two Latin words, “com” which means “with” and “panis” which means “bread”. So, a companion is someone with whom you eat bread you see. So, Psalm 41 verse 9 prophesying about Judas says, 9Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. And so, when Jesus says I will sup with him, we will have companionship. He uses a symbol as well known to his audience, let’s break bread together. And right now, Christ is at the door of your heart. He cannot open the door you must. Why is it He can’t open the door? Christ forces Himself into no one’s life. The most popular Bible verse says, for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, who is knocking now, that whosoever openeth, yes, should not perish but have everlasting life.
Let me close the Bible to let you know I’m about to release you. Is God a stranger to you? If He is, you and I can make a decision tonight, I want to know God. The Bible says in 2nd Peter chapter 1, 1Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, that is Peter speaking, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: 2Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: It’s the knowledge of Him, the knowledge of Him. 2nd Peter chapter 3 verse 18, 18But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen. It’s the knowledge.
Tonight, you and I can make a decision, I want to know God. We are living in times my brothers and sisters when the only thing that will take us through is a fixed unmovable personal knowledge of God. Because events will come upon this world that will shake people out of the church who just know about God and who do not know God. Those three Hebrew boys, they knew God and so when Nebuchadnezzar threaten them with fiery death they said to him in verse 16 of Daniel 3, 16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. They knew God. They knew that He not only had the power, but the final decision to save or not save was up to Him. They knew that and they surrender to that, verse 18 says, but if not. Even if He doesn’t and we know He can, whatever He chooses we are surrendered to it. In that crisis hour, facing death what gave them strength? They knew God. They knew Him. We must know God because if we don’t know God our faith cannot stand.
And so tonight I ask you from my heart as your brother make a decision, simple. Father help me to embark on a search, I want to know who Jesus is. And the way to know who Jesus is, is to study His life. Everything you learn about Jesus, His character, His love, His mercies, that’s exactly how the Father is. So, you’re not pursuing a knowledge of two people separately, you’re pursuing a knowledge of Christ and whatever you learn of Christ you learn of the Father, because Jesus says he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.
Whatever your difficulty is God has the answer. Is that all the Amens I get? Whatever your difficulty is, maybe this is a congregation without difficulties, whatever your difficulty is, what did I say? Jesus has the answer. Here’s what He says to you, there hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you’re able. The word temptation that verse means a trial or tribulation. But will with the temptation also make a way of escape. My brothers and sisters, for every trial you have there’s a way out, but it’s God who makes the way out and we have to work with God. So, we get to the way out and it is God that leads us to the way out. God doesn’t point the way and say go, mm mm, He takes us. He does not tell the Israelites here’s a map cross the wilderness, He led them, are you with me? So, God doesn’t send us along the highway of life, He leads us, our hands in His.
Will you not say Father, help me to learn of you because your Word says, if I know you I’ll have peace? How many will say with me, Father I want to know you for myself, may I see your right hand? Stand up with me we pray. I hope you come back tomorrow to listen to God’s Word again. Our theme is one with Him. Our subject tonight recommending a stranger.
Heads bowed eyes closed:
Our Father in Heaven, we thank you for your patience for being so long-suffering Father and I mean long-suffering. You’ve stretched out your hand to us in friendship, Christ stretched out his hand to us in Brotherhood and we’ve ignored it, brushed it away, knocked it away. Father in Heaven, I hope that something I said tonight will touch someone’s heart, no one needs to go through this difficult life alone. There is a God whose Son equal with Himself is willing to walk this way with us. He is knocking at the door of our hearts because He wants a relationship with us. Father it’s so difficult to believe sometimes that the great God who said let there be light wants to have a relationship with sinners, but Father tonight we’ve seen from your Word that you have invited us to come to you and you will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves and that is to give rest our souls, not just our bodies our souls, that’s where we’re hurting in our souls dear God.
And so, I pray that your Spirit will touch every person tonight, when we go home Father let us take five minutes to open one of the Gospels and just read a little about Jesus, asking as we read, Father show me something about my Savior. I do not want Him to be a stranger I want Him to be an intimate friend. Dear God bless everyone who listened to this message in person and by the internet. As we leave Father let the holy angels escort us to our homes. Let us reflect on what we’ve heard, and Father help us to arrange circumstances so that we can be here tomorrow morning to listen to your Word again. Thank you for hearing us, thank you for loving us, in Jesus name we pray, let God’s people say Amen and amen.