King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And the herald proclaimed aloud, "You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace."
Have you ever imagined yourself in such a situation as the one above? Have you thought about what you would do? Many Christians, today, are even now being faced with the above situation daily. Some giving up their lives. To some, it is obvious. They are told renounce Christ and bow down to allah, or die after we have fun torturing you for a time and then let you die the most horrible death we can think up for you. But here in the West it is much more subtle. In America we hear "Bow down to the political correctness, the god of this world, of humanism, or we will destroy you one way or another." Many churches are bowing down to them and teaching their congregations to do so as well, rather than standing for God and His Word and trusting Him to walk through the fire with them.
As believers in the Word of God, walking according to that Word, just as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego could not but stand true to God and bow down to the true God of Heaven alone, we cannot bow down to the god of this world, the god of humanism. Some, even in our beloved "free" America have been harassed, fined, imprisoned, or even killed because of it. Yet there are those among the "church" that seem to want to bow down to the image created by man. There is another jesus, another church, another christianity that they bow down to which pretty much bears the exact same image as the image of the god of humanism. They have even written their own "bible" (The Message), which is not even a paraphrase, but a rewriting of God's Word and makes it the laws of humanism, rather than God's. It is man's bible, not God's. Sadly many Christians are fooled by it, thinking it's just another paraphrase and they read it and replace God's Word with it. Since they are not really abiding in or studying God's Word they cannot discern the clear difference in the way it is reworded. How subtle the devices of the enemy! If he cannot get you to stop reading the Bible altogether, he will give you a corrupted bible that sounds like God's Word but is changed enough so that those who don't love His Word will be fooled by it.
These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself. But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.
And now we have books like The Shack, that promote a different god, a different jesus, a different Holy Spirit, than that of the Bible. So many are worshipping a very humanistic image, in one form or another and think by doing so they are saving themselves. This humanistic jesus appeals to them and the passions of their flesh and does not require holiness.
What image do you bow down to or worship. To worship means to bow down, to prostrate oneself, to do homage. In our hearts we do homage to and serve either the God of Heaven, or the god of this world or the god of self. As believers in the One true God, we cannot have two masters. We must hate the one and love the other. We cannot bow down to the world's system or their image of another jesus, and yet be true to the real Jesus of the Bible. We think to compromise and be okay with both, but we are lying to ourselves. You will not have the fellowship with God or the power in your life to live for Him if you are compromising with the world. You are putting yourself in a place of "enmity" to Him.
There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, "Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?" Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up."
Notice the response of these three young men of God. "But if not, be it known to you O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." Even if God does NOT deliver us, we will still not serve your gods. No matter what, we will not bow down to your image. So often we put conditions on our service to God. If God answers my prayers, I'll serve Him. If God gets me out of this one, I'll serve Him. If God shows Himself to me in the way I want to see Him, then I'll serve Him. But when a person has the One true God living in his being, and truly knows the God of the Bible and abides in Him, then no matter what the consequences, the pain, the inconvenience, the discomfort, we just have to say no to the god of this world and yes to the God we know and bow down to Him alone, regardless of the consequences.
This story is always a strength to me, because it presents a clear picture. So often the picture is blurred and we think we can compromise a little here and a little there so as not to suffer the "offense of the Gospel" from the world around us. We are always being tempted to compromise and try to hold onto both worlds. We cannot hold onto both the flesh and the Spirit. We must give in to one or the other. We only deceive ourselves in our compromise, and we cave in to and bow down to our flesh, all the while deceiving ourselves into thinking we are walking with God still (Gal. 5:16-17). There are always consequences for our choices.
God did deliver Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo through the fire and out of it, and in the process Nebuchadnezzar saw the power of God and acknowledged Him as a true God. Though Nebuchadnezzar did not yet recognize Him as the only true God, He protected God's followers because of it, and allowed them their worship of God. Sometimes standing with uncompromising firmness allows God to show Himself strong through us to the world around us, and some are delivered out of the world as they see God's glory. Other times we are weak for His sake and not delivered from the perils we face because of our stand for God. Many over the centuries have been martyred because of their testimony for the Lord. But just like these three young men, we must decide who our God is and who we will bow down to or not, whether or not He delivers us in this life. Ultimately all of God's children will be delivered, whether through death and being brought into our eternal home with Him, never to be touched by evil again, or through rapture, being caught up in the air to meet Him when He comes in the clouds to gather His church home to be with Him forever.
"If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.
So often our hearts fool us into thinking we can have our Christian life and be loved by the world as well. But as the days grow more and more evil, the line is being drawn more clearly between those who are bowing down to the god of this world and those who are servants of Christ. The only way you can know for sure is to read the Word of Christ, and seek to understand what He has clearly said about Himself to all those who would want to know Him and belong to His family. Many pastors and teachers today are telling their congregations and followers that they don't need to read the Bible. They only need to empty their minds and be still and listen to the spirit speak to them. But if they are not comparing all to the Word of Jesus, then they are listening to a different jesus, not the true Jesus of the Bible. If they are being told by that jesus of the humanist making or that of a demonic spirit, that they don't need God's Word, then it is a counterfeit and they are being led astray into deception. God's Spirit always draws us to the Word of God - the very Word that He Himself inspired men to write. He has never changed or disqualified that Word or lowered its significance. Jesus said the first important sign of the last days would be deception, that even the elect themselves, if it were possible, (and the Greek implies that it is), would be deceived by false prophets, teachers, and false Christs. If you are joining forces with the world that hates the Bible and hates all followers of it, then you are bowing down to the wrong god whether you are in a Christian church or not. I don't care how loud or lively they sing, clap, jump up and down, fall down, or what manifestations you are experiencing or seeing, if they are not bowing down to the God of the Bible but find themselves to be friends with the world, then they and you are in "enmity with God." (James 4:4)
Time is short for us on this earth. We must "choose this day" whom we will serve (Joshua 24:15). Today is the day of salvation for all who would come to Him (2 Corinthians 6:2). He calls all and says "whoever will come, let him come and drink freely."
The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
To those believers who are in a false church preaching the gospel of this world rather than the Gospel of Christ, come out from among them and turn to the true Christ and His true Word of life.
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty."
(2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
Have you truly received the Gospel of salvation through the true Christ of the Bible? Have you been born of His Spirit? http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/helpseek/salvatio.htm Don't gamble with your eternity. You can know for sure.