Living for God in a Secular World
A Fresh Experience of Christ’s Love – Daniel 10
Pastor Doug Klein
The goal of every pulpit should be crystal clear: that we should see Jesus and Him only. Seeing and experiencing Christ is a precious goal of every sermon. The Apostle John gave us a clear picture of what it means to encounter Jesus in John 1:14: “We have seen his glory, glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” To experience the love and the glory of Christ absolutely transforms us. That’s certainly my prayer for us as we study Daniel 10.
The first principle is 1.) A love that enables me to stand unafraid. Daniel 10: 10-14
To stand in the midst of incredible adversity when the tide is against you is a powerful testimony. Daniel had been completely overwhelmed by the vision God had given him for the future. He was humbled and broken. A hand touched him making him even more nervous and jittery. He was knocked down to his hands and knees. In a position of absolute humility, the voice of the angel resonated deeply in his soul: “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.”
He was in the presence of the Holy God, further exacerbating his trembling. What a way for God to address us as his children: greatly loved. As the song goes, “I have never been loved like this before.” When you are loved like this by anyone, not to mention the God of the universe, it changes everything about your life.
It’s also helpful to remember that this is not an ordinary human encounter. The angel of God is bringing us into His holy presence. As C.S. Lewis reminds us, “He is not a tame lion.” When we see the glory and splendor of God’s angel here in Daniel 10, we are reminded of our need for a mediator Jesus that enables us to sit on his lap. It’s helpful to compare the angel with the revelation of Jesus found in Revelation 1:12-18.
12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven
golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man,
clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his
head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his
feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar
of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp
two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me,
saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I
am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
The hand that touches us is the scarred hand of Jesus. And it’s the only reliable hand in the world that can change our lives. But like Daniel, instead of being knocked over and beaten, we are able to stand upright in his presence by the grace of God. The trembling continued but the presence of God was unmistakable. Daniel received a glimpse behind the curtain into the intense spiritual warfare that is taking place in the heavenlies. And it’s the same battle that rages war on our hearts and minds and is battling for the souls of people all over the world.
The second principle is 2.) A love that enables me to speak boldly in his Name. Daniel 10:15-17
This is something so powerful about the biblical discipline of silence. What a contrast to the nervous chatter of church people when faced with difficulty. The Bible exhorts us in Psalm 46 to “be still and know that I a God.” Job was challenged by the Lord for speaking words without knowledge. Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, found himself unable to speak because of his unbelief towards the promise of God.
Isaiah had a similar experience while being caught up in a vision of the Holy of Holies in Isaiah 6. He, too, experienced the touch of God from an angel on his lips signifying the atoning provision for his sin. So Daniel experienced the same touch of the angel on his lips. But before he could speak, he found himself mute. God empties us before he fills us. When we are weakened by his hand, it’s usually because he is beginning a special work in our lives. His power is made perfect in our weakness.
There have been a number of occasions in my life when I have been preparing to speak with someone personally about Jesus when I experienced a strange feeling of weakness. But when I began the conversation an hour later, I experienced clarity of mind and speech. He empties before he fills.
The third principle is 3.) A love that strengthens me for the days to come. Daniel 10:18-21.
Have you ever watched a great swimmer like Michael Phelps glide through the water resting at times while still moving at full speed? What a contrast to my unprofessional thrashing at the water, wearing myself out all the more. When Daniel is informed by the angel that he is greatly loved, there is a strength from God that comforts him deeply. Look at the Gospel components in the angel’s declaration: Do not be afraid, peace be with you, and be strong and of good courage. The Gospel declaration of the angel provide strength and stamina for Daniel to face the days ahead.
In Luke 7, Jesus touched the unclear dead body bier of the widow’s son in Nain. He was literally defiling himself in doing so. The very One who was completely pure and undefined became unclean for us on the cross so that we could be clean. We are loved by God the Father in the same way he loves his own Son. What an encouragement! We move forward with an added jump in our steps.
When we come into God for worship, we rarely need just facts. Instead we need a deep touch of his love that penetrates our hearts. I don’t need to be afraid of the angel anymore. When I look into the face of God, I am not looking at an angel with flaming torches coming out of his eyes. I look into the face of God through the face of Jesus. I say again with the Apostle John, “I have seen his glory, the glory of the only One from the Father, full of grace and truth.” That’s the only thing that can melt my heart and change my soul. May you experience Christ’s love today like you never have before.
Faith Presbyterian Church
March 13, 2016