THE SECRET OF THREE RIGHTEOUS MEN Ezekiel 14:12-14 12 The word of the LORD came again to me, saying, 13 Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it: 14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD. God always assists those who seek after him to live pure in heart, mind and spirit. For example, the prophet Ezekiel wrote about the terrible judgments that would come against Israel. He then spoke of three upright men, namely Job, Noah and Daniel. He informed his readers that these three men would be able to escape the coming judgment by their righteousness: The Bible tells us that Job was a “perfect and upright man” (Job 1:1-2). Scripture informs us that Noah was “righteous in his generation ” (Genesis 7:1). We know that Daniel was a man in whom there was “no blemish” (Daniel 1:4). Thus the Scripture reveals the flawless moral and spiritual character of all of these men of God. This also reveals that God views men and women from their heart and not by their outward surroundings: “…for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” - 1 Samuel 16:7 What caused these three men to be declared righteous? -Noah was obedient to God in preparing a huge floating zoo called an ark, preserving his family and the animal kingdom. He was true to God’s command, despite the criticism he may have received from scoffers and unbelievers. -Job lost his wealth, health and family, and never blamed God. The Bible says he never “charged God foolishly,” thus he never “sinned with his mouth” (Job 1:22). He maintained his spiritual integrity in the midst of a burning trial of his faith. -Daniel never compromised his personal convictions to please others. While seated among the princes of Babylon, he refused to drink their wine and eat the meat offered to idols (Daniel 1:8). Despite a law passed against daily prayer, Daniel knelt before an open window facing Jerusalem praying three times a day (Daniel 6:10). Daniel never compromised, Job guarded his words and Noah fully obeyed God. This should be the same pattern of the New Testament believer. We should read the instruction manual, the Bible and realize it is the commandment book of heaven. Those who believe it will act upon it. It is said of Joshua, “He left nothing undone of what the Lord commanded him to do” (Joshua 11:15). The reason God chose these three men, and will bless believers today, can be summed up in the following: 1. Daniel - Never compromise our faith “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) - Hebrews 10:23 “But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.”- Revelation 2:25 To ―hold fast‖ is to seize upon and to keep to memory. It means to get a firm grip on and not let go. Once you have the revelation of faith, you must hide it in your heart as a valuable treasure to be secured and hidden from any thief that would rob you. When you compromise your faith it opens a door to confusion in your mind and spirit. -Formulated his Convictions Early Daniel 1:8 8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Daniel’s strength of the moment came from a heart full of purpose. His heart was prepared and his decision essentially was already made before the temptation had even arrived. Because of his early years of training and because of his previously established convictions, Daniel’s heart was already shaped by purpose that would guide his actions in the temptation of the moment. To have a mind that is already made up—convictions established in one’s heart—is a certain way to defeat the enemy. Christians need to make up their minds to say no to Satan and yes to God even before temptation comes. (See I Corinthians 10:13.) -Declared His Convictions Daniel 1:11-14 11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. 13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. 14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. Though he was a captive of Babylon, Daniel fearlessly stood up for his convictions and staked out a reasonable position. He was not belligerent or unreasonable. He made his request to the prevailing authorities and received their respect. People respect a person of conviction. On the other hand, if a person tries too hard to fit he will lose the respect of those he is trying to reach. Moreover, it is to men and women who will not bow to the unscrupulous or compromise their godly principles that God will reveal His mind. Daniel’s life was blessed in at least four specific areas. ❶ Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding (Daniel 1:17-20). ❷ Physical Health (Daniel 1:15). ❸ Honored by the King (Daniel 1:21; 2:47-49). ❹ Interpreter of Dreams (Daniel 2:36-47). One of the reasons God was able to bless Daniel as He did was because of his disciplined life. Daniel was careful about what he allowed to enter into his life. How important that we learn from Daniel’s positive example! Finally, I when I think about the strength of conviction I am reminded of one of my favorite prophecies in the scripture about our Lord. Here Isaiah is prophecying about the coming Messiah when he says.. Isaiah 7:14-15 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. 2. Job - Always guard our words The next righteous man I want to speak about is the last one Ezekiel listed. His name was Job. We are familiar with the things that Job had to endure. He suffered greatly for the glory of the Lord, and for thousands of years, his life has stood as a testimony to the faithfulness of the Lord and of His ability to bring His people through any trial. It has been said that Job lost everything during his time of affliction. It is true that he lost his family, his finances, his fitness and his friends, yet through it all, he never lost his faith or his relationship with the Lord. When the bottom fell out of Job's life, he still maintained his confidence in the Lord. In doing so, he demonstrates to us what our duty is to God while we pass through the valleys of life. I don’t plan on examining all of Job’s afflictions and responses tonight. However I do want to show you something that helped Job survive thru all he suffered. You don’t have to read the whole book of Job to discover it for it’s found in the very first chapter. After all of his possessions and livelihood had been taken from him in day… and after the messengers came and told him that all his children had died together in same house when a great wind blew and collapsed on them… Here is Job’s response.. Job 1:20-22 20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, 21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. 22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. Notice vs 22 again…22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. This was a huge factor in Job maintaining his integrity as other tragedies befell him. The bible says.. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”- Proverbs 18:19 “For by thy words thou shall be justified, and by thy words thou shall be condemned.” - Matthew 12:37 More personal trouble originates from individuals who express their emotions with strong negative words. Marriages fall apart, friendships are broken, children are wounded and churches are split by the words of death, anger, and hate. We must guard our words because our words express what is in our hearts (Luke 6:45). Job refused to blame God for his trial. This caught the attention of God who saw Job’s actions and said he had retained his integrity (Job 2:3). It would be Job’s faithfulness to stand steadfast in faith that eventually led to the divine reversal he received from God (Job 42). -Disciplined Speech The tongue needs to be controlled perhaps more than any member of the body. The apostle James said that the tongue is an unruly evil that is full of deadly poison (James 3:8). The Bible teaches that we should study to be quiet (I Thessalonians 4:11). If a soft answer will turn away wrath, what effect will no answer have on one’s enemies? When Jesus was reviled, He answered not a word. Abraham Lincoln once said it was better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. There are times that silence would be the best answer. ―My talent is to speak my mind,‖ said a woman to John Wesley. Wesley answered, ―I am sure, Sister, that God wouldn’t object if you buried that talent.‖ Christians who know how to discipline their words are of great blessing and value to the church. Their ability to hold their peace when necessary, yet say the appropriate words when the occasion requires it is very edifying. They are usually highly esteemed and have many friends. Again Solomon wrote that “a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). -Unruly Member The tongue is the most difficult member of the body to control, and it has the potential for causing the most harm. The way you use your tongue is a good indication of your relationship with God. The tongue speaks whatever is in the heart. If you speak evil, then evil must be in your heart, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34). “Those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man” (Matthew 15:18). James has some strong teaching concerning the tongue. “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26). “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:2). Here is a list of some sins which we can commit w/ our mouths 1. Talebearing 5. Swearing 2. Gossip 6. Taking the Name of the Lord in vain 3. Sowing Discord (abomination) 7. Filthy Communication 4. Lying / Bearing False Witness 3. Noah – Obedience To God The last of these 3 righteous men spoken to us by the prophet Ezekiel, that I would like to tell you about tonight was Noah. -Noah Preached the Gospel Noah was ―a preacher of righteousness‖ (II Peter 2:5). His preaching concerning righteousness provided an opportunity for salvation from the flood that God was to bring ―upon the world of the ungodly‖ (II Peter 2:5). Gospel preaching always offers an alternative to the judgment destined to fall upon the disobedient and unbelieving. Acceptance of the gospel by faith is the only alternative to the judgment due to come to this world. Noah warned his world by his preaching and crying out against the ungodliness of his day. In like manner, preachers of the gospel today still preach and cry out against the ungodliness of their times. It is important that the church in the last days remain focused on the means of salvation and not on the wickedness that surrounds us. The gospel message will point a person from sin and to salvation. The gospel is the solution to a lost and dying world. -Noah Provided for the Preservation of Life Hebrews 11:7 7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. The obedience of building the ark was a means of preserving life after the flood. God used Noah as the preserver of life. (See Genesis 7:23.) God gave specific instructions to Noah concerning the ark and Noah believed Him and moved with fear in preparation for the Flood. He not only tried to save himself and his family, but he warned those around him as well. Even though the multitudes would not hear, it did not prevent Noah from issuing the warning to the world. The reward for being obedient and submissive to the plan of God for his life was that God remembered him and blessed him and his children. There were many rewards that Noah experienced, but the greatest of these was his salvation and the salvation of his family. When we are obedient to God and His Word we will experience salvation and we will be able to positively influence our family to be saved. Now let me stress to you again that the secret of Noah’s salvation was his Obedience! Obedience is FAITH in Action!! James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Faith w/ out action is dead… OBEDIENCE IS THE KEY… -Jesus Demanded Obedience First Jesus would many times ask people to DO SOMETHING FIRST, before He ever answered their prayers… Matt 12:13 – Man w/ withered hand ―Stretch forth thine hand‖ You do something, then I’ll do something… Matt 9:6 – “Take up your bed and walk‖….Jesus says this to them while their still paraplygic…He’s says this to them while there still lying there w/ their legs twisted…. He’s saying ―You make the effort to do something first… Then I’ll do something for you‖ John 9:7 – Jesus tells a blind man ―Go wash in the pool of Siloam‖ – He can’t see but Jesus wants him to find a pool and go wash... Jesus sends him off blind.. but his obedience to wash in that pool… brought a miracle. Luke 17:14 – A bunch of lepors were told… ―Go show yourselves to the priest‖ They weren’t supposed to come in contact w/ anyone.. but Jesus is telling them go up to Jerusalem and show yourselves to the priest… and the bible says ―As they went‖ Their obedience activated the miraculous! Abraham - When tested by God, Abraham was given no reason for the command. He was simply told, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of” (Genesis 22:2). Abraham, who had struggled for the promise of a son, now faced the terrible probability that Isaac would be slain by his own hand. A lesser man might have postponed any action, but Genesis 22:3 states, “Abraham rose up early in the morning . . . and went unto the place of which God had told him.” The obedience of the man was remarkable because his faith was remarkable. Against reason, Abraham accounted “that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure” (Hebrews11:19). It is plain from the Scriptures that Abraham’s faith was fully developed only when he obeyed the command of God. (See James 2:21-22.) Obedience to God is essential if we are to have close contact with God. God is all knowing, all powerful, and all wise—and we are not. Many tragedies occur when a person decides that God’s will is not the proper way to live. The key to our spiritual success is to follow the will of God for our lives every step of the way. As we draw closer to God, our relationship with Him will deepen, and we will develop a pure, holy Christian life. There is an old song called ―Trust and Obey.‖ The words of the chorus should be the driving force in the life of every believer: ―Trust and obey; for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.‖ I could take some more time and give you a long list of biblical men and women who disobeyed God and suffered greatly… but I’d rather just leave you w/ the words of our Lord… John 14:15-21 15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me:.. and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. So let us remember the Secrets of these 3 righteous men… Daniel never compromised, Job guarded his words and Noah fully obeyed God. These three righteous men gave us their secrets to having the favor of God and being able to escape the danger that would come in their day.
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