Monday Morning Coffee with Mark

Why don't we ever hear a sermon on Grace

September 11, 2023 Mark Roberts Season 3 Episode 43
Monday Morning Coffee with Mark
Why don't we ever hear a sermon on Grace
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Welcome to the Westside church’s special Monday Morning Coffee podcast with Mark Roberts. Mark is a disciple, a husband, father and grand dad, as well as a certified coffee geek, fan of CS Lewis’ writings and he loves his big red Jeep. He’s also the preacher for Westside church.

Speaker 1:

Hello, and welcome to the Westside churches special Monday Morning Coffee podcast on this podcast, our preacher Mark Roberts will help you get your week started right. With look back at yesterday's sermon so that we can think through it further and better work the applications into our daily lives . Mark will then look forward into this week's Bible reading so that we can know what to expect and watch for. And, he may have some extra bonus thoughts from time to time. So grab a cup of coffee as we start the week together on Monday Morning Coffee with Mark.

Speaker 3:

Good morning. Good morning. Welcome to the Monday Morning Coffee podcast for Monday, September the 11th. I'm Mark and I'm ready to talk to you about the book of Daniel, about grace and about, yes, about coffee. I'm holding some coffee in my hand and it's just been a great weekend. The N F l's back and maybe this terrible summer of dreadful heat in Texas is coming to an end 110 last Friday. I'm looking at Wednesday being 81. That's a big jump. Maybe you don't think 81 is all that cool, but when it's been 110 and there's even a chance of rain in the forecast, oh wow, it's gonna be a magnificent week and we're gonna get it started in the very best way. Grab some coffee, grab your Bible. Let's think about yesterday's sermon. Let's think about daily Bible reading. Let's get started. Yesterday's sermon was the second in this series I'm doing called Unzipped where we talk about some things that just don't seem like they get a lot of pulpit time and I was really glad to talk yesterday about grace because I think that's terribly misunderstood. I actually think we talk a lot about grace. I just don't think we talk about it in the terms that that people have come to decide. That's what a sermon about grace or that's what a grace filled church is going to be all about. So it's very important to set that right, to set that right by examining what those scriptures say about grace. Having said that, then I have two questions, one for you and one that you might want to ask somebody as we think a little further about grace. First and foremost, question for you. Could it be that you're uncomfortable with grace because it wrecks that thinking that I am better than others. One writer said those who follow Jesus can dislike grace because we like to believe God loves us because we are better than others. We assume we have done something to earn God's grace. We assume God could never love us unless we are somehow different from others. So when we speak truth about the nature of sin, we are deceived into thinking we aren't really sinners. We believe God's love is a sign. Our actions aren't as bad as others. I think that's working in Luke 18 where the man's praying the Pharisee and the public parable that Jesus tells there and he's praying and he's all about himself and God, I just know you love me because I'm just amazing and I'm so righteous. And sometimes I think that may be tripping us up on grace when we start with Christ, we're all about grace and we feel it and we need it and we know we need it. But as we grow in Christ and as we get stronger, maybe we start pushing away from Grace A. Little bit and start thinking God loves me because I'm just a pretty, I'm just a pretty amazing Christian. I do listen to the Monday Morning Coffee podcast and I do my daily Bible reading. So hey, how much grace do I really need anymore ? Now look at that person over there. He needs a boatload of grace. Me. Yeah, I could probably get by with about a half a cup's worth. That's a terrible way to approach grace. That's a terrible thing to be thinking about ourselves. That's the path to self-righteousness. Maybe sometimes we're uncomfortable with grace because we've decided we just don't need it so much anymore. I hope that's not me. I hope that's not you. Then how about a question for others when we are talking about church and where do you go to church and someone says, I , I wanna be part of a grace filled church, I go to a church that's very, we're just really all about grace. I think a great question to ask there is what do you mean by grace? What do you mean by grace? The temptation is to you up right in and say, well, I go to Gracefield church too and I do think West Side is a grace-filled church, but I think we are filled with grace in the New Testament sense and by what the New Testament teaches us grace means and what it's all about. I think as I said yesterday, a lot of people bandy about the term grace, meaning tolerance and acceptance and that needs to be clarified and as we're having conversation with people, we want an opportunity to clarify that and then we can follow up a little bit and start pushing back and saying, I'm not sure that's exactly what the New Testament means by grace. Um, so you are tolerant and acceptance, acceptance of everything I I kind of clarified some of that yesterday as well. Does that mean anybody and everybody is going to be acceptable? There's a church in Austin that accepted one of the professors at UT who is known for his atheism and they accepted him in to membership. Accepting atheist is very tolerant. That is a very accepting church. We would not accept that at West side , would we? Of course not. But that's not a grace filled church. No, it is not. That is not what Grace is all about. So somebody starts going on and on about how I want to be part of a Grace Church. Our church has so much grace. Probably what they're meaning there is we just accept a lot. We accept a lot that's beyond the boundaries of the New Testament and that needs to be clarified. Hope that that will help you both as you think about your own definitions of grace and as we help others arrive at a biblical definition of grace. Great to talk about grace and I'm already looking forward to next Sunday when we'll have three guys with us who are gonna talk a little bit about what it is to be a senior citizen and serve the Lord. That'll be the third Sunday in this unzipped series. That'll be our silver Sunday next Sunday with Jess Jenkins, Ricky Jenkins and Leon Goff. Now let's think a little bit about daily Bible reading. It is Monday and today we read Daniel chapter four. We pick up what we were reading on Friday. We read Daniel chapter four beginning in verse nine. As Nebuchadnezzar begins to recount the dream and to discuss Daniel and his ability to understand and interpret the dream for him, there's the symbolism verse 11 of the tree and trees are used sometimes in the Bible in visions and in parables. I'm thinking about Isaiah the second chapter. Ezekiel 31 verse three discusses Assyria as a tree and uses that kind of metaphor. So this is not unusual by any stretch of the imagination, but this tree doesn't stand for an empire, it doesn't stand for a kingdom or anything like that. It stands for Nebuchadnezzar. There's not any doubt about that. Verse 16, the tree can change its mind if you will. And so this is about Nebuchadnezzar. I would point out to you verse 13, behold a watcher, a holy one came down from heaven. This is a very unusual term for an angel. It's only used here. It does occur in some uh, kuran scrolls, some material that's outside of the Bible. It's called the Genesis apocryphal. Some people think this is the angel that is in charge of executing the decrees of the Lord. Not entirely sure about that. There's a lot about powers and principalities and cosmic forces that we just don't understand, but this is, this is a special angel. This is a powerful angel. So what's going on? Why is the tree cut down verse 17 so that all people may know who rules in the affairs of men, all people will know who really is in charge. So this is about what? It's about sovereignty, it's about God's sovereignty and that's what the book of Daniel establishes and we should take great hope in that we should love the book of Daniel. God is running everything. God is in charge and the story opens with that Daniel four three and now in the center of the story, Daniel four 17, once again it's about God, the most high rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets it over the lowliest of men. Praise God, our God is sovereign. We'll continue in Daniel chapter four and continue to learn more about the sovereignty of God tomorrow. See you then. Welcome to Tuesday and today we read Daniel's interpretation of the frightful dream that Nebuchadnezzar has had. This is Daniel four 19 to 27 and Daniel has a great deal of courage here. I think we see that over and over in Daniel's life. He is dismayed and he doesn't like what this dream means, but he doesn't sugarcoat it, doesn't try to tell Nebu is or some other tale or everything is gonna be great, gives it to him straight. Great courage here by Daniel. Lots of things talked about with Daniel, his prayer life. For example, we come to Daniel chapter six, he's making up his mind Daniel one verse eight in the opening sequence of the book where he will not eat the defiled food. Maybe more emphasis needs to be given to Daniel's courage in telling people the word of God. So he's straight up with Nebuchadnezzar. You are the one verse 22 who's gonna be chopped down and I should say here the Jehovah's Witnesses and other groups will try to make use of some of these visions in Daniel and they just warp 'em and twist 'em all up. It just gets ridiculous. The witnesses try to make this something about empires and the kingdom coming in 1914. We know who the tree is because Daniel tells us who the tree is and it's not the Nazis and it's not the Bolsheviks and it's not Napoleon, it's Nebuchadnezzar. When you say what the Bible says, it is you o king who's grown and has become strong and so you're gonna get chopped down. Verse 23. That's the interpretation. It is the decree of the most high verse 25. You know that the most high rules, the kingdoms of men sovereignty. It's all about sovereignty. Then look at verse 27. Here's our key verse for today, king, let my counsel be acceptable. Oh king, break off your sins by practicing righteousness in your iniquities, by showing mercy to the oppressed that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity. You can't tell people about the judgment of God without telling them about repentance and Daniel has recommendations here about stop doing wrong and start doing right. That's a pretty good definition of repentance. Nebuchadnezzar, you need to respond to God's sovereignty. You are not in charge. God is, which means you need to do what God tells you to do. Maybe we don't say that enough about sovereignty. When we talk about sovereignty, we have a tendency to talk about how God is in control. We use that to reassure ourselves when things are breaking loose, bad things are kind of happening. Sometimes what sovereignty or God is in control means when we're posting that on social media is God's gonna do my will, God's gonna take care of me, God's gonna do my bidding. That's not always what sovereignty means. Let's go back to last week's reading Daniel chapter three, shattering mesha bed and go say, God is able to save us . God has the power to do that and God is sovereign. He could do that. Then they say, we don't know if he's gonna do that. We may be burned alive here, but that doesn't change anything because God is sovereign. The the business of God in control. The business of God's sovereignty is not about. That means God can do for me and make my life good and grand. It means I need to trust in what God is doing. That means Sha dego uh , chapter three and it means I need to repent and it means I need to turn to God. It means I need to trust in God and do his will. That's Daniel chapter four. That's what we're reading today. That's helpful to us, isn't it? That's how we draw near to the Lord. That's a theme in our Bible reading. That's how we draw near to a sovereign God. See you tomorrow where we see the dream fulfilled. Welcome to Wednesday. Hope you're having a great middle of the week. Looking forward to Bible study tonight at West Side . Here's the punchline then to our Bible reading in Daniel chapter four. As Nebuchadnezzar I like to say goes on a plant-based diet, everything happens to him exactly as Daniel has said, it would occur. Of course we knew that was how that was going to go 'cause Daniel is in fact yeah, he's an inspired prophet of God. So today we're reading Daniel four verses 28 to 37 and the dream is fulfilled. Verse 29. At the end of 12 months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. This may be the famous hanging gardens of Babylon. He's looking at babylon's splendor and the dazzling double walls and the famous ish Stargate and all those other wonders and thinking, I am just it . I am so amazing, isn't it? Isn't it kind of ironic that if wasn't for the Bible nobody would know the name Nebuchadnezzar except for a few random archeologists and and scholars who are interested in Babylonian antiquity. It's the Bible that makes Nebuchadnezzar a household name and so as he praises himself immediately he is driven from among men. Verse 32, until you know the most high rules, the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. What's the story about? This is about the third or fourth time that statement has been made. It's about sovereignty and Nebuchadnezzar after he has his period of time where he's eating grass at the end of those days, verse 34, I lift my eyes and I said, God's dominion, verse 34 is an everlasting dominion. His kingdom endures from generation to generation. He does verse 35, according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, none can stay his hand or say to him, what have you done sovereignty? God's incredible sovereignty and maybe here's the place to say something about Jews reading the book of Daniel who would be thinking Nebuchadnezzar really is incredible. He is the all powerful king who came and subjugated us in 6 0 5 and in fact his armies will return in 5 97 and deport thousands and thousands of Jews to Babylon in slavery. And then in 5 86 Nebuchadnezzar's troops arrive and they burn the city of Jerusalem and destroy the temple of God. They raise it to the ground. So it'd be very easy for Jews to say Nebuchadnezzar is incredible. He is the one that's in power. He's the one who has all power. Daniel reminds them, no , God is running everything. God is in control and as I said yesterday, that doesn't mean that life is going to be comfortable for you. God's control here for wicked Jews was punishment brought by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. Need to think about that. Don't we don't substitute the sovereignty of God for I'm always going to get my way. God's always gonna make everything amazing for me. God's running out in front of me, rolling out the red carpet and smoothing out all of life's bumps, hurdles and problems that is in sovereignty. Sovereignty means God's will is being executed and I need to acknowledge that. Humble myself. Verse 37, those who walk in pride, he's able to humble, need to humble myself, and I need to do the will of God instead of bending God, trying to bend God to do my will. That's Wednesday's reading. I think this is a wonderful, wonderful story to emphasize the main message of Daniel, the sovereignty of God . Welcome to Thursday in Daniel the fifth chapter. We're reading Daniel chapter five verses one to 12 today, the famous handwriting on the wall story. In fact, that is where we get that expression. He saw the handwriting on the wall. Now Nebuchadnezzar, let me give you some historical background here. Nebuchadnezzar died in 5 63. He was succeeded by his son evil meoc . That's the king evil. Meoc is the king who released Jochen and gave him a place in the royal court. Two kings, 25 verse 27 evil . Meoc was assassinated after only two years by his brother-in-law . Neer that guy Nira Gliser died about four years later and his son was murdered about nine months later, which puts a man named Naus on the throne. He rules the Babylonian empire until its demise in 5 39. That's where we are in Daniel five. We are in 5 39. But there's some funny business with neons , some things that are not entirely clear in the historical records. He seems to have spent his last 10 years in North Arabia letting his son Bel Shaar run the affairs of Babylon. And so neons just not a very good king, kinda let the kingdom run into the ground in Bel Belshazzar is a terrible king and is not taking care of business or paying attention to business. So what happens then is when you have that kind of pitiful leadership invading armies are able to come and take a city, which should be pretty much invincible. Babylon was an incredibly well fortified city . The ancient historian tells us it had a huge moat and its walls were 50 qubits wide and 200 qubits high. That's like 330 feet tall. So even if he's vastly exaggerating, these are huge huge walls. There was a double wall system we are led to understand by other historians and there were 100 strongly fortified gates of the siege. However, one historian said the Babylonians cared not a witt for the siege by the Meads and the Persians mounting up on the battlements that crown their walls. They insulted and jeered at the mighty host one even shouted, why are you there? Persians? Go back to your homes until mules fo . You will not take our city. If you know anything about mules, the mule comes when you have a donkey and a horse come together. The result is a mule, but mules are sterile. Mules can't marry mules and make more mules. It doesn't work that way. So that's, that's the bite in the sarcasm there. So there's this huge party in Daniel chapter five in the vessels of gold and silver that Nebuchadnezzar had taken. Verse two are brought and God is being mocked here. That's what this is about. They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver. Verse four, our gods are stronger than everybody else's Gods including including the God of the Hebrews. But then the fingers of a human hand appear verse five and everybody knows something terrible is up. Now there is lots of discussion about what was written here and particularly why what was written could not be read. Some have thought that these are mystical symbols that were unci undecipherable. That's hard to say, undecipherable without inspiration from God. Others have thought everybody could read it, they just didn't know what it meant. Daniel does read them in the Aramaic and he is, he's the one who's able to give meaning to what has been written there on the wall. I do like how the story doesn't tell us what it said that keeps us in suspense. What are we looking at here? What is going on? What does the handwriting say? And why is everyone so terrified? No one can interpret this, but Daniel, somebody finally remembers him, says, Daniel's the guy, let's get him. He can help us out. We get the rest of this story tomorrow. It's hard to stop reading here, isn't it? I'll see you on Friday. It is Friday, you made it through the week and we're gonna conclude the week with a really bad ending to the Babylonian empire. So here Daniel, in our reading today, which is Daniel chapter five, verses 13 to 21, Daniel comes and interprets the handwriting on the wall. Remember this is, this is at the end of Daniel's life. He's probably in his eighties by now. We need to try to hold onto that and think about that more as we come next week into the famous Daniel and the lions den story Daniel's brought in before the king and what does he emphasize? He emphasizes what he always emphasizes. It is God who can give the interpretation and once again it's about sovereignty. Verse 18, God gave Nebuchadnezzar and because of his greatness that he gave him, God is the one who's in charge. Verse 21. So that Nebuchadnezzar had to learn that the most high God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets it over whom he will. You, however, be shaar . You have not humbled your heart. You have not acknowledged the sovereignty of God. You think it's all about you. It's not all about you buddy. And in fact, God is bringing you down, the God in whose hand is your breath. Verse 23, sovereignty. Sovereignty. Sovereignty. I think I know what the book of Daniel is about. So Daniel then tells him exactly what's going on. The writing is meaning , meaning take a parson or take uh , and then the word parson depending on the translation that you have here, which simply means that God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought to an end. You've been weighed in the balances, take and found wanting and your kingdom pers or parson has been divided, given to the meads in Persians. Be shaar does pay off Daniel. Maybe he is hoping in some ways that that will mitigate the judgment of almighty God. I don't think that's gonna help him much. And in fact that very night be Shaar is killed and Darius the mead receives the kingdom being about 62 years old. There are a couple of historical accounts of this. Xenon and ISTs both tell us about the capture of this great city. It was done by the Persians diverting part of the river Euphrates that ran under the walls of Babylon and then the soldiers waited under the wall in about thigh high water to enter the city and begin opening the gates. If the Babylonians had not been partying, they would've been paying attention. They would've closed the river gates and they would've been able to kill these small forces of Bab , of Persians who were waiting under the walls, but they weren't paying attention. The judgment of God fell upon them. Darius, the mead here that is mentioned, verse 31 may be a governor known in tis account as Gobos . Uh , it seems like maybe Darius is a title like Caesar or Augustus or Pharaoh. He is about 62 and he begins to rule very important that you know, this is not Darius the great Darius. The great begins raining later. This is not that Darius, but he is the Darius who's gonna be in charge of Babylon because the Babylonians didn't humble themselves and God demonstrated to them his sovereignty. How powerful and wonderful is that? It is great to know that the God that we serve can humble even the mightiest and most invincible empire. There you go. That's our reading. Next week we'll have some lions and we'll even think a little bit about some of these difficult visions that Daniel contains. See you next week in Daniel chapter six. Lemme bring the podcast to a close by saying, I do appreciate very much you listening, hope that you have subscribed or followed the podcast and that you're rating and reviewing it. If you've not done that, please do that. Share it with others. Of course, that's the best thing that you can do. Hope that the podcast is building you up and encouraging you in your daily Bible reading. I look forward to talking more with you about Daniel next week. Until then, I hope your Friday is a blessed day all day and I will see you on Monday with a cup of coffee.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to the Westside church of Christ podcast. Monday morning coffee with mark . For more information about west side , you can connect with us through our website, just and our Facebook page. Our music is from that's upbeat with two P'S UPP , B E A T , where creators can get free music. Please share our podcast with others. And we look forward to seeing you again with a company coffee, of course, on next Monday.

Sermon Notes
Monday Daniel 4:9-18
Tuesday Daniel 4:19-27
Wednesday Daniel 4:28-37
Thursday Daniel 5:1-12
Friday Daniel 5:13-21